Amaranth "Polenta" Cakes (Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo, Dairy Free)

What are they like?

-Browned on the outside

-Rich and creamy on the inside

-Flavored with caramelized onions, paprika, and cumin

The Amaranth Cakes look slightly different than the photo above, but equally satisfying :)

The Amaranth Cakes look slightly different than the photo above, but equally satisfying :)

 

Recipe

This recipes is gluten free, vegan and can be made Paleo. They taste like real polenta cakes, but unlike polenta which is corn-based, these savory pancakes are packed with nutrients, whole grains, and fiber. If you like (like I do) you can also soak/sprout your amaranth prior to cooking.

Makes 9-12 cakes, prep 12 min, cook time 20 min

3 cups amaranth, cooked
1 cup chick peas (omit if paleo)
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs* (or for Paleo, substitute 1/3 cup coconut flour or two eggs)
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt or to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pan over medium heat, sauté the onion and bell pepper with 2 tsp olive oil until tender, about ten minutes. Stir occasionally and turn the burner down if necessary to prevent burning. (SEE NOTE)

  2. While the vegetables sauté, combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the peppers and onions when they are done and allow the mixture to rest for about 5 minutes.

  3. Heat the pan over medium heat. Add 1 tsp olive oil and then scoop pancake-sized spoonfuls of mixture into the pan and flatten into round pancakes with the back of a spoon. I usually cook three at a time in a 10” cast iron pan. You can even cook with two pans simultaneously to make cooking faster. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, just until they brown on each side. Repeat with the rest of the mixture and serve immediately.

I love these pancakes with my homemade hummus recipe. They are also excellent with whole milk yogurt, sriracha sauce, or just on their own! I often make a yogurt sauce (dairy or vegan) by adding lime, salt, and an herb like cilantro or dill to the yogurt. It’s delightful with these savory cakes!

Notes:
Cooked amaranth is porridge-like, so breadcrumbs helps absorb liquid. You can try substituting 1/3 cup coconut flour for the oat flour, although I have not tested this substitution. Alternatively you can substitute two eggs for the oat flour and make slightly thinner pancakes. I have tested this recipe with eggs and it is delicious but not vegan!

*I tested this recipe substituting oat flour for the breadcrumbs. My porridge was fairly goopy and not dry enough so I added a lot of oat flour, 3/4 cup, and cooked them right away using two pans. However, using too much oat flour can make the texture sticky and you don’t want that! I recommend bread crumbs unless you don’t have any on hand!

Colorful Bell Peppers with Almond-Herb Pilaf

What are they like? 

- Refreshing 

- Full of flavor (lemon, olive oil, herbs & almonds) 

- Bursting with color 

vegan and gluten free stuffed bell peppers recipe
 

Recipe

Serves 2-4, 15 min prep, 40 min cooking

This recipe can easily be doubled.

Pilaf
1/2 cup long grain rice
scant 1 cup water
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp slivered almonds

Peppers
2 bell peppers, any color
3/4 cup water
juice from one lemon, plus more for serving    
2 tbsp olive oil 

Topping
1 cup plain yogurt OR  plain tahini* (or both!) 
1 clove raw garlic crushed, optional 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. To prepare the pilaf, heat a 2 quart pan over medium heat until warmed. Add 2 tbsp oil, onion, and carrot and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Then add the rest of the pilaf ingredients, bring to a boil, and then immediately lower to a simmer for 10 minutes or until water is absorbed. The rice will be al dente and it will finish cooking in the oven.

  3. While the rice cooks, slice the peppers lengthwise and remove the stem. Choose a baking dish that is large enough to hold the peppers (an 8x8 pyrex works great). Add 3/4 cup water, 2 tbsp olive oil, and the juice of 1 lemon to the dish. Spoon the pilaf into the peppers, cover tightly with foil, and bake for about 40 minutes or until the peppers are fork tender.

  4. Mix together the ingredients for the toppling.

  5. Before serving the peppers, drizzle with garlic yogurt or tahini and serve. Be sure to pour some of the sauce over the peppers. Drizzle with a squeeze of lemon juice.

*You can use 1/4 cup plain tahini for a subtle flavor, which is excellent, or mix together tahini and lemon (if it cuddles and you do not like the texture, whisk in 1/4 tsp lecithin powder to smooth the texture). The garlic is optional. 

Smokey Wild Rice Pilaf

What is it like? 

- Smokey 

- Intense, balanced flavor

- Hardy 

Smokey Wild Rice Pilaf recipe

Recipe

1 cup wild rice
1/2 cup smoked bacon tips* OR vegan bacon
2 chicken thighs OR butternut squash for vegan
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green or red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup white wine, optional
2 cups water
1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp dried dill, 1 tbsp dried or fresh parsly
1/4 cup slivered almonds or 2 tbsp pine nuts, optional

Directions:

  1. Rinse rice and place in a pan with 2 cup water over high heat. Once it boils, turn it down to low to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook bacon. If you bacon is regular high fat variety, reduce the heat a little and allow to brown. Then remove and pour out the fat and cook the chicken over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the celery and pepper. Once the meat is browned (but not cooked through), set aside. Then, sauté the vegetables over medium heat for about 7 minutes. While the vegetables cook, measure the wine and slice the bacon into small pieces and the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Turn the heat up for about 30 seconds and then add the wine (it will boil rapidly so be careful not to get burned by the steam).
  5. Drain the wild rice.
  6. Add the water, drained rice, and the rest of the ingredients and turn the heat up to high. Once it boils, turn it down to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes, or until it is tender and the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with a sprinkling of fresh marjoram leaves (or oregano) and steamed chard or other steamed vegetable. Chard is best when cooked to the point when the leaves’ veins are still crisp.

