Gluten-free diets can be, let’s face it, less than appetising. Flourless bread? No thank you. Free-from fusilli? We’ll pass. So what are you supposed to do when your tummy and your tastebuds don’t agree when faced with a sea of sandwiches this lunchtime? It’s time to stop replacing the gluten with wheat-free alternatives and turn to these naturally gluten-free ingredients. Just be pre-warned; if you’re going gluten-free, you will need tupperware.
From Mexican to Indian by way of Asian and Middle Eastern, the humble rice grain is your go-to gluten-free staple. Opt for white, brown or basmati and enjoy with everything from curries to stir-fries. If you’re really strapped for time, you can even get it in a microwavable packet – there’s no excuse not to get grainy! Why not stir coriander and lime through rice as a bed for Mexican chilli, or mix a Mediterranean inspired risotto with peppers and courgettes? For a mid afternoon pick me up, you can even rustle up a rice pudding, or snack on a packet of rice cakes – this grain is seriously versatile.
Speaking of versatile, the humble potato has a lot to offer when it comes to your midday meal. Whether you have it baked (cheese and beans, always), mashed (with bangers) or chipped (with gluten-free burgers, of course), we don’t think the spud gets enough credit for how much it can pack a punch for lunch. Now that summer’s here, you could knock up a potato salad, grate into a rosti or swap your standard spuds for sweet and toss chunky wedges in rosemary and thyme. If you’re reheating last night’s leftovers, try preparing potato gratin, shepherd’s pie or potato patties with an Indian or Jamaican flavour.
Love it, hate it, don’t know how to say it – quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a gluten-free wonder grain. If you’re craving cous-cous, whip up a batch of nutty, crunchy quinoa and bulk out your salads, stuff your peppers or use as a base for Cajun chicken. We’re drooling at the thought of pomegranate and parsley quinoa with grilled - ok, reheated - halloumi. Most lunch haunts stock a quinoa salad (Pret Mango and Mint Quinoa Bowl, we’re looking at you), so you’re in luck even if you forget to pack lunch the night before.
Going gluten-free isn’t easy, and for first-timers the wheat-free alternatives available might leave your tastebuds, well…tasteless. So stop fighting and accept these naturally gluten-free ingredients - all you need now is some clean-eating recipe inspiration from our food blogger Elly Pear!