Gluten Free Macaroni and Beans

I’ve been making this fast and easy peasant dish for over 30 years.  Long before I knew I had Celiac!  After my diagnosis, I quickly realized that the pasta was the only ingredient that had to be changed to make this meal gluten free!

This meal satisfies my craving for comfort food with a minimal amount of fuss.  I serve it right in the pan for easy cleanup.

The recipe is not difficult, and you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry!  Here’s what you will need…

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  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, small dice
  • 2 oz. pancetta or bacon, diced
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 8 oz. gluten free pasta
  • fresh basil
  • fresh Italian parsley
  • parmesan cheese


Render the pancetta or bacon in a deep skillet.  Add a little olive oil, along with the celery.  Cook for 3 minutes then add the garlic.  Cook for 1 minute more, stirring frequently.

Make a space in the center of the skillet and drop in the tomato paste.  Toast it for just a minute, then stir in the drained beans and diced tomatoes, with all of their juices.

Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and fresh ground pepper to taste, then cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Drain the pasta and add it right into the skillet.  It’s peasant food, you don’t need a serving dish!  Toss well and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped fresh herbs.

Serve with grated cheese and a glass of wine.

Notes ♪♫ Is pancetta a part of your gluten free pantry?  I buy the 4 oz. packages of diced uncured pancetta and store them in the freezer.  It adds just the right amount of salt and flavor to dishes like this one!

Originally published July 19, 2022                      Updated August 8, 2023

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

It’s time to spice up your life with a bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup!  The inspiration for this recipe came from a local restaurant but unfortunately, I cannot order it anymore as all their soups contain gluten.  That makes me sad, because most of the ingredients in Chicken Tortilla Soup are naturally gluten free. 

I made mine with big chunks of chicken, beans and veggies.  I love the heat from garlic, jalapeno, chili flakes and cumin (could this soup cure the common cold?).  If you don’t already have Chipotle chili and cumin in your spice rack it’s time for a run to the grocery store! 

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The soup is thick and hearty on its own, no flour is needed.  It needs no adornment other than a sprinkle of gluten free tortilla strips, if you can’t find them locally order here!    


  • 2 chicken leg quarters 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • Olive oil 
  • water to cover
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 2 carrots, sliced 
  • heaping tbsp. minced garlic
  • heaping tbsp. minced jalapeno
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste 
  • 14 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes 
  • 1/2 tsp. Chipotle chili 
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin 
  • 1/2 tsp. Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp. onion granules 
  • salt, to taste 
  • 1 cup canned black beans 
  • 1 cup frozen or canned corn 
  • Gluten free tortilla strips 


Heat a deep skillet over medium low, add a little olive oil and brown the chicken on both sides.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add bay leaves and water to cover.  Simmer for 90 minutes on low. 

Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove meat from the bones.  Refrigerate meat until the soup is ready.  Reserve the liquid.

In a clean stock pot, add 1 tbsp. olive oil with the onions and carrots, and cook for 2-3 minutes over low heat.  Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook for 30 seconds.  Make a spot in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste.

Toast for 2 minutes, then strain the reserved chicken broth into the pot.  Add the fire roasted tomatoes, and all of the seasoning. 

Cover and simmer 1 hour, then add the black beans and corn.  Simmer 30 minutes longer.  Taste and add salt if needed. 

Stir in the reserved chicken, heat through and serve.

Garnish each bowl with tortilla strips.

Notes: ♪♫ I love soup season!  I could eat soup every day and I have a great selection of soups and stews on the blog that will keep you warm through the winter months.  All gluten free and delicious!  Check out all my Gluten Free Soups, Stews and Chowders here!

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Slow Cooked BBQ Baked Beans

Be the star of your next cookout or potluck with these delicious, slow cooked beans.  The best part of the recipe, it cooks overnight!  This leaves you free to do other things the day of your event.  Be sure to have all of the ingredients on hand, to allow enough time for soaking and cooking, 24 hours total!  For best flavor and texture, don’t try to speed up the recipe.  Start soaking the beans in the morning, and prepare them for the crockpot in the evening.  You may find it hard to sleep, with all the amazing aromas coming from your kitchen!

This is an old family recipe that I have adapted to be gluten free.  The biggest change was that I left out beer, and substituted an equal amount of club soda.  Other than that, I just had to check the ingredient labels on my bacon, BBQ sauce, ketchup and Worcestershire.  Are beans gluten free?  Yes, they are a naturally gluten free food!  I always give them a thorough rinse before cooking to be on the safe side, in case of cross contact during processing.

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  • 1 pound bag of navy beans
  • 12 oz. package of gluten free, lower sodium bacon (I used Smithfield)
  • 1/2 Vidalia or sweet onion, cut into small dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup of club soda
  • 3/4 cup gluten free BBQ sauce (I used Stubbs Smoky Mesquite)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten free, unsalted ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • 1 cup of Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey
  • 2 tsp. dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. gluten free Worcestershire sauce
  • up to 1 cup of water, only if needed, to adjust thickness
  • cooking spray


In the morning, place the beans in a sauce pan and add at least 6 cups of cold water.  Cover and soak (no heat) for 10 hours.  For guaranteed tender beans, never salt the soaking water!

