Gluten-free recipes: From kasha and beet salad to peppery chicken quinoa

Kasha and Beet Salad with Celery and Feta. (Robert Rose Publishing)

Kasha and Beet Salad with Celery and Feta. (Robert Rose Publishing)

ELIZABETH BAIRD, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:38 PM ET

It’s the truth: Whole grains provide a whole variety of health benefits.

If you’re a white-bread-only kind of eater, there’s a delicious discovery awaiting you. It’s also clear, just judging from the number of gluten-free products currently available even in mainstream supermarkets, that eating gluten-free is a big trend, with many people looking for gluten-free alternatives.

Ever alert to emerging consumer needs, food writer and author Judith Finlayson has produced a cookbook that provides the goodness and tastiness of whole grains with the benefit of gluten-free, The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook, 125 Delicious Recipes from Amaranth to Quinoa to Wild Rice (Robert Rose Inc, $24.95. The book’s recipes are health oriented with full nutritional analysis, and offer Diabetes Food Values.

Kasha and Beet Salad with Celery and Feta

The recipe is ample – good as a side for a weekend meal with leftovers divvied up for weekday packed lunches, and ideal for a buffet or pot luck contribution. Kasha is toasted buckwheat groats.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (500 ml) vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) kasha
  • 2 cups (500 ml) diced peeled cooked beets (2 large)
  • 4 tender stalks celery, diced
  • 6 green onions, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped parsley
  • 3 oz. (90 g) crumbled feta cheese

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) salt

  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring broth and garlic to a boil. Gradually add kasha, stirring constantly to prevent clumping. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and kasha is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Fluff up with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl. Let cool slightly.

Dressing: In a small bowl, combine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper, stirring until salt dissolves. Gradually whisk in olive oil until blended. Add to kasha and toss well. Add beets, celery and green onions and toss. Chill until ready to serve. Just before serving, garnish with parsley and sprinkle feta over top. Makes 8 side servings.

TIP: You can use buckwheat groats instead of kasha. Place groats in a dry skillet over medium high heat and toast, stirring constantly, until nicely fragrant, about 4 minutes. TIP: If serving as a vegetarian lunch or main, you might like to add a little more feta.

Peppery Chicken Quinoa

A fast and easy-to-make one-dish meal.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (750 ml) reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) harissa, optional
  • 1 cup (250 ml) quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tbsp. (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 lb. (500 g) skinless boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium red bell peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) finely chopped parsley

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring 2 cups (500 ml) of broth to a boil. Stir in harissa, if using. Add quinoa in a steady stream, stirring constantly, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok, heat 1 Tbsp (15 ml) of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add black peppercorns and stir well. Add chicken and stir-fry, until it turns white and almost cooks through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) of oil to pan, Add garlic and cook, stirring, just until it begins to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add bell peppers and cook, stirring until they begin to shimmer, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup (250 ml) of broth and sherry vinegar and cook until mixture is reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Return chicken to pan and toss until heated through. Remove from heat.To serve; spread cooked quinoa over a deep platter and scoop out an indentation in the middle. Fill with chicken mixture and garnish with parsley.

Makes 4 servings. TIP: If you don’t have harissa, a North African chili paste, pass your favourite hot pepper sauce at the table.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a kind of protein in wheat and its relatives, spelt, faro, emmer, Kamut, barley, rye and triticale. As more people have difficulty digesting gluten, they look for gluten-free grains such as amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats (with reservations; check physician or reputable celiac organization), quinoa, rice, sorghum, teff and wild rice, now more available in supermarkets as well as health food and bulk food stores.

Sleuthing for Gluten in Unexpected Places:

Check labels on prepared ingredients such as chicken broth, harissa, deli meats, curry powder and paste, soba noodles, canned tomatoes and sausages to verify they are gluten-free. Ingredients on the list that may signal the presence of gluten include hydrogenated vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, textured vegetable protein, monosodium glutamate, malt and modified food starch. When in doubt, take Judith Finlayson’s advice and contact the manufacturer.


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