Archive for Gluten Free

Gluten Free Brownies

I feel like I’m up for the challenge of veganizing pretty much anything. I mean, I’ll at least give it a shot. Sometimes it’s an epic fail, but more often than not, I’m pretty impressed at how I can recreate a dish using no butter, milk or eggs.

Basically, I feel pretty confident in my skills in that area.

When it comes to gluten-free, however, I struggle. It seems like no matter what gluten-free flour mix I try, or what combination of rice flour, xanthan gum, buckwheat, chickpea or almond flour, it’s always a big challenge, and often ends up tasting chalky.

Going vegan and gluten-free with baking is an even bigger challenge.

Gluten Free Brownies

Not to get into a big science lesson here, but gluten, when activated, creates a web of proteins that help to bind the baked goods together, and it also gives the bread, cake, or cookies a structure and creates that beautiful crumb. Take away the gluten, and often you’re left with a flat, dense, chalky result, and let’s face it, nobody wants to eat that.

I recently was introduced to a new store here in Vancouver called Archipelago, and it’s dedicated to showcasing the food/ingredients from Indonesia.

Now, if you’re not totally sure where Indonesia is, it’s comprised of a series of islands (over 17,000, actually) located between Australia and South East Asia. They are one of the world’s top growers of spices like nutmeg, cloves and galengal.

They also grow cassava. Cassava is root/tuber, much like a potato, and it goes by a lot of different names, like yuca (maybe you’ve had yuca chips?) or manioc. It’s basically a starchy vegetable, so when it’s dried and ground, it creates a gluten-free flour.

Indonesia also grows and exports quite a few other things you need for this recipe: vanilla, coffee, and coconut sugar, which is one of my favourite to work with. It’s both a lower GI, making it healthier for you, but it also adds notes of caramel to your baking.

The end result? A really simple, easy-to-make recipe that doesn’t require 6 different kinds of gluten-free flour, and tastes super yummy. I challenge you to feed this to your friends and have them know it’s gluten-free.

By the way, this recipe is almost vegan. The only animal products in here are eggs. I did try to veganlize it, but it was, quite frankly, an epic fail. I’ll keep working on it, and hopefully come back soon with a fully vegan, gluten free brownies version.

PS. I have done vegan, gluten free brownies with sweet potatoes, or you can find my go-to vegan brownie recipe here. 

Gluten free cassava brownies

Gluten Free Brownies

Ingredients

Method

  1. Line an 8″ square pan with parchment, and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, place the coconut oil and the chocolate chips, and melt, stirring occasionally. Once they are mostly melted, add the sugar and stir well until everything is melted together and a little thickened. Set aside to cool.
  3. In your stand mixer (you can do this by hand with a whisk or a hand-held mixer as well, I’m just a lazy SOB), place the two eggs and whip well until light and frothy, 2-5 minutes. Add the vanilla and the coffee to the eggs and mix to combine.
  4. Slowly drizzle the chocolate mixture into the eggs, whipping all the time. You don’t want the warm chocolate to scramble your eggs, so be sure to let the chocolate cool a little, and also keep it moving.
  5. Once the chocolate and eggs are mixed together, add the dry ingredients and mix again until everything is incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smooth over the top, and sprinkle with a little fleur de sel.
  7. Bake in preheated oven 17-20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from pan and cutting into squares to serve.

Red Lentil Fritters {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

Pandemic cravings are weird. I think we can blame a lot of them on restrictions; like how I’m dying for an IKEA hot dog, because IKEA is closed, and hot dogs are simply not available. I can’t have it, therefore I want it. Real bad.

I’m sure many of you are also craving comfort food during this pandemic. That’s nothing new for me, I always crave comfort food! But for all of us, comfort food looks like something different. It might be soup like ramen or pho or congee. Or maybe it’s pasta. Or something deep-fried?

Red Lentil Fritters

For me, sometimes when I’m craving comfort food, I go Indian. It’s weird, I know, I’m not even a little bit Indian, as far as I know, but man, to I love their food. I mean, rice, that’s comforting. Warm, pillowy naan bread? Oh yeah. Rich sauces and spices? And chai? So comforting.

My most recent craving was for pakoras. Now, if you’ve never had them, they are little fritters made of chickpea flour and deep-fried. Mostly they have vegetables inside, but you can really put anything in there. They usually come with some kind of a spicy tamarind sauce, and they are absolutely delicious.

Because I don’t deep fry at home, and I haven’t figured out how to make them in the air fryer, I thought I’d try to make these red lentil fritters instead which I knew I could shallow fry in the cast iron.

I found this recipe on Bon Appetite and adjusted the spices a little, but overall was really happy with the final result. Despite shallow-frying these bad boys, they are pretty healthy, packed with high-fibre, high-protein lentils (a pantry staple and perfect for pandemic meals), and are vegan and gluten-free.

The original recipe suggests to serve them with a lemon-infused yogourt, and that’s a great idea, as the acidity of the yogourt cuts through the richness of frying the red lentil fritters. However, if you wanted to keep them vegan, you could serve them with a little vegan yogourt infused with chopped up vegan kimchi for a little heat. The tamarind sauce traditionally served with pakoras would also be really tasty for dipping these into.

Just a quick word of advice: the soaking take the  most time here, so be sure to do that in advance.

Red Lentil Fritters

(vegan, gluten-free)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into matchsticks
  • ½ medium onion, cut similar to the zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons red lentil flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup parsley
Method
  1. Rinse the lentils in a sieve and then place them in a large bowl and cover with 2 cups of water. Allow to soak for an hour or two at least, or overnight.
  2. While the lentils are soaking, chop the vegetables. I used the matchstick attachment on my mandolin. Place the chopped zucchini and onions in a medium-sized bowl and sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon of salt. Toss well and set aside. This will allow the vegetables to release some of their water.
  3. When you’re ready to begin making the fritters, drain and rinse the lentils and add them to the bowl of your food processor. Whiz, stopping to scrape down the sides intermittently, until they are a fine paste.
  4. Drain the vegetables and give them a rinse in the sieve, pressing them to release any extra water. Toss the vegetables with the lemon zest, and then add the lentils, the spices and the red lentil flour to the vegetables, including a teaspoon of salt. Toss well to combine.
  5. Place the parsley in the bowl of the food processor and chop. Add the parsley to the fritter mixture and toss to combine.
  6. In a sturdy, heavy frying pan, cover the surface with a neutral oil like vegetable or canola. Heat over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Drop the fritter batter by large tablespoonfuls into the oil, taking care not to crowd the pan. Allow a few minutes to cook, then smush them down into a flat patty with the back of your spatula. Allow a few more minutes, then flip. They should take about 3-5 minutes for the first side, and about 3 minutes for the second side. Remove to a paper-towel covered plate to drain while you finish the batches. Serve warm.
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