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Mar 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Wheatless Wednesdays’

Wheatless Wednesday: Twisted Vegetable Lasagna

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014



Tomorrow begins a new year and the post-holiday food slump. We’re all tired of rich food, but we need filling meals to keep the belly warm as winter drags on. (Want more light, bright winter fare? Click here.) That’s why I turned a classic heavy dish into a lighter gluten-free meal with a twist. Instead of layering noodles into the lasagna pan, try wrapping them around the filling, creating portioned packets of lasagna resting on a veggie bed and swathed in gooey cheese. It’s perfect for last-minute New Year’s Eve gatherings or long winter nights that lie ahead.

Twisted Gluten-Free Vegetable Lasagna
15 to 16 servings

1 16-oz. box gluten-free lasagna noodles
3 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more to coat, divided
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 yellow squash, thinly sliced lengthwise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tsp. dried herbs like basil, thyme or oregano, divided
1 small white onion, chopped
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1 16-oz. jar pasta sauce
8 oz. cottage cheese, drained
8 oz. ricotta cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tsp. garlic powder
5 oz. baby spinach leaves
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar, divided
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Bring a large pot of salted water to boil with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook the lasagna noodles under just tender enough to roll easily, about 5 minutes. Drain the noodles and lightly coat each with more olive oil to keep from sticking, then lay them flat on an olive oil-coated baking sheet until ready to use.
• Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect heat or place a grill pan over medium-high heat.
• Toss the zucchini and yellow squash with olive oil to coat and season with 1 teaspoon herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Grill the zucchini and squash until tender and a bit charred, about 5 minutes, then flip and grill another 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
• Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and mushrooms with the remaining 1 teaspoon herbs until lightly brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
• Roughly chop the grilled zucchini and yellow squash and toss with the mushrooms and onion. Set aside.
• Spoon a thin layer of pasta sauce on bottom of 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish, then cover with the chopped vegetables.
• In a medium bowl, stir together the cottage cheese, ricotta, Parmesan, egg and garlic powder until combined. Spread a thin layer of this mixture on top of each lasagna noodle, then sprinkle with a few tablespoons cheddar and mozzarella cheese and cover with a few spinach leaves.
• Roll each noodle into a tight pinwheel and place spiral-side-down on top of the vegetables, packing together tightly so they stay closed. Cover the noodles with the remaining sauce and remaining cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Place the pan on a baking sheet to catch any drippings and bake 35 minutes, until the sauce and cheese are bubbly and slightly brown. Cover with foil and bake another 10 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

Wheatless Wednesdays: Mung Bean Pancakes with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014



Pancakes are generally synonymous with sweet, syrupy indulgent breakfast fare. They’re also synonymous with bloated bellies and near catatonic energy levels. For me, those moments of instant gratification never seem worth the following hours of a sluggish mind and body.

Thankfully, there are ways to indulge in this breakfast treat without blood sugar crashes. I recently spent time with Goyo Fawley, an Ayurvedic chef at Satyam Healing Arts in California. (Click here to read more about my experiences with an Ayruvedic diet and lifestyle.) He showed me how to griddle up delicious, protein-packed, colorful pancakes that left me feeling balanced and ready to take on the day, not take a nap. These healthy, bean-filled flapjacks adapt to plenty of dietary restrictions; they’re gluten-free and can be dairy-free and vegan, too.

Fawley taught me that regularly balancing my body, mind and spirit leads to more energy and vigor, and that is the key to balance and living a full, vital life. Here’s to your health!


