I’ve been gluten free for years and years! Thankfully, the number of gluten-free food choices has grown ten-fold since I first decided to avoid gluten, and so I no longer feel different or left out. Grocery shopping is easy now, and I’ve found tried-and-true tricks to make eating a gluten-free diet effortless and delicious.
If you’re just starting out, eating gluten free might feel overwhelming. It takes some time to learn where gluten hides in products and all the names. Ingredients such as “emulsifiers, food starch, stabilizers, or maltodextrin” are all hidden sources of gluten–because they are derived from wheat!
Here’s 5 things you can do in your own kitchen to avoid getting “glutened!”
1. Make Your Own Sauces and Dressings
Many dressings and condiments contain wheat. You might be surprised to read “wheat” in the ingredient list for things like soy sauce — you have to read labels before going gluten free! You might also find that many salad dressings and sauces contained gluten. Making your own is really easy, and super tasty!
2. Add Some Air to Your Dough When Baking!
Without the gluten protein in the flour, gluten-free dough and batters don’t get tough or overworked. They also don’t rise as high, though, and can be more dense, so I like to throw everything into a blender whenever possible to create more air in the batter and help the baked goods to rise and get fluffier. Adding a splash (1/2 teaspoon or so) of an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to help the baking soda or baking powder produce more air in the batter.
Try: Almond Pancakes
3. Add Some Arrowroot Powder
Gluten makes dough stretchy and chewy, so If I want to recreate that texture in baked goods, or even to thicken a gravy or sauce, I use a couple of tablespoons of arrowroot powder in addition to the flours I’m using — usually coconut flour and almond flour. Arrowroot mimics that stretchiness and makes your baked goods a little more chewy.
4. Use Almond Meal in Place of Bread Crumbs
Most commercial bread crumbs contain wheat, so almond meal is a great substitute. Not only does it give your dish an extra dose of protein, but the oils in the almonds help to keep the foods really tender and don’t dry things out. You can even season them with Italian seasonings, just like you would regular bread crumbs.
5. Give Veggie Noodles a Try
We love to julienne or spiral slice squash to use in place of grain-based noodles. Here’s our favorite spiralizer–it actually sticks to the counter! Zucchini, carrots and butternut are my favorites, but you could also use yellow squash, spaghetti squash (as is–no spiralizer needed) or even sweet potatoes. If you’re short on time, many quality grocery stores sell a variety of pre-spiralized noodles in the produce department.
Try: Thai Lo Mein
What is your favorite kitchen tip to avoid gluten?
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