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December 2009

Dining Out on Gluten Free Italian Food

For many Celiacs and others following gluten-free diets, dining out on Italian food may be a distant memory. On the surface, your reaction might be, "Anyplace with pasta as a staple food is NOT a place for me!" However, it pays to do a little research to find the growing number of Italian restaurants -- both chains and independent restaurants -- that are now either willing to tailor items on their regular menu to make them gluten-free...or better yet, offering extensive gluten-free menus. While you'll probably need to avoid the Chicken or Veal Parmesan, almost any Italian restaurant has a handful of things that may qualify as being "naturally" gluten free (i.e. steaks, roasted chicken, grilled fish or seafood). The key is to make sure you question everything before ordering. Here are some examples of the questions to ask to uncover "hidden" gluten in Italian dishes: Do the meatballs have breadcrumbs in them? Are the steaks or other meats marinated? Are the meats dusted with flour before sautéing? Is the salad dressing gluten-free? Is flour used as a thickener in any of the sauces? Is there bouillon or broth in a sauce (they often contain gluten)? Of course, you'll also... Read more →