Tag Archives: side dish

Carrot Squash Ginger Muffins (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free)

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When I first started on my journey in grain-free cooking (to accommodate my husband’s strict SCD diet) over 5 years ago, one of the first cookbooks I discovered that made me believe our restricted ingredients could actually still yield delicious results, was the Grain-Free Gourmet by Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass.  Although I typically enjoy cookbooks with pictures on every page, here, the recipes for grain-free pies, tarts, muffins and cakes had me so excited and motivated that I didn’t even care what the foods looked like, but just the knowledge that these recipes existed gave me hope (and there are plenty of nice pictures, just not every page!). One of the first recipes I tried from Grain-Free Gourmet, all those years ago, was the recipe for carrot muffins, because we all need a good, easy carrot muffin recipe to fall back on…After trying several variations of the original recipe, my favorite has become my Carrot Squash Ginger muffins. I prefer the resulting texture of the carrot-squash combo, and I think the added ginger adds an interesting and unexpected kick.  Although the consistency of this muffin is a not as fluffy as a typical gluten-filled baked-good, this moist and delicious treat is a favorite side dish, breakfast food and snack, at my house.

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Carrot Squash Ginger Muffins

Ingredients:

2 medium or 3 small carrots, cut in chunksIMG_4362

approximately 1/2 butternut squash, cut in chunks

*total combined carrots and squash grated should be about 3 cups

sugar-cube sized chunk of fresh ginger, peeled

2 eggs

1 tablespoon water

1/3 cup honey

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2.5 cups almond flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

IMG_4365Preheat the oven to 325 and line 30 mini muffins with parchment baking cups. Place carrots and butternut squash in food processor (I use S blade) until very finely shredded. Make sure the combined ingredients yield approximately 3 cups of grated vegetables (extra can be reserved for other recipes, soups, etc).  Add ginger, eggs, water, honey and lemon juice into food processor until well blended. If your machine has room, you can add in all other ingredients. If not, mix flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and then add the wet ingredients.

IMG_4375Fill each muffin liner about 2/3 high, and bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out dry. Try one right out of the oven, it tastes so good!

 

IMG_4414yield: 30 mini muffins or 12 regular size

Tip: high quality almond flour makes a major difference in the quality of grain-free baked goods. I buy mine from wellbees.com for great quality and better prices (especially when buying in bulk)

Roasted Eggplant Stuffed with Mushrooms and Tahini Dressing

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A few years ago, I was at my cousin Karen’s house for the holidays, and she served the most delicious appetizer of roasted eggplant stuffed with sautéed meat and covered in a  tahini sauce.  I was so taken by the dish, not only for the savory blend of flavors and textures, but also for the beautiful presentation that I knew could be achieved so easily. Over the years, I have served my cousin’s eggplant recipe many times and it is always a crowd pleaser.

Recently, I decided to try and make a lighter and  healthier version of the aforementioned recipe as a side dish at a large meal.  IMG_4131
I already had a lot of protein options in my menu, but I had an eggplant in my fridge and was determined to use it.   Instead of the usual meat stuffing, I decided to try it with sautéed mushrooms to achieve a similar mix of flavors and textures without all the heaviness.  The new recipe was a major success!  My guests loved the unique combination of vegetables and the creamy tahini dressing.  I know this recipe will be used again and again at my house, I can’t wait to try it with the mini eggplants for individual sized portions!

Roasted Eggplant Stuffed with Mushrooms and Tahini Dressing

I am dividing the recipe into 3 parts just to keep it clear.  Don’t be scared off if it looks long, this recipe is so easy!

Roasted Eggplant

IMG_4147Ingredients:

1 large eggplant

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 (if your oven has an optional setting for roasting, that would be best).
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Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Gently score inside of eggplant with a knife, making a crisscross pattern. Blend olive oil, salt and pepper and “paint” over inside of eggplant. Lay eggplant flat on parchment paper lined baking sheet and pierce skin of eggplant 2 or 3 times on each half.IMG_4085 Roast about 40 minutes or until skin is very soft (this is a good time to prepare mushrooms and tahini). Remove from oven and let eggplant stand as is for 10 minutes.  Mash the inside of the eggplant gently before filling (only do this step immediately before serving).

Sautéed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

1 medium white onion diced

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optional: 3 cloves chopped garlic

8 ounces fresh white mushrooms sliced thin

8 ounces crimini mushrooms sliced thin

1.5 tablespoon oil (can use coconut or preferred oil)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Sauté onions (and garlic if using) in oil on medium heat about 5 minutes, until soft. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for another 10 minutes.

Tahini Dressing

It is always an option to use store bought tahini or chummus for this dressing, being that I can’t use those products because of SCD guidelines, I make my own.

Ingredients:

1 cup crushed sesame seeds
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3/4 cup water

1 cup fresh parsley leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 lemon freshly squeezed (about 3-4 tablespoon)

Directions:

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until creamy.
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When I am not serving dish immediately, I keep all ingredients separate to re-heat. After heating, use a fork to gently mash the eggplant. Add mushrooms. Spread a dollop of dressing on top. If the tahini gets too thick in the fridge, you can thin with either water or lemon juice. Enjoy!IMG_4125

Zucchini Breakfast Bread

IMG_3836It is such a thrill for me to find a recipe for a baked good that has vegetables listed in the ingredients. Adding vegetables into gluten free cakes, muffins and breads is the ideal way to indulge my sweet tooth without the guilt, and also a perfect opportunity to sneak more vitamins into my cake-loving 2 year olds diet. Naturally low calorie and a good source of fiber, zucchinis provide essential vitamins A and C, and also add moistness to baked goods.  I love starting my day with a fresh slice of this lightly sweetened hearty grain-free zucchini bread (filled with chia, flax and chocolate chips for non-SCD).  I also use this recipe for mini muffins as a delicious side dish for a big meal.

Zucchini Breakfast Bread

*Recipe adapted from A Taste of Wellness Zucchini Muffins by Rochel Weiss

Ingredients:

2 medium to large zucchini (approximately 3 cups grated zucchini)

3 eggs

IMG_38173 cups almond flour

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup honey

2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt.

optional add ins for non-SCD:

1.5 teaspoon mixture chia seeds and or ground flax

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

IMG_3821Preheat oven to 325.  Use a hand or box grater to coarsely grate zucchini.
In a separate bowl, mix almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add in oil, honey and eggs. Squeeze out excess liquid from grated zucchini and stir into mixture.  If not following SCD and using optional add ins: mix in chia/flax and chocolate chips. Line two loaf pans (9.25 by 5.95 by 2.75) with parchment paper or line approximately 36-40 mini muffins.  Fill pans with batter 2/3 high, leaving room for muffins to rise. Bake loaves 30 minutes (mini muffins 18-20 minutes) or until toothpick in the middle comes out dry.

Tip: For baking, I prefer buying almond flour from: www.digestivewellness.com