Category Archives: gluten free meals

Restaurant Review: Bukhara Grill (Toronto)

Mat and I had the pleasure of going to Bukhara Grill in Toronto on Bloor. They have another location in Mississauga for anyone in the west end. The location we went to was downstairs and next to this health store called Peachtree. It’s somewhat easy to miss the entrance to Bukhara Grill as the sign doesn’t stick out as much as you’d think.

So downstairs we went to be greeted by a very courteous host who showed us to a lovely intimate section of the restaurant. We were the first ones in the door, afterwards it started to fill up nicely. They certainly have done a fantastic job making this space their own.

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From the decorations to the mint and tamarind sauce already waiting at each table I really felt they’re trying for an upscale client. By the way the two condiments I mentioned are insanely good. I hope they decide to sell them as a separate product as I would start stocking up. We had no problems ordering and receiving the food the way we asked. They understand vegan and gluten free. Just make sure to pass on the papadums if you’re gluten free as they are made in the same place the naan is. It’s too bad, but that’s what happens when things are done traditionally.

We usually stick to aloo golbi ($9.99) and chana masala ($9.99) as we know them to be naturally gluten free. For a change we ordered Saffron Rice ($3.99) instead of just plain basmati. 

To say we were impressed is an understatement. Everything was flavourful, delightfully spicy, and delicious. We plan on making this our go to place for the weekend. We have a habit now of ordering an additional meal of the same for take away as it makes Sunday afternoon lunch that much easier.

Do not miss out. I cannot say enough good things about this place.

Happy eating!

 

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Asian Shepherd’s pie with 4 cheese mash and homemade “sausage”

As my attempt at recreating One Green Planet’s recipe for Spicy vegan gluten free sausage was a total failure I decided to use half of what I had left (it was a big batch as I was hoping the original recipe would be so great I could freeze some) and try to salvage it. So what’s a girl to do but make a shepherd’s pie?

Components:
1. Mash topping
2. Vegetables
3. “Sausage”

Mash topping
I used organic potatoes, so I just washed them and left the skin on for good measure. I boiled about 4lbs in a pot and when they were done (20 minutes due to the fact that I didn’t chop them up first or they’d have boiled faster) I put them in a large metal bowl and used a hand masher. I then added

- around 3/4 cup of unsweetened original soy milk (I like to use Natura)
- One 1/4 cups of Daiya Cheddar shreds
- One 1/4 cups of Daiya Pepperjack shreds
- 2 crumbled slices of Daiya Provolone
- 2 crumbled slices of Daiya Swiss
- 1/4 cup of vegan ‘butter’

Vegetables
I took the easy route and lightly sautéed asian frozen vegetables from Costco. I love how this mix has the variety of vegetables I have an affinity for.
- broccoli
- green beans
- sugar snap peas
- carrots
- red bell peppers
- shiitake mushrooms
- water chestnuts
- baby corn
- yellow onions

I was preparing everything simultaneously, so you can only imagine what my stove top looked like.

Sausage:

Now comes the part of the recipe that I really wasn’t looking forward to –  the dreaded sausage. It was a complete disaster when I tried to steam the mixture which also was not holding together. Here’s the original recipe. As that wasn’t working for me. I don’t think it made a difference that I used a white kidney bean, I mean a bean is a bean. I also added flax seed and soaked 1/4 cup of chia seed till it became 1 cup. Then I let it chill over night and it was STILL not cohesive to form into a ‘sausage’ link shape. Seriously?

For this recipe I decided to pan fry it. I took it slow, on medium heat as it was so damn sticky, it was hard to break into little pieces to fry evenly. I think I was standing there for about 20 minutes, but it felt like forever. If you can actually make this sausage recipe please let me know, I would be grateful that someone made it properly, give me some hope as it stands I will not try again. I went to a lot of trouble to get the vegan gluten free Worcestershire Sauce and it just feels like a kick in the teeth to work with this unruly mixture. I did it anyway. Finally, it browned up and I then assembled everything into a dutch oven Le Creuset.

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I baked it at 400 for 20 minutes. The top didn’t brown as much as I’d like, but we were hungry and basically everything is already cooked, so good enough. As always, I have Yoshi, my little kitchen helper meowing at me and watching my every move. I love his little face. He is a mommas boy for sure. He was trying to smell the spoon I had in my hand when I was dalloping the mash on top. I had it in my hand while trying to take a picture. After this picture he climbed on my knee to try to get a better smell. Too bad he’s not a veggie cat. Ah well.

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So there you have it – I salvaged the sausage and made something lovely out of a horrible time. Hurray!

Happy Eating!

