While some extra steps are needed to cook gluten-free and traditional gluten-containing dishes together, with some thought and preparation, it can be done successfully.
First, think of all the dishes you can make that are naturally gluten-free: vegetable dishes, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, fish, turkey (without the stuffing), and more. Prepare these dishes prior to making any gluten-containing dishes and serve them in different colored or style dishes. This way, everyone will know in an instant which dishes are gluten-free. The more naturally gluten-free dishes you can make, the easier it will be.
If you are hosting a sit-down dinner, serve your gluten-free guests first and don’t leave the gluten-free dishes on the table. By leaving them in the kitchen, you’ll reduce the risk of someone accidentally causing cross-contact. Be sure to let your gluten-free guests know they are welcome to seconds!
If you’ll be hosting a buffet-style dinner, place the gluten-free dishes on an entirely separate table and clearly label the dishes as gluten-free. It might ease your guests’ minds to list the ingredients on an index card in front of each dish as well. If space does not allow for separate tables, put gluten-free dishes on the opposite end of the table from the gluten-containing dishes.
Consider making gluten-free alternatives to foods that are “off-limits,” such as stuffing and bread. You certainly can serve both gluten-free and gluten-containing dishes, but be sure to make the gluten-free dish first to reduce the risk of cross-contact.
Avoid using porous utensils and cooking ware, such as wooden spoons and cutting boards, as gluten can get stuck in the cracks and cause cross-contact. Thoroughly wash and dry all dishes prior to use with a new sponge and a clean dish towel.
The key to the gluten-free diet is preparation. Plan your cooking process in advance.
- Where will you keep the gluten-free ingredients and dishes?
- What’s the best order to prepare the food?
- How will this effect cooking times?
Once you answer these questions (and any others that pop up), then you can plan out your cooking process. Make a list if you have to. When it comes to gluten-free food preparation, there’s no such thing as being too prepared!
NFCA Communications Assistant
Thai Kitchen Tip
Create new holiday favorites everyone will enjoy, whether they maintain a gluten-free diet or not. Download the Gluten-Free Holiday eCookbook, featuring recipes from Thai Kitchen for some ideas. Once you download the eCookbook, you'll automatically be entered to win a gluten-free prize pack from Thai Kitchen!
Thanks to Thai Kitchen for making this series possible!