Committing to a gluten-free diet seems like hard work. After all, it means avoiding wheat, spelt, barley, rye, and a variety of other grain-based ingredients. But even if you don't have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance or sensitivity, a gluten-free diet certainly has its advantages. For one, cutting back on gluten means limiting your intake of starchy, refined carbohydrates, which can help promote weight loss and health.
You don't need to spend a fortune on the abundance of gluten-free foods at the grocery store. To help give you a taste (pun intended) of what it's like to follow a gluten-free diet, we collected two of our favorite gluten-free recipes. Try one for dinner tonight!
Gluten-Free Diet Recipe: Herbed Quinoa
This protein-packed, gluten-free grain (16 grams per quarter-cup serving!) needs thorough rinsing before cooking, but it's worth the extra few minutes. One-quarter of a cup of dry quinoa yields almost one delicious cup cooked, and it only has about 160 calories.
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 23 minutes
5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
3 cup quinoa
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
4 tsp lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. In a medium saucepan, bring stock, 1/2 cup o f the lemon juice, and quinoa to a boil over medium-high. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together oil, remaining lemon juice, herbs, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Toss quinoa with dressing until coated.
Nutrition Score per serving (1 cup): 343 calories, 14 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 44 g carbs, 11g protein, 5 g fiber, 60 mg calcium, 3 mg iron, 47 mg sodium
Gluten-Free Diet Recipe: Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Cooled after cooking, root veggies like squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes are great for beefing up a salad. Plus, squashes and sweet potatoes are high in healthy beta-carotene—so don't limit them to Thanksgiving dinner.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 butternut squash (about 2 pounds each), peeled, seeded and chopped into 2-inch cubes
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 tbsp fat-free sour cream
4 tsp chopped fresh chives
1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and cook 4 minutes, until soft. Add curry powder and cook 1 minute, until curry is fragrant. Add broth, squash, bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and simmer 15 minutes, until squash is fork-tender.
2. Remove bay leaves and, working in batches, purée soup in a blender or food processor. Ladle soup into bowls and top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream and 1 teaspoon chives.
Nutrition Score per serving (1 1/2 cups): 195 calories, 12% fat (3 g; < 1 g saturated), 76% carbs (37 g), 12% protein (6 g), 12 g fiber, 171 mg calcium, 3 mg iron, 783 mg sodium.