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Tips and Tricks to Gluten Free Cooking

Flour Substitutes

Brown or White Rice Flour- easiest flour to use and an inexpensive alternative to wheat flour. White rice is good for baking.

Almond Flour- Great for baking because the baking comes out sweet and moist. It is a nutritious flour and not as starchy as many gluten-free flours. 

Quinoa Flour- This flour tastes good in cookies or scones. It can be heavy and dense when used on its own. You might decide to use 1 part quinoa flour and 2 parts gluten-free flour blend. It is considered a complete protein source.

Coconut Flour- Grain-free option, tastes sweet and delicious but requires more eggs to bind it together in a recipe. It is not as easy to use.

Cassava Flour- Grain-free, nut-free and gluten-free alternative to wheat. A great substitute for wheat flour as it is a very similar taste and texture. When baking use a 1:1 ratio. Cassava is a root vegetable, also known as yuca. Cassava flour is Paleo.  This flour works very nicely in cookies, brownies and tortillas. This flour is very high in carbohydrates and quite expensive. It can usually be purchased at health food stores. Add 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum for every cup of cassava flour.

**Gluten-free flours might need a starch or xanthan gum as a binding agent. Common forms of starch: tapioca starch, potato starch, or arrowroot. You don't need to use much xanthan gum, typically in my recipes, I use 1/4 tsp to 1 tsp. 

Butter Substitutes

Coconut oil- is a great dairy-free alternative. It works great in baking but you have to use less of it so for 1 cup of butter you would use 3/4 cup of coconut oil.

Nut butter like peanut butter and almond butter works great in cookies.

Mashed up fruit works as well. Fruit like Avocado, bananas.

Margarine can be used but it is high in Trans fats.

'Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks' are Vegan, Lactose-Free, Gluten-Free, Expeller-Pressed Oil, 0g Trans Fat, Casein-Free, Non-GMO

'Earth Balance Vegan Shortening' are Vegan, Lactose-Free, Gluten-Free, Expeller-Pressed Oil, 0g Trans Fat, Non-GMO and sold refrigerated for top performance.  Works well for baking.



Cows Milk Substitutes

Coconut milk- There are different variations of coconut milk, you can get it in a can and it can be very thick and high in fat for creamy sauces or you can buy lite coconut milk.  Both can replace cow's milk 1:1. Coconut milk sold in a milk carton is more watery it works well in scalloped potatoes and smoothies. Coconut milk is good to use when baking for a classroom potluck because it is nut-free. 


Coffee Creamer- Coconut Coffee Creamer is low in sugar, froths nicely in a latte, and is dairy, gluten and soy-free. 

Almond Coffee Creamer comes in different flavours like hazelnut and vanilla and it is dairy, gluten and soy-free. My husband and I love Silk Hazelnut Almond Creamer for our morning lattes. We froth a little bit of Silk Hazelnut Almond Creamer with Unsweetened Coconut Milk!  

There are also soy, hemp and rice-based creamers. 

Almond Milk- Very versatile, not school-friendly. Chocolate almond milk is available and is very good.

Rice milk- School friendly


Cashew milk- Good on cereal or in smoothies.

Soy milk- Very versatile, excellent in lattes.

Oat milk- A nice dairy-free option but make sure the oat milk is gluten-free.


Egg Substitutes



1 TBSP ground chia or flax with 2 TBSP hot water =1 egg and it will act as a binding agent in a recipe.


Unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup = 1 egg

Date puree (soak then puree)

1/4 cup = 1 egg

Mashed up bananas or avocados

1/4 cup = 1 egg

Nut butter will work as well in muffins and cookies. 3 TBS = 1 egg

Commercial Egg Replacer- This is a mix of potato and tapioca starch (no corn). It is more difficult to use. In a small blending, cup put 1 1/2 tsp powder and 2 TBSP water, whip well.

Bob Mills Vegan Egg Replacer- This is a soy-based product. Dairy-free, gluten-free, kosher, plant-based, vegan and Non-GMO. 



Pasta Substitutes

Rice Noodles are good in Pad Thai. they have a chewy texture. They cook very quickly and are cost-efficient. 

