The Gluten-Free Cookbook

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Gluten-Free, Paleo Fresh Pasta

Since going gluten-free five years ago, I've missed the taste of fresh pasta, its perfect texture readily absorbing the flavors of heirloom tomato sauce, roasted garlic alfredo, or carbonara. After several unsuccessful attempts to make gluten-free pasta at home, I finally admitted defeat and sold my pasta machine. When I went paleo about three years ago, pasta of any sort became a distant memory. 

Recently I tried Cappello's gluten-free, grain-free pasta, and instantly fell in love with the tender, chewy texture. I did not fall in love with the price. At $11 a pop, it was a splurge - certainly not something I could put on our weekly menu. That was a bummer, because with Rich being pescatarian and me paleo, it's tough to find healthy meals that satisfy both of our dietary preferences without resorting to salmon every night.

I am thrilled to say, that is about to change. Pasta is back on the menu!

I created a gluten-free paleo pasta recipe that is easy to work with and tastes amazing. The ingredients are similar to Cappello's, but theirs is made "primarily with almond flour and cage-free eggs" according to their website whereas mine has a more traditional ratio of flours to eggs, with nearly equal parts tapioca starch and almond flour.

It make delicious lasagna noodles, fettucine, and ravioli. I've already made this recipe three times, including a Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli with Ghee, Sage, and Toasted Oregon Hazelnuts (recipe to come).

You can make this recipe with a rolling pin and parchment paper. That is what I did to test the recipe before investing in another pasta maker (this is my third). The simple machine makes the task easier and yields a thinner noodle that holds up better to cooking. I bought mine at World Market for less than $40.

Tips for Making Homemade Gluten-Free Pasta:

  • Humidity affects the dough. If you're making it on a rainy day or you live in an environment with high humidity, you may need to add just a touch more tapioca flour. 
  • Unlike pasta dough made with gluten, this dough does not tolerate stretching. It should not be draped over a dowel to dry and should be carefully hand-fed into the pasta maker. Actually, this reality makes working with the dough using a rolling pin easier. 
  • Be patient. The first time you make the dough, you may find it temperamental. Make sure you have enough time and energy to focus. (Definitely don't drag out your SLR camera on the first try!)  

Gluten-Free, Paleo Fresh Pasta Recipe

Yields 2 servings

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons tapioca starch (50 grams), plus more for dusting 
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour (45 grams)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon guar gum
1 large egg

1. Mix the tapioca starch, almond flour, sea salt, and guar gum in a small mixing bowl.

2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg. Use a spatula to stir it around, slowly incorporating the flours until the dough comes together into a ball. Place the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and dust lightly with tapioca starch.

 3. Divide the dough into four to six pieces and cover all but one with a towel or plastic so that they do not dry out. Flatten one of the dough pieces with your hand or a rolling pin until it is about 1/4-inch thick.

4. Set the pasta maker to the first setting, #1, which is the widest. Run the dough through the machine twice. If it tears, fold it back onto itself and run it through again. If it sticks, dust lightly with tapioca starch.

5. Set the pasta maker to the next setting, #2, and run the pasta dough through it twice. Reduce the setting again to #3 and run the dough through twice. You can stop at this setting for a slightly thicker noodle, or drop the setting to #4 and run it through twice more. That is the setting I used in the photographs here.

6. Dust the pasta sheet with tapioca starch. This will help prevent the noodles from sticking to one another once they are cut. 

7. Attach the fettucine attachment to the pasta maker and re-attach the hand crank to the attachment. Carefully feed the flattened dough through to cut the sheet into individual noodles.

8. Lay the pasta onto the parchment sheet and allow to rest while you repeat steps 4 through 7 with the remaining dough. Be careful not to incorporate too much tapioca starch into the dough as you process it.

9. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Carefully slide the noodles from the parchment paper into the boiling water and quickly stir with a pasta spoon. Set a timer for 90 seconds. Stir once or twice if the noodles are sticking to one another or to the bottom of the pot.

10. Drain in a colander and transfer the noodles to the sauce or serving dish.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Chewy Vegan Gluten-Free Brownies

Last night after a full day of surfing and our weekly family grill night, Rich said he was craving brownies. I love having a stocked pantry that allows me to whip up whatever sounds yummy at the moment. Good quality cocoa powder is a must. My favorite is Equal Exchange Baking Cocoa, which is fair trade and has such a profound impact on all of my baked goods. A baking cupboard full of gluten-free flours is helpful, too.

