More and more people are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon, be it for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, weight loss, or increased energy. There are a number of benefits associated with giving up this starchy substance, even for those who don’t have any issues digesting it. But the question for some is: “What will I replace it with?” A diet free of gluten doesn’t have to be void of satisfaction. Here are six hearty meal ideas featuring gluten-free grains.
Sorghum Breakfast Bowls
Forget eggs and toast, and start your day with greens and grains instead. Sorghum is a firm, round grain similar to couscous. Wilt your favorite greens (spinach, kale and swiss chard are all good choices) into warm cooked sorghum, toss with crumbled bacon and pesto, and top with a poached egg and sprinkle of fresh parmesan. You’ll feel like you’re treating yourself to a trendy café brunch, while fueling your day with gratifying nutrients. Pre-cook a large batch of sorghum in advance to use throughout the week, and this meal will come together before your coffee is finished brewing.
Crock-Pot Lentil Soup
Craving something warm, filling, and convenient? The crock-pot is your friend. While technically considered a “grain legume,” lentils pack a nutritious punch and slowly digest starches to keep your blood sugars low and stomach full. Finely chop some onions, garlic, carrots, and celery and toss them into a slow cooker with dry lentils (about a half cup per desired serving). Add chicken/vegetable broth or water (at a ratio of about three parts liquid to one part lentils) and submerge a whole smoked turkey leg in the mixture. Cook until your house smells delicious. Remove the turkey leg and shred the meat into the soup, stir in a bit of cream if you wish, and finish with a handful of frozen peas. Yum.
Quinoa Arugula Salad
Why is it that home-made salads never taste as good as the ones crafted in restaurants? This superfood salad may be the exception. You are probably well aware of the bounty of healthy goodness found in quinoa, and adding a little starch to your salad makes it infinitely more satisfying than veggies alone. Combine cooked quinoa with a handful of arugula, avocado, feta, red onion, and shelled edamame. If you’re feeling especially fancy, add some finely shopped mint. Toss the salad with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon and Dijon mustard, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add chicken too, if you’d like. This ain’t your average rabbit-food salad.
Coconut Millet “Oatmeal”
Here is another breakfast swap to warm you up on cold winter mornings. Millet is a cereal grain that can be a bit dry, so it’s best suited for creamy recipes with extra liquid. This method couldn’t be any easier. Simmer one part millet in three parts water and a pinch of salt until tender (about 15 minutes). Once soft, add a heaping spoonful of full-fat coconut milk and keep over low heat until heated through. Top with your favorite oatmeal mix-ins, such as shredded coconut, chopped nuts, dried fruit, pure maple syrup, or even shaved dark chocolate. Then immediately look forward to the following morning, when you can have another bowl of it.
Mexican Buckwheat Skillet
Most Mexican recipes feature rice. While rice is perfectly gluten free, why not mix it up every now and then? If you have trouble finding buckwheat at your local grocer, it’s also commonly known as kasha. This fiber-filled grain cooks up quickly, making it perfect for a one-pot dinner. Brown a pound of ground beef with garlic and onion until cooked through. Add about a cup of uncooked buckwheat kernels, a can of diced tomatoes, green chiles and corn, a packet of taco seasoning, and a cup or two of water. In just about 10 minutes, you’ll be ready to eat. Finish with your favorite Mexican toppings, like cheese, cilantro, avocado, olives, jalapeños, or sour cream. Olé!
Indian Chickpea Curry
Think you can’t make your own Indian curry at home? Think again! Patak’s curry paste makes it as easy and delicious to experiment with exotic cuisine in your own kitchen. Like lentils, chickpeas are also technically “grain legumes,” but their starchy heartiness and gluten-freeness makes them a popular choice for several grain-like applications and the perfect partner for this spicy dish. For the simplest and quickest dinner ever, combine chopped onion and a can of chickpeas with a heaping spoonful of the curry paste in a skillet. Sauté until fragrant and add a can of coconut milk, simmering the mixture on low. Add veggies if you’d like, such as green peas or a handful of spinach, and serve over basmati rice. You can even add your favorite meat, but this protein-packed dish is unlikely to make you miss it.
What gluten-free grain recipes do you love? Share with us below.