Quinoa Pasta can have a grainy texture and nutty flavour. It tends to have more protein, iron and fibre.

Gluten-Free Pasta can also come as a blend of grains. Catelli makes a great beginner pasta made of white rice, brown rice, corn and quinoa. In my opinion, it tastes and cooks very similar to wheat pasta. Add a little bit of oil to the boiling water, only boil for 7 minutes then rinse in cool water. It is sold in most grocery stores and is fairly inexpensive.

Zucchini Noodles- Wash and cut the ends off the zucchini, do not peel the zucchini. Using a spiralizer, choose and properly secure the blade of your choice. Choose a blade based on your desired noodle size. Place the flat trimmed end of the zucchini on the pronged disk and push down on the top, to hold the zucchini in place. Continue to turn the handle until you reach the end of the zucchini and have a pile of noodles.  My favourite way to cook zucchini noodles is in a frying pan. Heat a large frying pan to medium-high heat. Add a tbsp of olive oil, once the oil is heated toss in the noodles for 3-5 minutes until they are just cooked but still have some crunch. Zucchini is made mostly of water so it will cook fast and can get mushy if overcooked. Do not boil zucchini noodles.

Chickpea Pasta tends to have more protein, fibre and nutrients including iron and potassium. Many like that it is a plant-based pasta.

Spaghetti Squash Noodles Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash lengthwise and place it cut side down on a baking sheet. Cook uncovered for about 45 minutes. Squash will be tender when pierced with a fork. Use a fork to scoop out strands of spaghetti squash. It is ready to eat at this point or you can heat olive oil or vegan butter in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Toss noodles in a frying pan for a couple of minutes and serve. Spaghetti squash noodles are really good with tomato pasta sauce and chicken.

Corn Pasta is another gluten-free pasta, it can also be purchased as a blend of corn, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, rice and amaranth. Corn pasta comes in a variety of shapes from linguine to elbow noodles. Corn pasta has a similar texture and taste to wheat pasta. It works well in dishes like Macaroni and Cheese because


Cheese Substitutes

Nutritional yeast is a good option for vegetarians. It is especially good in casseroles and homemade veggie burgers to add a cheesy flavour. Nutritional yeast is high in niacin. 

Dairy-free cheese has come a long way over the past couple of years. Our family has a couple of favourite brands and some are even soya free. They come in many forms including, cheese slices, cream cheese and shredded cheese.

Vegan Parmesan- There are some excellent vegan parmesan cheese options available now. Great for pasta or pesto.

Another alternative to cheese on a sandwich, wrap or taco would be hummus or avocado.


Sugar Substitutes

Coconut Palm Sugar- This sugar is easy to use. 1:1 ratio so 1 cup of sugar = 1 cup of coconut sugar.  Tastes delicious in muffin recipes. I prefer not to use it in oat toppings like on apple crisp. 


Honey or Maple Syrup- It depends on the recipe but both can be good in salad dressings, marinades, snack bars, energy balls, muffins.  Maple syrup can be easier to digest than honey for people with digestive issues. Generally, you want to use 3/4 cup of maple syrup/honey for 1 cup of sugar cane.

Yacon Syrup- good for smaller sugar substitutes like in your coffee or tea or on your pancakes as a syrup. It is more expensive but it helps with weight loss and it is said to be safer for diabetics.

Sorghum Syrup- plant-based syrup, mineral-dense, but high on the glycemic index, good in recipes.

Apple sauce is a good sugar replacement in muffins. It doesn't really work in cookies.

Bananas can be used instead of sugar.  Puree 1/2 cup of ripe bananas and a little bit of water for 1 cup of sugar cane.

Stevia- Calorie-free sweetener derived from the leaf of a stevia plant. Wholesome Organic Stevia is one brand that is vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and kosher. They offer small packets that equal to 2 tsp of sugar cane. Good in coffee, tea and cereal.  

Dates- Date paste is a great alternative to sugar cane. Use 2/3 cup for 1 cup of sugar cane. Good for people following a paleo diet. 


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