University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Food & Nutrition Programs

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Meals

If your doctor has instructed you to avoid gluten and dairy, it may seem like you have few food choices. In fact, many foods are both naturally gluten- and dairy-free. Crafting satisfying, healthy meals that follow your dietary restrictions does not have to be complicated or take too much of your time.


Gluten-free, dairy-free menus feature proteins such as poultry, beef, fish, beans or tofu that is not breaded, batter-coated or marinated. While cheese, yogurt and milk are off the menu, you can use soy, almond, coconut or rice milk as well as soy-based cheeses and yogurt. All vegetables and fruits are naturally gluten- and dairy-free.

Gluten-free pasta made with quinoa, corn or rice is another simple, gluten-free, dairy-free option. Other naturally gluten- and dairy-free foods include eggs, potatoes, beans, nuts, seeds, sugar, honey, molasses, spices, herbs, wine, distilled liquors, ciders and spirits.


Simple preparations for proteins such as meat, poultry and fish include grilling, roasting or broiling. Toss green, leafy salads with chopped nuts and additional fruits such as dried cranberries or fresh strawberries and vegetables. Look for steam-in-the-bag vegetables without added sauces that may contain butter, cheese or wheat.

Simmer grains such as brown rice in chicken broth to add flavor, then add vegetables and serve as a side dish. Flavor meats and vegetables with gluten-free, dairy-free seasonings such as chili powder, cumin, Italian seasoning and paprika. Citrus, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs and oils are other simple gluten-free, dairy-free ways to add flavor to meals.


Many gluten-free products may still contain dairy, so read labels carefully. Milk is often an ingredient in gluten-free breads, soups and cookies.

If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, your inability to eat dairy may be a side effect of your condition. You may find that after following a gluten-free diet for six months to a year and the villi in your intestine heal, you can again tolerate dairy. Always check with your doctor before making changes to your diet.

Without dairy in your diet, you should seek out other sources of calcium. Leafy greens such as kale and spinach, along with calcium-fortified orange juice or soy milk, are foods you should be consuming regularly. Check with your nutritionist or physician to determine if you also should take a calcium supplement.


A simple gluten-free, dairy-free breakfast can consist of two eggs scrambled with chopped tomatoes and topped with chopped, fresh basil. Have a smoothie made with frozen strawberries, bananas and soy or rice milk on the side.

At lunchtime make a simple soup by bringing chicken broth to a boil and adding chopped carrots, celery and rice pasta. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender, and stir in frozen peas and cooked chicken breast cut in bite-sized pieces.

For dinner sprinkle tilapia or other white fish filets with cumin, salt and pepper and broil for about five minutes on each side. Serve with corn tortillas, chopped cabbage, sliced avocado and red salsa. Enjoy fruit or soy ice cream for dessert.

Examples of simple gluten- and dairy-free snacks are nuts, air-popped popcorn, rice crackers, fresh fruit, soy yogurt, pouches of water-packed tuna and dried fruit such as dates, raisins or apricots.

For a delicious, gluten- and dairy-free cookie, try this recipe. For additional gluten- and dairy-free recipes, visit


1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. coconut or rice milk
1/2 c. dairy-free margarine such as a soy or oil-based spread
4 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. almond butter
3 c. gluten-free oats
1 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter and cocoa. Bring to boil and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in almond butter, oats and vanilla. Drop on waxed paper and refrigerate until hard. Makes 36 servings.

1 cookie = 1 serving.
Nutrition information per serving (one cookie):  60 calories; 4 grams (g) total fat; 7 g total carbohydrates.

For more information, please contact Diane Mincher, UVM Extension nutrition and food specialist, at (802) 388-4969, ext. 331, or (800) 956-1125 (within Vermont) or by e-mail at