Tag Archives: gluten-free salad

A Gluten-Free Food Blogger Brunch (and Basil Chicken Pesto Salad Puffs)

 

Yesterday, a group of Dallas-area food bloggers and friends got together for our first-ever gluten-free brunch, hosted by Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. It was an intimate party (there were five of us), and boy, was it a lovely meal, and an excellent opportunity to meet other gluten-free bloggers. Also attending the brunch was Amy of I Am A Celiac, Kerri of Food Sparks, and Katie, a gluten-free friend that does not blog (yet – we might convince her otherwise).

For those of us with dietary restrictions, sometimes pot lucks and meals at others’ houses can cause anxiety, (will I get sick?) or cause many of us to not eat at all. Not so at this brunch! What a delight to visit and everything is gluten-free! There was certainly an abundance of food.

Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten Free made cucumber basil water (posted on her blog), which is the most amazing, refreshing drink I think I’ve had to date. Definitely seeing this served in the near future in my house. She also baked up a storm, making two varieties of scones, blueberry crumb bars, (which I loved – even took a few home!) and strawberry muffins.

Amy of I Am A Celiac brought deliciously savory gluten-free jalapeno sausage, black beans and roasted potatoes, and a baked good from the nearby gluten-free bakery (for the life of me, I can’t think of or find the name of the place!).

Katie brought a lovely fruit salad and deviled eggs (complete with homemade mayonnaise!), and Kerri brought fresh juices and some homemade jams – strawberry and raspberry chipotle.

And I brought these.

Basil chicken pesto salad puffs. I used my gluten-free, dairy-free pate a choux recipe, and filled the puffs with chicken salad. I wanted a fresh, unique chicken salad, and since my garden is currently overflowing with basil, I opted for pesto as a main component. I found that Alisa at Go Dairy Free had a dairy-free pesto recipe that was very easy to make. I followed this recipe, and boosted the flavors and complexity with the addition of sun-dried tomatoes, apples, walnuts, lemon, and a bit of dijon. I added mayonnaise, but not much – just enough to keep the salad moist and blend the flavors together. Stuffed into the puffs, this salad was bright, slightly sweet, and fresh.

It was most refreshing to enjoy time with fellow bloggers (and fellow gluten-free friends). Spending time with like minds who share the same passions rejuvenates the soul. I returned home with renewed energy and new ideas. We’ll have to get together again soon!

Basil Chicken Pesto Salad Puffs

2 T olive oil

2 lbs chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

1 recipe gluten-free, dairy-free cream puffs

1 recipe dairy-free basil pesto

1/2 c mayonnaise

1 1/2 t dijon mustard

1/3 c sundried tomatoes, chopped

1/4 c toasted walnuts, chopped

2 apples (I used Fuji, but I imagine Granny Smith would be even better), peeled and diced

1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large, heavy skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil and allow to heat until shimmering. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and saute, 5-6 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. (Work in batches if you need to) Remove and set aside. When all chicken is cooked, place in airtight container and chill in refrigerator overnight.

Prepare cream puffs as directed in recipe and allow to cool to room temperature.

Prepare pesto as directed in recipe.

Remove chicken from refrigerator and dice into 1/2 inch dice. Stir together pesto, mayonnaise, and dijon mustard. Toss apples in juice from the lemon. Combine diced chicken, pesto mixture, apples, sundried tomatoes, and walnuts in a large bowl and stir gently until evenly mixed. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut a small hole in the top of each cream puff. Gently spoon chicken salad into each cream puff, filling the entire inside cavity. Chill until ready to serve. (These can be refrigerated for a few hours, but the cream puff will become soft over time.)

Makes 15-18.

27 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes

Beet and Orange Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Remember the other day, when I promised to tell you about a beet salad I brought to the Dallas Food Bloggers potluck? Well, I always want to make good on my promises, so here goes.

I can’t take credit for this recipe. Wish I could, as it’s absolutely divine. Of course, I love beets, particularly roasted beets. But this salad truly makes them shine. It’s a great way to eat something that makes your mouth feel good, and it’s good for your body!

