What Are the Different Types of Gluten-Free Sauces?

Meshell Powell

Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities frequently have problems finding gluten-free sauces to fit their dietary needs. Fortunately, there are several relatively easy ways to turn virtually any type of sauce, from barbecue sauce to Alfredo sauce, into healthy gluten-free alternatives. Some additional gluten-free sauces include cheese sauce, gravy, and marinara sauce. Mayonnaise, marinades, and even cranberry sauce can be incorporated into a gluten-free lifestyle with a little creativity.

Most varieties of mayonnaise are gluten-free.
Most varieties of mayonnaise are gluten-free.

When creating gluten-free sauces, it is important to understand a little about the origin of gluten. Basically, gluten is a type of protein found in certain grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye. While some foods may not contain these exact ingredients, if they are processed on machinery that also processes gluten-containing foods, cross-contamination may occur, leading to potential digestive disturbances in those with gluten sensitivities.

Marinara sauce is gluten-free.
Marinara sauce is gluten-free.

Barbecue sauce is one of the most sought after gluten-free sauces and can be easily made at home if no suitable brands are found at the local grocery store. Fresh or ground spices can be added to a base made of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. These items are naturally gluten-free, although it is important to always check the labels to ensure that no gluten-containing ingredients are found. Mayonnaise and marinara sauce are usually gluten-free as well but can be made at home if desired.

Finding commercially made gluten-free sauces such as cheese sauce or gravy can be a bit challenging, as these are often made with thickening agents such as flour. Most commercially made flour is made from wheat and should be avoided completely by those with gluten sensitivities. Many health food stores carry gluten-free alternatives such as almond flour or rice flour for those who prefer to make gluten-free sauces at home. Ready-made versions of these sauces are available in some locations, although they are usually more expensive than those containing gluten.

For those who prefer to purchase commercially made gluten-free sauces, it is important to carefully read the food labels. Some products clearly list allergen information on the packaging, although others do not consider ingredients such as barley malt or modified food starch when labeling the products. Soy sauce and Teriyaki sauce commonly contain gluten, so special care should be taken when searching for healthy alternatives to these products. Some restaurants will provide an allergen menu for those who ask, but most do not stock a supply of gluten-free sauces, adding to the importance of carefully choosing safe menu items when eating away from home.

Customers on a gluten-free diet should read labels carefully to ensure all products they are buying are gluten free.
Customers on a gluten-free diet should read labels carefully to ensure all products they are buying are gluten free.

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