Do you know anyone in your life that has a gluten allergy or has been diagnosed as a celiac?
I have more than a few relatives and friends who have had to change their diets due to one of these conditions. At first the idea of changing their eating habits was daunting but with a little research and the help of a few specialty stores they were able to get started. What I have noticed is the growing variety of Gluten-free and even Vegan Gluten-free products that have been showing up, even in the mainstream grocery stores.
A few weeks ago we went to a pop up market called Gluten-free Garage that was held at the Artscape Wychwood Barns in Toronto. Dozens of food suppliers, bakeries and caterers were on hand allowing visitors to taste their products and ask about ingredients. We had attended the event in the hopes of finding a bakery that could offer gluten-free, dairy free and egg free cupcakes for my granddaughter’s first birthday party. Surprisingly, there were a few excellent choices that offered tasty solutions.
While wandering the fair I spent some time chatting up a few of the vendors to get a sense of what each vendor had to offer this niche market. I came across two vendors who were offering classes in gluten-free cooking. Since I am so interested in new styles of cooking I immediately gravitated to their booths for tastings.
Arvinda’s offered us a lentil curry dish that was truly remarkable. They are suppliers of Indian spices through retail and online sales. Chefs Arvinda Chauhan and her daughter Preena teach classes in home-style, healthy and traditional Indian cooking at Nella Cucina in Toronto. I see an Indian cooking class in my future.
Pimenton offers cooking classes and catering for gluten-free events. Chef Jose Arato was serving up some Paella Vegetariana for those who like a little Spanish in their lives. Chef Jose was telling me that it was his birthday and he was having a great time meeting people at the market.
Other vendors who we spoke to were suppliers of ready-made gluten-free dinners for those who were looking for quick meal options. We particularly enjoyed the gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free Gnocchi from Antipastos Kitchens.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the event even though I am not on a gluten-free diet. I found out more about these diet restrictions and what is available to accommodate those whose health is affected by them.
I have learned over the past few years to make a few gluten-free dinners that are not only tasty, but healthy options for everyone. This Berry, Cucumber and Quinoa Salad with White Balsamic Vinegar is one of my favourites from Quinoa Revolution. Like many of you, I have added Quinoa to my diet for its health benefits but also because I like how it tastes in salads and baking. This recipe has a great blend of fruit and cucumbers with the Quinoa that tastes fresh and light.
Berry Cucumber Salad with White Balsamic Vinegar
Makes 6 servings
2 cups (500 ml) water
1 cup (250 ml) quinoa
¼ cup (60 ml) white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. (15 ml) pure maple syrup
1 tbsp. (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (250 ml) fresh blueberries
1 cup (250 ml) fresh strawberries, quartered
1 cup (250 ml) diced English cucumber
½ cup (60 ml) thinly sliced red onion
¼ cup (60 ml) sliced blanched almonds
Combine the water and the quinoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil;. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Transfer to a salad bowl and cool completely.
Whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup and olive oil; stir into the quinoa. Gently toss in the blueberries, strawberries, cucumber and red onion. Sprinkle with almonds just before serving.
Recipe from Quinoa Revolution by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming