I’ve noticed recently all the people trying to cut out carbs like bread and pasta for weight control reasons, but it made me think of all the people with gluten allergies that simply cannot have the wheat in carbs. So they have had to come up with ideas to substitute for reasons other than weight control, but for health and well being. Here are some good ideas that I like for both reasons, and while foregoing the wheat and gluten filled foods, you are getting extra veggies with many of them, which can only be a good thing.
• For sandwiches, if bread is not an option, be creative and use lettuce of cabbage. It is a great Asian twist and really good with things like Thai spiced chicken, shredded carrots and bean sprouts. Use any kind of large leafed lettuce or cabbage, and it makes a great wrap.
• Instead of pasta, use ribboned vegetables. It may not have the same filling effect, but that may be a good thing. Use a vegetable peeler or food processor and ribbon vegetables like zucchini and carrots. Toss with any pasta sauce and you’ve got a great gluten free meal. Add chicken or other meat to make it a bit heartier, you’ve already got the vegetables so no need to add more unless, of course, you want to.
• Spaghetti squash is a fun one to use in place of pasta, too. Just scrap out the inside which really does look like spaghetti, saute it lightly and toss with marinara. It makes a great side dish or serve a larger portion for a main dish.
• For another fun sandwich idea (it’s in this month’s Every Day with Rachael Ray), use gluten free pancake and waffle mix and make waffles to hold your sandwich together. You can add things like bacon, mustard or cheese to make the mix more savory.
• Another idea from this issue of Rachael Ray is to use alternate foods for bread crumbs. Crush up Rice Chex cereal and it can be a great alternative.
Chex even has a gluten free advertising campaign “Sorry Gluten Lovers, get your kicks elsewhere.” Check out their website for gluten free recipes made with Chex at chex.com for things like Chex Cookie Pizza and Chex School Fuel.
Just as with any food allergy, substitutions are key. Sometimes it can be frustrating, but it can also be satisfying to find a great, fun alternative. Of course, there are plenty of gluten free pastas, waffles and bread on the market, but for a change, these are some good options to add to your menu repertoire. Anyone knows the same food can become mundane, there’s no reason not to switch it up every now and then.