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Gluten-Free Recipes: Lunches Featuring Salads and Vegetables

Munching on meal-sized salads can be super satisfying for those on a gluten-free diet, and these meals are really fast to prepare, especially if you use precooked meat. Leave out the meat altogether to make your salad vegetarian or extra thrifty. These snazzy salads taste like much more work than they are.

Pasta Salad Italiano

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: Less than 15 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

1 cup gluten-free rotini pasta

1/4 cup diced salami or pepperoni

1/4 cup diced tomato

2 tablespoons sliced black olives

2 tablespoons diced green bell pepper

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1/4 cup canned cannellini beans, drained

1/4 cup diced mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup Italian dressing

Parmesan cheese for garnish

  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta, rinse it in cold water, and place it in a medium bowl.

  2. Add salami or pepperoni, tomato, olives, bell pepper, pine nuts, and beans to the pasta.

  3. Refrigerate the salad for about 10 minutes.

  4. Add mozzarella cheese and Italian dressing to the salad and mix well.

  5. Top with a few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Per serving: Calories 465 (From Fat 280); Fat 31g (Saturated 8g); Cholesterol 27mg; Sodium 796mg; Carbohydrate 33g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 13g.

Slightly undercook your gluten-free pasta to keep it firm. Overcooked, it tends to get mushy and fall apart. Rinse the pasta in cold water after boiling it to wash off extra starch. Gluten-free pasta isn’t great the next day, so if you don’t think you’ll eat it all in one sitting, cut the amount of ingredients to make a smaller salad.

Cashew Roasted Chicken Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

1 cup shredded cooked chicken

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon capers

2 or 3 leaves of lettuce, torn

1/2 cup chopped cashews

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked chicken, celery, parsley, and capers. Mix well.

  2. Place the mixture on a bed of two or three leaves of lettuce.

  3. Sprinkle chopped cashews on top.

Per serving: Calories 696 (From Fat 385); Fat 43g (Saturated 10g); Cholesterol 127mg; Sodium 570mg; Carbohydrate 28g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 55g.

Capers are small, green, berry-like flower buds that add a nice, tangy flavor that pairs well with lemon. You can find them in small jars near the olives in the grocery store. You can skip this ingredient if you don’t have any.

Taco Salad

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: Less than 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

1 cup (about 3 ounces) ground beef

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon chili powder

3 cups shredded lettuce

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, diced

2 tablespoons sliced black olives

1/4 cup canned corn, drained

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup salsa

1 cup crushed corn tortilla chips

Drizzle of ranch dressing

  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Brown the ground beef with garlic salt and chili powder, breaking apart the meat with a large spoon or spatula as it cooks.

  2. Drain any fat from the pan. Pat the beef with a paper towel to absorb any remaining grease.

  3. In a medium bowl, combine the cooked beef, shredded lettuce, tomato, avocado, olives, corn, cilantro, cheese, and salsa.

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  4. Top the salad with crushed tortilla chips and add a drizzle of ranch dressing.

Per serving: Calories 442 (From Fat 237); Fat 26g (Saturated 8g); Cholesterol 30mg; Sodium 1,222mg; Carbohydrate 38g (Dietary Fiber 13g); Protein 20g.

Steak and Baked Potato Salad

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 7 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

2 small white potatoes

2 slices bacon

3 slices deli roast beef

2 cups lettuce

5 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half

1/4 cup feta or Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  1. Microwave the potatoes on high for 4 minutes on a microwave-safe plate.

    Test for tenderness with a fork. Microwave another minute if the potato is still hard. The potatoes should be soft all the way through. Place the cooked potatoes in a medium bowl.

  2. Cook the bacon on a microwave-safe plate lined with a paper towel until the bacon is crisp, approximately 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on high. Crumble the cooked bacon.

  3. Slice the roast beef into strips and add it to the bowl with the potatoes. Add the bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese.

  4. Stir together the garlic salt, Italian seasoning, oil, and vinegar in a small bowl or measuring cup. Pour this dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to coat.

Per serving: Calories 400 (From Fat 200); Fat 22g (Saturated 7g); Cholesterol 41mg; Sodium 805mg; Carbohydrate 35g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 17g.

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