The key to a hassle-free, gluten free diet is a well-stocked pantry. Below we list the top ten ingredients we keep stocked in our kitchen, to make gluten free cooking fun and full of variety. Most of them can be easily found at your local supermarket, an Asian grocer, or a natural foods store.

  • Rice. The basis of most Asian cuisines, this inexpensive and healthy grain comes in several varieties so you won’t get bored. Try fragrant Thai Jasmine rice, sticky Bhutanese red rice, or nourishing brown Basmati. Impress skeptical eaters with a gourmet risotto or use up leftovers the traditional way in fried rice.
  • Quinoa. This Incan grain was rediscovered recently and has caught on like wildfire. Very easy and quick to cook, it has a nutty, slightly bitter flavor that pairs well with a little salt and butter. Quinoa has all the necessary amino acids and the most protein of all the known grains. Use it as a companion to your favorite meats and vegetables, mix it with peas or mashed root vegetables, or cook it into your gluten-free muffins. Buy it prewashed.
  • Gluten-Free Bread. It’s easier to buy than to make! And you can use it not only as sliced bread but as source material for GF croutons, stuffing, and bread crumbs.
  • Gluten-Free Crackers/ Tortilla Chips. Always keep something you can dip into something else when you need a snack. There are a lot of popular gluten-free dips out there: hummus, guacamole, salsa, and my mom’s favorite, artichoke-parmesan.
  • Eggs. Frittatas, omelets, and scrambled eggs are three ways for you to take anything you have in your refridgerator and quickly turn it into a satisfying golden meal. Or poach an egg and use it to top a warm salad. Hard-boiled eggs travel well for snacking on at school or the office.
  • Kasha. Also known as roasted buckwheat. This very inexpensive, traditional Eastern European grain is pure comfort food. Mix it with egg, toast it for a few minutes in a pot, then pour in the broth of your choice and simmer a half hour until all the liquid is absorbed. It’s delicious tossed with grilled onions, stir-fried vegetables, or GF pasta. Or all three…mmmm.
  • Rice noodles. The basis of pad thai, rice noodles come in various lengths and thicknesses. You can buy them cheaply in bulk at many Asian grocers. Use them as a substitute for rice or pasta, and they are much quicker to prepare than either one! Just make sure to rinse them after soaking in hot water so that the starch doesn’t clump the strands together.
  • Lettuce. You can have a great, healthy GF meal every time you make yourself a salad. Give those GF sandwiches some texture and crunch. Or use Bibb or Boston lettuce as a wrapper and fill with leftovers for an elegant appetizer.
  • Corn Meal. Whether you’re making grits for breakfast, polenta for dinner, or GF cornbread as a snack, no grain is quite as American as corn. You can buy fine or stone-ground corn meal, and it comes in white, yellow, or blue.
  • Corn Tortillas. Tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos, and tortilla soup are just some of the delicious possibilities. You can also make a really nice lasagna using slices of corn tortillas instead of noodles. The best tortillas only have corn, lime, and salt as ingredients. They are best purchased 50 or 100 at a time from Mexican grocers. Or you can make your own from masa harina; fresh tortillas are ambrosial.