The other day, I wanted a chili dog.
I just had that craving that would not go away until it was satisfied. We bought some gluten-free all beef hot dogs and gluten-free buns and had a great time grilling them.
I try not to overwhelm myself with bun, so I hollow out one half of a bun and put the hotdog inside with the toppings for a bread “boat”. This works great (and the wildlife love the bread crumbs), but it was still just too much bread. I’ve eliminated a lot of bread intake since I was diagnosed with food allergies in 2014 – mostly because of yeast. Yeast is my worst allergy and in the majority of gluten-free baked goods.
The other thing? gluten-free bread is EXPENSIVE. In my area, it’s $6-12 per loaf. And it’s pretty expensive for me to make it myself sans yeast. The only recipe I found that really works is by Anthony’s, which makes amazing almond flour sold on Amazon. You can find the Anthony’s almond bread recipe here.
Over the last four years, I’ve found creative ways to avoid bread and still have a fulfilling meal – one where I don’t miss those wonderful carbs. (Yes, it is possible not to miss the rich chewiness of bread!!!) Below are some of my favorite go-tos. These work great even for those who are not sensitive to gluten.
Eight Alternatives to Bread
Tortillas – Soft shell, hard shell, corn or gluten-free flour, tortillas are, hands down, the easiest – and most affordable – alternative to bread. The picture with this post features amazing chili dogs in a stand up gluten-free hard shell. This baby didn’t break – even with the hot chili and weight of all the toppings. It was also less messy to eat than a chili dog with a traditional bun. You can make a quesadilla-style burger by putting the cooked meat between two soft taco shells smothered in cheese on both sides.
Peppers – Stuffed peppers are so amazing and quick to prepare. Take any dish and ladle it into a hollowed pepper shell. Bake and boom – an amazing meal sans bread.
Lettuce – Many burger joints now offer lettuce-wrapped burgers as alternatives for gluten-free diners. Some aren’t too savvy about rolling, however, and things can get very messy depending on the toppings. If you do this at home, use a soft lettuce – like butter crunch – that is easier to wrap. If you cannot find large leaves, just make smaller rolls. They are easier to manage and oh-so-tasty.
Chips – Make your dish inside out and dip it! We love using tortilla chips to dip just about everything, from inside out tacos to soups.
Veggie crusts – You may not be a fan of cauliflower, but the grained version mixed with shredded cheese makes an oh-so-amazing pizza crust. The basic recipe is super simple: 2 cups grained cauliflower, 2 cups shredded cheese, 2 eggs whipped together and baked at 350 until it just starts to set. You will find many alternatives to these on Pinterest and other sites. You can use just about any vegetable for this crust, just make adjustments for the water content and flavor. For example, zucchini will need extra drying time, as well as seasonings to avoid becoming bland. If you don’t want a crust, make veggie tortillas.
Mushrooms – Ditch the bun in favor of portabellas. Be prepared to eat it with a fork, as the portabellas won’t hold together like bread.
Zucchini boats – I LOVE making these. Just hollow out a zucchini, add stuffing mix and bake until heated through. My favorite stuffing includings a spicy turkey sausage, veggies and cheese to hold it together. I add some gluten-free bread crumbs, or GF fried onions on top for extra crunch. The stuffing is a terrific way to use up any leftover meat and vegetables. This is farmer’s market time and zucchini will be ripe for the picking right now.
Spring roll wrappers – Since I discovered really inexpensive rice paper wraps at a local store, I’ve been obsessed with stuffing them with just about everything I can. i love egg rolls, but many have ginger – to which I am highly allergic. I started making my own egg rolls and realized just how easy it is to stuff these babies with anything – and eat them on the go.
No matter what you make, you CAN ditch the bread in favor of alternatives. Experiment – be bold! – and you might find something even more amazing than the bread craving.1