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Mar 25, 2009 02:00 PM

Help! I need gluten free, dairy free meal ideas!

I have agreed with my nutritionist to do a 30 day experiment and go gluten free and dairy free (eggs are OK, but no cheese, milk, yogurt, etc.). I've discovered a couple good gluten-free websites, but am looking for specific meal ideas for all meals - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks (and desserts) - that will work and help keep me motivated, since my biggest fear is that I just end up eating the same thing over and over.

Many thanks in advance for all ideas and advice! -- FD

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  1. No dairy is actually not that hard (my son can't have dairy) but you have to watch out for things like whey on labels. Can you use soy cheese? It's not great, but when you get shredded soy cheese, it actually melts okay.

    I make scrambled eggs for breakfast or without soy cheese. If soy is ok, there is soy yogurt (I get Trader Joe's brand).

    I just made this for dinner the other night and it was actually very good -- No Stir Risotto. I can't be certain on the gluten free part, but is seems like it would be okay.

    I've got a whole load of recipes that have no dairy, but not sure of what kinds of things you like? Chicken, beef?

    Here's a website that has a lot of info on gluten and dairy free...not sure if you saw this one.

    11 Replies
    1. re: valerie

      Soy is fine. And thanks for the reminder - I completely forgot about whey. I was going to add whey protein powder to my smoothies! I like pretty much everything except am not big on eggs, so breakfast is going to be the hardest. I can stomach a frittata, but not fried or poached or scrambled. I love fish, chicken and beef but eat very little pork. I eat some beans, but tend to prefer lentils and ceci beans. Thanks for any ideas - this will be a challenge for me

      1. re: farmersdaughter

        I often take recipes and just adapt them. My chicken marsala recipe is super easy and delicious. It calls for the chicken pieces to be lightly floured, but you could easily make it without using flour. It is not essential. I'd be happy to share the recipe if you want.

        Same with a recipe that I have for Chicken with Cranberry Mustard Sauce. You don't need to use the flour and you don't need the butter at all (or you can use Earth Balance).

        I have not made this Shrimp and Polenta, but I have it on file since I think it sounds good. The polenta calls for butter, you could use Earth Balance instead.

        This grilled chicken with lemon and oregano it very good and you can have it with potatoes.

        I make a lot of asian stir-fry types of dishes since they have no dairy and serve them with rice, and there are wheat-free soy sauces out there that you could use.

        This recipe for Halibut with capers, tomatoes and olives is very adaptable to use with chicken or fish. I never use the clam juice.

        And same with this chicken with grape tomatoes...very adaptable to whatever you have on hand.

        Oh, and Trader Joe's has gluten-free, dairy-free pancakes, but I have to say that they are not that great. The texture is kind of gummy....I often just spend an hour making a batch of dairy-free pancakes (you can use soy milk or rice milk) and then freezing them. But I'm not sure what you'd do about the flour.

        Check out this website too, maybe there will be some things that will work for you.

        1. re: valerie

          What is Earth Balance? Sounds like something I need to look into.

          1. re: farmersdaughter

            It's non-dairy butter/margarine substitute.

              1. re: farmersdaughter

                Let's face it, butter is butter, but the Earth Balance is really not bad. I don't use a lot of it for anything, but it is handy to have around.

                Also, I keep this Better Than Cream Cheese around too. It tastes like a "light" cream cheese, but sometimes I use a little bit to give a baked pasta dish a creamy texture. I don't know if it is gluten-free, however. I get it at Trader Joe's.


                1. re: valerie

                  I use the tofutti cream cheese and the Earth Balance products and I'm happy with both. Tofutti also makes a faux sour cream, but also not sure if it's GF

                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    You need to be careful of glucous in many products (and in sodas and flavored seltzers) It is from wheat.

                  2. re: valerie

                    I can't deal with the better than cream cheese. It has an odd taste to me, but I really like the Earth Balance butter. We even use it on popcorn. I think it tastes good and similar to butter.

        2. re: valerie

          Most if not all soy has casein. That is dairy.
          There are some almond cheeses that are dairy free.

        3. I have a dear friend who does not eat red meat, gluten, dairy, eggs or sugar. Here are my go-tos for feeding her:

          Grilled or baked fish, served with lemon/olive oil/onion or tofu/dill sauce
          potatoes in almost any manner
          sweet potatoes -- baked or mashed
          many kinds of green salads
          vegetable salads
          steamed vegetables
          lentil soup or lentil salad
          vegetable soups
          chickpea salad or hummus
          tofu and veggie stirfry
          nuts -- on the side or in salads and such

          For dessert I simply serve her fresh fruit or this ice creamy thing called Coconut Bliss (but you have many fewer restrictions when it comes to desserts).

          1. Spagetti squash with tomato based sauces.
            Quiona. Great for salads. Also fine for breakfast. Don't be afraid to eat things that aren't normally for breakfast.
            Peanut Butter is great on Rice Cakes and works well for breakfast.
            Polenta for breakfast as an oatmeal substitue.
            Use Soy, Rice or Almond milk for the polenta or for smoothies.
            Double check if soy cheese is okay, almost all of it has Casin which is from milk.

