How to Cook Gluten-Free Meals

The good news is that there are ways to ensure that you’re cooking gluten-free meals that are safe.  There are a few key things to keep in mind if you’re wondering how to cook gluten-free.

To ensure gluten-free meals you need to create a gluten-free food list to gain a better understanding of what foods you can eat. With a gluten-free food list you can avoid the foods with unsafe grains and starches, and have a sense for what you can and cannot have. Read labels to make sure that those grains and starches are not in what you want to buy. After you have purchased your gluten-free food, be sure to avoid cross contamination with foods with gluten in your kitchen. A good way to do this is to designate a part of your kitchen for your gluten-free foods.

To get a better sense of what gluten-free flour you like, you can buy different gluten-free baking mixes to test out. Finally, find a good gluten-free cookbook that highlights gluten-free recipes and tips on using the right ingredients to cook gluten-free meals. The following article, written by Teri Gruss, MS for About.com, details the five steps touched on above and offers deeper insight into cooking gluten-free.

5 Tips for New Gluten-Free Cooks

Cooking Without Gluten – What You Need to Know to Get Started

By Teri Gruss, MS, About.com Guide

Learn how to prepare yourself and your kitchen for safe and successful gluten-free cooking with these five tips for new gluten-free cooks.

    • Do you have questions about how to cook without gluten? Join our gluten-free cooking forum. Your questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome.
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1. Familiarize Yourself with Safe and Unsafe Grains and Starches

Gluten-free cooking is all about learning how to substitute gluten-free grains and starches for wheat, barley and rye, in all of their various forms.

Use our list of safe and unsafe grains and starches to learn which flours you can safely use in gluten free cooking. Take the list with you when you grocery shop and always read labels. If you see an ingredient that you aren’t sure about don’t hesitate to ask questions!

Gluten-Free Starch and Flour Glossary

2. Read Labels To Avoid Gluten in Processed Foods

Use this list of processed foods that are frequent sources of gluten as a guide when grocery shopping.

Gluten can turn up just about anywhere, so read product labels carefully! When you aren’t 100% certain that a food is gluten free,contact the manufacturer before buying it!

The Gluten Intolerance Group of North American® has initiated the first of its’ kind certification program, The Gluten Free Certification Organization for independent testing of products. Look for the GFCO logo (pictured), making shopping for gluten free foods easier and safer for gluten free cooks.

3. Prevent Cross-Contamination in Your Kitchen

Designate one area in your kitchen for storing your gluten-free cooking ingredients. Refrigerate or freeze whole grain gluten free flours in labeled, sealed containers.

Make sure your food prep surfaces, utensils, mixer and pans are free of any kind of gluten residue. Buy a new toaster and use it only for gluten-free toasting. It is very important to avoid cross-contamination of gluten-free foods with gluten.

Tips for Preventing Cross-Contamination

10 Kitchen Items to Label Gluten-Free

4. Buy Several Packaged Gluten-Free Baking Mixes

More and more groceries and natural foods stores carry a good selection of gluten-free ingredients and packaged gluten-free baking mixes. Buy a few of these packaged baking mixes and try them out. This will help you learn which gluten-free flour blends taste best to you. When you’re ready to start making your own gluten-free mixes you won’t waste money on ingredients that you don’t like!

Using packaged mixes is a fast, convenient way to see, first hand, how working with gluten-free flours is different than working with gluten flours.

Gluten-Free Product Reviews

5. Find A Good Gluten-Free Cookbook

Good gluten-free cookbooks are invaluable for new gluten-free cooks. Most have good glossaries and descriptions of gluten-free ingredients. Some gluten-free cookbooks even list Celiac support group contact information state-by-state.

Your local library is a great place to find an assortment of gluten-free cookbooks which you can review for yourself before buying.

For those people who are new to gluten-free diets due to Celiac, there is help. The beginner’s guide to going gluten-free from Celiac.com provides you with a wealth of helpful information about mastering a gluten-free diet. There are plenty of web sites that offer tips and recipes to help you cook gluten-free meals. GlutenFreeMommy.com lists 30 gluten-free snack ideas that will keep you (and your belly) satisfied.

Not only can you learn how to cook gluten-free meals or bake gluten-free desserts, but you have the choice of going to gluten-free restaurants that accommodate your needs.

Don’t worry about dining out, as there are gluten-free menu options at most restaurants. Be sure to do your research on the restaurants you are interested in. Check their websites to see if they offer gluten-free meals and call if you have questions about their gluten-free cooking and gluten-free baking methods.

Ceres Bistro offers both gluten-free lunch and gluten-free dinner menus. We care about our customers and we’re always willing to accommodate their specific needs and wishes.  Don’t hesitate to ask us about our gluten-free menus next time you’re in (or while making a reservation)!

There are ways to avoid foods with gluten; it just takes some research to know what to look for so you can cook gluten-free meals with ease.

Happy gluten-free cooking!