Gluten Free or Not?

A couple of weeks ago I had some buttermilk that was reaching its expiration date and I was contemplating making a loaf of soda bread with it.  But then I saw a program on Public TV about gluten.  The doctor on the show said that humans were originally “hunter / gatherers” and that is how our DNA is structured.  It was relatively recently in human history that agriculture and the sowing of seeds was introduced.  However, our DNA is still that “hunter / gatherer” DNA and has not adapted to wheat and related grain products.  He went on to say that even if we don’t have Celiac Disease, he believes the majority of humans are sensitive to gluten in varying degrees.  He mentioned joint pain as one of the results of that gluten sensitivity.  Hmmm….that was the end of even thinking of making that soda bread for me.

I contemplated the “gluten” issue for a few days.  I thought back to when I was a teenager, many, many years ago.  There was a product called “Thomas’ Gluten Bread” that I loved.  It was lower in calories, was brownish in color and toasted up great with all kinds of nooks and crannies.  But they don’t make it any more.  Today there are gluten free products on the market shelves, but for the most part the prices are high.  I guess, if you are gluten intolerant, you pay the price. 

So I experimented with a gluten free diet for several days.  It’s difficult to say if I felt any better eating this way as I didn’t really have any aches or pains to begin with.  I think I’ll continue with trying this gluten free approach for a little while and see what happens.

I have used brown rice pasta (gluten free) in the past and liked it.  The price, of course, was higher than regular wheat pasta.  So I was excited to see gluten free pasta recently in the regular pasta section of my grocery store.  One was Ronzoni and the other was Barilla.  The price was the same for both (under $3)…the package was 12 oz.  I bought the Barilla.

Barilla Gluten Free Pasta

Barilla Gluten Free Pasta

You can see from the package above, it is made with corn and rice.  The calories are about the same; wheat pasta has 210 calories for a 2 oz. serving and this pasta has 200 calories for that same size serving.  There is twice as much fiber in wheat pasta.  The Barilla box says one of the ingredients is “rice flour”; the pasta is light in color and I’m assuming it is not brown rice flour.  Cooking time for the Barilla gluten free was 10 minutes (the same as for wheat pasta).

Sauteed Mushrooms

Sauteed Mushrooms

I had about 4 oz. of mushrooms that I wanted to use up, plus broccoli and asparagus.  I also had some frozen shrimp as well as a can of DelMonte zesty jalapeno chopped tomatoes. 

I cooked the pasta (I used spaghetti) according to the package directions and drained and rinsed it under cold water.  I will use the same pot to toss the pasta with the vegetables and shrimp later.

I sauteed the mushrooms in a little olive oil quickly over medium heat, removed them to a bowl and sprinkled lightly with salt and marjoram.  I sauteed the chopped broccoli in the same pan and while it still had some crunch to it, moved it to the bowl with the mushrooms and very lighty salted it.  I did the same with the chopped asparagus.  I didn’t cook the vegetables all together as I didn’t want them to steam and become soft.  I wanted each to be cooked “al dente” as they would continue to cook a bit as they rested and when added to the tossed pasta. 

Sauteed Shrimp and Garlic

Sauteed Shrimp and Garlic With Vegetables

I then quickly sauteed the defrosted and shelled shrimp in the same pan but added a little bit of butter to the pan first.  I tossed in about 3 cloves of chopped garlic and sauteed briefly until the shrimp were just done.  I moved the shrimp and garlic to the bowl with the other vegetables. 

Some chopped onion was sauteed in a little olive oil in the larger pot in which I had cooked the pasta.  When the onion was just translucent, I added half the can of chopped tomatoes (I’ll use the other half in the lentil soup I’m making tomorrow).  I simmered that for about 10 minutes and added some dried oregano and a touch of cayenne.  Then I added the cooked pasta and tossed it with tomatoes.  Once that had warmed a bit, I added the shrimp and vegetables, tossed and served when heated.

Gluten Free Pasta with Shrimp and Vegetables

Gluten Free Pasta with Shrimp and Vegetables

I sprinkled a little crumbled goat cheese on top…

A Sprinkle of Goat Cheese

A Sprinkle of Goat Cheese

The taste and texture of this gluten free pasta was not noticeably different than regular wheat pasta.  This would certainly be a good dish to serve to family and friends who are gluten sensitive.  And I believe even those who are not gluten sensitive will enjoy it as well!



One thought on “Gluten Free or Not?

  1. KerryCan

    I keep reading this, about how we would be better off without gluten, bu I haven’t come to terms with it yet–I love my wheat-based foods! You might want to check out the blog “Like Flora Poste” The blogger, Johanna, occasionally posts gluten-free recipes that sound very good and it’s a delightful blog all the way around!


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