Breakfast is one of the easiest meals to make at home, but it also the one this Examiner used to enjoy ordering out. It seems now that breakfast is the one meal with limited gluten-free choices, so we tend to eat this meal at home. Who can afford to spend more than $10 for eggs, bacon and potatoes when they can be prepared at home for a fraction of the cost.
Brunch menus tend to vary, but when we go out to brunch we are looking for more than just egg dishes, meat, potatoes and fruit. A traditional brunch menu should offer a gluten-free version of what you would normally expect: pancakes, toast, French toast, eggs Benedict, bagels, biscuits, muffins, cinnamon rolls, quiche and waffles. Having any type of gluten-free baked good is bound to bring in the gluten-free patron because these baked goods are hard to come by in a restaurant. Providing these options to your guests is not as difficult as it seems, if you just do a little research.
- Pancakes - batter can be made from scratch using gluten-free flours, or you can buy a mix. One of the most popular on the market is made by Pamela's Products. It it called Pancake and Baking mix and it is essentially gluten-free bisquick in a bag. You can make pancakes, scones, biscuits, pie crust, pizza crust and the list goes on.
- Toast/French Toast - most gluten-free breads make decent french toast, but the best gluten-free version I have had was made on Udi's Whole Grain Bread. Udi's gluten-free white/whole grain bread also make great toast.
- Eggs Benedict - there are a number of companies making gluten-free English Muffins, but my favorite comes from Joan's GF Great Bakes. Their English Muffins toast up easily and have the nooks and crannies I remember from their wheat-based counterpart. Make sure the Hollandaise sauce does not contain wheat and you are all set.
- Bagels - there are many pre-made versions, but my favorites are from Udi's and Joan's GF Great Bakes. Udi's bagels just need to be toasted, but Joan's come in dough form, so you can bake them to order.
- Biscuits - these can be made from scratch, or with the gluten-free version of Bisquick. We didn't enjoy the pancakes made with the mix, but the biscuits were a hit and were quite easy to make.
- Muffins - these can also be made from scratch, but if you don't have the time several companies make pre-made gluten-free muffins. Kinnikinnick and Udi's Gluten Free are my favorite.
- Cinnamon Rolls - Kinnikinnick and Udi's also make gluten-free cinnamon rolls that are decadent.
- Quiche - a crust can be made from scratch or by using a mix. One of the most popular pie crust mixes around is made by Gluten Free Pantry. This Examiner attended a local brunch where they offered quiche with a gluten-free crust and it was the most ordered dish on the menu.
- Waffles - if you are going to add waffles to your menu and you are not in a position to purchase and dedicate a waffle iron, then go with one of the pre-made versions. Van's and Kinnikinnick make great pre-made waffles that you can top with homemade jellies and jams or warm maple syrup.
Precautions need to be taken when preparing gluten-free baked goods to ensure there is no cross contamination. Source all of your ingredients to ensure they are gluten free and then make sure you change your gloves and use clean utensils, surfaces, appliances, pans, etc. when preparing gluten-free products. If you are unable to clean off a safe place on your grill, simply put a clean frying pan on top of the grill, or put a piece of clean tin foil on the grill and then cook the gluten-free item. If you are considering toasting bread, purchase and dedicate a toaster and keep it covered when not in use.
Some of my unfortunate experiences include my eggs being made with the same utensil that flipped the pancakes, or my hash browns were cooked on top of the spot for the gluten pancakes.
We are not asking for all of the options above, rather we are pointing out that in order to get the gluten-free brunch crowd there needs to be more creativity on the part of the restaurant to lure in the gluten-free diner. Most of these items can be purchased locally at health food stores such as Return to Eden or Whole Foods by setting up a wholesale account.
Just remember people on the gluten-free diet enjoy eating out as much as everyone else. Make us feel at home and we will keep coming back with our family, friends and co-workers!
-------------------------------- Author Information: Jennifer D. Harris, Atlanta, GA Jennifer D. Harris, http://www.jenniferglutenfreeingeorgia.blogspot.com Gluten-Free Product Specialist, Return to Eden Program Chair, Atlanta Metro CeliacsTwitter@jenniferGFinGA