Have you ever been faced with a need to fill gluten-free requirements, but don’t know how to meet those needs with your restaurant equipment? This week we offer some valuable tips about what gluten-free really means and how to incorporate it into your menus.
Gluten is a protein composite (made up of two other proteins) found in foods processed from wheat and other grain-related species like barley and rye. There are different levels of gluten sensitivity. Those with only mild gluten sensitivities might be able to eat some things those with celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that causes, among other things, a complete intolerance to gluten) can not. For example, be extremely careful about cross-contamination! If foods are cooked in the same restaurant equipment that was used to bake, cook, stir-fry, or dice a food with gluten in it, those with high gluten-sensitivity will be affected. Likewise, a food that is technically gluten-free may sport a label that says “Processed in a facility that also handles wheat.” You can’t tout your menu as truly “gluten-free” if you aren’t careful about exactly what goes into your dish.
Cooking with Restaurant Equipment Sans-Gluten
Before you plan a gluten-free menu, look up as complete a list as you can find of foods with gluten in them. You might be surprised what makes the cut! Favorite, seemingly harmless foods like soy sauce, certain lunchmeats, bouillon cubes, and salad dressings can all contain gluten or be contaminated by gluten.
Then, rather than focusing on the things that are not available to your restaurant equipment for a gluten-free menu, think about the things that are. All kinds of meats, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and a myriad of spices can be incorporated into a gluten-free menu. There are also, of course, many replacements for gluten-laden ingredients; corn, flax, buckwheat, soy, rice, and almond flour can all serve as suitable substitutes in plenty of recipes.
Gluten-Free Recipes for Restaurant Equipment
Searching for some ideas to add to a gluten-free menu in your restaurant? Try these recipes out on your restaurant equipment.
These brownies from Jesika Rose of jesicakes.blogspot.com are moist and chewy, and are made incredibly decadent by the inclusion of dark chocolate and almond flour. Add some mix-ins to make this brownie recipe your own. Chocolate chips, peanut butter, and pecans can all add a twist to these brownies.
Faith of anediblemosaic.com created a broccoli divan recipe that is vegan, gluten-free, and grain-free. It relies on no meat substitutes and relies instead on seasonings, almond meal, and vegetables. This dish, which is normally made with chicken, becomes a flavorful alternative.
Pistachio-Encrusted Salmon with Edamame Mash
Shauna James Ahern of glutenfreegirl.com has created a pistachio-encrusted salmon with edamame mash that is surprisingly sparse in its ingredients and takes very little time to make. Shauna says you can replace the pistachios with another nut, or the fish with a different firm fish depending on your preference. Give it a try and see what new creations you can come up with!