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Gluten-Free Basics & Beyond

Gluten-Free Ingredient List:

Grains & Seeds

Gluten-Free Grains & Seeds

The world of grains is a big one—which is a great thing for those who can’t eat gluten.

The list below offers a wide range of options for making interesting side dishes, main dishes, and more. In addition to grains, this list includes the seeds that can be ground into flour or used whole in baked goods and other recipes.

  • Amaranth

    Amaranth, a staple of the Incas and Aztecs, is second only to quinoa for protein content among grains and seeds. Amaranth has a complex flavor that’s very nutty and earthy. It is often dry-toasted before being cooked and can be prepared like porridge or rice. The whole seeds can also be popped like popcorn.

  • Buckwheat, Groats, and Kasha

    Buckwheat, despite its name, is not related to wheat. It is, in fact, an herb that is related to sorrel and rhubarb. Buckwheat has an assertive flavor and can be found in several forms. Hulled, crushed buckwheat seeds are known as buckwheat groats, and because of their high carbohydrate content, they are generally treated like a grain. Grayish green in color, groats have a mild, earthy flavor. They are often eaten as a staple like rice and are baked into puddings and porridges. Buckwheat’s triangular seeds can also be ground to make flour. Kasha is buckwheat groats that have been roasted. This process gives kasha a darker color and a noticeably earthier and roasty flavor that some people love, and others don’t.

One-Pot Comfort Food

Recipe Gluten-Free Chicken and Dumplings

This comforting dish boasts dumplings that are light and tender yet substantial in a brothy stew full of concentrated chicken flavor.


  • Cornmeal and Polenta

    For many consumers, buying cornmeal used to mean picking up a container of Quaker, or perhaps (especially if you lived in the South) a stone-ground local variety. But at most supermarkets today, you’ve got a lot more options to sort through: fine-, medium-, and coarse-ground; instant and quick-cooking; whole-grain, stone-ground, and regular. Whether you are making cornbread, pancakes, polenta, or a rustic Italian-style cake, different recipes require different grinds and types of cornmeal. What you use can make a big difference. Make sure to read—and buy—carefully.

  • Flaxseeds

    Flaxseeds are similar in size to sesame seeds and have a sweet, wheaty flavor. They are naturally gluten-free and are sold in most supermarkets both whole and ground. Flaxseeds are one of the highest sources known for the omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found only in certain plant foods and oils and must be supplied in our diet for good health. There are two types of flaxseeds: brown and golden. We chose to use golden flaxseeds in our whole-grain gluten-free flour blend, as their milder, nutty flavor complemented the teff flour. Whole seeds have a longer shelf life, but we preferred ground flaxseeds in our whole-grain gluten-free flour blend and breads because we use them as a flour rather than as a stir-in. As an added bonus, grinding flaxseeds improves the release of nutrients.

  • Millet

    Believed to be the first domesticated cereal grain, this tiny cereal grass seed has a long history and is still a staple in a large part of the world, particularly in Asia and Africa. The seeds can be ground into flour or used whole. Millet has a mellow corn flavor that works well in both savory and sweet applications, including breads and pan-fried cakes. It can be cooked pilaf-style, pasta-style for a grain salad, or turned into a creamy breakfast porridge. To add texture to baked goods, try incorporating a small amount of millet into the batter.

  • Oats

    From breakfast table to cookie jar, this nutritious cereal grass is a versatile part of the gluten-free diet. But be careful when buying oats; they’re often processed in facilities that also process wheat, which creates cross-contamination issues. It’s therefore critical to make sure you are buying oats that are processed in a gluten-free facility. Oats come in several forms: groats (see next item), old- fashioned rolled oats, steel cut, and instant.

Quick (and Healthy) Breakfast

10-Minute Steel-Cut Oatmeal

We wanted creamy, thick oatmeal without the usual 30 minutes of cooking—and we were prepared to challenge centuries of Scottish tradition to get it.


  • Oat Berries (Oat Groats)

    Labeled either oat berries or oat groats, this gluten-free whole grain is simply whole oats that have been hulled and cleaned. They are the least processed oat product (other forms are processed further, such as being rolled flat, cut, or ground). Because they haven’t been processed, they retain a high nutritional value. They have an appealing chewy texture and a mildly nutty flavor. Oats are usually thought of as a breakfast cereal, but oat berries make a great savory side dish cooked pilaf-style or can be cooked like risotto for a rich, satisfying main dish.

  • Quinoa

    Quinoa originated in the Andes Mountains of South America, and while it is generally treated as a grain, it is actually the seed of the goosefoot plant. Sometimes referred to as a “supergrain,” quinoa is high in protein, and its protein is complete, which means it possesses all of the amino acids in the balanced amounts that our bodies require. Beyond its nutritional prowess, we love quinoa for its addictive crunchy texture, nutty taste, and ease of preparation. White quinoa is the most commonly found variety of these tiny seeds, but red and black varieties are increasingly available. White quinoa, the largest seed of the three, has a slightly nutty, vegetal flavor with a hint of bitterness; it also has the softest texture of the three quinoas. The medium-size red seeds offer a heartier crunch, thanks to their additional seed coat, and a predominant nuttiness. Black quinoa seeds, the smallest of the three, have the thickest seed coat. They are notably crunchy and retain their shape the most during cooking. These seeds have the mildest flavor, with a hint of molasses-like sweetness. You can use white and red quinoa interchangeably in our quinoa pilaf recipes and other side dishes or salads. However, white quinoa is best for dishes like cakes and patties because it is starchier and will hold together better. Black quinoa is better off in recipes specifically tailored to its distinctive texture and flavor. Unless labeled “prewashed,” quinoa should always be rinsed before cooking to remove its protective layer (called saponin), which is unpleasantly bitter.

  • Quinoa Flakes

    Quinoa flakes are simply quinoa seeds that have been rolled flat into thin flakes. They are growing in popularity as an alternative to instant oatmeal for a nutritious hot breakfast cereal. They can also be used in baked goods and granola. Quinoa flakes can be found in the cereal aisle of your grocery store, near the instant oatmeal.

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