People who follow a gluten-free diet will be the first to tell you how difficult and annoying it can be to pass up a bowl of homemade pasta or a slice of birthday cake that hasn't been prepared with gluten-free alternatives. This is where gluten-free meals come in, to make sure every family member or guest can find something on the dinner table that works with their dietary restrictions. Some of these gluten-free recipes are entirely grain-free, while others make it easy to swap a few ingredients so you can cater to everyone's diet.
If you don't have a family member or friend who is gluten-free, you may not be familiar with celiac disease, a digestive and immune disorder. A reaction is triggered when someone who is celiac consumes gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, as well as bread, pasta, cookies, and cakes. Symptoms can vary widely among individuals, but some common signs to look out for are bloating, abdominal pain, and even lactose intolerance. You can treat celiac disease by following a gluten-free diet, which means baking gluten-free desserts and researching gluten-free snacks.
This may sound daunting, but there are plenty of gluten-free recipes that are naturally grain-free, so you won't have to jump through hoops for weeknight dinner ideas. We've rounded up some of these light and easy family-friendly recipes you can prepare for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, whether you just found out that you have celiac disease or one of your kids has always needed to eat gluten-free.
Sheet Pan Chickpea Chicken
This dish is completely grain-free, so there's no worry about gluten here. Plus, it's packed full of protein from both the chicken and the chickpeas.
Get the Sheet Pan Chickpea Chicken recipe.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
This tasty soup is full of vegetables and herbs — and no gluten. It heavily features mushrooms, which are rich in antioxidants and have antiviral properties.
Get the Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe.
Chickpea, Spinach, and Quinoa Patties
These patties are held together with quinoa, a naturally gluten-free grain — though it's important to double check that your quinoa is certified gluten-free, as sometimes cross contamination can occur in grain processing facilities.
These chicken kebabs are super simple to make; just throw them on the grill and they'll be ready in less than half an hour. Plus, you can mix them up by alternating the chicken chunks with your favorite veggies.
Get the Chicken Kebabs recipe.
Bell Pepper Nachos
There are plenty of gluten-free chip options, so traditional nachos can definitely be part of a gluten-free diet. But if you're hoping to avoid the hassle of finding gluten-free chips, opt for peppers instead, which are packed with vitamin C and beta carotene.
Get the Bell Pepper Nachos recipe.
Roasted Squash, Pork, and Kale Salad With Cherries
Salad is always a great gluten-free go-to, and this one loaded with squash, pork, and kale will leave you full and satisfied.
Smoked Paprika Steak and Lentils with Spinach
This delicious steak recipe is quick and easy. Serve it with a side of wilted spinach and lentils. Add a dollop of yogurt if you're feeling fancy.
This slow-cooker meal is great for days when you want to come back to a home-cooked meal but you don't want to have to actually cook. Just prepare it in the morning, throw it in the slow-cooker and leave it. Keep in mind that some jams and soy sauces contain gluten, so make sure you're purchasing varieties that don't.
Get the Sesame Chicken recipe.
Grilled Skirt Steak with Charred Zucchini and Pineapple Salad
This juicy steak recipe only takes half an hour to prepare. Just make sure to serve with gluten-free tortillas.
Honey Balsamic Glazed Chicken with Arugula Salad
In the mood for something savory but sweet? These juicy chicken thighs drizzled with a homemade honey glaze will hit the spot.
Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Salsa
The best part of these enchiladas is the mouthwatering salsa, made with cilantro, jalapeño, sugar, lime juice, and pumpkin seeds.
Crispy Chicken Thighs with Escarole and Parmesan Salad
To get the skin on your chicken thighs to crisp up, place them in a heavy skillet skin side down. Then place a second skillet on top of the chicken and put heavy cans inside to weigh it down. This flattens the chicken so it cooks evenly while also giving it that extra-crispy crunch.
Beans and Greens with Lemon-Parmesan Polenta
Escarole, white beans, and lemon zest pack huge flavor into this gluten-free polenta dish.
Steak and Cauliflower with Caper Relish
Top your tender sirloin steak and roasted cauliflower with a tangy, salty caper relish, made with lemon zest, chile, capers, raisins, and parsley.
Fish Chowder Sheet Pan Bake
This one-pan cod recipe gets its smoky flavor from cooking pieces of bacon on top of the potatoes and onions. For a fully gluten-free meal, swap the panko crumbles on top of the cod with crushed almonds for added crunch.
Get the Fish Chowder Sheet Pan Bake recipe.
Tex Mex Stuffed Zucchini with Black Beans
You won't be able to stop yourself from reaching for seconds — and thirds — of these zucchini boats stuffed with spicy chorizo and melted Pepper Jack cheese.
Grilled Sesame Chicken and Chili Lime Slaw
Your favorite Chinese takeout meal gets a gluten-free makeover with this delicious recipe. Coat chicken breast in sesame seeds and sear in a cast iron pan to create a crispy skin. Then, transfer the pan to the oven to allow the chicken to cook through.
Sweet Potatoes with Shredded Salad
This loaded baked sweet potato is piled high with heart-healthy ingredients, like radishes, carrots, and sunflower seeds.
Shrimp Tacos with Mango and Black Bean Salsa
You'll want to serve these shrimp and mango tacos every day of the week, not just on Tuesdays.
Beef and Lentil Chili
This hearty chili is no fuss — all you need is beef, a can of crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, lentils, and a few spices. Top with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese if desired.
Get the Beef and Lentil Chili recipe.
Elizabeth Berry (she/her) is the Updates Editor at the Good Housekeeping Institute where she optimizes lifestyle content across verticals. Prior to this role, she was an Editorial Assistant for Woman’s Day where she covered everything from gift guides to recipes. She also has experience fact checking commerce articles and holds a B.A. in English and Italian Studies from Connecticut College.
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