Gluten-free diets are not as restrictive as they may initially sound. In fact, as the gluten-free lifestyle becomes more mainstream, there are a growing number of gluten-free products you can find at your local grocery store.
From big brand names with gluten offerings to small gluten-free-only specialty brands, you can find virtually everything you'd ever need -- from pasta to flour to baked good mixes.
We reached out to some gluten-free experts -- including a gluten-free Tenley Molzahn from ABC's The Bachelor and Bachelor Pad series -- for their recommendations for the best gluten-free products.
Read on for their seven favorites ...
In addition to mixes and flours, Arrowhead Mills also produces gluten-free beans, breakfasts, grains, nut butters, rice, and seeds.
Blogger K.S. Brooks, who runs Gluten-Free Gusto, says Betty Crocker has recently hopped on the bandwagon and is producing gluten-free cake and brownie mixes that you can even find at Walmart.
Also a fan of Betty Crocker's gluten-free mixes? The Bachelor's Molzahn.
"My journey of finding fun things to eat has definitely taken trial and error, and [has] sometimes [gotten] really expensive," Molzahn says.
However, when it comes to fall desserts, she relies on Betty Crocker's gluten-free products. Betty offers gluten-free brownies, cookies, and cakes as well as gluten-free baking mix recipe ideas on her site.
(A recipe for Molzahn's favorite gluten-free pumpkin chocolate chip cookies follows below.)
Alana Elliott, president of Nonuttin' Foods, which produces its own gluten-free granola bars, says it's a good idea for beginning bakers to start with mixes that are already on the market.
"Many companies have spent years developing gluten-free mixes for everything from pizza crust to muffins and have become really good at it. There's even gluten-free Bisquick," she says.
Bisquick's site has a gluten-free product locator as well as gluten-free recipe ideas and an option to sign up for its "Live Gluten Freely" newsletter and answers to questions on topics like whether gluten-free Bisquick can be substituted for regular Bisquick in all recipes.
(Note: Bisquick is a Betty Crocker product, too.)
Bob's Red Mill Flour
Jen Voss, public relations manager at Buffalo Communications (and a celiac), also recommends Bob's Red Mill Flour for baking.
Bob's gluten-free collection includes yeast, flours, starches, and baking powder and soda.
Stacya Silverman, president of Beauty Alert! (and a celiac), says gluten-free cooking is all about the brands you buy. One of the brands she recommends is Namaste Foods.
"Some of the brands are so terrible and it gives people the impression that being gluten-free is really hard and horrible," she says. Not so of Namaste, a food manufacturer based in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, that produces gluten-free mixes including brownies, bread, pizza crust, pasta, muffins, frosting, and cookies. (The site also has a product locator so you can find Namaste goods near you.)
Colantonio also recommends Pamela's Products.
Pamela's Product's founder, Pamela Giusto-Sorrells, says Pamela's offers more than 30 nationally distributed products like cookies, biscotti, baking mixes, cheesecakes, and cakes.
Sherri Konick, who has been on a gluten-free diet for several years, says there are many gluten-free rice pastas on the market and a few good gluten-free breads. In particular, she recommends Udi's Gluten Free Foods.
Based in Denver, Udi's makes gluten-free breads, bagels, pizza crusts, muffins, and granola. You can also order the gluten-free products online, and if you register for Udi's email newsletter, you receive a $1 coupon.
Tenley Molzahn's Gluten Free Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 1/4 cup butter, softened (not melted)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1 box (19 oz) Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
- 1/2 cup raisins, if desired
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Powdered sugar, if desired
- Tenley's special edition: Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheets.
Molzahn recommends using a Kitchen-Aid mixer for gluten-free products but says a hand mixer works fine, too.
In a large bowl, stir in pumpkin, butter, vanilla, and egg until blended.
Stir in cookie mix, cinnamon, and your choice of raisins or chocolate chips. Stir until dough forms.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Molzahn also recommends using a dough scoop or a melon baller for perfectly rounded cookies.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when lightly touched in center and edges are golden brown. (Or, for more gooey cookies, remove a bit earlier.)
Remove cookies from cookie sheet and place on cooling rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when they are cool for a nice finishing touch.
(Note: This recipe was originally from Betty Crocker.)