I know I should technically be diving right into holiday planning mode and/or helping you disguise your 5-day old turkey into curry or casseroles or croquettes. But luckily, I already did the latter last year (see here for turkey tikka masala and other treats), so I thought I’d take advantage of the rare lull to talk about something a little more practical than how to make eggnog for 18 of your boozy friends.
The biggest learning curve when I first went gluten-free was trying to navigate all the condiments and sauces that were now a landmine for wheat additives. The basic béchamels of the world were easy to spot when compared with a pulled pork taco that might have ½ a cup of non-gluten-free barbecue sauce thrown in there. Over the years I’ve gotten a lot better at asking questions at restaurants and reading the ingredient labels at store before buying anything. But more importantly, I’ve started making a lot of these gluten-free sauces at home.
I’ve put together some of my favorite easy condiment recipes and also the best store bought gluten-free sauce brands to buy if you’re looking to cut some corners this holiday season. More so than ever, you may be at the mercy of your host. So it helps to have a basic knowledge of which brands are safe and also the sauces to watch out for if they’re not homemade.
Hope you had a great gluten-free holiday!
My friend Tom made the distinction between primary condiments, like ketchup, mayo, and mustard, and secondary condiments like barbecue sauce, which usually contain a whole host of other premade sauces in the ingredient list. The problem with secondary condiments is there are a lot of potential sources of gluten to keep track of. Soy sauce is one of the items that can give dark BBQ sauces their color and umami flavor. And a lot of store bought brands, including Sweet Baby Rays and KC Masterpiece, use wheat to thicken their product. This is a great list of gluten-free BBQ sauces, including my personal favorites Stubbs Original and Annie’s Organic. But the best way to prepare healthy barbecue sauce is to do so yourself! This recipe for Chipotle-Honey Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauce is allergy-friendly and made with raw honey.
2. Gluten-Free Carrot-Ginger Dressing and Gluten-Free Soy Sauce Brands
I used to have a crazy obsession with sushi restaurant salad dressing. I’d practically lick the bowl and/or use the remaining sauce to dip my sushi in. But unfortunately, like most dishes at Japanese restaurants, a lot of these dressings contain soy sauce. Luckily, that amazing orange carrot-ginger dressing is very easy to make at home with the substitution of gluten-free Tamari for the soy sauce. My favorite brands are San-J or Eden Organic. For a more traditional, slightly milder and less concentrated version, Kikkoman is now making gluten-free soy sauce too.
Romesco is a delicious Spanish condiment made from ground almonds and roasted red peppers. It’s delicious alongside grilled meats and seafood. Unfortunately though, if you see romesco on the menu at a restaurant, you need to double check that the sauce isn’t made with stale bread to thicken it. My version that I make all the time at home couldn’t be easier. It relies just on the nuts and olive oil to get that thick creamy texture.
Like carrot ginger dressing, you have to be careful of the soy in peanut sauce and most store bought brands are not currently making their versions gluten-free. It takes quite a few condiments, but making homemade gluten-free peanut sauce is incredibly easy and it keeps in the fridge for a few weeks.
Tomato sauce is naturally gluten-free and most generic brands like Rago and Prego are deemed as such. But my favorite brand of gluten-free spaghetti sauce in a jar is Rao’s Homemade Marinara or Arrabiata Sauce. But if you’re looking for something more complex than just basic pureed diced tomatoes with herbs, it’s best to make your own at home. Homemade puttanesca sauce is so easy, and this recipe will blow any store bought brand, gluten-free or not, out of the pasta water.
Kikkoman is now also making gluten-free teriyaki sauce. But if you already have gluten-free tamari on hand, this sauce is easy to whip up on your own. I like to make my homemade version a little healthier by using maple syrup instead of refined white sugar. It’s a great marinade for pork or chicken, and a nice gluten-free sauce to have on hand to drizzle on your rice.
Most popular mayonnaise brands like Hellmann’s, Kraft, and Heinz are all gluten-free. My favorite mayo brand is Spectrum Organic, which I like jazzing up at home with different flavorings. This sriracha mayonnaise is one of my new favorites for using on toasted gluten-free bread with turkey.