Monthly Archives: February 2012

Vegan, Gluten-Free “Cheesy” Crackers

When I started a gluten-free diet, I inevitably reduced my crackers/chips/salty snacks intake. Sure, there are options available (more now than ever), and some brands sell pretty tasty gluten-free crackers, but most of the time, they aren’t exactly full of healthy ingredients (and sometimes, I can’t tolerate the ingredients in them), and they’re rarely cheap. For those reasons, I have grown accustomed to not eating too many of these kinds of foods.

But every now and then, a (gluten-free, dairy-free) girl needs a cracker. And not just any cracker. A “cheesy” cracker.

How does one make an enjoyable “cheesy” cracker without the cheese, exactly? By using some clever flavor combinations, of course – a mix of nutritional yeast flakes, red pepper, onion powder, lemon juice, and a touch of cayenne seems to elicit that “cheese” flavor to me in these crackers.

By the way – making your own crackers is way easier than it sounds. This cracker dough doesn’t stick (especially since you roll it between sheets of parchment paper), and it only takes a few minutes. I love making crackers, and these are my favorite so far. They are highly seasoned and perfect as is (I served them alongside some chicken soup), but I imagine they’d be delicious as a vehicle for scooping up mounds of hummus or baba ganoush.

“Cheesy” Crackers (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

1/2 c blanched almond flour

1/2 c almonds

2 T quinoa flour

1/2 c sunflower seeds

2 T hemp seeds

1 T flaxseed meal

2 T nutritional yeast flakes

1/2 t kosher salt

1/4 t onion powder

1/8 t cayenne powder

1 T coconut oil

1 T lemon juice

1 T roasted red pepper (from a jar or freshly roasted – your preference)

1-2 T water

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond flour, almonds, quinoa flour, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and flaxseed meal. Process until ground and no chunks of nuts remain. Add nutritional yeast flakes, salt, onion powder, cayenne pepper, coconut oil, lemon juice, and red pepper and process again until the dough comes together. Add water as needed to make the dough stick – it shouldn’t be wet; it should look kind of dry but wet enough so that it holds together when you form some into a ball.

Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter and transfer the cracker dough to the paper. Cut another sheet of parchment paper and place on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough between the two sheets of parchment paper, lifting and repositioning the paper as needed, until the dough is about 1/8 inch or less and is as rectangular in shape as you can get it. Peel off the top piece of parchment paper. Using a pizza cutter, cut a grid of 1-inch squares.

Carefully transfer the entire sheet of parchment to your baking sheet, keeping the grid of crackers in tact. Bake for 20 minutes or until crackers are golden brown. Remove from oven and run the pizza cutter along the cut lines again. Allow to cool, then separate and serve.

Makes about 30 crackers.

What are your favorite gluten-free crackers? We’re sharing our favorites over at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community – a free, gluten-free resource for anything gluten-free!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Chicken Basquaise (Braised Chicken with Peppers)

Today I am blogging over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free, and I’m sharing this delicious, easy, one-pot braised chicken recipe. It’s healthy and perfect for a still-chilly February day. (Ironically, today, we’re far from chilly here in Dallas – highs near 80 degrees are forecasted. Only in Texas.)

Head on over to Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free to check out the recipe!

Probiotic Beet and Almond Truffles – Attune Foods Chocolate Probiotic Bars

My dear friend Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free is a brand ambassador for Attune Foods, and a few weeks ago, she graciously asked me if I would mind reviewing some of their products. They offer quite a few gluten and dairy-free products (like Crispy Brown Rice Cereal or Corn Flakes), but what I was asked to review was possibly the most intriguing, exciting product they have – a Probiotic Chocolate Bar.

Now, mind you, I have no problem having a nice, high-quality chocolate bar stashed away in my refrigerator, just so I can nibble on it now and then when the chocolate craving strikes (and it strikes a lot!). And we always hear that chocolate has positive health benefits. But now, I have one more little reason to indulge (as if I needed an excuse)!

So when my sample arrived, the first thing I did was just enjoy a bar of the chocolate, unadulterated and pure. It was creamy and not-to-sweet, just the way I like it. Honestly, I could have polished off the rest of the box in a similar manner over the following week, if it weren’t for my commitment to post a review. You see, I wanted to share my thoughts about these bars not only just as they were, but I also wanted to play with them a bit, to see if I could create a delicious, healthier treat with the chocolate. I’d have to make something that didn’t require heating the chocolate, or else I’d kill the probiotic cultures. So I opted to go for the ever-popular “truffle”.

I’ve made healthy truffles before and have shared them here – have you seen my pecan pie or pistachio sesame truffles? How about the chocolate cherry ones? While those are all full of whole, natural ingredients, I thought I’d sneak in even more little healthy morsels of goodness in these truffles.

