Zest Up Your Gluten-Free Snacks

Information from Gloria Tsang, RD, author of Go UnDiet: 50 Small Actions for Lasting Weight Loss and the founder of HealthCastle.com

May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Whether it’s a necessity or by choice, going gluten-free can be an adventure for you and your family! For many, finding tasty gluten-free snacks is a challenge. Many commercial snacks are high in carbs or sugar but low in nutritional values. So ignite your inner foodie by exploring gluten-free lentils in your kitchen!

4 Ways to Zest Up Your Gluten-Free Snacks with Canadian Lentils

1. Add Some Protein Power to Your Salsa

We all love the classic salsa dip on movie nights! But like most snacks, chips and salsa are low in protein and nutritional value. The key to upping the nutritional value of salsa is to add cooked split lentils to the diced tomatoes. You can use canned red lentils, which are already cooked, or cook your own by boiling them for about 10 minutes. The beauty of cooking your own lentils is that you don’t need to pre-soak them at all. To zest up your chips and salsa routine, place the chips on a baking pan, scoop a tablespoon serving of lentil salsa on each chip, and top with shredded cheese. Place the baking pan in a 350F oven for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until the cheese melts. There you have it – tasty, nutritious finger food the whole family will enjoy!

2. Add Some Color to Your Dip

I talked about lentil hummus last month, and you can see I just can’t get enough of it. Hummus is a great veggie dip! It can also be used as a spread on gluten-free crackers. But instead of using chickpeas, try red lentils. The vibrant color is a big draw for the kids!

3. Add Some Texture to Your Sides

Rice is often the grain choice in a gluten-free diet. But instead of eating plain white rice every day, how about making “Dirty Rice”? Simply mix cooked green lentils with a rice combo (my favorite is mixing green lentils into jasmine, wild, and brown rice). Then add some herbs and seasonings. Voila! The unique texture offered by the green lentils provides an extra layer of depth to this dish, making it more sophisticated. I know you might worry that kids don’t really buy sophistication. That’s true – but they do like eating anything “dirty”! So a creative name may just be what you need!

4. Add Some Moisture to Your Baked Goodies

Lentil puree adds not only nutritional punch, but also moisture to baking. I often add lentil puree to cookies and muffins. And this trick is not limited to wheat-based baking. Lentil puree also works well with gluten-free baked goods!

For gluten-free recipe ideas click here: Pulses and the Gluten-Free Diet booklet.

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