Incorporating Eggs into a Gluten-Free Diet

It’s so easy to take eggs for granted because they’re cheap and readily available, but in fact they’re one of the most valuable, versatile foods you can buy. They’re not just for breakfast anymore.

Perfectly packaged by Mother Nature in a biodegradable shell, and of course gluten free, egg protein has such high quality that it’s often used as the standard by which all other protein is measured, according to the Iowa Egg Council.
Nutrient dense, with a very high proportion of nutrients to calories, eggs contain all the essential amino acids. The human body can produce 10 of the 20 amino acids it needs, but the remaining 10, called essential amino acids, can only be obtained by eating the right foods.

One large egg provides a generous 6 grams of protein, around 75 calories, and 13 essential vitamins and minerals. The valuable nutrients contained in the yolk include choline, folate, lutein and vitamin D. The yolk also contains a moderate 5 grams of fat, of which less than a third is saturated; the rest is healthful poly- and monounsaturated fat, which boosts your HDL, or “good” cholesterol.
Around the world, eggs feature in classic recipes from elegant French soufflés, Mexican huevos rancheros, and savory Italian frittatas layered with fresh veggies to my latest finger-food favorite, Syrian egg patties.


Nine Exacting Egg Facts

1. There’s no difference in the amount of nutrition between eggs with brown, white or pale green shells. (The color depends on the breed of the chicken, not on what they eat.) A high protein, 75-calorie, Grade AA Large egg, the size used in most recipes, weighs 2 ounces and is a great food bargain.

2. The egg yolk contains most of the vitamins and minerals and some protein. The egg white protects the yolk and contains most of the protein.

3. Egg carton labels are confusing at best. Certified organic means the uncaged hens get an organic, vegetarian diet with no antibiotics or pesticides and have some outdoor access. Free range means the hens get some outdoor access, but an unspecified diet. Certified humane and cage free means uncaged, but often without any outdoor access and an unspecified diet. “Farm fresh” and “all natural” on the carton sounds good, but doesn’t mean anything.

4. Brown, cream, white and pale green eggs from local small farms come from free-range chickens living natural outdoor lives with coops for roosting in at night. They are given high-quality feed, and their eggs have a deep-colored, almost orange yolk with a noticeably rich flavor. Not surprisingly, these eggs cost more to produce. A special treat, they can be found, impeccably fresh, at most farmers’ markets.

5. Egg shells are porous and can absorb other flavors in the refrigerator, so always store eggs in the cardboard carton in which you bought them, which also helps the eggs to retain moisture. Place the carton on an inside shelf rather than the refrigerator door, which tends to be too warm for eggs.

6. Those two cloudy little blobs you might have noticed in a raw egg are harmless. Called chalazae, they serve to hold the yolk in the center of the white. They are not part of an embryonic chick!

7. Eggs should keep well, refrigerated, for at least two weeks after the expiration date on the carton. To freeze whole eggs and egg yolks, which will keep for up to six months, remove them from the shell and place them in an airtight container — preferably a glass jar — and add 18 teaspoon salt and 1 ½ teaspoons sugar to every 4 yolks or 2 whole eggs to keep them from becoming gelatinous. Thaw in the refrigerator.

8. To make perfect hard-boiled eggs every time, put them in a saucepan with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let stand for 12 minutes.

9. Very fresh hard-boiled eggs can be hard to peel. To avoid this problem, crack the shell all over by tapping on a hard surface and peel under cold running water, which gets under the membrane just beneath the shell.

The author of more than a dozen cookbooks, Gluten-Free Living Food Editor Jackie Mallorca’s most recent titles include The Wheat-Free Cook and Gluten-Free Italian. For more information, tips and recipes, visit her website at


Our Favorite Egg Recipes

fritata deviled eggs lauren marie angela sackett a


Just the Flax: The Gluten-Free Grain Secret to Healthy Artisan Breads

Flax is a slender plant with pretty blue flowers that has been cultivated for thousands of years. Its long, silky fibers are used to spin linen thread, and its seeds are pressed for their high oil content.

In the past, the inedible linseed oil made from flax was all used for things like wood finishing products. The solid residue was and still is used as a nourishing feed for cattle.

It’s only recently that researchers have discovered that flax seeds make an invaluable food for humans, too. Naturally gluten-free flax seeds come in several colors — all with the same great nutritional profile — but brown and golden are the most commonly available in our markets.

Nutritional powerhouse

The flax meal that is becoming so popular, particularly in gluten-free recipes, is usually ground from brown flax seeds and is tan. A nutritional powerhouse, antioxidant-rich flax seeds contain an amazing amount of dietary fiber, protein, micronutrients and, very importantly, omega-3 fatty acids, a vital element in controlling inflammation.

Ongoing research reveals that flax seeds may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, especially in women, and also aid in the control of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels. Last but not least, these seeds are very low in carbohydrates, which is worth knowing if you are trying to limit your intake of starches.

Healthful flax seeds can play a major role in baking gluten-free breads with character, flavor, and a springy, light texture. Head for the kitchen with a supply of the whole seeds or ready-ground flax meal, and release your inner artisan baker. You don’t have to tell anyone how easy it was to produce such stellar breads and muffins.

Potential downsides to ingesting flax

Current research suggests overwhelming benefits, but flax does contain a lot of soluble fiber.

It’s easy to be seduced by the aroma, soft texture and whole-grain flavor of “high flax” bakery items, but it’s best to start with eating a small amount and increase your intake little by little. Over-indulgence can have a laxative effect, and conversely, if you don’t drink a lot of fluids the opposite could be a problem.

Some medical researchers suggest that flax should be avoided by pregnant women and women taking estrogen, as it contains a natural plant version of estrogen. As always, if in any doubt, consult your physician and nutritionist for recommendations in your particular case.

Flax meal vs. flax seeds

Flax meal and whole flax seeds are available at natural foods stores and some supermarkets. Store flax meal — home ground or an opened pre-ground package — in the freezer, where it will keep for at least three months. Due to the high oil content, ground flax seeds can quickly turn rancid and develop a strong, unpleasant flavor if stored in a kitchen cupboard.

Whole flax seeds, on the other hand, cost less than packaged brown or golden flax meal and will keep for about a year at cool room temperature. You can grind flax seeds into flax meal in just a few seconds using a clean electric coffee mill or a blender, which will give you the freshest and most flavorful results. A half-cup of flax seeds yields three-quarters of a cup of flax meal.

Recipes that use flax seeds or meal

gingerbread-loaf-verticalGluten-free flax meal-parmesan skillet breadGluten-Free, Corn-Free Honey Millet Rolls


Resources for flax seeds and meal


The author of more than a dozen cookbooks, Food Editor Jackie Mallorca’s latest titles include The Wheat-Free Cook and Gluten-Free Italian. For more information and recipes, visit her website at