When I tested positive for gluten and dairy sensitivity, I had to rethink my whole way of cooking and eating. Gluten-free products are starting to be more widely available, like gluten-free bread, crackers, even flours and baking mixes; however, I've noticed they are often laden with sugar, salt, and hard to pronounce ingredients.
I decided to come up with ways to adapt my tried and true recipes to this new way of eating. And I've also committed to eating clean and using as few “fake” foods as possible. I've got nothing to lose.
Where to begin!?
At first, I went down the internet rabbit hole and started exploring gluten free and dairy free recipes. After a while, I decided to follow some of the methods, rather than particular recipes, because I didn't want to buy a whole bunch of ingredients I wasn't sure I was going to like.
Eating gluten free and dairy free is going to be more expensive. Clean eating, or eating minimally processed food, isn't always cheaper either. But my health is more important and in the long run, changing nutrition and dietary habits will save me the discomfort and illness, hopefully, future medical bills as well.
The key here is to get good, quality ingredients. If you start with the best, you will end up with delicious, healthy, and nutritious meals.
Gluten-Free Chicken Meatballs With Chickpeas And Red Pepper
I think of this recipe as a dish you will find somewhere in the Mediterranean. Chickpeas, fresh herbs, and colorful vegetables, all come together to create a beautiful and company-friendly meal.
My lovely local grocery store makes their own ground chicken. It is 85% dark meat, which gives it just enough fat and flavor. You can certainly make your own, but I trust my butcher and there's less cleanup for me!
I discovered canned Muir Glenn Fire Roasted Tomatoes a couple of years ago and I love them so much, I won't use any other kind in my sauce. They have a slightly charred taste that gives more depth and dimension to anything you cook with them.
I prefer shallots for their milder taste, but you can certainly use regular onions instead.
You can buy dry chickpeas at the bulk section. They are cheap and, if you have an Instant Pot, very easy to cook. Just throw them in the Instant Pot, cover with water and press Beans. You can also use canned chickpeas.
- 2 lbs ground chicken
- 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, tough stems removed
- 1 small shallot
- 1 cup whole cooked chickpeas
- 1 whole roasted red pepper, seeds and charred outer skin removed
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cans of diced tomatoes or 3 large tomatoes in small dice
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 1 red pepper, in small dice
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- Salt, pepper and dried thyme to taste
Combine chickpeas, shallots, parsley and roasted pepper in a food processor and process until everything is combined but don't completely pulverize the mixture. When you open the lid, inhale deeply and enjoy the smell of fresh shallots and herbs. To me, it smells like summer, no matter when I am actually making this.
In a large bowl combine ground chicken, the chickpea mixture, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
While your chicken is chilling in the fridge, start the sauce. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or another wide pan with a tight-fitting lid. Sauté diced shallots and red pepper for a few minutes until softened. Add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, and broth. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush it with oil. Take chilled chicken out of the fridge and roll into golf ball-sized meatballs. You might have to run your hands under cold water a couple of times, it'll make it easier to roll the meatballs. Place meatballs on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
Carefully transfer meatballs to your Dutch oven with the sauce and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
You can serve meatballs with pasta or quinoa, or if you are trying to limit your carbs, just eat as is.
Gluten Free Meatloaf
Meatloaf was another one of my favorites so I had to adapt this comfort food recipe to my needs. It was actually much easier than I thought, I don't miss the breadcrumbs at all. The Paleo flour I use in this recipe holds everything together just fine.
This is a super easy and quick meal, perfect for any weeknight.
My grocery store grinds their own meat and they have these nifty little trays of meatloaf mix. It's a combination of ground chuck, ground pork, and ground veal. If your grocery store doesn't have that, just use ½ lb of each. This really is an excellent combination, much better than using just one kind of meat.
- 1.5 lb meatloaf mix
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 small shallot (or to taste) grated or finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Paleo flour
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper or to taste
- ¼ tsp mustard flour
- 4 tbs chili sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl, except chili sauce, until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a meatloaf pan and spread chili sauce on top. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving. I like to serve the meatloaf with roasted green beans (I put them in the oven about 15 mins before the meatloaf is done and roast them right alongside the meatloaf) for a healthy and filling low-carb meal.
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