Summer is happy food season. It’s the time for grilling things to snuggle between toasty bread-y bun-y things. Time for swiping crunchy things into creamy dippy things and then devouring the whole snappy slippery mouthful. It’s time for slowly swirling your tongue around ice cold sweet things and swallowing them before brain freeze sets in. Yes, summer is all about tickling the taste buds and seducing the senses with fabulously fun food, which can be challenging when one has to be strictly gluten and dairy free.
I used to feel like I was waging a food fight, struggling to find gluten free food that wouldn’t break the bank or widen my waistline. The good news is we can find more and better GF products than ever before and they’re now affordably available at your favorite grocery chain and big box retailer, as well as at your nearest health food store or organic grocer. Here a some of my faves.
Trident Seafoods Mahi-Mahi Burgers – We discovered these tasty seafood delights at Sprouts. A box of four burgers cost $7.99, but with a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $30, they were affordable. Last week, we found the same burgers in Publix, where shopping is a pleasure, for only $5.99 a box. Joy! Each three ounce burger has 100 calories, 290 mg sodium, and only 1.5 gram of fat for 13 grams of protein. They don’t need defrosting before cooking, which makes for easy meal making. We grill them directly over a hardwood charcoal fire for four minutes per side.
We also grilled frozen Ore-Ida O’Brien potatoes, which are gluten free. Spray a large sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray before spreading the potatoes across the foil. Spray the potatoes and then loosely cover with foil. Place the entire packet over direct heat. Stir the potatoes frequently to prevent burning and start them on the grill a good eighteen minutes or more before the burgers. You can keep them warm while the burgers cook by placing them on the grill away from direct heat.
Snyder’s of Hanover GF Pretzels – These pretzels were well worth the handful of years it took Snyders to develop them. Committed to retaining their reputation for exceptional pretzels, Snyder’s tested and reformulated until they got it right. Even my very picky eight year-old nephew can’t tell these are gluten free (and I haven’t told him). He scarfed these with gusto and even remarked through a mouthful of salty satisfaction, “These are better than our pretzels.”
In addition to the regular GF pretzel sticks and twists, Snyder’s now has GF Mustard and Garlic sticks and Hot Buffalo Wing sticks. My local Target moved them from a seasonal display in the back of the store to a front of the store showcase of pretzels, chips, soda, and beer. In other words, you might have to hunt for them. They’re gluten, dairy and egg free and produced in a GF facility. The nutrition profile of these crunchy treats: 110 calories for 40 or so pretzels with only 260 mg. of sodium and 1.5 g. of fat for the regular pretzels; 130 calories for 29 Hot Buffalo Wing pretzels with 3 grams of fat and 360 mg. of sodium; and 130 calories for 30 Honey Mustard and Onion with 4.5 grams of fat and 360 mg. of sodium.
Rudi’s Bakery GF Deli Style Bread – It’s wonderful! With caraway seeds and a slight tang, this bread is a super good proxy for rye bread (it contains no rye because rye is gluten laden and thus forbidden on the gluten free diet). Slices are almost the same size as regular bread but each has only 70 calories. It toasts and grills beautifully. Say hello again to the GF patty melt, turkey and Swiss, hot pastrami, grilled cheese, and anything else you would pile between two slices of rye. I got mine on sale for $3.99 a loaf at Sprouts in the freezer. It’s also available in grocery stores that carry Rudi’s GF breads; if you don’t see it alongside their white, multigrain, and cinnamon raisin, ask the manager to stock it.