Going gluten-free is easy and doesn’t require much sacrifice in today’s world, when there are so many great alternatives available! Preparing gluten-free meals doesn’t take hours anymore – provided you do a little homework and know what to substitute in. Whether you’re cooking for weight-loss, just to go low-carb or because you’re sensitive to gluten, you’ll find the tips below very useful.
Most of what you’re used to about baking with flour – the all-purpose, refined wheat variety – goes out the window. For example, to get good gluten-free bread, your dough will have the consistency of pancake batter! There are also a wide variety of gluten-free flours available – from grain flours like brown rice, buckwheat, sorgham, millets and so on to nut flours like hazelnut, peanut and almond flours, to starchy flours like potato starch, cornstarch, arrowroot and tapioca. There are even legume flours like chickpea and soy. To get the best results, however, you need to mix flours – take a good look at the recipe you’re substituting them in, and think of what is required. Remember, gluten is what gives baked goods their consistency and to substitute it, you need a certain starch level in your flour. A flour made of 70% high-protein flour like legume, and 30% starchy flour like arrowroot, is ideal. Increase the amount of starch when making cakes, souffles and other goods that need more elasticity.
All this sounds complicated, but it’s really not! There are plenty of guides and tricks to follow online, shared by gluten-free bloggers from around the world. There are even recipes for all-purpose, self-rising GF flour! However, if you find all this daunting, you can just get gluten-free flour from your local supermarket.
What ever shall you do without noodles and pasta?! Well, you can get your carbs from plenty of other sources – rice, potatoes and sweet potatoes make great gluten-free carb substitutes at your meals! You can also find a variety of gluten-free, easy-cook options at your supermarket, such as Eat Water’s Slim Noodles and Pasta, that use konjac and a special blend of oat fibre called Juroat to mimic the consistency of traditional noodles and pasta. You should be able to substitute such products in any recipe, in place of regular noodles and pasta. You’ll even find GF instant noodles available for a quick-fix meal! You’d be surprised at the variety of GF food available – you can even find gluten-free ready-made lasagne!
There are several vegetable substitutes for carbs as well, like spaghetti squash, which aside from mimicking the look and texture of spaghetti, has high levels of beta carotene. And instead of bread, try wrapping your sandwich filling in a large lettuce leaf – we promise you’ll never go back!
With the number of resources out there that help you go gluten-free, there’s really no reason to stall anymore – there’s nothing to fear!