• Avoiding gluten can be a challenge. (Getty Images / Stefka Pavlova)Source: Getty Images / Stefka Pavlova
A guide to cooking gluten-free for your coeliac friend! #CoeliacAwarenessWeek
18 Mar 2019 - 3:36 PM  UPDATED 21 Mar 2019 - 11:30 PM

With so many ingredients and flavourings in the market, it's hard to know exactly what's gluten-free and what's not. So we've put together a list of 7 common (maybe even surprising!) ingredients that contain gluten, and how you can make a few simple substitutions to turn just about any recipe into something you can feed your gluten-intolerant loved ones. 


Flour is the first ingredient that anyone mentions the moment talk of gluten comes up. Gluten is a protein that gives flour its binding structure (those beautiful air pockets in bread, anyone?), and it can seem hard ingredient to substitute. Milletbuckwheat and chickpea flour are all fantastic options, especially when making soft pastries and cakes (pancakes, anyone?) that don't require the binding strength of wheat flour. Just remember to read the ingredient list: some ground flours can contain anti-caking agents that have gluten. Or even better: grind the flours yourself! 

Lupin products are a good substitution for breadcrumbs or wheat flour.

Hazelnut, rose & orange cake

What really brings this cake to life are the roasted strawberries - especially when roasted with orange juice and rosewater. 

Chocolatey sweet potato & macadamia cream cake

You will need to start this cake a few hours before you need it, as the macadamias are best soaked for a couple of hours to soften them slightly before blending for the vanilla cream.

Baked lemon cheesecake

The ricotta cheese in this baked cheesecake adds lightness and the dates add a subtle sweetness. 

Falafel scotch eggs

One of my chefs came to me with an idea for falafel scotch eggs and I loved it so much it’s going on the menu. This Middle Eastern, vegetarian twist on an old English classic makes perfect picnic food as they’re just as good eaten at room temperature as they are warm. Serve with mayo, tzatziki or pickles.

Chickpea flour sweets (besan ladoo)

These spherical sweet are made with chickpea flour (besan), usually in celebration of a holiday like Diwali.

Almond and banana pancakes

The fruit provides sweetness, but add ¼ cup grated coconut palm sugar for a little more if you like. Leave out the yoghurt for a dairy-free and vegan alternative.

Soy sauce

A staple of Asian cuisine and seasoning, you might be surprised to learn that soy sauce also inherently contains gluten! Wheat flour is used in the fermentation of soy beans to create this salty elixir, which makes it a no-no in terms of cooking for your gluten-intolerant friend! Tamari is a fantastic substitute for soy sauce as it's usually fermented with no wheat (some have a little wheat, though, so please check the label!), but still brings a delicious umami flavour to your dishes. 

Turmeric, soy and ginger chicken

The marinade here is definitely ‘finger-licking good’ in the true sense of those words and it adds wonderfully to the caramelisation of the skin. You’re a stronger person than me if you can peel that off before you eat.

Ocean trout with garlic and soy

This is my favourite way to cook ocean trout because it’s simple, quick and perfect every time. As a dish, this ticks all the after-work boxes of being easy, fast, healthy and delicious, and I think it’s one you’ll keep coming back to again and again.

Whole braised fish with spring onion blanket

This is one of those dishes that looks impressive on the table, but which takes very little effort to create. It's designed to be served as part of a banquet or shared meal.

Sticky pork belly and chat potatoes

In this Chinese recipe, the pork belly is slow-cooked in stock made fragrant with ginger and soy, then the sauce is cooked down until thick and sticky. This dish is designed to be part of a banquet or shared meal.

Chicken adobo

Chicken Adobo is a Filipino classic typical of the country’s fondness for food seasoned with vinegar. To spice it up use a Filipino coconut vinegar such as Suka Pinakurat.

