On this episode of LIVEKINDLY With Me, Desiree Nielsen, R.D. answers all the most pressing questions about eating a gluten-free vegan diet. She also whips up three, delicious-looking gluten-free and vegan recipes to take you from breakfast to dinner.
Although eating gluten-free may seem restrictive, Nielsen says going vegan on a gluten-free diet isn’t as difficult as one might think. This is because plant-based foods, such as fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and legumes, are already naturally gluten-free.
But, what exactly is gluten anyway? “Gluten is a protein that is naturally occurring in wheat, barley, and rye and all of the grains and products associated with them,” Nielsen explains. So gluten can be found in everything from sandwich bread to packaged and processed products like trail mix.
And whether you adopt a gluten-free, vegan diet for health reasons or by choice, you still have a number of delicious foods to choose from. Here’s what to make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes, From Breakfast to Dinner
No, you’re not going to starve on a gluten-free, vegan diet. There are *plenty* of plant-based foods to choose from that don’t contain gluten. Here’s what Nielsen likes to eat in a day.
“We should probably talk about oats because there’s a little bit of confusion around gluten and oats,” she explains. “Oats don’t inherently contain gluten,” she adds. “However, in our current food supply, they’re cross contaminated with gluten.” This doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on this tasty breakfast staple. Just be sure to shop for gluten-free certified pure oats.
For those newly diagnosed with celiac disease—an autoimmune disease that’s triggered by the presence of gluten in the gut—Nielsen says it’s not typically recommended to introduce gluten-free oats into your diet until healing has begun. “So usually 6 to 12 months after your celiac diagnosis and your antibodies have come down,” she explains.
Ready for breakfast? Here’s how Nielsen makes a delicious-looking strawberry chocolate overnight oat.
Strawberry Chocolate Overnight Oats
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) unsweetened plant-based milk
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) chia seed, ground or whole
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) raw cacao or cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract
- 1-2 teaspoons (5 – 10 mL) maple syrup, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (250 mL) strawberries
In a resealable container or 500 mL mason jar, thoroughly combine milk, oats, chia seed, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa powder, and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, taste and decide if you want more maple syrup. Then dice strawberries and stir into the overnight oats.
Cruncy. Tangy. Refreshing. This soba noodle salad is bursting with flavor.
“Soba noodles are a traditional buckwheat noodle from Japan,” Nielsen says. Although buckwheat sounds like wheat, it’s botanically a seed that’s not related to wheat, making it gluten-free.
“However, most conventional soba noodles actually add a bit of wheat flour so soba is not gluten-free food on its own,” she continues. She recommends shopping for 100% pure buckwheat soba noodles labeled as gluten-free.
Soba Noodle Salad with Ginger Lime Dressing
- 1 package soba noodles
- 4 cups (1 L) shredded purple cabbage, about 1/4 medium cabbage
- 2 cups (500 mL) cilantro, leaves and tender stems, chopped, about 1 bunch
- 1 cup (250 mL) snap peas, sliced on diagonal
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) salted peanuts
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 mL) gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) pure maple syrup
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated on a microplane
- 1 small clove garlic, minced or grated on a microplane
- Sriracha hot sauce to taste
- Avocado oil, for noodles
Boil soba noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water, while gently tossing noodles, to stop the cooking and cool them down. Drizzle a tiny bit of avocado oil on the noodles and toss to help prevent them from sticking.
Meanwhile, in a jam jar or small bowl, shake or whisk together the lime juice, sesame oil, tamari, maple syrup, ginger, garlic, and sriracha. This is a light and fresh dressing. If you want to punch it up, double the ginger and garlic.
In a large serving dish, place the noodles, cabbage, cilantro, and snap peas, then toss with the dressing. Garnish with peanuts, and serve.
Note: Feel free to switch up the veggies as you wish, this is a great fridge clean up salad. Just use 7 cups of whatever veggies you have on hand, ideally making sure you’ve got something crunchy, something crisp, and something green!
For dinner, Nielsen shares one of her family’s favorite recipes: creamy chickpea coconut curry. “It’s great because it comes together really quickly on a weeknight and it contains ingredients you probably already have in your pantry,” Nielsen says. These include coconut milk, canned chickpeas, and broccoli. Here’s how to make it.
Chickpea Curry With Millet
- 1 lb (450 g) broccoli, cut into small florets and stalks diced
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) coconut oil or avocado oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 2 inch (5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 2 tbsp)
- 2 inch (5 cm) piece fresh turmeric, peeled and minced
- 2-14 oz (398 mL) cans of no salt added chickpeas, or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
- 2-14 oz (398 mL) cans of full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- 1 1/4 teaspoon (6 mL) salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) curry powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 mL) garam masala
- Juice of half a lime
- For serving: 2-3 cups of cooked grain (I used millet), cilantro leaves and lime wedges
In a large, high rimmed skillet (or pasta pot), heat the oil on medium.
Add onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and broccoli stalks and cook for five minutes, until onion is soft and glossy, stirring often so garlic doesn’t burn.
Add the broccoli florets and cook for 3 minutes until they turn bright green, then add the chickpeas, stir through and season with salt and pepper.
Next, add the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, and garam masala, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Pour in the coconut milk and water, and add salt. Let curry simmer for 10-15 minutes so flavours can blend.
Turn off heat, stir in lime juice, taste and adjust salt or lime juice to your liking.
Serve with a cooked grain and garnish with cilantro and lime wedge.
Note: If you don’t have access to fresh turmeric, just add another 1/4 teaspoon of dried turmeric to the curry.