Whether you're new to going gluten-free or have been going gluten-free for several years, one thing newcomers and experienced alike can attest to: it's difficult to avoid it. When researching gluten, there are two terms most commonly used, one that describes the storage proteins common to most grains and one that's relevant to those dedicated to following a gluten-free diet.
Almost all grains have gluten. Gluten, in its generic form, refers to the proteins grass plants build into their seeds, which we know as grains. Gluten is made to support and nourish the growth of the next generation of plants. The gluten occurs in a specific sub-ground of grains, called the Pooideae subfamily of the Poaceae family of grasses that are the culprit behind particular reactions to those who have celiac disease or are gluten-sensitive. This subfamily includes wheat, barley, rye, and oats. When following a gluten-free diet, you may not need to avoid all gluten, but instead, avoid the specific gluten protein found in the Pooideae subfamily of grasses.
Unfortunately, wheat is one of the top three crops in the U.S. behind corn and soybeans, and with statistics for wheat, barley, and rye, more farms across the country are used to grow gluten grain crops than any other single crop. No wonder going gluten-free is so tricky!
With this in mind, we'd love to share some gluten-free dinner ideas that may reawaken your taste buds while keeping you safe from the side effects of gluten and perhaps inspire your next meal.
Yes, it's true! There was once little to be found in the choices for gluten-free pasta, but nowadays, more and more companies are listening to their customer's needs. Choose your favorite gluten-free flour, like almond flour, buckwheat, sorghum, amaranth, teff, arrowroot, brown rice, corn, or chickpea flour. Next, you'll want some xanthan gum, a critical ingredient that is used in many gluten-free recipes, as it takes the properties of the gluten you're avoiding, making pasta or dough flexible and elastic instead of dry and crumbly—without the worry of side effects.
Additionally, by making your gluten-free pasta, you are free to experiment with the pasta itself, such as flavoring it by adding pepper or dried herbs.
Simple and Easy 3 Ingredient Gluten-Free Pasta
- 1 and 2/3 cups or 200g of gluten-free flour, plus extra for kneading and dusting.
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 3 medium eggs.
- In a bowl, mix gluten-free flour and xanthan gum until evenly incorporated.
- Make a well in the middle of your flour and xanthan gum mixture, then crack 3 eggs. Scramble the eggs gently, then being mixing in the flour and xanthan mixture slowly. You should end up with slightly sticky pasta dough. If your dough feels crumbly and dry or doesn't come together in a ball, feel free to add an extra egg. If it feels too soft or too wet, add small amounts of flour until it is slightly tacky.
- Turn your gluten-free pasta dough onto a generously floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes until the dough begins to look and feel smooth.
- Cut the dough into four evenly sized pieces. Wrap the pieces you won't immediately use in cling film so they won't dry out. Flatten one piece of gluten-free pasta dough and flour it generously on both sides. Then you can hand-roll it out flat or pass it through a pasta machine to create your gluten-free pasta.
Pair this with a gluten-free pasta sauce brand, or create a delicious gluten-free sauce such as a garlic cream sauce, creamy avocado sauce, or a traditional tomato pasta sauce.
What are some other fantastic gluten-free dishes to try? Here are some of our favorites:
- Stuffed peppers – using your favorite gluten-free sausages, ground beef, or even steak. Combine it with savory spices, as well as your favorite gluten-free cheeses.
- Home-made jerk chicken is a beautiful Caribbean-inspired dish that pairs well with almost everything.
- Short on time for meal prep and cooking? Look no further than a delicious, hands-off baked salmon on a bed of sliced lemon. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, pats of butter, garlic, fresh thyme, and dried oregano.
- Slow-cooker or stovetop chili is a wonderful dish slow-cooker, especially since all you need is to brown the meat of your choice (ground turkey and chicken is great, too) and set all ingredients inside the slow-cooker and forget it until it's time to eat!
- Not a fan of all the dishes after a delicious meal? Try One-pan balsamic chicken and asparagus. Make a balsamic vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar, oil, honey, mustard, garlic, and red pepper flakes, brown and cook your chicken, add tomatoes and asparagus to the same pan you cooked your chicken in until they are bright and slightly wilted. Then move the veggies aside, add the chicken back into the pan and toss in the vinaigrette.
- Love and miss lasagna? You could make your gluten-free lasagna noodles, or try substituting the noodles for roasted Zucchini noodles for a hearty, garlicky tomato sauce, gooey and cheesy lasagna that will taste as good, or maybe even better than traditional lasagna.
- An easy and quick, healthy side dish (or main dish) is a vegetable stir-fry. Depending on the vegetables you choose, it may only take 6-7 minutes to stir fry everything up for a tasty meal. Vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and thinly sliced carrots cook quickly. The beauty of this dish is that nearly every combination of spices and gluten-free sauces work wonderfully here to heighten the flavor of these vegetables.
Gluten-Free Go-To Homemade Sauces to Try
Gluten-free doesn't mean flavor-free, or it shouldn't be! Here are some quick and easy sauce suggestions with ingredients to try adding a burst of flavor to your cooking:
- Sweet and Sour sauce. Combine pineapple juice, chili sauce, tamari sauce, honey, vinegar, and arrowroot to thicken to make a classic sauce.
- Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. In this one, roast your red peppers in the oven first, then add your favorite smoked nuts, plum tomatoes, red wine vinegar, and heavy cream or dairy-free milk for a creamy, amazing sauce that works on almost everything.
- Teriyaki sauce. Teriyaki lovers rejoice! Combine your favorite gluten-free soy sauce with apple cider vinegar, pineapple juice, brown sugar, and a pinch of garlic powder to create a flavorful teriyaki sauce for veggies, chicken, beef, pork, or fish.
When it comes to all things food, Wholey's is passionate and dedicated to not only delivering the freshest meats and products on the market today, but we're excited about providing meal ideas and inspiration to all of our customers. We hope our gluten-free family will be inspired to try out these fantastic ideas.