Rice is a definite pantry staple to have on hand when you’re gluten-free.
There are so many different types that you can really mix up your meals by trying different kinds of rice in your recipes.
The important take-away is to read your food labels. (Need help? This is exactly what I help my clients learn and understand.)
Plain rice with nothing added is gluten-free, just be careful to purchase this in a bag or box. When you scoop rice from open bins in stores, there may be cross-contamination with other bins or scoops used.
Be extra careful with rice mixes. These often contain a long list of ingredients that can include hidden gluten, or be a source of cross-contamination.
Again, reading labels is your new job as a gluten-free foodie! (Just PM me if you need help!) Watch for the certified gluten-free label for a safe brand to try.
Start with cooking plain rice
Cook plain rice and then add in your favorite veggies or sauces.
This manner is a much safer bet than a mix that contains ingredients you may not be able to pronounce. This is definitely a good step to take when you also have other allergies to consider.
There are multiple rice variations to try
White rice, although quite tasty and versatile, is stripped of its nutritional value. This turns to sugar right away, creating a less healthy choice, especially if you’re dealing with diabetes or other health issues.
Brown rice is a healthier option containing the whole grain, adding more variety of vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. You’ll feel full longer and your sugar levels will not rise as with white rice.
Basmati rice contains all eight essential amino acids, folic acid, and is very low in sodium. This rice is also lower on the glycemic index, which means it won’t spike your blood sugar levels, much like brown rice.
Another type of rice, Risotto, can make a delicious, whole meal. This rice cooks slowly on the stovetop, but can truly be worth your time when adding healthier ingredients over the butter and cheese that most restaurants will add to this dish.
When my children were younger we created “Cheesy Rice”. This gave the appearance of a mac-n-cheese dish, so they gobbled it up. But actually, it’s our Butternut Squash Risotto . . . absolutely delish!
You can get really creative with risotto dishes by changing up the veggies, or adding in proteins and spices. Seafood risotto makes a great meal.
As you can see, there are many rice choices to create new dishes for your gluten-free table:
Brown Rice, Jasmine Rice, Basmati Rice, Risotto, Black Rice, Red Rice
Healthier gluten-free rice dishes
On a side note: try to buy organic rice to cut the exposure to pesticides which can be high in rice.
It’s best to eat rice in moderation. And, choose to eat brown rice variations over white rice which can be associated with type 2 diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.
Give your rice dishes a nutritional boost by adding in veggies, clean proteins and fats, as well as beneficial spices.
Watching your carbs?
Give Cauliflower Rice a try
Simply steam cauliflower let it cool a bit. Pulse the cauliflower slowly in small increments in a food processor to resemble rice. If you pulse too much you’ll get mashed cauliflower, which can be just as delicious.
Try out some of our favorite Rice Dishes:
“Cheesy Rice” (Butternut Risotto) (Recipe coming!)
BONUS: Many of the gluten-free flours are made from rice.
One of our favorite baking flours is organic brown rice flour. This is a smooth, easy flour to use in baking your gluten-free treats.
You can learn all about gluten-free flours and more in my Gluten-Free Baking for Beginners Workshop. Start by downloading your FREE Gluten-Free Baking Cheat Sheet right here.