The foundation for this recipe came from my much loved (and smeared with lots of chocolate) copy of Babycakes by Erin McKenna. However, I changed the recipe substantially, skipping the applesauce, chocolate chips, and xanthan gum. I also used palm shortening instead of coconut oil and used brown sugar in place of white sugar because the complexity of brown sugar complements chocolate so beautifully, which I learned about 10 years ago from Nigella Lawson in How to Be a Domestic Goddess.

These brownies are crispy on the edges and decadently chewy on the inside. We ate them straight out of the pan while they were still so hot they burned our mouths and crumbled everywhere. Hey, surfing burns a lot of calories. We were hungry! They are even better once they cool off a bit.

Yields 15 small squares 
1 cup garbanzo (chickpea) flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
3/4 cup brown sugar* or coconut palm sugar  
2 teaspoons double-acting, aluminum free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 scant teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup palm shortening
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water
1 tablespoon powdered sugar* (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a 6x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. 
  2. Combine the garbanzo flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. 
  3. Add the palm shortening, vanilla extract, and hot water and stir until just combined. 
  4. Spread the mixture into the baking dish and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 27 minutes. The top will still be slightly jiggly. 
  5. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before sifting powdered sugar over the top, slicing and serving. 

*Note: If you are vegan, look for a vegan brown sugar and powdered sugar. Alternately, use coconut palm sugar and skip the powdered sugar.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Loaded Sweet Potatoes with Barbecue Sauce

My newest book came out this week, The Microbiome Cookbook; 150 Delicious Recipes to Nourish Your Microbiome and Restore Your Gut Health. I am often asked what my favorite recipe is in each book I write, and this recipe for loaded sweet potatoes may be my favorite recipe of any book I've written. Think cowboy nachos without the cheese or corn chips. Seriously, I find a way to sneak some rendition of it onto my family's dinner menu nearly every week.

In The Microbiome Cookbook, the recipe calls for crumbled tempeh, which yields a gluten-free, vegetarian entree loaded with prebiotics, which give your gut bugs something to feast on, and probiotics to bolster the population of good bacteria.

I usually make it for Rich with tempeh. Personally, I prefer crumbled bacon, for a filling paleo entree. The smokiness of the bacon and barbecue sauce contrasted with the tangy coleslaw and caramelized sweet potatoes is addicting. I've also made it with other proteins, such as shredded chicken or spicy Italian sausage. It would also work with pan-seared tofu.

I will be chatting about The Microbiome Cookbook this weekend with Mimi Stoneburner on Body Talk Health show on K-Tip radio. It will stream live on Saturday, August 13, from 2 to 3PM Pacific. Or, you can catch it in the archives after it airs.

Until then, enjoy these recipes for Loaded Sweet Potatoes and Barbecue Sauce. Enjoy!

Loaded Sweet Potatoes with Barbecue Sauce
Serves 2 to 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes

2 to 3 sweet potatoes, unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Sea salt
One 8-ounce package tempeh
1 cup Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows) or store bought sauce
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups shredded cabbage  

1.     Preheat the oven to 400°F.
1.     Slice the sweet potatoes lengthwise in ¼-inch-thick pieces. Place them on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and toss gently to coat. Season with salt. 

2.     Roast uncovered for 40 minutes, or until the bottoms are browned and the tops are shrunken.
3.     Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Crumble the tempeh and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the barbecue sauce and cook until just heated through.
4.     In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, and cumin. Add the cabbage and toss to coat thoroughly.
5.     To serve, place the sweet potatoes into individual serving bowls. Top with a generous scoop of the tempeh and then the cabbage. Serve immediately. 

Barbecue Sauce
Yields 2 cups
Prep time 5 minutes 
Cook time 25 minutes 

Although it’s certainly easier to reach for a bottle of commercially prepared barbecue sauce, most are loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, neither of which is good for a healthy gut. Try this naturally sweetened low-sugar version instead. 

