Transform Your Favorite Recipes into Gluten-Free Recipes

You’ve decided to go gluten-free. Now what?

If you’re anything like me, a couple of weeks into your gluten-free journey and you’ll give anything to have Mom’s casserole again, will begin dreaming of Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies, and your friends will be expecting you to bring their favorite dessert over to Sundays dinner party. Problem is, or so you think, is that all of these recipes contain gluten!

Do not fear. This is a natural step on your way to gluten-freedom. It’s time you figured out how to transform those traditional recipes into gluten-free ones. I know it sounds scary, but you can do it! All you need is a couple of recipes, some great gluten-free products like DeLallo gluten-free pasta and a couple of encouraging examples. Here goes!


Who doesn’t like a nice, rich soup as an appetizer? I know I do, especially with the cold weather approaching.

Soups are generally made with a chicken, beef or vegetable broth as the base. Many of these broths are thickened with wheat flour. To make the recipe gluten-free, all you have to do is purchase a gluten-free broth, easy as that! Many popular household brand name companies list whether or not their broth, bullion or stock products are gluten-free and a quick skim of the allergen list of the product will tell you whether or not it’s safe for you.

If you’re feeling a little crazy and are interested in making your own stock, you can thicken it using the following gluten-free starches in place of wheat flour:

  • corn starch
  • arrowroot starch
  • tapioca starch
  • potato starch

An example of where these points could be put to practice would be by transforming the DeLallo recipe for Pasta e Ceci – Chickpea Soup. All you’d have to do is be mindful of the broth used, and switch out the regular spaghetti for a gluten-free kind.

Another popular appetizer crostini-based, like the DeLallo Sun-Dried Tomato & Brie Bruschetta.

To make these bread-based appetizers gluten-free, you can replace the bread with:

  • circles cut from gluten-free wraps and baked for a couple of minutes until crisp
  • potato skins
  • polenta rounds
  • zucchini or carrot slices
  • potato chips
  • rice cakes

Pasta Dishes

The first ingredient you’ll have to worry about in pasta dishes is the pasta itself. You can swap out the regular pasta in a pasta dish recipe with:

  • rice pasta
  • corn pasta
  • corn and rice pasta
  • buckwheat pasta (please note that soba noodles, a form of buckwheat pasta, is usually made up of approximately 30% wheat and is not gluten-free)
  • soy pasta
  • quinoa and rice pasta
  • potato gnocchi

If the recipe calls for sausage or other processed meats, make sure you check the label of the package before purchasing. Many meat companies are going gluten-free and are now stating clearly whether or not their product is safe for a gluten-free diet. Another thing to watch for are packaged cream sauces as they could also contain wheat ingredients.

A great example of a traditional recipe that can be made gluten-free using my suggestions above is the DeLallo recipe for Spicy Sausage & Pepper Orzo.

Main Course

There’s something about breading meats with a crispy outer shell that brings comfort to a meal. To obtain this same golden, crisp outer layer you know and love, try replacing the wheat flour with:

  • corn meal
  • smashed potato chips
  • gluten-free cereal
  • gluten-free bread crumbs
  • ground nuts, like almonds
  • shredded coconut

An example of where any of these substitutions would work well, is in the DeLallo recipe for Italian Lemon-Breaded Pork Chops with Orzo & Peas. Using the pasta recommendations I listed above, you can make this entire meal gluten-free and enjoy every last bite!

Similar to breaded proteins are entree recipes that require breadcrumbs as a binder such as seen in recipes like meatloaves, burger patties, and meatballs. You can replace the breadcrumbs with an equal amount of:

  • almond flour
  • gluten-free bread crumbs
  • quinoa flakes
  • ground nuts or seeds
  • flax seed

Alternatively, try adding an extra egg and just omit the breadcrumbs completely. More often than not, the recipe will still work just as well.

An example of where these tips could be used to create a healthy, gluten-free entree is in the DeLallo recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Meatballs.

