By making a few modifications to your usual recipes using gluten-free substitutes you can find on the shelves at your local kosher grocery store, you’ll be able to put together a beautiful four-course Shabbos meal that anyone can enjoy. Try replacing typical gefilte fish (which usually contains gluten because of matza meal) with poached salmon and dill sauce alongside a green or Israeli salad. Check your chicken soup recipe for any gluten; leave out any noodles or matza balls, and serve gluten-free croutons on the side if you can purchase them in your local market. For the main course, roasted chicken with an apricot sauce or a braised beef roast will go well with seasoned rice and a vegetable stir-fry. Bake some hand-cut French fries for the kids. For dessert, a colorful fruit platter and a scoop of parve sorbet accented with a purchased or home-baked gluten-free cookie will round out a delicious meal. You will need to make your selections carefully, but many gluten-free dishes are ones you probably make and enjoy often anyway.
Gluten-free and gourmet?
Gluten-free cooking has become so popular that there are even a number of kosher cookbooks that are exclusively gluten-free – and they are not just for Passover. Gluten-Free Goes Gourmet, written by Vicky Pearl and published by Moznaim, has over 100 gluten-free, kosher recipes. Discover How Tasty Gluten-Free Can Be! by Leiba Bibla has 250 kosher gluten-free recipes.
Eating gluten-free doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice your eating out, either. Va Bene, an upscale kosher Italian eatery in New York offers the option of gluten-free pasta upon request as replacement in its many pasta dishes. Abigael’s on Broadway, a high class grill and Asian Fusion restaurant, has requests for gluten-free meals every day, according to the manager Jigi Mathew. “Six or seven years ago, it just exploded,” Mathew explained, “and now we have an allergy-free menu available.” The special menu references other food sensitivities as well, such as nut allergies. All of Abigail’s waiters are educated on issues such as cross-contamination so that patrons with food sensitivities can make the proper choices for their needs. French fries, as Mathew pointed out are naturally gluten-free, but breaded items containing gluten may have been cooked in the deep fryer just minutes before, so consumers need to know just how sensitive their gluten issues are.
So whatever your reasons are for avoiding gluten, you can relax that with the proliferation of kosher and gluten-free products you will not have to sacrifice eating out or eating well – not only on Passover, but throughout the year.