Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta

Jar, Weck

Like unpackaged toilet paper or plastic-free white vinegar, bulk gluten-free pasta may as well be a unicorn.  Finding a zero-waste alternative wasn't easy. Zucchini noodles and cauliflower macaroni are fine for weeknight dinners, but unacceptable for guests. Vitelotte and pumpkin gnocchi impress everyone, but the prep is unduly punishing and tedious. There had to be a better way.

I've been meaning to write this awhile now, and inspired by Chiara's post, decided to finally do it (nearly a month later). Beware, this is an inexact science. To make vegan, Asian-style noodles suitable for Pad Thai and various other dishes, combine 1 c. rice flour, 1/6 c. corn flour, and 1/3 c. potato starch. Add water until you form a flexible, non-sticky ball of dough. Roll the dough flat on a large, lightly floured wood surface. Rest 15 minutes. Cut by hand in 1/5 inch strips. Boil 1-7 minutes until pasta rises to the top, or store and save.

To make all-purpose homemade fresh pasta for pesto or creamy sauces, use two parts corn flour to one part rice flour, omitting potato starch. Add 1 teaspoon agar or psyllium husk per one cup rice flour, plus herbs to taste. Combine, add water, roll flat, and dry as outlined above. For orecchiette, penne, etc., I followed the shaping directions here and here. Try organic, unwashed eggs instead of water; the resulting pasta tastes delicious with nothing but olive oil, black pepper, a little sea salt, and courgette fleurs.

There's something so gratifying about making pasta at home, by hand; no machines, no fancy gadgets, just me, some flour, and two cats tracking little white paw-prints all over clean floors. Real talk, my farfalle looked less than appealing (though it certainly tasted good). I've decided to stick with simple tagliatelle and fettuccine from now on. Noodles I make are a lot shorter than traditional gluten-containing versions- I can't seem to get them to stay in long, pretty ribbons like the wheat-based fresh pastas on Rue Montorgueil. If anybody has troubleshooting ideas, send them my way, s'il vous plaît.

Bonne dégustation!

Paris to Go


  1. Hi!
    I wondered where you find your zero-waste rice flour and potato starch ?
    A bientôt !

    1. You can buy rice flour at Day by Day in Versailles, not very close, but it's the only place I know of. It is not gluten-free though :( You have to make potato starch at home. This tutorial really works:

      I did this by accident once- I forget what I was doing- and was going to throw it all away when my mom explained it was just potato starch, kept it, and used it for baking.

      To be honest, every time I go to the US I check an empty suitcase and fill it with jars of bulk baking soda, flours, starch, and pasta from Whole Foods, wrapping my clothes around everything. It looks really funny and is also cheating. The customs officials always look through it, all those powders raise such a red flag! (You really have to put them in jars though because plastic and paper bags burst in the plane, I learned that years ago when I was not trying to be zero-waste).

      Only when I run out do I make rice flour. This tutorial is very good:

      I don't have a blender or food processor or grinder so I need to go to my friend's house who has a Vitamix. As you can see, that is very inconvenient, so I must cheat when I visit my family!

  2. ... I feel so stupid at the moment but I NEVER thought potato starch could be homemade... That's wonderful!! That's why I love your blog because every time I read an article from you, I learn something new AND useful. I can't stress that enough! I did think it was possible to make your own rice flour, but imagined it was a long process. I'm glad I was wrong.

    I would love to see how you manage to explain your situation to the customs. :P

    Don't you think you could have a food processor? I totally understand why you don't want one. I thought a lot about it before buying mine, I was afraid it would only be a gadget. It seems that a lot of minimalists do not have a food processor. But I find it so practical, especially when you have special needs (i.e. gluten or dairy allergy). I hope I don't sound judgmental, it's a genuine question, and I'd love to read your answer. :)

    1. Aw thanks Pauline, you don't sound judgmental at all. We want a food processor (or an immersion blender), I periodically check for a used one on eBay or Leboncoin. It would make it easier to make soups and flours and things. No Trash Project, one of my favorite zero waste blogs, uses an immersion blender for everything. We even considered a Thermomix, but are holding off because we're not staying in Paris much longer, and we don't know where we'll go next. I heard a horror story of a German friend who moved to Asia, plugged in the Thermomix, and watched it burst into flames (an exaggeration, but it did spark and stop working).

      For now I do have a stand mixer to help with mayonnaise and a few other things, but- it is my American mixer and even with an adapter it smokes and sparks in the kitchen. So, we're hesitant buyers anyway, but until we figure out where we're going, I think we're not going to make many more household purchases here (we were not even supposed to be in Paris this long). My neighbors and my friends let me borrow anything I don't have, but I don't need to borrow things that often... maybe once a season.

    2. Oh and for customs, they never confronted me about it yet! They just opened it up, searched it, and put in a note that says they went through everything. This never happens with baking soda in my carry on!