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Archive for the ‘Salads and Sides’ Category

Dressings and Dips

A simple vinaigrette dressing is excellent with crunchy leaves. For kids who might find vinegar too tart, there is lemon juice. Vinegar is mostly gluten free, except when derived from barley malt. If malt is derived from any other source, it is usually mentioned on the label.

Some of the dressings available on the shelf might be just fine, but please read every ingredient in detail.

Some quick and simple dressings for (4-6 servings)

Basic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar / lemon juice
  • 2-3 teaspoons sugar
  • Whisk all ingredients, then pour on salad.

Orange Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Beat well, using a whisk or fork.

Herb Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar / lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt.
  • Mix and beat well.
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed slightly
  • Dried or fresh, finely chopped herbs of your choice—basil, oregano, thyme, parsley,—just get creative with flavors.

Additional Ideas for that Extra Zing

  • Use lemon or orange zest, berries, cherry tomatoes, grapes, oranges, pineapples—fruits of your choice, with good crunchy lettuce, spinach, arugula and other such green leafy veggies.
  • Vary dressings, garnish with sunflower or pumpkin kernels,serve with cooked meats of your choice, and watch the salads disappear!

Caramelized Sunflower / Pumpkin Kernels

  • For half a cup of kernels, use 3 tablespoons of brown sugar. Roast seeds lightly in a pan, add sugar and continue to roast till sugar caramelizes and forms a rich brown coating on the seeds. Remove from pan and cool before adding to salads. These are wonderful alternatives for nuts. Seeds are also rich in vitamin C.
  • Lightly roasted, roughly crushed flax seeds also create a healthy,nutritious and crunchy topping.

Dips

  • Sour cream or thick yogurt is an excellent base for dips. Soft silken tofu or tofutti is a good dairy free alternative. If ready dips on store shelves have dubious additives, get plain sour cream and flavor it with simple ingredients of your choice—finely chopped green onion, dill, cilantro, basil, garlic—the list is endless

Gluten free, Eggless “Mayonnaise”

Mayonnaise is just off the list for most people with allergies. But try this delicious alternative, which is a great substitute for the original.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup milk /soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons corn-starch
  • 3 Tablespoons vinegar/lemon juice,
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon wheat free, gluten free mustard powder or paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Method

  1. In a small saucepan, heat 3/4 cup milk.
  2. Mix corn-starch into remaining 1/4 cup milk.
  3. When the milk in the saucepan has almost come to a boil, add the cold milk-corn-starch mixture, stirring continuously till sauce thickens.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. When sauce has cooled, add remaining ingredients and chill.

Use with potato salad, chicken salad, wheat and gluten free macaroni, and anything else you fancy.

Chef’s tip: Add a dollop of sour cream before using the prepared ‘mayo’.

Variation

To one cup gluten and egg free “mayonnaise”, add 1 Tablespoon finely chopped green pepper, 1 Tablespoon very finely chopped green onion, and toss in another Tablespoon of finely chopped olives or pimiento.

You have just created an allergy free Thousand Island-like dressing!

Olive Oil

This is great to use, especially for dairy allergic people. It is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, Omega 6 and the Omega 3 fatty acids. Nutritionists recommend extra virgin olive oil, as the process through which it is obtained ensures retention of maximum nutrients. It has the highest percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids.

Extra virgin olive oil is ideal for salad dressing, while virgin olive oil is good for cooking as it has a higher smoke point.

It is important to store olive oil (and other oils) in dark colored bottles or steel jars. Too much light and air destroys nutrients

Sunflower, Pumpkin and Flax Seeds

These are good sources of Vitamin E Buy kernels, as seeds have a husk like covering which needs to be removed. It is always good to lightly roast sunflower kernels. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc. they give us essential fatty acids and protein when eaten raw.

Flax seeds are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, and are excellent for those who cannot have fish.

Flax meal is convenient to buy, as dehusking and coarse grinding is not necessary. Flax meal is best when lightly roasted and stored in an airtight bottle in the fridge. Flax can turn rancid very quickly.

Mustard

Make sure that the mustard you buy is gluten free.

American mustard is usually made from white mustard seeds blended with sugar, vinegar and colored with turmeric.

English mustard is also made from white mustard seeds but has a greater pungency. It is sometimes mixed with wheat flour for bulk and has turmeric for color. It is important to watch out for any wheat ingredient before using this mustard.

Dijon mustard is made from husked black mustard seeds blended with wine, salt and spices. It is necessary to find out from the manufacturer whether wheat or gluten ingredients have been used in the wine fermentation process.

 

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This wonderfully refreshing, ‘fruity’ salad can actually be made a day ahead, and kept overnight in the fridge—ideal to serve along with birthday eats or to add color and flavor at a luncheon.  This recipe actually comes from my American ‘Mom”, Happy Hopkins.  I have modified it a little to suit special food needs.

make ahead apple salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups diced apples
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 20 oz can diced pineapple (drained and liquid reserved)
  • 10 cherries. cut into half, seeds removed (to add just before serving)
  • 1 cup pineapple liquid reserved from can
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon corn-starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom.

Method

  1. Combine sugar, corn-starch, cardamom and water in saucepan, and stir to blend.
  2. Over low heat, stir mixture. gradually adding pineapple liquid, until mixture is thick and clear.let sauce cool.
  3. Combine apple, celery and pineapple in a bowl and pour cool sauce over them.
  4. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Decorate with cherry halves and serve.
  6. Variation: Use chopped dates to mix in and also for decoration, instead of cherries.

Fact File

One apple has more fiber than a serving of oatmeal. A medium apple has nearly 160 g of potassium, like oranges and bananas. Researchers in the UK say that kids who are big apple eaters have better lung function and are at a lower risk of asthma. An apple a day just might keep the doctor away!

Some fruits such as pineapples (along with papayas and mangoes) contain certain protein breaking enzymes which can attack the mast cells which are part of the body’s immune system.

Nutritionists recommend that these fruits should not be eaten on an empty stomach. Canned pineapple is generally safe as the heat used in canning destroys this enzyme. Use caution when introducing a never-before-tried fruit.

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