As someone who learned the hard way (and keeps learning; see our earlier post about Mellow Mushroom pizza) that gluten doesn’t agree with them, I’ve learned to work with different kinds of gluten-free flours. Unfortunately, these can get pretty expensive, especially when you need to use a few different kinds.
The standby for most folks is Bob’s Red Mill. Bob’s products are available at most grocers with a “natural” or organic section, and any Whole Foods, EarthFare, or independent organic grocer. (Our local favorite, by the way, is Good Health Natural Foods.)
Let me tell you about the goldmine that is Ocean State Job Lot. They are a New England-based closeout retailer–and even if you’re not from around here, you can check your local discount stores for specialty dry goods. If you’ve driven by a Job Lot without a second thought, I’ve got news for you. Job Lot has the entire line of Bob’s Red Mill products, at a discount. Everything you need for baking: the GF flour mix we make our donuts with, GF oats for waffles, sorghum flour, buckwheat flour, cornmeal, potato starch, flax seeds, and other great ingredients to have on hand like chia seeds and shredded coconut.
It doesn’t stop there! At our local Job Lot we are constantly stocking up on organic teas, and stevia and monk fruit packets to sweeten it with. We’ve also found organic/vegan/gluten-free/sugar-free marinara sauce (for $2), cheap organic olive oil, brown rice and corn pastas, and dried fruits and mushrooms.
Another fantastic but unlikely place to pick up ingredients is HomeGoods–and, actually, some Marshalls and TJ Maxx locations. We’ve gotten tons of Wholesome Chow mixes there, which aren’t sugar-free, but great if you eat sugar or are entertaining. They always come out perfect; I love the spiced chai and lavender cake mixes for cupcakes. The items HomeGoods carries vary frequently, but some things we’ve found are virgin coconut oil at $6 a jar, Namaste Foods pizza crust mix (vegan/gluten-free/sugar-free and really good), and organic/vegan/gluten-free/sugar-free cookies.
Finally, another place to get affordable ingredients for vegan and gluten-free cooking is your local Asian grocery. Around here, we have Kam Man and a few others. Most imported items with non-English labeling have nutritional information and ingredients in English on the back. Kam Man has been a great place to get spices, dry goods, canned goods, and buckwheat and rice noodles. This is also a great place to pick up hard-to-find produce, daifuku (the JFC brand is vegan), and teas at significantly less cost than Whole Foods.
This may go without saying, but if you have celiac and don’t want to take any chances, you may want to avoid any products that are not certified gluten-free, especially if you are not familiar with the brand.
We’re really lucky to live near such a wide variety of stores! Thankfully, the future is happening and tons of products are available for order online too. Buying in bulk can also help you cut down on costs while keeping your tummy happy. Thanks for reading!