Posts Categorized: GFG updates

a huge thank you

We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again: This year’s 8th annual Gluten Free Garage was our biggest and best yet—with 74 vendors (35 new to GFG!) and more than 2,000 attendees!

We couldn’t have made it happen without GFG lead sponsor Italpasta and our other super sponsors, our supportive community partners, our incredible staff and amazing volunteers, and our fantastic guest speakers.

Last but not least, a huge shout-out to the awesome gluten-free community who came from near and far! Thanks to all of you, our friend Jessica Danford (aka GFree Wifey) collected 900 pounds of donated gluten-free food for the #GFreeWifeyFoodBank!

We are full of gluten-free gratitude!


plenty of Italpasta at #GFG19

GFTeamVeg: Gluten-Free Lentil Bolognese


At this year’s Gluten Free Garage, our favourite pasta is popping up in two different places!

If you’ve been to GFG in the past, you know that the Italpasta BOOTH is a busy one! And we don’t expect this year to be any different, as they’re doing a little #GFTeamVeg and #GFTeamMeat sampling and inviting you to take a side. Drop by their booth and taste their Gluten-Free Lentil Bolognese or their Gluten-Free Asparagus and Pancetta Fusilli—or both if you’re a flexitarian! Take a photo, post it on Instagram tagging @forpastalovers and @glutenfreegarage, and comment with either #GFTeamVeg or #GFTeamMeat to be entered into a draw for an Italpasta prize pack. Italpasta will announce the winner on Tuesday May 28. If you’re a gluten-free pasta lover, you’ll be happy to know that you can purchase Italpasta at their booth this year!

You can also join Italpasta IN THE STOP for a “taste & learn” with special guest Irene Matys, who will show you how to put a gluten-free spin on the hottest food trends: Exotic flavours and ingredients from the Pacific Rim. Hand-churned ice cream in surprising flavours. And unexpected sauces for a match made in gluten-free pasta heaven. Attendees will get to taste each dish and take home a gift bag of Italpasta Gluten Free Pasta to try out their new skills at home. Three sessions will be offered during the day: 10:30 to 11:30 am, 12:30 to 1:30 pm and 2:30 to 3:30 pm. 



gfree wifey food drive

Jessica Danford (aka GFree Wifey) and her sister Alexis collecting non-perishable gluten-free food products at last year’s Gluten Free Garage. They’ll be there again this year!


It’s the most wonderful time of the year for gluten-free people! Time to spring-clean your pantry of any excess gluten-free food and make room for your fresh haul from Gluten Free Garage! Then, bring the GF products that you’re discarding to GFG for a donation to the #GFREEWIFEYFOODBANK.

GFree Wifey Jessica Danford is on a mission to raise awareness about celiac disease while advocating access to safe food for all. “Food insecurity is a growing concern in Canada, with more than 1 million people accessing a food bank each month. Those of us who are medically required to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet know how costly it can be. This motivated me to focus my energy on advocating access to safe food for people experiencing food insecurity.”

This year for #GFG19, the #GFREEWIFEYFOODBANK has partnered with Second Harvest. Second Harvest is Canada’s largest food rescue organization, rescuing over 12.3 million pounds of fresh, surplus food and delivering it to a broad network of over 373 social service agencies. Second Harvest in turn has chosen Wychwood Open Door—a day-time drop-in centre serving homeless and socially isolated people in Toronto’s midtown St. Clair West community since 1986—to be the recipient of the total food drive collection at Gluten Free Garage, as a portion of their clients requires access to safe gluten-free food.

GFree Wifey will have collection bins set up at the entrance to the event. GFG attendees can drop off their non-perishable gluten-free donations when they arrive or they can support their favourite GFG vendors and “buy two, donate one.” Vendors are encouraged to contribute any excess food they have at the end of the event to minimize food waste or to contact GFree Wifey to schedule a pickup.

