Gluten-free doesn’t have to be boring

It is not hard to find a friend or family member who is following a gluten-free diet these days.

I have a sister who has celiac disease and my cousin-in-law has a wheat sensitivity that has developed over the years, which makes dining out a little challenging and cooking at home sometimes daunting.  Now, though, there has been a corresponding increase in the number of cookbooks to help manage a gluten-free diet.

One gifted over the holidays, Donna Washburn’s “Easy Everyday Gluten-Free Cooking,”  includes more than 250  with delicious and dependable recipes, and even features desserts, which has been the worst part of my sister’s gluten-free dietary struggles. (Can you imagine not being able to enjoy chocolate cake or a brownie?)

Here’s a sample recipe from the book for a flavorful Grilled Chicken Mandarin Salad:

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GRILLED CHICKEN MANDARIN SALAD WITH SWEET AND SOUR DRESSING

For the dressing:

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

2 tbsp. white vinegar

2 tbsp. snipped fresh parsley

¼ tsp. salt

Pinch freshly ground pepper 2 to 3 drops hot pepper sauce

For the salad:

6 oz. baby spinach

1 cup sliced celery

¼ cup thinly sliced green onions

1 can (10 oz.) mandarin orange segments, drained

4 chicken breasts, grilled and cut into ¼-inch strips

1 recipe caramelized almonds (recipe follows)

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, vinegar, parsley, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Set aside for at least 1 hour. Refrigerate for up to three weeks.

In a salad bowl, toss together the spinach, celery, green onions and mandarin orange segments.

Pour dressing over the salad and toss lightly. Top with grilled chicken strips and sprinkle with caramelized almonds.

Makes four servings.

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CARAMELIZED ALMONDS

½ cup slivered almonds

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

In a small frying pan, cook almonds and sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted and almonds are coated and lightly browned.

Set aside to cool, then separate. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Makes ½ cup.

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    Kory Hansen

    Kory Hansen, a graduate of California State University, Fresno, began work at The Record in 2004 as a page designer and Graphics Editor. Kory currently lives in Brentwood with his wife and two sons, and spends entirely too much time chasing peacocks ... Read Full
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