Whether you are hosting an Independence Day gathering in a few hours and have a guest with special dietary needs or you're on the hook to bring a side dish, being on a gluten free and dairy free diet doesn't mean you can't partake in some of the traditional 4th of July favorites. All it requires is some diligence in reading labels, picking out selected brands, and a few easily adaptable recipes.
One important note about grilling: Be sure your gluten free items are grilled on a clean surface, separately from any gluten-containing food, and with separate utensils to avoid any possible cross-contamination.
This Top Ten List of Gluten Free and Dairy Free Fourth of July Foods isn't just for a patriotic picnic though, it can really help you navigate any summer picnic menu.
1. Hamburgers: Make your own with ground chuck or sirloin, or opt for ready-made with Bubba burgers. For buns, Udi's gluten free hamburger buns can't be beat (in both regular and whole grain). Safe toppings include Heinz ketchup (says gluten free right on the label), French's mustard, and Vlasic pickles. Check out my suggestions for dairy free cheese toppings.
2. Hot Dogs: Right up there with hamburgers, hot dogs are a favorite for kids as well as adults. I personally love a good hot dog every now and again - it has to be having grown up in Chicagoland and enjoying those great Maxwell Street hot dogs after a long night out at the clubs. There are several brands to choose from, ranging from nitrate/nitrite-free options such as Applegate Farms to Oscar Mayer. Sure Foods Living contains a full listing of gluten free brands. Pair it with an Udi's hot dog bun and Heinz ketchup, French's mustard, and Vlasic sweet relish.
3. Barbecued Chicken, Ribs: You can go the homemade route, or for simplicity's sake, purchase a pre-made barbecue sauce to slather onto your chicken or ribs. Two gluten free and dairy free brands that I love are Sweet Baby Ray's and Organicville barbecue sauce. My husband's gluten free and dairy free barbecue rib recipe is finger-lickin' delicious and comes highly recommended.
4. Salads: Green salad. Pasta salad. Potato salad. Egg salad. I have several Gladly Gluten Free salads that I've brought to various gatherings, including quinoa salad, strawberry spinach salad, cilantro potato salad, and tropical salad with macadamia nuts. I'm starting to become known as the "salad lady" because I love trying out different recipes with a variety of unique additions. Try one of these recipes or make your own simple pasta salad using Tinkyada brown rice penne pasta as a substitute for wheat pasta. It holds up really well and tastes great. Be careful with salad dressings, but Brianna's is a great choice as most are gluten and dairy free. Kraft does a great job of labeling ingredients as well.
5. Watermelon: This one is a no-brainer. Naturally gluten free, dairy free, and almost calorie free (watermelons are up to 92% water) this fruit is also a nutritional powerhouse. Watermelon is a great source of Vitamin A, C, lycopene, B vitamins, and helps reduce inflammation.
6. Chips and Dips: Who doesn't love salty chips and creamy dips? Gluten free tortilla chips and Wholly guacamole is fast and tasty. Lay's clearly labels their gluten free products, including Ruffles, Lay's original potato chips, and Fritos. Check out my snack attack post for other great snack options, along with a delicious spinach artichoke dip that is unbelievably gluten free and dairy free!
7. Baked Beans: You can certainly go the homemade route, but for convenience, all of Bush's beans are now gluten free, including vegetarian baked bean varieties as well as delicious ones with little bacon bits (if I haven't already said it, we love bacon on this blog).
8. Holiday Themed Desserts: The sky is the limit here, so let your creativity run wild. You can create a simple fruit salad with bananas, strawberries, and blueberries and call it a day, make a gluten free and dairy free strawberry rhubarb pie, scrumptious chocolate chip cookies, Oreo cookie cheesecake bars, or chocolate brownies to satisfy a sweet tooth. There are many pre-made gluten free and dairy free desserts available today if you are pressed for time, including KinniToos Oreo cookie knock-offs, French Meadow bakery's premade chocolate cakes, Udi's cookies, and Betty Crocker gluten free cake mixes.
9. S'mores: Nothing says summer like the ooey gooeyness of s'mores. I make mine with Ghirardelli Chocolate, Kinnitoos Smoreables, and Campfire marshmallows. If you can tolerate dairy, you can use Hershey bars instead. Schar has a new gluten free graham cracker on the market as well. A great tip I learned from Jeanne Benedict is to create S'more Skewers. So simple to make and a great presentation. Crush your gluten free and dairy free graham crackers in a bowl. In a separate bowl, melt your gluten free and dairy free chocolate. Take the Campfire marshmallow, swirl it into the chocolate and then dip into the crushed graham crackers.
10. Beverages: All this heat brings lots of thirst! Country Time lemonade is quintessentially summer and a quick, gluten free option for a bunch of thirsty guests. Other tasty options to include in your gluten free beverage tubs include La Croix sparkling flavored waters (the new Coconut flavor is really yummy!), Berghoff root beers, any Coca Cola products, Juicy Juice 100% juice boxes, any any flavor Capri-sun pouches for kids. For adult beverages, Woodchuck ciders, Crispin ciders, Redbridge beer, New Planet gluten free beers, or Michelob's new Ultra light cider.
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