Sauce and Gravy

It’s hard to believe that practically every sauce you’ve either made, ordered at a restaurant, or purchased at a grocery store was made with some form of gluten, but it’s true. This doesn’t mean that you can’t find gluten-free sauces to top your steamed veggies, coat your slice of turkey on Thanksgiving, or drench some French fries in at the end of a long week. Natural, gluten-free thickeners for sauces and gravies include:

  • corn starch
  • arrowroot starch
  • tapioca starch
  • potato starch

When substituting wheat flour with these gluten-free thickeners, use about 25% less than what is called for in the recipe as they tend to be a little bit more gelatinous than wheat flour. Too much, and you’ll have a gravy jello. Not good.

Baked Goods

Last, but certainly not least, is dessert. This is where gluten-free adjustments can get a little bit complicated. If there’s a minimal amount of flour in the dessert recipe, as seen in the DeLallo recipe for Ricotta Pudding, you should be okay with replacing it with a gluten-free flour such as white rice flour.

If your favorite dessert calls for a large amount of flour like a cake or cookie, purchasing a gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture will be the way to go. These mixes are often made up of a mixture of gluten-free binding and rising agents like xanthum gum, baking powder, baking soda and a variety of gluten-free flours such as:

  • brown rice flour
  • garbanzo bean flour
  • tapioca flour
  • potato flour
  • buckwheat flour
  • coconut flour
  • almond flour
  • teff flour
  • sorghum flour

Now that you have the tools to transform your favorite recipes into gluten-free ones, I encourage you to give it a shot and see just how easy (and delicious) it can be!

All images and recipes supplied by DeLallo Foods. The opinions expressed herein are those of Healthful Pursuit and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of DeLallo Foods.
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  1. Hi, I love the recipes that you have on your website! Your Upside Down Banana Bread Pancakes are absolutely positively DELICIOUS!! I was just wondering — do you have celiac disease or have you just chosen to cut gluten out of your diet, and if so, do you mind me asking why? Thanks!

    • Hi Mandi – thank you! I haven’t made those pancakes in a long time… I should get to it! I went off gluten many years ago at the recommendation of my naturopath and instantly began feeling better so I’ve never been tested. I wrote a bit about my gluten-free journey on my about page if you’re interested. Here’s the link:

  2. Leanne would you consider adding a few recipes that are not only wheat and corn, but also dairy free? I love the economic considerations that you’ve included because I believe we can all eat better by systematizing our shopping and food preparation. 80% compliance is adequate for non-allergic diet changes, so I like having the occasional support of ready mixes as you’ve suggested.

    • Hi Patricia – are you suggesting that I add recipes to this roundup that are dairy-free? If so, many of the recipes at DeLallo have dairy, but the dairy can usually be replaced with non-dairy milk for milk, daiya or other dairy-free cheese for cheese, if there’s ricotta or sour cream you can get away with making these products out of dairy-free yogurt (there are a bunch of recipes online on how to do this). I’ll be sure to keep the dairy-free aspect in mind as well when I do my next roundup. Thanks for your suggestion!

  3. This is great! Thanks, Leanne! I don’t have gluten intolerance, but I’m def opened to trying and experimenting with gluten-free recipes! I’ve started using arrowroot to thicken sauces…works beautifully! And I actually didn’t know that soba noodles are not gluten-free! Glad you pointed that out! Oh those meatballs look so delicious! I’m going to make them soon for sure!

  4. POTATO SKINS! The perfect sub for mushrooms! THANK YOU!!!!! These are all such great ideas… thanks for taking the time to put them all together in one spot. :-) c@

    • Glad you liked my gluten-free suggestions! Yeah, potato skins are the BOMB as a gluten-free substitution.

  5. Thanks for this super informational post! I’ve been GF for a while but am usually too intimidated to attempt any complex GF baking… Your recipes are inspiring me to try more!

    I’ve been a reader for some time now, and I’m always drooling over your pictures. Thank you for always posting such creative and thoughtful recipes! I actually just started my own blog and would be thrilled if you have a moment to stop by and say hello. (My recipes are not even comparable to yours though!) :)

    • Headed over there now to check out your new space!