Gluten Free Food List
of North American Treats

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A gluten free food list wouldn’t be complete without foods from many cultures, including North American food.

In the United States there is Southern food, which includes Louisiana Cajun and Creole. Hawaiian food and Tex-Mex also have gluten free favorites. Canada has some creations it can claim, too, and Mexico has lots.

If you don’t see one of your favorites listed below,
or have a comment about any of these foods, please add it here

United States    |     Canada    |     Mexico

As a Melting Pot, North America has a Bit of Everything

Immigrants from all over the world have contributed to North American food. Tastes and methods have been combined with Indian favorites to form new cuisines that make the gluten free food list of North America very interesting.

Gluten Free Food List of North America


Southern Food | Hawaiian | American Indian | Tex-Mex and New Mexican


is a broad category that includes Louisiana Creole, Cajun, Soul Food, Appalachian food, and others. It was influenced greatly by American Indian traditions.

In all these cuisines, corn from the Indians is one of the main staples. It’s used for many corn breads, fritters, and puddings, including fresh corn versions. Hominy grits are every breakfast plate.

Potatoes were also adopted and are used in many types of dishes: mashed potatoes and potato salad turn up at a lot of meals.

Rice has to be included in a gluten free food list of the South. Africans brought rice to popularity, and it’s an important food in the coastal areas. Hoppin' John is a local specialty, made with rice and black-eyed peas.

LOUISIANA CREOLE incorporates African, Caribbean, French, American Indian, and to a lesser extent Spanish. It has considerable overlap with Cajun food. They are both centered around bell peppers, onions, and celery, sometimes referred to as the holy trinity.

Rice is the prevalent grain in Creole dishes. A lot of corn is used for breads, but rice is used too. Here’s my gluten free food list for Creole Food.

New Orleans, Louisiana, French Quarter Scene
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    BREADS: Pain de Maïs (corn bread), gateaux de Maïs frits (fried corn cakes), corn pone, dodgers, ash cake, hoecake, johnny cake. Grits may be served at any meal. Note: traditional Creole food only uses white corn or hominy, which has had the yellow removed. Yellow corn isn’t used.

    BREAKFAST BREADS: Galettes de sarasin (yeasted buckwheat cakes), waffles made with rice flour, beignets made with rice, even calas (yeasted rice pastries) are sometimes made without flour.

    DESSERTS: Many cookies are taken from the French: croquignoles, macaroons, almond soufflés. Puddings are made from rice, tapioca, potatoes with coconut milk, and sweet potatoes. The Creole gluten free food list also includes pralines, soufflés, and frozen desserts such as sorbets, water ices and frozen fruits.

About Creole Food

In general, Creole cuisines are a combination of African, European and native cuisines, whether Creole of the United States or somewhere in South America. But they differ depending on their influences and climate.

Compared to Louisiana Creole, Bahian food, or Brazilian Creole, is influenced more by Portuguese than French, and by native South American. It uses tropical foods not available in the United States.....As a result, the 2 Creole cuisines are very different.

    SIDE DISHES: Rice is often the starch component of a meal, and there are many variations. But there may also be grits or hominy (both are made from corn without the yellow husk, but hominy is cracked, not ground).

    MAIN DISHES, SOUPS: Shrimp Creole is a typical main dish containing celery, tomatoes and bell peppers and served with rice. Gumbo, crawfish bisque, and crab soup are typical soups

CAJUN cooking of south-central to southwestern Louisiana has a rustic French component: it evolved from the French Acadians (Cajuns) that immigrated from the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia area of Canada.

A Cajun gluten free food list includes many rice and corn dishes. Rice is a huge staple, and main dishes are often served on top of rice.

Corn is also frequently used: corn and rice dishes helped to stretch the meal.

Main dish specialties are things like crawfish étouffée, and dishes with smoked meats.

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A gluten free food list from Hawaii includes:

Haupia: a coconut pudding thickened with corn starch and chilled, then sliced. It may also be used as a topping or layer for a cake or pie.

Poi: a starchy food made by pounding cooked taro root, then adding water until it’s the right consistency. Traditionally it’s eaten with the fingers.


The Indians of the area now occupied by the United States had a big influence on the local cuisines. Corn, beans and squash were the main staples, and these foods were adopted by the colonists.

Squash, Corn, and Beans: the Three Sisters of Native American Agriculture
Squash, Corn, and Beans: the Three Sisters
of American Indian Agriculture
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The gluten free food list of North America includes many variations of corn breads, puddings, fritters, and hot breakfast items such as grits that all had their beginnings with the Indians.

Indians of the Southwestern United States are famous for their blue corn, which was adopted by New Mexican Cuisine for its open-faced enchiladas. They made blue corn dumplings, hush puppies (something to feed the dog to keep her quiet?), tortillas, breakfast gruel, and the ceremonial blue Piki bread that is paper thin.

Fresh corn was also used to make bread and fritters, and wild rice was used as well.

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The salsa craze in the US began in Texas in 1947 when Pace “Picante” Sauce was born. With it came Anglicized Mexican food, soon to be known as Tex-Mex.

Chili con carne makes the gluten free food list of Tex-Mex. It’s immensely popular in Texas, and people have contests to see who can make the hottest chili. In the recipes I have come across it’s thickened with cornmeal, if anything.

Photo by elisart

Fajitas are another Tex-Mex creation, and can usually be ordered with corn tortillas. The innovation of eating fried chips and salsa was started in Los Angeles by a woman looking to use up damaged tortillas. Hard-shell tacos were introduced in 1949 in a cookbook published in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Dallas Museum of Natural History at Fair Park, Dallas, Texas
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Diane Kennedy, in her book The Cuisines of Mexico, (reprinted in the compilation: The Essential Cuisines of Mexico) gives a good explanation of the distinctions between Mexican and Americanized Mexican foods. The bonus is that she includes many of the fabulous regional recipes from throughout Mexico, that are very different than what we think of as Mexican food.

The food of New Mexico is closely related to Latin American food. You can read more about it on the Latin American foods page.

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United States  |   Canada  |   Mexico


My gluten free food list of Canadian foods is pretty lean right now. But I have learned of ployes, aka Galettes de Sarrasin, which are buckwheat pancakes originally made in the New Brunswick area by French Acadian descendents. (Ployes are also served in Maine.)

Photo by Stefan DW

Unlike regular pancakes, ployes are cooked on one side only. Most recipes and mixes I’ve found include flour, but my Picayune Creole Cookbook has a version for Galettes de Sarrasin without flour.

I’m not sure if these are the same as ployes, but they are similar.

I imagine ployes are related to Galettes Bretonnes de sarrasin, the buckwheat crêpes that are a tradition of Brittany, France. Either that or they are inspired by that French love of buckwheat.

Ployes have become a huge tradition, and are served at many festivals in New Brunswick, such as the festival Foire Brayonne.

Cacti, Mexico
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There is a great variety of gluten free traditional Mexican foods.

Since Mexican food is Latin American, and similar to the foods of Central and South America, I put my gluten free food list for Mexico on the Latin American foods page.

United States  |   Canada  |   Mexico

Do You Have A
Favorite North American Food To Add?

Please let us know about it. Even better, tell us how to make it, or a cookbook where we can find it.

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