Gluten-Free at FNCE


Did you know that 30-40% of all people in the United States carry the gene for Celiac disease? Only 1-2% of those people actually have that gene activated, but it can start at any time. Activating the gene for Celiac disease is usually the result of an environmental trigger, like getting sick, taking a certain medication, or getting a parasite.

The Food and Culinary Professional Dietary Practice Group included an engaging and informative gluten-free workshop at Drexel University during FNCE, the Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Philadelphia, PA. Here's what happened in that workshop...

The first session included a discussion led by Alice Bast, the founder and president of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). She addressed many of the quality of life issues faced by people with Celiac disease. Of all the food allergies, this has to be one of the most difficult -- it impacts a person's ability to enjoy basic pleasures like travel, dining out, and social events.

From there, the session moved on to the Ancient Grains Challenge. Everyone split into 2 groups. Our group went to the kitchen for the challenge, and the other went to a baking workshop. Once in the kitchen, we formed teams. I was lucky to get paired with Catherine Powers, MS, RD, LD of Culinary Nutrition Associates. The pressure was high because we had to use a variety of ingredients along with 3 different gluten-free grains (amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa) to prepare a lunch for the judges. Plus, we had to do it all in 45 minutes in an unfamiliar kitchen. We were given an ingredient sheet and had to demonstrate how we ensured that every ingredient was verified gluten-free.

Catherine and I created 2 dishes -- Sonoran Sunset Quinoa Salad and Apple Cranberry Buckwheat-Crusted Tarte Tatin. The outcome? We won the Ancient Grains Challenge! We were thrilled to collect our prize: signed copies of the Culinary Institute of America's baking book, Gluten-Free Baking. Chef Richard Coppedge, CMB, was the author, and he was also the teacher for our baking class. Since we love ya, we've written out our winning gluten-free recipes below -- check them out!

A Sonoran Sunset Quinoa Salad (pictured above):

Part One: Southwestern Lime Vinaigrette:


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 limes
  • 1 lemon
  • Dash gluten-free Thai pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cooked amaranth (cook according to package directions -we used the Arrow Mills brand)
  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly.

Part Two: Quinoa Salad


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (cook according to package directions -we used the Arrow Mills brand)
  • 3 tablespoons Southwestern Lime Vinaigrette (recipe above)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cooked corn kernels
  • 1/8 cup chopped sweet peppers
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • Dash of gluten-free Thai pepper sauce
  • Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly, and press into a ramekin.
  • Place the ramekin upside-down on a plate and gently remove quinoa mixture, being careful to help the mixture keep its shape as you lift the ramekin.

Part Three: Orange-Glazed Beets


  • 1/2 cup diced beets
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Juice from half an orange
  • Heat the olive oil in an oven-safe skillet and add the beets.
  • Saute for a few minutes, then add orange juice and stir well.
  • Place skillet in a 350 degree oven and cook until beets are soft, about 10-15 minutes.

Part Four: Pepper Roasted Tomatoes


  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 ripe plum tomato, cored and quartered
  • 1/2 tsp minced jalapeno (no seeds!)
  • Pinch chopped sweet pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Heat a small oven-safe skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the tomato and peppers and saute.
  • Squeeze lime juice into the pan, stir and place in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes, until ready to serve.

Part Five: Arugula Stack


  • 2 cups arugula
  • 3 tablespoons Southwestern Lime Vinaigrette (recipe above)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.
Part Six: Assembly

Assemble salads in a half-circle around the quinoa stack. Make sure to toss the arugula salad immediately before serving and absolutely no sooner. Garnish with dashes of gluten-free Thai pepper sauce.


Apple Cranberry Buckwheat Crusted Tarte Tatin


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cranberries
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 cup cooked buckwheat (cook according to package directions -we used the Arrow Mills brand)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whipped cream
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • Saute the butter and sugar in an oven-safe skillet.
  • Add chopped apples and cranberries and cook until soft.
  • Add the orange juice and saute again.
  • Meanwhile, mix the cooked buckwheat with the heavy cream and sugar.
  • Place buckwheat mixture on top of the cooked apples and cranberries, taking care to keep it on top of the fruit.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then invert on a plate and top with whipped cream and orange zest.

Judy Doherty, PC II (that's me!) is on the left and Catherine Powers, MS, RD, is on the right. The Culinary Institute of America was our common tie!

Our next stop was the gluten-free baking kitchen. There, we made cookies, brownies, and muffins from our new copies of Gluten Free Baking.

This post is getting pretty long, so I'll just list a few of the key highlights here.

  • Add egg whites in place of whole eggs. They offer more protein and a leavening boost.
  • There are a variety of flour blends and rice flours that you can use in gluten-free baked goods.
  • Gluten-free flour blends can replace regular flour in a 1:1 ratio.
  • We used all-purpose gluten-free flour replacement blends for muffins and a lighter flour replacement mixed with rice flour for cookies.
  • Molding items in smaller molds works better than trying to make one big item with gluten-free flours.
  • Baking times will change when you switch to gluten-free flours, so watch the oven vigilantly!

For more information about Celiac disease and the gluten intolerance spectrum (which includes non-celiac gluten intolerance, wheat allergy, and Celiac disease), visit the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. They have a new GREAT kitchen training program on their website.

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