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Gluten-Free Recipe Makeovers

By Marlisa Brown, MS, RD, CDE, CDN

Here are three common recipes and their gluten-free alternatives that boast added nutrients and flavor.

When it comes to gluten-free baking, the most important thing to remember is that gluten-containing grains provide texture, color, and lightness to baked goods, whereas gluten-free grains do not. To achieve the desired quality and consistency in gluten-free baking, certain ingredients often are used, such as gums, gelatins, vinegars, fruit purees, cheeses, proteins, fats, sugars, refined starches, nut butters, and nut flours.

Moreover, processed starches and grains often are used in gluten-free baking, lowering the nutritional content. This is compounded by the fact that gluten-free flours aren’t fortified like wheat flour. Therefore, clients will need to modify gluten-free recipes to create high-quality baked goods and increase the nutritional content whenever possible by adding healthful ingredients.

Today’s Dietitian has provided some common gluten-containing recipes along with their gluten-free versions. By making a comparison, clients will notice how the gluten-free recipes were modified to boost overall quality in taste, texture, and nutritional content.

Traditional Buckwheat Pancakes

Serves 3

1 cup milk or buttermilk
1 egg
2 to 4 T butter or oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
2 to 3 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Additional butter or oil for cooking pancakes

* These pancakes often are served with additional butter and syrup.

In the following gluten-free recipe makeover, an apple topping is used to reduce the need for syrup. Buckwheat, gluten-free oat, and brown rice flours are used to provide more whole grains, and applesauce is included to reduce the need for excess butter. Gluten-free cooking spray reduces the fat content further.

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Oatmeal Pancakes
With Cinnamon Apples

Serves 4

Buckwheat adds a nutritional punch to this rich, fluffy pancake.

3 small apples
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 T unsalted butter
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
3 T granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup (8 oz) low-fat milk
Gluten-free cooking spray or 1 tsp olive oil

1. Peel and slice apples about 1/2-inch thick. Mix with vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
2. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender and browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Stir in applesauce and milk until combined.
4. Heat a griddle or nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Pour batter in 1/4-cup measurements onto the hot surface. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the first side, then flip over and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, or until nicely browned.
5. Serve with warm apple topping.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 229; Protein: 5 g; Carbohydrate: 47 g; Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 7 mg; Sodium: 425 mg; Dietary fiber: 5 g; Calcium: 71 mg; Iron: 1 mg

Tip: Keep apple topping and/or prepared pancakes warm in oven at 250˚ F until all pancakes are cooked and ready to serve.

— Recipe adapted from The Gluten-Free, Hassle-Free Cookbook by Marlisa Brown, MS, RD, CDE, CDN, due to release February 2015

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Serves 10

21/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 T caraway seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
11/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins
11/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

The gluten-free recipe makeover includes garbanzo bean flour (a high protein choice) to improve the bread’s texture and boost B vitamin and fiber content. The addition of xantham gum enhances overall texture. Increasing the number of raisins provides a sweeter taste, without added sugars.

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

Serves 10

This is the classic Irish-American version made with sugar, butter, and egg.

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
4 T unsalted cold butter
2 T granulated sugar
1 cup raisins
2 T caraway seeds
1 egg
1/2 cup (4 oz) buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Sift all dry ingredients, flour through salt, into a large bowl.
3. Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Add sugar, raisins, and caraway seeds, and stir to coat.
5. Whisk together egg and buttermilk. Stir into flour mixture, and mix everything together to form dough. Gather the dough with your hands working it as little as possible. It will be crumbly. Place the round of dough on prepared baking sheet. Cut an “X” into the top and place in preheated oven.
6. Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and firm. Remove from oven. Allow to cool before slicing.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 218; Protein: 4 g; Carbohydrate: 38 g; Fat: 6 g; Cholesterol: 32 mg; Sodium: 399 mg; Dietary fiber: 3 g; Calcium: 57 mg; Iron: 1 mg

Tip: Use frozen butter and grate into flour mixture. You can prepare the flour/butter crumb mixture and place in a resealable bag in the freezer. Store for up to one month.

— Recipe adapted from The Gluten-Free, Hassle-Free Cookbook by Marlisa Brown, MS, RD, CDE, CDN, due to release February 2015

Traditional Corn Muffins

Serves 9

1 stick butter
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 T sugar
11/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs

The following modified gluten-free recipe requires only a few simple changes to remove the gluten and maintain a high-quality product. Vanilla extract provides a little extra flavor, which is sometimes lost when wheat flour isn’t used. Xantham gum creates a better texture, and the gluten-free all-purpose flour blend works well as a replacement for the all-purpose flour. Sometimes I substitute some millet or coconut flour for 1/4 cup of the gluten-free all-purpose flour to boost the nutritional content.

Gluten-Free Skillet Corn Muffins

Serves 9

These corn muffins are so good you’ll never think you missed a thing when you went gluten-free.

6 T unsalted butter softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup whole milk mixed with 1 tsp white vinegar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
1 cup corn meal
1 tsp xantham gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Cooking spray or 1 tsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375˚ F.
2. Cream together butter and sugar, add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.
3. Combine other dry ingredients, and slowly beat into wet ingredients until uniform in texture.
4. Pour batter into muffin tins or four mini cast iron skillet pans coated with cooking spray or a
12 x 9 x 3-in cake pan that’s been coated with cooking spray.
5. Bake muffins or skillet corn cakes about 20 minutes until golden, cake pan about 25 minutes until golden and toothpick comes out clean.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 245; Protein: 5 g; Carbohydrate: 34 g; Fat: 10 g; Cholesterol: 70 mg; Sodium: 328 mg; Dietary fiber: <1 g; Calcium: 44 mg; Iron: <1 mg

Tip: If you make corn bread in a larger cake dish, it will come out very thin like a toaster corn cake. To reduce the fat content further, clients can use 1/2 cup egg substitute or egg whites in place of whole eggs.

— Recipe adapted from The Gluten-Free, Hassle-Free Cookbook by Marlisa Brown, MS, RD, CDE, CDN, due to release February 2015

— Photos courtesy of Marlisa Brown, MS, RD, CDE, CDN.