Tabouli Salad…GF of Course!

 

I love fresh summer salads on hot days, for parties, for supper alone or with a loved one. They pair well with grilled proteins and dress up a meal that was so so before you got out the chilled bowl of pretty salad.  There are a few salads I had to give up due to ingredients like bulgur wheat, farro, orzo pasta.  Or so I thought. I now use quinoa and make a wonderful tabouli salad; the quinoa replaces the bulgur wheat very nicely.  I particularly like the three color blend of quinoa for this purpose.  You cook it on the stove top, cool it few minutes and it is ready to use.  This quick to make and refreshing salad is very healthy. If you didn’t know it, quinoa comes from Peru and has a fair amount of protein in it; great for vegetarians. I like it’s refreshing flavors.

tabouli salad

Angie’s GF Tabouli Salad

Ingredients

1 cup dry quinoa

2 cups water

½ tsp. salt

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1/3 cup finely diced sweet onion

2/3 cup finely diced burpless cucumber

½ cup finely diced raw zucchini

1/3-1/2 finely diced orange bell pepper

1 large ripe tomato, diced

2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint

3-4 tbsp. EVOL of excellent quality

2-3 tbsp. red wine vinegar

½ a lemon; juiced and zested

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:  Mix the quinoa, water and salt in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, cover tightly and cook 15 minutes. Uncover and cool.

Dump cooled quinoa in a large mixing bowl.  Add the veggies and drizzle with the olive oil and then sprinkle with the vinegar and lemon juice.  Add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Chill at least 30 minutes before serving so flavors can blend and it chills. An hour is better.  My amounts for the veggies are approximate and if you don’t like something; don’t use it.  The mint is really what makes it taste perfect so try it before you decide to not use it. If you hate it; use fresh chopped parsley instead of mint.  I also don’t measure the oil and vinegar; taste and add more if you want more. Don’t make a sopping wet salad; shouldn’t be any extra dressing in the bottom of the bowl.  Put it in a nice serving dish before you bring it to the table. Chill the dish if it is a hot day.

Notes: I grate the lemon peel into the salad before I juice it, easiest. It keeps 2-3 days in the fridge; you could make it the day before if you need to.  For that add the tomato and mint the day you are serving it. Try to get a beautiful tomato that is fully ripe and a tender zucchini makes the best quality salad here. Yes, raw zucchini; it doesn’t taste like that much but it adds something to the mix and your company will never know it isn’t cuke if you don’t tell them!  Enjoy this naturally gluten free summer salad.

Lemony and Refreshing Quinoa Salad

I made some lemony quinoa salad the other day, the same one I posted last year stuffed in tomatoes.  This time I just mixed in chunks of ripe homegrown tomatoes and it was very tasty as a side dish to a meal.  Kept well in my fridge for the 2 more days it took me to finish it. So easy to make too.  You could even make it the day before; just add the tomatoes before serving. So I am posting it here so you can try it; one caveat; only use local tomatoes.  Do NOT make this with those pale imitation supermarket tomatoes. It is not possible to create something tasty if you start with poor quality ingredients and those plastic flavored “tomatoes” just will not work in this salad.

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Lemony Quinoa Salad

Makes four servings.

Ingredients:

½ cup regular quinoa, (not red or black)

1 cup water

½ a veggie bullion cube

2/3-3/4 cup small dice burpless cucumber

½ cup small dice zucchini

1/3 cup small dice red onion

2 tbsp. fresh mint or parsley, diced finely

1 lemon

3 tbsp.  EVOL (extra virgin olive oil)

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste.

2 large ripe tomatoes cut in chunks

Directions

Put the quinoa in the water.  If it doesn’t say rinsed you should put it in a strainer and rinse it for a minute to get off any coating which can be bitter.  Add the half bullion cube, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 15 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature before continuing.

