No Wheat? Now What?

on November 1, 2011


All varieties of rice are gluten-free, but stick with brown, wild or black rice for the biggest bang for your nutrient buck. As a rule, long-grain versions are better for keeping blood sugars in check. Beat the brown rice blahs by baking it casserole-style with gorgonzola cheese, broccoli and chicken.


Whether it’s on the cob, frozen, canned or popped, corn is an antioxidant-rich, gluten-free whole grain. Cornmeal (look for “whole grain corn” on the label) can sub for all-purpose flour in baked goods like muffins. Polenta (cornmeal porridge) makes a simple savory side.


More commonly used as animal feed in the U.S., sorghum is gaining popularity as a gluten-free cereal rich in iron and fiber. Often used in place of barley or couscous, it can be boiled, milled into flour or even popped like popcorn.


Found mostly in birdseed in the U.S., high-protein and fiber-rich millet is a standard in many world cuisines. When cooked, millet fluffs up like rice; mash like potatoes or add veggies and chicken for a one-pot meal. For extra flavor, toast 10 minutes in a dry pan before adding liquid.


Despite its name, this fiber- and protein-rich grain is not related to wheat at all. It’s used as a base for pancakes and Japanese soba noodles, a delicious alternative to wheat pasta. Substitute hot kasha (buckwheat groats) for your morning oatmeal.


This Ethiopian staple is higher in iron and calcium than many other grains. With a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, teff is delicious as a breakfast cereal or soup thickener. Find this and other unique grains at Bob’s Red Mill’s website (


Nutty and slightly crunchy, quinoa is a wonderful base for grain salads, like Middle Eastern tabbouleh, or pilaf-type dishes. With a lower glycemic index than some other grains, it’s less likely to cause fluctuations in blood sugar. Bonus: It cooks in less than 15 minutes.

Mark Boughton/Styling Teresa Blackburn

No Wheat? Now What?

Interested in expanding your whole-grain repertoire or following a gluten-free diet and need some wheat alternatives? Here’s the rundown on your best options.