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Entries in gluten-free (8)

Saturday
Nov082014

Roasted Beet and Butternut Squash Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

This fall the temperatures have been pretty mild. Usually I'm in full swing with baking and simmering by the end of October but so far I've used the crock pot only once and baked twice. When I saw a recipe on MyFitnessPal (who knew this site featured some great recipes?) for a Roasted Fall Vegetable Salad, I knew it would fit well for a mellow autumn day. Warm, roasted seasonal vegetables and a fall fruit atop refreshing salad greens. I've never roasted beets beforewow they were so delicious (just a little messy dealing with all the red beet juice when chopping it up). My only changes to the recipe were leaving out the raisins and orange zest, and changing the pecans to walnuts. I also used regular black chia seeds instead of white (the nutritional value is the same by the way).

Honestly, I wasn't expecting the salad to taste as amazing as it was. 

The crunch of the walnuts and chia seeds contrasted the soft roasted rich vegetables, and the maple cinnamon dressing was suprisingly light and not too sweet. The crispy pear complemented the flavors of the entire salad. Yum!

It was such a refreshing, satisfying salad with so many memorable flavors that I actually closed my eyes to better focus on them. Try out this salad if you're practicing mindful eating strategies: chewing slowly and thoroughly, noticing how the flavors blend and evolve the more you chew each bite, and feeling gratitude for such a wonderful meal.

Sunday
Apr062014

Dukkah-Encrusted Tofu

Dried tofu. Photo credit: Vegan Good EatsI grew up eating tofu since I come from an Asian family but it was never served to me plain and white, like you see in the supermarket. Some of my clients who aren't familiar with tofu don't realize that you're not supposed to eat fresh tofu straight out of the carton! It is meant to be seasoned and cooked. My favorite ways to eat it are pan-fried or dried (you can find this in Asian grocery stores near the fresh tofu), which are more flavorful. I don't prefer to fry foods because of the mess afterwards, so I usually enjoy this type of tofu from a Chinese restaurant (or at my parent's house, if they'll cook it for me!). For my meals, I add plain, diced extra firm tofu to salads and soups, where it picks up the flavor of the salad dressing or broth. This week I noticed a jar of dukkah, given to me by a friend, sitting in my cabinet and thought why not try it on tofu? Dukkah, originally from Egypt but now becoming popular here, is a spice blend incorporating toasted nuts, seeds, herbs and a little salt. You can sprinkle it on meats, fish, pasta, and even salads.

I used Nasoya's Extra Firm Tofu Plus that is high in protein, calcium, vitamin D and B vitamins. I pressed the tofu to drain out extra water and make it even firmer (place the whole block of tofu between two paper towels on a plate and rest a heavy book or pan on top for about 10 minutes), and then cut the tofu into triangles and squares. I brushed all sides of the tofu with a sauce mixture of 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce, 2 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. I sprinkled the dukkah over the top and baked in a 350 F oven for 35 minutes.

The result was a flavorful tofu with a nice crunch from the dukkah's almonds and various seeds. It went well on top of a salad, though I equally enjoyed the leftover tofu the next day warmed with brown rice and vegetables. Actually I preferred the flavor of the tofu after it had been refrigerated and reheated, as the seeds had softened and the sauce had soaked deeper into the tofu.

 It's an easy recipe and a great way to get more whole soy into your diet!

Sunday
Feb092014

Fiesta Bean Salad with Quinoa (Ensalada Fiesta con Frijoles y Quínoa)

I'm getting ready to teach my first bilingual diabetes cooking class with Latino recipes. In the past six months I've counseled a growing number of Latino patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. The challenge is that beans and rice is such an important staple of their diets, often eaten 2-3 times a day. Some have made the change to using brown rice instead of white and adding less oil, but they admit it does not taste quite right. I understand this because growing up my family's meals always included a bowl of steamed white rice along with whatever else was served. There are certain dishes where you just can't substitute brown rice for soft fragrant white rice! So my strategy is to offer a different dish entirely but with familiar ingredients. I found this Fiesta Bean Salad recipe on skinnytaste.com, a fantastic blog for healthful and flavorful recipes. It contains beans, vegetables and cilantro, all rich in fiber and phytonutrients, along with the healthful fat of avocados and olive oil to improve absorption of some of the nutrients. There is no rice but I added a small amount of quinoa, a soft-textured whole grain rich in fiber and protein, to offer more nutrients and help mimic the idea of rice and beans.

This quick and easy recipe is perfect as is but I made a few minor changes. I added ~1 cup of cooked quinoa. For the dressing I increased the olive oil to 2 tablespoons to account for the additional grain and added a tablespoon of honey (or you could use Stevia) because the dressing was a tad tart for me. I also used 2 teaspoons of garlic powder instead of the fresh garlic that I forgot to buy. One serving (a little over one cup) provides about 3 1/2 carbohydrate servings, and the inclusion of fiber, protein and healthful fat slows digestion to keep one's blood sugars from spiking.

The result was an incredibly flavorful and yummy vegetarian dish that tastes fantastic warm or at room temperature. Even though it seems like a summer dish, I definitely plan on making this year-round. Hoping and praying that my diabetes class loves it, and that you do too!