Learning to cook gluten-free

Dietitian suggests using Quinoa in recipes


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Allergy tests showed Daniel is allergic to a lot of foods. Now, he's on a strict gluten-free diet. 

"Basically [it means] no wheat, no bread, no crackers, no goodness," said Daniel.

Giving up gluten is common for people with certain food allergies or celiac disease. A recent study, by the American Journal of Gastroenterology, found one in 144 Americans have the digestive disorder. And it can make meal time a tough task.

Dietitian Amanda Holliday, LDN, RN, says giving up gluten means you just have to readjust some core ingredients.

"There are so many grains that are gluten-free, there are more grains that are gluten-free than have gluten. It's just a typical American diet doesn't know about them," said Holliday , who's with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Holliday offers a gluten-free dinner recipe.

First grab some Quinoa. 

"Quinoa is an interesting grain, because it's very high in protein, we think of protein only coming from animal product," Holliday explained.

It's also high in fiber and vitamins. Boil it, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes.  You can even boil it in stock rather than just water.

Remember gluten free doesn't mean meat-free, so chop up some veggies, mix lemon and lime juice, garlic and add some gluten-free soy sauce.

For this recipe try baked salmon. Serve it on top of your Quinoa salad.

Holliday's gluten-free dish has 100 calories, three and a half grams of fiber and four grams of protein per serving.

Toasted Quinoa Salad
(Printable recipe here)

  • ½ Cup uncooked quinoa
  • ½ Cup diced carrots
  • ¼ Cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. minced parsley or cilantro
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1½ tsp. lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp. lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. tamari soy sauce
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • a dash of cayenne pepper

Rinse quinoa and drain. Put in a pot and dry toast until a few grains begin to pop. Add 1 C of water, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat 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.

Kcals: 100 kcals/serving, 3.5g fiber, 4g protein

While quinoa is cooking, mix carrot, red pepper, parsley or cilantro, and green onion in a bowl. Add cold quinoa and toss to combine. Wisk together lemon and lime juices, soy sauce, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Pour over the salad and combine well. Chill until serving time.

Salad can be fun. Other fresh or cooked vegetables can be added for variety.