Oats and barley

Think that wheat is the only source of gluten? Nope. According to Coeliac Australia, oats, barley and rye are all grains that contain gluten as well! Which means that classic and comforting bowl of porridge might not be the best thing to make for the coeliac in your life. Chiaquinoa  and amaranth are great options to make porridge with, and if you want that thick starchy texture, rice or corn flour can be good additions to help you achieve that. 

Porridge with a difference
Quinoa & amaranth bowl with toasted sprinkle

Quinoa and millet complement and balance each other in this recipe. Toasting the seeds for the sprinkle gives them an extra crunchy texture – the sprinkle is a great staple for scattering on just about any breakfast.

Coconut amaranth & millet bowl with warm berries

Amaranth is a highly nutritious pseudo-grain with a history reaching back to the Aztecs some 5000 years ago. Toasting amaranth before cooking mellows out the flavour.

Quinoa and blackberry porridge

This is my kind of everyday brekkie! Gluten-free, dairy-free and loaded with nutrients. 

Coconut-chia pudding

Chia seeds seem destined to be turned into pudding! Once they mix with liquid, the fibres within the seed swell and form a gel, also called a mucilage. You can imagine how wonderful and soothing the sludge would be on your whole digestive tract, great if you tend to be a bit sluggish or irritated in that department.

Banana, cinnamon and chia seed porridge

Crushed nuts and seeds make a great gluten-free alternative to oats in the cooler months and provide a healthy hit of protein, vitamins and minerals. Mix and match your favourites to create a beautiful start to the day.

Store-bought stock

This might be a bit unexpected, but commercially-bought stock can also contain some gluten! Just like how flavourings and spices in other products in the market can contain flour in the form of anti-caking agents, these same flavourings are also used in commercially-produced stock. Not to mention that a bit of soy is also often used to add a savoury flavour to the stock. Home-made stocks, though, don't usually have that issue because fresh herbs, veggies and bones go into the pot. If simmering a pot of stock seems like too much effort, rest assured that the result is well worth it - just keep leftovers frozen in cubes for a burst of extra flavour in your next dish! 

You'll never want fish without bones once you taste the flavour when they stay in.

Stocking up on the basics
Fish stock

This is a light fish stock, good as a base for soup or gentle liquor for poaching fish.

Dashi stock (ichiban dashi)

Ichiban dashi translates literally to “first stock” and it is one of the most fundamental components of Japanese cuisine. It is incredibly versatile and often used for soups, stews and simmering liquids.

Chinese masterstock

With most masterstock recipes, you put everything in and boil it. This one is different because we fry off the aromats until they’ve caramelised and released their flavours before we add liquid and boil it up: this adds real depth.

Vegetable stock

This recipe for vegetable stock freezes well and it’s also a handy way to use up stray vegetable scraps.

Heston Blumenthal's brown chicken stock

Stock is the hidden hero in hundreds of recipes, so it's vital that it's packed with flavour.

Basic chicken stock

This recipe can be adapted for beef, lamb or goat. Simply substitute these for the chicken.


Just imagining the crunch of anything crumbed and fried makes our mouths water, but just how do you replace breadcrumbs in a gluten-free diet? Well, good news is that there's a flood of ingredients in the market to help with that problem. Quinoa flakes, crushed gluten-free cereal or rice cakes (always checking the label, of course!) and polenta are all fantastic crunchy substitutes for breadcrumbs - just remember to swap out the flour with potato starch or corn starch when egging and crumbing your schnitzels and cutlets! 

Chicken schnitzel

Breadcrumb trail
Butterflied prawn cutlets

Not just for Chinese takeaways, you know. An essential component of any self-respecting Fisherman’s basket, these cutlets are also great on their own, as a mighty fine finger food.

Polenta and sumac-crusted chicken with minted yoghurt

I love sumac for its tangy, lemony flavour and the powerful kick it gives when paired with chicken. For contrast, I also add sweetness from grape molasses and pair it with minted yoghurt and fresh herbs. Served hot or cold, it’s a great dish for entertaining.

