XOXO: Heart-Shaped Meals for a Gluten-Free Valentine’s Day

Traditions… I have so many wonderful ones from my parents. They add to the sweetness of childhood memories and the anticipation of each coming season. When Miss E was diagnosed with celiac disease, I quickly became determined that cutting gluten was not going to cut any magic from her childhood, and traditions are a big piece of that magic… and a gluten-free Valentine’s Day is just one of those “new traditions”. Yes, it takes more work, planning, and ingredient hunting (all of which, I’m convinced will lessen with years of experience and have already been lessened by the sharing of those with more experience)… but my daughter’s childhood is still full of beautiful traditions.

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With my heart cookie cutters gone in our home “deglutening” (you can read more about our deglutening here), I wanted to find a couple of substitutes for heart-shaped meals this Valentine’s Day.

Gluten-Free Valentine’s Day Almond Flour Pancakes

recipe ingredients for gluten-free Valentine's Day heart-shaped pancakes: bananas, eggs, almond flour, banking soda, cinnamon and sea salt

The back of Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour bag has a very simple recipe for gluten-free pancakes. It looked easy enough, and something I could form into a heart. In a world where potato starch, sugar, and butter are the typical ingredients used to make up for the gooey goodness of gluten, I am always in search of healthful gluten-free recipes. This is one. Here’s the ingredient list: almond meal, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, banana, and egg. Absolutely mommy-guilt-free! I did struggle with the fine line between undercooked and burnt, so if you are a pancake expert, please give me some tips!
almond flour pancake batter cooking in a heart shape

Almond Pancake Recipe from Bob’s Red Mill Package
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Natural Almond Meal
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 cup mashed ripe banana (approx 2 medium bananas)
3 Eggs

three gluten free Valentine's Day almond flour pancakes on a plate

Preheat a skillet to medium heat (350 degrees F). In a small bowl, combine natural almond meal, sea salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate large bowl, whisk together mashed bananas and eggs until thoroughly combined. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Ladle 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake onto the preheated skillet. Cook for about 4 minutes and then flip, cooking an additional 4-5 minutes until no longer wet in the center. Serve gluten-free pancakes immediately with maple syrup and sliced bananas, if desired. Makes 5 servings (10 pancakes).

three heart-shaped gluten free pizzas on pizza stone

Individual Heart-shaped Gluten-free Pizzas

Recently, we tried Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Mix, when our neighbor threw a make-your-own-gluten-free-pizza party.  For Valentine’s Day, I decided to make-your-own-heart-shaped-pizza would be just the thing for the perfect (fun) family dinner.

kid hands pressing out pizza dough under plastic wrap

Following a tip I picked up at the Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo, we used plastic wrap on top of the dough when spreading to keep it from sticking to our hands. Personally, I prefer using olive oil on my hands, as some dough still stuck to the plastic wrap and I didn’t like the limited control when shaping the dough.

Tip: gluten-free pizza dough doesn’t taste/feel quite like its gluten-containing original, so a thin crust rather than a deep dish crust minimizes this difference to your palette.

The dough stuck to my fancy-pants parchment paper:( We didn’t have this issue at my neighbor’s, so next time I will try regular parchment paper from the grocery store. BTW, the plastic wrap led to a melt-down from CJ, and the parchment paper led to the adult version of a melt-down from hubby… so figuring out the “stickiness” issue of gluten-free dough can definitely put a damper on your party.

Building your own pizza is a multi-step process (detailed instructions are on the package and on the Bob’s Red Mill website), mixing dough and letting it rise, shaping and then baking crust, topping the pizza, and baking again… so allow plenty of time, especially since the point is lots of “help” from little hands.

Building Traditions

CJ focused on making his own gluten-free pizza

Miss E smiling with her handmade pizza in front of her

Traditions… I have no idea which of our many experiments will become traditions. I won’t know until my kids ask for them again next year and the year after… Either way, whether these fun times are one-offs or timeless family traditions that make them smile in their old age, I’m giving them plenty of possibilities to choose from.

For more about treats, we enjoyed on our first gluten-free Valentine’s Day, check out our blog post on Valentine’s Day Fun!


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