Gluten Free: Is this for Me?

Monday, October 22, 2012

This post is Part 2 of 8 in our Menu Mondays series

“Finally!” — That was the reaction when gluten-free recipes were on the menu at a recent healthy cooking demo at Baylor’s Virginia R. Cvetko Patient Education Center.

Gluten Free Recipes

Curious if gluten-free is for you? A recent cooking demo at Baylor’s Sammons Cancer Center explored the benefits of a gluten-free diet.

A group of regular attendees had been asking for this topic for awhile… and, boy, did these recipes deliver!   On the tasting menu for the day:

Roasted Vegetable Pasta (Recipe)

Mocha Cream Brownies w/ Fresh Raspberries (Recipe)

Curious if gluten-free is for you?  According to our helpful Cancer Center Dietitian Julie, following a gluten-free diet is usually only recommended for people with Celiac Disease or a wheat allergy.

But, if neither of these apply to you, avoiding gluten every now and then isn’t a bad thing.

I, myself, am not gluten-free but will definitely be making these two dishes in the future. Believe me when I say: DE-LICI-OUS!!

If you want to learn more about going gluten-free, Julie shared some good basics to get you started. Check it out:  Going Gluten-Free 101

If you’ve already ditched the grains you’ll want to skip straight to the delicious recipes and start cooking! But don’t miss out on some great resources for gluten-free products, shared by Pam Carnevale, the Director of the Cvetko Center and fellow non-gluten-eating foodie.

Oh, and did I mention that Pam even brought some delectable baked goods for the whole class to try?! (A shout out to the Unrefined Bakery for those goodies.)

Ok, I’ll stop bragging so you can get to cookin’… Bon Appetit!


Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Servings: 4  (serving size = 1 ½  cups pasta and 1 tablespoon cheese)


  • 3 cups (8 ounces) uncooked gluten-free multigrain penne (such as Deboles)

    Gluten Free Roasted Vegetable Pasta

    Few cooking methods do as much to roasting to build, big, intense flavors with such little effort.

  • 1 (8-ounce) package baby Portobello mushrooms, halved
  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dry whute wine
  • 1 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup (1 ½ ounces) thinly shaved Parmesan cheese


  1.  Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
  2.  Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting slat and fat. Drain and keep warm.
  3.  Combine mushrooms and next 5 ingredients in a bowl: toss well to coat. Arrange mushroom mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan.
  4. Bake at 475 degrees for 15 minutes; turn vegetables over. Drizzle wine evenly over vegetables; bake an additional 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly brown. Combine pasta, vegetables, and peas in a large bowl. Top with parsley and cheese.

Why Roasted?

Few cooking methods do as much as roasting to build big, intense flavors with such little effort. Baked in at least 400 degrees heat, vegetables release moisture as they cook. As a result, their flavor becomes concentrated, and their natural sweetness comes out. Simply coat the vegetables with cooking spray or toss with oil or melted butter, and then toss with seasonings. Spread vegetables in an even layer on a jelly-roll pan, baling pan, or roasting pan so they’ll cook evenly if the vegetables are not in a single layer, the ones on the bottom might steam rather than roast. Stir the vegetables occasionally as they roast.

Nutrition Facts: 
340 calories, 6.2 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 2.5 g monounsaturated fat, 0.4 g polyunsaturated fat), 11.1 g protein, 59.4 carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 5 mg cholesterol, 4.7 mg iron, 478 mg sodium, 174 mg calcium

**Recipe from

Mocha Cream Brownies with Fresh Raspberries

Servings: 12  (serving size = 1 brownie, 2 teaspoons chocolate syrup & 2 tablespoons raspberries)

Gluten-Free Mocha Chocolate Brownie

Try this gluten-free favorite: Mocha Chocolate Brownie is topped with Coffee Cream and Raspberries. Yummmmy!


  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 (16-ounce) package gluten-free brownie mix (such as Betty Crocker)
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon instant ground coffee granules
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup chocolate syrup
  • 1½ cups raspberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed for 1 minute or until frothy. Stir in brownie mix, oil, and 1 tablespoon coffee granules. (Batter will be very thick.)
  3. Spread batter in an 11×7-inch glass or ceramic backing dish coated with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted 2 inches from edge comes out clean. (Center will not look cooked, but will continue to cook as brownies cool.)
  5. Cool completely in dish on a wire rack. Cut into 6 squares; cut each square diagonally in half to create 12 triangles.
  6. Place cream, 2 teaspoons coffee granules, & vanilla in a medium bowl: beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add powdered sugar; beat until soft peaks form.
  7. Place 1 brownie on each of 12 desert plates. Drizzle evenly with chocolate syrup. Dollop evenly with topping, & sprinkle evenly with raspberries.

