8 Easy Gluten Swaps

Requests for gluten-free dishes have become widespread with the increasing awareness of both celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Here are some common swaps to customer favorites making them gluten-free.

1.    Swap Soy Sauce for Tamari

They look and taste the same, making this an easy swap for any recipe that calls for soy sauce.

2.    Swap Wheat Pasta for Brown Rice, Corn or Quinoa Pasta

There are a variety of different gluten-free pastas on the market, all with slightly different textures. They key is to avoid overcooking these pastas, which can result in a mushy or gummy texture.

3.    Swap Couscous and Barley for Quinoa and Millet

Quinoa and Millet are two of my favorite gluten-free grains. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 222 calories—which is slightly higher than couscous and barley, however, it contains more protein and fiber.  One cup of cooked millet also has similar calories (207 per cup), but contains more protein than either couscous or barley. Due to their similarities in size and texture, quinoa works well as a couscous substitute, while millet does the trick in place of barley. Other gluten-free grains are amaranth, buckwheat, rice, sorghum and teff.

4.    Swap Flour Tortillas for Corn Tortillas

Corn is gluten-free and an easy swap for flour tortillas.

5.    Swap Breadcrumbs for Rice Crumbs or Cornmeal

When making meatloaf, meatballs, crab cakes or any dish calling for traditional breadcrumbs, there are many gluten-free breadcrumb options on the market using rice or corn. Cornmeal is another option available.

6.    Swap Flour for Cornstarch or Potato Starch

Whenever using flour to thicken liquids, such as sauces and gravies, use cornstarch instead. For proper substitutions, use a ratio of 1:3 --1 tablespoon of cornstarch in place of 3 tablespoons of flour.

7.    Swap All-Purpose Flour for Brown Rice Flour

For basic cooking uses, such as breading meats, fish or coating surfaces, brown rice flour can easily be used in place of all-purpose flour. It is also a great base for any baking mix. Brown rice flour is rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Photo by Flickr user  Andrea Nguyen  / CC BY 2.0

Photo by Flickr user Andrea Nguyen / CC BY 2.0

8.    Swap Traditional Baking Mixes for Gluten-Free Baking Mixes

For a simple swap, you can use a gluten-free baking or pancake mix, but for an optimal product you may want to make your own. This will most likely take some trial and error until you find the right texture you are looking for. Here are some gluten-free flours you may want to consider experimenting with:

Millet flour - has a dry, chalky consistency and a medium texture, which makes it a perfect sponge for any baked good containing moist fruit or large amounts of liquid.

Potato flour - grabs moisture, but low in fiber. Works well with brown rice flour to balance out the texture in cookie recipes and baked goods that contain less liquid. Take caution when using this flour, as it can burn easily.

Sorghum flour - this sweet flour has a dark, speckled cinnamon appearance and a course texture. High in iron, potassium, and phosphorus, it is a perfect base for quick breads, muffins, pancakes, and biscuits.  

Almond flour - adds protein, fiber, and essential minerals, along with a nice almond taste.

      Buckwheat flour - high in protein and fiber and has a nice nut-like flavor.

Quinoa flour - packed with protein, but use sparingly as it has a strong flavor. It is best used blended with other flours to avoid a crumbly product.

Coconut flour - high in fiber, providing 5 grams in just 2 tablespoons. While it does provide a coconut flavor, even a small amount can improve texture and add moisture to baked goods.

Garbanzo Bean flour - works well by itself if blended with other bean flours. Perfect for baking pizza, cookies, cakes and bread and a great way to add protein to baked goods. 


Blog Contributor

Blog Contributor

Toby Amidor, MS, RD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics. She is the owner of Toby Amidor Nutrition, where she provides nutrition and food safety consulting services for various entities including FoodNetwork.com, Sears FitStudio, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Bobby Deen’s Not My Mama’s Meals. For more information, visit her website.

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