Stuffed jalapeno with chorizo crumbs

If you like food that has a little kick, you'll love these stuffed jalapeno. The chorizo crumb adds an extra dash of smokiness, and a little goes a long way. This dish is one of my favourites for parties, it can easily be tripled for a crowd and it’s sure to spice up any backyard barbecue.

Schnitzel with mashed potatoes and red cabbage

Germans love their schnitzel. It's served year round and tastes just as delicious in a beer garden on a balmy summer’s night as in a snowed-in cosy cottage up in the Alps. Best of all, you can eat it cold the next day too.


Just because it's called "corn flakes" doesn't mean that it's necessarily made of 100% corn and gluten free. Some of the malt flavouring that's used in cereal contains gluten, and your favourite crunchy bowl of breakfast would probably not be suitable for your coeliac friend. The answer? Making your own granola or muesli with ingredients like linseed and teff allows you to control exactly what goes into the morning bowl. Just remember to make an extra batch for yourself because we're sure you'll love it, too! 

Cereal killer
Coconut, sesame & matcha cluster

These crispy morsels are salty–sweet with an edge of bitterness from the matcha powder. They’re fantastic just with yoghurt, or use the clusters as the ultimate crunchy topping on your favourite smoothie bowl.

Cacao & black tahini granola

This recipe makes a big batch and it keeps very well for weeks in an airtight container – that’s if it lasts that long! 

Gluten-free bircher muesli

This bircher muesli (overnight oats) is full of amazing texture. Each seed adds its own unique character. 

Harmony granola

Our wake-up and go version of granola is chunky with clusters and power-packed with grains, nuts, seeds and antioxidant-rich superfoods. 

Buckwheat and coconut granola clusters

Sprinkle these on smoothies, yoghurt, porridge, chia puddings or just enjoy them as a snack.

Spice mixes

Many commercial spice mixes include just a little bit of flour in there to prevent caking, because who wants a clumpy spice mix, amirite? The way to get around it? Make your own! Everything from cajun seasoning, to shichimi, to ras el hanout, can be made with just a few choice pantry items. Just make sure that if you're using ground spices, that they don't contain any gluten in their anti-caking agents too. Bonus points: toasting and grinding your own spices is a fantastic option.  

Spice up your life
Cajun fried chicken wings with coriander dressing

Make your own Cajun spice mix to add a touch of spice to deep-fried chicken wings. The extra spice mix can be stored in a jar in the pantry for up to 6 months.

Cajun-inspired prawn stew with corn and crispy okra

This recipe handles the classic flavours of the Deep South with a lighter, healthier touch.

Lamb tagine with stewed apricots and prunes (mrouzia)

A Moroccan staple, ‘tagine’ refers to both the dish and the vessel in which it is cooked. This recipe makes use of the classic sweet/savoury combination with stewed prunes and apricots to offset the unctuous lamb.

Cajun-spiced okra with a warm corn, bean and freekeh salad

Dusted with spices and roasted in a hot oven, these okra chips will likely become your new favourite (vegetable) thing.

Moroccan spiced cauliflower salad with buckwheat, mint and pistachios

Arguably one of the most underrated vegetables out there, cauliflower can be pickled, pureed, made into soup or, as it is here, roasted until golden and delicious. Buy fresh, tight heads as they’ll hold together better when sliced, and ensure your oven is blisteringly hot for the best caramelisation.

Roasted peanuts with shichimi spices and roasted nori

 Shichimi (seven flavour chilli pepper) is a blend of 7 Japanese flavours and is often served alongside soups and rice dishes. Here we've used it on roasted peanuts that are sure to be as moreish as any beer nut out there! 

Yakitori negima

Besides yakitori negima (chicken and onion) there other varieties such as tsukune (chicken meatball,)kawa(chicken skin),hotate(scallops)and reba(chicken liver).