Great Gluten Free Spaghetti and Marvelous Meatballs

Update 9/25/10

The post has disappeared from Healthy Eats. I have posted a similar version with the original recipe here.

Just a quick post today. For the full article and recipe, check out my guest post at Healthy Eats blog on gluten free spaghetti and meatballs.

 gluten free spaghetti and meatballs

Tinkyada brown rice spaghetti and meatballs photo by vsimon

I also wanted to include a photo of Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Supergrain Pasta, so you can compare the color to other pastas. Their gluten free pasta is made with corn and quinoa flours.

Ancient Harvest Quinoa corn spaghetti

Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Super Grain Linguine photo by vsimon

And I will share an admission. I didn’t carefully read the package and bought an Ancient Harvest variety that is made with quinoa and wheat. Even cooked it up and sampled it. Both boxes look nearly the same. And both were in the gluten free section of my grocery store. Oops! It was in the gluten free section, it must be OK, right? Unfortunately not always.

So again I say, read the labels carefully.

Care to share any goofs you have made?

Rhubarb Sauce


Bite on a stalk of cool spring rhubarb and feel your mouth pucker up. As the weather turns to summer heat, the stalks loose some of their puckery tang.

 Rhubarb is often a love it or hate it food. The mere mention of the word usually elicits a reactions, a smile or a grimace. Or a comment, ya or nay.

Only the stalks are edible. They can be green or red, the red is prettier. Good quality chopped rhubarb is available in the freezer section year round.


Rhubarb is an excellent source of bone building vitamin K. And it has 2 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving. It is also less than 30 calories per cup. But you will need to add sweetener to it. Sugar, brown sugar, agave nectar, honey, and sorghum or maple syrups all work well. You can also use Splenda, or the new stevia based sweeteners to avoid adding extra calories. Since the sourness of the stalks change over the growing season, it is a good idea to start with less sweetener and add more only if needed.


Rhubarb Sauce

4 cups chopped fresh or frozen red rhubarb

½-1 cup sweetener of choice

½ cup dried cranberries, dried cherries, or raisins (optional)


Put rhubarb, and dried fruit if using, in a medium saucepan. Add just enough water to keep the rhubarb from sticking to the pan. Fresh rhubarb might take ½ cup. Frozen might not need any, it oozes moisture as it heats up. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft. The soft pieces will be whole one minute, and completely fall apart a minute later. I like some chunks, so I take it off the heat as soon as it is tender. Add sweetener to taste.


If you have an abundance of rhubarb, make sauce and freeze it for later use. It freezes well and can be a welcome addition to next winters meals.


Rhubarb sauce is excellent with roasted pork or lamb. Or as a topping for ice cream! Veggies for dessert? When it tastes this good, why not?





Does this have gluten in it?

“What about chocolate chips?”


Recently, I received this question at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness  Ask-the-Nourish-Chef.


Learning how to read a label for gluten containing ingredients is one of the first survival skills people with gluten intolerance need to master. Look for the obvious-wheat, rye, barely, and most oats. Then the less obvious.


Think about the manufacturing process. Cross contamination during manufacture is an important consideration.

I went to my cupboard to look at the label on 60% cacao bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips. It looked good. No gluten there.


Ingredients: Unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, milk fat, soy lecithin.

Manufactured on the same equipment that also makes products containing milk.             

Made in a facility the uses peanuts and tree nuts. 


Because I was responding to a consumer question, I wanted to be sure about all their kinds of chocolate chips. The website did not provide any ingredient or allergen information. No FAQ page either. So I called the company. In this instance, I had to leave a message. I encourage all of you to regularly call manufacturers. Do not be shy. Ask them if their product is gluten free and how they manufacture their products. And  please, put this information on their websites. Sometimes you want to check something at 10pm on a Thursday night. Especially when it comes to chocolate.


A company representative called me back the same day and told me over the phone the following information. It was a lot to take in. So I asked that she email me the specifics and she helpfully provided the following information.


Thank you for contacting Ghirardelli Chocolate. In June 2008, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company started production of a new milk chocolate bar, Luxe Milk Crisp, which has a product containing barley malt as an ingredient.


As a result, the line on which our chocolate bars and squares are produced, will now share a common line with barley gluten.



The chocolate chips (60% Bittersweet, Semi-Sweet, Milk Chocolate, 58% Gourmet, 72% Gourmet, and 100% Gourmet) line and powder line (hot chocolates and baking cocoas) will remain free of gluten ingredients. 


As mentioned on the phone, our Classic White chips are produced in a separate facility which is not gluten-free.


Ghirardelli takes the following measures to reduce cross contamination on our production lines: lines are cleaned between the changing from one product to the next and the first two batches of any product made are disposed of and not packaged.

It is interesting to me to see how companies handle potential cross contamination. Having dedicated gluten free facilities is the safest. But I feel comfortable when I speak with knowledgeable staff and know company policies. In this case, I especially like knowing that the first two batches are disposed of.  

Please excuse me now. I need to put a handful of those gluten free dark chocolate chips directing into my mouth and let them melt slowly. Mmmm.