There’s been a lot of talk about ‘Gluten’ in our food these days. While some people call it a fad diet, for some it is critical to steer clear of gluten because they may be allergic to it. So, what is gluten? Gluten is a type of protein found in grains like wheat, rye and barley which can irritate your gut and trigger allergic reactions. It is this protein that gives bread its chewy texture and also provides elasticity to baked goods.
A very recent study, conducted by researchers from the prestigious Harvard University, suggests that you don’t need to avoid gluten unless you have Celiac Disease or a serious allergy. If you decide to do so as a lifestyle choice, it may lead to deficiencies and also increase the risk of diabetes as you are consuming less fibre, they assert. You should know that gluten intolerance (commonly known as wheat allergy) and Celiac’s disease is not the same thing. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease where your immune system does not recognize gluten and may react by making your white blood cells attack the lining of the small intestine. Gluten intolerance may simply refer to an allergic reaction and you may grow out of it with time. Experts who follow the Paleolithic lifestyle believe that our body is only designed to absorb and digest foods that our ancestors ate while grains and other foods grown by the modern man are responsible for causing most lifestyle diseases that our forefathers never had to suffer. Therefore, for those who are healthy, ruling out wheat and other grains that contain gluten completely remains highly debatable.
When it comes to cooking up a gluten free meal, there are few important things that you must keep in mind and Food Blogger Aarti Sarin Jain takes us through them, “A gluten-free lunch can be made like any other meal. You just need to remember – no wheat, no rye, no oats and no barley. If you’re making an Indian meal replace your chappati with brown rice, red rice or make a gluten-free chappati with ragior maize flour (makkai ka atta). If you’re cooking a Chinese meal, avoid noodles and use rice instead which is gluten free and for a Continental lunch replace bread with quinoa, risotto or gluten-free pasta. You should also avoid hing, soy sauce, vinegar and any other store-bought masalas and sauces unless you know they are gluten-free.”
Whether you are intolerant to gluten or just want to go off gluten-rich grains for a day, we’ve got you the perfect gluten-free lunch recipes to try.
1. Amaranth Tikkis
Recipe by Chef Seema Chandra
Amaranth is an amazing grain to use. It has higher mineral content – more calcium, iron, phosphorus and most importantly manganese than most other vegetables and more digestible proteins than wheat. These tikkis are easy to make and perfect to carry in your lunch box.
2. Ragi Roti
User Recipe by Bindu Madhavi
Ragi is rich in calcium and gluten-free and can be easily used to make chappatis. Fill it up with chopped seasonal veggies to it a flavour spin.
3. Sabudane Ki Khichdi
Another lovely gluten-free ingredient that is often used during the Navratri fasts, but why should we have to restrict it only to festivities? Sabudana is available year long and can easily transformed into this wholesome khichdi for lunch.
4. Avial with Kerala Red Rice
Recipe by Chef Joey Matthew
A light, summery stew with lots of veggies served with the traditional Southern red rice. This could be your ideal meal on a hot day.
5. Mushroom Brown Rice
Recipe by Chef Manju Malhi
Brown is a healthier alternative to your regular white rice and it retains all the essential nutrients in the bran which are lost due to processing. This easy rice dish needs only 30 minutes and is full of flavour!
6. Chicken Quinoa Biryani
Recipe by Chef Divya Burman
A protein rich meal that will keep you full till dinner, this biryani is made with quinoa and juicy chicken chunks. It is mildly flavoured and is perfect for a light lunch.
(Also read: 7 Gluten Free Grains You Should Know About)
7. Jowar Tacos with Spicy Chicken Filling
User Recipe by Plavaneeta Borah
Bored of your regular menu? Try these intersting Tex-Mex tacos that are made from scratch with jowar flour and are loaded with a spiced chicken filling.
8. Kuttu Ka Dosa
Recipe by Chef Gunjan Goela
Another ingredient that is commonly used during Navratris, buckwheat or kuttu is also gluten free. You can use it to make this quick dosa for a South Indian lunch. Here, the filling is not your usual masala aloo but one that is made with arbi.
9. Green Chilly and Mango Risotto
Recipe by Chef Vicky Ratnani
As suggested by Aarti, risotto can be a good break from the usual stuff you eat for lunch. This one is perfect for summer as it full of the tangy flavour raw mangoes.
10. Makki Ka Paratha Aloo Wala
Recipe by Chef Niru Gupta
You can have your favourite aloo parathas made with maize flour or makki ka atta which is gluten free.
Going gluten free doesn’t mean you have to give up on your favorites. Just tweak and experiment in the kitchen and you never know you may land with a masterpiece of your own. Do share your gluten free recipes with us!