20 Gluten Free Dinners That You Will Actually Make

Are you looking for gluten free dinner ideas?

Do you love wholesome home cooking that’s healthy, family friendly and simple?

Do you think the perfect gluten free dinner is one that tastes great, fills you up, won’t break the bank and doesn’t take a lot of time?

Me too!

lamb shank plated with mashed potato, peas and mint leaves.

I love to cook, but I don’t want to spend my whole life in the kitchen.  I have other things to do, and I suspect you do too.  And if you don’t love cooking so much, then delicious, easy gluten free dinners are even more important. 

You can skip right to the recipes section or read through for some valuable information about making your dinners delicious and gluten-free.

Learning to Cook

It sounds ironic I know, but the best way to make your life easier and spend less time in the kitchen is to learn to cook gluten free.  

dishing up a stir-fry from the pan onto a plate

It sounds ironic I know, but the best way to make your life easier and spend less time in the kitchen is to learn to cook gluten free.  If you’re already an accomplished cook, then you know this to be true.  But if you’re not so comfortable in the kitchen and would prefer to spend as little time there as possible then this may strike you as strange. 

When I first started this gluten-free journey, I was in the “not so comfortable in the kitchen” camp.  But I realized very quickly that if I was to ever have an appetizing gluten free dinner and keep myself safe at the same time, I would need to amp up my cooking skills. 

Cooking without a recipe

I took it to the extreme and completed a chef training program.  You don’t need to do that, you just need some basics so that you can look in your refrigerator or pantry and be able to put a delicious family friendly gluten-free meal together without a recipe, or by using some of your favorite recipes as a guide and letting your imagination and available ingredients do the rest. 

What Can a Gluten-Free Person Eat for Dinner?

The best gluten free dinners are made with naturally gluten-free food.  These are delicious whole foods that come directly from the farm with little or no processing.  Things like fruits, vegetables, whole fresh cuts of meat, dairy, eggs, and gluten-free grains like rice, corn, or quinoa.

table with a platter of turkey, a bowl of green beans and a quinoa salad

If you’re hosting a holiday meal or dinner party and having a gluten-free person as a guest, you can easily put together a gluten-free dinner by focusing your meal on naturally gluten-free foods and understanding how to substitute for a few common ingredients that contain gluten.  Add a few dinner rolls or biscuits for your non-gluten-free guests and you'll have a great meal.  No one will know that it's (mostly) gluten-free.

Be prepared though for your gluten-free guest to ask lots of questions.  If they have celiac then making sure their meal is truly gluten-free and avoiding cross contamination is very, very important.  They may ask to see packages if you’re using any store-bought sauces or mixes, or they may ask about the ingredients of a particular dish.  If at the end of the day they decide to decline, or to bring their own food, please don’t take it personally.  It’s just that they’ve likely been sick too many times to take a chance. 

Are you hosting a gluten free guest?

My Gluten Free Guide to Entertaining will give you all the basics so you can keep your gluten free guest safe in your home. 

What is Naturally Gluten-Free?

Natural is a bit hard to define.  As I mentioned above, naturally gluten-free foods are foods that, in their natural, unprocessed form, the way they come from the garden or the farm, don’t contain gluten.

bar showing more natural foods to the left and more processed foods to the right.

When it comes to our diet or our meals however, I look at natural as being on a continuum.  Realistically, we’re all likely to include some package products or ingredients in our diets and some of those are more “natural” than others.

Is Pasta Gluten Free? Is Pizza Gluten-Free?

plate of spaghetti with cherry tomato sauce
large gluten free pizza with sauce and greens.

Pasta and pizza are good examples of the continue.  These are usually made from wheat flour and are not gluten-free.  You can however buy or make gluten-free pasta and gluten-free pizza but you might hesitate to call these “naturally gluten-free” as they are made with combinations of gluten-free flours, starches and gums that are specially formulated to make them hold together and to cook and taste as close as possible to their gluteny counterparts. 

This is where balance comes in.  My general philosophy is that we need balance in our lives.  So if we put good healthy, naturally gluten-free toppings on a gluten-free pizza crust or a bed of gluten-free pasta I would consider this to be a good healthy gluten-free dinner.  

Natural is best.
Balance is essential.
Simplicity is the thread that ties it all together.

However, if you are looking for options that are more “natural” then consider the potato crust pizza or the rice crust pizza, or replace the pasta in your recipe with a substitute like rice noodles or “noodles” made from squash or zucchini. 

Are Potatoes Gluten-Free?

Yes!  Potatoes are 100% naturally gluten-free.  You’ll see a few recipes below that feature potatoes, or just make them up in the ways you already know how; no recipe required:

baked potato loaded with cheddar, bacon and spring onion

Mashed potatoes

Baked potatoes

Roasted potatoes

These are all so simple and are the perfect side to compliment your gluten-free dinner, or they can make a meal on their own. 

Is Rice Gluten Free?

shrimp fired rice on a black plate topped with spring onion

Yes!  Rice is a 100% naturally gluten-free grain.  And what’s even better is that rice is considered a “low risk” gluten-free grain.  This means that it is not usually grown or processed along side wheat, rye or barley so you don’t have to go looking for a gluten-free claim on the label like you would have to with oats for example.  

If you’re eating rice in a restaurant, you do need to ask if it’s gluten-free.  This is because rice is often in cooked liquids other than water, like chicken stock which may not be gluten-free.  If you’re eating your gluten-free dinner in a restaurant, I have several restaurant dining tips to help you do that safely.  

Healthy Gluten Free Dinner Recipes

Healthy is almost as hard to define as natural.  It depends on your goals, any medical conditions you might have and who you listen to.  Some “experts” will tell you that you need to avoid salt, others will say saturated fat or grains or sugar.  Some will say nothing but a completely vegan diet is healthy and others swear by the carnivore diet or the paleo diet.  

So what makes a gluten-free dinner healthy?

I think everyone agrees that processed foods high in sugar and salt are bad and real food is good.  That’s my starting point.  I consider all the recipes below and most of the recipes on NaturallyGluten-Free.com to be healthy.  The exception might be some of the desserts that do contain sugar.  But you need to enjoy your life and in moderation even those things can be part of a healthy naturally gluten-free diet.  That’s the balance part, right?

In the section below you’ll find good balanced meals and delicious sides that are well to the left of the natural continuum above and all make healthy meals.  None are high in sodium or sugar and many have vegan, dairy free or keto friendly options.

Happy cooking, and I hope you enjoy your gluten-free dinner, whatever you decide to cook. 

Gluten Free Dinner Recipes

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