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Mar 12, 2008 08:43 AM

Gluten Free (and dairy free) Products - Favorites?

Starting a post about this to exchange ideas regarding favorite gluten &/or dairy free products. I have a son who has been eating gluten/dairy free for the last 6-7 years, and I am always looking for new ideas! So list your favorites, or you can list things that you have found really bad, to warn others (this food ain't cheap!!)

Our Favorites

Pasta: Tinkyada brand - the closest to real stuff in texture, I find it doesn't overcook as easily as the other brands I have tried

Flours: My current favorites are the pre-mixed blends from Authentic Foods (Gold Bag), but I have had good results from just making a blend from flours bought in the bulk bin too (which is the cheapest way to go). Also, if you have a lot of indian/asian markets where you live (I do) - it is a great source for buying things like rice or sorgum flour cheaply.

Pizza Crust - have never been too ambitious to make my own - the one time I tried, it turned out really bad, but I have had very good luck with the Kinnikinik frozen pizza crusts. Take straight from the freezer, top, and cook.

As a working mom, I rely often on convienence foods. They are also great to send along to school with my son in his thermos, as he prefers a hot lunch. Some of our favorites

Ians: Chicken nuggets, fish sticks and fillets, Chicken patties, Kids meals! (similar to kids cuisine style meals), French bread Pizzas

Amy's: A lot of amy's stuff is gluten free, and more and more is dairy free too. My son enjoys the Thai Stir fry and Noodle stir-fry frozen entrees. He wasn't crazy about the kids meal or pasta bowl (too mushy)

Kinnikinnick: In addition to great pizza crusts, they have great muffins, breads for sandwiches or toast or french toast (our favorite is the white sandwich bread), english muffins (which double as hamburger buns, they make a hamburger bun as well, but we prefer the english muffin, as it is sturdier.) I can do a good quick bread, but my attempts at making yeast bread have fallen short, and I just often don't have the time. We have two local bakeries that I also will buy gluten free bread at, but I find the Kinnikinnick to be just as good. Also, if you can't get this brand near you, they have a website and shipping (I have shipped both to MN and FL) is a flat $10.00, no matter what you order, which is a great deal!! They also have good mixes, and cookies (Montana's Choc. chips are our fave). Their ALTA line is also completely dairy free.

We are completely dairy free as well, but for those that are not, I hear that Grandma Ferdon's is supposed to be awesome - I have seen their stuff in health food stores in the Minneapolis area, and it all looks really good - breads, bakery items, pie crusts etc. They are out of Wisconsin.

For dairy free, we generally use Pacific Foods or Harmony Farms rice milk (I will sparingly use soy if I feel that the recipie needs a thicker textured milk).

There is no such thing as a good substitue for cheese in my opinion. Having said that, if you can tolerate soy, my son loves the Toffuti cheese and cream cheese (they do use distilled vinegar, but so do we, and so do many celiacs - it is a personal decision) The Follow Your Heart brand cheese is good to him as well, it comes in blocks, so needs to be shredded. These are the best brands I have found in terms of them melting (at least somewhat).

Would love to hear what others use and like! Thanks!

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  1. I'm unable to eat wheat but I have time to cook (am retired) so can't help with convenience products other than TJ's rice pasta (cheap and decent). I have learned that most celiac cookbooks seem to bend over backward to complicate what can be very simple. I buy most of my non-wheat flours at Asian stores and have found the substitution process to be really easy. My flour-substitute baking mixture is simple: 2 parts rice flour to 1 part corn starch or potato starch + 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum for each 3 cups of mixture. I can bake cakes, scones, biscuits, cookies,and quick breads with this. I use brown rice flour sometimes.. white other times, depending upon the flavor desired. In Indian stores I find corn flour, a very finely milled flour that makes lovely cornbreads and cakes. Mostly I cook Mediterranean , Mexican, or Asian food; but I can negotiate Northern European foods quite well with minor substitutions. TJ's sells a brown rice bread that works well for meatloafs, crumbing, mini-pizzas, French toast, bread puddings, etc.; but only a celiac could love it for sandwiches! I toast it lightly, then slice each piece down through the center to make two thin pieces out of one. Thinner it's much more palatable. I'm unable to eat the tapioca bread, as well as the garbanzo-flour mixtures, so corn and rice are my grains of choice. Quinoa has it's place somewhere.. I'm still exploring its possibilities but my jury is still out. Polenta plays a large part in my diet. I can share recipes and substitution-tips with you if you wish. I have no problem with dairy (was a cheesemaker for many years) but I love to use almond milk when cooking for lactose-intolerant friends..

    1 Reply
    1. re: fromagina

      Hi fromagina-

      I shop at TJs all the time and have not seen a GF bread from them. One local TJs carries Ezekiel's--but that is sliced farily thinly already, so I'm thinking you get something else. Could you write again with the name of the bread if you get a moment? I'd like to look for it.

