Chef Chuck recently had some questions for me about eating gluten-free. As someone who has been happily living a life of gluten free-dom for over 7 years now, I was happy to give some helpful hints to Chef.
My first piece of advice is this: don’t give up! Whether you’re cutting gluten out of your diet because you have a gluten intolerance, are trying to cure some long-standing health issues, or simply want to drop a few of those stubborn pounds, remember to stay focused on the finish line. I remember when I first went gluten-free…..I made the mistake of thinking I could have gluten “on special occasions”, but ultimately this only led me down the road towards my old bad habits. Plus I never really experienced the true health and fitness benefits of being gluten-free until I had completely purged it from my diet.
So now on to the most pressing question: what the heck do you eat?! Because gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye, you need to avoid all foods and food derivatives that contain those three grains. You can find an extensive list of foods that contain gluten on the celiac.org website. And don’t think that you will never be able to eat bread or pasta again! There are some fabulous gluten-free breads and pastas on the market today, and I swear you would never know the difference in a blind taste test. My favorite brand of gluten-free bread is Pamela’s, and my favorite pasta is made by Tinkyada. You can probably find these at your local grocer, but if they aren’t available you can always order them through glutenfreemall.com. Oh, and if you’re confused about whether or not oats are gluten-free, just look for a brand that is labeled “Gluten-free” and you’ll be safe. I like Bob’s Red Mill.
What? You don’t believe me that eating gluten-free can be good for you AND delicious? Ok, here are two recipes to prove it: Allison’s secret hummus, and Best-ever gluten free lasagna.
I don’t have a picture of the lasagna because every time I make this dish it gets inhaled before I can snap a photo. Chef Chuck, I challenge you to make this lasagna for people and wait until AFTER they have eaten it to tell them it’s not only gluten free, but vegan as well. Be prepared to see minds being blown.
This variation on a traditional hummus has a bit of a kick to it. If you prefer your hummus with a more neutral taste, simply leave out the cayenne pepper.
1 can (10 ounces) chick peas, drained and rinsed, reserving 1/2 C of the juice
1/2 C juice from chickpeas
1/3 C tahini
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T olive oil
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until a creamy texture is reached. You can play with the ingredients a bit to suit your taste. For example, you may like more garlic and less tahini, or more cayenne (spicy!) and less cinnamon. Have fun and be creative! I like to serve the hummus on little finger sandwiches (using GF bread, of course) with some cucumbers and sprouts.
Makes approximately 30 servings, 2 Tbsp per serving
Per serving: 38 Calories, 3g Fat, 1.1g Protein, 2g Carb, 1g Fiber, 0g Sugar
One package Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice Pasta Lasagna noodles
One 20-ounce jar pre-made organic pasta sauce
1 package Daiya brand mozzarella flavor cheese
For the cheese sauce:
For the dairy-free ricotta:
1.5 blocks extra-firm tofu
1 tsp agave nectar
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400.
Cook lasagna noodles in a large stock pot until they are al dente. Remove from heat, strain off water and rinse with cold water. They will continue to cook in the oven once the lasagna is assembled. While the lasagna is cooking, prepare the cheese sauce.
Off heat, combine the flour, nutritional yeast, and salt in a small saucepan. Slowly stir in 1/2 C of the almond milk with a wooden spoon. Place the saucepan on the stove on medium-low heat, and begin to slowly stir in the remainder of the almond milk and the vinegar. Stir mixture constantly until it begins to thicken and look like a cheesy sauce. Remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients for the dairy free ricotta. Crumble the mixture with your hands or a fork until it looks like cottage cheese.
It’s time to assemble the lasagna!
In a 9×13 inch glass baking dish, spread a small amount of the pre-made pizza sauce on the bottom. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles, then a layer of the cheese sauce, then more pizza sauce, then a layer of ricotta. Repeat this pattern until all the ingredients are used.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the mozzarella (and fresh basil leaves if desired) on top and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese starts to bubble.
Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 12 servings, each serving approx. 3”x3” square
Per serving: 272 Calories, 9.2g Fat, 10.8g Protein, 36 g Carb, 2g Fiber, 1g Sugar
Allison Westfahl is a renowned trainer, exercise physiologist, and fitness personality. She holds an undergraduate degree from Yale, and a Masters degree in exercise science. An avid cook, runner, and yogi, Allison loves to share her secret keys to health and fitness with others. She is the author of “The Gluten Free Fat Loss Plan”, and the forthcoming “Tom Danielson’s Core Advantange” (Velopress, 2013). Her website is allisonwestfahl.com