Mung Bean Pancakes with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce
4 servings

½ cup shredded, unsweetened dried coconut
1½ cups hot water
2 Tbsp. ghee or coconut oil, plus more for frying, divided
Half of a small serrano pepper, chopped
2 ½-inch pieces of ginger, peeled, divided
½ tsp. cumin seed
1/8 tsp. asafetida*, plus more to taste (optional)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt to taste
1 cup raw mung beans, soaked overnight in water, drained and rinsed
½ large onion, coarsely chopped
2 to 3 cups tap water
½ cup shredded beet or carrot, plus more for garnish
Sliced green onion for garnish

• In a medium bowl, soak the dried coconut in the hot water 30 to 45 minutes, until softened.
• Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed skillet, warm 2 tablespoons ghee over medium heat. Saute the serrano pepper, 1 piece of ginger and the cumin seeds about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add a dash of asafetida to taste, if desired.
• In a high-powered blender or the bowl of a food processor, combine the rehydrated coconut, its soaking liquid and the sauteed pepper mixture and pulse. Add the cilantro, lime juice and sea salt to taste and purée until smooth. Set the sauce aside.
• In a high-powered blender or the bowl of a food processor, add the mung beans, onion, ginger, 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (if desired) and 2 cups water and pulse. Add more water as needed until the mixture reaches a pancake batter-like consistency.
• Coat the bottom of a heavy skillet or griddle with ghee over medium-high heat. Pour the batter into the skillet in batches to form desired size pancakes. Sprinkle the surface of each pancake with shredded beet or carrot. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until underside is lightly browned. Flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, utnil the pancake is browned and cooked though. Repeat until all batter is used.
• Serve the pancakes with the sauce and garnish with sliced green onions and shredded beet or carrot.

*Asafetida, also called hing, is an herb cultivated in India. It can be found at Jay International Food Co., and other international markets.

Wheatless Wednesdays: Raw Sweet Potato Crackers with Garden Gazpacho

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014



My body sometimes calls for a cleanse, a detox, anything to aid the digestive system and encourage me to eat more simply. Summer is the perfect time, when local, fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits are plentiful. I recently decided to eat only raw, plant-based dishes for two weeks. That means only fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds in their uncooked forms – no dairy, meat, sugar, alcohol or refined foods. I’m not even allowed to cook anything! It may seem extreme, but it can also force you to get creative with recipes and food prep.

The thought of dehydrated sweet potatoes turned into crackers was irresistible, especially when paired with a garden-fresh gazpacho. If you aren’t in possession of a dehydrator, you can also make these chips in a very low-temperature oven. While using any temperature higher than 115 degrees is technically not raw cooking, the effect is largely the same. Just give the oven plenty of time – four to five hours – to slowly dry the mixture for a crisp crunch.

Raw Sweet Potato Crackers
Makes about 70 2-inch crackers

3 cups peeled and shredded sweet potato
3 cups corn kernels
1 cup chopped greens (kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, etc.)
½ large red pepper, chopped
Juice of half a lime
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 garlic cloves
1/3 cup ground chia seeds
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1½. Tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. allspice

• In the bowl of a food processor, combine the shredded sweet potato, corn, greens, red pepper, lime juice, apple cider vinegar and garlic and blend for 1 minute. Add the chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and cilantro and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Then add the sea salt, red pepper flakes and allspice and pulse again until blended.
• If using a dehydrator, preheat it to 110 to 115 degrees. Spread the sweet potato mixture evenly in ¼- to 1/3-inch layers on 2 dehydrator sheets or parchment paper-lined dehydrator trays. Use a knife to score into 2-inch squares or desired cracker size.
• Dehydrate about 20 hours to achieve crisp crackers, flipping once to help them dry evenly.
• If using the oven, preheat it to the lowest temperature possible. Spread the sweet potato mixture evenly in ¼- to 1/3-inch layers on 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Use a knife to score into 2-inch squares or desired cracker size.
• Place the trays in the oven, propping the door open slightly. If possible, place a fan in front of the oven door to encourage air circulation. Bake 4 to 5 hours until the cracker sheet feels stiff and dry.
• Slide the sheets onto a wire rack to cool and completely harden, then break into crackers.

