Ever wonder if tostada stacks are gluten free? What about a dessert made out of pretzels? Whether you’re managing celiac disease or looking to steer clear of grains or other gluten-containing foods, we’ve hunted down five easy recipes your friends and family will never believe are gluten free. Each focuses on flavor, ease of preparation and family appeal, and no one will suspect you of sneaking a gluten-free recipe onto their dinner plates. Sneaky? Nah. It’s easy, and you can do it too!
May is Celiac Awareness Month, and for the many people diagnosed with this autoimmune disease, eliminating gluten (the protein found in wheat, rye and barley) and gluten-containing foods involves careful food choices in order to avoid health complications. Not diagnosed with celiac disease? Some people are gluten-sensitive (meaning their bodies don’t digest gluten properly), and beyond intestinal distress, they may experience different unrelated symptoms, including fatigue, skin rashes, headaches and sinusitis.
You might be surprised, but most corn tortillas are naturally gluten free. If you’re searching for a fun, family-friendly dinner that everyone can enjoy—regardless of whether they’re gluten free or not—this is a perfect choice. Everyone can build their own stacks, and there’s no need to cook a separate meal for your gluten-free family members. This recipe also doesn’t use any packaged seasoning mixes, which often contain gluten. (Flour tortillas are not gluten free, and there are some corn tortillas that are made from a blend of corn and flour, so always check the label to be safe.)
A lot of people assume that all packaged convenience products aren’t gluten free or safe to eat. But potatoes are naturally gluten free, and many brands of hash brown potatoes are gluten free too. I suggest Simply Potatoes brand (a 20-oz. package), which is marked gluten free on the package. (If you can’t find them, be sure to check the label to ensure the brand is gluten free.)
Confused about which grains are safe? Gluten is found in wheat, rye and barley, so cornmeal is completely safe! Fried fish from a restaurant may have been fried in oil that was also used to fry battered onion rings or battered fish, so it wouldn’t be safe for those especially sensitive to gluten. There’s no worry about that with this recipe! Not only is it prepared at home using cornmeal, not flour, but it’s broiled too. Healthier and no risk of cross-contamination.
This one-dish winner can easily be converted into a gluten-free recipe by using a gluten-free pasta. Eaten on their own, gluten-free pastas can sometimes lack flavor, but in this dish, the pasta absorbs all the wonderful flavor from the other ingredients while simmering.
Being gluten free doesn’t mean you have to give up sweet treats. If you want to make a gluten-free cake, you may have to invest in a number of gluten-free products, but the packaged gluten-free pretzels twists you can use in this fun dessert are widely available. Most chocolate chips are safe, but read the label, as they could be processed with gluten (or check the company’s website for product information). I suggest Glutino pretzels and Hershey’s chocolate chips, both of which are gluten free.
If you’re new to gluten free, recently diagnosed with celiac, or eating gluten free by choice, eMeals can help! Our Gluten Free meal plans offer seven delicious, gluten-free recipes/week, and our smartphone app makes shopping a breeze. If you’re struggling with your gluten-free lifestyle, give eMeals a try.
Mary Creel is a registered dietitian and four-time Ironman finisher. She caught the running bug in the 1970s, and hasn’t stopped since. When she isn’t biking, swimming, or pounding the pavement, she’s developing healthy and gluten-free recipes as part of the eMeals team.