The beans will double or more in size.

After 10 hours, drain the beans and rinse them thoroughly.  Return them to the pot, cover with water and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 30 minutes then drain and rinse again.

Set up your crockpot and mist it with cooking spray.  While the beans simmer, heat a large nonstick skillet and cook the bacon until crisp.  Drain on paper towels, then crumble or chop into 1/2″ pieces.

Skim the bacon fat and remove any burnt debris.  You should be left with a few tablespoons of clear fat in the pan.  Add the onions and cook just until lightly browned.  Add the garlic, stir for a few seconds then pour everything into the crockpot, fat included.

Add the club soda, sugar, ketchup, molasses, whiskey, mustard, cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to the crockpot and stir well to combine with the onion mixture.  Finally, stir in the drained beans and the chopped bacon.

Cover and cook for 12 hours on low overnight.  Stir every 4 hours (or whenever you wake up) and check the consistency as the sauce thickens, if the mixture is too dry add a bit more water.

After 12 hours, set the crock-pot to keep warm.  Let the beans sit for 2 more hours on warm to finish absorbing the liquid.

You can see why this recipe has become a family favorite!

You’ll get rave reviews when you make this dish!  I hope you will give it a try for your next family gathering!

Notes ♪♫ I opt for lower sodium ingredients wherever possible.  Given the amount of salt in the bacon, you will not notice if it is absent in some of the condiments.

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Gluten Free Pasta e Fagioli

Today I’m making Pasta e Fagioli, a favorite on the menu of Italian restaurants everywhere.  Of course, for those of us with Celiac disease, ordering any type of soup at a restaurant is not an option, or at best a roll of the dice.  Luckily, most soups are easy to recreate at home!  Especially when most of the ingredients are naturally gluten free, just be sure and check the labels!  And as I always say, don’t shy away from cooking with beans.  The Navy beans that I used in this soup are especially easy to work with and always turn out great.  You can of course use canned beans, I won’t tell!

8 – 10 Servings

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  • 1 cup (dry) Navy beans
  • 2 gluten free Italian sausage links
  • 3/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup carrot, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 cup white wine (optional but good)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) gluten free diced tomatoes, pulsed in chopper
  • 3 cups gluten free beef stock
  • 1-1/2 cups gluten free chicken stock
  • 1 cup gluten free Ditalini pasta


Start the soup the night before, by soaking the navy beans overnight. Always look them over for any foreign material (i.e. errant grains that may sneak in or even a pebble!).  I also rinse them in a colander under cold water to minimize any trace gluten residue, then place in a small sauce pan with cold water, cover and let them stand until morning.  The next day, drain and rinse again, then return to a clean pot.

Add cold water, cover and place on a very low simmer for 2 hours.

Next, get the other ingredients ready.  We’ll be making a Soffritto (a flavor base composed of sautéed carrots, celery, and onion that forms the foundation of so many Italian recipes), so the veggies need to be finely minced.  I used my electric chopper to make the prep work super fast and easy.

I used about 1/2 of a medium sweet onion, 3 med stalks of celery and 1 large carrot.  You will have about 3/4 cup of each, don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be precise 😉  Mince the garlic and set aside.

In a stock pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil.  Remove casings from the sausage and add to the pot.  I used Open Nature Italian Chicken Sausage.  Brown the sausage then cut into pieces and continue cooking through, about 3 minutes.

Remove sausage from the pan, reserving any leftover oil.  Cool slightly and add to the chopper.  Pulse a few times to break up the meat.

In the same pan, add another tbsp. of olive oil and 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes.  Stir 30 seconds to intensify their flavor.

Next add the minced garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Now add the carrots, celery and onion to make the Soffritto.  Stir frequently for 2 minutes, you will see the veggies begin to break down and release their liquid.

Add back the chopped sausage along with the white wine (if using).  Stir together and cook 2 minutes.

Place the diced tomatoes in the chopper and pulse a few times.  Stir the tomatoes into the pot, along with the beef stock, chicken stock, sage and thyme.

Add the drained, cooked beans.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 45-60 minutes.

Finally, cook the Ditalini separately in salted water, drain and add to the soup.  (Note, you may see recipes where the pasta is cooked directly in the soup, but I find that gluten free pasta works best when cooked separately.)

Garnish with parsley and serve with grated cheese (optional) and a thick slice of gluten free bread.

Notes: ♪♫ I was especially happy to find Le Veneziane Gluten Free Ditalini pasta, traditionally used in this soup.  You can use any small, gluten free pasta or break up any gluten free pasta into small pieces.