Garden Gazpacho
8 servings

4 large tomatoes, quartered
¾ cup peeled and shredded sweet potato
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 small cucumber, chopped
¼ cup chopped red onion
½ large red pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
3 Tbsp. chopped basil
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
Hot sauce to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped avocado for garnish

• In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the tomatoes until roughly chopped. Add the sweet potato, celery, cucumber, onion, red pepper and garlic and process until desired gazpacho consistency is achieved.
• Drizzle in the oil and add the parsley, basil, vinegar, lime juice, hot sauce, salt and pepper and pulse a few more seconds to fully blend.
• Garnish the gazpacho with fresh herbs and serve with raw sweet potato crackers and chopped avocado.

Wheatless Wednesday: Earth and Sea Bowl

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014


I love all things earthy, but I’m also in love with the bounty of the sea. When they all come together in one big bowl, it’s a miracle meal. Add chopsticks and a couple glasses of wine, and this mung bean salad becomes a food-inspired game of Operation.

Filling bowls like this one make me feel wholesome, healthy and complete. Having ventured to many macrobiotic cafes over the years, I have come to realize that some of the best balancing meals are those that incorporate hearty green vegetables, root vegetables, beans, grains and seafood. This Earth and Sea Bowl serves up a variety of nutrient-dense ingredients. Feel free to modify the various components to create your own macrobiotic meal.

Earth and Sea Bowl
4 servings

1 cup dried mung beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped spinach
1/3 cup hemp seeds
1/3 cup sunflower sprouts
¼ cup parsley, chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more to coat
2 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. halibut fillet
1 lb. sea scallops
2 large sweet potatoes, cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch slices
1 bunch asparagus

• Prepare mung beans according to package instructions and place them in a medium mixing bowl. Add garlic, cucumber, spinach, hemp seeds, sunflower sprouts and parsley.
• In another small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the mung bean mixture and stir well. Set aside.
• Prepare a grill for direct heat.
• Lightly coat the halibut, scallops, sweet potatoes and asparagus with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Grill the sweet potato spears, flipping every 15 minutes until lightly browned. Add the asparagus and grill until browned and slightly crisp, about 7 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove the vegetables and set aside.
• Grill the halibut about 5 minutes, then flip and cook another 5 minutes until it reaches desired firmness. Remove from the heat, slice the halibut into 4 equal pieces and set aside.
• Grill the scallops 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and grill another 2 minutes until cooked through. Set aside.
• To assemble the bowls, divide the mung bean salad evenly between 4 deep bowls. Top each with grilled sweet potatoes, asparagus, scallops and halibut.



Wheatless Wednesday: Seedy Almond-Flour Crackers

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014



The scope of gluten-free snack food has grown immensely in the last five years, thanks to the growing gluten-intolerant population. In a short time, the reaction when someone mentions gluten-free in food situations has gone from a glossy-eyed “Uh, what’s that?” to a friendly conversation about their own friends and family who struggle with gluten. While processed, packaged snacks aren’t my idea of real food, it is nice to have bread, crackers and cookies around to supplement wholesome meals. Even so, I tire easily of packaged items, so to break out of the “box,” I started experimenting.

These crackers are packed with nutritious ingredients fit for a gluten-free or paleo diet. Just a few of these a day will contribute greatly to your fiber, protein and good fat needs. Try different combination of any seeds, nut flours and savory ingredients to modify as you like. This version was particularly delicious with Marcoot Jersey Creamery’s herb quark and fresh local radish slices.

Seedy Almond Flour Crackers
Makes 24 2-by-2-inch crackers

1 cup almond flour
3 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. hemp seeds*
2 Tbsp. coconut flour*
1½ Tbsp. onion flakes
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
½ tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 egg

• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
• In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almond flour, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, coconut flour, onion flakes, chia seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds and sea salt until the texture is course but the seeds are not fully ground.
• Add the olive oil, maple syrup, egg and 1 tablespoon water to the seed mixture and pulse until a ball forms.
• Place the dough on a large piece of parchment paper, cover with another piece and roll out evenly until the dough is 1/8- to ¼-inch thick. Transfer the bottom sheet of parchment paper with the rolled out dough to a baking sheet.
• Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to perforate the dough into 2-by-2-inch squares or desired size cracker.
• Bake approximately 15 minutes** until golden brown. Let cool, break along perforations, and serve.

