Category Archives: Gluten Free

Garbanzos, Sundried Tomatoes, and Spinach with Coconut Milk

I had a hard time naming this post because I can’t think of a good title for this recipe.  In the original post on theKitchn website, it was called “Braised coconut spinach and chickpeas with lemon.”  That wasn’t quite right.  I wanted to go with, “A surprising mix of flavors in one dish that was far yummier than expected and doesn’t photograph so well” but thought it was a little much.


You’ll just have to try it and help me think of a better title!


In the interim since the last post on this blog (I know, I know, it’s been a month, but birthdays, the start of the school year and the holidays got in the way) I have discovered instagram, so now my terrible phone food photography has slightly improved.  The original recipe (above) has better pictures than I do, but don’t be deterred by how it is a little funny looking.


You’ll need a big pan or a dutch oven (I used Matt’s trusty Le Creuset)

2 tsp oil (or enough to cook the onions, etc. in)

1 yellow onion, diced

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 T fresh grated ginger (I’m not a huge ginger person…so I use less)

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (these are my fave, so I always use a little more)

1 large lemon, zested and juiced

Dash of red pepper flakes (optional, but some nice heat)

2 15-oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (the original recipe recommends 1, but I think it needs more substance)

1 pound baby spinach (I always use the amount that comes in one of those easy grab bags from the grocery store…it’s plenty for me)

1 15-oz can of coconut milk


1.5 cups quinoa (The original recipe recommends putting the finished ingredients over a roasted sweet potato, but that consistency didn’t jive with me, so I went to my staple of quinoa.  It also recommended using cilantro and toasted unsweetened coconut as garnish, but I haven’t tried that).


Cook the quinoa.  I like to add lemon juice to it when it is done.

Heat the oil in your pan/dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook until it is beginning to brown (5 minutes or a little longer).  Add the garlic, fresh ginger, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and red pepper.  Cook for 3-6 minutes to let all the flavors meld.  (I’ve found I need to add a little more oil at this point)

Add the garbanzos.  Stir frequently and cook until they are the consistency you like (I like mine starting to be golden which takes about 10-15 minutes, but the original recipe recommends about 3 minutes)

Add the spinach, one handful at a time, and stir it around until it wilts down before adding the next handful.

When all the spinach has been added and cooked down pour in the coconut milk, salt, and lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer and continue to cook and stir for about 10 minutes.  Taste and add more salt and lemon juice as necessary  (surprise…I always like more lemon juice.

To serve, put a helping of quinoa in your bowl, and top with the garbanzo/sundried tomato/lemony/coconut mix.  Enjoy!! (I promise, this is really good.  The coconut milk might seem out of place, but it is a fantastic dish).


Apricot Mostarda


Have you ever heard of a Mostarda before?  Neither had Matt and I until we went to Anchovies & Olives in Seattle.  Wikipedia describes a Mostarda as: “an Italian condiment made of candied fruit and a mustard flavoured syrup.”  Yeah.  Doesn’t sound that good.  But oh man, it is AWESOME.  The Mostarda we had for dinner (and then recreated at home) could better be described as a  delicious chunky mustardy apricot chutney.

Our mostarda is a subtle adaptation of this one.

1 T Olive Oil

1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced (the original recipe called for a whole onion – we thought it was too oniony and took away from the yummy apricot flavor)


1 cup dried apricots chopped (we just used the whole bag)

1/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup dry white wine (the original recipe recommended an Erath Pinot Gris)

1 T (or a little more) whole mustard seeds

1 T (or a little more) dijon mustard (…make sure it’s a seedy mustard)

1 T white wine vinegar (the original recipe recommended apple cider vinegar, but we didn’t have any, and this was just fine)

Warm a small sauce pan with the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and salt, stirring often, for about 15 minutes until the onion is starting to caramelize.

Then add the apricots, brown sugar, white wine, mustard seed, mustard and vinegar and bring it all to a simmer.

After bringing the mostarda to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the onions and apricots are tender and the entire sauce is thick.  The original recipe said this would take about ten minutes, we found it took a little longer.

While the mostarda is delicious on a spoon, we ate it on (GF) baguettes that had been spread with burrata (kind of like a creamy mozzarella), with a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar (this is what is pictured below and in the first picture).

We also got fancy and made a charcuterie platter to go along with our mostarda and burrata:

Yumm…I’m already craving it again! Enjoy!


Leslie H

This time of year there is nothing better than fresh tomatoes. If they are not from your garden, go to your farmers market and get a variety of heirloom tomatoes–they are spectacular right now. The funnier looking the juicier! I have changed this recipe so much from a Cook’s recipe I feel I can call it my own.


