A guide to gluten-free meals
Following a gluten free diet (or cooking for someone who is) takes planning but it doesn't mean the end of delicious meals.
Five great starts to the day that don’t rely on bread
Using pumpkin gives Dr Libby's pancakes a lovely moist texture and it is also a good source of beta carotene, a powderful antioxidant. The pancakes use quinoa flour instead of regular flour which contains all the essential amino acids crucial to the synthesis of proteins and liver detoxication. See our gluten-free breakfasts collection here. For more early morning goodness, try
- Breakfast coconut rice with mango
- Simple banana pancakes
- Puffed amaranth and berry parfaits
- Pear and rhubarb crumble
But when you do want a slice, try these nutritious homemade loaves
Make a batch of seed or nut crackers and include a few in the lunchbox. Top with cheese for added protein
Use your noodle
There are many gluten-free options when buying Asian noodles and they can also be replacements for spaghetti in an Italian meal. Choose: Rice noodles and rice sticks, cellophane noodles (also called bean thread or glass), Japanese shirataki and harusane and tapioca noodles which are popular in Vietnam. Buckwheat (soba) noodles are a good choice but some contain wheat flour so check the pack. Say no to: Ramen, udon, some egg noodles (check the pack), wontons, hokkein and Shanghai. When making Asian-style noodles, remember to read the label of your soy sauce bottle to ensure you have a wheat-free one.
- Buckwheat noodle salad with teriyaki pork and sesame
- Bun cha barbecued pork meatballs with rice noodles
- Rice noodle, shiitake, fried tofy, sesame and soy
- Salmon and soba noodles
It sounds like it's certain to contain wheat but there’s no gluten in buckwheat (but you do need to check the pack in case wheat flour has been added to noodles etc). Here’s what Dr Libby has to say about the benefits of including this pseudo grain (it's actually a seed) in your diet. Buy it as flour for use in baked goods or buy whole groats which can be boiled to use as a breakfast cereal or in a salad.
- Savoury buckwheat crepes
- Mushroom, thyme and pecorino tart with buckwheat pastry
- Buckwheat crackle slice
- Buckwheat pancakes with honey ricotta and strawberry rhubarb compote
Make a vegetable gratin with a gluten-free cheesy sauce
Jan Bilton's cheesy sauce uses a packet mix from Angel Foods that ticks all the boxes. The local range of cheese sauces is prepared from a chickpea and cornflour base plus a mozzarella from yellow split pea protein. Hence they are dairy- and gluten-free. Jan made the sauce here with diluted coconut milk.
Bake a cake with ground nuts instead of flour
This chocolate almond cake is luscious but not too heavy. When buying chocolate to add to a baking mix, check to ensure it is gluten free. Ditto baking powder and baking soda, where it is called for. Here are 9 other cakes to tempt all.
- Gluten-free lemon cake
- Grapefruit and almond cake
- Butternut, almond and apricot muffins with creme fraiche icing
- Tropical fruit and almond cake
- Honey almond cake with pears and Greek yoghurt
- Gluten-free orange and passionfruit cake
- Tangelo syrup cake
- Flourless chocolate and chestnut cake
- Very nutty nut and date cake
Choose chia seeds
Including them in main meals, snacks, baking and smoothies won’t upset coeliacs (or you if you don’t want to eat gluten) and they provide Omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and minerals. Read what Dr Libby has to say about chia seeds here.
- Silky chia and dried plum breakfast
- Chia seed breakfast pudding
- Lusciously layered pear and chia slice
Bake an afternoon tea treat. Ten good reasons why you should.
This gluten-free Coconut passionfruit slice is made with rice flour and ground almonds and topped with a very yummy meringue flavoured with desiccated coconut, passionfruit and almonds. See our full gluten-free baking collection. Meanwhile, here are nine other baked treats.
- Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies
- Gluten-free sweet almond friands
- Raw brazil nut and chocolate slice sprinkled with coconut sugar
- Gluten-free lemon biscuits
- Kumara coffee praline cakes
- Orange, date, coconut, seed and honey balls
- Coconut cream fudge slice with prunes and lemon zest
- Carob brownie
- Gluten-free orange and coconut baby cakes
Cook with coconut
This indulgent Mocha maple cheesecake from Nadia Lim contains no dairy which is replaced with coconut oil and coconut cream. Of course there are no crushed biscuits in the base either! Dr Libby talks about the nutritional value of coconut here. As we have said before, if you are coeliac, check the chocolate you buy to ensure no traces of gluten may be present.
- Coconut macaroons
- Coconut milk jellies with raspberries
- Coconut sago
- Coconut scented oven roasted pears
- Coconut vanilla yoghurt panna cotta with marinated berries
- Carob brownie
- Cashew truffles
- Sago with coconut orange and muscovado syrup
- Summer berries and cream chocolate Christmas tart
- Coconut rice pudding
Make a gluten-free pud to please
You'd have to be pretty strong willed to say no to these hot chocolate and hazelnut puddings. No flour here but, yes, there's a little cream. See our full gluten-free desserts collection. Meanwhile, perhaps we could also tempt you with...
- Strawberries with coconut yoghurt and vincotto
- Summer fruits and vanilla meringue
- Caramelised pineapple and coconut lime sorbet
- Orange, chocolate and pistachio rice pudding
- Aquafaba chocolate mousse
- Banana and mango tapioca
- Toasted coconut and espresso pavlovas
Use cornmeal for Mexican and Southern dishes
It's a staple in Mexico for tortillas and tamales and is eaten as grits and in cornbread in the Southern USA. Aaron Brunet uses it as a crispy a base for this Mexican corn pizza. Cornmeal is delicious and gluten-free, too, of course.
- Fresh tortillas with red beans, chilli and avocado
- Carolina-style pork ribs with jalapeno cornbread
- Soft tacos with tuna and avocado
- Pan-fried polenta, ripe tomatoes and Mexican salsa
- Barbecue pork belly tortillas
Use cornemal again but this time to make Italian poltenta
Yum ... Angela Casley's polenta chips with aioli are on our party menus. Geoff Scott explains how to cook soft polenta here and Peter Gordon explains all about cornmeal and polenta here along with his great blue cheese cornbread recipe.
Make a rice dish. Nope, there's no gluten here either
This spring risotto bursts with freshness. Try more in our risotto collection or go Asian with egg fried rice or a rice stir-fry from our collection. Remember when cooking Asian to ensure your soy sauce is gluten-free, that you use gluten-free noodles (see point 4). Read the label carefully on the bottles of shaoxing rice wine, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce and black bean sauce.
Learn the difference between an allergy and an intolerance ... and celebrate with an allergy-friendly cake
Food allergies are on the rise but there’s still a lot of confusion about the differences between allergies and intolerances. National charity Allergy NZ’s expert Penny Jorgensen explains the differences here along with an allergy-friendly birthday cake for young and old. And there’s advice from Coeliac New Zealand.
See our gluten-free articles and collections for more
- Mikki Williden explains how the body responds to gluten
- Gluten-free baking
- Gluten-free desserts
- Gluten-free sweets
- Gluten-free breakfasts