*Coconut flour and hemp seeds are available at Golden Grocer.
** If the outer crackers cook quicker then the center, turn off the oven, break the crackers along the perforations and let them sit in the warm oven to dry out for 30 minutes.




Wheatless Wednesday: Sesame-Almond Crescent Cookies

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014



The lunar eclipse during the recent full moon and this week’s new moon inspired me to try my hand at a gluten-free version of crescent moon cookies, a traditional Moroccan tea cookie. Dense, crispy and layered with flavor, these are perfect to dip in your morning coffee or afternoon tea.

These treats are packed with nutrition, fiber, good fats and the added health benefits of turmeric. In addition to its bright orange hue, this earthy, peppery root has been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

The gluten-free flour blend here is flexible. Feel free to use your own or a ready-made gluten-free blend.

Sesame-Almond Crescent Cookies
Makes 2 dozen

1 cup almond flour
½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. honey or maple syrup
1½ tsp. almond extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
1½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp. ground fennel seed
1 pinch nutmeg
½ cup sorghum flour
½ cup sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour)
¼ oat flour
½ cup sesame seeds

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• In a large mixing bowl, mix the almond flour, powdered sugar, honey, almond extract, egg, cinnamon, turmeric, ground fennel seed, nutmeg and butter together until well blended.
• In a smaller mixing bowl, combine the sorghum flour, sweet rice flour and oat flour. Gradually incorporate the flour blend into the butter mixture, kneading with hands if necessary. Refrigerate 20 minutes.
• Pour the sesame seeds in a small bowl. Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and roll them in the seeds to coat. Then roll the balls into 2-inch long tubes and curve them into crescent moon shapes, tapering the ends.
• Bake 25 minutes until golden brown.

Wheatless Wednesdays: Chickpea Skillet Pizza

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014



It was getting late, but having had “linner” (that meal you eat after lunchtime but well before dinner) around 3 p.m., a big meal around 8 p.m. was not in the cards. But something savory and earthy in a one-skillet dish to heat up the kitchen did sound enticing.

I have to give credit where it’s due: My sister and mother lent a hand with this hearty, quick pizza, once I convinced them it would work. Mom got to work roasting the cauliflower and sauteing the mushrooms, while my sister took on the role of sommelier, choosing the wines for the evening. The pizza creation went off without a hitch and was perfect for a late-night snack with a couple glasses of wine … and the obligatory game of gin.

I’ll be adding this one to the memory bank as another adventure in successful cooking, drinking wine and card playing with two of my favorite sous chefs.

Chickpea Skillet Pizza
2 to 4 Servings

1 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
1 tsp. sea salt, divided
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 Tbsp dried herbs of your choice (thyme, basil, parsley, oregano, etc.)
2/3 cup shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese, divided
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
½ small red onion, finely chopped
1 small red pear, thinly sliced
2 cups wild mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 cup arugula

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
• Combine chickpea flour and ¾ cup warm water in medium bowl and whisk until lumps are removed. Stir in ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper, the dried herbs and 1/3 cup cheese. Let the batter sit 30 minutes at room temperature.
• Toss the cauliflower, 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Place mixture on a baking sheet and roast, stirring frequently, until browned and softened, around 20 to 30 minutes.
• While cauliflower is roasting, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet. Saute the onions until soft and brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until soft and brown, about 10 minutes.
• Add another ¼ cup water to the chickpea batter and stir well.
• Heat a 12-inch cast iron or ovenproof, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, pour the batter into skillet and lightly spread it evenly like a pancake (The batter doesn’t need to fill the whole skillet.). Cook 3 to 5 minutes, until small bubbles will appear and the batter starts to pull away from the skillet around the edges. Flip the crust like a pancake and cook another 3 to 5 minutes, until set and firm.
• Preheat the broiler. Cover the pizza with sliced pears and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
• Broil about 3 minutes to soften the pears. Remove skillet from the oven and spread the sauteed mushrooms, roasted cauliflower, pine nuts and remaining cheese on top. Return the skillet to broiler and cook until the cheese is lightly browned, around 5 minutes.
• Remove the skillet from oven, top with arugula, and serve.

