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Gluten Free Albanian Food: The Healthy Mediterranean Flavors Perfect For Gluten Free!

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Gluten free Albanian food is typically very fresh and seasonal, which is the perfect for a gluten free diet and those with a gluten allergy. The good thing for us with gluten intolerance, is there are plenty of fresh dishes to try, as well as an abundance of fresh salads. Here are my favourite gluten free Albanian dishes. 

qifqi (Rice Balls)

Perfect pan for Qifqi, you can use a dutch pancake pan!

The recipe originates from the Gjirokastër region, and is naturally gluten free. Qifqi can only be made in a special pan, similar to a dutch pancake pan. Hands down, these rice balls of deliciousness were my absolute favourite dish I ate in Albania. When I first saw “fried rice balls” on the menu in a quaint little restaurant in Gjirokastër, I immediately thought they were coated in some sort of non-gluten free-batter, but it is not coated! Qifqi is made with 4 (YES ONLY 4!) ingredients. Rice, eggs, dried mint and salt and pepper which makes them beautifully gluten free.

Staying in Gjirokastër? See best hotels here!

Gluten Free Albanian Food Qifqi
Qifqi served as a side dish at Restaurant Gjoça Tradicional.

Going to Albania? Check out this tour!

We were lucky enough to be in Gjirokastër during the Slow Food Gjirokastër festival and I watched how Qifqi was made. The cooked rice, egg, crushed dried mint, salt and pepper are combined in a big bowl with a spoon. Balls are then formed using your hands, covered in a little oil to avoid the mixture sticking. The balls are then shallow fried in a pan that kind of looks like it was made for dutch pancakes (seen below), and flipped once golden brown on one side. 

Woman making Qifqi
A woman making Qifqi at the Slow Food festival in Gjirokastra.

Speca Të Mbushura (stuffed peppers)

I saw this dish often during our travels through the Mediterranean. It was also very common in Greece and Turkey, where Albania receives a lot of its food influences from, as well as Turkey, due to the proximity. The peppers are stuffed with rice, tomato-ey mince and various spices. Usually, the peppers are served with salad (and chips if you’re lucky!).

This set of ceramic baking trays is perfect for making stuffed vegetables! Best Value!

Gluten Free Albanian Food Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed peppers served with homemade chips, salad and sour cream.

Pulë Me Oriz (Albanian chicken pilaf)

We devoured this dish in the mountain village called Theth. It was big enough to feed 6 people! Don’t worry, our guesthouse kindly kept the leftovers for us to take on our hike the next day. This dish is referred to as “village chicken” and it’s a great one to eat amongst friends and family.  It was made with freshly butchered chicken, rice and a whole lot of chicken stock and butter, which is all shoved into the oven and baked together. It is typically served with a drizzle of yoghurt on top.

Need a pot suitable for both the oven and the stove? This pot is perfect!

Gluten Free Albanian Food Pule Me Oriz
Village chicken with yoghurt drizzle.

Sallatë Me Patate (potato salad)

Albanians eat very seasonal food and this potato salad is the perfect summer salad. I ate this in Gjirokastra where you can find regional dishes specific to this area. This potato salad comprises of cold boiled potato, cucumber, green olives, white onion and fresh parsley. The dressing of lemon, olive oil and a little salt brought the whole dish together. It is such a simple salad with such a great flavour combination!

See Other Gluten Free Cuisines – Gluten Free in Turkey! Check out gluten free afternoon teas in London!

Gluten free Albanian Food Sallatë Me Patate
The most perfect potato salad is also very photogenic!

Albanian cheese

I was fortunate enough to try fresh cheese which was made that same morning. We tried this in our guesthouse in Valbona, however you can buy it in supermarkets. Albanian cheese is very fresh and tastes akin to feta but not as salty. It is a crumbly cheese and is perfect with a whole lot of fresh vegetables and rice cakes! We also tried it baked in olive oil, it was sensational. 

Deliciously fresh made Albanian Cheese

Albanian food

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