3 lbs. (about 6 medium) ripe tomatoes, cored

1 English cucumber, peeled a bit, halved and seeded

1 medium green pepper, cored and roughly chopped ( I don’t care for green peppers but the flavor is necessary in this recipe)

1 small red onion, peeled and quartered

4 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered

1 small Serrano chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise (leaving the seeds in will make it hotter!)

kosher salt

1 slice high quality sandwich bread, crust removed torn into 1-inch piece (I used a ciabatta loaf and a GF bread would work fine)

1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving

2 T. red wine vinager

2 T. finely minced parsley, chives or basil


1. roughly chop tomatoes, 3/4 of the cucumber, peppers, onion, and garlic and place in a large colander over a bowl. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and toss until well combined. Set aside for 1 hour.

2. finely chop remaining cucumber and set aside. This will be mixed into the soup when it is finished.

3. Transfer drained vegetables to a medium bowl and set aside. Add bread pieces to exuded liquid (there should be about 1/4 cup) and soak for 1 minute. Add soaked bread and any remaining liquid to vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.

4. Transfer vegetable-bread mixture to blender or cuisinart and process 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in oil and continue to blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. This may need to be done in batches depending on you blender or cuisinart size.  Strain soup through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl, using back of ladle or rubber spatula to press soup through strainer. Add vinegar and adjust seasonings.

5. Add reserved chopped cucumbers and garnish with chives, basil or parsley and drizzle with a dash more oil.

This serves approximately 4-6 and could be served in cute little shooter glasses as an appetizer.

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Vegan Sauce for Anything and Everything

Leslie W.

This recipe is adapted from Mama Pea’s Mmmm Sauce.

I’ve use the Mmmm Sauce and this modified version for a number of different recipes. Typically I use it over sauteed veggies, crispy baked or fried tofu pieces, and brown rice which is delicious. Tonight, I used it over sauteed chicken, zucchini, green onion, cabbage, and quinoa. This sauce is so addicting. I love it and hope you do too! Sorry for the blurry photo! I only snapped one unfortunately and thought it came out.


Makes 1 1/2 cups

  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 1/4 c. almonds
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1/4 c. cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 t.  garlic
  • 1/4 t. salt (optional)
  • 3/4 t. curry powder (I actually add about 1 tbsp probably, but just taste until you find your perfect amount)
  • 1/2 t. dried oregano (again, I do about 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Serve over any dish and enjoy! I like the milder flavor of the cannellini beans compared to the original garbanzo beans. I highly recommend using them.

Tahini Quinoa Salad

Hello! It’s Melissa.

Tonight, I’m posting one of my most favorite quinoa salads (I feel like I saw that a lot…).  It’s Matt’s favorite (and a frequent request) and I’ve brought it to a few events and always get recipe requests.  It is adapted from the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.  (It’s a fantastic cookbook – gluten-free, dairy-free and filled with over 200 recipes.  I’ve made a number of recipes from it and always end up loving them.)

But back to the quinoa salad.


2 mini cucumbers (cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and then chopped up)

30 baby carrots (cut into discs…obviously the number doesn’t matter, but I thought I’d give an idea of how many I use)

1 pack of cherry tomatoes (chopped in half, salted)

2 cans of garbanzo beans (cooked in a pan with salt and garlic powder until a little crispy)

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1/4 red onion (finely diced – if you don’t know how to chop an onion properly (like me until recently, I suggest you check out this video from gluten-free girl)

1.5 cups of quinoa (1.5 cups dry…then cook)


1/2 cup of sesame tahini

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (This is about 2 lemons, I always like a little more…)

1/4 cup olive oil

3 Tbls water

2 cloves of garlic (crushed…diced…grated – in small bits)

zest of 2 lemons

Salt to taste


Chop all the veggies and put them in a bowl:

*This is the first time I used cucumbers in the salad – I didn’t de-seed them and it got kind of watery..I’m hoping de-seeding them would help with this problem…

Make the quinoa, cook the garbanzo beans and toast the pinenuts

Mix the dressing ingredients together – I use an electronic hand mixer, although you can use a whisk it – but that can be tough because the tahini is very thick, so it’s kind of challenging to mix with just a whisk.

Pour the dressing over the quinoa, pinenuts, garbanzos, and veggies and ENJOY!

On a healthier note…

Leslie W here again. I wanted to share this great appetizer. It is a version of a Caprese salad. I’ve made it a few times at parties and so far it is usually a hit. The ingredients are pretty simple and all you do is gather the ingredients and assemble! Though, I noticed the quality of ingredients really does matter with these. Organic tomatoes and fresh, good quality mozzarella make a difference.


