Gluten Free Substitutions for Common Foods
1. Corn tortillas
Cold cuts and deli cheese just aren’t the same unless they’re sandwiched between something starchy. When gluten-free bread isn’t an option (or if trying to watch the carbs and calories), corn tortillas are a great stand-in.
2. Brown rice tortillas
Feeling crafty? When cut into squares and toasted, gluten-free brown rice tortillas make a great substitute for crackers.
3. Gluten-free oats
A quick whirl in a food processor or blender makes rolled oats the perfect substitute for traditional breadcrumbs. Add a sprinkle of herbs and some Parmesan cheese for Italian-flavored seasoning!
4. Crushed flax or fiber cereal for breadcrumbs
Crush up that gluten-free cereal and mix in some herbs for a lower-sodium substitution for traditional breadcrumbs. Plus, it’s an easy way to get an extra dose of fiber or omega-3s!
5. Mashed potatoes
Believe it or not, leftover mashed potatoes make a great alternative to pizza crust. Mix one serving with about ¼ cup of any gluten-free flour. Smooth the mixture into a thin layer onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for a few minutes until crisp. Add favorite traditional pizza toppings, return to the oven until warmed through, and enjoy!
6. Lettuce leaves
It’s not a perfect swap, but forgoing the carbs for fresh lettuce is a fun (and easy) switch that can lighten up any wrap or taco dish. Plus, replacing the bread with an extra veggie will give the dish a nutritional boost with added vitamins and folate.
7. Corn tortillas
Half the calories and fat. ‘Nuff said. Just make sure to pick a certified gluten-free brand.
Craving carbs for breakfast? If gluten-free oats aren’t available, try substituting corn grits. They’re often higher in calories and carbs, but they’re typically lower in fat and contain more folate.
9. Cornmeal pancakes
Sometimes it’s just a pancake kind of morning. Replacing the wheat flour with cornmeal or corn flour (like in this recipe) can be a perfect substitute.
Granola for Yogurt
10. Chopped nuts
The oats in most commercially-sold granolas are usually grown and processed with wheat or other gluten-containing grains, making them unsafe for people who have to avoid gluten. Instead of grabbing the granola bag, opt for some fresh toasted nuts to go with yogurt or fruit.
Store-bought frosting can sometimes have gluten-based thickeners in it (bummer, right?). Made from just egg whites and sugar, meringue can be a tasty fat-free substitution for traditional frosting. Feel like going a step further? Take a torch to it. Lightly charring the edges of the meringue can add a nice caramelized flavor.
Every salad needs that extra crunch. To avoid gluten-filled croutons, try some lightly toasted slivered almonds, pecans, or walnuts. For a savory salad (think Caesar) try a spice or herb roasted variety!
13. Sorghum flour, almond meal, rice flour, chickpea flour, brown rice flour, or buckwheat flour PLUS cornstarch, tapioca starch, or potato starch PLUS xanthan gum
Aside from the classic wheat, there are dozens of other unique types of flours safe for the gluten-free population. One problem: There isn’t really an exact 1:1 swap for wheat— a blend of several flours is needed to get the same texture. When in doubt, check out these recipes from Gluten-Free Goddess and Living Without for some flour combinations that work perfectly in place of wheat flour!
14. Black beans
Substituting a can of back beans (drained and rinsed) for flour in brownies is a simple way to avoid gluten and also add an extra dose of protein! And don’t be fooled— they taste great.
15. Almond flour
This gluten-free switch lends baked goods a dose of protein, omega-3s, and a delicious nutty flavor. Start with something like a simple butter cookie to get a hang for the switch. Feeling creative? Try other nut flours like walnut or hazelnut for another fun switch!
16. Coconut flour
High in fiber and low in carbohydrates, coconut flour is a great partial substitute for wheat flour in baking recipes. Be careful, though— more than ¼ to ½ cup, and the flour’s bitterness can take over.
Lasagna Noodles or Pasta
17. Zucchini or eggplant
Thin strips (cut with a knife) or ribbons (easily made with a vegetable peeler) are a great substitute for wheat-filled pastas. The wider ribbons work perfectly in lasagna, and strips are a great replacement for spaghetti!
19. Rice noodles
Polenta is another great option to take the place of traditional pastas. Plus, it goes perfectly with all the classic pasta toppings, from marinara sauce to breaded chicken or sautéed veggies.
21. Grated steamed cauliflower
Cut calories, carbs, and gluten with this simple switch. Plus, cauliflower offers a handful of other health benefits including vitamins and minerals, and even some cancer-fighting compounds known as glucosinolates.
While couscous is made from processed wheat flour, quinoa is a whole grain superfood packed with protein and nutrients. Bonus points for having almost the exact same texture.
Many plain soy sauces contain wheat. Avoid getting accidently gluten-ated by going with tamari, a type of soy sauce that’s wheat-free.
25. Cornstarch and water
Cut gluten— and fat! To thicken soups, stews, and stir-fries, replace the traditional fat-and-flour roux mixture with a 1:1 ratio of cornstarch and water (start with a tablespoon of each).
Another great option for thickening soups and stews is to add a few chunks of starchy potato (like Idaho). As the potatoes cook and soften, they break apart and slowly thicken.
27. Rice cakes
Rice cakes work perfectly as a stand-in for crackers, pizza crust, and even bagels