So, yes, my friends, I threw in beets. And spinach. In a dessert.

Now, before you click away, let me explain. These don’t taste like vegetables. Not in the slightest. The beet turns the inside a lovely pink-red color (think red velvet cake), but the spinach is invisible here, as is the earthy taste of both of these ingredients. What you taste is a lovely mix of almonds, chocolate, a faint hint of strawberries, and a nice, not over-the-top sweetness. You could totally feed these to any crowd and they’d be none the wiser. They’re a delicious little bite, perfect for curbing that little craving for a taste of something sweet.

So I encourage you to give these chocolate probiotic bars a try. Indulge your chocolate sweet tooth by enjoying one (or two) by themselves. They’re a delicious little treat. But once you’ve done that, try these truffles. I think you’ll be pleasantly delighted.

Probiotic Beet and Almond Truffles (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

1 medium beet

1 1/2 c almonds

1 T cocoa powder (plus more for rolling)

1/4 c packed spinach leaves

1/4 c strawberries (I used frozen and thawed them)

6 pitted Medjool dates

1 t vanilla extract

1/4 t kosher salt

1 T coconut flour

1/4 t stevia extract (optional)

2 Attune Foods Probiotic chocolate bars, chopped

Peel the beet and cut into slices. Steam or boil beet slices until tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. Puree the beet in a food processor or blender, scraping down the sides as needed. Portion out 2 tablespoons of the beet puree, and set aside the remainder for another use (this puree is gorgeous and tasty in a smoothie!).

In the bowl of a food processor, add almonds and process until they are crumbs. Add beet puree, cocoa powder, spinach leaves, strawberries and dates, and puree until the consistency is somewhat uniform and no large chunks remain. Add vanilla extract, salt, coconut flour, and stevia and process again until incorporated. Add chocolate bars and process once more to incorporate those as well.

Using a tablespoon, measure out even portions of the truffle “dough” (it should be stiff but a bit sticky) and roll into a ball between your palms. Roll into a bit of cocoa powder. Repeat with remaining truffle “dough”. Refrigerate until firm.

 

 

Raw Kale Grapefruit Salad

About 2 weeks ago, a large box arrived at my doorstep. I love when these things happen (even if it’s just because I’ve placed an order for something as mundane as almond flour) because it’s like there’s a little present waiting for me to open it. This time, however, the box really was more gift-like in nature. What did the box hold?

Why, six beautiful, highly fragrant Texas Rio Star Grapefruit.

It’s no secret that I love grapefruit. You already saw that I made a grapefruit and avocado salad a few weeks ago for Amy’s baby shower. Most of the time, though, I simply eat grapefruit out of hand. When it’s in season, ruby red grapefruit like this Rio Star is unbelievably sweet and is a perfect way to enjoy some sunny, delicious vitamin C, fiber, and lycopene. As I was eating each one of these babies, day after day, I thought I really should try to incorporate one into another actual recipe, and not just keep snacking on them at my desk at work.

And so with a few minutes to spare while I was waiting for other components of dinner to finish cooking, I grabbed some kale from my “garden” and got to work making this quick salad.

Why the quotes around garden? Well, right now, it’s not much of a garden. I anticipate revamping things, but for right now, I have a bunch of empty whiskey barrels. Except for one. You see, last spring, I planted some Red Russian kale seeds. They sprouted and grew, but not very well, and after watering them for months and watching them remain small baby kale leaves, I decided to scrap the kale plans and I pulled the baby plants and made one little salad. (I’m not an expert gardener by any stretch, so much of my gardening is trial and error) I planted some cilantro and dill in its place.

As the summer wore on, the cilantro and dill couldn’t withstand our never-ending 110 degree days with no rain. So eventually, I realized there was no keeping these herbs alive, and I pretty much ignored this barrel, instead tending to the few surviving plants in the other barrels in my garden (I did have some tomatoes, butternut squash, and plenty of sage, basil, rosemary and lemon thyme).

When fall arrived and the heat finally subsided, something started sprouting in the long-forgotten barrel. Turns out, it was more kale. I watered it once in a while, but once my tomato plants were finished for the season, I gradually began ignoring the whole garden project, aside from grabbing some rosemary every now and then for a recipe. We were finally getting enough rain by that time that it apparently stayed alive without my interference. Meanwhile, the kale grew. And grew.

Now, with my continued lack of attention, my Red Russian kale has thrived. I can go outside anytime I’d like and cut enough kale for a meal, and there’s still plenty to be had. It seems happy in that barrel. I imagine it won’t appreciate the heat when late spring comes, but until then, I’m happy to have it.

The moral to this story? Ignore your garden, and sometimes, good stuff will come out of it! (Okay, not really. I think it’s just that I’ve learned that kale is a cooler weather crop and in Texas, that means I should grow it in winter.)

