Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone is going gluten-free? While necessary for some, a gluten-free diet seems almost trendy right now!   If you’re having a dinner party or have a family member who is gluten-free, it can be difficult knowing what to feed them. But gluten-free dinners aren’t as tricky as they sound and can be adapted so that even those who aren’t gluten-free will enjoy them. In fact if you’re clever they won’t even notice (or have to know) that it’s gluten-free!

But what is Gluten?   Gluten is a type of protein contained in several grains. Those with Coeliac disease need to strictly avoid gluten. Other people may avoid gluten for health or other reasons. Gluten is found in the following grain products:

▪   Wheat

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▪   Rye
▪   Barley
▪   Triticale
▪   Spelt
▪   Kamut
▪   Oats*

*Note: some people are ok with oats verses the other grains.   These grains are commonly used to make products such as bread, pasta, cereals, noodles, cakes, biscuits etc. It may seem like there are a lot of grains that can’t be consumed but in this day and age, there are gluten-free alternatives to almost everything e.g. gluten-free breads, pastas, cereals and bakery goods. And the great news is that most of these now taste quite similar to the ‘real’ versions so unsuspecting guests may never know…   There are many grains or carbohydrates commonly used in meals that are naturally gluten-free, here are some:

▪   Rice
▪   Corn
▪   Quinoa
▪   Amaranth
▪   Buckwheat
▪   Tapioca
▪   Millet
▪   Legumes e.g. chickpeas, kidney beans, soy beans etc
▪   Nuts and seeds
▪   Potato and sweet potato
▪   Pumpkin

So you simply can swap gluten-containing products for the gluten-free versions e.g. pasta or bread, or use the naturally gluten-free wholefood instead!

4 Delicious Gluten Free Dinner Recipes   If you’re still unsure of how to go about making tasty gluten-free meals, here are 4 delicious recipes you can try that everyone will love!

Thai Chicken Curry   (Serves 4)   Ingredients

▪   1 tbsp oil
▪   3 garlic cloves, crushed
▪   2 tsp finely grated ginger
▪   1 large brown onion, finely sliced
▪   3 tbsp Thai red curry paste
▪   1 cup chicken stock
▪   1 can (250ml) light coconut milk (or use low fat coconut flavoured evaporated milk to reduce the kilojoules and fat)
▪   2 medium carrots, sliced into thin circles
▪   1 cup green beans, cut in half
▪   ½ cup sliced mushrooms
▪   ½ medium red capsicum, sliced thinly
▪   500g lean chicken breast, cut into 2cm cubes
▪   Juice of 2 limes
▪   1 tbsp soy or fish sauce
▪   Salt to taste
▪   ¼ cup fresh basil or coriander to garnish
▪   2-3 cups cooked steamed brown rice to serve

Method

1, Place a large saucepan on medium heat and heat the oil. Add the garlic, ginger, onion and carrots and sauté until onion just goldens (4-5 minutes). Add the beans, capsicum, mushrooms and chicken and sauté for a further 4-5 minutes until chicken just starts to colour.

2, Add the curry paste, milk and chicken stock and stir well to combine. Reduce the heat to low medium and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, lime juice and salt and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Check the chicken is cooked through and remove from heat.

3, Serve curry on a bed brown rice and garnish with basil or coriander leaves

gluten-free-dinner-recipes

Image by Travlr

Balsamic Steak with Creamy Polenta & Roasted Tomatoes   (Serves 4)   Ingredients

▪   800g cherry tomatoes
▪   5 green onions, white and green parts separated and cut into 2cm pieces
▪   3 cloves garlic, crushed
▪   2 tbsp olive oil
▪   Salt & cracked pepper to taste
▪   4 tbsp fresh chopped basil
▪   1 cup polenta (cornmeal)
▪   1 tbsp butter
▪   ¼ cup grated low fat cheese
▪   4 x 150-200g lean steaks
▪   1 cup balsamic vinegar

Method   Pre-heat oven to 200° Celsius or 400° Fahrenheit.

1, In a large saucepan, place 4 cups water to boil.

2, In a large bowl, add the tomatoes, garlic, onion whites, salt, cracked pepper and 1 tbsp oil, then combine well. On a large baking tray, place a sheet of baking paper and give a spray of olive oil spray. Pour the tomato mix on the tray. Roast in the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until tomatoes are tender, then remove from heat and place in a bowl with the onion greens and basil, and toss.

3, Meanwhile, add 1 tsp salt to boiling water; gradually whisk in the polenta. Simmer very gently over low heat, whisking occasionally, until the polenta has thickened and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the butter and cheese, and combine well. Add additional water if it becomes too thick.

4, Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frypan on high. Season the steak with salt and cracked pepper then add to the pan. Cook, on each side until desired. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest, 5 to 10 minutes.

5, Using the same frypan, add the vinegar, and boil on high until reduced in half. Slice steak, and serve with vinegar reduction, on a bed of polenta and with a side of tomatoes.

Salmon & Citrus with Quinoa Salad   (Serves 4)   Ingredients

▪   ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
▪   ½ cup grated carrots
▪   ½ cup chopped capsicum
▪   ½ cup chopped coriander or parsley
▪   1 medium Spanish onion
, finely chopped
▪   ¼ cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes
▪   3 tbsp black olives, finely chopped
▪   3 tbsp lime juice
▪   2 tbsp olive oil
▪   1 tsp fresh ginger
, grated
▪   2 cloves garlic, crushed
▪   1 tsp of fresh chilli
, finely chopped
▪   Salt & cracked pepper to taste

Salmon & Marinade

▪   1 tbsp lemon juice
▪   1 tsp lemon zest
▪   1 tbsp of lime juice
▪   1 tsp lime zest
▪   1 tbsp orange juice
▪   1 tsp orange zest
▪   4x 150-200g salmon
▪   1 tsp olive oil

Method

1, Rinse quinoa and drain. Add 1½ -2 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool.
2, Mix carrot, capsicum, coriander, sundried tomatoes, olives and Spanish onion in large bowl. Add the cooled quinoa and toss to combine. Whisk together the lime juice, ginger, garlic, chilli, salt and pepper.  Pour over salad and combine well.
3, Place all the marinade ingredients except oil in a bowl and combine, then add the salmon and allow to marinate for 20-30 minutes. Heat oil in a large frypan on medium heat. Add the salmon and lightly pan fry until slightly pink in the middle.
4, Serve salmon on a bed of the quinoa salad.

Chickpea & Sweet Potato Salad    (Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side)   Ingredients

▪   3 cups mixed salad leaves
▪   1 cup small sweet potato pieces, grilled until tender
▪   1 ½ cups chickpeas (cooked or tinned)
▪   2 tablespoons almonds, chopped into thirds and roasted until just coloured
▪   4 mushrooms, finely sliced
▪   ½ small Spanish onion, finely sliced
▪   ½ red capsicum, finely chopped
▪   ¼ cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes
▪   1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced into semi-circles
▪   ½ medium avocado, chopped into 1cm cubes
▪   ¼ cup low fat feta, chopped into 1cm cubes
▪   ¼ cup basil leaves, finely chopped
▪   4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
▪   1 teaspoon olive oil
▪   Salt & cracked pepper to taste

Method   1. Add all ingredients into a bowl and toss. Divide into 2 and serve as main meals or divide into 4 and serve on the side of grilled fish, steak or chicken.

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