I went gluten free in 2012 after realizing I have a sensitivity to it. At the time, I felt devastated that I couldn’t eat regular delicious bread anymore, no more heavenly, floppy pizza, fluffy coffee cakes or perfectly crisp yet also moist cookies.
Back then I occasionally found gluten free bread in stores, but it was dry and crumbly and could barely be described as bread. I was excited when I found gluten free corn and quinoa pasta but hated it when I tried it–pasta isn’t supposed to taste like corn! Restaurant options were limited as well, and for someone who loves trying new foods and places, being gluten free was a bummer.
For years I was mostly gluten free but would “cheat” every now and then because I missed glutenful foods so much, but then I’d get hives, swear I would avoid gluten for real this time, follow a gluten free diet for a few months, and then repeat the process. (Note: I don’t have Celiac, so it’s not terrible when I eat gluten, just uncomfortable.)
Fast forward to the present, in 2019, and I almost forget that I eat gluten free because I’m so used to it and have found great gluten free swaps for items like bread and pasta. I haven’t chosen to eat anything with gluten in it in a very long time (though I’ve occasionally been served it on accident) because I don’t miss gluten that much, and it isn’t worth it to me anymore.
I’ve tried quite a few gluten free options over the years, and some are delicious and taste similar to wheat/gluten, while others are lackluster or just bad. If you’re curious about some of my favorites–keep reading!
I also went vegan for the animals in 2015, so I now only eat gluten free options that are also vegan (some gluten free products contain non-vegan ingredients like eggs, dairy, honey, etc.)
Note: If you’re new to eating vegan, eating gluten free has nothing to do with being vegan or plant based, it’s just an allergy/sensitivity thing, and if it doesn’t bother you, there’s no need to avoid it. Also please do your own research and double check that all of the products are sufficiently gluten free for your needs.
*This post is not sponsored, and nothing was sent to me for free, these are just the products I find locally and enjoy. If you have a gluten free brand you’d like me to try though, I’m open to it–send me an email. I did include a few affiliate links, meaning if you purchase through them, I may make a small commission that supports this site.
Breads & Buns
I was sad when I went vegan and realized that some of the gluten free breads I liked contained animal products like eggs or dairy, and for a while I stopped buying bread. I tried making my own, but gluten free bread is difficult to make (if you have any good recipes–please let me know!) Occasionally I found gluten free/vegan bread or buns at places like Whole Foods, but I don’t shop there normally and wished I could find something at HEB, my regular grocery store.
Finally one day I was perusing the frozen section at HEB, and I found Little Northern Bakehouse bread, which is gluten free and also vegan. I was so happy when I tried it because it actually tastes like regular bread, and it’s not super crumbly or dense, though I do always toast it because it tastes much better than way (as do most gluten free breads.)
Since then Little Northern Bakehouse has become a staple for me–I get the Millet and Chia bread all the time at HEB, and Sprouts has even more options like their Whole Grain Wide Slice which I love (the regular slices are quite small, as a lot of gluten free bread is) as well as burger and hot dog buns (Austin’s vegan grocery store Rabbit Food Grocery also carries some of their products.)
There are a lot of different gluten free pasta options these days–my favorites are the brown rice versions. I don’t like/avoid the gluten free pastas that contain corn because they taste weird to me. I also make chickpea or lentil pastas occasionally and think they’re a good option because they have more protein, but taste and texture wise I prefer rice pastas.
Luckily most corn tortillas are gluten free, and I’ve always loved corn tortillas, so that’s an easy swap. Sometimes I want bigger tacos or a burrito though, and finding bigger gluten free tortillas can be a challenge. I’ve found some Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas I like at Sprouts–the trick with those is that you have to toast them in the oven though otherwise they fall apart, and they’re not as moist as flour tortillas. I love the tortillas they use at Go Vegan Cafe in Vegas, and they are available online, but I haven’t ordered any yet since they’re pricey with shipping costs.
If there’s one thing I still miss a lot, it’s regular pizza crust. I enjoy the gluten free crusts at local restaurants, and I also like making pizza with Smart Flour Foods Crusts at home, but it’s not quite the same. Smart Flour crusts are crunchier and not fluffy like regular pizza crusts, though they’re still pretty good and one of my favorite gluten free DIY options (I’d rather crust be crunchy than undercooked or chewy). I’m still on the hunt for an amazing fluffy gluten free crust that I can make at home–if you know of any, please let me know! I also like the frozen Daiya pizzas, which are gluten free and vegan, but like the Smart Flour ones, they are a crispy thin crust style and aren’t fluffy.
I don’t buy crackers that often, but when I do, I like these Simple Mills sprouted seed crackers as well as Mary’s Gone Crackers. I’ve tried some others as well and haven’t had any I didn’t like–gluten free crackers don’t taste that different to me from regular crackers.
Flours & Baking
There are so many great vegan dessert recipes that are gluten free as is! But if I’m making a recipe that isn’t gluten free, I like to use Bob’s 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour because it already has Xantham gum, so you can easily substitute it for regular flour. I use it in a lot of recipes including my Magical Chocolate Chip Cookies and Easy Vegan Waffles.
I usually like to make my own baked goods and desserts, so I don’t have a lot of packaged favorites, but I have tried and enjoyed some from Enjoy Life (many are vegan but not all are). There are a lot of vegan and gluten free chocolate options these days, and a couple I’ve enjoyed lately are Alter Eco Deep Dark Chocolate Quinoa Crunch and Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.
Protein & Snack Bars
I don’t usually like protein bars, but I love these Nugo Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bars, probably because they taste like candy bars! I also love Lara Bars since they’re basically just fruit and nuts (the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ones are the best!)
Vegan Meats & Cheeses
Unfortunately for all of the gluten free vegans out there like me, a lot of the realistic vegan “meats” are made of seitan/gluten. There are still some good options though–one of my favorites is soy curls, which are made of soy and have a texture similar to fajitas. You can also make “meats” out of tofu or tempeh. Beyond Meat has a lot of gluten free options (I like their Chicken Strips) and Gardein has a few as well (I like their beefless ground in spaghetti).
I also Lightlife Smart Dogs (they don’t contain gluten ingredients but are not certified gluten free) and they’re delicious on Little Northern Bakehouse Hot Dog Buns. Most vegan sandwich meats contain gluten, but I like to make sandwiches with smoked tofu (check to make sure it’s gluten free) or eggy tofu.
There are so many frozen vegan meals, and some are gluten free as well. I haven’t tried that many, but some that I have tried and like are Amy’s Mac and Cheese and Daiya Pizzas. If you have any favorites please let me know!
Am I forgetting anything? Are you a vegan who also eats gluten free? Do you have any favorites that I didn’t mention? Please let me know in the comments so I can try them out!
If you’re looking for local Austin eats, check out my Austin Vegan and Gluten Free Pizza Guide as well as my other Austin food posts, and let me know if you want me to write about any other gluten free/vegan topics.