Anyway, back to the salad. This salad was a perfect, healthy, light accompaniment to our meal that evening. I simply massaged the kale leaves with the dressing, and topped it with the grapefruit and sunflower seeds. It couldn’t have been easier. Come to think of it, I have more grapefruit (and obviously more kale!), so perhaps I should make some more for this evening!

A big thanks to TexaSweet for sharing some grapefruit with me. I definitely made good use of it, that’s for sure.

Raw Kale Grapefruit Salad (Gluten-free, Vegan, Nut-Free, Soy-Free)

1 grapefruit, sectioned (catch the juice as you section it in a bowl)

1 T olive oil

1 t coconut aminos

kosher salt to taste

1 bunch kale, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces

2 T raw sunflower seeds

Whisk together the grapefruit juice, olive oil, coconut aminos, and salt together in a bowl. Add to kale leaves and massage with your hands until all of the leaves are well-coated with the dressing. Add the grapefruit sections and sunflower seeds and gently toss to coat in dressing.

Serves 2-4.

Gluten-Free Mardi Gras Round-Up

Do you celebrate Mardi Gras? For those not in the know, Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is officially next Tuesday, February 21. While we aren’t big celebrators of this holiday, we DO enjoy good Cajun grub. My husband and I have visited New Orleans a few times (prior to my going gluten-free) and always enjoyed pigging out on beignets, gumbo, fresh seafood, and red beans and rice, and listening to great music. We’ve never gone during Mardi Gras (from what I hear, it’s insane!) but we always had a good time when we did visit.

Of the things we experienced while we were there, what we miss most is the food. I have recreated a few tasty gluten-free Cajun and Creole recipes at home over the years so we can take a mini-vacation (without ever leaving our home), and am sharing those, as well as some recipes from fellow gluten-free bloggers. These recipes would be great for your Mardi Gras celebration, or even just to enjoy in the next few days. Cajun and Creole food is many times so comforting and delicious – just what you need if it’s still a bit dreary where you are!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo from Tasty Eats At Home

photo courtesy of Gluten-Free Easily

Crockpot Jambalaya from Gluten-Free Easily

photo courtesy of The WHOLE Gang

Turducken Burgers from The WHOLE Gang

Chicken Gumbo from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

photo courtesy of Life As A Plate

Paleo Crockpot Jambalaya Soup from Life As A Plate

Seafood Gumbo from Tasty Eats At Home

photo courtesy of Cara's Cravings

Louisiana-Style Gumbo by a Massachusetts HealthNut by Cara’s Cravings (this recipe is not gluten-free, but gluten-free flours could be substituted)

Red Beans and Rice from Tasty Eats At Home

photo courtesy of The WHOLE Gang

Blackened Chicken or Vegetables from The WHOLE Gang

Crawfish Etouffee from Tasty Eats At Home (photo at top of post)

Cajun Gator Tail and Dirty Rice from Tasty Eats At Home

photo courtesy of Diet, Dessert and Dogs

Creamy Creole Eggplant Pasta Bake from Diet, Dessert and Dogs

photo courtesy of Alisa Cooks

Cajun Roasted Root Chips from Alisa Cooks

“Breaded” Fish and Tartar Sauce from Glugle Gluten-Free

Blackened Catfish with Cantaloupe Salsa from Tasty Eats At Home (this recipe uses butter, but non-dairy butter can be substituted)

King Cake Cookies from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Eating Healthy Can Be Easy (Spatchcocked Chicken)

I’m blogging over at The Balanced Platter today about some easy tips to keep eating healthy. Eating healthy can still be doable, even after that initial “I’m gonna change my diet and be healthy!” push you made at the start of the new year has long since fizzled. Along with some ways to make cooking and eating whole, healthy, unprocessed foods a bit easier, I’m also sharing a technique for roasting chicken that I’m sure you’ll love – spatchcocking. This technique can make roasting a whole chicken a weeknight event, and can make it taste better than any other method I’ve tried! (Roast chicken is definitely a wonderful way to your lover’s heart, too, so why not try it tonight for Valentine’s Day dinner?)

Head on over to The Balanced Platter to find out how to whip up a delectable roast chicken!

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Virtual Support Group at Gluten-Free Easily.

Chocolate Black Walnut Cake (With Two Kinds of Grapes)

I’ve been playing with this recipe for a while. In fact, I think I made it at least 4 times in the past two weeks. I was forced to taste-test a LOT of chocolate cake before sharing with you. Yes, it’s a hard life I lead. Finally, I think I’ve got it right, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Because what’s Valentine’s Day without chocolate?

