Even today, when there are more resources for gluten-free foods and recipes than ever before, dropping wheat and other grains from your diet can be hard—both logistically and emotionally. (When we had to leave baguettes behind? It was a tearful goodbye.) It doesn’t really matter if you’ve been gluten-free for years or are just taking the plunge now—here are 15 foods you will probably miss and the best gluten-free replacements we’ve found.
1. Flour Tortillas
If you’re craving flour tortillas, swapping in corn tortillas is definitely a no-brainer. Lettuce is also a classic option, but we’ve found collard greens to be a bit better—the leaves tend to be bigger, stronger, and less likely to rip.
Though there are plenty of gluten-free cracker options in grocery stores these days, you can’t beat the simplicity of a rice cake. We also love brown rice tortillas cut up, toasted, and paired with cheese or hummus.
3. Bread Crumbs
Whether you need bread crumbs in a recipe or just as a topping, gluten-free oats are a great substitute if you send them through a food processor first. Also try crushing up your favorite gluten-free flax or fiber cereal and using that in place of bread crumbs for an extra crunchy topping.
4. Pizza Crust
You could opt for a gluten-free pizza crust, of course, but if you want something a little unexpected, try baking your pizza on mashed potatoes. (Seriously.) If that doesn’t do it for you, spaghetti squash and cauliflower also make awesome, healthy crusts.
Any time you’re craving pancakes, swap whatever flour your recipe calls for with cornmeal to amp up the protein without the gluten. It’ll also add a healthy dose of protein to your morning, and we’re always good with that.
Chopped nuts are a great way to emulate the consistency of traditional granola without risking gluten contamination. They’re perfect on top of a bowl of yogurt, but we also love snacking on them plain.
7. Pre-Made Frosting
Not all pre-made frosting is gluten-free, so if you’re looking for an alternative that’s easier than making your own, give meringue a try. It’s easy to whip up, it’s light, and it adds the right amount of sweetness to any dessert.
Next time you’re craving a crunch on your salad, go for nuts instead of croutons. They’re easy, protein-heavy, and, most importantly, gluten-free.
9. All-Purpose Flour
There are tons of great options to replace all-purpose flour, and honestly, many of them are better than the original. Our favorites are almond flour, coconut flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, almond meal, rice flour, chickpea flour, and brown rice flour. Depending on what you’re making, you might have to combine some of these with cornstarch, tapioca starch, or potato starch.
These days, there are tons of great gluten-free pastas available, and since most of our favorites are made with beans or healthy grains, they’re better for you than the original. Of course, zoodles and other vegetable noodles will also always be a staple in our recipe repetoire.
Replicating the distinct texture of couscous is close to impossible, but other grains like quinoa and polenta can get pretty close. Another good trick? Steam and grate cauliflower for a fluffy, hearty couscous replacement.
12. Soy Sauce
Most soy sauce contains wheat, so opting for tamari, soy sauce’s wheat-free cousin, is your best bet when you need that umami flavor. Still, check the label—some tamari can contain small amounts of wheat you might want to avoid.
Roux is a combination of fat and flour that’s used to thicken soups and sauces, but since you can’t have flour (duh), you’ll need something else. Try using mashed potatoes or a combo of cornstarch and water—both will add the thickness and creaminess you’re looking for.
Anything you can put on a bagel, you can put on a rice cake. Just sayin’.
Originally published December 2011. Updated June 2017.