With svelte celebrities like Chelsea Clinton, Rachel Weisz and Wimbledon champ Novac Djokovic popularizing the gluten-free diet craze, many of our favorite menu items are suddenly in jeopardy. Making their way onto the list of endangered edibles are once-favorite meals like baked ziti and lo mein.
Adapting to a gluten-free diet doesn't have to be as limiting as you think. You just have to think outside of the pasta box. Get your creative juices flowing with these four gluten-free substitutes for cooking-and enjoying-pasta-based recipes.
Spaghetti with Meatballs: Organic Corn Spaghetti
No. 3 on Bon Appetit's 2008 list of the best gluten-free pasta is Rustichella d'Abruzzo Organic Corn Spaghetti. It's made from freshly-milled Italian corn and rice and makes for the perfect stand-in for many traditional pasta dishes. Give an old school favorite a healthy twist by whipping up corn spaghetti and turkey meatballs. Or, toss yours with sliced garlic, extra virgin olive oil and chopped basil leaves for a refreshing summer dinner. If you can't find it at your local specialty food store, you can buy it online on Market Hall Foods' website.
Angel Hair Primavera: Spaghetti Squash
The extra-thin spaghetti known as angel hair is delicious when topped with lightly sautéed veggies like broccoli, zucchini and onion. Now, gluten-free consumers can switch out the pasta for spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti squash is cooked in an oven or microwave, causing the bright yellow flesh to pare off and give way to thin, pasta-like strands. Prepare your accompanying vegetables as you otherwise would, and toss the two together. As a bonus, spaghetti squash is loaded with nutrients like folic acid, vitamin A and beta carotene.
Chicken and Orzo Soup: Red Quinoa
In case you weren't sure, orzo is a type of pasta-not a grain-despite its rice-like façade. But if you're looking for a grainy texture with your soup, mix in a handful of red quinoa. Red, as opposed to white quinoa, tends to be earthier and more flavorful. Native to South America, quinoa is referred to as the "mother grain" and contains more protein than any other sort. It's also a substantial source of iron and dietary fiber.
Lo Mein: Shirataki Noodles
Lo mein is known for its combination of sauce-soaked veggies with long, somewhat slippery noodles. If that sounds like a typical Sunday night craving, then you'll love what Shirataki has to offer.
Made of tofu and yam flour, Shirataki noodles taste best when mixed into homemade stir-fry. (A word to the wise: Its watery consistency doesn't pair well with non-Asian sauces.) Though once hard to find, most regular supermarkets now stock the Hungry Girl-touted brand. Just be sure to purchase gluten-free soy sauce while you're grocery shopping.