Once you discover the possibilities of these delicious and healthy grains, you won’t miss traditional bread and pasta.
Eating gluten-free means you don’t eat gluten or foods contain it. That means baking with regular flour or even whole wheat flour is a no-go. Pasta, breads and standard pizza are out, as is couscous, soy sauce and lots of marinades and bottled salad dressings. Fortunately, there are naturally gluten-free grains, pseudo-grains and other side-dish-worthy products that are wonderful stand-ins for gluten-containing foods. Including these into your menus gives you natural variety on your plate.
Light & Fluffy Gluten-Free Flour
If you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative in order to make fluffy white pancakes or muffins, we like Cup4Cup Multi-Purpose Flour. It’s the brand that Thomas Keller (from the famed French Laundry Restaurant in CA) and his crew came up with. It is a corn/rice blend (and just FYI, does contain dairy).
An Alternative to “Brown Flour” Whole Wheat
If you’re looking to make baked goods that are heartier (think LOTS more fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals), we like buckwheat and teff flours. At first they can be kind of intimidating because, well, they are really brown. But they are both nutty-flavored and delicious.
Chocolate-brown in color, it is yummy in pancakes and has 19 net carbs, 4 grams of protein per ¼ cup as well as vitamins B1, B3, B6, copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
Also, dark brown in color, This flour has 5.3 g of protein per ¼ cup, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
Naturally Gluten-Free & Delicious Grains
An easy swap for white rice (and still kinda “normal” given that you can order it at Chipotle), brown rice still counts. It contains selenium, a potent antioxidant, as well as copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamins B1, B3, B5 and B6. It is WAY better than its bright white counterpart as far as what it gives the body.
While oats do not contain gluten, conventional oats are readily contaminated with gluten during processing, so be sure to look for those labeled “gluten-free.” Bob’s Red Mill is readily available at grocery stores. Gluten-free oats can be cooked for
breakfast (we like making savory oatmeal topped with good-quality extra virgin olive oil and chopped nuts and/or leftover veggies), used in homemade granola or ground up as a mild flour and used in baked goods.
This gluten-free grain is now readily available and more common than it used to be. It is an ancient grain and superfood and is considered a complete protein (6 g per ¼ cup dry). It contains lots of B vitamins and minerals. We like to prepare it as cereal in the morning or an easy cooked side dish, as it is hearty enough to stand on its own. However, it also pairs well with sauteed veggies and is a yummy sub for couscous in a tabbouleh salad or as rice substitute.
Also considered an ancient grain and superfood, amaranth is a pseudo-cereal because it’s actually a seed. It is a blond, small, round granule; is simple to make; and is considered almost a complete protein because it contains the hard-to-get lysine. It is also a protein powerhouse (13%-14% protein). After it’s cooked (~20 min), it has a toasted, nutty flavor that works well at breakfast, lunch or dinner. This grain contains is a great source of vitamin B5, B6, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron and copper. You can use amaranth in any recipes that contain couscous (which contains gluten). Amaranth is getting more readily available (we’ve found it in the bulk section at Sprouts). Look for it next to the quinoa.
Millet is also a seed that varies from a creamy texture to one that is a bit crunchy depending on how you cook it. It cooks very quickly (4-5 minutes) and can be served as a breakfast porridge or a variety of side-dishes/stuffing. Millet is a good source of protein (5.1 g of protein per ¼ cup dry) as well as B vitamins and minerals. Its fiber content is just over 4 grams per serving, which is good, and means that it helps to slow digestion, keeps you fuller longer, and helps to keep blood sugar balanced.
So once you get out of your comfort zone of pasta and bread, you have many other side dish options that are naturally gluten-free. PLEASE, do not eat the fabricated breads and pastas; instead, try these these ancient, delicious and naturally gluten-free options. You’ll be happy you did!
How we go gluten-free
While going gluten-free can do wonders for health, we know that changing what you habitually eat can be a challenge. At Healthy Nest Nutrition, it’s a step-by-step process towards a new diet regimen. It is NOT a one-day switch. Our goal is to fill your plate with naturally delicious foods do that you really won’t miss the wheat, barley, spelt or rye that contains the problematic proteins of gluten.
Cooking with gluten-free grains is easier than you think and nutritious, too! We have many recipes at Healthy Nest Nutrition to keep you inspired and satisfied. If you’re interested in how going gluten-free can benefit your health or need some help making the transition, click here to schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation with a Healthy Nest holistic nutritionist.