The Celiac Disease Awareness Month celebrations continue! Earlier this month I shared my favorite on-the-go gluten-free snacks, and today I’m sharing my gluten-free pantry staples. Every time a family member, friend, or acquaintance has been newly diagnosed (and heck, even strangers at the grocery store when they’ve seen my cart – yes, really!) the number one question I get is where do I even start?
My answer: stocking your pantry well! When you open your pantry to find it already stocked with ingredients that you can safely use, cooking and eating gluten-free becomes a whole lot less daunting. So what do I ALWAYS have on hand, to make gluten-free cooking and baking a breeze?
These are a few of my favorite things:
1. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats & Steel Cut Oats
Between my daily morning oatmeal routine, my granola obsession, and my belief that the best muffins are made with soaked oatmeal, we go through a lot of oats in our household. More than any other pantry staple, for sure!
Oats can be tricky for those with celiac disease, though. While naturally gluten-free, most oats are often grown and processed right along side of wheat. To keep it gluten-free and celiac-safe, make sure you are getting purity protocol oats that are grown in dedicated fields, processed in a dedicated gluten-free facility, and tested to meet gluten-free standards. Bob’s Red Mill is my go-to brand for all oats – old fashioned rolled and steel cut are my favorite “styles.”
A few of my favorite gluten-free oatmeal recipes: Granola, Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats, Mocha Overnight Oats, Banana Oatmeal Muffins, Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal, and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Skillet. (and More).
2. Quinoa, Brown Rice, and Wild Rice
Gluten-free does NOT mean grain-free folks. Whole grains are so good for you and are the cornerstone of my diet. 99% of the meals I cook are accompanied by Quinoa, Brown Rice, or Wild Rice – so much so, that I usually buy these items in bulk at Costco. White rice is also gluten-free, and there are lots of other quality whole grains such as Millet, Buckwheat (the name is misleading, but it’s gluten-free!), Teff, and more, but I tend to gravitate towards the more traditional quinoa a whole-grain rice options.
One word of warning: if you are buying a rice mix, be careful. Many, many rice mixes on the market sneakily include other non-gluten-free grains like barley, and others are processed in shared facilities. Always read labels!
3. Gluten-Free Flour Blend
A must for baking muffins, quick breads, cookies, bars, and scones! I usually make my own gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (recipe here!) out of brown rice flour, white rice flour, millet flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and xanthan gum as I’ve had the best luck with it (it’s a fool-proof cup for cup sub for gluten-full flour).BUT I always have a back up bags of my two favorite store-bought flour blends for “emergencies”: Bob’s Red Mill’s 1-to-1 Baking Flour and Pamela’s Products Artisan All-Purpose Flour Blend. All of these also work great for breading meats!
4. Almond Meal & Flour
Almond meal and almond flour is another staple in my kitchen, for good reason. It’s lower carb, grain-free (obviously) and gives great texture to so many recipes. Also: PROTEIN! The more coarse-ground almond meals (like the one sold at Trader Joe’s) are my go-to to use in place of breadcrumbs in meatloaf and meatballs and for breading chicken such as my coconut crusted chicken tenders, while the super-fine almond flour – Bob’s Red Mill brand is my fav – is great for grain-free baking.
5. Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs
For the recipes that beg for a more traditional breading/breadcrumb crust (like my Gluten-Free Chicken Parmesan), I always have some gluten-free breadcrumbs on hand. I’ve tried a lot of different brands, and while making my own has always been my top preference, I also love these gluten-free panko breadcrumbs.
6. Gluten-Free Pasta
Funny story: I eat more gluten-free pasta AFTER going gluten-free than I did before, thanks to marrying an Italian man with a serious love for the stuff. I’ve come to absolutely love it (yes, even the gluten-free versions!), and there is no easier dinner to throw together last-minute than a simple pasta and red sauce. I always have at least 5 boxes hanging in the wings – you never know when you’ll need/want it (which is weekly for us. Ha!) Jovial, Barilla (more widely available), and Trader Joe’s Bean pastas are among my favorites. While gluten-free pastas will (sadly) never taste exactly like the real, gluten-full thing, you can get pretty darn close these days. Just make sure to cook pasta al dente! It makes all the difference.
7. Chicken Stock/Bouillon
WARNING: many stocks and almost ALL bouillon contain gluten. This is one of those super sneaky places that gluten hides. Since I’m such a huge soup fan and chicken stock is a very common non-soup recipe ingredient, I always make sure to have a few quarts of a certified gluten-free brand stock on hand so I never find myself halfway through a recipe and so desperate that I’m tempted to use an iffy brand. I love Kirkland’s Organic Chicken Stock from Costco and the Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Chicken and Beef Broths.
8. Gluten-Free Soy Sauce
Yes, soy sauce has gluten in it. This is the ingredient that seems to catch most people completely off-guard when it comes to gluten-free cooking. Thankfully, gluten-free soy sauce is pretty easy to find these days – there are quite a few brands to choose from and they are available at almost every major grocery store (which was definitely NOT the case when I went gluten-free 7 years ago!) – and they taste EXACTLY like the gluten-full soy sauces. My go-to is the San-J low-sodium organic soy sauce.
9. Gluten-Free Bread
A gluten-free diet does NOT have to be devoid of good bread! Sure, I’ve kissed a lot frogs in the gluten-free bread world, but there are some REALLY great options out there these days. Canyon Bakehouse is by far and away my favorite store bought brand. My mom discovered them about 6 years ago when they were just this tiny operation that you had to special order from, and my gluten-free bread world was completely rocked. I’ve been ordering from them ever since, and HALLELUJAH – they are now available at Target stores nationwide. I usually buy in bulk and store it in my freezer.
My other recommendation: seek out local gluten-free operations. There is NOTHING like fresh-baked gluten-free bread, and I’m a big fan of supporting the local gluten-free economy. If you’re ever in Philly, make a trip to the Italian market and to grab a loaf of Taffet’s bread. You won’t be disappointed!
10. Naturally Gluten-Free Proteins
So, this is more along the lines of refrigerator/freezer staples, but we always have eggs, chicken breast, ground beef, and dried beans in plentiful supply. I usually buy my meats in bulk and freeze them so I’m never without, and I always have a bag of dried lentils (have you tried my lentil soup? To die for!) and black or red beans in the pantry. As long as you are buying meat that hasn’t been seasoned or pre-prepared, you are usually good on the gluten-free front, but of course always read labels! This is why I opt for dried beans instead of canned, too – a lot of canned beans will have cross-contamination warnings. With a lot of protein in your house and your diet, you will always be able to whip something up AND protein keeps you fuller for longer, keeping you from a case of the hangries/gluten-full snack cravings.
A well stocked pantry is a happy pantry, especially when you’re gluten-free!
What are some of your gluten-free pantry staples?
Thanks to the folks at Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this post! It’s a dream to get to work with the brands that I love, but as always, my opinions are 100% my own.