Cooking in a Gluten-Free Kitchen

When you have celiac disease, eliminating wheat, oats, barley and rye from your diet is a must. These grains, and derivatives of them, are used in the preparation of many products so this task may seem difficult. Actually, there are many ways to avoid these grains and substitute safe alternatives. Of course, serving your favorite naturally gluten free gluten foods such as meat and poultry (without breading), fish, fresh fruits, and vegetables is a great starting point, but you can also adapt many combination foods to exclude gluten. Here are some tips and recipes to help make the transition to a gluten-free diet easier.

Start Simply

A first and simple step is to look for dishes that need very little customization, perhaps just the substitution of one gluten-free ingredient. For example, make macaroni and cheese or baked ziti with rice, corn, or lentil pasta, or prepare enchiladas with corn tortillas instead of the wheat flour variety. Also, familiarize yourself with cuisines that frequently cook with no gluten at all such as Indian, Asian, Mexican, South American or Middle Eastern. Remember, too, that many dishes are naturally gluten-free such as stir-fry, risotto, shepherd’s pie, chili and omelets.

Adapt Recipes

Many recipes can be adapted to the gluten-free diet. Here are some substitution suggestions:

  • For gravy: Use arrowroot starch as a thickener.
  • For stuffing: Make your favorite recipe with gluten-free cornbread or gluten-free white bread (homemade or store-bought) or experiment with rice stuffing.
  • For flouring or breading meat and fish: Season with a gluten-free coating to taste. Try cornmeal, potato flakes or mixtures of gluten-free flours. Whirl some dry bread or corn tortilla chips in a food processor until fine. Or, some people enjoy crumbled gluten-free waffles or crisped rice — these are not usually sweetened and, when seasoned, create a tasty, crunchy coating.
  • For pudding and pie filling: Try gluten-free starches such as cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca or arrowroot.
  • Find a prepared gluten-free baking mix to keep handy in your refrigerator. These tried and true mixtures of gluten-free flours, starches, and leavening agents can usually be substituted with wheat flour on a one-for-one basis.
  • Use rice flour for a roux or white sauce — you will find that bean and soy flours have too strong a taste.

Don’t let a gluten-free diet restrict you; use it instead as an opportunity to experiment with new ingredients and flavors. Look for alternative ingredients in your local ShopRite store or use the “Ask the Dietitian” feature at shoprite.com to submit a question or favorite recipe. You can also find a listing of our gluten free products on the health and wellness section of ShopRite.com

For more recipes:

The Gluten-Free Gourmet by Bette Hagman, The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread by Bette Hagman

Kids with Celiac Disease: A Family Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Gluten-Free Children by Danna Korn

Incredible, Edible Gluten-Free Food for Kids: 150 Family-Tested Recipes by Sheri Sanderson