By Leanne Vogel, with Healthful Pursuit
Last time I visited, I shared with you the experience I had while going gluten-free and how I became inspired to eat right for my body. Using products like DeLallo Gluten-Free Pasta and relying on the hundreds of gluten-free recipes available to us today, anyone can go gluten-free and feel good about the variety available to them.
It's one thing to follow a gluten-free recipe, but if you're like me and had a handful of favorite recipes that were far from gluten-free when you made the transition, the next step on your gluten-free journey is to transform those traditional recipes into gluten-free ones. Here are a couple of tricks I've picked up along the way that will help you to make these adjustments.
Who doesn't like a nice, rich soup as an appetizer? I know I do, especially with the cold weather approaching.
Soups are generally made with a chicken, beef or vegetable broth as the base. Many of these broths are thickened with wheat flour. To make the recipe gluten-free, all you have to do is purchase a gluten-free broth, easy as that! Many popular household brand name companies list whether or not their broth, bullion or stock products are gluten-free and a quick skim of the allergen list of the product will tell you whether or not it's safe for you.
If you're feeling a little crazy and are interested in making your own stock, you can thicken it using the following gluten-free starches in place of wheat flour:
An example of where these points could be put to practice would be by transforming the DeLallo recipe for Pasta e Ceci - Chickpea Soup. All you'd have to do is be mindful of the broth used, and switch out the regular spaghetti for a gluten-free kind.
Another popular appetizer crostini-based, like the DeLallo Sun-Dried Tomato & Brie Bruschetta. To make these bread-based appetizers gluten-free, you can replace the bread with:
The first ingredient you'll have to worry about in pasta dishes is the pasta itself. You can swap out the regular pasta in a pasta dish recipe with:
If the recipe calls for sausage or other processed meats, make sure you check the label of the package before purchasing. Many meat companies are going gluten-free and are now stating clearly whether or not their product is safe for a gluten-free diet. Another thing to watch for are packaged cream sauces as they could also contain wheat ingredients.
A great example of a traditional recipe that can be made gluten-free using my suggestions above is the DeLallo recipe for Spicy Sausage & Pepper Orzo.
There's something about breading meats with a crispy outer shell that brings comfort to a meal. To obtain this same golden, crisp outer layer you know and love, try replacing the wheat flour with:
An example of where any of these substitutions would work well, is in the DeLallo recipe for Italian Lemon-Breaded Pork Chops with Orzo & Peas. Using the pasta recommendations I listed above, you can make this entire meal gluten-free and enjoy every last bite!
Similar to breaded proteins are entree recipes that require breadcrumbs as a binder such as seen in recipes like meatloaves, burger patties, and meatballs.
You can replace the breadcrumbs with an equal amount of:
Alternatively, try adding an extra egg and just omit the breadcrumbs completely. More often than not, the recipe will still work just as well. An example of where these tips could be used to create a healthy, gluten-free entree is in the DeLallo recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Meatballs.
It's hard to believe that practically every sauce you've either made, ordered at a restaurant, or purchased at a grocery store was made with some form of gluten, but it's true. This doesn't mean that you can't find gluten-free sauces to top your steamed veggies, coat your slice of turkey on Thanksgiving, or drench some French fries in at the end of a long week. Natural, gluten-free thickeners for sauces and gravies include:
When substituting wheat flour with these gluten-free thickeners, use about 25% less than what is called for in the recipe as they tend to be a little bit more gelatinous than wheat flour. Too much, and you'll have a gravy jello. Not good.
Last, but certainly not least, is dessert. This is where gluten-free adjustments can get a little bit complicated. If there's a minimal amount of flour in the dessert recipe, as seen in the DeLallo recipe for Ricotta Pudding, you should be okay with replacing it with a gluten-free flour such as white rice flour.
If your favorite dessert calls for a large amount of flour like a cake or cookie, purchasing a gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture will be the way to go. These mixes are often made up of a mixture of gluten-free binding and rising agents like xanthum gum, baking powder, baking soda and a variety of gluten-free flours such as:
Now that you have the tools to transform your favorite recipes into gluten-free ones, I encourage you to give it a shot and see just how easy (and delicious) it can be!