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Guide to Gluten-Free

Welcome to gluten-free living!

Whether you want to introduce new foods that fit within your dietary needs; are browsing in hopes to find recipes for loved ones with allergies, OR you are simply open to looking for new ideas to answer the question, “What’s for dinner?”…you have come to the right spot.

Here’s a little guide (though not restricted to) of some of my favorite grains, lentils, beans and rices in gluten-free living. Hope you might find something new to use in the menu rotation at your house.

 © copyright forkandbeans 2011

mung bean–great for sprouting or extracting the starch to make noodles, thickener or pastes. they also are great additions to soups. biggest benefit of the mung bean? it is easy to digest, which our bellies thank us for.



green lentil–lentils are such a great staple to have in the cupboard. they make an excellent addition to soups that are stocked with veggies and lots of leafy greens.



lundberg’s wild rice–i absolutely love this medley! the colors are beautiful and they give off a nutty, rice-y flavor. i like to use this rice at times when i stuff veggies. i’m obsessed with veggie stuffing. or it makes a great side dish all along. cooking preparation: 1 part rice, 2 parts liquid (try gluten-free veggie broth as your liquid next time. you will love the flavor!)


black-eyed peas–we all know these guys from a little dish we call “black-eyes peas and ham”. this is something my mom always makes come new years. but for those of us who do not eat meat, this dish can still taste just as good and flavorful. try using a slowcooker for these and add some garlic, water, salt and a bay leaf or 5 (ha).


gluten-free cornmeal–i use Bob’s RedMill brand and have been very pleased. i made an extremely tasty cornbread with the meal, flour, flaxseed (as egg substitute), oil and earth balance “butter”. it turned out great! cornmeal is also used for polenta or as a great added flour in all purpose mixes to give it that hearty flavor and texture for muffins, breads and pancakes.


quinoa–a staple in this household. so versatile, healthy and a great nutty flavor. i usually make a bean salad with quinoa, drizzled in citrus juice and lots of cilantro. even tastes great the day after when the flavors are able to permeate while cold. cooking preparation: 1 part quinoa, 2 parst liquid.


brown basmati rice–okay, i think we all know brown rice but have you tried basmati brown rice? eh?eh? nudge. nudge. it’s a longer grain and the taste is something i prefer over regular ol’ brown rice (though that is a great choice as well!) to cook use 1 part rice, 1 parts water (example: 1 cup rice with 2 cups water)


chia seeds–these little magical wonders are just that. magical. try putting a tablespoon into your oatmeal and see what happens. want a spoiler alert? it puffs up like tapioca acts like a gelatin. i love chewing on them. they are also used as an egg replacement for baked goods. mix with warm water and let the slurry begin!


yellow split pea–add it as the thickening base for soups, throw them in for a nice, chewy texture to broth based soups, curry them up, or treat them as a substitute for red lentils (i knew what i was doing here, i swear. it wasn’t a mistake. i know the difference between yellow split peas and red lentils. you believe me, right? RIGHT? well, you shouldn’t, i’m totally lying…)


garbanzo beans (or chickpeas)–oh, if only i could write a love poem to garbanzo beans! wait a minute, i just might do that… later though (to be continued…). garbanzo beans are one of my favorite beans. they are so versatile and their uses are endless: hummus, meat substitutes, falafel,  roasted as a snack, thrown  in salads…and on and on. start using your creativity for this precious little piece of bean.


red quinoa–i went up to paso robles, ca (heaven on earth!) and dined at a local restaurant that literally served foods that came fresh from their farm to the table. one of their menu items was a salad that was drenched in red quinoa. it was divine, not to mention a great way to use this grain! the red version packs a great crunch. the way i like to use it is to do a medley of red and regular.


red kidney bean–i love to use this bean in a 3 bean chili mix. the meatiness of the kidney bean adds volume and flavor. it also tastes great to add to salads.



black bean–this is my go-to bean if i am looking to stuff veggies (here i go again…), make (attempt to make) and bean burger, and anything spicy and mexican-themed. it pairs beautifully with cumin.



