Your first thought upon seeing this article will very likely be this, “But, I thought that rice is always gluten-free! Why must we be cautious with this food item?”
It’s true that rice forms the staple of most certified gluten-free foods; there is brown rice flour, white rice flour, rice milk and bread substitutes made of rice. Therefore, all rice blends should be naturally gluten-free, right?
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. While rice by itself is always gluten-free, blended forms of rice sometimes contain some kind of gluten.
For example, some rice blends contain barley and grain-based vinegar. Also, most prepared rice mixes have wheat in the thickener, barley flavoring or soy sauce.
All forms of rice are highly prone to gluten cross-contamination because it is often processed on equipment or in a facility that handles wheat-based foods. Occasionally, gluten cross-contamination will be stated on the package of rice, but not always. So, if you are highly gluten sensitive or suffer from Celiac, it is wise to avoid buying packaged rice blends and to exercise caution in ordering rice dishes at restaurants.
It is natural to long for the flavor of a rice mix as a side dish or even the main course of the meal. After all, it is usually the flavoring and added ingredients that makes a rice dish taste so good. If you are missing the specialty of a rice blend, try making one that is completely gluten-free. Here is a recipe below, to get you started.
Gluten-Free Wild Rice Side Dish Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes.
Cooking Time: 30-45 minutes.
Yields: 4-6 servings.
- 3 cups of cooked wild rice (Tip: Try baking the wild rice. For convenience, you can cook the rice up to 2 days before making this dish and store it in an airtight container until it is needed)
- 1 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 ½ cups of fresh chopped tomatoes or equivalent amount of canned diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup of sliced black olives
- ½ cup of chopped green onions
- 2 minced cloves of garlic OR garlic powder to taste
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Combine cooked wild rice with remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to thoroughly combine.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover with a lid or foil. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the mixture is heated through and the cheese has melted.
- Note: This dish can also be prepared in a crock pot. Place the mixture in a large crock pot and heat on high until hot and the cheese has melted.
Recipe courtesy About.com
Keep in mind that if you are merely gluten-sensitive, you should be able to safely consume any kind of packaged plain rice. Whole grain brown rice, long-grained basmati rice, jasmine rice, polished white rice and, even exotic black rice are all considered gluten-free.
As long as gluten cross-contamination does not bother, you will be able to enjoy these different varieties of rice with no worries!
Image courtesy visualpanic