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Gluten Free Diet, how do I alter/change recipes?

My wife just started on Gluten free - I love to eat all foods - must I alter/change my wife? Are there any standard substitutes?

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  1. What you use as a substitute has a lot to do with what you're making. For a lot of breads, a mixture of bean flours works well. For other things, you eat around the gluten: instead of wheat-based spaghetti, try Thai noodles. Instead of chocolate cake, make flourless chocolate torte. Eat sushi instead of a sandwich.

    Take a look at the <<Gluten Free Gourmet>> cookbooks for recipes.

      1. There are lots of wheat/gluten free mixes now available.... sometimes you have to play with them (for example, adding more oil or fruit) but there are some really good ones out there. That being said, there are some AWFUL ones too, it is hit and miss, trial and error. I haven't faded away from hunger yet, so you know there is lots out there to eat that doesn't contain wheat.

          1. Wait - did you just ask if you should substitute your wife for another gal???

            Ok - moving on. As far as gf goes (I am on a gf diet) my personal fav. store bought breads are the whole foods gluten free bakehouse brand. for pasta its tinkyada (comes in a bag, doesnt get too mushy or grainy). As for cake/bread/ etc mixes i'm particularly fond of bob's red mill, but gluten free pantry is ok as well.

            I would say to buy some cookbooks like the gluten free gourmet. It'll give you a good idea of how to start. If you want to start learning substitutes, the best way to do so is to follow recipes at first until you learn the new chemistry around thickening sauces, etc. There are a plethora of flour subsitutes which all have different flavors, densities, consistencies, etc. You'll learn quickly what you like and dont like (i.e. i dont like rice flour cause i find it too grainy, i like soy but it has a strong nutty flavor which affects the end product. there are tons of combinations that make for some pretty decent pastries though, they just usually involve 3-4 flours instead of 1 or 2.)

            I agree that there are a lot of really good naturally gluten free meals - including grains such as quinoa and buckwheat (kasha) which are healthy and tasty.

            I could write for hours on this, so if you want more detailed info, or you have specific questions, post back!!!

            good luck with the new diet!

            10 Replies
            1. re: julseydesign

              I really dont want to leave the woman, but this diet she's on would be a good reason!_ just joking.
              Thanks for the input - we've tried the whole foods gluten free bread ($8 bucks a loaf-makes one want to consider competing) We like the GF pasta and most of the snacks -We will begin trying buckwheat this week - She cant have soy -her problem is that she has a rash that requires no wheat or fermented items like soy sauce,beer,and worst of all wine! Gad's its been 3 months since I've raised a glass and since I support her in her predicament,,I dont have the heart to enjoy vino without her --- Anyway, thanks for the input - we will fight the good fight and so far we have enjoyed our meals,some exotic sauces and our substitutes.

              1. re: drobbia

                I don't know where you live, Drobia, but if you have a Trader Joe's nearby, they sell it for waaaaay less than $8. (Cripes!) Food for Life makes really tasty GF bread (in rice/almond, brown rice, and other flavors) that costs no more than $5 max. If you live in NYC, you can buy for that price on Fresh Direct, which is usually overpriced. I'm pretty sure that Zabars sells it, too, and probably other places.

                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                    Really? You guys like that stuff? I think its so bad!!! Its waaaay too dense. The whole foods brand in ny i've found for more like $5.00 a loaf. I like the Glutino brand flax seed bread, its more light fluffy wonderbread style, but with some better whole grain fiber. Their bagels are good too. Its too bad about the soy allergy, because that certainly makes it much more limiting. But yes, being gluten free is much more costly.

                    On another note, i've never found gf stuff at trader joes, perhaps i havent looked hard enough? I only went once to the one on 14th st, but i didnt see what i was looking for.

                    1. re: julseydesign

                      Yep, it's all there in the 14th St. location. You have to be sure that it's relatively fresh. (I've gotten some nasty, stale GF crumpets there when I wasn't paying attn; TJ's will replace, but it's just a hassle to go back.)

                      And yeah, I love the texture and density of food for life bread. Wonderbready stuff doesn't do it for me. It has no mouthfeel to speak of--bleah. But to each her own!

                      Brown rice cakes and fresh corn tortillas are other good carby subs and easier to find than specialty bread. You can make sandwich wraps with the tortillas, eat the rice cakes like crackers, or top the tortillas with tomato sauce, mozz, basil and other things for something tastily pizza-esque.

                      Nairns also makes a lovely GF ginger oat cake--basically a really fantastic cookie.

                      1. re: julseydesign

                        Whole Foods in Campbell CA - Sandwich bread - $7.29, Sundried Tomato with Roasted Garlic Bread- $8.69-- Gluten Free. In Northern California we soon learn that prices are usually 10-20% above most the rest of the country (dont even ask about petrol - reg,gas - $3.41 at off brand stations-but we do get some kind of special blend that supposedly keeps the air cleaner.)

                        1. re: drobbia

                          Oh wow! i'm so sorry to hear that! I assumed NYC was as expensive as everywhere else, and while it hurts me to pay just over 5 bucks for a loaf of bread, 7 or 8 is totally outrageous! yikes.

                          1. re: drobbia

                            Argh. LA right now is $4 for "plain." I drove an hour South yesterday and everywhere it was no higher than $3.50.

                            This isn't "special blend" this is price gouging!

                  2. re: julseydesign

                    i would love more information julsey! how can i reach you?

