We know that putting meals on the table every day is a whole lot easier when you have the ingredients you need on hand. That’s even more important when you’re cooking gluten-free. So here are 10 ingredients that are gluten-free and multipurpose, and will make putting delicious meals on your table so much simpler.
Potato crust vs. pizza crust — Spuds are super versatile—perfect for a gluten-free diet. Cook them potato-pancake style (grated, then fried) as a delicious flour-free crust for a savoury pie or pizza. And since gluten sometimes lurks in commercial French fries and potato chips, why not make your own from this simple raw ingredient? Plus, leftover mashed potatoes make a fabulous thickener for soups and stews.
Fresh herbs vs. seasoning mixes — Some seasoning mixes may contain small quantities of gluten. Play it safe by stocking up on fresh herbs such as oregano, rosemary, parsley, cilantro and basil to flavour your favourite dishes. You can chop up extras and freeze them in water or wine in ice cube trays so they’re ready to use in soups, sauces, vegetable sides and stews.
Ground beef vs. frozen patties — Since some ready-made burgers and meatballs may contain sources of gluten, it’s worth keeping ground beef in the fridge or freezer to make your own from scratch. Just add chopped onions, an egg, herbs and gluten-free breadcrumbs.
Quinoa vs. gluten-containing grains — Use nutty-flavoured quinoa instead of gluten-containing grains such as wheat, rye, spelt and barley. The highest in protein of all whole grains, quinoa is delicious with sauces, as a side to meats, in soups, as the base for Mediterranean-style salads and as a stuffing for cabbage rolls.
Gluten-free tamari vs. soy sauce — Soy sauce is usually a source of wheat and, therefore, gluten. But you can still get your fix in Asian-style dishes by keeping gluten-free rice-based tamari in the fridge. Substitute it one-to-one for soy sauce in recipes. Choose carefully, though: a few tamari sauces do contain wheat, so carefully read the label to make sure yours is rice-based and certified gluten-free.
Ground almonds vs. traditional wheat flour — Grind your own almonds or buy them in meal or flour form to make cakes, cookies and muffins. Bonus: Not only do almonds make baked goods rich and fluffy, but they are also a source of fibre and unsaturated fats. You can also roll your favourite white fish in chopped almonds for a crunchy crust.
All-purpose gluten-free flour blend vs. all-purpose wheat flour — Use it as a versatile substitute for wheat flour in your baked goods, for coating chicken or fish for frying or baking, and for thickening sauces.
Xanthan gum: the secret to perfect baked goods — Adding just 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of xanthan gum for each cup (250 mL) of gluten-free flour in dough or pastry recipes creates elasticity, so you don’t end up with breads, pies and tarts that are too dense for your liking.
Gluten-free bread vs. traditional baked goods — Stock up on your favourites to cover everything from your morning toast and lunchtime sandwich to breadcrumbs for homemade meatballs, stuffing and gratin toppings. Most gluten-free breads keep best in the freezer and taste wonderful when toasted.
Brown-rice pasta vs. standard pasta — Perfect for making meals in a pinch, brown rice pasta has a mild flavour that will blend well with all of your best-loved sauces. Added bonus: Brown rice pasta is a source of iron.
DISCLAIMER. As product ingredients occasionally change, customers diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, or those wishing to avoid gluten-containing products, should be careful to always verify the gluten-free status of a product by checking the label and by consulting the Pocket Dictionary – Acceptability of Foods & Food Ingredients for the Gluten-Free Diet, 2012 edition, Canadian Celiac Association. The information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have specific needs, please see your health-care provider.