Gluten-free foods have surged in popularity in recent years, contributing to a rise in gluten-free dinner recipes that balance taste and health benefits. Gluten is a protein found in many grains and foods like bread, cereal and pasta. However, it doesn't provide any essential nutrients, and our bodies don't digest it completely. Undigested gluten travels to the small intestine, and while most people can handle undigested gluten just fine, others can have an autoimmune response to the protein, called celiac disease.
If you don't have celiac disease, you can have gluten intolerance or sensitivity, which includes symptoms like headaches and migraines, fatigue, joint pain and an upset stomach. Gluten can also make arthritis worse, and many people with arthritis have less joint pain when they don't eat it. Removing gluten from your diet also means you'll avoid wheat, which is one of the top eight food allergens in the United States. It's important to note that many whole-grain products are enriched or fortified to provide fiber, vitamins and minerals, so if you do go gluten-free, you'll need to ensure you are getting those nutrients from other sources.
If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance or sensitivity, you want to find gluten-free dinner recipes that are tasty and healthful. Here are five recipes to try for your next meal.
1. Gluten-free tacos
If you love tacos, here's the good news: You don't have to give them up if you go gluten-free! Many packaged taco seasonings are gluten-free, and almost all corn tortillas and hard taco shells are naturally gluten-free. However, be sure to read the nutrition labels as there are exceptions.
Tacos can be a good source of protein and fiber, and they're often not high in calories. You can make them even lighter by choosing lean fillings like grilled chicken or switching out calorie-heavy toppings like sour cream and cheese for salsa, onions or nutrient-rich vegetables.
This gluten-free taco recipe is ready in just 15 minutes, and while it calls for ground beef, you can substitute the filling of your choice.
2. One-pot garlicky shrimp and broccoli
Seafood lovers, rejoice! Most seafood can be gluten-free depending on the preparation, so you can eat it safely without any concerns. However, surimi — a crab substitute — is a paste made with fish or other meat that usually contains wheat, so you'll want to avoid it if you're going gluten-free.
Fortunately, if you're craving a seafood dinner, this one-pot shrimp and broccoli recipe takes just 20 minutes. Shrimp is a lean protein that is high in key nutrients like vitamin B12 and selenium. Broccoli is also high in nutrients, including fiber, vitamins C and K, iron and potassium. Garlic contains beneficial manganese and vitamin B6.
3. Beef and lentil chili
While there are dozens of different ways to prepare it, the base ingredients of chili — beef, tomatoes, beans and spices — are gluten-free. Chili is also a good source of protein, fiber and iron. When it comes to toppings, you may want to swap out high-fat toppings like sour cream and cheddar cheese for lower-fat versions if you're concerned with the amount of fat in the dish.
This hearty chili recipe takes only 20 minutes to cook. Although it calls for ground beef, you can substitute ground turkey if you want a leaner option.
4. Miso–maple salmon
Salmon is an excellent source of protein, and it's low in saturated fat. Not only that, but it's one of the best sources of vitamin B12 and is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help fight inflammation. There are a ton of different ways to cook this fish, but this 15-minute salmon recipe combines the sweetness of maple syrup with the umami flavor (described as "savory") of miso. A common condiment in parts of Asia, miso contains vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, manganese and zinc.
5. One-pan chicken with basil–anchovy butter and shishito peppers
Anchovies can get a bad rap for being extremely fishy and salty, but the tiny saltwater fish packs a serious punch in the nutrition department. Anchovies are high in vitamin B3/niacin, which helps convert food into energy. They're also high in selenium, iron and calcium. This one-pan chicken recipe uses only two anchovies for a slight umami flavor that balances the spiciness of the shishito peppers. Using boneless, skinless chicken thighs provides a good source of protein.
Going gluten-free doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste for healthy dishes. These five gluten-free dinner recipes are sure to satisfy the whole family, and you can feel good about adding them to your recipe repertoire.
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