6 Gluten-Free Ways to Wine and Dine your Valentine
They say food is the way to a man’s heart, and the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach. While it’s true that it’s hard to beat a home-cooked (or restaurant) meal by candlelight to woo your valentine, their heart won’t be singing if you don’t consider their dietary restrictions.
Gluten-free diets for those with Celiac Disease cut out wheat and other grains, the primary ingredient of pasta, which is a perfect romance dish. However, that doesn’t mean you have to ignore all the great things you could serve your crush just because of food sensitivity. Here are six alternatives to popular dishes to consider when creating a heartfelt meal…
1. Beverages that Go Against the Grain
It also doesn’t hurt to have an alcoholic beverage with your meal, to create a bit more warmth than the candles provide. However, wheat is found in many beverages as well—particularly beer, but also in some wines (even though grapes do not contain gluten).
Gluten free alcoholic beverages can be found in the aforementioned wine, rum, and vodka beverages. You can also get lucky with gluten-free specific beers, and alcoholic ciders (aka: hard cider)…
2. Get Lucky with Hard Cider
You can serve up cider as an alternative to beer, and your valentine will likely enjoy the sweet and sharp taste (although there are gluten-free beers available).
As mentioned, if you or your date don’t dig that tart apple flavor, you can also consider vodka-based beverages, and even rum. Whisky and bourbon are risky choices for the gluten intolerant. Whatever you choose, drink it in moderation and don’t drink and drive!
3. Appealing Appetizers
Set the mood for a great meal with some gluten-free appetizers. Health magazine suggests some wonderful starters, including this prosciutto-wrapped basil shrimp recipe. It’s easy to make, and will be sure to impress your valentine with its rich and pleasant flavors.
However, the magazine does note that some brands of prosciutto (a thin-sliced and dry-cured ham) may contain gluten, so it’s best to check the package carefully or even contact the manufacturer. Better to be safe than sore! This 20 shrimp recipe is actually less than 100 calories per serving (at 5 shrimp per serving).
4. Wheat-Free Pasta
Sticking with the pasta theme here, because really, what sounds more romantic than Fettuccine Alfredo? Fettuccine is a variation of pasta that is wider than spaghetti, and just like its thinner cousin, it can be created without gluten.
Not only can you find gluten-free fettuccine (made of spinach or brown rice flour) on most grocery shelves, you should also consider a gluten-free Alfredo sauce. A lot of these particular sauces contain modified food starch that can trigger a negative reaction in your gluten-sensitive guy or gal. Check the labels twice.
5. A Candy-Coated Dining Experience
You may want to offer some candy and other treats to your valentine leading up to the meal, or serve them in conjunction with the main dessert (more on that next). However, even candy can be unfriendly to those with Celiac Disease.
Luckily, the Celiac Disease Foundation helps you navigate around this minor roadblock by providing a comprehensive list of popular candy brands that are safe for those with gluten intolerance. The items on the list are declared free of gluten by the manufacturers, notes the foundation.
6. Flour-free Chocolate Cake
No romantic dinner is complete without a sweet ending. However, while most desserts and cakes contain flour that is derived from wheat, you can make decadent desserts that will impress your valentine just as much—without the pain and indigestion (because there’s nothing romantic about that).
Good Housekeeping magazine suggests this hazelnut chocolate cake, which has a “truffle-like texture” and is completely flour-free. The recipe seems fairly simple, with the added bonus that hazelnuts are rich in protein and essential vitamins and minerals. Just make sure you valentine doesn’t have a hazelnut allergy as well…
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