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May 10, 2013 04:02 AM

Help!!! Cooking for friend who has gluten allergies!

A friend of mine has gluten allergies and I am trying to put together a meal for her and her boyfriend. I was going to make a good Southern meal with fried green tomatoes, squash casserole and other things that include the use of panko bread crumbs and crackers. Are there any substitutes for the bread crumbs or crackers that won't alter the taste too much?

Changing gears, I can make a good pasta dish and substitute these noodles I bought that are gluten free but what about a good gluten free crusty bread? Is that available anywhere?

Has anyone substituted another ingredient for flour in fried shrimp? Or another ingredient for crackers in crabcakes? Has anyone used cornstarch in the place of flour or rice flour?

Many thanks for any suggestions!

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  1. Garbanzo flour (a.k.a. gram flour, besan, etc.)is great for deep frying. Here in Spain it's used to make tortillitas de camarĂ³n--shrimp fritters. You can look for Indian recipes, too

    1. Depending on the area you live in your local large supermarket may have a gluten free section, including breads. While GF bread has come a long way in the last few years, a lot of varieties are actually best toasted! For crunchy crumb coatings, I've used GF cornflakes - but you might want to taste them first to make sure they aren't a super sweet variety. Stores that have GF ranges will also usually sell rice/corn "pasta".

      I've used cornflour before for dredging and pan frying and find that it's better for this purpose than rice flour, however I've never attempted GF crab cakes, so I couldn't advise you on that one.

      In terms of GF meals, I've found it easier to make dishes that are naturally GF, rather than drive myself crazy trying to find substitute ingredients. Risotto, soups, stews, grilled/baked/roasted meats, fish and shellfish, salads, certain types of grains, all vegetables, most dairy! Don't over think it too much - while my GF friends always appreciate being able to eat something that they can't usually have (pizza, pasta, sandwiches) because it's been made with GF products, they also really enjoy having meals that are simply GF as they come.

      It helps if the gluten allergy is the only restriction too. I lived with a GF friend and she was a dream to cook for, because she ate anything she could. Cooking for GF vegans and vegetarians was more challenging and educational for me, because I tended to rely on being able to make large quantities of (eggless) pasta and that option goes out the window if you aren't close to a suply of GF pasta.

      One thing to keep in mind is checking for wheat and gluten in unexpected places - if using pre-made stocks, sauces and condiments check your labels.

      1. On the crab cake front, I've had good success with this recipe using coconut flour:

        1. I agree with ulti matepotato... make something naturally gluten free so you don't have to play the substitution game.

          Tasty GF bread is hard to come by, IMO.

          I bet you could use rice flour for your fried shrimp... but experimentation is usually needed to find the right formula when exploring GF substitutions.

          So... how about: Roasted chicken with baked (or boiled or mashed or roasted) potatoes and steamed asparagus or green beans. Or a rice pilaf would work instead of potatoes. Also read all labels (for example wheat is listed as the first or second ingredient in most soy sauces...).

          You are a good friend for doing this!
          Good Luck,