Meeting multiple dietary needs in one family (or one person) can be a challenge. In our house, I'm gluten-free and my daughter has recently gone vegetarian, for health reasons. She's always struggled with just not feeling well, and by experimenting a bit with the food she was eating she has been able to identify meat, fat and sugar as the main culprits. Her decision to cut out meat has changed things up in our kitchen. When we all have dinner together as a family, I make a main dish that is both vegetarian and gluten free, usually a fancy vegetable dish, and then have sides of meat and vegetable based proteins (legumes, soy).
This is one of my favorite vegetable dishes. It's easy to prepare ahead of time, just keep your sweet potatoes submerged in water to prevent browning until it's time to bake them and throw all the other veggies in a container in the fridge. You can vary the ingredients, add potatoes if you like them, leave out the celery if you don't have any on hand, make more or less depending on your needs. Carrots are pretty good in it too! The leftovers are great heated up with some canned black beans that have been drained and rinsed.
Roasted Winter Vegetables, Vegan, Gluten Free serves 4-6
- 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large bite size pieces
- 3 stalks of celery cut into 1.5″ long chunks
- 2 sweet onions chopped into chunks
- 4 Mini sweet peppers sliced or 1 sweet bell pepper cut into strips
- 7 large pitted olives, sliced
- 10 white mushrooms, cut in half
- 4 T olive oil
- Dry sage
- Combine vegetables on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Drizzle with oil and gently toss to coat. Sprinkle with olive slices, salt, sage and pepper.
- Bake at 400 for 20 mins or until sweet potatoes are tender. (Celery will still be slightly crisp.)
It's official. After an amazing 11 months in Thailand, we're moving back to the States. Needless to say, I have mixed feelings about this. It's been three years (2 in Canada and one here in Thailand) since life has been “normal”. I miss normal. On the other hand, a community like Verge @ 50 is a very rare one, and I can't imagine finding a situation that would allow me to “do life” with others in such a real way. I'll miss the great friends that have surrounded us here.
There is one thing I don't have mixed feelings about. Football. You can't get all the games in Canada, and we haven't been able to get any games here in Thailand. And I miss football. I miss the family time. I miss the excitement. I miss shouting at the TV. And I really miss the snacks.
I made these little chickpea fritters the other day and the first thing I though was: these would taste so much better with football. They're so easy to make, they just take a bit of preparation. You need to throw everything together ahead of time and let the chickpeas soak. They taste very much like falafels. And they'd be excellent dipped in ranch or a sweet chili sauce. These are best if you eat them soon after they're made. If you're expecting company, double the recipe.
print the recipe here
Gluten Free Vegan Football Fritters
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1 T ground corriander seed
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 T dehydrated garlic
- 2 T oil
- 3 cups water.
- Sautée vegetables in oil until tender.
- Add spices and stir lightly over heat until vegetables are combined.
- Add water and salt to taste. (you want this to have the same saltiness of soup you yourself would eat. )
- Bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat, let cool slightly and pour warm broth over chickpeas.
- Let sit 8 hours or until chickpeas have about doubled in size.
- Drain chickpeas, reserving broth.
- Add chickpeas (and the celery and onion stuck all over them) and 1 cup broth to the blender.
- Blend on high, adding broth by the Tablespoon until chickpeas move loosely throught the blender. Blend until smooth. (it will still look sortof chunky no matter how much you blend it. If it's not really moving through the blender, you can add more broth a tablespoon at a time.
- Heat 2″ of oil in a frying pan until smoking lightly.
- Drop by half tablespoons into the oil.
- Fry until tops are firm and full of bubbles and bottoms are brown. Flip and brown other side. You may need to add more oil as you go if the fritters soak it up.
Enjoy hot with football.
We had company last night. It was way too hot to cook so we ordered McDonald’s for some; but for me, and everyone else who wanted, I made salad.
This salad was inspired by my craving for spaghetti coupled with my heat induced laziness. I had some left-over grilled chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. For the noodles I used individually packaged mung bean vermicelli (because you can soften it with hot tap water- no cooking), one pack per person, but you can use rice vermicelli instead, about 2oz or about 1/2 cup per person.(Unless you’re starving. Then throw in as many noodles as you want. No exact measurements here.)
I called it a Greek salad because I happened to have feta cheese in the fridge and some of it ended up in the salad. (And maybe I ate the rest with my fingers.)
This would be amazing with black beans, so if you want to make it vegan, substitute black beans for the chicken and leave out the feta.
Chicken Noodle Greek Salad
Click here to download a printable recipe.
- Mung bean vermicelli, about 1/2 cup per person
- Cold chicken, sliced, or canned black beans, drained and rinsed, about 1/4 cup per person
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- l large cucumber, seeded and chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/4 cup red wine or rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Greek seasoning or your favorite dried herbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Feta cheese
- Cook noodles according to package directions and divide evenly into bowls.
- Place slices of chicken in a line down the center of the noodles.
- Combine chopped vegetables, vinegar, oil, herbs, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Spoon vegetables over noodles on either side of the chicken.
