Are you missing bread and pasta because you’re on a gluten-free diet? I’ve got seven easy everyday gluten-free swaps you can make on your plate.
There’s a lot of debate out there on if going gluten-free is beneficial for your health if you don’t have a known gluten allergy or sensitivity. I’ve found when there’s conflicting information, it depends on who you ask. It’s important to remember that just like organic, high-fiber or grain-free, if a food is marketed as gluten-free it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy.
Here’s what I do know about gluten-free diets, going gluten free and how best to approach this kind of diet change.
It’s important to be aware of how food is affecting your body so that you can be your biggest health advocate. Any time I’m working with an individual client, I’ll have them food journal what they ate and how they felt throughout the day.
More often than not, when a client is struggling with GI issues, gluten is a common culprit. How do we know? By moving towards a minimally processed, whole food diet these foods tend to be naturally gluten-free. When the processed, fiber-less starches are replaced with whole grains and vegetables, 9 times out of 10 the bloating, gas, etc. is naturally taken care of on its own.
Whether or not you intentionally go gluten free is up to you. However, if you are prioritizing a more nutrient-rich diet to boost your health from the inside out, I’ve got seven of my favorite everyday gluten-free swaps for you to consider.
Gluten-Free Grains and Pastas
Swap couscous swapped for quinoa. I grew up eating couscous, and I loved it. When I became more aware of what was on my plate, I started swapping couscous (which is basically pasta) for quinoa. Quinoa is one of the few sources of complete plant-based protein and naturally high in fiber for a more nutritious gluten-free swap.
Gluten-Free Recipe: Veggie Thai Quinoa Salad
Swap orzo swapped for brown rice. My mom used to make orzo with butter, parmesan cheese and parsley. For a similar texture and shape, try swapping orzo for brown rice, which is going to be naturally gluten-free and high in fiber to help stabilize blood sugar levels.
Swap traditional pasta for lentil or brown rice pasta. This is one my favorite healthy swaps to make. Instead of traditional white pasta, swap for lentil or chickpea pasta for a boost in protein and fiber. One of my favorite quick dinners is lentil pasta with a jar of marinara sauce, sautéed spinach and nutritional yeast. Done in less than 15 minutes.
Gluten-Free Pasta Salad: 5-Ingredient Nut-Free Pesto Pasta
Gluten-Free Swaps for Baking
Swap all-purpose flour for a combination of almond flour and gluten-free oat flour. This is the ONLY flour mixture I use when baking. If you can get the ratio right, it’s a fantastic substitute that results in a moist texture. PSA: Gluten-free all-purpose flour is not necessarily more nutritious. It just means there’s no gluten in it.
Almond flour is made from, well, almonds so it’s a great source of protein and healthy fats. It helps keep the baked food on the lighter, fluffier side. Oat flour is full of fiber and helps soak up the moisture in the recipe. It can be quite dense which is why I like to use a combination of both flours.
Gluten-Free Muffin Recipe: Chunky Monkey Superfood Banana Bread Muffins
The ratio I have found to work best is 2 cups all purpose flour = 1 ¼ cup oat flour + ¾ cup almond flour. To get that “rise” out of a recipe, it’s best to add about 1 teaspoon baking soda with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
TIP: Coconut flour is not an equal substitute. It quickly absorbs liquid, meaning you’ll need a lot less coconut flour than regular flour. I haven’t ventured too far into coconut flour territory since I’m not a huge fan of the slightly gritty texture.
Gluten-Free Swaps for Asian Flavors
Swap soy sauce for gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos. If you’re looking to minimize highly processed soy foods, this is a great healthy swap for you. I love cooking with coconut aminos for a gluten and soy-free alternative in my stir fry or to dip my sushi rolls in.
Gluten-Free Asian Recipe: Veggie glow vegan sushi
Gluten-Free Breading Swaps
Swap traditional breadcrumbs for almond meal or crushed corn flakes. Breadcrumbs are used in a variety of different ways, including oven “fried” food and as a binder in loaf recipes. Instead of using traditional breadcrumbs, make the healthier swap for almond meal in binder recipes, or crushed corn flakes when you’re really looking for that crunch on the outside.
Related recipe: Moroccan-Spiced Quinoa Cauliflower Burgers
Gluten-Free Mexican Options
Swap flour tortillas for corn tortillas or romaine lettuce shells. Mexican cuisine is one of my favorites, and it doesn’t always have to be an indulgence. Your favorite tacos or enchiladas are always going to be healthier when made at home! Try swapping regular flour tortillas for corn tortillas if going gluten-free or for a nutritious option, opt for a romaine lettuce shell.
Gluten-Free Recipe Options: Lentil Walnut Tacos with a Pineapple Mango Salsa
What other gluten-free swaps have you tried that keep you feeling great and your food tasting delicious? Share your favorites in the comments below — I’m always looking for other options to try!