3 Gluten-Free Meals Under $30

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Many people have concerns when exploring gluten-free meal options. Will substitutions be expensive? Will they taste as good? Are they easy to make? Eating gluten free is surprisingly inexpensive when you use naturally gluten-free ingredients such as vegetables, and proteins like eggs and fish.

Gluten-Free Meals on a Budget

You can make all three of these gluten-free meals for under a total of $30 – less than $10 per meal. Rest assured that these are inexpensive, taste delicious, and are simple to make. That’s a win times three! If you are craving Mexican, Italian, or simply just comfort food, then dig into these options.
Tostadas are refreshing and delicious, especially when it is 80 degrees outside. They are easily assembled, and can be put together with whatever you have in your refrigerator. Don’t be frightened by the long recipe, it is actually quick and easy to make. Get creative and have fun!

Impromptu Tostadas Recipe

Preparation Time: 30 minutes, Serves two
For the vegan chipotle sauce:
  • ¼ cup coconut milk, full fat
  • ½ lime
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutritional yeast powder
For the corn tortillas:
  • 4 Organic corn tortillas
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
For the toppings:
  • 10 small mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • ½ mango, peeled and diced
  • ½ avocado, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Squeeze of lime
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • ½ cup shredded cabbage
  • 2 cups mixed salad greens
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup refried beans
To prepare the chipotle sauce: Mix all the ingredients together in a small mason jar and set aside for flavors to develop. To prepare the corn tortillas: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place corn tortillas on to a baking sheet and brush each side with olive oil. Sprinkle each with a little sea salt and place into oven. Set timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes have passed flip the tortillas and return to oven for 5 minutes. They should be crisp like a corn chip. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool. To prepare toppings: Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan to medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil, the onions, and the mushrooms, and sauté until onions and mushrooms are golden brown. Season with a pinch of sea salt and pepper. In a small bowl add the mango, avocado, tomato, cilantro and lime juice. Season with a pinch of sea salt. Set aside. In a separate small bowl, mix together the shredded carrot and cabbage. Place mixed greens into a small bowl as well. Finally, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat in a small frying pan. Add the 4 eggs and reduce heat to medium low. Season with salt and pepper. To reheat the refried beans place into a small saucepan and cook on medium low or cover them and microwave for a minute. To assemble the tostadas: Either offer the toppings individually and allow people to pick and chose what they like or assemble yourself. First spread the refried beans onto the baked corn tortillas. Then add the sautéed onions and mushrooms, and spoon 1 teaspoon chipotle sauce over the top. Continue to top with mixed salad greens, shredded carrot and cabbage, and once again top with chipotle sauce. Finally add the mango avocado salsa and top each tostada with a freshly fried egg. Serve immediately. Offer more chipotle sauce or your favorite hot sauce.
Gnocchi are a wonderful and versatile substitute for pasta and they are easy to make at home too! This is comfort food at its finest. Made with potatoes, these delicious nuggets can be tossed in your favorite marinara, pesto, or cream sauce. Gnocchi can be served boiled, baked, or even sautéed. Serve with a side salad and you have a complete meal.

Gluten-Free Gnocchi Recipe

Preparation Time: 1 hour roasting/cooling, 40 minutes active, Serves 2-3 For the gnocchi:
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup gluten free flour mix
  • Salt and pepper
For the lox cream sauce (optional):
  • ½ cup half and half or whole milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 ounces smoked lox, thinly sliced
  • Freshly chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
To prepare the gnocchi: Preheat oven to 375. Wash and dry the potatoes. With a fork poke holes into the potatoes. Place them onto a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes until tender when pierced with fork. Allow to cool enough to handle. Peel the skin and place warm potatoes into a potato ricer/food mill. If you don’t have a food mill, you can use a medium sieve and push the potatoes through with a spoon. With either method you will have a fine, grated potato texture. Place the potato mass into a bowl and make a mound with a hole in the middle. Crack the egg into the hole and dust with half of the gluten-free flour and a bit of salt and pepper. Mix the dough with your hands. Slowly add the other half of the gluten-free flour until you have a nice dough consistency. If need be you can add a little more flour. You don’t want your dough to be too wet or too dry. When you have a nice dough, cut it into four equal parts. One at a time, roll out a quarter into a long thick noodle about an inch wide. Cut the noodle into small ¼ inch wide pieces. These are your gnocchi. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add ½ teaspoon of salt. Add the gnocchi and cook until they float to the top, about 2 minutes. Remove immediately because they will get soggy if left in too long. Now you have options: either serve with sauce immediately or bake for a crispy texture. If you want to have a crispy outer edge butter/oil a baking pan and spread out cooked gnocchi on top. Place into a 375 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. You can stop here and serve with your favorite jarred marinara sauce, or the lox sauce below. To prepare the lox cream sauce: In a small saucepan, heat the half and half or milk over medium. Using a garlic press, press the cloves into the saucepan. Add the rosemary and allow to cook about 5 minutes. Make sure the sauce doesn’t burn by stirring frequently. Slowly mix in the parmesan cheese until the sauce is an even consistency. Reduce heat to low and add the lox. Allow cream sauce to sit on low for 2 minutes. To serve dish: Mix cream sauce with cooked or baked gnocchi. Toss with fresh parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with additional parmesan cheese. This refreshing summer salad can be a great lunch entrée or a side for an outdoor barbeque. Accompanied by fresh strawberries and sparkling lemon water this sunshine quinoa salad can change from side to main course in no time.

Sunshine Quinoa Salad Recipe

Preparation Time: 35 minutes, Makes 4 large servings
For the quinoa:
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
For the vinaigrette:
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
For the salad:
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup raisins or craisins
  • 1/3 cup chopped mint
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • 10 radishes, thinly sliced
To prepare the quinoa: Place quinoa, water, turmeric, and sea salt in a 2-quart saucepan and cover with lid. Bring to a boil, stir, and immediately turn off heat, leaving the pan on the hot burner. Keep covered and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. Uncover and fluff with fork. To prepare the citrus vinaigrette: Meanwhile, using a citrus juicer juice the lemon and pour into a large serving bowl. Add extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and sea salt. Stir until honey and sea salt are dissolved. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. To prepare the salad: In a skillet over medium heat, toast pine nuts until golden. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Set aside and allow to cool. Add the mint, parsley, cabbage, radishes, and cooled pine nuts to the vinaigrette. Mix well. Slowly fold the cooled quinoa into the vinaigrette mixture making sure to break up any quinoa clumps. Mix well. Zing intern Selva Wohlgemuth is working on her Master’s degree in Nutrition at Bastyr University. She is an avid cook and blogger, and you can find out about her latest culinary adventures and see more of her food photography at Poppies and Papayas. May is Celiac Awareness Month, and we’re holding a monthlong giveaway to celebrate! Enter to win a prize package including your favorite flavor Zing Bars and a Zing T-shirt. Simply “like” our Facebook page to enter. Winner will be drawn on June 1st.