Place the cooled quinoa in a mixing bowl.  Dump in the finely chopped veggies and stir.  Sprinkle the fresh herbs on top; even fresh chives chopped fine or basil will work great.   Use a zester or a very fine grater and get as much zest off the lemon (wash the lemon first); you can zest right into the quinoa mixing bowl.  In a small mixing bowl put the juice of that same lemon, the EVOL and red wine vinegar.  If you have more than 3 tbsp of lemon juice add a bit more EVOL and whisk to combine; add in up to ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp freshly grated black pepper.  Pour ¾ of it over the quinoa and veggies and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning and add the rest of the dressing if it is needed.  Chill at least 30 minutes. Add the chunked tomato and serve.

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This is a great side dish or, if you have a vegetarian visiting, it is a substantial main dish choice as quinoa has a lot of complete protein in it.

So simple but the combination of fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, red wine vinegar and EVOL makes a great salad dressing.  Do not cook the zucchini – if it is fresh and tender it is fantastic raw in a salad.  If you can’t get one of those European cucumbers use a small regular one and peel the skin off it before dicing. If the seeds are large do not use the center with the seeds.  Your salad will not be as pretty if there are sloppy cucumber seeds in it.

Quinoa salad will keep a few days in the fridge, if it lasts that long! Try it with different fresh herbs: it just won’t taste the same without the fresh summer veggies.  I try to eat seasonally and this is definitely a summer treat!

Sausage and Quinoa Stuffed Squash for Supper

Chilly days and long dark nights demand warm, hearty suppers.  But your main dish does not have to be expensive or fattening, it can be gluten free and still tasty.  This recipe is naturally gluten free. No flour in it or bread products needed.

I had some hot Italian sausage left over from the package I bought to make my turkey stuffing.  I had a sweet dumpling winter squash and a big red bell pepper.  Some quinoa grain and an onion and I was in business to throw together a homey flavorful main dish.  Add a salad on the side and it is a well balanced supper that can be baked and then seconds enjoyed for lunch.  This makes 3 servings, can double the recipe easily, just bake it in a bigger pan.

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a plate of stuffed dumpling squash. Not that pretty to look at but the sausage makes it very flavorful.

I had the sweet dumpling on hand but I have made this same recipe with an acorn squash and with a delicata squash.  A delicate is a small oblong squash with orange and green stripes on yellow skin.  All three are great vessels for this riff on stuffed peppers.  I happened to have a big red pepper and stuffed it as well.

delicatasde

delicata squash; can be pale cream with green stripes too.

sweet dumpling squash

sweet dumpling squash

Ingredients:

1 sweet dumpling winter squash

1 large red pepper

2/3 cup plain quinoa, rinsed well

1 medium onion, diced

2 hot Italian sausage links (gluten free of course!)

1 tbsp EVOL (extra virgin olive oil)

1 garlic clove, minced

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash from the tip to the blossom end. You probably should cut off that stem bit first; makes the cut easier.  Scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff.  Spray a small rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and place the cut squash halves cut side down.  Roast 30-45 minutes; check by piercing with a fork; remove when tender enough to stick the fork in but don’t cook it so far that it collapses.  After the squash has been in 15 minutes add the red pepper squash which you have cut the lid off, emptied the seeds out and cut up the top third into small dice.  Reserve the dice for later. The lower two thirds is a tasty vessel to hold more quinoa sausage filling.

Meanwhile, as the squash and pepper bake…. Heat 1 and a 1/3 cup of water, ½ tsp. salt and then add the quinoa, cover and cook 14-15 minutes.

While that cooks….put the EVOL in a frying pan, add the links which you have liberated from their skins.  Cook 4-5 minutes, chopping them up as they cook.  An alternative is loose sausage meat; 1/3 to a half pound should do it.  Stir them up, flip to cook all sides.  Should be browned but not burnt.  After you flip them over add the chopped onion, cook about 3-5 minutes stirring often.  Add the minced garlic and the top 1/3 of that red pepper cut into small cubes.  Keep stirring and when the onions and red pepper bits are softening add the quinoa. Leave any liquid in the pan.

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Stir the quinoa/sausage/veggie mixture.  Heap it into the squash halves and the pepper half.  Mound half the extra filling into a small 1.5 quart round baking dish.  Place the three stuffed veggies on top and pour over the rest of the filling as well as any quinoa liquid in the pot.  Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes. The veggie filling should be bubbling when it is done and the squash is tender to a fork.

