going gluten free – part II

The response to last week’s Why + When I Went Gluten Free post, was better than I had hoped for!  I enjoyed reading your experiences + stories, and was delighted to hear that my recipes have been helpful to you.  As promised, this next post addresses things beyond the “why + when.”  Many of you were interested in hearing about my favorite gluten free products, what flours I use the most, my favorite recipes, favorite GF blogs, etc. 

The question + answer format seemed to go over well last time, so I’ll stick with that method again. 

[photos that follow are all from previous posts]

(1 of 1)

*Please note, I am not a doctor, or medical professional.  The information below has been gathered through my own research.  You should always consult your doctor before changing your diet in any way.*

1.  What are your favorite gluten free products?

I actually don’t buy many products labeled “gluten free.”  A lot of gluten free products are highly processed, full of unidentifiable ingredients, and lacking in the nutrition department.  They’re also expensive!  Gluten free bread is rarely on my shopping list, unless it’s on sale or I have a coupon.  When I do have GF bread, I keep it in the freezer and eat it only occasionally.  So, with that, here are some of the GF products I do buy.

  • West Soy “original” Tempeh
    • West Soy is my favorite tempeh brand, by far.  It’s not certified gluten free, but contains no gluten.  *FYI - Their 5-grain variety does contain gluten.
  • Food For Life - brown rice torillas
    • At first, I honestly thought these were pretty terrible, but then they grew on me.  I love them!  They’re not my favorite thing cold out of the fridge, because they are quite tough.  However, lightly toast them under the broiler on each side and they become deliciously flakey!  I love filling them with cheesy eggs or a combo of flax meal/cottage cheese/jelly/banana [<-good i swear].  The trick is to lightly brown them so you can still roll them up.  You can also brown them in a heated pan
  • Udi’s Millet Chia Bread + Whole Grain Hamburger Buns
    • In my opinion, Udi’s make the best gluten free bread out there.  It’s also the most nutrient dense you will find.  Most GF breads only contain 1-2 grams of protein + fiber, but Udi’s is more in the 3g range.  The texture is great of both the bread + buns.  You can get a $1 off coupon if you sign up on their site.
  • Food For Life – Millet Bread
    • A unique texture and very dense, this bread is pretty delicious.  Great as toast!
  • Udi’s Bagels
    • Whole Grain [photo below] – Again they nailed it with texture, flavor + nutrition.  They only complaint is that they are slightly dry, but are still very bagel-like.  My favorite is toasting + topping them with PB+J, or making an egg sandwich.
  • Nature’s Path 
    • This is my favorite cereal brand, which also includes the line of EnviroKidz cereal.  Love the peanut butter panda puffs!!  While I’ve probably only bought 3 boxes of cereal since January, there are some great GF options out there.  Now I just make my own, which is much cheaper and it never goes stale. :) 
  • Pure Bars + Raw Revolution
    • These are my favorite, in a pinch bars, to eat on the go.  If I know a busy week is coming, I try to buy the ingredients to make them instead.  It’s a ridiculous savings + doesn’t take much time at all.
  • Garden of LifeRaw Protein 
    • After testing a LOT of protein powders, this is my very favorite.  It tastes similar to when you add oats to a smoothie.  I don’t find it to be nearly as chalky as most other powders I’ve tried.  It’s a blend of all raw, sprouted grains, vegetables, and seeds.  There are no added sweeteners, or even fake sweeteners, and no weird flavors.  To me, this protein powder is REAL food.  I do also love hemp protein, but it’s not so nice to my stomach.
  • Noodles/Pasta
    • Lundberg Pasta – Probably the best texture of the GF pastas.  I like the penne noodles the best.
    • Annie Chun's Brown Rice Noodles – Super thin + great texture.  Perfect for stir fries!
    • DeBoles Lasagna Noodles – These are the only lasagna noodles I’ve tried, but you couldn’t tell anything was different about them when they were cooked and layered with lasagna ingredients.
    • Tinkyada Fettuccini Noodles – Great texture!  Just make sure to test them along the way while cooking.  They didn’t take nearly as long as the package directions state.  Also, run them through cold water immediately after cooking to help prevent them from sticking together + becoming gummy.  I just noticed this brand has giant shells, which I am really excited about.  I love ricotta stuffed shells!

(3 of 26)

2.  What are your favorite gluten free flours?

My goal in baking gluten free, is to try and use the least amount of flours as possible and keep out gums + starches.  I don’t necessarily think there is anything wrong with using them though.  I know they are very popular and result in perfectly textured baked goods.  However, I want to keep things as simple as possible, using ingredients that non-GF’ers would want to have on hand as well.  It also helps to keep things a bit more affordable.

*If you have a severe gluten/wheat allergy or have been diagnosed with Celiac, please consult with your doctor for a list of all approved ingredients you can eat.  Make sure to look for “certified gluten free” flours and grains when shopping and realize even bulk bins can be contaminated.