Wheatless Wednesdays: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013



Gluten-free flour blends line grocery store shelves like children waiting in line for Santa. Who knew gluten-free would ever be so trendy? Just five years ago, gluten was a foreign term unless you were one of the “unfortunate” ones diagnosed with celiac disease. This autoimmune disorder of the small intestine means eating gluten is a no-no.

Today, even chef Thomas Keller has jumped on the gluten-free flour blend bandwagon with his new product, Cup4Cup. The brand includes four products: a multipurpose blend, a pizza crust mix, a pancake and waffle mix and a chocolate brownie mix. The brownie mix came with a recipe for Chocolate Crinkle cookies, and since I needed to bake a batch for Santa (and the Sauce holiday party), I decided to give this four-ingredient recipe a try.

I have high standards for gluten-free flour blends. It’s rather easy to find blends full nutritionally void, refined flours, but I prefer those with whole grains, nuts and seeds. Unfortunately, the Cup4Cup blends fall into refined flour category; the first ingredients are cornstarch, white rice flour and sugar in many of their blends, among other starches and some brown rice flour. True, we don’t always have to eat whole grains, but these flour blends wouldn’t see regular use in my household.

My experience with the chocolate brownie mix was just OK, but I’ll take some of the blame for that. The recipe called for melted butter, coconut oil or canola oil. I love the flavor and benefits of coconut oil (I eat this stuff by the spoonful.), so I gave it a whirl. But when I added my melted oil to the dry ingredients and added the eggs, the oil started to clump as I stirred. The whole thing became one gloppy, hard mess. I thought I brought the eggs close to room temperature, but apparently not close enough. I struggled to stir the batter, but continued on.

The cookies turned out well enough, and it seems the minds behind Cup4Cup may have encountered similar problems, as the Chocolate Crinkle Cookie recipe on its website calls for just butter and a longer cooking time. Still, even the crew at the Sauce party gave them a thumbs-up, and I’m sure Santa did, too!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Makes 20 2-inch cookies

1 pouch (403 g.) Cup4Cup Chocolate Brownie Mix*
½ tsp (2.5 g.) baking powder
2 (100 g.) large eggs
4 Tbsp. (55 g.) melted butter, coconut oil, or canola oil
Powered sugar for rolling

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Combine brownie mix and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk to incorporate.
• Mix in eggs and melted butter or oil and stir well to combine.
• Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
• Scoop batter into balls about the size of 1 tablespoon. Roll each ball in your hand and drop into bowl of powdered sugar and roll around until fully coated.
• Place on sheet pan about 2 inches apart and bake about 8 to 10 minutes.

*Cup4Cup Chocolate Brownie Mix can be found at Schnucks in Des Peres.

Jill Duncan is the owner of Wellness by Jill and follows a gluten-free diet.



Wheatless Wednesday: Cranberry, Ginger and Sage Scones

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013



Make space in your recipe binder’s “gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free” tab (Doesn’t everybody have one?) for this tasty and health-conscious treat. The few base ingredients are nutritious and delicious, and the add-ins allow for versatility and creativity.

A springtime brunch on a foodie friend’s patio introduced me to these slightly dense, moist, almost cornbread-like triangles. In early June, blueberry was the fruit filling of choice for these scones, slathered with fresh lemon curd. I imagine a savory rendition wouldn’t be a waste of a baker’s time either. Herbs, cheese and flakes of sea salt would do just fine.

