9 Fresh Ways to Enjoy Naturally Gluten-Free Produce

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When you are eating gluten-free, you are probably more used to hearing what you need to avoid than what you can add to your diet. Would you be surprised to learn that there are some food groups where the saying, “The more, the better,” applies?

What more should you be adding to your meals? Fruits and vegetables! That should be a refreshing piece of information about food and diet for anyone who needs to avoid gluten. Most of us do not eat the recommended amounts of either fruit or vegetables, so you’re doing your health a favor by adding in more.

The Good News About Fresh Produce

There are a lot of positive things to say about vegetables and fruits. They are possibly the most nutritious and healthy of all the food groups, for anyone, gluten-free or not. They are also:

  • Naturally gluten-free.*
  • Full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Beautiful and colorful. What other food groups cover the entire rainbow? We eat with our eyes, too, so vibrant, visually appealing foods can be more enjoyable to eat.
  • Varied in texture. How they are prepped can increase their texture appeal. They can be diced or chunked; shredded, sliced, or grated.
  • Delicious raw or cooked to provide different tastes and textures to complement any meal—or as a standalone snack.
  • There is no single right way to eat a fruit or vegetable. Try veggies raw, steamed, roasted, grilled, shredded, sliced, whole, and stuffed. Try fruits grilled, baked, spiralized, or added to savory dishes.

*While plain fruits and vegetables are gluten-free, always confirm the ingredients in any add-ons or seasonings.

 

Fresh Produce Ideas

Depending on how you prepare them, fruits and vegetables can create vastly different culinary experiences. They can be substituted for other foods, even gluten-containing foods. They can be added to dishes in unexpected ways to create new taste sensations.

Here are some fresh ways to use or prepare fruits and vegetables.

1) As a pasta substitute. Use zucchini, eggplant, or spaghetti squash, any of which go especially well with tomato-based sauces.

  • Spiralized zucchini can stand in for spaghetti and is as much fun to make as it is to eat.
  • Wide slices of zucchini and/or eggplant can be used in place of pasta noodles in your favorite lasagna recipe.
  • Spaghetti squash can be baked or microwaved and gently pulled apart with a fork. Add marinara and, voila! It’s ready to go.

 

2) As a crust substitute for quiche. Make a crunchy, flavorful crust for your quiche out of potatoes, shredded, or use hashbrowns. Fill it with a gluten-free egg and cheese quiche mixture along with herbs and your favorite finely chopped vegetables.  https://everydaypie.com/potato-pie-crust/

 

3) Stuffed. A lot of larger vegetables can be hollowed out and filled with a variety of gluten-free ingredients. Some can be eaten cold—like a tomato stuffed with homemade tuna salad—or baked for a warm and hearty side dish or meal.               

  • Zucchini. Split lengthwise to create a perfect vessel for stuffing. The filling options are endless. Here’s a recipe to try with a Middle Eastern twist. 
  • Bell peppers. Cut off the tops, and they are ready to fill. Here’s a delicious one-dish meal option featuring stuffed peppers with a Mediterranean flair. 
  • Winter squash. Side dish or one-dish dinner? Your choice! Stuffing ingredients that go well with a squash shell include wild rice, quinoa, ground meat of choice, a few dried cranberries, and even some walnuts for texture. Find a recipe or make up your own using your favorites or give this vegan and gluten-free one using butternut squash a try.

4) Roasted and grilled. Roasting and grilling fresh produce brings out delicious flavors, whether summer vegetables like asparagus or corn on the cob or root vegetables that are classic in fall and winter meals like sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and rutabagas. All you need to get started is a little olive oil and salt, and if you like, your herbs of choice.

Fruit has a place on the grill too. Grilled pineapple is a delicious option or give this recipe for grilled summer fruit a try.

 

5) Baked and stuffed apples.  You don’t have to bake a pie to get warm, cinnamon-y, apple goodness in a beautiful presentation. Try this recipe with an oatmeal filling. Use only oats that are labeled, or better yet, GFCO-certified gluten-free.

For a quick snack or dessert along the same lines, cut an apple into slices about a quarter-inch thick, sprinkle with cinnamon, and microwave for about 20 seconds at a time until the apples have reached the texture you like.

 

6) Fruit in savory dishes. Mixing sweet with savory or salty foods makes for an appealing taste contrast.  Add some diced apple or pear or a handful of berries to a green salad for a pop of sweetness.  Fruit and cheese make a classic sweet and salty combination. Give it a new spin in this salad combining shrimp, watermelon, and feta cheese. www.myrecipes.com/recipe/shrimp-watermelon-feta-salad

 

7) Fruit in a salsa. Pick from your favorite fruit and use diced or finely chopped instead of tomato in any salsa recipe. Some fruits that work well in salsa include mango, pineapple, and peach. Fruit salsa can be eaten with chips or as a side with meats or salads. Here’s a fruit salsa recipe you can try with either raw or grilled fruit.

 

8) Roast some radishes. Not everyone appreciates the intense, peppery flavor of a radish. Did you know you can roast radishes in the same way you roast beets and other vegetables? Slice your radishes – not too thinly – and toss in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, black pepper, and your choice of herbs, if you’d like. Lay the slices out on a cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees. Roasting mellows out the radish’s intensity creating a softer, sweeter flavor. Roast radishes alongside purple and golden beets for a delicious and visually pleasing side dish. Keep in the oven a little longer and turn the radishes and beets into crispier chips that make a tasty snack.

 

9) Blended or juiced. Don’t forget you can blend fruits and vegetables into smoothies or juice them either by hand when using citrus fruits or with a powerful juicer to extract juice from harder fruits like apples and carrots. Even if you’re making a smoothie out of sweet and juicy fruits, toss in a few green, leafy veggies for an extra boost of nutrients. The same goes for juicing. Add in a piece of beet and a little ginger root to pep up an apple/carrot juice.

 

As you can see, there are virtually no limits to how you can prepare and eat—or drink—your fruits and vegetables. Enjoy!

 

 

The information on this website is for educational purposes only. Consult your healthcare team when considering this information.

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