Ask the cook: Satisfy your cravings while staying gluten free

Diane Balagna

Question of the week:

How do you satisfy your food cravings while staying gluten free?

You may have heard a lot about gluten free foods lately. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and cereal grains. For those with Celiac disease or a wheat allergy, gluten free foods keep them healthy. Considering how much of our food supply contains wheat, you can imagine how difficult it would be to enjoy a normal lifestyle without gluten.

The good news: Kansas City has more to offer than you might realize. Gluten free restaurants abound.

The Plaza offers both classic and eclectic options. Blanc Burgers and Bottles has a classic American gluten free hamburger, and Eden Alley offers several creative gluten free dishes, also vegan or vegetarian.

McCoy’s in Westport has a full line of gluten free menu of appetizers, burgers, pizzas and chilis.

Have a craving for pizza? Spin Neapolitan Pizza at 51st and Main streets offers gluten free pizza at reasonable prices. Try the Pizza Mia: choose your own toppings and add a soup or side salad for $8.25. Waldo Pizza also offers a gluten free crust, and its laid-back, relaxed atmosphere is worth the drive to 75th Street and Wornall Road.

Off the beaten path is the unique Blue Bird Bistro located at 1700 Summit St. (just west of I-35 near the Crossroads), where the staff is trained to answer your questions about ingredients. Lulu’s Noodles on Southwest Boulevard and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro on the Plaza are excellent options for gluten free Asian cuisine.

And who can forget First Watch in Westport? Thanks to it, even going out for breakfast can be gluten free.

Kneaded Specialties is a local bakery that produces gluten free baked goods, also free of other food allergens such as nuts. You can find Kneaded Specialties foods in the health market section of most Kansas City HyVees, Cosentino’s Downtown and Brookside Markets and most Costentino’s-owned Price Choppers.

I’ve had several of their cookies, cakes and brownies, and, for the most part, they’re pretty tasty. Finally, for the adventuresome cook who’s looking for a good source of recipes, I recommend ‘The Gluten free Girl and the Chef’s’ blog:

There, you’ll find great stories, excellent writing and creative recipes that just happen to be gluten free. It’s worth a look even if you are lucky enough to eat anything you want!

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