flaxseed meal–i am always fascinated by flaxseed and its ability to emmulate eggs in baking. it not only adds a beautiful brown hue, but also emits a lovely wheat-like flavor in your baked goods. this is my #1 go-to for an egg substitute. i use 1 Tb per 2-3 Tbs warm water and then allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. it is also a great thickener for smoothies.


adkuzi bean–another item that your belly will thank you for. the adkuzi bean is one of the more easier to digest beans. it is also a great substitute for black beans. try making a burger from these guys–you will find the nutty, sweet flavor definitely interesting and worth trying!


millet–nutty, easy to digest. similar to couscous. i have used millet for skillet cakes, a side dish and yup, you guessed it, stuffed inside veggies. my fav? simply as a side dish, cooked in veggie broth, sauteed with garlic and onions. sometimes simple is  better! sometimes. cooking preparation: 1 part millet, 2 parts liquid (brown in skillet first for 5 min., boil, simmer covered 15-20 min.)


black quinoa–surprise! another color to quinoa!




anasazi bean–sometimes i don’t even want to eat this bean–i just want to look at it. isn’t it adorable? but it must be eaten, so when i feel like a different variation on a mexican dish, i like to use these beans in place of black or pinto beans. you will find that they are quite comparable to the pinto. (bean, that is, not the car…) oh and rumor has it, they make you toot less. could be a selling point?


madagascar pink rice–i like this rice because i sound like i am cultured. “what did you eat for dinner last night cara?” “oh you know, the usual. pink rice from the mountainous regions of madagascar, lovey!” ←just so we are clear, i have never been to madagascar, nor do i even know if it has a mountainous topography.  seriously though, try this rice. it is a mild one–try it as a rice pudding?


lima bean–“i’ll be back before you can say lima bean!” anyone up for 80’s television trivia? (yes, i seriously just went onto to watch this). not gonna lie, i did a lot of giggling! back to lima beans. love the almost buttery flavor they give. my favorite way to eat them is simply on their way. easy enough.


arborio rice— short grain, white rice–the perfect usage is in risotto, according to my preference. it is the only way i cook with this rice.



navy bean–mmmmmmmmm. small. flavorful. gets a beautiful creaminess to it when you slow cook these guys on low heat over a long period of time. throw in water, onion, garlic, herbs, bay leaf, salt and cover. you will love the creamy bean medley that occurs.


sushi rice–no explanation needed right? the name gives it away.




amaranth–similiar to millet but smaller in size. gives a sticky-like texture, almost oatmeal-like. flour is also made from this grain which has a strong, nutty flavor to is.



canario bean–creamy like the pinto bean. you can use it as a substitute or even try it mashed up like refried beans. these beans also work nicely in soups for added protein. lovely, i must say!



quinoa flakes–i will say that the flakes do some serious hard work in your baked goods. they make them hearty and moist (i hate that word!) you can also use them as a substitute for your morning hot cereal routine. add a dash of sugar, or honey (bee-friendly, of course), or agave and maybe some vegan butter. mmmm….


green split pea–does this really need explaining? split pea soup anyone???  YES PLEASE! end of story.



rolled oats (GF)–to my surprise, oats are gluten-free naturally. it’s just the way in which they are treated in the manufacturing process that you have to watch out for gluten.why did i think they were wheat??? i buy Bob’s RedMill brand and am happy as a clam (how do we know that clams are happy, by the way?)


red lentils–a great ingredient when cooking with indian flare! these guys tastes beautifully with coriander, ginger, garlic, cilantro and tumeric (if you do not have tumeric in stock, run, don’t walk, to the store and buy some!)

28 Comments Post a comment
  1. are a alot of the foods available in Australia?

    January 2, 2013
  2. I’ve just been recommended your page after a rant on my blog about recently having to go GF and how depressed it’s made me as I love baking at home. This guide has been so educational and very inspiring! Thank you 🙂

    November 3, 2012
    • Welcome to the GF train, Jyoti! Oh, the depression I totally understand but I am so glad to hear that you found your way over here and are feeling a little better. You will get the hang of this new way of baking in no time and you will back to loving baking before you know it. Let me know if you have any questions! xo

      November 5, 2012
  3. I love, love, love this!