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Triple badass Mac N Cheese + Tofu pups

I had a craving for creamy mac n cheese with hotdogs. Yes, I was reliving a childhood meal I used to make for myself and hey, some things you never grow out of, thankfully now I can make them cruelty free.

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I took the time to measure everything, even though I usually eye ball it.

Instructions:
Boil bag of gluten free pasta as per directions. Personally, I enjoy slightly mushier than usual pasta and thus boil the pasta about 5 minutes longer than suggested, but that’s me. The point is – boil your favourite pasta. This time we used Maple Grove white rice elbow pasta. We find this pasta to be just as good as Tinkyada and it’s always reasonably priced. While the pasta is boiling I cut up some Tofu Pups and fried them lightly in an pan until they were golden brown. For my Canadian friends I know you’re asking, what the heck is a Tofu Pup? I love these, more so the Jumbo ones, but they’re vegan AND gluten free hot dogs that are pretty dang good.

While the pups are frying on low heat I ready my cheese. I like to use 3 different Daiya cheese products for my mac n cheese.

1. Cheddar shreds 1.5 bags
2. Pepperjack shreds 1/4 of a bag
3. Chive and Onion cream cheese spread 1/4 cup

Oh yes, this is the holy trinity. Also VERY IMPORTANT – ready 1.5 cups of water on hand.

Once the pups have fried, put them aside as you have things to do. By now the pasta should be done and you’re ready do drain and rinse. I know some people don’t subscribe to the rinsing of pasta, but I am a believer of it. Before you put the pasta back into the pot to get everything together I suggest a tablespoon pad size of Earth Balance, or coconut oil to get things going. Put in the ‘butter’ or oil into the pot, keep the burner on medium and let the dumping begin!

First the pasta, then stir in the different cheese. This is where the water comes in. After each cheese I usually add 1/4 cup of water to see how it’s being absorbed and or coating the pasta. When you’re done with the cheese, don’t forget the Tofu Pups and there you have it.  If you like feel free to add the hot sauce of your choice.

Happy eating!

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Eggless Egg Salad

I decided to test out a recipe from Melomeals - Eggless Egg Salad! Yes, strange to have the main ingredient be substituted, but I figured this would be good. Oddly enough, I never really liked egg salad, I found the consistency to be gross. Thankfully this vegan version is very different and there’s none of that a) cruelty and b) rubbery strange stinky weird mouth feel. Yes, mouth feel is a legit term, for real.

I just happen to have tomato raw bread around. No seriously, I do, I am addicted to making it. My poor food styling attempt is mediocre at best, but I tried to make the cucumbers slices look interesting. Oh well. With this recipe the food processor is your friend. I didn’t even bother chopping anything I just blended it up. I don’t think I’m ever going to grate another carrot. Why should I when the machine can do it easier and faster. Heck, it slices, it dices and makes a dang fine tool in the kitchen.

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If you have a version of eggless egg salad, I’d love to try it, the summer is here and it’s a perfect dish to bring to a party!

Happy eating!

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Loaded Salad with Shiitake and Quinoa Bean Crumble

This is the summer of salads for me and I have been experimenting with the best way to enjoy eating my greens. I have been loving this particular salad so much that I have had it TWICE in one day. When you have this kind of meal it really helps if you’re prepared ahead of time and have everything in little containers, then just pull them out as you assemble. I usually do this kind of prep work on Sunday and it really makes things a lot easier and faster.

For the mushroom part, sometimes I buy a mixed packet of mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, button, and crimini) and do a quick pan fry (olive oil and gluten free soy sauce and other times I go full out shiitake. I cook the whole package and it makes three portions. Again, another thing to have done ahead of time to be able to throw in during assembly.

Ingredients:

Mixed greens – 2 cups or more (However much you can handle in one sitting)
1/2 cup of broccoli florets
1/2 cup of cauliflower
1/2 cup of quinoa bean crumble or one square SEE RECIPE HERE
2 small carrots diced
2 stalks of celery
2″ of cucumber sliced with peel
2 – 3 tbsp diced white onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/3 pan fried mushrooms with a dash of gluten free soy sauce
A handful of cilantro chopped
A handful of parsley (I prefere curly) chopped
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste

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Toss everything to coat and there you have the most amazingly textured salad with protein. I pair the salad with 1/2 cup of cooked rice that includes a tsp of soy free Earth Balance and a pinch of salt. Plus, I share an avocado with Mat so I only eat half of one and I slice it so thin that I savour each bite and stretch it out. I honestly have been feeling very full with this meal and I would highly recommend making this salad to a) be healthy and b) not having a boring salad. All the veggies slow you down and force you to chew. By the time you eat this salad you’ll be so tired from eating and you’ll be full. Not the I’m hungry half an hour later kind, I mean full till dinner and not shaking from low blood sugar. 