1 yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 fresh dates, pitted and diced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne
Freshly ground pepper

1.     Cook the onion in a small sauce pan along with the olive oil and a pinch of sea salt until soft and nearly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
1.     Add all of the remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes to allow all of the flavors to come together.
2.     Adjust seasoning. For a smooth consistency, use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Quick Preserved Lemons

California lemon season lasts from December to May, though lemons may remain on the tree all year here if they're not picked. They're delicious juiced, zested, infused in wine, and whipped into lemon meringue pies. But I find that only goes so far in really maximizing the lemon harvest. Enter, preserved lemons.

Preserved lemons have a bright, briny flavor and chewy texture. They can be used in risotto, lemon and artichoke pasta, chopped with parsley for an out-of-this-world gremolata, and to make a boss harissa. They also make a perfect easy DIY Christmas gift. 
Some recipes call for preserving lemons for several weeks. Although the flavor does improve over time, you can begin using the lemons in as few as five days after preserving them. Here is my recipe for quick preserved lemons, loosely based on a recipe in the cookbook Gjelina by Travis Lett. My version is much smaller and designed for home kitchens. 

Yield 1/2 pint 

1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon fennel seed
2 lemons, scrubbed
1/4 cup sea salt
1/4 teaspoon red chili flake 

1. Toast the coriander and fennel seed in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the red chili flake and set aside. 

2. Cut the lemons into wedges lengthwise. 

3. Pour one tablespoon of salt and a generous pinch of the spices into a perfectly clean mason jar. Squeeze the juice from two of the lemon wedges into the jar and swirl gently. Stuff the lemon rinds down into the salt and juice. 

4. Top with another tablespoon of salt and a pinch of spices. Squeeze the juice from another two lemon quarters into the jar and then add the rinds. Repeat until the jar is full and the lemon rinds are fully submerged in juice, finishing with salt and spices. You may end up using all of the juice but not having room for two of the lemon rinds. 

5. Cover with a clean lid and place in a cool dark place for five days before using. Refrigerate after opening.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Five-Spice Pork Sirloin Roast with Radicchio and Pear Sauce and Book Giveaway

On January 12, 2016, my new book Sheet Pan Paleo: 200 One-Tray Recipes for Quick Prepping, Easy Roasting, and Hassle-Free Cleanup comes out. Pre-order a copy of Sheet Pan Paleo from Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Or, enter to win a free copy of by entering the Goodreads Giveaway sponsored by my publisher. For now, here's one of my favorite recipes from the book.

Five-Spice Pork Sirloin Roast with Radicchio and Pear Sauce 

This recipe has all the warmth, sweetness, and spice you look for in a holiday dinner. If you’re comfortable eating dairy, add a few tablespoons of softened butter or ghee to the pear sauce for an extra layer of decadence.

Serves 4 to 6

Prep time: 15 minutes plus 4 to 6 hours for brining
Cook time: 50 to 60 minutes 
1½ tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder, divided
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup or coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 boneless pork sirloin roast, 2 to 3 pounds
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 head radicchio, sliced in wedges
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pears, cored and sliced in wedges
2 tablespoons butter or ghee, optional
1.      Combine 1 tablespoon of the Chinese five-spice powder with the vinegar, maple syrup, and salt in a non-reactive deep dish. Add half a cup of hot water and whisk to combine. Add two cups of ice water. Submerge the pork roast in the brine, adding more water as needed to cover. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
2.      Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
3.      Remove the pork roast from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Coat with 1 tablespoon of the oil to facilitate browning. Roast uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes per pound of meat. (e.g. For a 2-pound roast, cooking time would be between 50 and 60 minutes.)
4.      During the last 30 minutes of cooking, whisk together the vinegar, remaining oil, and remaining five-spice powder. Dredge the radicchio slices in the vinegar mixture and scatter across the sheet pan along with the pear slices. Return to the oven and roast uncovered until the pork is cooked through to an internal temperature of 145F.
5.      Remove the pork to a cutting board and cover with foil for 10 minutes before slicing.
6.      Place the pears in a blender along with any pan juices and butter or ghee if using and puree until smooth.
7.      Slice the meat on a bias and serve with the sauce and radicchio.

 Excerpted from the book Sheet Pan Paleo: 200 One-Tray Recipes for Quick Prepping, Easy Roasting, and Hassle-Free Cleanup, January 12, 2016, Ulysses Press, Berkley. 

Pre-order a copy of Sheet Pan Paleo from Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Or, enter to win a free copy of by entering the Goodreads Giveaway sponsored by my publisher.