Gluten-Free 101

1. Press the restart button on your diet and you’ll feel the difference.

Give yourself a break. When you or someone in your family is first diagnosed with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, it can be overwhelming. Go back to basics and eat naturally gluten-free foods you already know how to prepare. The list of what you can eat is endless. Stick to proteins, vegetables, fruits and starches, like potatoes, rice and polenta.

2. Say hi to your new gluten-free, dairy-free pantry.

Start by removing all of the foods containing gluten and dairy. Then, restock your cabinets, fridge and freezer so you have ingredients and snacks on hand that will make cooking and baking easier and faster. Once you’re all stocked up, all you have to do is make a weekly trip to the supermarket to round out your pantry with fresh ingredients, like fruits and vegetables, meats and fish.

3. Save time (and money) by using a gluten-free, dairy-free all-purpose flour blend.

Keep a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend on hand and you’ll be ready to make cookies, pancakes, bread and pizza when you want to. You can make your own blend or test drive ones at your supermarket.

My top 15 gluten-free and dairy-free pantry items.

  1. Cooking for Isaiah Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour (or your favorite blend)
  2. Cooking for Isaiah Gluten-Free Pancake, Waffle & Biscuit Mix (or your favorite mix)
  3. Dairy-free almond and rice milk (homemade or store-bought)
  4. Dairy-free coconut oil, non-hydrogenated all-vegetable shortening, buttery sticks and whipped buttery spread
  5. Gluten-free brown rice and corn pasta (homemade or store-bought)
  6. Gluten-free rice cereal, for eating and using as breadcrumbs
  7. Gluten-free sandwich bread (homemade or store-bought)
  8. Gluten-free deli meats and bacon
  9. Gluten-free chicken nuggets and fish sticks (homemade or store-bought)
  10. Gluten-free chicken and vegetable broth (homemade or store-bought)
  11. Gluten-free, dairy-free pretzels, potato chips, popcorn and tortilla chips
  12. Gluten-free, dairy-free waffles (homemade or store-bought)
  13. Dairy-free cocoa mix (homemade or store-bought)
  14. Dairy-free chocolate chips
  15. Dairy-free rice and almond frozen ice cream

My gluten-free, dairy-free baking tips.

My philosophy is that I can make anything gluten-free and dairy-free, and it’s going to look and taste like the original—or better.

1. Use as little gluten-free flour in a recipe as you can. Swap in ingredients like almond flour, cocoa powder or cornmeal. You can experiment until you get the taste you want or use my general rule of thumb: Substitute at least a quarter and up to one-half for the gluten-free flour blend.

2. The texture of your baked goods can be just like you remember. As with any baking, all ingredients should be at room temperature, especially eggs. Aerating helps lighten doughs and batters, too: Whisk together your dry ingredients and if a recipe calls for beating ingredients together, beat for a few more minutes. For a tender, moist crumb, use enough liquid in your recipes to hydrate the flours and starches. Also, a little boost in leavening helps. Go ahead and double the amount of baking powder in your recipes.

3. Looks are everything, especially to kids. Gluten-free flours tend to result in pale baked goods. Solution? Bake your sweets longer (up to 30 minutes) at a reduced temperature than usual (about 25 degrees) so the starches and sugars have time to caramelize. Also, choose a dark metal pan over a light one for more browning.

Ingredient Substitutions

You can swap ingredients to better fit your lifestyle or your family’s needs. If you do make the switch, your finished dish may look different than the one in the picture.

I use… You could also use…
Silvana’s Kitchen Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Your favorite homemade or store-bought blend, all-purpose gluten-full flour
Silvana’s Kitchen Gluten-Free Pancake & Waffle Mix Your favorite homemade or store-bought mix
Potato starch Arrowroot, cornstarch
Xanthan gum Guar gum, psyllium husk powder
Rice milk, store-bought or homemade almond milk Coconut milk, soy milk, hemp milk, flax milk, goat’s milk, cow’s milk
Almond milk creamer (homemade) Coconut milk creamer, soy milk creamer, heavy cream, whipping cream
Shortening, vegan butter (buttery sticks), softened unflavored coconut oil, vegan whipped buttery spread Margarine, applesauce (for some baking), lard, unsalted butter
Olive oil, canola oil, liquefied unflavored coconut oil Sunflower oil, peanut oil, walnut oil, rice bran oil
Brown rice and corn pasta White rice, quinoa, black bean and buckwheat pasta, gluten-full pasta
Eggs Flax gel, chia gel, xanthan gum, psyllium husk powder
Granulated sugar Evaporated cane sugar, coconut sugar
Brown rice syrup Honey, maple syrup, yacon syrup, date syrup, corn syrup, coconut nectar
Rice cereal crumbs Corn flake cereal crumbs, gluten-free breadcrumbs, gluten-free cracker crumbs, ground gluten-free oats