When I first went gluten-free I thought my love for food was going to be over. I mean, how do you eat without wheat — the pasta, the cookies and oh, the bread?! That’s a common reaction for anyone faced with needing to modify their diet either due to a diagnosis of celiac disease or a wheat allergy, or on the advisement of their health care provider for a multitude of health issues.
It’s been six years since I’ve been gluten free and guess what — my diet is awesome. I don’t miss much of anything and have discovered there are many simple solutions and substitutions for gluten-free eating and it’s not as complicated as you may think.
1) Cucumber for crackers
It’s so much healthier and the low-carb is a big benefit too. Just take cucumber slices and use them in place of crackers. Can be topped with hummus, deli meat and cheese or cream cheese.
2) Corn pasta for wheat pasta
I have tested out a lot of gluten-free pastas and there is no better than a corn pasta. It stands up to my gluten-eating husband’s taste buds and you can’t tell the difference! It cooks the same, has the same texture and the taste is no different.
3) Lettuce for burger buns
Cut out the gluten and the carbs and use lettuce leaves! Big lettuce like romaine works well and you’ll get to enjoy the burger taste without overfilling on the bun.
4) Rice cakes for bread (sandwiches, bagels)
They work for everything — peanut butter and jelly sandwich (just using one rice cake), you can top with tuna salad, cream cheese — enjoy any type of sandwich open-faced style with a rice cake.
5) Tostadas for wheat flour tortillas
Not the same texture as a wheat flour tortilla, but a good option is tostadas (a flat-typed taco). Alternatively, you can always make your own soft tortillas using masa harina, water and a tortilla press
6) Cauliflower for pizza crust
So good, so healthy and now gluten free — this pizza crust recipe will leave you feeling happy, full and the low-carb is a huge bonus. I love a recipe that doesn’t have complicated ingredients or instructions and this one is too good!
7) Corn starch for gravy thickening
If you’re making your own gravy or cheese sauce and the recipe calls for flour for thickening — just sub that out for corn starch. It does the same thing and it’s gluten free.
8) Gluten free flour mix for any flour recipe
Make a batch of this up ahead of time and you’re all set for any recipe. Use this as a direct sub for any wheat flour recipe and you have just opened up a lot of doors for awesome baked goods!
9) Spaghetti squash for spaghetti noodles
Spaghetti squash is just so awesome and if you want to try something other than corn pasta for your spaghetti — this is the way to go. Cook up the squash, toss with your meat and sauce of choice and you will be in happy-eating heaven.
10) Rice crackers crushed for bread crumbs
If you’re making a recipe that calls for bread crumbs like meatloaf, take gluten free rice crackers, crush up and use in place of the bread crumbs. If you want to up the taste, use a flavored rice cracker like cheese — it will be so good.
11) Zucchini for lasagna noodle
I have a good rice lasagna noodle that I like to use, but sometimes that meal can just feel so heavy. In place of the noodle, try using zucchini! Cut length-wise to mimic the shape of the lasagna noodle and prepare the same way you would a traditional lasagna. You’ll be left with a healthier version that’s low carb and gluten free!
12) Quinoa for oatmeal
Oats are not considered gluten free in Canada so that means they’re off the table if you want to be strictly gluten free. Don’t worry though if you’re used to hot oatmeal for breakfast — I have something better! Using quinoa in place will not leave you feeling like it’s some lousy substitute, in fact I bet you’ll think it’s even better.
:: What’s your favourite gluten free substitution? ::
Photo credit: adapted from various brennemans / FlickrShare This Post: Tweet