By Vesanto Melina, MS, Registered Dietitian
With 1% of the population having celiac disease, 0.1% having true wheat allergy and an estimated 0.5 to 30% (depending on the estimator) having gluten sensitivity, holiday meals can pose a challenge. This hearty, flavorful entree also will be welcomed by the vegetarians on your guest list—and by everyone else. Both recipes are from The Food Allergy Survival Guide by Melina, Stepaniak, and Aronson.
For more insights on the gluten-free topic, see the very new Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition (2014) and the award winning Becoming Vegan: Express Edition (2013) both by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, Book Publishing Company. For more outstanding recipes, see Cooking Vegan by Melina and Forest.
Sensational Stuffed Squash
Makes 5-6 servings
The shape and color of buttercup squash make an impressive show piece for special occasions. Serve with gravy (below) and perhaps cranberry sauce. Double for a larger group.
3-pound buttercup squash
1 cup water
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup white rice
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds or chopped nuts
1/4 cup chopped, oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp crushed garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pierce the top of squash with sharp knife at 45-degree angle. Pushing the knife blade away, rotate the blade around top of squash and remove the cone-shaped top. Slice off fibrous material from the cone and set top aside. With large spoon, scoop out seeds and fibrous pulp from cavity of squash; discard. Place squash and top on a baking sheet; bake for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes.
While squash bakes, place water, onion, rice, and quinoa in large pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium; cover; simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork; add remaining ingredients.
Spoon stuffing into squash until almost full. Set squash top in place and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted easily into the side of squash. Place any leftover stuffing in small pan, sprinkle with 2 to 3 Tbsp water, cover, and heat through for the last 20 minutes of the squash cooking time. Remove squash from the oven; place on a warm platter. Slice into wedges to serve.
Savory Chickpea Gravy
Makes about 3 1/2 cups
This tasty gravy is great on potatoes, rice, vegetables, beans, and stuffed squash. The ingredients and preparation are a little unusual but it comes together well. Chickpea flour tastes terrible raw, but as soon as it is cooked it tastes fine.
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, small dice
1 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp each of thyme and rosemary, crumbled
1/4 tsp pepper
3 1/2 cups hot water
2-3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt (to taste)
Place oil and onion in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook until the onion starts to brown. Stir in flour, sage, thyme, rosemary, and pepper, stirring constantly to form a smooth, thick paste. Cook over medium heat until lightly toasted, about 5 to 10 minutes or until flour no longer tastes raw. Remove from heat. With a whisk or fork, gradually stir in the hot water, mixing carefully to avoid lumps. Add the vinegars and salt to taste. Warm over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until hot and bubbly. Add more water, if needed, to achieve the desired consistency.
• Replace some or all of the salt with chickpea miso, thinned with a little water, to taste.
• Replace 1 Tbsp of the balsamic vinegar with umeboshi plum vinegar.
Vesanto Melina is a Registered Dietitian and author; www.nutrispeak.com. Her books or a consult make excellent gifts for those on your list: 604-882-6782; firstname.lastname@example.org.