Classic Dinners Gone Gluten Free
Going gluten free means making some changes to your menu, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of spaghetti, pizza, burgers and other comfort foods. We’ll show you some simple—even one-ingredient! —wheat-free swaps for standbys like hamburger buns and spaghetti noodles. Plus, we’ll give you the lowdown on hidden sources of gluten and the best way to enjoy desserts, pastas and other baked goods, so you can still enjoy the meals you love most.
PHENOMENAL PASTA SWAPS
Squash and other veggies have the right texture to effectively mimic pasta, plus they have the added benefit of natural nutrients to balance out those that you’re missing by ditching enriched pastas.
- SPAGHETTI (SQUASH) AND MEATBALLS: We love this easy one-ingredient switch: Replace durum wheat pasta with spaghetti squash, which simulates the look and texture of the real thing. Try it out with our own savory recipe:ROASTED SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH TOMATO-GARLIC SAUCE AND CHICKEN MEATBALLS
Quick, light and fresh, this easy faux-noodle dish has all the spicy Italian flavor and fun with none of the gluten! GET THE RECIPE
- FETTUCCINE ALFREDO WITH SQUASH “NOODLES”: Another clever whole food trade we love is losing the traditional fettuccine in favor of yellow squash “spiral noodles.” Check out the paleo blog Brittany Angell for a gluten-free version of the decadent dish. (Paleo eating is both gluten-free and all natural, as it omits all processed foods.)
- WHEAT-FREE LASAGNA: Got a hankering for this rich and comforting casserole? Layer slices of eggplant and zucchini in place of classic lasagna noodles. For the best results, use a durable glass dish like the PYREX® EASY GRAB™ 3 QT OBLONG BAKING DISH. (Need that true pasta texture? Pick up gluten-free lasagna noodles made from whole grains like quinoa or brown rice.)
For a wholesome take on pizza crust (that also happens to be gluten-free), grab a head of fiber- and vitamin-rich cauliflower and follow blogger Sia’s lead on The Daily HIIT. You’ll enjoy the spoils of your favorite pie without any of the heaviness.
MORE FUN THAN A BUN
There’s more to the gluten-free life than a knife-and-fork patty, or one wrapped in lettuce. For a deliciously different kind of burger wrapper, turn to this recipe for sticky rice burgers from Leela of She Simmers. Her secret? She uses an egg ring to pack the rice into a bun shape for no-mess eating.
EMBRACE THE DAILY GRIND
Experiment and create your own custom flours with other gluten-free ingredients, like brown rice flour, corn flour, arrowroot starch, cornstarch, potato flour, potato starch and tapioca flour. Make smaller batches and keep them fresh by storing in a container like thePYREX NO-LEAK LIDS™ 4-CUP ROUND STORAGE.
TWEAK YOUR TREATS, TOO!
Avoiding gluten in desserts can be tricky, since flour is a key component of treats like cookies, pies and tarts. Learn even more tips and tricks for baking with a gluten-free diet and keep enjoying your favorite sweets and goodies!
HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT
Take the time to know all the possible sources of gluten; just steering clear of breads and pastas isn’t enough. There are a slew of other products—some of them surprising—that contain gluten. For instance, wheat is used to culture and brew soy sauce, so avoid it unless it specifically says gluten free. Wheat flour is also used as a stabilizer for salad dressings and a thickener in premade soups. Other items, like shredded cheese, are often coated with wheat flour to prevent mold. Check low-fat versions of dairy foods for added starches or fillers that may not be gluten free. And certain non-wheat grains, such as barley and rye, contain gluten as well.
EXPERT TIPS FOR COOKING GLUTEN FREE
- Do your research! Learn more about cooking with whole grains that are naturally absent of gluten, like brown rice, corn and quinoa.
- Get fresh. Whole fruits and veggies are always safe and healthful choices, as well as legumes, beans, seeds and nuts. And we all need more of these anyway! (However, always read labels regarding production lines and added ingredients.)
- Consider having seconds. Even small amounts of gluten can be a problem for someone with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance, so avoid cross-contamination by keeping separate tools like sifters and appliances like toasters if you share a kitchen with someone who’s not on a gluten-free diet.
As more clinical (and kitchen!) research is done, there’s more knowledge available about gluten-free living and cooking options. Check out websites, blogs, apps and online communities to learn and share what you know as you go.
YOUR TURN: What are your best tips for making deliciously gluten-free weeknight meals?