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Easy Gluten-Free Appetizers

by Emily Weller, studioD

Avoiding gluten isn't as difficult as you may think. Although gluten, the protein found in wheat and a few other grains, seems to be everywhere, a number of healthy and delicious foods are naturally gluten free, including vegetables, fruits and meats. Other grains, such as corn and rice, are also gluten free. If you're serving appetizers to a gluten-free guest, be sure to read the ingredients list to make sure what you're serving is gluten free.

Dips and Chips

Bean dips, such as hummus, are gluten free. They are also very simple and easy to make at home. Puree chickpeas with some lemon juice and garlic. You can add tahini, a sesame paste, if you can find it, but the hummus will taste just as good without. Instead of chickpeas, experiment with other beans, such as white beans or black beans. Serve the bean dip with corn tortilla chips, which are naturally gluten free. Other simple dip and chip options include guacamole, salsa, gluten-free creamy dressings and a cheesy spinach dip.

Raw Fruits and Vegetables

If you don't want to serve corn chips with bean dip, you can substitute carrot sticks or celery instead. Another option is to serve raw vegetables such as carrots, broccoli florets, cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes with their own dip. If you don't prepare the dip at home from scratch, read the ingredient list and allergy information to make sure it is wheat and gluten free. For a sweeter appetizer, set out a tray of berries, orange slices and melon pieces.

Spiced Nuts

Nuts are naturally gluten free. If no one at the party has a nut allergy, serve a bowl full of spiced nuts. You can purchase the nuts with the flavors already added or prepare your own nuts. Coat your choice of nuts -- pecans, cashews and almonds are delicious -- with an egg white. Toss the egg white-coated nuts with the spices of your choice, such as allspice or cayenne. Try different flavor combinations, such as sweet and spicy or herbs and pepper. Roast the nuts in the oven, and let them cool before serving.

Meaty Appetizers

Set out a tray of shrimp and tomato-based cocktail sauce. If you buy pre-cooked, peeled shrimp, you almost won't have to do any work to prepare this appetizer. Check the cocktail sauce to make sure it doesn't have any gluten in it or prepare your own. Slice up salami and cut cheese into cubes and serve on a platter with toothpicks. Instead of wheat crackers, serve gluten-free rice crackers with the meat and cheese.

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Emily Weller has been writing professionally since 2007, when she began writing theater reviews Off-Off Broadway productions. Since then, she has written for TheNest, ModernMom and Rhode Island Home and Design magazine, among others. Weller attended CUNY/Brooklyn college and Temple University.

Photo Credits

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