Happy eating!

 

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Baked Bean Quinoa Crumble

This is the second time I attempted to make this recipe, but it’s not what I originally made, so don’t hate me if I post something similar again. Don’t you hate when you forget how you made something and then realize it half way through making it? Ah well.

I was aiming for a bean quinoa burgers when I first made this, but the burgers just wouldn’t form. What else could I do but bake it! I used a large rectangle glass baking dish, ask me the size in the comments, I’m seriously too tired to go check. It worked just dandy. After mixing everything together I patted the mixture down into the dish with my hands. I felt like I was making brownies of sorts. After everything baked I even cut the final result like brownies. Who needs circle burgers? I have square burgers, square burgers are cool. (I have been watching too much Doctor Who.)

What I love about this recipe is that I’ve used it as: pasta ‘meat’, taco ‘meat’, salad topping, as a side on its own, and it’s freaking amazing on nachos. I know two people specifically who are fiends like me when it comes to nachos. Let’s face it – nachos are pretty awesome to have with a beer.

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2-Quinoa bean burger

 

As you can see I added a salad and rice with the ‘crumble’. Easy to eat on its own and full of good protein. Tomorrow’s post will feature the salad. This is the salad I’m going to make all summer – it’s freaking fantastic and I am slightly addicted to it.

quinoa crumble with salad

 

Here’s how I made this bean quinoa crumble:

Ingredients:
2 cups of cooked beans
2 cups of cooked quinoa
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp BBQ sauce
3 tsp chia seed
2 tsp oregano (dried)
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp gluten free soy sauce
1/2 tsp chipotle
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika

Mix everything in a food processor until fully integrated. Grease baking glass with coconut oil – it will not flavour the food. Pat in mixture with your hands and make it even. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. I cut mine into squares like when you make brownies. Cool for 20 minutes. These will store for a week and freeze for at least a month. They’re amazing on the budget as they are so many options for use. I highly recommend making some ahead of time and just using it throughout the week. Sure saves time with cooking when everything is done and meals just have to be assembled.

Happy eating!

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Guac and Roll Quinoa Lentil Soft Tacos (with shiitake!)

I bet you can sense a theme here from yesterday’s post. Why stop a good thing? Instead of having the burgers again for lunch I made tacos instead. Unlike my Double stuffed lentil tacos, these bad boys have that garam masala taste that’s just killer.

The thing with tacos is it’s just a layering process. Make sure you have your toppings ready and set aside for the assembly line your kitchen is about to become.

Ingredients:
- Crumbled Masala quinoa lentil burgers into ‘ground round’
- Diced tomatoes
- Diced onions
- Chopped cilantro
- Amazing guac (avocado, white onion, cilantro, lime juice)
- Chi-Chis White Corn Soft Taco*
- Shiitake mushrooms pan fried (optional)

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*This delicious soft corn taco is gluten free and we found it at Wegman’s buried next to the flour tortillas. I haven’t been able to find anything like this in Ontario.

Best to warm up the soft taco first, you can do that on a flat pan, or a grill you might have handy. Either way, warm up that goodness first or it will taste a bit off.

Layer the guac first as a base, then the burger, then onion, tomato and top with lettuce. If you can another layer of guacamole. I am a HUGE fan of mushrooms and so I had to have some pan fried shiitake mushrooms I quickly made with a splash of gluten free Kikkoman soy sauce (which we also cannot find in Ontario).

Your mouth will be doing a happy dance that’s for sure.

Happy eating!

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Double Stuffed Chickpea Tacos

You know when it’s Friday night and you’re thinking hey, I want to have a quick meal that’s not going to make me crazy with fancy exotic ingredients, plus I’d really like a Screwdriver right now – yeah, that happened last week.

Behold the chickpea taco!

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This little bad boy was really easy to make.

Open a can of chickpeas, drain, rinse and set aside in a large bowl because you are going to mash the heck out of them soon.

Some people heat up their taco shells, so if you’re one of these, I’d suggest you do that first before you start the frying that’s about to follow.

Take a large frying pan, add a tablespoon of oil and fry the onions, add the garlic and the red pepper. Saute until you find the desired texture, some people like it crisp, some like it somewhat soggy, so to your liking.

Then drain a bit if you’ve done too much oil, set aside and mash the heck out of the chickpeas while adding in the spices.

Ingredients:
1 can of chickpeas
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch of Himalayan salt
1/2 large onion (white) diced
1 large red pepper
1 cup shredded lettuce (any kind)
2 cups diced tomatoes

I like to have things in an assembly line and add the chickpea filling first, then the lettuce/tomatoes and then again a second layer of filling. For extra fun I would suggest a side of guacamole. This is totally satisfying and such a fun meal to enjoy.

