Top 5 Tips to Turn Your Favorite Dishes Gluten-Free
Gluten has become a buzz word for what we’ve always known to be a part of some of our favorite foods – like pizza, pasta, bread and cake. Technically, it’s the protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley that can cause any number of health issues, such as digestive upset, chronic pain and a weakened immune system. Informally, it’s known as delicious.
Unfortunately, a great number of people are sensitive to gluten or even intolerant to it. As more people recognize the symptoms, they are starting to adopt gluten-free diets for greater energy, ease of weight loss, and relief from poor health symptoms. However, some find it hard to make the switch to a gluten-free diet and giving up all those favorite foods. Here are a few ways that you can turn your favorite dishes into gluten-free options so that you can maintain the healthy diet you need while still enjoying the foods you love:
1. Use a Gluten-Free Flour
Many flours can be easily substituted without changing the flavor or consistency of a recipe. Instead of using white or wheat flour, you can use almond flour, rice flour or even potato flour. You may need to make some adjustments since many flours cannot be substituted one-for-one. Look up substitution recommendations with the manufacturer of the flour, or just try out some experiments and learn what works through trial and error.
tip from Joy: Quinoa Flour is nutty and nice for baking as well!
2. Eliminate the Flour Altogether
Not all recipes even need the flour to work – including many baked goods. You can use ingredients such as black beans, apple sauce, bananas, and even additional eggs to substitute flour in dishes from brownies to cake to pancakes. Surf some gluten-free recipe sites for some ideas, or pick up a good gluten-free recipe cookbook. Once you get a few ideas, you can try experimenting with some recipes of your own.
tip from Joy: check out my Black Bean Brownies Recipe – no flour!
3. Think Outside the Bun
A sandwich just doesn’t seem the same without bread, nor a hamburger without a bun. Yet you can still enjoy these favorites without the gluten. You can use romaine lettuce leaves to sandwich your hamburger or to create a nice wrap for your sandwich fillings, or you can just put your ingredients in a bowl and make a salad or bowl meal out of it.
tip from Joy: instead of breadcrumbs in your homemade burgers add GF oatmeal instead! Look for a GF Worcestershire Sauce for some added flavour!
4. Make Veggies Work for You
Veggies can take on the shape and texture of many of your favorite dishes if they are prepared right. For example, you can use a spiralizer to turn zucchini and squash into “pasta noodles” and top them with your favorite sauce. Zucchini, kale, and other veggies can be ground up or sliced and dehydrated to create a “bread” or “chips.” Again, check out a few recipe books and experiment to see what you like best.
5. Make Friends with Nuts
Nuts can be used to make everything from flours for breads to crunchy coatings for “fried” items. You can soak them and ground them for flours or meal, which can be used for baking, frying and sauces. You can chop them up and use them to create a crispy, flaky crust for fried chicken or onion rings. Not only are nuts naturally gluten-free, but they are also full of nutrients, including healthy fats.
tip from Joy: try grinding some almond flakes with a coffee grinder (whole nuts may burn out the motor in a smaller grinder) to make Gluten Free Onion Rings so awesome!
If you feel like a gluten-free diet could benefit you, don’t be scared off by thinking that you’ll never get to eat bread or pizza again. You can make even your favorite dishes gluten-free by just substituting the ingredients. You’ll make the meal healthier, and you won’t sacrifice any of the flavor.
About the Author:
Bridget Sandorford is a freelance blog and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching the job description of a line cook. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.
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