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Recipe Swap: Use more pulses, wholegrains for a gluten-free diet


You’re probably seeing more gluten-free products on your store shelves lately. But while all those new pastas, breads and cereals help those with a diagnosis of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity manage their complicated eating plan, they aren’t the most nutritious foods they could be eating.

Why pulses?

Pulses are naturally gluten free, but they are also a good source of B vitamins and various minerals, and, unlike the ingredients gluten-free foods have historically been made of, pulses are high in fibre and plant protein too. Case collaborated with Pulse Canada in the development of Pulses and the Gluten-Free Diet — Cooking with Beans, Peas, Lentils and Chickpeas which includes a variety of recipes, including many baked products using pulse flours (see the following recipes). The nutritional value of recipes is impressive, Case said. “The recipes are way more nutritious than your standard baked products.”

Why whole grains?

Because whole grains are good for everyone, regardless of their dietary restrictions, says Case.


Millet is actually a grass seed that is very high in protein, and due to its high alkalinity, it is one of the easier grains to digest.

Warm Millet Salad

  • 3-1⁄2 c. gluten-free store-bought vegetable broth, such as Imagine No-Chicken1 c. whole-grain millet1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary1⁄2 tsp. sea salt2 tbsp. olive oil1 small onion, diced1 celery rib, diced1⁄4 c. dried cranberries1⁄4 c. sherry vinegar2 tbsp. agave nectar or honey1⁄2 c. seedless green or red grapes1⁄4 c. walnuts, coarsely choppedSalt and pepper to taste

In a medium, heavy saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Add the millet, rosemary and salt and cook, covered, over low heat until the grains are soft, about 35 to 40 minutes. Drain any excess liquid. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, covered, over medium-low heat about five minutes, or just until the vegetables are somewhat softened. Add the cooked millet mixture, cranberries, vinegar and agave to the saucepan and stir to coat the grains thoroughly. Stir in grapes and walnuts, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm. Serves 4.

Source: Reprinted with permission from 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Fenster, PhD (Avery/Penguin Group, 2011)

  • 3⁄4 c. yellow pea flour3⁄4 c. brown rice flour blend*3⁄4 c. sugar, plus 1 tbsp. for topping1 tbsp. baking powder1 tsp. xanthan gum3⁄4 tsp. table salt1 c. milk of choice, room temperature1⁄2 c. canola oil1 tsp. vanilla2 large eggs, room temperature3 tsp. lemon zest, divided1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries1⁄2 c. sliced almonds, plus 1 tbsp. for topping (optional)

Place rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 375 F. Generously grease an 8×4-inch non-stick metal loaf pan. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the yellow pea flour, rice flour blend, 3⁄4 cup sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt until well blended. With electric mixer on low speed, beat in milk, oil, vanilla, eggs and 2 tsp. zest until batter thickens slightly, about 30 seconds. Mix in blueberries and almonds (if desired). Spread batter evenly in pan. Combine remaining sugar, lemon zest and almonds (if desired) and press on top of bread. Let stand for 10 minutes. Bake until loaf browns and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes. Lay a sheet of foil over loaf after first 20 to 30 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Cool bread in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove bread from pan and cool completely on the wire rack. Makes 12 servings. Prep time: 10 minutes. Baking time: 55 to 60 minutes.

*To make a brown rice flour blend

  • 1-1⁄2 c. brown rice flour1-1⁄2 c. potato starch1 c. tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)

Blend thoroughly. Store, tightly closed, in dark, dry place.

Source: Pulses and the Gluten-Free Diet — Cooking with Beans, Peas, Lentils and Chickpeas.

Adding whole grains to a gluten-free diet

Whole grains add chewy texture, intriguing flavour, visual appeal and greater variety to gluten-free meals. They can be an extra ingredient… or a replacement… or stand alone, as shown below:

About the author


Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.



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