Close-up of a mac and cheese sandwich made with gluten-free pasta

If you are strictly gluten-free, or if you are looking to eliminate some gluten from your diet, then you’ve come to the right place. I guarantee that eliminating all or most gluten from your diet will make everything fall into place; I have countless examples of how this has happened: back problems, weight issues, acne, etc. Reach out if you have a specific ailment!

Below are the top 15 favorite gluten-free foods and products that you need to maintain a gluten free kitchen, PLUS a 2-step recipe that I bet you never imagined could be gluten-free…

15 Must-Haves to maximize your gluten-free life are:

1.      FRUITS AND VEGGIES. Every single fresh fruit and vegetable you can find is gluten-free! The obvious apples, berries, kale and cauliflower have no gluten, while all root-vegetables such as potatoes and yams are certified gluten-free, as well! (Note: that means French Fries are gluten-free, but please check what oil they are cooked in to ensure no cross contamination.) The fresh produce department is the first place I go when I enter the supermarket. All recipes and meals can be based around which fruit and veggies look appealing to you.

2.      RICE. Many do not realize that rice is gluten-free… but it is! A serving of brown rice is perfect with black beans and broccoli for a very nourishing lunch. Also, this means sushi is good to go! It is good to be cautious of what is used in the sticky rice, though, to make sure no gluten ingredients were added as binders. Rice flour is also gluten-free.

3.      QUINOA. If you have not already been introduced to this superfood, let me tell you that quinoa is not only healthy, but it’s tasty and fabulous. Cooks just like rice, and you can use quinoa in any dish that calls for couscous. Eat this protein grain hot with fresh avocado or cold in a spinach salad.

4.      OATS. (Note: when purchasing your oats, please make sure to choose packages that say “gluten-free”, as some are contaminated with wheat when they are grown in the fields. Bob’s Red Mill has some great gluten free oat options.) Start your day off with oatmeal cooked in vanilla almond milk and topped with blueberries. You can also turn oats into flour via a food processor! (See The Tastiest Gluten-Free Pancakes Ever recipe for reference.)

5.      BEANS/LEGUMES. Black beans, kidney beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, the list goes on! A great natural source of protein, beans and legumes are gluten-free and here to stay.

6.      HUMMUS. As stated in #6, chickpeas (a bean) are gluten-free, so stock up on hummus. Dip sliced red bell peppers or carrots into Sabra Luscious Lemon Hummus… Perfect snack, you have no idea!

7.      NUTS/SEEDS. Walnuts are perfect in desserts, sunflower seeds are ideal in salads and I think we all know the fiber benefits of flax seed. Whatever it may be, your favorite nut is gluten-free!

8.      BUCKWHEAT FLOUR. Perhaps gluten-free’s most secret ingredient, buckwheat flour can be used to replace wheat flour in baking and cooking. It has a delicious hearty taste; try it out next time when making waffles or banana bread if you haven’t already.

9.      AMY’S FROZEN MEALS. Keeping your freezer stocked with easy organic gluten-free Amy’s meals will help keep you on track. Not only are the portions just perfect, but also the taste and authenticity are unreal. Pick up an Amy’s gluten-free Baked Ziti, gluten free Enchilada or the gluten free Mac and Cheese (recipe below). These small meals are perfect to keep at your office.

10.  CORN TORTILLAS. Yup, as stated in #1, corn (a vegetable) is gluten-free, baby! Wrap guacamole, salsa, and tofu in a corn tortilla for a delightful bite. Along the same lines, popcorn (corn kernels) is gluten-free!

11.  MILLET BREAD. I have tried most of the gluten-free breads out there, and this one continues to stand out: Food For Life Millet Bread… it’s gluten-free and vegan, and sold at Whole Foods. (Millet is a grain similar to quinoa.) Your gluten-free bread tastes best when toasted, with perhaps some almond butter and jelly.

12.  KIND GRANOLA. I’m the only strictly gluten free person in my family, but I have us all hooked on Kind Snacks’ new granola! We feel the to-die-for flavor is Oats & Honey Clusters With Toasted Coconut. Add to yogurt… divine!

13.  BROWN RICE PASTA. Yes, pasta can in fact be gluten-free! Whole Foods sells brown rice pasta in penne, spaghetti, macaroni, spiral, lasagna noodles and more! You can also find online at The Gluten Free Mall. Gluten free pasta takes less time to cook; just boil in water for 7-8 minutes, drain, and top with marinara, pesto, or your other favorite sauce!

14.  POULTRY/MEAT. For those who are not vegetarian or vegan, all animal products such as eggs, dairy, seafood, poultry and red meat are gluten-free. If you are very sensitive to gluten, be careful what sauces and seasonings are used to cook the meat, as those are not always gluten-free.

15.  YOUR OWN SET OF UTENSILS. If you live in a communal environment, it is important to let you others know that you are sensitive to gluten in order to avoid cross contamination. Imagine if your roommate is making a peanut butter sandwich and uses the same knife to spread the peanut butter that she just used to cut her wheat bread… crumbs can get into the peanut butter jar! I’ve found that labeling jars “GF” lets others know to always use clean silverware with those ones specified.

Now that you are well versed in gluten free, you can find a special bonus recipe that I bet you never thought could be gluten free!

Mac and Cheese Grilled Cheese

What you need: 2 slices Food For Life millet bread and 1 Amy’s frozen gluten free Mac and Cheese meal

1.      Defrost Amy’s gluten free frozen Mac and Cheese meal for 3 hours until it is soft enough to cut in half but still frozen enough to stick together. Cut into 2 equal pieces.

2.      Take 1 of the halves, and place in between 2 slices of gluten free millet bread. Grill in panini maker for 9-10 minutes.

For more helpful gluten free tips, check out kalewithlove.com and follow @kalewithlove on twitter!

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