Whether you or a family member have just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, a gluten or wheat intolerance/sensitivity, are hosting a gluten-free guest or are trying to eliminate gluten for better health and well-being, here are some quick tips to gluten-free dining, a gluten-free diet, and gluten-free cooking.
Ingredients derived from gluten containing cereals: wheat (including kamut and spelt, barley, rye and triticale, as well as the use of gluten as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent. Additionally, the diet may exclude oats.
So what exactly does this mean in terms of cooking a gluten-free meal?
Soy Sauce containing wheat; there are several brands that are wheat-free soy sauce, make sure to read labels and check if marked “gluten-free.”
Whole wheat flour/Breads/Baked goods: Wheat flour is in EVERYTHING!
Bread, Bagels, Pizza Crust, Crust, Cookies, Cakes, Scones, Pancakes, Breading, Muffins… the list goes on. But great news is that all of these items can be made entirely gluten-free and also still taste fantastic. One of my favorites is 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster as well as The Ice Dream Cookbook by Rachel Albert-Matesz.
If you don’t want to make everything from scratch (or have the time!) many markets from Whole Foods to Trader Joe’s also offer ready-made Gluten-Free items, from loaves of bread, to pie/pizza crust and baked goods (cookies, cupcakes, and more). For breakfast, I love Trader Joe’s gluten-free/dairy free pancakes.
Pasta is usually made from whole wheat flour. There are several traditional pasta-alternatives; including spaghetti and linguini pastas made from just Rice Flour or Potato Flour. Also, Asian-style pasta is typically made with wheat flour as well, but you can also try Rice Noodles made solely from Rice Flour or Rice Paper Wraps, perfect for Vietnamese-style fresh spring rolls.
Many dishes use flour or cornstarch for thickening agents. I am also corn-intolerant, so often times there are gluten-free foods that contain cornstarch or cornmeal that I cannot eat. Check out my Gluten-Free/Corn-Free Pantry
page for the alternative ingredients to use as thickening agents or as breading. I love using Rice Flour or Potato Flour as the substitute for Whole Wheat Flour. (Perfect for Fried Chicken or tempura).
Rice is another wonderful gluten-free food; I grew up on an Asian-influenced diet and can’t imagine life without rice. Long-grain, jasmine, basmati, and wild rice… all great additions to a meal.
Of course fresh produce, such as meats, seafood and vegetables from your local farmer’s market or grocery store are usually gluten-free. Fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil and salt/pepper are perfect on fresh produce and make for delicious, easy gluten-free cooking.