Nutrition Facts: 
338 calories, 17.3 g fat (6.5 g saturated fat, 6.6 g monounsaturated fat, 2.3 g polyunsaturated fat), 3.5 g protein, 45.9 carbohydrate, 2.4 g fiber, 27 mg cholesterol, 1.4 mg iron, 107 mg sodium, 18 mg calcium

**Recipe from

Going Gluten-Free: 101

What is gluten? 
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, triticale, and rye. Consuming gluten can be harmful for people with Celiac Disease because it can damage the cells of the small intestine resulting in poor nutrient absorption.

Who should avoid gluten?
Following a gluten-free diet is usually only recommended for people with Celiac Disease or a wheat allergy. It is more of a therapeutic diet, rather than the latest diet fad. It’s also important to note that it’s not designed to use as a weight loss plan.

What foods contain gluten?
In general, gluten is associated with foods that contain wheat, barley, triticale or rye. Common sources include:

  • Breads
  • Cakes
  • Cereal
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Croutons
  • Flour tortillas
  • Pancakes/Waffles
  • Pastas
  • Sauces
  • Seasoned rice mixes
  • Snack foods (pretzels, potato chips)

What foods are gluten-free?
There are several foods that are naturally gluten-free, including dairy products, meats, poultry, fish, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. Many food companies are developing gluten-free versions of popular products. Look for these gluten-free brands and products in the grocery story:

  • Rice Chex
  • Corn Flakes
  • Yoplait yogurt
  • Del monte fruit cups
  • Campbell’s soup
  • Sun main natural raisans
  • Newman’s own popcorn
  • Kozy snack pudding products
  • Jimmy Dean fresh sausage
  • Oscar Meyer honey ham or beef bologna
  • Louis Rich ground turkey

There are many more gluten-free products that can be found. Often, they will be labeled as such on the front of the package.

To learn more:
There is an abundance of information on the Internet about gluten-free diets. You can search for recipes, gluten-free restaurants, and information about Celiac Disease.

List of Name-Brand Gluten Free Foods (via


Local Resources for Gluten-free Products

Unrefined Bakery – 718 North Buckner Boulevard, Suite #154,  Dallas, TX 75218 (Map Location);  (214) 414-2414

“We are a gluten-free, soy-free, all-natural and organic bakery. We offer a wide array of home-made Sweet Breads, Yeast Breads, Muffins, Treats and convenient on the go FoodBars and Crunch. All of our products are made in the healthiest way possible; using unrefined sugars, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. Gluten-free, Soy-free, Preservative-free, & Non-GMO, our goodies will please all of your family and friends! Try them, you’ll never know they’re gluten-free and nutritious; you’ll just find them to be delicious!”

Local Oven – 2650 Midway Road, Suite 114, Carrollton, Texas 75006 (Map Location) ; (972) 250-1818

“local oven bakes natural organic Gluten Free Hamburger Buns, Hot Dog Buns, Biscotti, Bauguettes, Pockets and Bread Crumbs that everyone, Gluten Intolerant or not, prefer over traditional wheat based products …. better texture and flavor.  The manufacturing facility is located in Carrollton, a suburb of Dallas, Texas.  We supply our products to restaurants and to individuals locally and by mail order.” — 9 DFW Locations (Find Locations)

“At My Fit Foods we strive to make fresh, healthy meals to go that are designed to increase energy levels and help you lose weight safe and naturally.  Over 90% of our meals are gluten free and made fresh every day. “

“Living Without” : The Magazine for people living with allergies and food sensitivities. (Subscribe)

“Living Without has the answers, the support, the food and recipes to let you enjoy a healthy and meaningful life. The leading magazine and website for people living gluten free, Living Without features delicious recipes, diet advice and invaluable medical information.”



This blog post was contributed by Jennifer McDowell, Senior Marketing/Public Relations Consultant, Baylor Health Care System.


Series NavigationHealthy Burger Recipes: Introducing Menu MondaysFarmers’ Market Fresh: Recipes for Fall

Tags: , , ,

  • Alan Miller

    Having family members with gluten sensitivity, I am very much aware of the benfits one can get from avoiding gluten.  The attached Sammons Says story is just one of the great healthy cooking demonstrations offered in the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center demonstration kitchen.  We hope to be able to make these demonstrations available to all via the web int the near future.  Alan M. Miller, MD, PhD, Medical Director Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center.