A perennial dinner favorite in my house is Creamed Tuna. It’s good when I’m short on time and I need to go shopping, but we’re hungry right now…like many weeknights…so my gluten-free diet also has to satisfy everyone in the family.
The foundation of this easy dinner is a medium white sauce. I learned a long time ago that a basic white sauce or cream sauce is a kitchen standby, and it’s just as useful for a gluten-free diet as it is for gluten-y cooking. It works for a lot of my favorite 30 minute meals!
A white sauce is easy to make with just a little practice…and is a valuable addition to cooking for a gluten-free diet. It’s mostly a matter of using a pan with a heavy bottom, not turning the burner too high, and stirring steadily for a few minutes (you can’t leave the stove “for a minute”). There’s nothing more complicated than that to make a creamy, smooth sauce.
The only ingredient in this recipe that is “different” – not found in average, gluten-y kitchens – is probably the sweet rice flour. Sweet rice flour is the substitute I use for the “all-purpose flour” or “wheat flour” or “flour” called for in most recipes for cream sauce or white sauce. I’ve used white rice flour and brown rice flour for making a white sauce, but the results were grainier than I like.
Sweet rice flour mixes better and has a smoother texture than plain rice flour. (Sweet rice is not a type of rice sweetened with something sugary, but instead it’s a completely different variety of rice, sometimes also called sticky rice.)
Be sure to check the ingredients on the tuna’s label since sometimes there is gluten in the broth.
Once you’ve made the basic white sauce, then you stir in the drained tuna and heat through. That’s all there is to it!
Serve over toast, biscuits, noodles (those have to be gluten-free, of course) or rice…or even spoon it over sautéed shoestring-cut summer squash.
Creamed Tuna is Easy for a Gluten-Free Diet
- 3 Tablespoons Butter, or butter substitute
- 1 Tablespoon Celery, minced (or more, if you like)
- 2 Tablespoons Onion, minced (or more, if you like)
- 3 Tablespoons Sweet Rice Flour
- 1 Cup Milk, or milk substitute
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt, optional
- 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Pepper
- 12 Ounces Canned Tuna, drained (be sure it is gluten-free)
Heat the butter in heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
Add the celery and onion; cook and stir until tender.
Blend in the sweet rice flour.
With a wooden spoon or a whisk, cook and stir constantly over medium low heat until beginning to brown. (You can’t cheat on the stirring — it must be constant or you risk having lumpy sauce. It’s only for a few minutes, though, so stick with it.)
Stir in milk all at once and heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
Stir in tuna and remaining seasonings. Heat through.
Makes about 2-1/2 cups.
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