It wasn’t so long ago that hardly anyone had even heard of gluten. Now, “gluten free” is so common that it’s become synonymous with healthy living. Stomach problems? Fatigue? Overweight? Headaches? Maybe gluten’s at fault.

I don’t doubt that those suffering from celiac disease have a critical need to control their diets. I’m just skeptical that there are so many people who can’t process gluten, along with a whole slew of other ingredients.

Why has the gluten-free diet become so popular? It works. People on a gluten-free diet tend to minimize the processed foods they eat, cut out sugar and eat more fruits and vegetables. This healthier diet makes for a healthier person.

So instead, my plan is to reap the benefits of a gluten-free diet by minimizing processed foods. For most people, minimizing processed foods will have the same effect as eliminating gluten and sugar.

After all, food fads come and go, and we usually look back to find out they did more harm than good. Remember Snackwells? How about thinking margarine was better than butter?

Plus, gluten tastes really good. It makes my whole wheat challah so soft that people are surprised it’s 100% whole wheat. Not to mention my family loves seitan.

1 package of Udon noodles (available at Whole Foods, Jewel or Kol Tuv)–or substitute linguine
1 package seitan (available at Whole Foods or maybe Kol Tuv)
1/4 cup roughly chopped scallions
1/2 cup peeled and diced cucumber
1T soy sauce

Ginger soy peanut dressing:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup sesame oil
2T rice vinegar (can substitute cider vinegar)
2T soy sauce
juice from one lemon
2 cloves garlic
5 leaves fresh basil
1T ginger
1t jalapeno pepper
3T hot water

Prepare the noodles according to the package. Add all the sauce ingredients to a food processor and process until fully combined.  Saute the seitan in a little bit of olive oil until lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Add 1T soy sauce and saute a minute more. Toss the sauce over the noodles, add the seitan and top with cucumbers and scallions. Serve at room temperature.

2 thoughts on “Three cheers for gluten

  1. Couldn’t agree more! The udon noodles sound good, I’ll have to remember to pick some up at Trader Joe’s tomorrow (one of the best things about my job is that I’m about 4 blocks from Trader Joe’s 3 days a week 😉
    Just started reading a new cookbook that I think you’d enjoy – it’s called The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila – it has great reviews from Molly Katzen and Heidi Swanson, among others…check it out on amazon.

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