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Picture this: You're planning a dinner party only to discover that a guest doesn't eat gluten. Don't panic! Creating a delicious gluten-free menu is easy. Whether you're prepping a special dinner, casual meal or family brunch, we've got options to please everyone.

Cook from scratch

Avoiding gluten means that you want to keep any kind of wheat, barley and rye, and most oats (except those certified gluten-free) out of the meal. That still leaves you with fresh meats, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruit, dairy and much more! The easiest way to make sure you don't inadvertently introduce gluten to a dish? Make it yourself—bottled dressings and sauces, pre-made spice mixes and convenience foods often have gluten from one of their ingredients.

If you are using a processed product, make sure it's labelled "gluten-free," and double-check the ingredient list. (Celiac disease and gluten intolerance can have serious health implications, and it's surprising how little can make someone ill.) As well, be careful of cross-contamination from gluten on kitchen surfaces and implements (another reason to stick with one gluten-free menu). Use non-absorbent utensils and cutting boards, and make sure pots, pans and colanders are washed thoroughly beforehand.

Here are our easy-to-execute suggestions for gluten- (and fuss-) free entertaining.

Dinner: Choose a fresh and hearty menu

Kick things off with a light appetizer, like skewers of garlicky cooked shrimp, creamy avocado and sweet, tangy mango. For a meaty main, we love peppery Spiced Strip Loin Steak. This flavourful dish can be prepped ahead and takes just 15 minutes to cook. For a satisfying side, potatoes are a naturally gluten-free no-brainer. Served mashed, roasted or baked, they make a robust compliment to the meal. Add colour to the dinner plates with a warm salad of Sautéed Kale with Artichokes & Grape Tomatoes. And if you've got time to spare, whip up a savoury Gluten-Free Caramelized Onion Cheddar Corn Bread and serve it with melty butter.

Weeknight meal: Please everyone with pasta

Pasta is the perfect option for an impromptu casual meal. We love Compliments Gluten-Free Pasta because it comes in a variety of shapes that can be used to make almost any traditional pasta dish. For a nutritious twist on standard spaghetti, try a mix of broccoli and fresh tomatoes in our Mediterranean Chicken Spaghetti.

Brunch: Go vegetarian

Morning meals are usually packed with pastries and breads—but a veggie-focused menu is an energizing and nutritious way to start the day. Opt for our satisfying Gluten-Free Spinach Tart and a wholesome nutty-tasting Quinoa Salad with Basil. Serve a tray of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables for guests to munch on all morning long.

Dessert: You won't want to skip it!

We're big dessert fans, so we'd never scrimp on a sweet treat. For a special meal, we recommend making Gluten-Free Strawberry-Topped Cake, an indulgent showstopper boasting juicy, fresh strawberries and a sweet hint of honey. Another rich-tasting dessert: Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies. It's surprising, we know—but we promise you won't taste the beans! Serve them with ice cream or frozen yogurt, and guests will gobble them up. If you're looking to strike a more casual sweet note, simply bake up a batch of Gluten-Free Trail Cookies.

No time to bake? Check out the wide variety of gluten-free ready-made goodies in our bakery section. We're partial to Compliments Gluten-Free Mini Chocolate Brownies and Quinoa Cookies.

Whichever menu you choose, a gluten-free dinner party can—and should—be a delicious affair.

To create these tips, we used the Pocket Dictionary – Acceptability of Foods & Food Ingredients for the Gluten-Free Diet, 2012 edition, Canadian Celiac Association: This pocket-size dictionary helps people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity understand food ingredients and identify foods containing gluten.

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.


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