- Add feta cheese to taste
Yum! just like spaghetti only without the heat!
We started eating polenta when we moved back to the United States from Malawi, Africa. In Malawi we ate a corn mush called Nsima with a sauce made of fresh tomatoes and onions. Nsima flour is hard (but not impossible) to find in North America, but Polenta is in almost every grocery store. Even though polenta has a grainier texture than nsima it is an excellent taste substitute.
Polenta is also a great pasta substitute, especially if you use pasta simply as a vessel to transport sauce to your mouth. It’s amazingly easy to make, keeps well, and is even better fried in oil the next day.
Click here to download a printable recipe.
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup polenta
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil
- Reduce heat and whisk in polenta
- Continue stirring with the whisk until polenta thickens (this takes about 5 minutes)
- Pour into greased or Pam-sprayed 9″ round cake pan or pie plate
- Let set 10 minutes, polenta will become firm enough to cut slices
- Serve with your favorite pasta sauce or as a side to fried eggs
1 cup dry polenta
Reduce heat and whisk in polenta
Polenta, starting to thicken. Not quite ready.
Polenta, finally thick enough!
Pour polenta into a cake pan. Let it sit at least 10 minutes. It will set as it sits.
The polenta is set, serve and enjoy! I like mine in a bowl so I can spoon on LOTS of sauce.
Taking a lunch to work or school is one of the biggest gluten free struggles. If you have access to a microwave it’s easier, you can take left-overs from the night before. But what if you don’t? Or what if you’re going to an event and you know the food will be full of gluten and you want to bring your own?
My friend Joyce introduced me to this fast and easy chickpea salad that has the flavor of that pasta salad your mom used to make for picnics. I used tomatoes, cucumbers and green onions for the vegetables, but you can use whatever you have on hand, even left-over cold broccoli or asparagus.
Brown Bag Lunch Chickpea Salad
click here to download a printable recipe
- 2 cups of cooked or canned chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 cup vegetables chopped to chickpea size
- 1/2 cup gluten free Italian Dressing (or see dressing recipe below)
- salt to taste
- Place chickpeas and vegetables in a large bowl
- Add salad dressing and stir gently to combine
- Place in serving size plastic dishes with lids to take for lunch
- Eat at lunch
Chickpea Salad all ready to go out for lunch
Fast Salad Dressing
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning or 1/4 cup very finely chopped fresh herbs of choice
Here’s a quick easy tutorial on making Quinoa. I’m not a huge fan of plain quinoa, but I cook it ahead and use it in other recipes with !FLAVOR! as a side dish or a breakfast cereal.
- Measure out quinoa and place in a strainer. You will cook it in twice as much water. (1 cup raw quinoa, 2 cups water makes 3 cups of cooked quinoa).
- Rinse the quinoa in a fine strainer. This removes naturally occurring bitter soapy stuff that the plant produces.
- Place quinoa and water into a sauce pan.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Quinoa is done when the balls are translucent and the half moon shaped husks have separated. It will still have some chew, like al dente pasta, and the balls will pop in your teeth.
I use a really fine metal strainer so it doesn't fall through the holes.
Here I have 1/2 cup quinoa and 1 cup water
On Monday I invented mung bean pancakes. I had ground mung beans to try out in my continuing grain free waffle experiment, but the flour was so soft and beautiful I decided to make pancakes instead. They weren’t quite what I was hoping for. Fantastic texture, but the taste just wasn’t pancakey enough. Too savory. So I turned to Google. Surely someone else has had the idea of making mung bean pancakes and did it better than I did.
I was right. Someone else had beat me to it. A whole country of someone elses. The Koreans. The next day I found out that I’d been outdone by an entire continent. They’re called Chillas in India and a similar recpipe made from black lentils is called Dosa in Sri Lanka. These savory, crispy, amazing pancakes are brought to you by the ingenuity of Asia.
These are very, very simple to make. The base pancake has only 3 ingredients. But they’re plan ahead pancakes. You need to soak the mung beans. If you’re planning on having them for dinner, just put them in a bowl and cover with water. They’ll soak while you go about your day. Then you just throw the ingredients in a blender and fry in oil. I used quite a bit of oil, about 1/4 inch deep in my non-stick pan.
This is the batter pouring out of the blender.
Gluten Free Mung Bean Pancakes
- 1 cup mung beans soaked for 5 hours or overnight
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp salt
- Drain and rinse mung beans
- Place mung beans, water and salt in a blender, puree until smooth. Mixture will look like cake batter
- Heat 1/4 inch vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat until a small amount of batter sizzles
- Drop batter into the frying pan by large tablespoons, smooth slightly with back of spoon
- Cook until brown on one side, the edges will be set and the top almost full of bubbles
- Flip over and cook the other side until golden
- Serve hot
Cooked and crispy and delicious!!
Add to batter
- 1 cup Kimchi, drained, patted dry and chopped
- 1 cup chopped green onions
Serve with gluten free soy sauce or Tamari as a dip.
Add to batter