1-2 package of Organic cherry tomatoes (or sugar plum)


1-2 packages boconccini (Trader Joes or Whole Foods)

Salt & Pepper

Olive Oil



Rinse tomatoes  and basil, and drain boconiccini. Put the tomatoes and boconiccnici onto toothpicks with a small piece of basil inbetween. Arrange on platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over platter. These can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge. Take out 30 minutes before serving and wait until the last minute to drizzle with olive oil.

Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes


Hello! These sweet potatoes are another fabulous pinterest find.  For the most part, I made them pretty similar to the original recipe, except I used more toppings per potato and cooked them for longer so they were crispy.

These are delish – they didn’t even make it to the table! (Somehow, Matt and I ate all of them while we finished cooking dinner…)



1 Sweet Potato

2 T Brown Sugar

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Chili Powder

1/2 tsp Paprika

1/4 tsp Onion Powder

1/4 tsp Garlic Powder

Melted Earth Balance Butter and olive oil (or regular butter…) (about 3 T total)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the sweet potatoes into 1 inch discs and put in boiling, salted water for about 15 minutes or so until they are soft (soft is hard to describe…soft enough that they can easily be smushed…if in doubt, cook a little longer).  Let them cool on a drying rack.


While the sweet potatoes are cooking, put all of the spices into a bowl and whisk together.

Image(This is how the spices looked before I whisked them together…and then stopped taking pictures of the rest of the process…)

Line the sweet potatoes up on a silpat-lined baking sheet.  Smash the sweet potato discs slightly, so that you create nice ridges in the surface for the flavors to sink into.  This can be a tough process.  I used a slotted  spoon to smush and a flat spatula to assist when the discs would try to stick to the spoon.

Use a brush (or a spoon) to coat both sides of the sweet potato discs in the melted butter/olive oil mix.  Then, pat a little of the seasoning mix onto both sides of the sweet potato.

Bake for 25 minutes, flip,and bake for 20 more minutes.  Give yourself plenty of time when you make these – you want them delicious and crispy, and it feels like it always takes longer than expected to get them to that perfect level of crunch.

We paired these (or…intended to pair these) with chicken coated in Tom Douglas’ Rub with Love and grilled Asparagus with a squirt of lemon.

Black Rice Salad with Mango and Peanuts


Leslie H

It seems every summer I find a new salad recipe and  continue to make it throughout the season for every event we are invited to share something. Well, I think this is the 2012 recipe for the summer. It is easy and can be adapted to most any taste buds (especially you cilantro haters out there). This was taken from Bon Appetit. The colors are beautiful and the salad is quite tasty and delicious. My husband said this salad belongs in a bistro showcase!


2 oranges

1/4 cup or more of fresh lime juice

2 T. vegetable oil

1 T. fish sauce ( I didn’t use it)

2 cups black rice (sometimes called forbidden rice)

2 just ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2″ dice

1 cup cilantro, chopped

1 cup red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts ( I used cashews, toasted on the stove)

2 jalapenos, seeded and minced ( I only used 1)



1. Remove peel and white pith from oranges. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, cut between membranes to release orange segments into bowl.  Squeeze membranes over bowl to release any juices. Strain juices through a sieve into a smaller bowl and reserve segments.

2. Add lime juice, oil and fish sauce if using to bowl with orange juice; whisk to blend. Set aside.

3. Bring rice and 2 3/4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Season with salt and cover. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered for 15 minutes. Spread out rice on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with dressing, and season with a bit more salt, taste and let cool.

4. Place mangoes and rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add rice and toss gently to combine. Season with a bit more salt if needed and perhaps a touch more of lime juice.

Pesto Pasta Salad


Being from Spokane, I’m still not used to the fact that June is not summer in Seattle.  Yesterday, it was 80 degrees in Spokane (and it’s been hovering around there all week) and in Seattle it was 62 degrees and I actually thought it might never stop raining.

Even with the nasty weather, a pesto pasta salad can be just the thing to kick you into a summery mindset.

(I’m stepping on my soap box for a brief moment):  Pesto is SO easy to make at home and is SO much more delicious than store bought.  You could easily buy pesto to make this salad, but I am highly encouraging you to make it yourself.  There is literally nothing better than when you’ve finished the last pulse on the Cuisinart and you (safely) dip a spoon/finger/spatula in and taste that perfect blend of salty and herby and nutty – and you realize you made that fantastic combination of flavors yourself.