      Thanks a bunch!


    2. Newmann O's, like oreos only they come gluten and dairy free.

      1 Reply
      1. re: adventuresinbaking

        The Newmann O's I have seen in the stores where I live are WHEAT and dairy free, not gluten free. Big difference to many of us. Just wanted that info out there.

      2. for a milk alternative, my hands-down favorite is almond breeze unsweetened almond milk - as long as no one has a nut allergy. it comes in 3 flavors, and has no added sugar. much lower in calories than rice milk, and i prefer the taste.

        sadly, as far as prepared products go i've found many more misses than hits. for pasta i agree that tinkyada is the only halfway decent brand. i also like pure 100% buckwheat soba noodles as an alternative to rice-based pasta.

        i have yet to find a GF baked good that even comes close to the real thing, so i bake everything myself. i know you said you like kinnickinnick, but i think their stuff is awful. you might want to try some items from "everybody eats" - i haven't had their products myself, but they get good reviews.

        one item that did surprise me [in a positive way] earlier this year was trader joe's GF gingersnaps. they're actually very good. they're not produced in a certified GF facility so if that's an issue i'd stay away...but they don't contain any gluten or dairy.

        but my absolute favorite GF product these days is bob's red mill GF oats. they're much less expensive than the other brands such as nature's gift & lara's.

        4 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I too love the almond milk and use it for baking for my lactose intolerant friends. Tasty stuff! I made the mistake of thinking all soba noodles were 100% buckwheat! Many have wheat flour and I have since learned to read the label. A very mouth-pleasing noodle is the fresh fun noodle, if you can find it in a local Asian store. It's sold fresh and you need to know the delivery days to get it because it will sell out fast. Fun noodles look like pure white fresh noodles and they soak up sauces wonderfully and satisfy my deepest noodle cravings!

          1. re: fromagina

            i might have to try fun noodles..i typically use shirataki noodles from the japanese market - the ones made with just yam flour, not tofu - no soy for me.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              have you tried kelp noodles ghg? i think you'd like those as well... they're great for cold salads and stirfries... they've got em at whole foods as well as that heavenly diet store on van nuys. gluten free and a whole bag is like 18 calories, and a whole bag is too much!

              1. re: Emme

                yep, i discovered them at erewhon about 4 years ago, and i've been eating them ever since.

        2. My son has a dairy allergy but we aren't always gluten-free but here are our dairy-free favorites (most are gluten-free):
          Butter sub: Earth Balance tub
          Milk sub: Silk Enhanced Omega-3
          Cheese sub: Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella for pizza, Road's End Organics Kids and Cheddar Chreeze for macaroni (they have gluten-free versions)
          Chocolate: Scharfen Berger Baking Bars (semi-sweet and unsweetened), Tropical Source Toasted Almond Bars (gluten-free), Enjoy-Life chips (for when I don't feel like chopping chocolate), Chocolate Emporium ( for white chocolate chips, shaped chocolates for holidays (ie Easter bunnies) and chocolate lentils (M&M subs
          )Cream Cheese sub: Tofutti, I love the French Onion in mashed potatoes!
          Yogurt: Whole Soy & Co (blueberry is my son's favorite)
          Ice Cream: Tofutti, Tempations, Purely Decadent
          Frozen treats: Tofutti brand "Marry Me" bars are like dairy-free Dove bars, Tofutti Fudge Pops, Philadephia Swirl Cups
          Best Chicken Tenders: Bell and Evan's brand is the best! (gluten-free versions are good too)

          My son and I love soba noodles and I've found some brands at Asian markets are buckwheat/yam with no wheat.
          Definately not gluten-free but we love Divvies Chocolate Caramel Popcorn

          1. Mr. Krispers Rice Chips are excellent and addictive GF snack food. They come in several flavors, ar low fat, low cal, and a great healthy sub. for chips. Perfect for packing in lunches.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ArikaDawn

              oh, i forgot about mr. krispers! best GF chips on the planet.

              that reminds me, if you're not allergic to corn, there are some terrific roasted corn snacks out there for munching. WFM packages their own, and i also like the inka brand. they're both better than corn nuts. and there's also "glad corn," which is basically partially popped popcorn kernels - the stuff is delicious, and seriously addictive...


              one last snack favorite - sunridge farms veggie chips. except they're not really chips, they're dehydrated vegetables. i buy them i bulk at natural foods stores, and some locations of WFM carry their own house brand as well, packaged in those plastic flip-top containers.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Never heard of glad corn (kinda like an "alternative" popcorn) - sounds neat. Pop Nots is another one that sounds good but I haven't tried them myself. But I LOVE the semi popped kernels and old maids. There's a company called Chocoley that makes allergen and gf chocolate. It's delicious and you can pretty much coat anything with it.