The almond flour adds a handful of fiber and moisture not found in your typical white flour scone. But I think your guests will be pleased – that is, if these make it to the holiday brunch table. Make sure you aren’t terribly hungry when they come out of the oven, or you might need a back-up brunch offering!




Cranberry, Ginger and Sage Scones
8 Servings
Adapted from a recipe at SimplyVintageGirl.com

¾ cup fresh cranberries
2½ cups almond flour*
2 Tbsp. tapioca starch or arrowroot
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1 egg
¼ cup honey or agave nectar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1/3 heaping cup chopped crystallized ginger, plus extra for topping
8 to 10 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
Zest of 1 orange (optional)

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Microwave cranberries in a covered bowl with a splash of water for 45 seconds. Stir cranberries to slightly break them down. Some berries will be whole, and some will break down.
• Combine the almond flour, tapioca starch, baking soda and sea salt in a large bowl.
• In a small bowl, mix the egg, honey and lemon juice together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix. Fold in the cranberries, crystallized ginger, sage and orange zest until mixed.
• Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. With wet hands, shape each portion into a ¾-inch thick triangle and place onto the lined baking sheet.
• Lightly dust the tops of the scones with a bit of sea salt and few extra pieces of crystallized ginger. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until the edges and tops are lightly brown.
• Let rest at least 15 minutes to allow the scones to set.

*Bob’s Red Mill almond flour is readily available at most grocery stores. Make sure to purchase almond flour made from blanched almonds for the best texture. For a scone with finer texture, pulse your almond flour in a food processor until finely ground. You also can make your own almond flour by processing whole, blanched almonds.



Wheatless Wednesdays: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013



I am lucky to have a mom who (for the most part) also follows a gluten-free lifestyle. Holiday gatherings are no longer void of all the goodies I savored as a child. Mom’s “famous” chocolate chip cookies now have a gluten-free counterpart at which hardly any gluten-loving family member would balk. The annual gluten-free holiday baking is welcomed – but now I succumb to the holiday bulge with the rest of you!

Mom’s flare with cookies goes far beyond rudimentary; my favorites are her chocolate crinkles and pumpkin chocolate chip. They both seamlessly convert to gluten-free, as most cookies do. And now that gluten-free flour blends are easily found in the grocery aisles, the process is just as quick as your traditional cookie recipe.

Andrea’s Gluten-Free, a St. Louis company with a dedicated gluten-free (and peanut- and tree nut-free) kitchen, sells a superb “super fine grind” gluten-free flour blend that I picked up at Schnucks. I highly recommend it for many reasons. The blend is a cup-for-cup substitute when baking standard recipes (ones that contain gluten) and worked beautifully for these cookies. The super fine grind texture is soft and light without the grit many gluten-free flours produce. The blend includes xanthan gum, which helps the mixture bind. And you’ll save a little dough (no pun intended!) since purchasing xanthan separately is quite expensive. As you mix the cookie ingredients together, your arm will feel the xanthan’s gumming action, but have no fear – it will result in a moist, cake-like cookie.

These beta-carotene-rich cookies make me proud. Take them to your favorite autumn harvest party or holiday get together. And don’t worry, I’m sending my recipe to Mom.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes approximately 25 large cookies

1½ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. milk
1 15-oz. can pumpkin purée (or use leftover roasted pumpkin puree)
1 cup sugar
½ cup olive oil
1 egg
2 cups gluten-free flour blend (without leavening agents)
2½ tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. sea salt
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup black walnuts, optional
2 tsp. vanilla extract

• Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
• In a small glass, dissolve the baking soda in the milk. Set aside.
• Mix the pumpkin purée, sugar and olive oil together in a large bowl until smooth.
• Stir in the egg, flour blend, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt and mix to combine.
• Add the milk mixture, then stir in the chocolate chips, nuts and vanilla.
• Scoop ¼-cup dough balls onto the cookie sheet and press down gently to slightly flatten
• Bake about 12 minutes, until cookies are fluffy and cake-like.



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