Enjoy with a side salad.  I reheated some of the leftovers for lunch the next day.  It gives you something much better than something cold for your mid day meal.

If you don’t like red pepper; make it with 2 small winter squash and just leave the chopped pepper totally out.   You could sub in half a chipped carrot for the red pepper bits.  Use a mild Italian sausage if you prefer it less spicy or leave the sausage out to make the dish vegetarian. I am guessing you could try to bake it in your crock pot; maybe like 2 hours on high. If you try that let me know how it turns out. It is a versatile recipe for sure!

I saved my seeds, rinsed and dried them to toast for snacking: waste not want not!

Fabulous Fish Fry

Somethings we celiac sufferers crave are just the simple meals that most of you take for granted.  Like some crispy fried fish.  All the fish that is in the freezer case all battered up is, of course, made with flour that contains wheat/gluten.  And, of course, totally unsafe for people like me.  I have been dreaming of crunchy breaded fish fillets for months now.  The dream was about to be realized!

My mom was craving real fried fish, she lives in an assisted living facility and complains that nothing is ever crisp or fried.  I like to take her supper every Sunday so I looked around and decided to modify a recipe I saw on foodnetwork.com. It was for gf fried chicken and with minor changes it became my fried fish meal. Crispy crunchy and flavorful and not that difficult to create. 

I know fried fish does not have the glamour appeal of a chocolate cream pie or a cake but this recipe turned out very tasty and quite simple to throw together.  I used buttermilk as the original chicken recipe asked for; it is thick and clings to the fillets and the short marinade period can do nothing but improve the fish flavor.  I used cod but you can use any boneless fish fillet you prefer.  I didn’t have any onion powder so I left it out; up to you!  The smoked paprika adds a lot of flavor, don’t use too much or it will overwhelm the delicate flavor of this dish.     Image  My  photo just doesn’t do this fish justice.  You have to taste the seasoning and crunch of it to know how delicious it is! Yes, that is the Three Continent pilaf I made to go with it.

Gluten Free Fried Fish

Ingredients
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp.  onion powder
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
½ cup all-purpose gluten-free flour mix
½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 lb fish fillets

2-3 tbsp canola oil

 Image

  1. Making the batter: Whisk together the buttermilk, paprika, garlic power, and onion powder. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir.  Put fish fillets in mixture for 10-30 minutes in the fridge.  I used a Ziploc bag for this step, easy clean up; throw away when done.  I had cut up the one big fillet into several as there was a variety of thickness and this way I could leave the thicker chunks to cook longer and take out the thin ones when they were perfectly fried. 
  2. Making the flour:  Whisk together a pinch each of salt and pepper, flour mix, and smoked paprika.
  3. Dipping the fish: Set a large cast-iron or Teflon skillet on medium-high heat. As the pan is heating, line up the fish, and the spiced flour. Pour the oil into the hot pan.
  4. Frying the fish: When the oil is fairly hot, shake off any excess liquid from a fillet, dip the fish in the seasoned flour and coat it entirely. Place the fish in the hot oil. Repeat with all the pieces of fish.  Don’t overcrowd the pan. You can always do this in two batches.  Flip the fish pieces when the bottoms are nicely browned, 3-6 minutes  a side depending on thickness. When both sides are browned and fish appears done remove from pan, place on plate covered with a couple paper towels.   Image

I served my fish fry with seasoned rice pilaf and a green salad.  I used Nature’s Earthly Choice “Three Continent Blend” made up of red and gold quinoa, amaranth, brown rice and wild rice.  No sodium, no sugar, no saturated fat and 5 grams of protein per serving.  Tasty too….I put a tiny bit of vegetable bouillon cube  (1/4th of one), a tsp. of dried parsley and it cooked up delicious.  You could make some gf oven potato fries or brown rice or potato salad.  Or totally skip a starch if that is your preference.

Easy to make and pretty healthy for a fried meal.  Did I mention how yummy this meal was?