                    1. re: lollya

                      Hi there, i'm sorry its taken so long to get back to you about the gf stuff. Its been a long time since i've checked these posts. Feel free to email me julia.greene@gmail.com if you have any questions. Let me know!

                  3. You've gotten lots of good advice here, I'll just add a few things. I have a couple of friends with gluten intolerance, and have found them a breeze to cook for/have a guests. (easier than vegetarians, even!) While some things are just un-doable, some require only modest modification.

                    Use rice flour or cornstartch for thickening rather than wheat flour- that's easy. Make a crustless fritatta instead of a quiche- no problem.

                    Tonight I was going to make cannelloni, but instead of making the pasta, I'm rolling the stuffing into wilted eggplant sliced thin on the mandoline (way easier and less messy than making pasta anyway). Little things like that. Think of it as an opportunity to be creative.

                    but sorry about the wine... ;p

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cheesemonger

                      Thanks for the very good suggestions- I will use them all --- as to the wine, bummer, but there is always the chance that she'll bite dust before I will !!!!!
                      PS - Ive substituted warm yerba mate or very cold Martinellis apple juice- but thats for another posting.

                      1. re: cheesemonger

                        oy! I'm a vegetarian, and just found out that the migraines i've had for over 15 years could be because of a wheat sensitivity. ANY and all advice is MUCH appreciated. Thankfully I LOVE to cook, but am having trouble learning what to do about it yet. (very new)

                      2. For baking try spelt flour. Someone I know uses it and it comes out good. You might have to play around a little

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: paprkutr

                          Spelt's too similar to wheat for most wheat intolerant / celiac folks to handle. But it does have a nice, nutty, sweet flavor, not unlike whole wheat bread.

                          1. re: cimui

                            Spelt actually is a type of wheat, albeit not the common kind. It is older and they leave the husk on (which makes it more wholesome and nutty). I hear good things, but its true, its on the nono list for us gluten intolerant folk.

                            That said, there are other grains which can give nice nutty, fiberous flavors to your baked goods. I really like to add a bit of amaranth flour to my things. There are several other options too.

                        2. i use 1/2 tapiaoca flour 1/2 potatoe to bake - also a really good trick is to add an extra egg to recipes when baking gf.

                          good luck with the diet!

                          1. Here's another resource for you.


                            Besides having excellent articles and recipes, they have an online store where you can buy gluten-free items I've not seen anywhere else.

                            I would certainly second the recommendations for Bette Hagman's Gluten-Free Gourmet Books, especially "Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread". It's my bible, since I find retail wheat-free breads seriously lacking and/or too pricey to be practical.

                            I understand that Whole Foods' gluten-free breads line is manufactured in a totally separate facility, since these items cannot be produced in the same place as regular products, due to cross-contamination. As most of their other bakery items are made in-house in individual stores, this is a pricey operation for them, hence the steep price.

                            Gluten-Free Mall
                            4927 Sonoma Hwy, Santa Rosa, CA 95409

                            1. Betty Hagman has a number of cookbooks which are excellent! She explains the many types of flour and gives a bit of advise useful for travel too.

                              almost forgot, there is a magazine called Living Without which is a good resource.

                              1. If you have a freezer, you might want to consider mail order bread. My mom has eaten gluten free for decades and she buys bread from Irene's health bakery in Ohio. We actually stopped there one time when we were on a trip and they were just the nicest people. Anyway, I suggest them because they have a rye bread that is similar to "real" bread which makes great sandwiches and does not seem like an alternative to bread. They also have great rolls so mom can have a hamburger on a bun with the rest of the family. I also concur with the cookbook idea and testing out preferences. One thing I learned never to do was to taste raw gluten free doughs--YUCK!

                                1. Lots of good links/advice so far. Just wanted to put in my 2 cents....
                                  The three Gluten Free products that I cannot live without:
                                  1. San-J wheat free Tamari
                                  2. Mary's Gone crackers: http://www.marysgonecrackers.com
                                  3. Chebe rolls: http://www.chebe.com/

                                  Good Luck,

                                  1. http://www.traderjoes.com/Attachments...
                                    Here's a list of TJ's GF products. We use TJ's gf pasta (having some for tonight's dinner). You may want to get a copy of Betty Hagman's "The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread". You'll need either xanthan gum or guar gum to hold gf baked goods together. WFM sells it.

                                    1. if she's especially sensitive, then you'll have to keep gluten out of the house, as even a little floating in the air could cause her to react. even a wooden spoon used in "glutened food" and then in her food could be a bad day as well. unless you spend 100% of your time at home, there's no reason why you can't eat GF at home and whatever you want elsewhere, is there?

                                      1. Does your wife have celiac disease and/or true gluten intolerance? If not, it not only makes no sense to be gluten-free, it's absolutely ridiculous and indeed not healthy to avoid foods containing gluten. See:

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: josephnl

                                          7 years after the original post odds are the OP stopped following this thread...

                                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                                            Of course you are right. It still amazes me that so many folks are misinformed and think that somehow a gluten-free diet is healthier. Just had dinner at a very high-end restaurant in southern CA where they bragged that at least half of their menu was identified as being gluten-free. Interestingly, no such identifier was on the menu for vegetarian choices (I'm not a vegetarian, but know many). It's ridiculous! Unless you have celiac disease and/or are truly gluten intolerant (~1% of the population), there is no benefit and perhaps even harm from avoiding gluten containing foods.