Just Because It’s Gluten Free It Doesn’t Mean It’s Good For You.

Just Because It’s Gluten Free It Doesn’t Mean It’s Good For You.

As I make my way living wheat and gluten free, I’m doing a lot of reading for ideas and support. One of my first stops was amazon.ca, where I searched for a gluten free guide and up popped hundreds of titles. I scanned down the list and a pattern emerged. Many of these cookbook covers showcased pizza, cookies, cakes and even doughnuts.

crustlessquiche

While I am not interested in a donut recipe, I am guilty of immediately setting out to replace all wheat with gluten free products. Well, there’s certainly no shortage of product, which is a good news/bad news kind of thing. Good news? It isn’t difficult, I picked up bread crumbs, all purpose flour, pasta and crackers and there was no need for a trip to a specialty store. The bad news? There’s a large and growing market for gluten free products and producers are cashing in. Much of what is available is heavily processed, full of sugar, salt and other ingredients that may pose a host of other issues. For those of us who are not celiac but who are walking away from wheat for other reasons, this raises a real question of cost vs. benefit. My decision to give up wheat was a health choice and I have to remind myself (a student of ingredient lists and nutritional value charts) that just because something says gluten free on the front of the package, does not make it healthy.

Take my panko style gluten free bread crumbs for instance:

Ingredients: water, tapioca starch, pea starch, white rice flour, sugar, whole egg powder, inulin, sunflower oil, sodium bicarbonate, cellulose, mono calcium phosphate, pea fibre, cream of tartar, sodium acid pyrophosphate, yeast, salt, xanathan gum, mono and diglycerides.

¼ cup contains:  110 calories, 1 gram of fat, 350 mg of salt, 2 grams of fibre, 0 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein

Compare the above with my standard panko bread crumbs:

Ingredients: wheat flour, sugar, yeast, soybean oil, salt.

¼ cup contains: 55 calories, 0.5 gram of fat, 40 mg of salt, 1 g of fibre, 2 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein

I feel a little ridiculous for not reading the back of the box and mindlessly popping the gluten free breadcrumbs in my basket. This isn’t necessarily a better choice; it is simply a gluten free choice. It is early days yet, and I know there are a lot of delicious and healthy  gluten free products available, but as I find my way, rather than trying to replace pizza, pasta and yes bread crumbs and being disappointed with the results either because of the way they taste or what they are made of, I am simply going to stick to basics and search out delicious foods and dishes that also happen to be gluten free.  As for the breadcrumbs, I’ll try cornmeal instead.

And because it’s egg week… my recipe for a Simply Delicious Crustless Quiche that also happens to be gluten free.

This recipe requires 3 things, eggs, cottage cheese and greens. Below is a suggested ingredient list –  feel free to improvise. Instead of, or in addition to spinach, try it with Swiss chard, collard greens, kale or use a combination of these greens. You can make it with or without cheese, and if you don’t have a red pepper handy use whatever vegetable you have in the crisper that suits your fancy.

Simply Delicious Crustless Quiche

2 medium bundles of spinach washed, steamed, chopped and thoroughly drained
red pepper finely chopped (raw)
4 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup grated sharp cheddar

Method

Preheat oven to 325. Grease a  9 inch pie plate.

Line the bottom of the pie plate with cooked spinach. Cover spinach with finely chopped raw red pepper.

With egg-beaters, beat cottage cheese and eggs together. Now is a good time to add salt and pepper. Beat for about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. It doesn’t matter if there are still lumps. Pour egg and cottage cheese mixture over spinach and red pepper. Top with grated sharp cheddar.

Bake for 40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes

There are two steps that I feel are critical to the success of this quiche. First is draining the greens. Take your time; really press the water out. You don’t want a soggy quiche. Also, do let it stand and settle. When it comes out of the oven it will be quite fluffy and beautiful, resist the urge to cut right into it. Letting it sit does something magical; it’s worth it. I should also mention, it makes for excellent leftovers.

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