5 Gluten Free Lunch Ideas Packed with Nutrition

 


Those with gluten allergies or sensitivities can’t stop at the cafeteria for lunch like most people can. With the need to stay away from any food containing gluten in order to avoid adverse symptoms, often times those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerances have to pack their own food and snacks.

These five gluten free lunch ideas are simple but delicious recipes that are also packed with nutrients – perfect for those who are looking for healthy gluten free options!

Chicken Macaroni Salad

Chicken Macaroni Salad

Serves 8

Traditional pasta contains gluten, which is why this macaroni salad calls for brown rice pasta instead. Made with half mayonnaise and half plain Greek yogurt, this macaroni salad is lower in fat as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken tenders, boneless and skinless
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces dry penne pasta, brown rice
  • ½ cup low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • ¼ red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add olive oil.
  2. Slice chicken tenders into slices or cube them, depending on your preference. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add them to the hot pan. Cook chicken until no longer pink. Set aside.
  3. Cook pasta according to box directions. Once cooked, rinse under cold water and set aside to completely cool.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the mayo, Greek yogurt, vinegar, mustard, honey and salt and pepper. Stir in the cooled pasta, chopped bell pepper, carrot, onion and parsley.
  5. Toss pasta with cooked chicken and place in the fridge to allow the flavors to marry.
  6. Serve cold.

Zuppa Toscana Soup

Zuppa Toscana Soup

Serves 8

Traditional zuppa Toscana soup is cream-based, heavy and high in fat. This re-vamped version uses cauliflower instead of potatoes to increase the overall nutrition of the dish while ditching the cream to decrease the fat content.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 36 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 3 cups kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil and onion. Cook until onion is translucent, roughly 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  2. Add sausage to the skillet and break up into small pieces. Cook for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Once cooked, drain off any excess fat and oils.
  3. Add the chicken broth, cauliflower, salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook soup for 15 minutes or until cauliflower has softened.
  4. Add the chopped kale to the pot, stirring to incorporate. Cook soup for 5 more minutes or until kale has wilted.
  5. Serve hot.

Sheet Pan Garlic Tilapia with Vegetables

Sheet Pan Garlic Tilapia with Vegetables

Serves 4

One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t consume gluten is to prepare foods that are seasoned simply and made without any grains. This simple sheet pan dish is made with just lean fish and vegetables while being seasoned with a delicious garlic butter sauce. As an added bonus this dish comes together in under 20 minutes!

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 4 (6 ounce) tilapia fillets
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, garlic, lemon juice and seasonings. Set aside.
  3. Place the asparagus and tomatoes into a large bowl. Toss with ½ of the butter mixture. Lay vegetables onto prepared sheet pan in an even layer.
  4. Add tilapia to the sheet pan next to the vegetables. Drizzle with remaining butter mixture.
  5. Place pan into the oven and bake for 11 minutes or until tomatoes have burst and fish is fork tender. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

Mexican Zucchini Boats

Mexican Zucchini Boats

Makes 8 boats

These Mexican zucchini boats are packed with flavor, spices and nutrients. While sweet potatoes are most often used as a vessel, this dish uses zucchini for a lower carb count while being rich in fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Ingredients:

  • 4 zucchini, sliced in half with insides spooned out
  • 1 (15 ounce can) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ½ cup corn
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the black beans, brown rice, salsa, bell pepper, onion, corn and seasonings. Toss with ¼ cup fresh cilantro.
  3. Stuff each zucchini boat with the mixture until each boat is full. Sprinkle with cheese and remaining cilantro.
  4. Cover dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and broil for 5 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Quinoa Pizza Bites

Quinoa Pizza Bites

Makes 8

Pizza doesn’t get any easier than this! Though this isn’t a pizza in the traditional sense, it still contains all of the flavors that pizza does while being gluten free for those with intolerances. With just a few ingredients needed, this recipe uses quinoa for added nutrients such as protein, fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron and much more.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup part skim shredded mozzarella
  • 1/3 cup turkey pepperoni, chopped small
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 8 liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Evenly distribute between 8 muffin cups.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until slightly browned. To serve, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with pizza sauce.

Having to eat gluten free can be stressful as well as costly at times. Thankfully these gluten free lunch ideas are not only simple to make but are also cost efficient and delicious!