  • raw buckwheat flour
    • Made from raw buckwheat groats and ground in a blender or spice grinder until powdery.  A hearty flour, that seems to hold together decently well.  Buckwheat flour has a slight earthy, nutty flavor.
  • raw oat flour
    • Made from raw oat groats [or steel cut oats, which you can find certified gluten free] and ground in a blender or spice grinder until powdery.  A slightly sweet, nutty flour, it’s fairly light in texture and doesn’t seem to fall apart when used in baking.  You can also make this from regular rolled oats, with very similar results!
  • almond meal
    • Extremely light + fluffy, this does amazing things in baked goods.  I just started experimenting with almond meal in my zucchini breads and cannot wait to start using it more.  The fat content is obviously high, because it is literally, ground almonds.  This is different than almond flour, which uses blanched almonds and is even lighter in texture.  You can find almond meal at Trader Joes or online at Natural Grocers [$3.75/1lb].  [Bob’s Red Mill sells it, but it is quite expensive ~10].  How to Make Almond Meal.  Almond meal keeps baked goods incredibly moist and cake-like.  The trick with almond meal is not using too much, or it will result in your baked good falling apart.  It has no holding power at all. 
  • millet flour
    • Great for hearty breads + bakes, this flour also seems to hold together decently well.  It has a light, almost corn-like flavor.  You can also grind this fresh, in your blender until powdery.
  • masa harina
    • Golden corn flour that has been soaked in lime juice, before grinding.  Definitely my favorite tasting flour, but not the most versatile for baking.  It’s very corn-like in flavor, so you wouldn’t want to use this for things like banana bread, zucchini bread, muffins, etc.  However, it’s great for making corn tortillas, cornbread bakes, and tamales. 
  • coconut flour
    • Most often, you’ll see me using this for my donut recipes, or a gluten free pancake recipe.  I haven’t played around with it too much, but I know it has absolutely no binding power at all.  If you’re going to use coconut flour, you will need a lot of eggs!  You also want to be careful with this flour, because it is extremely high in fiber.  It’s also quite expensive, but I’ve been nursing a bag from Natural Grocers for months.  They make a lot of different flours and sell them affordably.  Coconut flour is probably the most expensive flour I’ve seen.  [about $7/2lbs, whereas Bob’s Red Mill costs about $7/1lb]  I think coconut flour is best used as a small addition to gluten free baked goods. 
  • rice flour
    • I have only experimented with sweet rice flour, and love the lightness it brings to baked goods.  I also use this sparingly, as it doesn’t have much holding power. 

[buckwheat millet pizza crust]

(6 of 10)

3.  Which gluten free blogs/websites do you visit the most for ideas + inspiration? [note: these website do not all contain solely GF recipes]

[lemon basil + grilled corn pasta]

(6 of 9)-3

4.  What are your favorite GF grains/seeds?

  • rolled oats, Scottish oats, steel cut oats
    • These are my favorite breakfast grains.  You can find rolled oats “certified gluten free” as well as steel cut oats.  I’ve seen a few different brands, but the most common is Bob’s Red Mill.  I also love oat bran, but like regular rolled oats, you have to assume it’s been cross contaminated with trace amounts of gluten.  I did just find this brand online, selling GF oat bran. 
  • millet
    • This grain is cheap, cheap, cheap and very similar to quinoa in nutritional value.  I love how light + fluffy it is after cooking.  It’s a great dinner side or even made into a breakfast parfait.  I buy my millet at Natural Grocers, and you can too!.  It costs $1.63 for TWO pounds.  Quinoa is typically $3-4/lb.
  • quinoa
    • We still love quinoa over here, but are on more of a millet kick these days.  Millet keeps me feeling full, longer and is ridiculously cheaper. 
  • short grain brown rice
  • raw buckwheat
  • popcorn
    • So much tastier than the microwave bags, healthier, and cheaper!
  • amaranth
    • I do not like this as a cooked grain at all.  I only like it in puffed form for cereal.  The cooked grain is quite gummy and extremely earthy in flavor.

(14 of 19)

I urge anyone to give these ingredients a shot.  Not just GF’ers!  Most of them were in my pantry before going gluten free, and I’ve grown to love them so much.  Really, the only thing I miss is hot, crusty bread. mmm  I’m definitely getting the hang of this whole gluten-free thing and trying to have fun experimenting. 

Check back for another GF post next week! [tips on eating out, etc.]

Also, check back later TODAY for a gluten-free giveaway.  Trust me, you don’t want to miss this!! 

Feel free to leave your favorite gluten free products, flours, baking tricks, and blogs in the comment section. 


p.s. Don’t worry.  The zucchini bread recipes are coming.  All THREE of them.  Pretty sure I’ve eaten an entire loaf in the past 48hrs, with all of the sampling.  And I still want more.