Happy eating!

Ps. A little lazy Yoshi just for fun. Most of the time he is like this right next to me, even as I’m writing this post. I love cats too much.

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Vegan Gluten Free Banh Mi

Don’t call it a comeback. I had to share. Mat and I went to Buffalo recently and picked up some Sub Sandwich Rolls from a company called Schar.

Banh mi sandwich close up - Lidia Le François

They offer a lot of different gluten free bread. At first I really didn’t have high hopes. I mean, sure they look fantastic, but what will they taste like? Naturally, I had to test them out by making a Banh Mi. What is this you ask? Here’s the Wiki explanation: the term bánh mì only means bread without any fillings, the term is used to refer to a type of meat-filled sandwich found in Vietnamese bakeries abroad, especially in US, Canadian, Australian, and French communities with substantial Vietnamese immigrant communities.

Before I became vegan I must admit I did eat a few of these when in Chinatown. They were incredibly cheap and being a student that was appealing enough. Now that my viewpoint has changed, considerably, I knew this is what I wanted to make.

How to veganize this sandwich?

Ingredients:
1 tbsp Vegenaise (or enough to cover the top/bottom of the sandwich) I added 1/4 tsp of minced garlic to the mayo for a kick
1/4 cucumber then sliced horizontally (I used a mandolin)
1 medium carrot spiralized or thinly sliced
2″ of a daikon radish spiralized or thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro
2 strips of tempeh
2 tbsp mushroom pate
1/2 tbsp lime juice

I followed the recipe for pickling the carrots/daikon and mushroom pate from The Chubby Vegetarian.  The carrots/daikon have to be made in advance, but IT IS WORTH IT. Seriously. I cannot express the joy, the dancing around the kitchen joy that I felt when biting into this sandwich. The bread baked up so nicely and we assembled everything so quickly it was still warm and DELICIOUS! Yes, this requires caps. If you have been waiting for a gluten free bread that will not disappoint I highly suggest you try this one. I wish I worked for these people because I’m going to be buying a lot of this product. Even if you’re not gluten free, this bread is incredibly tasty and you don’t miss a thing, it’s the same consistency and delivers an amazing crunch.

 

Banh mi sandwich open face - Lidia Le François

As this wouldn’t be a true Air Eater post without nutritional information here you are:

Bread Ingredients:
Water, corn starch, sourdough (rice flour), rice flour, psyllium seed husks (vegetable fiber), rice syrup, rice starch, sunflower oil, yeast, soy protein, sugar, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, saltBread Nutrition Facts:
Serv. Size: 1 roll (75g), Servings per container: 2.
Calories: 160, Calories from Fat: 20, Protein: 2g, Total Carbs: 34g (12% DV), Dietary Fiber: 5g (20% DV), Sugars: 2g, Total Fat: 2g (4% DV), Saturated Fat: 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat: 0g, Sodium: 380mg (16% DV), Cholesterol: 0g (0% DV), Calcium 4% DV, Iron 4% DV, Vitamin A : 0% DV, Vitamin C: 0% DV, Riboflavin: 0% DV, Thiamin: 0% DV, Niacin: 0% DV.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The company has assured me, “All of our pasta, all of our breads, our breadsticks, table crackers, and crispbread are vegan. We hope this helps.”

There you have it – the sandwich that made me come out of hiatus.

PS, the planning for the Vegan Bloggers Unite! Conference is going very well with a few changes. We’ve had to change the date and remove the vendors. It’s a long story. I’ll explain it to you when you’re at the show.

Happy eating!

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Filed under Asian gluten free vegan, gluten free, gluten free meals, Meals, vegetarian gluten free

Vegan Gluten Free Lentil Loaf

What a few weeks it’s been! Vegan MoFo gave me a lot to do on top of keeping up with Vegan Bloggers Unite! (running the blog and planning for the conference). Plus being the host site as VBU! for Virtual Vegan Potluck, and the other things I do (Concept Branding), I’ve been run a bit ragged. Safe to say, I will not be participating in Vegan MoFo next year, I don’t think I can keep up with it.

During the Canadian Thanksgiving I made a few things that I will be adding to my dinner table on an on-going basis. One of those lovely dishes is a recipe from Tasty-yummies.com. I made Beth’s Lentil “meatloaf”.  Please do check out her site, she has many vegan/gluten free recipes. This is not a paid endorsement – I just think she is neat. I believe she is not completely vegan, but still a good resources for recipe that can be converted.

The first picture is the loaf uncooked. Here’s how my loaf turned out:

Lidia Le François, vegan, gluten free, aireater lentil loaf Continue reading

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