Going gluten-free, and dairy-free, does not signal the end of life as you know it. Ok, yes it does (but that’s a good thing!) This lifestyle is so much more exciting than the one you had before – experimenting and whipping up magical dairy- and grain-free masterpieces can be so much fun!

With these options at your pantry’s disposal, you can cook your way to nutrient-rich dishes with ease.

Pan reduction.

The best way to thicken a sauce or gravy is to let it reduce until it thickens on its own and then to whisk in some chilled rendered fat, from chicken, beef or pork at the end. The rendered fat can be used to replace butter, but it should also be added in its solid state, so chill it in the fridge until solidified.

Egg yolk.

Not only will eggs become your best-Banting-friend, but the yolk works wonders for making delicious and silky cauli-mash.  Eggs can also thicken up a “creamy” sauce. Add a touch of coconut cream or coconut milk to your egg yolk and whisk it together. Add the egg mix to the dairy-free sauce and heat it on low so that the sauce thickens without becoming curdled.

Xanthan gum.

A little goes a long way. This can add body to sauces and act as a binder in baking. But be careful of adding too much, as it goes jelly-like when added to liquid. A bit on the tip of a knife should be plenty.

Psyllium husks.

This soluble fibre not only increases the fibre content to your diet, but it is a great binder to crackers and breads. This also goes gelatinous when added to liquid, which is why it works wonders as a binder in savoury baked goods, but can be a little tricky to work with. For best results buy the whole psyllium husks and grind them in your coffee grinder, for a less gelatinous feel.

Pureed veggies/fruit.

Pureed pumpkin/sweet potato/potato/cauliflower/tomato/banana/apple – pureed vegetables can be used to thicken soups, and stews, whereas pureed fruit can add volume to batters. Pureed pumpkin and sweet potato can add moisture to cakes.

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