We have quite a few friends who are maintaining a gluten-free diet, and we’ve been curious about it for a while. But what does it really entail? Would we have to give up bread, pizza, and cookies? Because that would be kind of a big problem in our house. That’s why, when Udi’s Gluten Free Foods sent us a sampler pack of breads, muffins, and rolls, we had sort of an “a-ha” moment. We could do this – for real!
Quick gluten-free primer: A gluten-free diet is one that excludes gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. This diet is critically important for those with celiac disease (gluten causes intestinal inflammation in celiac patients), but gluten-free diets are also becoming increasingly popular for people with a wide range of other health concerns. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, you need to avoid all traditional flours, cookies, pastas, crackers, cereals, prepared salad dressings, and sauces. For a good reference on all things gluten-free, our friend Dr. Jean Layton (aka Gluten-Free Doctor) has recently updated her comprehensive list of ingredients to avoid for a gluten-free diet.
Back to our Udi’s box: When we surveyed the contents we realized it would be possible to have a completely normal day’s worth of food – all of it gluten-free – without anyone feeling like we were sacrificing our favorite tastes. Inside, there were three types of bread, muffins, bagels, hamburger buns, and pizza crusts. And – hooray! – they all tasted great. Here’s how we pulled it all together for a day:
Breakfast: Gluten-Free Breakfast Pizza
This had to be just about our favorite meal of the day. The thin crust was crispy and a little chewy – exactly what you would want in a pizza – and the eggs and cheese made the perfect counterpart.
We had to bring sandwiches for a kids’ event so we put together a few of these little sandwiches. If we hadn’t mentioned that they were gluten-free, we doubt anyone would have noticed.
For snack we thought about making regular hummus, but we decided to bring in some more real fall colors, so we added a carrot to give us a nice earthy orange look. Served with little gluten-free crouton sticks, this hummus was so delicious we almost ate it all before taking a picture. Oops.
When we make burgers, we usually mix the ground meat with bread crumbs or bread cubes made from slightly stale bread. For this gluten-free version, we took three end pieces from the gluten-free wheat and white breads, pulsed them in a food processor to make about 3/4 of a cup of breadcrumbs, and then added the breadcrumbs to the meat mixture. (We served these with a side of grilled endive.)
Of course, if you’re going to eat gluten-free, you’re going to need to do it for more than a day. And you probably won’t have as much of a carb-heavy day as we’ve demonstrated here. But the point is, it’s possible, and you don’t have to give up your favorites if you do. Thank you, Udi’s, for helping us see that it’s possible!
Disclaimer: I was provided with samples from Udi’s. I was not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are my own.