Great gluten-free options

Lamb backstrap with pistachio and Brazil nut crust.
Lamb backstrap with pistachio and Brazil nut crust. Contributed

WHILE tree nuts are enjoyed for their incredible flavours and superior health benefits, they are also naturally gluten free, making them the ideal snack or ingredient for the one in every 100 Australians who are gluten intolerant.

People with Coeliac disease have a permanent intestinal intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, triticale and oats.

Coeliac disease, an auto-immune condition, causes the body to mistakenly produce antibodies that lead to tissue damage when gluten is consumed.

This results in the structure of intestines changing from looking like a shag pile carpet to a thread bare carpet, and being unable to absorb nutrients well, so a lifelong gluten-free diet is required.

While a gluten free lifestyle may initially seem overwhelming, becoming ingredient conscious will ensure those with the condition can make the best choices in the supermarket keeping taste buds happy without compromising nutrient intake.

All tree nuts – almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts – are naturally gluten free, opening up a delicious and nutritious new world for people following a gluten-free diet. Not only are they extremely versatile, nuts add a remarkable flavour and texture, which gives your gluten-free meals a more satisfying appeal.

Replacing wheat flour and wheat-based ingredients is often a nightmare for gluten intolerant people, which is why nut meal is often used as an easy gluten free alternative. Nut meals, such as almond, chestnut and hazelnut meals, can be used in savoury or sweet recipes and are simply made up of ground nuts. Alternatively add LSA – linseed, sunflower seed and almond meal mixed – to breakfast cereals, gluten free muffin and cakes recipes.

For a nutty twist try out these delicious gluten free recipes.

Lamb backstrap with pistachio and Brazil nut crust

Serves 4


35g chopped pistachio kernels

1tbs chopped Brazil nuts

2 teaspoons dried thyme

75g low fat ricotta

1 egg white

cracked black pepper

600g lamb backstrap, trimmed of fat

8 chat potatoes and mixed fresh herbs, to serve

1tbs olive oil


Preheat oven grill to high. Place the pistachios, Brazil nuts, thyme, ricotta, egg white and a little pepper in a bowl and mix until fully combined. Set aside. Rub the lamb with olive oil. Heat a large non stick frying pan over medium high heat and pan cook backstraps for three minutes each side or until cooked to your liking. Remove and rest for five minutes, then spoon the ricotta mixture over the top of the backstraps, pressing down to form a thick crust.

Place under the grill and continue to cook until the ricotta mixture is set and golden on top. Serve with rosemary potatoes and seasonal vegetables that have been tossed with herbs such as basil, mint and chives.

Roasted chats with pecans and rosemary

Serves 6 side dishes


750g chat potatoes unpeeled, halved

1 cup whole pecans

4 sprigs rosemary

5 whole garlic cloves

Cracked black pepper

Olive oil spray


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Steam potatoes for five minutes then transfer to a tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Spray with olive oil spray. Add pecans, rosemary, garlic and plenty of black pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and tender. Serve immediately with meat or fish.

Figs with cinnamon, almonds and walnuts

Serves 4


1 cup fresh orange juice

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

12 small fresh figs

1/4 cup blanched almonds

1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Method: Place the orange juice, cinnamon and star anise in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and add the figs. Poach the figs for 10 minutes then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Continue to simmer the orange poaching liquid until reduced slightly. To serve, spoon the figs into serving bowls and scatter with almonds and walnuts.

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