• Dawn

5 foods that are naturally gluten-free

So, you want to cut back on gluten, like what you find in wheat, barley, and rye, or on grains in general. Whatever your reasons for wanting to change your eating habits, you may be wondering what's left when you remove bread, pasta, pancakes, crackers, and all those other delicious grain-based foods. You may even think that you need to purchase expensive gluten-free versions of those foods. Well, you can buy gluten-free substitutes if you want to, but it's not necessary!

Here are five delicious foods that do not contain gluten.

Spiralized Veggies

If you don't have a fancy machine to cut your veggies into spiral shapes, you can use a vegetable peeler to get the same effect. Although zucchini is the most popular vegetable to use this way, carrots also work well. All you do is cut your preferred veggie into long, thin strips, cook briefly in boiling water, and top with your favorite pasta sauce.

Corn Tortillas/Tortilla Chips

You may not have thought of this, but corn tortillas are naturally gluten-free, and so are the wonderfully crunchy chips that are made from them. So, although you may have to rethink your PB&J, taco night is here to stay. The same goes for enchilada night, tamale night, and huevos rancheros night, as long as you remember to use corn tortillas, not flour.

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower has no gluten and is a healthy vegetable in the brassica family. Once you've processed a head of cauliflower in a food processor and steamed it for a few minutes, it's ready to be served as a rice alternative or combined with cheese and eggs to form a delectable pizza crust. Regular rice is gluten-free, too, but the reason cauliflower rice made this list is that it's super versatile and less calorie-dense than rice.

Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

You may be going gluten-free to be healthier, but even healthy eaters want a sweet treat now and then. That's why these last two items are decadent, gluten-free desserts. To make gluten-free peanut butter cookies, all you need is a cup of peanut butter, a cup of sugar, and an egg. You beat the three ingredients together, roll small scoopfuls into balls, place them on a baking sheet, and use a fork to add those cute little criss-cross lines to the tops. Then bake in a medium oven (around 350 degrees) for about 10 minutes. That's it!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake only has three ingredients: a pound of chocolate, eight eggs, and two sticks of butter. Beat the eggs in a stand mixer until frothy and doubled in volume. In a separate bowl (in the microwave or double boiler), melt the butter and chocolate together. Gently fold the eggs into the melted butter/chocolate mixture, a little at a time. The trickiest part about this recipe is the actual baking part: the best way to do it is to bake your cake in a springform pan in a water bath. First, wrap the outside of your springform pan in a couple of layers of aluminum foil, and then place the whole thing inside another pan containing some hot water. Bake for about 25 minutes at 325 degrees.

As you can see, going gluten-free doesn't mean giving up all of your favorite foods. It also doesn't have to mean expensive grocery runs! With a few tweaks here and there, you can eat gluten-free and not feel like you're missing out at all.

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