Many of the gluten-free food products on the market are pricey, but that doesn't mean you have to shell out big dollars to eat gluten-free. It's a good idea to have a cache of inexpensive gluten-free recipes at your fingertips. The following are easy to throw together and won't cost you a ton of cash.
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Fruit is naturally gluten-free, which makes it a great option for inexpensive recipes. In addition, fruit is full of fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium and iron, so it's good for health in other ways too. Look for in-season fruits to save money.
In general, bananas and strawberries are available year round, but can be easily switched up by other choices if they are less expensive.
- 1 banana, sliced
- 2 to 3 strawberries, stems removed and sliced
- 1 cup almond milk or 100% fruit juice
- Drizzle of honey
- Handful of Ice cubes
- Place the ingredients in the blender.
- Puree until smooth.
- Add more ice cubes if the smoothie is too thin.
Salad is an easy way to increase your vegetable intake, all of which are naturally gluten-free. By adding other ingredients to your salad, you can get some protein, healthy carbs, vitamins and minerals without ever compromising your health.
The great thing about a salad is you can mix and match what you have on hand so you always have a fresh option.
- 1 cup torn lettuce
- 2 cups diced vegetables of your choice (tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, bell peppers, carrots, radishes and celery are great choices)
- 1 hard-boiled egg, diced
- 1 ounce leftover chicken, steak, turkey or ham, diced
- 1 ounce shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon dressing of your choice (make sure it's gluten-free)
- Toss the lettuce, vegetables, egg, meat and cheese together in a bowl.
- Add the dressing and toss to coat.
- When you choose meat and dressing, read the ingredients carefully. Many are safe, but some aren't. Luckily, many food manufacturers are declaring right on the label if an item is gluten-free, which makes it easier to make a good choice.
Chicken is a highly versatile food to cook with and is naturally gluten-free. As tempting as the store-bought roasted chickens are, they aren't always a safe option. Preparing your own at home ensures that you control the ingredients for a meal that tastes great and won't make you sick. It will save you money as well.
- 1 whole chicken, giblets and innards removed
- 1/4 cup olive or canola oil
- Herbs and seasonings of your choice (garlic salt, thyme, rosemary, lemon juice, salt, pepper, onion powder and celery salt are ideal)
- Place the chicken in your slow cooker, breast sides up.
- Evenly drizzle the oil over the chicken.
- Sprinkle to taste with herbs and seasonings.
- Cook the chicken on low heat for 6 to 8 hours, or until cooked through.
Mushrooms are an affordable food and make a great base for an appetizer. By marinating them you create a delicious start to a meal that won't break the bank.
Look for whole white button mushrooms, which are generally the least expensive option.
- 1 pound mushrooms, quartered
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup gluten-free Italian dressing
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, halved
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
- Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce the heat.
- Cover the pan with a lid.
- Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Cool and serve.
Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Pound for pound, Brussels sprouts are pretty affordable, which makes them a great choice for gluten-free diets. This recipe can easily be carried out with frozen or fresh ones, so go ahead and buy what costs you less.
This is a great side dish to serve alongside chicken, steak or fish and tastes decadent without costing a lot.
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil.
- Add the garlic.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Toss to coat well.
- Coat a rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray.
- Transfer the Brussels sprouts to the tray using a slotted spoon.
- Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts are golden brown and soft, but not mushy.
Anyone on a gluten-free diet must avoid flour tortillas, but that's not the case with corn tortillas. Because they are made with ground corn and lime juice, they're safe for a gluten-free diet.
They make a great base for these breakfast tacos, which are a cheap and filling morning meal you'll love.
- 2 corn tortillas
- 2 eggs, scrambled
- 1/4 cup shredded potatoes, fried until crisp
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Salsa, diced avocado, chopped tomato, sour cream, for garnish
- Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 15 seconds.
- Fill each with an even amount of eggs, potatoes and cheese.
- Garnish with avocado, tomato, salsa and sour cream.
- Serve with fruit.
Vegetable Rice Casserole
Rice is naturally gluten-free and super affordable, which makes it the ideal base for meals. This is a healthy and delicious alternative when you can't order take-out. Substitute brown rice if you prefer, to enhance the nutritional value of the meal.
You'll have plenty of leftovers, so you can enjoy healthy and safe meals for days afterward.
- 1 cup rice
- 1 small package frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 eggs, whisked
- Gluten-free soy sauce, to taste
- Cook the rice according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet.
- Add the vegetables and saute until thawed and hot.
- Move the vegetables to the outside of the pan, leaving an open space in the center.
- Add the eggs and cook until set.
- Stir together the vegetables and egg.
- Add the rice and stir to combine.
- Sprinkle with gluten-free soy sauce just before serving.
Potato Cheese Soup
There's nothing better than a bowl of hot soup and this one is both gluten-free and tasty. The ingredients are cheap and easy to find. This recipe will give you a pretty good sized pot of soup, so be ready for plenty of leftovers for lunch.
- 6 potatoes, diced
- 5 stalks celery, sliced
- 1% milk
- 1 small package chopped broccoli, steamed
- 6 slices cheese (American works well)
- 1/2 stick butter
- Celery salt, to taste
- Place the potatoes and celery in a large saucepot.
- Cover with water.
- Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes and celery are soft.
- Return the potatoes and celery to the pan.
- Cover with milk.
- Add the butter, cheese and broccoli.
- Reheat the soup, stirring occasionally, until the butter and cheese are melted.
- Season with a sprinkle of celery salt before serving.
This is a wonderfully easy side dish to prepare that costs mere pennies. It makes a great addition to enchiladas, barbecued chicken or grilled fish.
If you grow your own garden, this recipe will help you use up some of your bounty.
- 2 large zucchini, thinly sliced
- 2 ears steamed corn, kernels removed from cob
- 1 sweet onion, sliced
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the zucchini and onion.
- Saute until the zucchini softens and begins to brown.
- Add the corn and continue sauteing until hot and tender.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Dessert is hard to navigate when you're gluten-free. Cake, cookies and brownies are generally off-limits. However, this cobbler recipe tweaks the classic version and gives you something decadent and delicious to indulge in without worrying about your health. At the same time, you won't have to spend a lot to create this recipe like you would if you were buying pre-made gluten-free treats.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 cups sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup 1% milk
- 4 fresh peaches, sliced
- Melt the butter and put it into a baking dish.
- Stir together the flour, cornmeal, 1/2 the sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Add the milk and stir.
- Pour the dough into the baking dish.
- Place the peaches with the rest of the sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Transfer the peaches to the batter.
- Bake the cobbler at 375 for about 45 minutes.
Gluten-Free Cooking the Easy Way
Cooking gluten-free doesn't have to take a ton of thinking or money. Fresh meat, dairy foods, fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free and can easily make up the bulk of your menu plan. You can supplement with rice and alternative grains to ensure an adequate fiber and iron intake.
With practice, cooking gluten-free becomes infinitely simpler and you'll learn ways to save money on your favorite foods. Many mainstream supermarkets offer a wide range of safe choices, further saving you some cash. Start with these recipes, but experiment with others so you have a variety of delicious options when hunger strikes.