- Food and Cooking
Cheesy Bread Sticks -- Gluten Free and Low Carb
Photo by LynnKK
True confession time: I really love bread sticks. Warm and savory, ready to munch as is or dip in a sauce or slather with butter -- these are comforting bites that take me over the moon if not overboard into the cup of soup that often accompanies a fragrant basket. When I went gluten free I was afraid I might never again enjoy the soft chew and the buttery toppings of these luscious morsels. When talking to my sister-in-law about the sorry state of many gluten free bread alternatives, both store bought and home made, she shared with me an option I hadn't considered.
Low Carb Pizza Crust Moonlighting As Bread Sticks
She and her husband had found they felt better and lost some weight when they switched to a low carbohydrate diet. One of the things they enjoyed was a unique low carbohydrate pizza crust. A quick search for "gluten free no flour pizza crust" brought me to the gluten free easily web site where I found a quck recipe for a cream cheese and egg based crust. I made a sauce and meat topped pizza with it and found even the gluten eaters in the family loved it.
The chewy consistency of the crust got me thinking. A day or two later I made a smaller batch of the crust and cut it into bread stick sized portions without topping it. I warmed up a little ramekin of pizza sauce and dipped a couple of the sticks -- yum! Never one to stop with just one round I topped a couple of the remaining cheese sticks with a bit of parmesan and garlic powder and baked them for a few extra minutes, enjoying their dive into the pizza sauce even more.
Your Taste, Your Turn
The ingredients are easy to find, often already in your refrigerator, and flexible according to your taste. Just use your favorite cheeses with the eggs and cream cheese, but avoid processed cheese spreads and semi-soft or soft cheeses. The harder cheeses give the sticks a little structure. Vary fresh seasonings with the season - fresh chives or dill in the spring with white cheddar, basil and garlic in the summer with half fresh mozzarella and half parmesean, thyme and sage in the fall with gouda. Dried herbs are available to perk things up year round, and the variety of soups, dips, sauces, chilis and stews that are looking for dippers are endless.
- Prep time: 10 min
- Cook time: 35 min
- Ready in: 45 min
- Yields: Makes 24 sticks
- Gluten Free "Breadsticks" Base:
- 1/2 package (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/4 cups Italian mixed shredded cheese, or the shredded hard or semi-hard cheese of your choice (mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, jack, muenster, parmesan-- no processed American cheese please). I think a blend works best, but let a cheese go solo if that is what you have on hand or is the only kind you like.
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional - or use a salt-free seasoning blend you prefer)
- Shredded parmesan cheese or other hard cheese
- Freshly ground pepper
- Sea or kosher salt (use sparingly)
- Hot pepper flakes
- Dried herbs or herb blends
- Fresh herbs snipped finely
- Garlic powder or granules
- Pizza sauce, ranch dressing, hummus, tzatziki sauce, or your favorite. Serve the sticks alongside salad, soup or stew as another delicious option.
- Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. To keep these sticks as thick as possible you need to contain the natural spread of the ingredients.
- Combine the cream cheese, the eggs and the 2 1/4 cups shredded cheese in a large bowl.
- Mix well. I use my stand mixer and complete the blending in less than a minute. As long as the eggs are well beaten feel free to just use a spoon or heavy duty whisk to combine the ingredients.
- Pour the cheese and egg batter into the baking pan or onto the cookie sheet. If using the cookie sheet, spread into a rectangle roughly 8 by 12 inches.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned over all.
- Remove from oven.
- Sprinkle with your choice of toppings. Be creative here, but resist the urge to add more than a little salt as the cheeses are already salty. Why more cheese? A judicious sprinkle of shredded hard cheese adds a little crunch after the last baking.
- After topping put pan or sheet back into the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until the toppings crisp up a bit. Watch carefully for over browning.
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes then use a knife or pizza cutter to slice into sticks.
- Enjoy with your favorite sauces or dips, and remember to make some when you have soup, chili or stew on the menu.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.
This handy little tool will make cutting the crust into sticks a breeze. Easily comes apart for cleaning and is compact for simplified storage.
Reusable mat that makes cleanup simple. Use for cookies, bars, bread sticks, pizza. Great for warming up leftovers in the oven.
Make your own cheese and seasoning blends and store them in these shakers. Perfect for sprinkling savory or sweet finishing touches on your homemade treats.