3 Easy Weeknight Meals:
Kid-Friendly, Vegetarian and Gluten-Free

After my son and I got diagnosed with Celiac disease two years ago, I had to get creative in the kitchen and come up with lots of options for meals that are gluten-free. Here are some family favorites that everyone loves: Gluten-Free Pizza, Black Bean Tacos and Shrimp & Veggie Stir Fry.

1. Gluten-Free Pizza

A common affliction when going gluten-free is Fear of Losing Pizza syndrome (aka FOLP), and it hits children especially hard. So if your child has been diagnosed with a wheat allergy, a gluten sensitivity, or celiac disease, pizza is one of the first things you should learn to make yourself.

Thankfully, Chebe makes it very easy, with a tasty tapioca-based pizza crust mix that will have you making your own pizzas at home in no time. Include a homemade tomato sauce made with organic tomatoes and garlic with fresh mozzarella, and your gluten-free pizza will rival a gluten version.

How to Make Gluten-Free Pizza

Follow the Chebe package directions for making the crust. Make or buy your favorite tomato sauce (recipe below) and spread sauce over crust. Top with shredded mozzarella and your child’s favorite toppings and bake at 350° until crust is browned and cheese has melted.

Simple Tomato Sauce Recipe:

  • 6 – 8 whole tomatoes, diced, or a 28-oz can of crushed tomato (Muir Glen, Eden Foods, Trader Joe’s and Bionaturae use BPA-free cans)
  • 3 – 5 cloves chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt

Lightly sauté the sea salt and garlic in the olive oil for 30 – 60 seconds. Add the tomatoes and simmer for at least 5 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.

2. Black Bean Tacos

Mexican food is a favorite among the gluten-free crowd, as corn is the subsistence carbohydrate of Mexico. Tacos offer table-side customizability, which is convenient for picky eaters and more adventurous types alike. Since we are not dairy-free, I have included some cheese and sour cream in the recipe, but feel free to omit if you are dairy-free.

For my family, I prepare:

  • Brown rice
  • Black beans, from BPA-free cans
  • Pico de Gallo (recipe below)
  • Grated Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Salad greens or sliced cabbage with lime juice
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Hot sauce
  • Warmed organic corn tortillas

If you have time, you can make a simple quesadilla by filling the tortillas with a couple tablespoons of the grated cheese and warming them in the oven to melt the cheese. If you’re avoiding corn, turn your taco into a salad and layer on your favorite ingredients on top of salad greens.

Homemade Pico de Gallo Recipe:

  • 2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes, stems removed, finely diced
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: finely diced jalapeño chili pepper (stems, ribs, seeds removed) and/or cumin to taste

1. Start with chopping up the onion. Squeeze the lime juice on top and sprinkle with sea salt. As the salt tenderizes the onion, chop the tomatoes and wash and chop the cilantro.

2. Combine everything together in a bowl and taste. If you like heat, include diced jalapeño, being careful to wash your hands after handling the hot pepper.

Makes approximately 3-4 cups.

3. Shrimp & Veggie Stir-Fry

Regardless of age, the numbers of Americans following specific diets are increasing. Whether for health reasons or philosophical beliefs, your next dining companion may be vegetarian, vegan or paleo – and you may find all three at the same table. With flexibility similar to the taco bar, my favorite stir-fry includes a range of vegetables with sauteed shrimp served over rice noodles.

How to Make a Simple Stir-Fry

For maximum speed and simplicity, prepare 2 – 4 colorful vegetables, such as thinly sliced carrots, peppers, broccoli florets, red onion or snow peas and fry in a wok or cast-iron pan with coconut oil, a dash of tamari and finely chopped garlic and fresh ginger.

In a second pan, heat coconut oil with garlic and ginger and add cleaned and peeled shrimp.

Serve with a bowl of rice noodles and an Asian-style dressing.


  • 2 tbsp wheat-free soy
  • 2 tbsp seasoned rice
  • 2 tbsp lime
  • 2 tbsp sesame
  • 1 tbsp
  • 1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes (dried)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 2 tsp peeled fresh ginger (grated)
  • 3 scallions (chopped)
  • Optional: 2 tbsp gluten-free fish sauce, such as Red Boat

Mix together the following ingredients and serve on the side or blend with the rice noodles, with the vegetables and shrimp on top.

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