Going gluten-free used to be a seriously painful food adjustment. It meant no bread, no pasta, no cookies -- and that was just the beginning.
But recent years have brought an explosion of gluten-free options in nearly every food category, from bakery items to heat-and-serve frozen entrees.
Some are made with naturally gluten-free ingredients. Others are creatively crafted versions of classic dishes, made with alternative starches that literally put comfort food back on the plate for gluten-free eaters.
Here's the scoop on the options you'll find in the freezer section.
Cedar Lane Eggplant Parmesan
Stacks of perfectly roasted eggplant layered with rich tomato sauce and cheese make for a rich, luscious bite that's packed with all the flavor of homemade. A 10-ounce serving has 280 calories, 13 grams fat, 590 mg. sodium. $4.99 at Safeway. (4 stars)
Evol Chicken Enchilada Bake
Dish up a great big spoonful of this cheesy mix for a satisfying Tex-Mex meal. The melange of tortilla bits, beans and cheese is relatively standard, but the green enchilada sauce pushes it over the top. A 9-ounce bowl has 380 calories, 13 grams fat, 630 mg. sodium. $4.99 at Whole Foods. (4 stars)
Cedar Lane Three Layer Enchilada Pie
Chunks of bell pepper and olive slices add good texture to this lively, layered dish. The corn tortillas retain their texture despite a good dousing of flavorful chile sauce. An 11-ounce serving has 380 calories, 14 grams fat, 850 mg. sodium. $4.99 at Safeway.
(3 ½ stars)
Amy's Rice Mac & Cheese
This pasta made with rice flour cooks up perfectly al dente and swims in lots of thick, cheesy sauce that's spot on. The cheese is authentic, the pasta a dead-ringer for wheat-based pasta. A 9-ounce serving has 400 calories, 16 grams fat, 640 mg. sodium. About $5 at most stores.
(3 ½ stars)
Feel Good Foods Shrimp and Vegetable Egg Rolls
Big flavors of carrot, shrimp and ginger inside a crispy, rice flour-based skin make this a fun and tasty dinner option. One egg roll has 110 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 470 mg. sodium. A 9-ounce box of three rolls is $5.39 at Whole Foods.
Caesar's Cheese Lasagna in Marinara Sauce
The fairly tasteless layers of pasta lack the al dente nature of wheat-based pasta, but the tomato-forward sauce and generous layers of cheese make this lasagna rich enough to satisfy Italian food cravings. The frozen shells and cannelloni are also fine stand-ins for the real thing. A serving has 520 calories, 14 grams fat, 570 mg. sodium. About $5.60 at most stores.
Starlite Cuisine Non Dairy Enchiladas de Queso
The white corn tortillas wrapped around these hearty enchiladas are slightly pasty but the sauce is complex and pleasant, if a bit too sweet. A 9-ounce serving has 400 calories, 20 grams fat, 660 mg. sodium. $5.69 at Whole Foods.
Amy's Mexican Casserole Bowl
This mix of tomatoes, masa, corn, beans and cheese begs for a little more spice, but it has a homey, fresh taste. A 9.5-ounce serving has 380 calories, 16 grams fat, 780 mg. sodium. About $5 at most stores. (3 stars)
Caesar's Cheese Ravioli
Even though the rice and tapioca-based dough on these got a little too soft when cooked, the authentic cheese filling kicked them up a point. A 5-ounce serving has 300 calories, 13 grams fat, 290 mg. sodium. A 10-ounce package is $4 at most stores. (2 stars)
Blake's Chicken Pot Pie
As delicious as this looks, one bite is enough. It delivers disappointingly little flavor, and the corn-based crust is much too sweet. An 8-ounce serving has 330 calories, 13 grams fat, 540 mg. sodium. $4.49 on sale at Whole Foods.
(1 ½ stars)
Conte's Pasta Co. Inc. Cheese Ravioli
The rice-based dough that encases these large, round ravioli is stellar, but the ricotta cheese filling is reminiscent of plain tofu. A 4-ounce serving has 300 calories, 10 grams fat, 300 mg. sodium. A 12-ounce bag is $6.79 at Sprouts.
(1 ½ stars)
Ian's Mac & No Cheese
Considering that this is not only gluten-free, but also made without eggs, soy or cheese, it's not bad. The flavor is nondescript, but it's seriously creamy. An 8-ounce serving has 230 calories, 7 grams fat, 320 mg sodium. $3.74 at Sprouts. (1 star)
Glutino Macaroni & Cheese
The promising color of the bright yellow sauce is a ruse. It's nearly taste-free, and the creamy texture is lost when it's heated. A 10.6-ounce serving has 440 calories, 15 grams fat, 600 mg. sodium. $3.29 at Sprouts. (½ a star)