Gluten Free Substitutions Part II – When No Subs are Needed

by Jenn on July 19, 2010

in GF Substitutions,Gluten Free

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Disclaimer – What I describe in this series is my own personal experience.  I am not a licensed doctor nor am I a nutritionist.  Please be advised to contact the manufacturer of any product before assuming a food product is or is not gluten free, and please consult your personal health care professional to know what foods are safe for you.  This blog and this series are NOT a form of medical advice and should not be used as such.

Welcome to Part II of my weekly series all about gluten free substitutions!  I wanted to start with that disclaimer, front and center.  Just to remind you all that I don’t have the answers to solving health problems, and that you need to be mindful of your own issues.  What happens to work for us may not work for you.  Food products differ by region, and sometimes there are recalls on products, or I may even make a mistake in describing something (though I promise to do my best not to – and if I do please let me know!).  I just happen to cook gluten free for my husband and I, and that’s about as far as my actual skills go.  I am learning with you in this process!


Part of that learning process was realizing after I had gone through all the issues of being gluten intolerant that my husband deals with, that I already had many many naturally gluten free recipes and dishes that I made every day.  I am sure you do too.  This is the theme of this week’s installment.  Before knowing how to make substitutions, it’s first good to know where we can start.  For me, the easiest gluten free meals are always the ones that I don’t have to do anything different to – the ones that I already make and am comfortable with.  Especially when I first found out about my husband’s intolerance, I found it much more positive to look at what I already could make, rather than listing all of the things that I couldn’t do.  Rather than mourning over sandwich bread, I decided to embrace the naturally gluten free.  And I was really amazed at just how many dishes that actually included!


One general guideline I’ve learned to follow is to love the fresh and homegrown and make things myself rather than looking for products.  Besides, I find cooking from scratch to be therapeutic anyways.  For example, fresh produce and greens, fruits of the season, meat from the butcher, herbs from the garden – the more I can incorporate these things by cooking from scratch, the easier it is to be gluten free.

I was reminded again of the advantage of looking for already gluten free foods during our trip to Paris this past weekend.  Our first night out at dinner, my husband had a salad of greens adorned with smoked duck, foie gras, and black truffles, in a light olive oil dressing.  Let me tell you, he was in heaven, and the restaurant did not need to make a single change to the dish – it was naturally gluten free!

As a mainly gluten free household, my husband and I are always looking for what is already gluten free, because that is the easiest to think about making.  The first step to culinary freedom is acknowledging what we already know how to do – it makes tackling the unknowns of gluten free cooking much more manageable.  We can recognize that we are never completely lost, because we were already set up to make a number of delicious gluten free dishes all along!


This week, I encourage you to look through the dishes that you like to make – which ones are naturally gluten free?  What do you like to make that doesn’t require any modifications?  Is there any dish that you love that you are thankful is already gluten free? Let’s share and we can give each other some great new ideas!

Here’s just a sampling of some of my favorite things to make, that are completely unaltered from their original recipes –

Egg Dishes:
Egg bakes

Side dishes & Snacks:
Carrot and avocado salad
Mashed sweet potatoes
Potato-based dishes
Homemade chips
Sautéd spinach and goat cheese
Smoked Salmon Pâté

Homemade pestos
Homemade salsas
Homemade curry paste
Homemade oil/vinegar based dressings

Main Dishes:
Pistachio crusted rack of lamb
Pesto & Pepper Chicken
Roasted chicken with sage butter pesto
Beurre blanc poached cod
Bleu cheese stuffed burgers
Roasted quail
Seafood Paella

Tapioca pudding
Crème Brûlée
Amaretti Cookies
Flourless chocolate torte

Also submitted to – Gluten Free Wednesdays