Though there are plenty of gluten-free options available on the market – and with each passing year, they get a little better – getting rid of wheat can still be a pretty painful time. Regardless of whether you’ve spent your whole life being gluten-free or you’ve just recently decided to drop grains, this list will have something for you.
Here are 14 foods that you probably miss and their best alternative:
Swapping flour for corn is usually a go-to for those who are eating gluten free, but what if you’re looking for something a little healthier? Lettuce is fine for small wraps, but try collard greens if you’re looking for something that’s going to hold up to overstuffed taco fillings – They’re less likely to rip because they’re smaller, and they tend to be bigger.
Though there are plenty of gluten-free cracker options lining grocery store shelves almost everywhere, none of them are particularly dazzling. Rice cakes are okay, but if you want something with a little more crunch, try toasted brown rice tortillas broken up and served with hummus or cream cheese.
If you’re looking for something to coat your fish in or you miss having breadcrumbs around as a binder, you might be surprised to learn that ground up gluten-free oats are actually a pretty good substitute. If oats aren’t your thing or you’re looking for something with a little more crunch, gluten-free flax or fiber cereal can be crushed up and used instead.
Of course, you could just purchase a gluten-free pizza crust, but it’s probably going to just taste like sad. Try mashed potatoes, cauliflower, or spaghetti squash instead – Not only will you end up with a unique flavor that can be tailored to suit your unique taste, it’s also healthier.
This staple breakfast food is one of the things people say they miss most when they become gluten-free. The next time a craving for them, swap whatever flour is in the recipe for cornmeal. It’s not a flawless substitute, but it will help your craving subside. Bonus: There’s a ton more protein in cornmeal which will help you feel full until it’s time to eat again.
If you’re worried about the possibility of gluten contamination with traditional granola, try chopping up whatever your favorite nuts are and using that instead. You’ll get the satisfaction of knowing exactly what you’re eating and the crunch you crave.
Just in case you didn’t know, not all of the frostings at the grocery store are gluten-free. Instead of spending a ton of time researching which ones you can and can’t have, try topping your cakes with meringue instead. It’s super easy to make and just sweet enough to be the perfect substitute.
What’s a salad without croutons, anyway? Instead of deciding never to eat salad again, try topping it with nuts instead. In addition to being gluten-free, they’re also protein-heavy which means that they’ll help keep you feeling full until it’s time for your next meal or snack.
Being gluten-free doesn’t mean that you have to give up baking! In fact, many of the AP flours available for sale actually taste better than the original. Almond and coconut flours are big hits, but buckwheat, chickpea, and brown rice flours are also a ton of fun to experiment with. Tip: Depending on which flour you choose to use and/or what you’re making, you may need to also corn, potato, and/or tapioca starch as well.
There are a ton of gluten-free pastas out there, many of which are much tastier and better for you than the original. Nevertheless, making pasta out of vegetables with a nifty spiralizer is not only a ton of fun but also really satisfying. Try it the next time you’re craving marinara.
Though nothing can completely replicate the taste and texture of couscous, there are a couple of things that can come close to giving you the satisfaction they provide. Quinoa and polenta are good substitutes, or you could try grating and steaming some cauliflower if you’re looking for something healthier.
Almost all soy sauces contain wheat, but you don’t have to swear off of the umami flavor you crave. Tamari is soy sauce’s wheat-free cousin – It does taste slightly different, but it will satisfy your craving just the same. You will have to check the labels before you buy, though – Some do contain small amounts of wheat.
If you can’t use flour to make a roux, how on earth are you supposed to thicken your soups and sauces?! It’s easier than you think, actually. Both mashed potatoes and a mix of cornstarch and water will give you the thickness you’re looking for without the intense stomach cramps.
Sadly, the gluten-free bagels are a fry cry from their wheat-laden counterpart. Instead of being disappointed every time you try one, just use a rice cake instead. A rice cake will hold anything that a bagel will and the added crunch is quite fulfilling.
Here’s also a very informative video from Dr Axe regarding gluten-free flour alternatives.
What’s your favorite gluten-free substitute?