If you are thinking about going gluten-free, but don’t know where to start, I would like to offer you a few simple meal ideas, as well as explain a little bit about gluten.

Gluten is the elastic protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Oats are often included in that list because mainstream oats can be contaminated with gluten.

When a person with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity uses products that contain gluten, his or her immune system reacts by damaging a part of intestinal lining – areas called villi, which help absorb nutrients. As a result, that person can’t absorb nutrients properly and therefore can become malnourished, no matter how much food is eaten.

Gluten Free Sandwich Wraps

Just because you are off gluten doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy traditional lunch fares. For 100 percent gluten-free wraps, I suggest the Food For Life Rice Tortillas. They are perfect for making quesadillas, wraps and pinwheel sandwiches. For a quick on-the-go sandwich that is filling and delicious, try this tortilla with hummus, sprouts, avocado, lettuce and tomato. To learn how to make easy pinwheel sandwiches with this wrap, check out this video here.

Gluten Free Pizza

When a pizza craving hits and sacrificing taste is not an option, I recommend trying Sami’s Pizza Crust. The best part is that this crust is already cooked, so all you need to do is accessorize it with your favorite toppings and warm up in the oven. My favorite gluten-free options are: organic pre-made pizza sauce, daiya mozzarella cheese, onions, peppers and mushrooms. If you like thin-crust pizza, try Sami’s Millet and Flax Lavash and use it as a pre-made crust. You can buy them online at http://samisbakery.com or at Woolbright Market (141 W. Woolbright Road, Boynton Beach, 561/732-2454 ).

Gluten-Free Soy Sauce

It may sound strange, but even if you are eating gluten-free sushi, you may still be having gluten in your diet, as wheat can be one of the ingredients of a soy sauce. To make sure you don’t fall of the wagon, try Gluten Free Tamari. You can either get it in a bottle for home or office use, or purchase small travel-size packets that are perfect for eating out.

Gluten-Free Cookies

If you have a sweet tooth and you can’t stop thinking of those Oreos, then try Glutino’s version of this popular American treat. You will still get the chocolate, the crunch and the cream, but you won’t get any unpleasant side effects that wheat can have. For those who are not Oreo fans and just want a chocolate chip cookie or a wafer, then Glutino has you covered as well. Just make sure to stick to one or two pieces. Even though they don’t have gluten, they do have calories. You can buy Glutino products at Whole Foods Market or online.

Gluten Free Lasagna

One of my favorite lunch options is warming up dinner leftovers, and one of those dinners is lasagna. Yes, I eat mostly raw foods, but sometimes I just can’t help the calling of a hot pasta dish. Being passionate for creating gluten-free dishes on a tight schedule and budget, I would like to share my simple recipe for an easy lasagna. 

Ingredients:

1 package of De Boles rice lasagna noodles that don't need to be pre-cooked

1 large jar of gluten-free marinara sauce

8 oz of frozen spinach, thawed

1 batch of creamy béchamel sauce (recipe below)

1 bag of Daiya mozarella cheese

1 pound of chopped baby bella mushrooms

Fresh basil to decorate when cooked

 

DIRECTIONS:

Layer the ingredients in the following order:

marinara, noodles, marinara, 1/2 of mushrooms, noodles, marinara, spinach, ½ of béchamel sauce, noodles, marinara, mushrooms, daiya cheese, ½ béchamel sauce

Cover with foil and bake at 375˚ for 1 hour or so.

 

Béchamel Sauce (Raw Vegan):

2/3 cup cashews, soaked for 5 hours and rinsed

2 cups of almond milk

2 cloves of garlic

¼ cup nutritional yeast (if available)

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon salt

Blend everything in a blender.

 

About Alina Z.

Alina Z., aka “The Green Goddess,” is a certified holistic health coach, detox specialist and raw-food chef (she conducts occasional classes at Whole Foods in Boca). Prior to moving to Florida,  Alina hosted her own TV show in Maryland—“Entertaining A to Z”—for people who didn’t have time to cook but wanted to eat healthy. Catch one of her web episodes at eHow.com, visit Alina’s website at alinazhealthcoach.com, or follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/CoutureFood) or Twitter (@CoutureFood). The Green Goddess blog runs every other Wednesday at bocamag.com.