Gluten-free Cooking

October 5, 2010 by Kenmore

Are you gluten-intolerant, or do you live with someone who is?

Gluten is the generic name for proteins in wheat, rye, barley and other grains. If you follow a gluten-free diet, you can eat corn, all types of potatoes, rice, beans, soybeans, tapioca, arrowroot, carob, buckwheat, millet (bird seed), amaranth, flax and quinoa (try this recipe for quinoa salad). Distilled white wine vinegar has no gluten, but malt vinegar does – so malted products are a no-no.

Those who are gluten-intolerant cannot digest gluten in the small intestine (this is called celiac disease). When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, the good bacteria in their immune system can’t keep the bad bacteria in check. It also inhibits important nutrients from being absorbed properly, so these folks are more susceptible to illness.

Alternative recipes and meals

Teff makes a good breakfast cereal that’s tasty but takes about 20 minutes to prepare, so plan ahead! You can experiment with chia seeds, nut flours and chickpea flour. Try substituting quinoa or amaranth for bulgur in your recipes. Many of these alternatives have a very high protein content, so they are good options for a nutritious meal.

There’s a controversy around oats, which don’t contain gluten but are often processed with same equipment. Pure, uncontaminated oats may be eaten in moderation. Bob’s Red Mill has gluten-free organic oats as well as a selection of gluten-free “flours” made from rice, black beans, garbanzo beans and other non-gluten substitutes.

Check the label!

Gluten is present in stabilizers, starch, flavorings, emulsifiers, hydrolyzed ingredients, maltodextrin and spelt – so it may be so best to avoid these. Gluten may be included in unexpected foods; even ice cream and ketchup contain it.

Check your specialty stores like Whole Foods, which carries a wide range of safe-to-eat gluten-free foods. And of course, speak with your health care provider if you are concerned or if you suspect that you may be gluten-intolerant. A simple blood test can confirm this.

Gluten-free resources

Try these sites for gluten-free food products, and let us know how you’re coping and what you’re eating!

Little Fish Tacos with Cucumber Salad and Chipotle-Lime Aioli

Fish Rub:

  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 small red chili, seeded
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 lbs. white fish (tilapia, sole or basa filets)
  • Toothpicks for serving

Fish Rub: Put cilantro, paprika, cumin, chili, lime zest, olive oil and salt in a blender or food processor and process to a paste. Toss fish with the paste and let marinate for 20 minutes. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat until hot. Add fish in a single layer and cook 2 minutes. Turn and cook for 1 minute, or until the fish is opaque and just cooked. Transfer a cutting board and cut into 24 strips.

Cucumber Salad:

  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, sliced in half, seeded and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro chopped, plus some whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Cucumber Salad: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

24 small 4-inch corn tortillas

Tortillas: Wrap all tortillas in foil and warm in a 350ºF oven for 10 minutes.

Chipotle-Lime Aioli:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 chipotle in adobo, minced plus 1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped

Aioli: In a small bowl, mix all aioli ingredients.

Tacos: Place a piece of fish on each tortilla. Put a large dollop of aioli on the fish then top with a spoonful of cucumber salad. Roll into a cone and secure with a toothpick. Serve on a platter with lime wedges. Makes 24 little tacos.

Level of difficulty: Moderate
Preparation/Cook Time: 1 hour preparation time, 5 minutes, cook time
Cost: $30

Amaranth with Cilantro and Lime


  • 1 1/2 cups amaranth, rinsed under cold water
  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Cilantro and Lime Sauce:

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh jalapeño, including seeds
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Cooking Amaranth: In a 1-½ to 2-quart heavy saucepan, bring amaranth, water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover pan with tight-fitting lid. Cook 20-25 minutes until the amaranth is tender. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered with a towel over the pot and lid replaced tightly, for 5 minutes without opening the pot. Remove lid and fluff amaranth with a fork.

Purée: In a blender or food processor, purée cilantro, onion, scallion, jalapeño, lime juice, olive oil, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. (If necessary, add 1-2 Tablespoons of water to facilitate blending).

Assembly: Add cilantro mixture to the amaranth and fluff with a fork until well combined. Serves 8.

Level of difficulty: Easy
Preparation/Cook Time: 10 minutes preparation time, 30 minutes, cook time
Cost: $10

Kenmore recommends…

These recipes show us just how versatile a food processor is in the kitchen – no matter what you’re making!


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