These are the most-needed gluten-free items for the #GFREEWIFEYFOODBANK:

• GF flour blends and oats (must be uncontaminated)
• GF pasta and rice
• GF crackers, breads, granola, cereal
• non-perishable fruit and vegetables
• nut and seed butters
• canned meats and seafood
• GF sauces, condiments and seasonings
• alternative sugar options
• non-dairy milk: coconut, soy, rice, hemp or nut

We asked Jessica what inspired her to start the GFree Wifey Food Bank. Here is what she said:

“Celiac disease affects 1‑3% of the population and gluten-free products cost on average 242% more than regular food products. In my own personal experiences with community food banks and food programs in the past, I know that the knowledge of gluten free was limited and the shelf-stable foods at relief centres, like pasta, crackers and soups, tend to be gluten based. As someone with celiac disease myself, knowing the importance of maintaining a gluten-free life and what that means, I strongly believe that people in a desperate situation should not have to choose between health and hunger. I remember thinking ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ and walking away with a food supply that I could not eat and no one understanding what I was really asking for. Let’s educate and advocate access to safe food for all.”

Second Harvest has created a GFree Wifey page on its website for anyone who wishes to make a monetary donation in lieu of food. “It’s so exciting that Second Harvest has committed to adding gluten-free options in enrollment pages that were not present prior to the GFree Wifey partnership,” Jessica says. “Yay for behind-the-scene real change in the world!”

Click here to make a donation to Second Harvest through the #GFREEWIFEYFOODBANK.

At last year’s Gluten Free Garage, GFree Wifey filled her Honda Fit with 200 pounds of food donations for the Red Cross Mobile Food Bank. This year let’s help her fill a van for Second Harvest!


Catch up with GFree Wifey on epsiode 48 of  A Canadian Celiac Podcast as she chats with host Sue Jennett.

pasta lovers rejoice

Gluten-free fusilli with walnut lemon ricotta sauce and peas


We really want to share the recipe for this delicious dish made with our favourite gluten-free pasta. But first, we have some exciting news to share!

If you’ve been following Gluten Free Garage for the past seven years or if you’ve been to any of our pop-up gluten-free markets in that time, you know that our go-to pasta is Italpasta.

It’s the pasta we use at home and it’s the pasta we showcase at Gluten Free Garage because it’s the best gluten-free dry pasta out there. And, rest assured, we’ve tried them all!

Made from a blend of four different grains—corn (non-GMO), rice, buckwheat and quinoa—Italpasta gluten-free pasta is just like “regular” pasta when it comes to taste and texture. It’s flavourful; it has the right amount of chewiness (not goopy or mushy like rice pasta can be and not tough like corn pasta can be); it holds its shape and it holds on to the sauce.

The best testimonial for Italpasta gluten-free pasta comes from my younger daughter, who does not have celiac. Though she eats gluten free at home, because our house is entirely gluten free, she eats gluten out—at her grandparents’ or friends’ houses or when we go to certain restaurants—and she’s had her fill of wheat-based pasta. She says that she can’t tell the difference between Italpasta gluten-free pasta and regular pasta. And, she adds, “This year I’m going to have five dishes of Italpasta pasta at Gluten Free Garage!”

To top it off, Italpasta GF pasta is certified gluten free by the Gluten Free Certification Program endorsed by the Canadian Celiac Association, so it’s 100% safe for my older daughter and other people with celiac disease! Also, besides being gluten free, it’s also free from dairy and eggs.

So now for our exciting news: Italpasta will be back at Gluten Free Garage this year as our lead sponsor! On May 26th at Artscape Wychwood Barns, they’ll be sampling two different kinds of pasta—one veg, one meat—so there will be something for all you g-free pasta lovers!


Italpasta’s Chef Gianni Ceschia prepping penne for the pasta-loving crowds at last year’s Gluten Free Garage


Gluten-Free Fusilli with Walnut Lemon Ricotta Sauce and Peas
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Serves: 2

1/4 pkg Italpasta Gluten Free Fusilli (460 g)
1 tbsp Italpasta Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted, divided
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
lemon zest
3/8 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)

Place half of the toasted walnuts in a mini food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the ricotta and pulse again until smooth and set aside.

Bring a small pot of salted water to boil and cook the fusilli until just under al dente, following package instructions. Reserve 3/8 cup (90 ml) of pasta water, then drain.

In a medium-sized skillet, add olive oil, garlic and thyme and sauté on medium heat for 1 minute or until garlic and thyme are fragrant.

Add the walnut and ricotta mixture, salt and 3/4 of the pasta water and bring to a simmer to heat through.

Add cooked pasta, Parmesan cheese and lemon zest, and toss well to coat.

Next add the lemon juice and peas, toss and simmer for a couple of minutes until peas are heated through, adding more pasta water if needed to thin out sauce.

Roughly chop remaining toasted walnuts and sprinkle over pasta. Serve immediately, garnished with chopped parsley.