We’re sure you’ll nod in agreement when we say that even if you don’t have a wheat allergy, we all know why we shouldn’t eat bread, especially if we’re trying to stay healthy and keep weight off.
It’s not easy to find a tasty alternative to bread if you’re trying to follow a gluten free diet. Coming from a culture conditioned to base almost every meal around bread, a future without toast, bagels, sandwiches and pita pockets might look kind of bleak.
But we’ve rounded up the 5 best candidates to massage your taste buds whilst keeping you gluten free and to help you drop those pounds.
1. Bake This Loaf and Change Your Life
The internet exploded when My New Roots published their Life Changing Loaf of Bread recipe. Calling it “bread” is a touch misleading, but the loaf slices well and toasts up brown, which is not bad for something wheat-free. Most importantly, it is tasty!
Is it really that life-changing?
For a lot of people who suffer from wheat allergies, it is! Slices of this gluten free bread crisp up really well, and it’s a perfect substitute for thick slices of toast with eggs or open-face sandwiches. Even better, it’s packed full of nuts and seeds that are rich in essential fatty acids – while bread makes you fat, these kinds of healthy fats have been shown to help you slim down. Those healthy fats can also improve your immune system and are needed in higher amounts in people with wheat allergies.
But there’s a catch…
This isn’t a completely gluten free recipe as it calls for rolled oats. While wheat is the culprit for containing the main type of gluten that many people react to, oats also contain a type of gluten called avenin. While it is possible to find gluten-free rolled oats that have a reduced amount of avenin, anyone with a serious gluten allergy like celiac disease are advised to stay away from oats altogether – whether they’re marketed as “gluten-free” or not.
To replace the oats in this recipe, try using quinoa flakes or cooked rice. But if you suffer from a wheat allergy rather than a gluten intolerance or allergy, the recipe is good as-is!
2. Keep it Simple and Wrap it Up
You might be thinking, “What could be simpler than bread?” I’m here to tell you that the following bread alternatives are as simple as it gets where it comes to sandwich alternatives. They’re also full of fiber – remember that bread makes you fat, and fiber makes you fit.
Step 1: Assemble everything you’d normally put in a sandwich. Onion, falafel, deli meats, cheese, hummus, grated carrot… let your imagination run wild.
Step 2: Pick a suitable “wrap”. Not all bread alternatives are made equal. You will not be able to make a successful wrap with a leaf of kale. Your wraps need to be large, flexible and billowy, but strong. Here are the most successful bread alternatives to wrap your sandwiches with:
- Raw collard leaves – Use these for rolls with lots of bulky ingredients like
falafel, nut cheese, chunky slices of vegetables, or sloppy dips.
- Rice paper rolls – Great for “summer roll” style wraps with delicately julienned vegetables, tofu or chicken, vermicelli noodles with Vietnamese mint and basil. Try a little tahini smeared on the inside to really boost the flavor.
- Nori – Great for sushi, but also great for wraps that include fish.
- Coconut rolls – New on the market, these contain just three ingredients – coconut meat, coconut water, and salt, all mushed together and dehydrated to magically create a pliable, delicious wrap. Use like you would any kind of mountain bread or bread wrap — you’ll be amazed at how tasty they are!
Step 3: Fill your wrap with your ingredients and roll it up like you would roll up a burrito.
Step 4: Eat!
Not only are these wraps safe for anyone with a wheat allergy, but unlike bread they won’t get soggy after spending a day in a lunchbox. Crispy, chewy, nutritious, and easy to transport!
3. Don’t Say Goodbye to Grilled Cheese and Burgers
I think you’ll agree with me when I say that it’s really hard to find a commercial gluten-free bun or bread as good as its gluten-y forefather. Most of the time they are dry, fall apart easily, and taste kind of strange.
The good ones might taste okay but psychologically it sucks when you think you’re about to bite into a soft, classic burger bun and end up tasting something more akin to cardboard.
There’s a way to keep enjoying (yes, actually enjoying) grilled cheese and burgers without bread!
Here are the best at-home tasty bread alternatives that bypass the psychological “this is a bun” expectation and won’t trigger a wheat allergy. With these ideas, you’ll end up with a bread alternative that is extra tasty, super inventive, and good for you.
Okay, those two words don’t evoke an image of gastronomical delight. But add “Grilled Cheese” to the end and you’ve got something special. This Cauliflower Bread Grilled Cheese recipe uses egg to bind finely diced cauliflower and form the mixture into “buns” before grilling them together with molten mozzarella. What’s tastier than cheese?
This recipe makes two “noodle buns” – a weird name for two patties made of sweet potato that can be used as a bread alternative for sandwiches and salad rolls. No spiralizer? No problem, just grate the sweet potato – but make sure to use paper towels to drain as much liquid from it as possible before binding with egg and frying it up. While you’re frying, be determined to get the top and bottom crispy so you have something to bite through!
I get it – the idea of holding a portobello mushroom like a burger bun sounds sloppy, messy, and kind of bland. The idea of a giant mushroom certainly doesn’t evoke the “mouth feel” of bread.
This recipe uses grilled halloumi – a semi-hard brined cheese – to add chewiness and incredible flavor. They also wrap the portobello burgers in some wax-proof paper for easy handling. It’s not a cheeseburger but just get that expectation out of your head and you’ll find this recipe is actually tasty, chewy, and kind of meaty!
4. What About My Favorites? Gluten Free Foods:
What’s a schnitzel without breadcrumbs? To replace breadcrumbs in any savory or dessert recipes, use one of these:
- Almond meal
- Quinoa flakes
- Rice flakes
They’ll all come out crispy on the edges of fried food, or soak up the liquid in a dessert recipe the way breadcrumbs would. And you’ll find these bread alternatives taste even better than the crumbs you were using before.
Even better, they have way more nutrition and fiber!
What was that saying again?
Bread makes you fat, fiber makes you fit.
5. I Suck at Cooking and I Miss Bread
I get it, bread is a no-brainer. You can buy it without thinking about it, you can make a sandwich with your eyes closed. And life without bread feels like you have to think much harder about every meal, snack, and dessert.
Luckily, the health food craze is on your side. As well as all of these at-home life-changers we’ve already mentioned, you can try a variety of commercial gluten-free bread alternatives that are available at most health food stores and some grocery chains.
Finding the right bread for your tastes can take some guesswork, trial and error, and a few wasted pennies. But once you’ve found the brand and variety of commercial gluten-free bread that works for you, you’ll have some no-brainer bread that won’t trigger a wheat allergy or cause gastrointestinal upsets if you have a gluten intolerance.
While you’re experimenting, just be sure to check the ingredient label! Here’s our quick cheat sheet:
- If you have a wheat allergy, you need to check the label of the gluten-free bread alternative thoroughly for these forms of wheat, which are likely to also trigger an allergic reaction:
- Graham flour
- Any form of wheat protein, wheat germ, wheat bran, wheat starch or cracked wheat
- Bromated flour
- Enriched flour
- Phosphated flour
- If you are gluten-intolerant or have celiac disease (an allergy to gluten), also avoid these gluten-containing grains and their by-products:
Look for these gluten-free grains and seeds as ingredients of your tasty bread alternative instead:
- Potato and potato starch
- Tapioca flour (aka arrowroot)
- Sorghum flour
- Kasha (another name for buckwheat)
- Amaranth flour
- Flax seed or flax flour
- Chia seeds