A gluten-free lifestyle isn't the easiest, at least at first. If you're doing it right, then you'll find you're spending way more time in your kitchen than you probably ever have.
That's because creating your own gluten-free dishes is much more cost-effective than searching out and purchasing pre-made meals. Plus, it just tastes a heck of lot better.
You'll need basics, so coming home and cooking something up doesn't require a trip to a specialty health store. Many flours, pastas, bread and snacks can be found online in bulk. This is much easier on your wallet in the long run.
Start with the essentials, and add to it as you discover products you like and items you can't live without. Use this handy go-to list for the basics to help you get your pantry started off on the right foot.
Wheat-free alternative flours:
Flours such as rice, coconut, almond, sorghum, and even bean are good to keep on hand at all times. If you can, create your own all-purpose mix – my recipe is here.
It's a good idea to keep four to five pounds on hand for those last-minute brownies or a quick loaf of bread.
You'll find that different flours work better in different recipes, so take note that flours work best for cooking and which ones are better for baked goods.
Tapioca, corn or potato starch:
All baked goods need structure. You'll need these starches to create a gluten-free flour mix or in most bread or cake recipes. These can also be substituted for thickening sauces in place of wheat flour.
Potatoes and other root vegetables
Try and keep plenty of root vegetables around at all times. They store well in dark, cool places, so the pantry is a perfect home for them.
Beans Beans Beans
These versatile - and delicious - little gems, whether canned or dry, are a perfect addition. Some beans, like garbanzo beans, can be finely ground to create a flour for cooking.
Naturally gluten-free, this healthy staple can replace pasta in many dishes and is just delicious in general.
Gluten-free soy sauce
That's right. Not every soy sauce is gluten-free, so check your labels and make sure to keep enough on hand in the pantry since you'll probably be eating more rice noodles, and rice in general. It's great to be prepared for that last-minute stir-fry.
Misc. pantry items
You'll surely need chocolate chips, peanut butter, condiments and cooking sprays. Believe it or not, gluten can hide in all of these products, so make sure to check your labels.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on Food Network's "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic lifestyle content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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