Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick and Easy – Cookbook Review with Pan de Bono Recipe


Scan the bakery shelf at any grocery store and you’ll see that gluten-free foods are not cheap. A lot of commercially made gluten-free baked goods don’t even taste very good. Nicole Hunn solves that problem with her latest cookbook, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, Quick and Easy, with tasty, inexpensive food that makes it to the table fast.

The first chapter discusses gluten-free possibilities. The author lists her favorite gluten-free convenience items and commercially available gluten-free flour and flour mixes. She also includes a homemade gluten-free flour mix, which she uses in many of the recipes in the book.

Most of the recipes are vegetarian and some are vegan. Each recipe ends with a price comparison between the homemade version and the store-bought version. The exact amount of savings will vary according to prices in your area, but the savings is always significant.

One hundred recipes are split between six chapters:

Breakfast and Brunch – The most important meal of the day. The author adapts classic breakfast foods like biscuits, oatmeal, protein bars, and even doughnuts and makes the recipes quick and easy.

Breads: Quicker and Quickest – With the gluten-free flours and the gluten-free flour mix listed at the beginning of the book, baking breads isn’t so difficult. This chapter contains several sandwich breads, muffins, pita bread, crackers, pastries, and more. Try the pan de bono recipe from this chapter included at the end of this review.

Meatless Mondays – Hearty vegetarian dishes fill this chapter. Calzones, paella, burritos, and more.

Weekday Workday Dinners – These are classic family dishes that your mom probably made when you were a kid. Meatball soup, enchiladas, pot pies, and other familiar dinners are remade to be gluten-free.

Shortcut Desserts – What is dinner without dessert? Cakes, brownies, cookies, mousse pie – you can’t go wrong with this chapter. If you’re sad that Hostess went bankrupt, you can find twinkie-style cupcakes and ho ho-style cakes in here.

Make-Your-Own Mixes – Having the dry ingredients premixed for cakes, waffles, scones, and more can save a bit of time and reduce errors when you’re in a hurry.

Up Next>> Gluten Free Pan de Bono Recipe

gluten free flour

Gluten Free Pan de Bono

Total time: 10 minutes active time, 20 minutes inactive time; Yield: 8 to 10 rolls. Can be halved easily, but not doubled unless you have a 14-cup food processor

This is similar to Brazilian cheese bread, which is much chewier and made without benefit of the lovely and talented masa harina, a precooked cornmeal. Pan de bono is a naturally gluten-free Colombian bread that’s as versatile as it is flavorful. The dough is easy to handle when prepared precisely according to the instructions. If you are having any trouble, refrigerate the dough for a bit and try again. The dough itself also freezes surprisingly well. Just thaw in the refrigerator and proceed with the rest of the recipe.


  • 8 ounces queso fresco (Mexican), quesito (Colombian), or feta cheese (Greek)
  • 1/3 cup (39 g) gluten-free masa harina
  • 2/3 cup (80 g) gluten-free tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)
  • Β½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, melted

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375Β°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. Place the cheese in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until all the large pieces are crumbled into uniformly pebble-size pieces. Add the masa harina, tapioca starch, and salt, and pulse until well mixed.
  3. With the food processor on, add the egg and blend until a very smooth, integrated ball forms (about 2 minutes). You might have to stop the food processor halfway through to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap on the counter, press into a disk, and wrap tightly. Place the dough in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until firm.
  5. Once the dough has chilled, divide it into eight or ten pieces (larger pieces and fewer of them, if you prefer), roll them into balls, and place about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Place in the center of the preheated oven, and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top, rotating once during baking. Right before you remove the rolls from the oven, pierce a hole in the top of each to allow steam to escape and the rolls to keep their shape.
  7. Remove the rolls from the oven, brush generously with the melted butter, and allow to cool before serving.

Image Credit: Gluten free flour photo via Shutterstock

Written by Heather Carr


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  1. Gluten-free fad diets have recently become popular. A 2012 study concluded “There is no evidence to suggest that following a gluten-free diet has any significant benefits in the general population. Indeed, there is some evidence to suggest that a gluten-free diet may adversely affect gut health in those without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity..

    Have a good weekend

    • I agree with you that mostly it’s a marketing fad; and I find it super-annoying when food manufacturers slap ‘GLUUUUUTEN FREEEEEE!!’ all over foods that have never had anything to do with gluten, like iceberg lettuce (c’mon, guys, really?!)… but! for those who are actually dealing with Celiac disease or physical (vs fad diet) gluten intolerance, I’m glad there are so many resources for cooking without it — IF NEEDED. <--(that last part, I think, is key)

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