Web Only ArticleJuly 6, 2015

Awesome Gluten-Free Appetizers & Sides: 12 Best Gluten-Free Recipes

You’ve already picked up the beef, chicken, pork, gluten-free pasta, or veggie burgers. Now you need some gluten-free appetizers and/or side dishes….

[Updated March 2, 2017]

Stuck for an idea on how to start off and/or complement tonight’s main course? Check out our readers’ favorite gluten-free appetizers and side dishes, all of them versatile and tasty, gluten-free and allergy-friendly.

Start our countdown of the best gluten-free appetizers and side dishes at No. 12 with an all-purpose gluten-free pasta salad that works at lunch or dinner. As you go through our list, you'll find gluten-free recipes that go with everything from Asian dishes and light soup-and-salad lunches to steak-and-potato dinners and chicken or turkey menus. At No. 1 on our readers' list of favorite gluten-free sides is a choice that might surprise you. 

Gluten-Free Sunchoke Bacon Pasta

No. 12: Gluten-Free Sunchoke Bacon Pasta. Yes, sunchokes (similar in appearance to potatoes or ginger roots) are unusual, but give them a try via this reader-favorite recipe.

12. Gluten-Free Sunchoke Bacon Pasta:  

Canadian bacon—significantly leaner than regular bacon—stars in this tasty side dish, which also features gluten-free penne (or fusilli) pasta and a pound of sunchokes. The sunchoke, bumpy and brown-colored on the outside and white inside, bears a resemblance to a small potato or ginger root.

Our recipe, prepared by Matthew Kadey, serves six, with each serving providing 78g of carbohydrates, 11g of protein, and 6g of fiber.  

11. Gluten-Free Asian Slaw with Miso Sauce:

Gluten-Free Asian Slaw with Miso Sauce

No. 11: Gluten-Free Asian Slaw with Miso Sauce is a unique and tasty side presented by Food Editor Beth Hillson.

Gluten Free & More Food Editor Beth Hillson presents this unique mix, an Asian slaw made with miso dressing. The American Miso Co., she notes, makes several varieties of miso under the “Miso Master” brand; all are organic and many are gluten-free (check labels carefully)

This recipe can serve between four and eight, and its eight ingredients are quick and easy to prepare. Click here for instructions.

10. Double-Layered Nachos:

Great as an appetizer, side dish, or even full meal, nachos are always a treat. In this recipe, created by Food Editor Beth Hillson, you get a double-layered dish loaded with ground beef, black and refried beans, salsa, lettuce, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and—to add some bite—jalapeno chili peppers. You’ll bake it all in a preheated oven for just five minutes.

Hillson also provides a dairy-free variation for her Double-Layered Nachos. Find full instructions here.

gluten free Grilled Antipasto Platter

No. 9: Our Grilled Antipasto Platter works as a worthy side dish, thanks to the garden's worth of vegetables involved.

9. Grilled Antipasto Platter

Sure, its fame comes from its status as an ideal appetizer. But our Grilled Antipasto Platter can also be a killer side dish—and why not? The recipe—concocted by chef and cooking expert Rob Landolphi—comes straight from the garden and provides you with a salad’s worth of grilled vegetables: peppers, squash, tomatoes, mushrooms, and more—plus olives.

Click here to view Landolphi's recipe, which serves six to eight.

8. Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chicken Fried Rice:

Author and chef Matthew Kady provides a classic side dish that works with any number of main courses—or as a meal in itself. Kady suggests cold cooked rice as “the secret to delicious fried rice.” It’s a great way to make use of leftover rice, he adds.

Kady's recipe works with pork loin, ham, tofu, or shrimp as substitute options for chicken. Find our chicken-fried rice recipe here. You'll get four servings out of it; each one offers 67g of carbohydrates, 5g of fiber, and 35g of protein.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Quinoa Tabouli

No. 7: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Quinoa Tabouli offers great taste supplied in part by the recipe's use of lemon, mint, and garlic.

7. Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Quinoa Tabouli

Author Madalene Rhyand adapted this inviting side dish from The Good Housekeeping Cook Book (Hearst). It’s a low-calorie (109 per serving) combo of quinoa and fresh garden veggies augmented by lemon, mint, and a hint of garlic. Each of the four one-cup servings here will give you 17g of carbohydrates, 3g of fiber, and 4g of protein. Rhyand's simple and swift instructions are here. 

Dairy-Free Sweet Potato Casserole

No. 6: Dairy-Free Sweet Potato Casserole gives you a classic from the recipe book of regular contributor Jules Shepard.

6. Dairy-Free Sweet Potato Casserole:

Sweet potatoes: they’re beneficial to our health in so many ways, and they can star in so many delicious dishes, too. In this case, it’s Jules Shepard’s Sweet Potato Casserole, which calls for such flavorings as cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Find the tasty recipe (servings: eight) by clicking here.

Each of the servings here provides you with 66g of carbohydrate, 4g of fiber, and 5g of protein.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cauliflower Gratin

No. 5: Our recipe for Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cauliflower Gratin includes instructions for a tasty Bread Crumb topping.

5. Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cauliflower Gratin:

If you've been avoiding cauliflower all these years... get over it! This winning vegetable dish, created by Madalene Rhyand in Gluten Free & More's test kitchen, will help you, and it works either as a dinner side or as a healthy and unique hot lunch.

Rhyand's recipe includes directions for a special Bread Crumb Topping that enhances our Cauliflower Gratin dish. Click here for details.

4. No-Fuss Gluten-Free Turkey Stuffing:

What’s a turkey dinner without stuffing? Our “no-fuss” recipe, by Food Editor Beth Hillson, includes all kinds of ingredients that add up to a memorable complement to your main course: chicken-apple sausage, cranberries, celery, apples, onions, bread cubes, olive oil, and eggs (or flax gel), plus chicken stock and poultry seasoning. Find complete instructions here.

3. Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole:

Jules Shepard brings you her creative take on a basic vegetable: the good ol‘ green bean. The seven-step recipe for Shepard’s Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole includes Portobello mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, several spices, and, of course, a pound of green beans. Click here for full instructions.

Gluten-Free Herb and Garlic Bread Sticks

No. 2: Gluten-Free Herb and Garlic Bread Sticks—perfect for any dish featuring sauces, dips, or dressings.

2. Gluten-Free Herb and Garlic Breadsticks:  

There are breadsticks, and then there breadsticks—and these fall into the latter category: filling, flavorful, and easy to prepare.

Using the five quick steps outlined here by Mary Capone, you can whip up this tasty recipe in around a half-hour, and the resulting garlic- and herb-flavored breadsticks will work as a complement with any number of meals, particularly those that involve marinara or other sauces.

Dairy-Free Cottage Cheese

And our readers' favorite side-dish recipe? Dairy-Free Cottage Cheese - a sort of anytime, anywhere, any-meal complement.

1. Dairy-Free Cottage Cheese:

Surprised to see cottage cheese as our readers’ favorite gluten-free side dish? When you think about it, it makes sense: It’s ideal as a side for breakfast (think gluten-free toast, muffins, or breads), lunch (fruit salad, gluten-free crackers), or even a light summer dinner (salads, subs, and other quickie favorites).

Our readers clearly call on this recipe frequently as a go-to dairy-free side. It comes from Connie Sarros, who adapted it from her book Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Reduced Calorie Cookbook [McGraw-Hill]). Click here for the quick and easy directions.


Compiled by Larry Canale. Original recipe authors cited above.

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