It’s easy to create delicious gluten-free food when you choose easy-to-adapt recipes. We all have favorite homemade foods. Many are family traditions that connect us to comfort, loved ones, and happy memories. We don’t want to lose those connections when we change food selections in order to be healthy.
While some family recipes may be difficult to replicate in exact texture and taste, many will require only minor substitutions. I like to start with those. Beginning with simple adaptations builds confidence and creates a more soothing transition to a new lifestyle.
If you’re beginning a gluten-free regimen and hope to create your family’s holiday favorites, consider easy-to-adapt recipes for:
If you make broccoli, corn, green bean, or squash casserole thickened with flour, try substituting corn starch, sweet white sorghum flour, or oat flour as the thickener.
For those in the South, this one is easy. Most likely, your family stuffing recipe uses cornbread as a base. All you’ll need to do is make cornbread that does not contain flour. Everything else can stay the same.
Custard, panna cotta, and crème brûlée recipes are usually gluten-free without any adaptation.
Pudding recipes will most likely use corn starch to thicken. Vanilla pudding can easily be turned into banana pudding. If you aren’t comfortable making the cookies for banana pudding, purchase gluten-free arrowroot or sugar cookies.
Many pie fillings are traditionally gluten-free–pecan, pumpkin, sweet potato, cherry, apple, chocolate, coconut cream, lemon meringue, and key lime. If you’re new to a gluten-free diet, just make the filling at home and purchase a packaged or frozen gluten-free crust.
Cheesecake filling is also normally gluten-free. If your recipe is not, Cooking2Thrive has one that is. You can serve cheesecake without a crust or choose a pre-made gluten-free graham-style crust.
Since cookies do not need to be fluffy, they’re easy to adapt. Before trying flour mixes, start with peanut butter cookies which can be made without any flour. Another easy-to-adapt option is chocolate, peanut butter no-bake cookies. Substitute gluten-free oatmeal for regular oatmeal.
Broth based soups like chicken with rice or chicken noodle will normally only require a substitution of gluten-free noodles. If your recipe begins with store-bought chicken stock, there are many gluten-free brands available.
Tomato soup and chili do not need tomato paste to be thick. Substitute Pomi tomatoes for canned or fresh tomatoes in your recipe.
The potatoes in potato soup provide an automatic thickener so no flour is needed. Many potato soup recipes do not include flour.
Clam or seafood chowder can be made using only potatoes as a thickener. If you feel you need a little something extra, use corn starch.
Make the roux for gumbo by deeply browning some sweet white sorghum or oat flour in fat.
All the Rest
The most common holiday entrees will not need to change. If your family chooses pot roast that is dredged in flour, use sweet white sorghum or oat flour.
Bread based stuffing or bread pudding can be made using store-bought gluten-free bread if you’re not at the point at which you are comfortable with gluten-free baking.
When the family gathers for breakfast, consider frittatas, roasted potatoes, and fresh fruit or omelets, grits, and smoothies. You can easily add frozen gluten-free waffles, muffins, or donuts.
As you can see, adapting a recipe can be incredibly simple. When you begin with easy changes, switching to a gluten-free diet will look less daunting and feel more user friendly. That’s why I like to choose easy-to-adapt recipes!