Before I was gluten-free, going out to eat meant a chance to try out new and interesting cuisines. But let’s face it, eating out when you’re on a strict gluten-free diet can be complicated and sometimes pretty boring. I find myself ordering everything plain, for fear that the sauce or flavoring is not gluten-free. Cooking more at home was my solution for eating more interesting food. So here are some easy tips for bringing variety in a gluten-free diet.
It can be difficult cooking for yourself on a gluten free diet – a lot of my clients say they get stuck in a rut, making the same things every week. In addition, nutritionally, many gluten-free foods are rice-based so it’s important to branch out to use other grains. Here are some tips for bringing more variety in a gluten-free diet. I believe in simple, easy ways to get flavor into my food so these tips will not complicate your life, I promise!
Easy Gluten-Free Sauces
Use mayonnaise, plain yogurt, coconut milk or a combination of them as a base for a creamy sauce. Then add ingredients like fresh ginger, garlic, citrus zest and fresh chopped herbs. This is a fast easy way to turn plain steamed veggies, rice or quinoa into something more interesting.
Traditional basil pesto is easy to find ready-made. But pesto can be made with any herbs or nuts. A few options:
- fresh cilantro with garlic, pumpkin seeds, lime, cumin and oil
- mint, garlic, lemon and sunflower seeds and oil
- parsley, garlic, pistachios, orange zest and oil
Grind the garlic and nuts seeds first in the blender or food processor, then add everything else. Balance with some salt and a hint of sweet. This gives you a versatile pesto that goes well with chicken, fish, veggies, beef, rice or quinoa. Mix it with yogurt, mayo, hummus or mashed avocado to make a dip or sandwich spread.
Experiment with different types of gluten-free flour
Rice flour is generally the standard for gluten-free flour blends. Mixing up your own blend with other flours like sorghum, millet, teff or oat can yield delicious cakes and breads and is much less expensive than buying a store-bought. Check out my blog post on how to make your own gluten-free flour mix and my blog post Gluten-Free Diet: Beyond Rice.
Look for store-bought products that are not rice-based
There are several gluten-free pastas that are made with quinoa and corn. A favorite of my clients’ is La Veneziane pasta from Italy.
My favorite tortillas are from BFree Foods. Their sweet potato wrap is yummy, pliable (most gluten-free tortillas crack when you fold them) and has several different types of flour in the ingredients.
Siete Foods makes gluten-free tortillas and several other products that are not just gluten-free but grain-free, so no rice. They use almond, cassava, cashew and chickpea flours.