    October 4, 2012
  4. I love how beautiful you made gluten free look! This is a great source for newcomers; I will definitely have to pass it along to a few friends.

    September 12, 2012
    • Thank you so much! xo

      September 13, 2012
  5. Just found this lovely post through Tumblr and I’m so glad I did! I love that you included the spices that you prefer with the different grains/beans.

    Also, I grew up in Paso Robles. You should try Artisan next time, it’s my favorite! And Thacher and Villicana Wineries are my other favorite 😉

    September 4, 2012
  6. I am pretty sure I love you. Is that weird? Maybe, I don’t care. You are awesome and I also hate the word “moist”(gag).

    May 13, 2012
    • I love you too, Tess! 🙂 It’s even more weird for me to say that because I don’t even have a basis for saying that other than your comment but anyone who hates that word is a friend of mine! xo

      May 13, 2012
  7. Thank you so much! I am so happy to find you.

    March 31, 2012
    • You are so welcome Julieann! Happy to be of service 🙂 xo, Cara

      March 31, 2012
  8. This information is soooo helpful! Thank you for posting this.

    March 24, 2012
    • You are so welcome. I am happy to hear that it is of use for you!! xo

      March 25, 2012
  9. This design is wicked! You definitely know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

    January 29, 2012
    • Alma, thank you so much! You were in my spam section but I really wanna believe that you aren’t in fact a spammed comment 🙂 xo

      January 29, 2012
  10. You have no clue how happy I am that I have found you!!! I’ve just nominated you for a Liebster Award! Thank you for sharing your story and starting this blog :o)

    January 23, 2012
    • And you have no idea how happy it makes me to read this comment! Thank you so much!! xo Feeling very humbled and honored. xo

      January 24, 2012
  11. rachelbird #

    I have to ask: what restaurant in Paso? I used to live there and plan on visiting the area soon.

    January 14, 2012
    • I WANT to live there 🙂 That is my dream location! Thomas Hill Organics is the restaurant–the food is very delightful and fresh. Another restaurant a couple blocks down is called Buona Tavola–a pricey, but worth it Italian restaurant. Oh, and there is a bakery in Atascadero that was so lovely, you should check out as well: Hush Harbor. Just beautiful food there. Wait, I have one more recommendation! hehe. A great winery is Chateau Margene. Have fun visiting and know that I am jealous of you every minute you are there! 🙂 xo

      January 14, 2012
  12. Nel #

    I didn’t realize that all those beans I’ve been eating are gluten-free. I’m a big fan of mung, adzuki and red kidney beans; predominantly because I have a nice supply where I’m currently based. And really – sushi rice is gluten-free? This is so informative. Thank you.

    New here,

    December 29, 2011
    • Nel, you are practically gluten free without even knowing it!! Basically, anything with flour (wheat or barley) is filled with gluten and that is about it. So glad to see your face over here–thank you for stopping by and I hope to hear more from you!! xo, Cara

      December 29, 2011
  13. Cara, I”m new to both veganism and a gluten free diet and your blog has been so comforting and helpful! It’s nice to know that I can translate my love for healthy foods into an even healthier and cruelty-free lifestyle. Thanks a million!

    September 25, 2011
    • Welcome newbie! It is always nice to know we are not alone, isn’t it?? I tell you, sometimes it feels like it with a new diet like this… I’m so delighted that you are finding something out of this blog though! Make yourself at home and hope to hear from you again.

      September 25, 2011
  14. Wow! What a thorough guide! Thanks so much for this. It can be really confusing to find grains and foods that we can eat, but this is going to help a lot of people. Sharing with Twitter! 🙂

    September 13, 2011
    • Thanks for that, Morgan! I am glad that you found it to be helpful and are sharing it! Very appreciated.

      September 13, 2011

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