Welcome to Installment III of the weekly series here at Jenn Cuisine, all about gluten free substitutions. Last week I showed how many great gluten free dishes you already know how to make, and this week I’m actually going to get into some substitutions. The easiest substitutions don’t involve the many mysterious white bags of flour, as my friend Wendy so aptly described the myriad of gluten free ingredients commenting on my intro post. This week is all about the one ingredient substitutions that are so easy to incorporate into several of your favorite meals. I’m going to cover just a few of the most common substitutions that we use to make gluten free dishes, and I would really like to know what some of your tricks and techniques are as well!
1. Corn Tortillas. Replacing flour tortillas with 100% corn flour tortillas opens up so much of the world of Mexican food again. Say hello to burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, enchiladas, tortilla chips and all of your favorite variations! Just make sure to read labels and verify that there are no cross-contamination issues (such as “made in a facility that also processes wheat products”). Some corn tortillas are better than others. We’ve found some great ones at a local store that roll beautifully without cracking.
2. Quinoa and Millet. These whole grains (well, really I think they are properly in the category of seeds) make some great subs for couscous and tabouli. Quinoa tends to have a distinctive flavor, whereas millet is much more mild.
3. Premade GF Bread – That kinda dry tapioca/rice bread that no one would ever assume was a replacement for fresh sandwich bread? Well it turns out it that when buttered and fried it makes some pretty decent grilled cheese sandwiches. And if you happen to find some nice gluten free baguettes, you can whisk yourself away to Paris with some toasted croques monsieurs.
4. GF Pasta – There are many versions of gluten free pasta around, and this is probably the one-sub ingredient that we incorporate the most into our day to day cooking. Our favorites tend to be of the corn and quinoa variety, but the use of any decent GF pasta will dramatically open up your cooking options. We tend to cook with pastas a lot, and have made things such as lasagna, stir fries, mac & cheese, pad thai, and any number of other tasty pasta bowls.
5. Wheat Free Tamari – Next to pasta, this is probably our next most used one-ingredient sub. Wheat free tamari is generally easy enough to find in the Asian foods section of most major grocery store chains I’ve had experience with in the U.S, and I can find it easily enough en Suisse. I’ve had good luck with finding a nice little “gluten free” label on the jar as well. It’s the perfect replacement for soy sauce, and opens up a wide variety of many Asian foods that would otherwise be off-limits to gluten free folks. While a soy sauce connoisseur would identify the difference in flavors, it’s very slight and unnoticeable (at least to me) when used in dishes, and also works well with dipping sushi. Some of my favorites to make with wheat-free tamari are spicy peanut dipping sauce, Mongolian beef, pan-seared marinated tuna, and an Asian slaw.
6. Premade GF Cookies – I love to buy gluten free cookies and crush them up in a food processor into little itty bitty crumbs. Then they can be used just like any other cookie crumbs and create a yummy crust for a pie – this little tidbit allowed me to make my mom’s famous cheesecake gluten free (or you can use your GF cookie failures too), with hardly any extra work at all.
These are some of my favorite easy ways to make dishes gluten free. Next week, I’ll be talking about another easy one-ingredient sub, all-purpose gluten free flour!
What are your favorite ways to use these ingredients, or what other gluten free subs have you found are simple to convert your favorite meals to GF???