By Kaveri Jain
Gluten is a protein composite found in several types of grains, including wheat, spelt, rye and barley. A gluten-free diet is recommended for people with celiac disease, gluten-sensitivity and certain skin disorders. It may also be helpful for some people with irritable bowel syndrome and autoimmune diseases.
However, these days, a lot of people want to follow a gluten free way of eating. It could turn out to be a healthier way to eat depending on which gluten-free foods you choose.
If you pick natural gluten-free foods such as lean meats, dairy, all vegetables and fruits, lentils, or gluten-free whole grains, such as amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, corn and rice, it will help not only increase your energy levels but also lower your cholesterol and lead to a healthier gut.
Gluten-free snacks and other foods available in the market might not provide the health benefits you are looking for as they are often loaded with unhealthy fats and excessive sugar, which may cause more harm than good.
And so, we have come up with a simple yet amazingly delicious gluten-free menu that you can make in your own kitchen using easily available ingredients. Bon apetit.
Chilled Apricot Soup With Fresh Goat Cheese
4 medium-sized apricots 1/4 cup diced peeled seedless cucumber (plus thin slices for garnish)
1/4 cup finely diced red and yellow bell pepper (plus more for garnish)
1 large garlic clove
4 cup diced dried apricots (plus more for garnish)
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp fresh goat cheese (plus more for garnish)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
Salt to taste
Basil leaves for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
1. In a bowl, toss the apricots, diced cucumber, bell pepper and dried apricots.
2. Add the honey, goat cheese, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Stir in a teaspoon of salt. Add the garlic clove. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least for 3-4 hours.
3. Discard the garlic clove, and puree the rest of the contents in a blender. Add water until very smooth and creamy. Add extra salt if needed. Refrigerate until chilled.
4. Pour into bowls and garnish with listed items. Serve chilled.
120 grams cream cheese
2 tbsp Caesar dressing
1 medium zucchini 8-10”
Fresh vegetables (cucumber, carrots, etc) sliced into matchsticks
1. Combine cream cheese and Caesar dressing in a small bowl.
2. Slice zucchini lengthwise into thin strips using a sharp vegetable peeler or mandolin. Lay out on paper towel and press dry to remove excess moisture.
3. Spread the Caesar dressing-cream cheese mixture evenly but thinly on each strip. Lay the sliced vegetables on top, keeping their ends even with one long edge of the zucchini strip, and roll.
4. Serve immediately.
Gluten-free Pesto Pasta
Ingredients (serves 1):
450 gm gluten-free pasta
120 gm peeled potato cut into small cubes (about 3/4 of an inch)
110 gm green beans, stems trimmed and cut 1” long
1 cup pesto sauce
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano to drizzle
Salt to taste
Instructions for pesto pasta:
1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, add pasta, potato, and green beans until pasta is al dente and potato and green beans are very tender.
2. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water, and transfer pasta, potato, and green beans to a large mixing or serving bowl.
3. Add pesto sauce to pasta along with 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Toss well. Add more pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed. Drizzle in fresh olive oil, if desired.
4. Serve with Parmigiano Reggiano on the side.
Recipe for basil pesto sauce:
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
Instructions for pesto sauce:
Place the basil leaves and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times. Add the garlic and Parmesan or Romano cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream. Add salt.
Gnocchi in Garlic Butter and Tomato Basil Sauce
1 kg potatoes
1 egg beaten
½ cup potato starch
1 tbsp rice flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp rice flour, or as needed for rolling
For garlic sauce:
2 tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
400 gm baby tomatoes cut into two
Fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp chilli flakes
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Bake potatoes until tender (40-50 mins).
2. Peel potatoes and mash them.
3. Make a well in the mashed potatoes with a wooden spoon and pour in egg; mix well.
4. Add potato starch, rice flour, and salt in a bowl. Add to potato mixture; stir until a soft dough has formed. Cut dough into 4 parts.
5. Dust work surface with rice flour. Roll out 1 piece of dough into a rope with 1” diameter. Cut into 1” gnocchi. Gently roll each one with the back of a fork to create ridges. Repeat with remaining dough.
6. Shake off excess rice flour and let gnocchi rest for about 5 minutes.
7. Boil a pot of salted water. Add gnocchi and cook until they float to the top, 1-2 mins. Remove from water.
Instructions for sauce:
8. Heat the butter in a pan, toss in the garlic and cook till fragrant. Add the baby tomatoes and cook till tender. Throw in the basil leaves, and season with salt and pepper.
9. Toss in the gnocchi and mix. Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy hot!
Gluten-Free Beetroot Brownies
150 gm dark chocolate
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1 cup almond flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 large eggs
2 cooked and pureed beetroots
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8” pan with coconut oil, then dust with almond flour. Set aside.
2. In a double boiler or microwave, melt the chocolate along with the coconut oil. Add the honey, mix, keep to cool.
3. In a bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla extract. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture.
4. In a bowl combine almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Pour in the wet ingredients and mix until fully combined. Mix in the pureed beetroots.
5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 mins, or until set. Cool before cutting.
First published in the October 2018 issue of eShe magazine