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Go Gluten Free With These 3 Creative Ways To Replace Bread and Pasta in your fave dishes

The holidays have ended. Reality has set in. Now is the time to think about eating right. For some of us, that means cutting out bread and pasta from our daily meals and going gluten free. It’s an effective strategy to eat more healthfully because it forces us to cut down on refined carbs and replace them with fiber-rich “good” carbs found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.

What is gluten?

Gluten, a protein found in wheat, is what provides bread, pasta and pastry dough with structure and elasticity. For people suffering from celiac disease, a genetically based autoimmune disease, the presence of gluten in food triggers a reaction in the immune system that damages the lining of the small intestines. In short, if you have celiac disease, it’s imperative to eliminate gluten from your diet. Because gluten can cause inflammation, it is believed to also exacerbate ADHD, autism, and other autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and lupus.

          

Zucchini Noodles with Shrimps

Instead of wheat pasta, create noodles out of zucchini for this veggie- and flavor-packed dish! Using a spiralizer, you can easily extract noodles out of firm or hard vegetables—zucchini, squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, beetroot, even broccoli stems. Just keep in mind that harder veggies need to be cooked or blanched before serving, while softer veggies like cucumbers and zucchinis can be eaten raw. If you don’t have a spiralizer, your good ol’ vegetable peeler will do the job just fine.

Serves 4

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 kilo jumbo shrimps, shelled, deveined
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced into noodles using a vegetable peeler or spiralizer
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish

1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute.

2. Add shrimps to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

3. Transfer cooked shrimps to a bowl. Leave the liquid in the pan. Add white wine and lemon juice to the pan. Stir and simmer for 2 minutes.

4. Add zucchini noodles. Cook for 1 minute. 

5. Return shrimps to the pan and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.

 

Homemade Beef and Veggie Sliders

For your burgers, sliders and sandwiches, who needs bread when you can use grilled vegetables that have been sliced into rounds, such as eggplants and zucchini? Aside from eliminating gluten and carbs, there’s the added benefit of increasing the nutritional value of your burgers as well. Feel free to experiment with other grilled vegetables for use with your sliders: tomatoes, squash, and sweet potatoes, too!

Serves 4

  • 1/2 kilo ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free cornflakes, ground finely
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce (preferably Bragg Liquid Aminos Soy Sauce)
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 large zucchini, sliced into thick rounds
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 2 tablespoons honey or Dijon mustard
  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced into rounds
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup alfalfa sprouts

1. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, onion, parsley, eggs, cornstarch and cornflakes. Mix well. Add soy sauce, salt and pepper. Shape meat into patties.

2. Heat a nonstick pan, add cooking oil. Cook burgers thoroughly.

3. Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Lightly brush zucchini slices with olive oil and place zucchini rounds on the hot grill pan. Grill zucchini slices until they are tender, but do not overcook. Set aside.

4. To assemble, spread honey or Dijon mustard on one side of a grilled zucchini round. Add lettuce, then a burger patty, a slice of tomato and cheddar cheese. Cover with another grilled zucchini round.  Top with alfalfa sprouts.

 

Crispy Cornflakes Chicken with Honey Mustard Sauce

Fried chicken tenders get an upgrade as Chef Nancy replaces wheat flour with delicious crispy cornflakes as a coating. You can try other cereals too, just make sure to check the labels to make sure they’re free of gluten. Because these chicken tenders are so crunchy and crisp, your kids will surely want to have this for dinner every day. Mix it up by serving these with BBQ sauce too.

Serves 4

  • 4 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups gluten-free cornflakes
  • 1 cup canola oil

1. Season chicken strips with salt and black pepper. Dust chicken with cornstarch, then dip in beaten eggs. Dredge chicken with cornflakes.

2. Heat oil in frying pan. Fry chicken until cooked. Serve with honey mustard sauce (recipe below).

HONEY MUSTARD SAUCE (makes about 1 1/2 cups):

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix until smooth.

 

A longer version of this article appeared in FOOD Magazine, Issue 3, 2017