*You can substitute your favorite regular bacon, especially one that is strongly flavored, like Black Forest variety. If you do not have this kind of bacon, try adding smoked sea salt or smoked paprika instead of regular paprika.

The best dairy free and gluten free Crepe Recipe

What is it like?

- Tender

- Moist 

- Perfect for filling

See the Mushroom Filling recipe below the crepe recipe!

the best crepe recipe gluten free and dairy free

Recipe

Makes about 6 crepes, 10 minutes prep, 15 min cooking

2 eggs
1 cup low fat coconut milk or water
1 cup cashew flour (I bought it at Trader Joe's)
2 1/2 tbsp potato starch
1/4 tsp psyllium powder
1/4 tsp salt
about 1 tbsp coconut oil or preferred oil for cooking

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in the blender and blend until well combined, about 30 seconds.

  2. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or until the next day.

  3. Place a wide, shallow pan over medium heat. Nonstick works the best, but you can use a different pan with additional oil. Add 1/2 tsp preferred oil to the pan and about 1/4 cup of batter. The crepe will begin cooking immediately after it hits the pan, so quickly tilt the pan so that the batter spreads evenly into a thin layer. If the crepe is too thick, add a little more water for the next one (a tsp at a time). Once the crepe looks firm on top, flip the crepe and cook for about 30 more seconds. Transfer to a plate to serve.

TIPS:

  • For savory crepes you can add black pepper, a spice, or a dried (1/4 tsp) or fresh herb (1/2 tsp), like parsley or thyme. For sweet crepes you can add 1 tsp vanilla and/or a dollop of your favorite sweetener.

  • I used to cook whole wheat crepes and the leftovers would become discolored. What is great about this recipe is that they look and taste fresh after sitting in the fridge overnight. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Mushroom Filling for Crepes

gluten free dairy free crepe recipe
 

Recipe

Makes 4 crepes, 10 minutes prep, 5 minutes cooking

5 oz mushrooms (maitake are excellent but you can use white, crimini, shiitake, or preferred type)
extra virgin olive oil, as needed (about 3 tbsp)
2 oz smoked salmon, optional*
2 cloves garlic, optional
1/4 tsp dreid or fresh thyme
dash of salt

Directions:
Wash the mushrooms and allow to drain. Slice the mushrooms and sauté with garlic, thyme and salt over medium heat in a wide pan with 1 tsp olive oil until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Cook them in two batches so that they do not steam.
Place 1/4 of mushroom filling on a crepe with 1/2 oz salmon divided into very small pieces, and drizzle 1-2 tsp olive oil over filling. Roll up the crepe or fold it in quarters and serve warm.

*If you do not use salmon, you may want to add vegan cheese or regular cheese if you can tolerate it.

TIPS:
Do not over cook your mushrooms! You can test them as they sauté by removing one, allowing it to cool and then tasting it. It should have a bite to it. If it is totally limp, it will have lost a lot of its flavor and appeal.

Pork Chops with Rich Mushroom Sauce

What is it like?

- Classy

- Decadent

- Delicious 

pork chops with mushrooms sauce recipe

Recipe

3 pork chops
1-2 tbsp coconut, grape seed oil or your preferred oil
1 onion, diced
8 oz mushrooms
3 cups chicken stock, divided OR your preffered stock
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 tsp dried tarragon, 1/2 tsp dried sage, 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme), 1/4 tsp salt
thickener: mix 1/2 tbsp glutenous “sweet” rice flour with 1/2 cup stock
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (gluten free type)
2-3 tbsp coconut cream, or to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pan (see photo) over medium high heat and add 2 tsp oil. Salt the pork chops with 1/4 tsp salt on both sides. Add chops to pan once it is hot. Allow chops to cook for about 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked. The chops will stick to the pan while they are browning. Once they are ready to flip, they will be easy to release and you will see red liquid start to release on top of the pork chops. Once they are cooked, set aside.
     
  2. Turn the heat down to medium and add 2 tsp oil to the same pan and add the chopped onion with the tarragon, sage, and thyme. Once caramelized, remove and set aside. Next, sauté the mushrooms in two batches with about  2 tsp of oil. Once cooked, set aside in a separate bowl.
     
  3. Turn the heat up to high for abut 20 seconds, then add the wine, followed by the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. (If you do not like the look of the brown bits that release from the bottom of the pan, you can strain the liquid and return it to the pan.) Add the onions/herbs and simmer the stock until it reduces in volume by about 1/3. Then whisk in the thickener and add the mushrooms. Simmer for 2 minutes, until thick. Then whisk in the coconut cream and serve over pork chops. 

The pork chops are excellent served with young broccoli rabe, which can be quickly steamed or sautéed over medium heat with your preferred oil and garlic until wilted.