3 gluten-free weeknight dinners that will satisfy any craving

Gluten is the general name for the protein present in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. It contains no ingredients essential for health and wellbeing — it’s simply the glue that traditionally holds foods together and what gives dough its elasticity.

It’s a staple component in many of our favourite foods and is commonly found in pasta, bread and bakery products. Unfortunately, many people cannot tolerate gluten. This can be due to an allergy (known as Celiac disease) or intolerance that causes digestive discomfort.

Thankfully, there are a number of convincing gluten replacements available that are both simple to make and satisfying. Here are three gluten-free options that are quick, satisfying and flavoursome — perfect for a delicious mid-week dinner.

1. Gluten-free tagliatelle with pesto alla genovese

Spring, summer or fall, pasta is a go-to for simple home cooking. Moreover, there has been an increased demand for gluten-free pasta. This, according to Italian food experts Pasta Evangelists, has “resulted in an array of tasty alternatives including brown rice, pasta and varieties made from chickpeas and quinoa.” For this recipe, you can use a store-bought, gluten-free tagliatelle or make your own with a pasta maker, following the instructions below.

Serves: 4

Prep: Up to 45 minutes

Cook: 5 minutes

Difficulty: Easy-medium


For the pasta

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour, like rice or cornstarch
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp of gluten-free xanthan gum

For the pesto

  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 4 small cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large bunches of fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste


To make the pasta

  1. Pour the flour, salt, and xanthan gum into a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Form a crater in the middle with your fingers and crack the eggs into it.
  3. Take a fork and gently beat the eggs, gradually mixing in the flour.
  4. Once you have a slightly sticky mixture, remove it from the bowl and place it on a heavily floured surface.
  5. Knead well for 5 minutes, until you have a smooth and shiny dough.
  6. Separate the dough into 4 pieces. Flatten each piece with a rolling pin to about ¼ inch thick. Dust generously with flour and then pass it through the pasta machine at its widest setting.
  7. Put the machine down a setting and repeat until you work your way down to the lowest mode, dusting with flour as you go.
  8. To cut the pasta into strips, switch the attachment to the desired cut, then roll the sheet through the machine. Alternatively, you may use a long, sharp knife to cut the sheets into wide strips by hand.
  9. Toss into salted, boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, or until al dente.

To make the pesto

  1. In a food processor, blend the garlic, basil and pine nuts together.
  2. Drizzle in the olive oil and blend, gradually adding in the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
  3. Remove from the mixer once you have a slightly rugged, creamy paste.
  4. Toss together with gluten-free pasta, adding salt and extra olive oil to taste.
  5. Garnish with lashings of black pepper and extra fresh basil leaves.

2. Quinoa-crusted fish and butternut squash chips

You’ll love this gluten-free version of classic British fish and chips. Made with quinoa and gluten-free flour, it makes the perfect mid-week treat. For ease, use store-bought, frozen butternut squash chips (thick fries). Opt for your preference of white fish: seabass, flounder and halibut are all great options — or the popular cod, as traditionally used in England.

Serves: 4

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Difficulty: Medium


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 4 cups frozen butternut squash chips
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free flour
  • 3 cups frozen peas
  • 4 filets of fresh white fish
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, unwaxed
  • Olive oil, to drizzle
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Put the quinoa in a small saucepan along with 1 ½ cups of boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove from the heat and drain.
  2. Roast the butternut squash chips for 30 minutes, or until crispy, turning occasionally.
  3. Once the quinoa has cooled, blend in a food processor with the pumpkin seeds, garlic, and a dash of olive oil.
  4. Separate the flour, egg and quinoa into a bowl each.
  5. Coat each fish filet generously in the flour, then the egg, and finally the quinoa mixture.
  6. Heat a frying pan with a dash of olive oil and fry the fish, for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden and crunchy.
  7. Meanwhile, boil the peas for 2-3 minutes and then strain.
  8. Serve the fish with the peas and the butternut squash chips. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  9. Garnish each serving with a wedge of lemon, plus tartar sauce and tomato ketchup, to taste.

3. Gluten-free hamburgers

As we embrace summer weather, the all-American hamburger is the perfect pairing to clear skies and warm days. It almost seems rude not to whip out the BBQ, and this simple recipe is perfect for a gluten-free sizzle. However, for mid-week simplicity, you can oven-cook or broil the patties to your cooking preference. Sandwich the patties between gluten-free buns that are bouncy and soft, to keep things authentic.

Serves: 4

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Difficulty: Easy


  • 1lb of good quality ground beef
  • 4 soft gluten-free hamburger buns
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free BBQ or Worcestershire sauce
  • Olive oil, to drizzle


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef with the mixed herbs, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Add in the diced onion and garlic and mix well. Using your hands, shape into 4 patties.
  3. Grill to your liking over a barbeque or broiler.
  4. Lightly toast the buns and fill them with the cooked patties, plus your favourite toppings.

Photo by Taylor Kiser