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Borlotti Bean Soup

I love the smooth, creamy texture of Borlotti beans.  Also known as Cranberry beans, they are easy to work with, and an Italian favorite for winter soups.  When using dried beans, an overnight soak followed by a long slow simmer is the secret to success.  For soft, creamy beans that aren’t tough, don’t add salt until the final steps of the preparation.

I make soup frequently over the winter months.  I usually make a small pot, as it’s just the two of us and we don’t want to be eating it for weeks!  This recipe makes about 4 servings, but you can definitely double or triple the recipe for a larger family.

4 servings

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Soak the beans overnight, then drain and rinse.  Add them to a soup pot with cold, unsalted water and 2 bay leaves.  Cover and simmer 45 minutes, drain and rinse.  Then one more time, back into the pot with cold unsalted water, cover and simmer 45 minutes, drain and rinse.

Wipe the pot clean and add a little olive oil.  Cook the carrots, celery, onion and garlic over low heat until vegetables are translucent and release some of their liquid.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the cooked beans, sage, thyme, turmeric and one more bay leaf.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add the chicken broth and simmer 1-1/2 hours.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Remove from heat and add the cooked pasta or rice.  Cover and let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Notes: ♪♫ If you like a creamier soup, you can partially puree the beans and veggies before adding the pasta.  Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves first!

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Breaded Pork Medallions with Beans and Potatoes

I’m always looking for recipes to incorporate more beans into our meal plan.  Beans are nutritious, economical and rich in fiber, which is sorely lacking in the gluten free diet.  This bean and potato side was the perfect accompaniment to my easy breaded pork medallions!  I used cannellini beans in this recipe, but you can use any variety you prefer!

4 Servings

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Soak the pork in 1/3 cup milk for at least 30 minutes.

Cook the bacon in a deep skillet, then remove and drain on paper towels, reserving the fat.  Add the diced onions to the skillet with 1 tbsp. olive oil and cook them on very low heat to caramelize, about 25 minutes.

Add the potatoes with an additional tbsp. of olive oil.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.  Toss to coat, add 1/3 cup chicken broth and cook 20 minutes longer.

Drain and rinse the beans and add to the skillet with an additional 1/3 cup of chicken broth.  Cook for another 15 minutes.

Dredge the pork medallions in the breadcrumbs, and cook in a large, nonstick skillet coated with olive oil, 5 minutes per side.

Serve over the potatoes and beans.

I added a side of roasted green beans.

Dinner was delicious and there were plenty of leftovers!

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Tomato Bean Soup with Chicken Sausage

Making soup is one of my favorite ways to clear the pantry.  This wonderful fall soup is a great example of what you can put together from little bits of this and that from your pantry and freezer.  I had a cup of dry beans, some frozen chicken sausage along with the fresh roasted tomato sauce that I made earlier (in case you missed that post, catch it here).  Of course you can use a can of fire roasted tomatoes and canned beans, but don’t shy away from cooking beans from scratch, it’s easy and they are a healthy and nutritious addition to winter meals.  Just follow my step by step instructions!

4-6 servings

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I had a cup of dry beans in the pantry left over from another recipe, a mix of Borlotti and Great Northern.  You can use whatever beans you prefer (see notes).  Soak the beans overnight in cold water.

In the morning, the beans will have almost doubled in size.  Drain and rinse them, and return to the pot.  Cover with cold water and add 2 bay leaves.  Simmer 2 hours on low heat.

Notice that I started with cold water.  One of the secrets to tender beans is to cook them slowly and gently.  The heat is on very low the entire time, so the water comes to temperature slowly.  When it does reach a boil, I keep it on a very low simmer.  Also note that I did not add salt.  Salt toughens the beans, so we only add it during the final hour of cooking.

After a 2 hour simmer, drain the beans and discard the bay leaves.  Wipe the pot clean to remove all moisture and add one tbsp. olive oil.

To kick up the flavor in this soup, I added 2 chicken sausage links from my freezer pantry, one hot and one mild.  You can use pork sausage, ham or whatever protein you prefer, just be sure it’s gluten free.  Dice the sausage into 1/2″ pieces and cook until any liquid has evaporated and the meat is nicely browned.  Pardon the shaky photo but you get the idea!

Remove the sausage, cover and set it aside until the soup has finished.  Leave any fat and browned bits in the pot and add another tbsp. olive oil.  Add all of the veggies and season with salt and pepper.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Now add back the beans, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, sage and thyme.  Cover and simmer (keep the heat very low) for 1 more hour.

To finish the soup, stir in a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional but I like the spicy kick) and return the sausage to the pot to heat through.

Ladle into bowls, garnish with fresh chives and serve with grated cheese.

We really enjoyed this soup, even though it was quite warm this first weekend of autumn!  I’ll be sharing more of my favorite soup recipes in the coming weeks, and I hope you will come by again to see what’s cooking in my Cucina!

Notes ♪♫  Beans are a naturally gluten free food.  However, be wary of the mixed bean packages as some contain barley.  I always rinse my beans thoroughly to limit risk of any cross contact during processing.

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