            If the diet helps, you may want to see someone who can do through allergy tests. I have a friend who was told she was lactous intolerent until she went to some who really investigated things and it turned out she is allergic to cow's milk. She is okay with goat and sheep and it has made a big difference.

            Good luck, hope it helps.

            1. I second quinoa. I do a basic quinoa, corn, red pepper mix, season simply with fresh parseley, salt, pepper and olive oil. yum. and a complete protein.

              also barley. I've been making a greek salad with barley, chickpeas, cucumber, lemon juice, olive oil.season with salt/pepper/parseley. i add feta (is sheeps milk ok??? sometimes it is) but you could skip that.

              also check out this blog,

              her recipes are gluten free

              hummus is also gluten free/dairy free

              popcorn is a great snack.

              be careful of oats, they are often contaminated in production with wheat. but you can use brown rice to make a hot breakfast cereal....use cooked rice, nuke with whatever dairy replacement you are using, season as you would oatmeal. like a hot rice pudding, delish!

              5 Replies
              1. re: ediecooks

                Ooh, I don't know if sheep's milk and goat's milk are part of the deal. I will check. Thanks for the reminder. I thought barley was a wheat product?

                She's already warmed me that unless I buy oats that are certified wheat free, no oatmeal or granola for me.

                  1. re: farmersdaughter

                    For a 30 day trail, you probably will just avoid all dairy, but check it out later.

                    1. re: Stuffed Monkey

                      Yes, she told me to avoid all dairy, including sheep and goat products. Sigh.

                  2. re: ediecooks

                    barley is *NOT* gluten free.

                    ETA: oops, i see lgss beat me to it...but it bears repeating.

                  3. gluten free and dairy free (eggs are OK, but no cheese, milk, yogurt, etc.). NOT A BIG DEAL!

                    Learn to like eggs! Learn to like soy/almond and rice milk. Thankfully we have those things today; Twenty years ago we didn't.

                    BTW, your nutritionist doesn't know her stuff if she says you *must* buy gluten-free oats and have not been diagnosed with extreme Ceiac disease. Gluten is, by definition, only found in wheat - not oats. The only possible gluten in oats (on a few parts per billion level) comes when some companies like Quaker, process oats on the same machinery as they process wheat without washing the equipment down between jobs. Only if you are diagnosed with extreme celiac disease is absolute 100% no gluten and "gluten free oats" an issue. As the Exec Chef of a company developing GF baked goods I've been educating myself on this very subject over the past few months.

                    Your biggest craving will be for wheat bread. Get used to corn tortillas, corn bread, etc. unless you bake your own breads using GF flour mixes.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: KiltedCook

                      Fortunately I love corn tortillas and polenta, so I'm definitely going to be eating a lot of them. And thanks for the education about gluten in oats. I don't buy Quaker oats, and the oats I do buy from my vegetarian co-op store here in San Francisco, but I would be comfortable that they are not processed on the same machinery as wheat. I will check and see, though, because I would be so happy if I could have oatmeal.

                      1. re: farmersdaughter

                        My daughter is restricted to a gluten-free and a CORN free diet (that's SO much harder!). I buy her oatmeal from Whole Foods-I am so sorry I cannot recall the brand at the moment: it does say suitable for gluten-free diets somewhere on the package.
                        However, it does not 'cook up' like regular oatmeal: it requires a longer cooking time. But be patient with it because it is good.

                        It will also serve as a flour substitute in an Apple Crisp...just buzz the dry oats through your food processer before adding to brown sugar, Earth Balance (or whatever) and cinnamon for your topping.

                        Also check the website for Celiac Foundation for food ideas and recipes.

                        1. re: farmersdaughter

                          the GF oats LJS buys from Whole Foods are most likely from Bob's Red Mill. just be sure the get the package that specifically says "Gluten-Free," because they distribute several varieties.

                          the two other brands of GF oats available here in the States are Nature's Gift and "Lara's Oats" from Cream Hill Estates....both of which are usually sold at smaller health food or specialty stores, and are typically more expensive than Bob's Red Mill.

                          understand something about oats,'s not just an issue of cross-contamination in the processing. the conventional crops are often grown near wheat fields, and the oats can become contaminated before they're even which point processing doesn't even matter. so it's *very* important to stick to *certified* GF oats.

                          1. re: farmersdaughter

                            I used to love a fried egg and polenta, before I had to give up eggs.

                            I make a lot of my own granola using gluten free oats, buckwheat, and a combination of whatever dried fruits and nuts I have lying around the house.

                            I also keep a lot of apples and peanutbutter around for quick snacks.

                            Lara bars are good for grab on the go food. They are also now getting out in a lot of stores like Target. I usually stop and grab a box if I get the munchies while I am out shopping.