When you make the decision to change your diet due to a food intolerance, it might feel like you’re waving goodbye to some of your favourite foods. It may be the case that many of your common meal fall-backs and comfort foods contain your trigger ingredients, leaving you wondering if you’ll ever be able to eat them again.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a few tricks and tips up your sleeve, you can be eating your favourite meals again with just a few simple ingredient swaps. To help out, we’ve put together a list of easy ways to eat around your food intolerances. With dairy swaps, wheat swaps, gluten swaps and more, you can be eating your favourite dinners again in no time.
It might sound strange, but if you’re looking to make pizza dough that’s both gluten free and authentic feeling, then take a look towards the cauliflower. Whilst it’s likely that the majority of us are more familiar seeing cauliflower overcooked, mistreated, and drowning in cheese sauce, with a couple of easy steps you could be revolutionising the way you eat pizza. What’s more, cauliflower pizza dough isn’t just gluten and yeast free; it’s also low in carbohydrates, making it a winner if you’re on a low carb diet. Take a look at our simple recipe for a gluten free cauliflower pizza base below.
Cauliflower Pizza Base
100g ground almonds
A pinch of salt
1) Cut the cauliflower into small chunks, and then transfer to a food processor.
2) Blitz until the cauliflower is processed into very small pieces – they should be about the size of rice.
3) Place the cauliflower into a large microwave proof bowl, cover with cling film, then place in the microwave for around 5 minutes until soft and well cooked.
4) Tip the cooked cauliflower into a clean tea towel or piece of muslin, and then leave until cool enough to manage.
5) Scrunch the tea towel up into a ball and squeeze to release moisture from the cauliflower.
6) Transfer to a clean bowl and mix well with the almonds, eggs, and salt.
7) Spread the mixture out evenly onto a baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper, and cook in a preheated oven at 200c for around 15 minutes, until golden.
8) Your pizza base is now ready to top with whatever you want. We like to keep it simple with roasted aubergine, peppers, and basil. When topped, reheat for around 10 minutes until the toppings are cooked through.
The problem with coming up with gluten free sandwiches is that a lot of gluten free bread simply doesn’t cut it. A lot of gluten free bread offerings can be a little hit and miss when it comes to texture, and some are often padded out with unnecessary additives, sweeteners, and sugars.
Of course, making your own loaf is always an option, and there are plenty of dairy, wheat, and gluten free bread recipes out there to choose from.
But if you’re still looking for a quick bite on the go and you don’t fancy getting to work in the kitchen, there are other simple free-from sandwich swaps. One of the easiest (and healthiest) swaps is to simply replace bread with a big crunchy leaf, like Swiss chard or romaine lettuce. This works great with most sandwiches, but is particularly good with burgers, kofte, and tortilla fillings.
For something that usually contains so much flour, cake actually has one of the easiest free-from get-arounds. Rather than trying to use gluten-free flour, the trick to creating some of the best gluten free cakes is to simply cut out flour altogether.
Instead, by swapping out flour for ground almonds, you can create a cake that is light, low in carbohydrates, and safe for coeliacs and those with gluten intolerances. As they’re naturally sweet, most recipes that substitute ground almonds for flour also call for a smaller amount of added sugar. That means they’re not just a good free-from option, they’re also great if you’re looking to cut down on the amount of refined sugar in your diet, but still want the occasional sweet treat.
Like pizza, pasta has traditionally been another ingredient that’s firmly off the menu if you’re gluten or dairy intolerant. However, with the rise in awareness of food intolerances, there are now more gluten free pasta options than ever, from straight up shop bought replacements to homemade alternatives.
- Nowadays, most supermarkets have at least a small free-from section, where you’re likely to find a range of free-from pasta shapes. These are pretty much like the real thing, and are most often made with rice flour, corn flour, or a combination of both. However, many contain egg or traces of egg or dairy, so you should always check the label if you’re intolerant to these.
- If you’re up for trailing a little further afield than the supermarket in your quest for free-from pasta, you might find a small section in your local health food shop. Here, you might find black bean pasta and lentil pasta, which are usually free from dairy, eggs, and of course, gluten. The taste and texture might be slightly different to regular pasta, but they’re a good option if you’re intolerant to dairy or eggs and can’t eat supermarket free-from pasta.
- If you want to make your own gluten free pasta substitute, and don’t mind a bit of work, then why not invest in a spiralizer? These kitchen gadgets allow you to make ribbons and shapes from vegetables, which are great for topping and coating with your favourite pasta sauces.
Making the decision to go dairy-free doesn’t have to mean the end of your ice cream days, as luckily there are tonnes of great shop bought and homemade dairy ice cream swaps out there. If you check the freezer section of most big supermarkets these days, you’re likely to come across at least one brand of dairy free ice cream. Though formulations vary from brand to brand, the cow’s milk swaps in dairy-free ice cream could come from oat milk, rice milk, coconut milk, or even nuts like cashews.
If you have an ice cream maker, you could always try your hand at churning some yourself. Simply follow a regular ice cream recipe, but swap the dairy out for a free-from milk of your choice; almond and coconut milk work particularly well.
You can even make a healthy ice-cream that’s free from gluten, dairy, cow’s milk, eggs, and added sugar, with just one ingredient; a banana. Just mash some overripe bananas up, place them in a container, and then freeze. Ok, so it’s not technically ice-cream, but the taste and texture is pretty close, and it’s a lot healthier too.
Do you suspect that something in your diet is making you feel unwell, but not sure what to swap out? Take a look at YorkTest’s Food&DrinkScan food intolerance test, and receive a graded list of your sensitivities alongside a nutritional consultation to help you tailor your diet in a way that works for you.