About a month ago, I won a book called Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons over at one of my favorite blogs, Cookin’ Canuck.  (Warning: If you’re the least bit hungry, be careful visiting her blog. She has some of the most delectable recipes, and even more delicious photos!) This book was something that I would have likely passed by if I was browsing at a book store. It’s just not something I’d gravitate towards. (sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between the good and the bad with these monster-sized cookbooks.) I’m so glad this didn’t happen, and that I was lucky enough to win a copy. As soon as I opened the book, I couldn’t put it down. Recipe after recipe sounded mouth-wateringly delicious. If you think a vegetarian diet means boring or restrictive meals, this book will make you change your mind.

After debating where to start, I finally decided on this recipe. I was in love. While I did grill steaks for my husband and I that evening (yes, I realize that’s not exactly vegetarian, but he’s not interested in beets, and hey, I’m totally accepting of a good piece of beef), I left most of my steak for my husband, and instead ate more beet salad. That’s how good it was. The recipe is written for 4 servings, but if this is going to be a large portion of your meal, or if you have a beet fanatic, I’d suggest doubling it.

I was still so enamored with this recipe that I made it again and brought it to the Dallas Food Blogger potluck this past weekend. It was a perfect potluck dish, as it can sit at room temperature, and it looks so gorgeous with the jewel-toned beets. The positive reviews sealed the deal – this is a “go to” salad in our house from now on!

Beet and Orange Salad with Basil Vinaigrette, adapted just barely from Vegetarian Planet

3 medium beets, peeled and cut into eighths

3 T olive oil

salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

1 seedless orange

2 T balsamic vinegar

3 T chopped basil, plus a few leaves for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the beets in a roasting pan and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the beets. Season with salt and pepper and toss until evenly coated with the oil. Bake for 40 minutes or until beets are tender and easily pierced with a fork. Allow beets to cool for 10-15 minutes.

While beets are cooling, grate the rind from the orange, and with a paring knife, peel and section the orange. (For instructions on how to section an orange, check out Amy’s tutorial over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.) In a bowl, combine the orange rind, any juice that accumulated when sectioning oranges, the balsamic vinegar, and the basil. Whisk together, and while whisking, slowly pour in the remaining olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place the beet and orange pieces on a large plate and spoon the vinaigrette over. Serve the salad when the beets have come to room temperatures. (Can be refrigerated overnight – the oranges will take on the red color of the beets though.)

Serves 4 as a starter.

36 Comments

Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Salads, Vegetarian

Mediterranean-Style Pepper Salad

med pepper salad2When it came time to decide what to bring to this month’s Dallas SOL supper, almost immediately, I thought of this great recipe at Smitten Kitchen. I prepared this recipe twice before, and both times, it received rave reviews. A crunchy, colorful non-lettuce salad that only gets more flavorful the longer it sits? What could be better for a pot-luck style dinner? And besides, it bursts flavor: sweet peppers, briny olives, creamy cheese, and juicy tomatoes, all enveloped in a wonderful sweet-sour red wine vinaigrette. Yum.

Knowing that peppers were in abundance in the farmer’s markets right now, this would be an easy salad to modify using local, organic ingredients. I wasn’t able to find tri-color local bell peppers (only green), so in an effort to maintain the rainbow of colors, I substituted some gorgeous banana and sweet Hungarian wax peppers of various colors. They stood in beautifully. Also, I was not able to find a local feta cheese, as was called for in the recipe, but Mozzarella Company in Dallas makes some gorgeous mozzarella, which was thoroughly enjoyed as well. All in all, this was another wonderful success, inspired by Smitten Kitchen!

1/4 c red wine vinegar

1/4 c cold water

1 T kosher salt

2 t sugar

1/2 small red onion, diced

1 green bell pepper

3 yellow banana peppers

3 red and orange sweet Hungarian wax peppers

1 kirby cucumber

1/4 fresh mozzarella cheese

1/4 c pitted kalamata olives

1/2 c cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1/4 c olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Swish together the red wine vinegar, water, kosher salt, and sugar in a small bowl until salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the red onion and set aside. (this allows the red onion to pickle, softening its bite)

Meanwhile, core and seed your peppers, and chop them into 1/2 inch pieces. Chop the cucumber, cheese, olives, and tomatoes into similarly-sized pieces. Put the vegetables into a large bowl.

Drain the onions from the vinegar mixture, reserving the liquid. Add the onions to the other vegetables in the large bowl. Pour a quarter-cup of the vinegar mixture over the salad, and then drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss evenly, and taste to ensure seasoning is correct. Serve immediately, or allow to sit in refrigerator for a few hours.

Serves 6-8.

13 Comments

Filed under Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Salads, Vegetarian