10 Must-Have Ingredients For The Gluten-Free Pantry

If you are new to gluten-free living, this information will help you get started cooking gluten-free. Going gluten-free may seem overwhelming at first, but with the 10 must-have ingredients, you will find that gluten-free cooking can be fun. Where do you start? You love muffins, sandwiches, pizza, pasta and desserts so where do you go from here? Yes, you can buy most comfort foods gluten-free, but the cost is high, and most of the products are high in sugar, salt and starches. Not to mention the freshness, texture and flavour, none compare to home cooking. Let me show you how to get started living simply gluten-free

Yes, you will have to be more creative in the kitchen, but once you stock your pantry with the must-have ingredients, you will find that you can master gluten-free recipes with ease. This includes all the comfort foods you love and crave such as pizza, pasta muffins, fried chicken and desserts just to name a few

Here is a list of top 10 ingredients that are essential for the gluten-free pantry

All-purpose gluten-free flour blend

When you start baking, to simplify your recipes use all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. I find that this flour can be used same as regular flour in most recipes. Some gluten-free flour blends include xanthan gum, so make sure when a recipe calls for xanthan gum it isn’t already included in the flour blend. Do not use all-purpose gluten-free flour as a thickener for gravies or sauces, it doesn’t work as well as wheat flour. If you want to make a gluten-free flour blend, I have included my favourite recipe below

Almond flour

I love almond flour because it adds moisture and a slightly nutty flavour to gluten-free baked goods. You can also use it in meatballs or meatloaf instead of breadcrumbs. Almond flour is nutritious and high in protein

Starches

Starches are lovely thickeners for sauces and gravies, but also in baking. The common starch used in gluten-free cooking is corn starch, tapioca starch also known as tapioca flour, arrowroot starch also known as arrowroot flour and potato starch (not potato flour). When I first started creating gluten-free recipes I used corn starch which I no longer use in my recipes. Most corn is genetically modified and is a grain limiting this starch from some diets such as paleo. I always use arrowroot or tapioca starch now

Xanthan gum

This ingredient adds something that gluten has, bouncy texture to baked goods. Some gluten-free flour blends may include xanthan gum

Gluten-free noodles


Gluten-free noodles are essential in your pantry. From Italian pasta dishes to Asian foods noodles are a must-have in the gluten-free pantry. Since I create many Ethnic recipes, I use gluten-free rice noodles, they are easy to prepare and won’t get mushy. I also love gluten-free buckwheat noodles, they are healthier but costly. For my Italian dishes, I use white rice pasta or rice and quinoa mix

Gluten-free rice

Not all rice is gluten-free! Find rice that states gluten-free or Indian rice packaged in India, such as basmati oh so delicious! Rice can be used in many dishes from fried rice to rice pudding making this an essential ingredient in the gluten-free pantry. My favourite is Indian rice because I always get excellent results in my recipes

Spices


I know what you are thinking, aren’t spices gluten-free? Yes, and no. Most spices are manufactured in a factory where there is also wheat. So there is a risk of cross-contamination. I only buy organic spices or organic certified-gluten-free spices. They are gluten-free and more flavourful.

Gluten-Free Chicken Stock

Most of us don’t have time to make homemade chicken stock.  Chicken stock is used in many recipes such as soups, stews, casseroles, gravies and sauces. Try and find one that is also salt-free, or low sodium, some chicken stocks are very high in salt. This is my favourite gluten-free chicken stock

Gluten-Free Tamari Sauce

Pure tamari sauce is gluten-free soy sauce and is used in many Asian recipes. If you venture into ethnic cooking, this is a must-have ingredient. I also use tamari sauce in some of my vinaigrettes.

Gluten-Free Bread


This is a biggie! The selection of gluten-free bread is growing every day. Find one or two that you love and always keep some in the freezer. They make excellent sandwiches, French toast, garlic bread or breadcrumbs. The downside of buying gluten-free bread, it is costly. Here are easy to make gluten-free bread recipes

 

Once you stock up on these 10 essential gluten-free ingredients, you will find that gluten-free cooking is not that hard. All you have to add is fruit and vegetables, fats, seeds and nuts, sweeteners and proteins, all of which are naturally gluten-free. Please keep in mind that when you buy a product or ingredient that you think is naturally gluten-free, it can still be cross-contaminated with gluten. So read the label, it must state that it has been processed in a factory that also handles wheat. If you do get accidentally exposed to gluten, this article will show you how to recover faster

Here is my favourite flour blend  (makes 9 cups)

1 1/2 cups sweet sorghum flour

1 1/2 cups white rice flour

3 cups arrowroot starch

3 cups tapioca starch

3 Tbsp. Potato flour (not starch)

Add flours in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months

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