As a chef, people often ask me what I stock in my kitchen. In this chef’s gluten-free kitchen, I keep it simple. I’m not into fancy, expensive ingredients. Making flavorful food does not require anything complicated. Balancing flavors with fresh ingredients and seasoning is all you need!
My kitchen essentials, in addition to some specific gluten-free items and the obvious oil, spices and seasonings, are ingredients that will allow me to make simple food that is still bursting with flavor. And none of it takes hours in the kitchen, I promise.
Gluten-Free Pantry Essentials
- Gluten-free flour blend – Having a good all purpose flour blend is essential to a gluten-free kitchen. Mixing up your own is really easy and runs probably half the cost of buying a ready-made one. Here’s a link with some instructions for making your own. If you don’t mind the cost of a ready-made one, I prefer a flour blend with no xanthan gum.
- Xanthan gum – It helps gluten-free baked goods hold together. I like a flour blend without it so I can control how much goes into my recipe. I use about ½ tsp. per cup of flour in cakes and even less in cookies. You may cringe when you see how much it costs but, since you use very small amount, it will last a long time.
- Gluten-free bread crumbs – Great for mixing into meat balls, coating chicken or adding body to a soup.
- Coconut Aminos – This is a great substitute for soy sauce. It does not taste like coconut since it is made with the nectar of the flower on the coconut palm. I know there are gluten- free soy sauces but I find them to be very salty (even the low-sodium ones) and somewhat overpowering. Coconut aminos have great flavor and are much less salty. Look for it in your natural foods market in the same aisle as soy sauce.
- Quinoa – So many gluten-free products are rice based so it’s important to add some variety to your gluten-free diet. Quinoa is easy to cook (much less tricky than rice) and has a nice nutty flavor that goes so well with a variety of other flavors. Some citrus zest and fresh herbs will add a nice pop to your quinoa.
- Sorghum, Millet and Teff flours – These flours are another way to add some variety to your diet. Millet and teff are powerhouses of nutrition. Sorghum and millet flours are great in sweet baked goods and teff flour adds a nice nutty flavor to breads.
- Gluten Free Tortillas – They are great for a quick snack or sandwich wrap. So perfect when I’m running out and need something easy and portable.
- Gluten-Free Bread – Find a bread that you enjoy which also has some whole grain and at least 2 grams of fiber per slice.
Produce in a Chef’s Gluten-Free Kitchen
- Fresh citrus – Lemons, limes and oranges can add acid and a bright freshness to just about anything. Use the juice and the zest to get a strong pop of flavor.
- Fresh herbs – Basil, cilantro, mint, dill, parsley combined with citrus is quick and easy. Add some salt and your dish is complete!
- Fresh ginger and garlic – Use a microplane to grate either one into your dish for another quick pop of flavor.
- Microplane – This is a tool that looks like a very fine grater. It makes quick work of fresh ginger, garlic and citrus zest. It is so much easier to grate on a microplane than it is to finely chop garlic and ginger.
- Silicone spatulas – Other than my favorite knife, this is the most used tool in my kitchen. It can mix, scrape the bowl or pot clean (easier clean-up), safely stir in a non-stick pan, lightly beat an egg. I pretty much use anywhere I use spoons and spatulas.
- Pans – I try to keep it minimal. An omelet sized non-stick pan, a heavy steel skillet, a cast iron skillet and 3 different sized pots.
- Mini muffin tins – In addition to making cute mini muffins and cupcakes, I use these to make meatballs, 2 bite tart appetizers.
I hope that this peek into a chef’s gluten-free kitchen will inspire your cooking! Enjoy.