The first time Matt and I made this salad was when my mom mailed us a frozen tupperware full of pesto and we needed something (besides spoons) to eat it with.  Now, hands down, my mom makes the best pesto.  I don’t have her recipe (hint, hint?) so I made Gluten-Free Girl’s Pesto recipe (you can click here for her original post) which is awesome.  Beyond (well, and including) the pesto, this is another one of those easy to tailor to your taste recipes.  We put sundried tomatoes, pinenuts, garbanzo beans and peas in our pasta salad, but the possibilities are endless.

Pesto Pasta Salad


For the Pesto:

3 medium cloves of garlic, threaded on a skewer (I did GFG’s method this time, but in the past I’ve nixed the skewer and roasted the garlic for 40 minutes at 350)

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (we’ve found the optimal amount is about 1.5 big containers of basil leaves)

2 Tbl fresh parsley (I omitted, because I’m not such a fan…you can also sub spinach for some extra nutrients and no added flavor)

7 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil

Salt (lots…to taste)

1/4 cup parmesean (optional…add more salt if omitting)

For the salad:

1 package of GF pasta (I prefer the tinkyada brand – you absolutely cannot tell it’s gluten free)

1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped

1/3 cup pinenuts, toasted

3/4 cups peas (about 1/3 of the bag of frozen peas we had)

1 can garbanzos

For the pesto (copied straight from GFG, because she says it best):

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Lower the skewered garlic into the water. Boil for 45 seconds. Immediately run the garlic under cold water. Remove from the skewer. Peel and mince. (If you’re making pasta right after, save the water for it.)
2. Toast the nuts in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just golden and fragrant. (Should be about five minutes.)
3. Place the basil and parsley in a heavy-duty, quart-size bag. Take out your meat tenderizer and pound those poor little herbs until they are bruised. (Ouch. That sounds bad.)
4. Place all the ingredients except the cheese in your food processor. Pulse. Pulse. Pulse. When the goop is smooth, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, mix in the cheese, and add salt to taste. (I use sea salt, of course.)
5. Eat. And moan with pleasure.

Eat the pesto right away. If you want to keep it for a few days, cover the bowl with plastic wrap. If you want to keep it for longer, then pour the pesto into ice trays. Freeze, then transfer to a freezer bag. When you’re cooking, you can just pop in a cube of frozen pesto and watch the summer appear again.

Make the pasta, drain, put in a big bowl.  Add chopped sundried tomatoes and toasted pinenuts.  Add peas (defrost and drain first).  Add garbanzos that have been sauteed in olive oil, salt, and garlic powder (Matt doesn’t like garbanzos in the salad, so we put them on the side and I add it to my own servings).  Top it all off with the pesto as soon as possible (my reason being, if you don’t, you will eat all of it with a spoon before it makes it to your salad.  I’m 100% serious.  It’s that good).

When you cover the pasta salad, smoosh the plastic wrap against the surface of the pasta (instead of just over the top of the bowl) because it has a tendency to turn brown and this helps prevent that.


Garlic Potato Salad

Leslie H

While I know my kids have never been big potato salad fans, I found this one in my new cookbook Herbavoracious by Michael Natkin, changed it a smidge, and think it will be a delicious side dish for Father’s Day today. It is not your basic potato, hard boiled egg, mayo salad; it has really been updated with wonderful tangy flavors. Give it a try! It is gluten and dairy free and certainly can be made vegan by substituting the small amount of mayo for Vegannaise.


  • 5 pounds small, waxy potatoes
  • 8 stems green garlic – I couldn’t find these but used spring red onions (look like large red scallions)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves minced garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • big pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • fresh chives and the purple buds (right now they are in abundance in my yard!)
  1. Wash the potatoes and put them in a large pot full of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until they are fully tender but not falling apart (time greatly depends on size and variety). Drain, rinse, cool, and cut into bite sized pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the fuzzy end of the red onion including the outermost leaves, just like you would with a scallion. Slice thinly. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and saute the green garlic/red onion for about 5 minutes, until it is tender.
  3. Scrape the green garlic/red onion and olive oil into a small bowl. Add the remaining olive oil, minced garlic, vinegar, mayonnaise, black pepper, salt, rosemary, cayenne and black pepper. Stir well. Dip a piece of potato in and taste. Does it have enough salt? Is the garlic flavor present enough? Could it use a bit more cayenne? When you are satisfied, toss the dressing with the potatoes. This is easiest to do with your hands.
  4. Just before serving, thinly slice the chives and buds and  mix it into the potatoes.