What I love about this particular cake is that it’s a healthier treat – no refined sugars, no refined flours. It’s not exactly a traditional cake – it’s fudgier and denser, but in my mind, that’s a good thing. But what I’m really proud of? It doesn’t contain eggs. Now, mind you, I have nothing against eggs personally (in fact, I love them a great deal – we eat LOTS of eggs in our household, and I love getting happy, delicious eggs from Jacob’s Reward Farm – a small farm just down the road from us.) But not everyone eats eggs, either for food intolerance/allergy reasons, because they are vegan, or perhaps they simply don’t like them. Also, if you rely on eggs sourced from local farms, you understand that egg supply waxes and wanes with the seasons. Sometimes, eggs aren’t easy to come by, and sometimes, you might just not have any in the house. However, baking without eggs can be tricky (especially with gluten-free baking). Eggs act as a binder and as a leavening agent. Egg replacers aren’t always as simple as they seem, and while they work for some situations, others are more difficult.

Since we don’t have egg issues in our house, I rarely concern myself with egg replacers. However, in this instance, I wanted to try to think “outside the shell.” I opted to use psyllium husks, which I’ve discovered work so well as a binder.  I was first introduced to using them by making this vegan, xanthan gum-free bread from Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, which I love. Psyllium husks make gluten-free doughs pliable, which, as anyone who has ever tried to roll out gluten-free dough knows, is quite a feat. What’s superb about psyllium husks, in my opinion, is that they don’t make things gummy. Xanthan and guar gum both seem to cause that “gummy” texture sometimes – something I feel is definitely less than desirable. You can find whole psyllium husks in just about any health/wellness store – in the fiber section. (I’ve heard of some gluten-free bakers using psyllium husk powder with great results as well; I haven’t had a chance to experiment, so I can’t speak to that, but if you try it out, let me know how it goes!) The psyllium husks helped to bind this cake, allowed it to hold moisture, and allowed it to rise. I didn’t add a lot of leavening, wishing for the cake to remain somewhat brownie-like, so it was perfect.

Anyway, back to the important stuff - the flavor. A long while ago, I came across a recipe for red wine chocolate cake.  I was intrigued by the flavor composition. Also, this cake is a great way to use up leftover, too-old-to-drink wine. I am terrible at finishing a bottle of wine. Oh, yes, back in the day, I could have several glasses in an evening and truck right along the following day, but it seems that is no longer the case. Now, I find that I’ll have a glass one night, and will tell myself I’ll enjoy more the following night, and so on, until the bottle is gone. Only I no longer crave a glass the following night. Or the night after that. And so the rest of the wine sits in the bottle, forgotten. Now, if I have leftover wine, I have an excuse to make this cake!

So, you must be wondering, “She said there were two kinds of grapes in this cake. Wine is one type of grape; where is the other?” My friends, the second secret is in one of the sweeteners – raisins. I love to bake with medjool dates on occasion; they provide a lovely, natural sweetness and provide moisture and binding. On this particular day, however, I was out of dates. Raisins, however, were in my pantry. Why not use raisins instead? So I grabbed them and went for it. They turned out to work well!

Lastly, my most prized, favorite part of this cake is the black walnuts. Black walnuts, to me, are a rarity and a delicacy. They’re harder to find in stores than regular walnuts, but I found some Hammons black walnuts at my nearby Sprouts. Black walnuts are a good source of vitamins, healthy fats, and antioxidants, but to me, the flavor is the most important. Black walnuts have a strong, unique flavor – it’s rich and earthy. What’s even more lovely is that they seem to get richer and nuttier when they’re cooked. I first encountered black walnuts when I was a teen – I worked at Braum’s, a regional ice cream and dairy store. We sold black walnut ice cream. It was one of my favorites, even though it was nowhere near a best-seller. It was special to me, though, as I had never seen black walnut ice cream anywhere else. When I came across these walnuts at the grocery, I knew right away I need to make something special with them.

This cake fit the bill. It’s not overly rich, but the flavors are definitely grown-up and complex. It’s not overly fancy – there is no ganache, frosting, multiple layers, or intricate designs. But it’s delicious. The edges of the cake are slightly chewy (like the best part of a brownie) and the center tender. The black walnuts flavor the cake throughout. And no, the cake doesn’t taste like a mouthful of red wine, nor does it taste like raisins. These “two grapes” simply add complexity to the flavors. That being said, enjoying a glass of wine alongside a slice of this cake would be perfectly acceptable!

Chocolate Black Walnut Cake (With Two Kinds of Grapes) – Gluten-Free, Vegan

2 T whole psyllium husks

½ c raisins

1/3 c red wine

6 T coconut oil

1 T vanilla extract

¾ c coconut palm sugar

½ c brown rice flour (65 grams)

½ c teff flour (60 grams)

¼ c cocoa powder (26 grams)

½ t baking soda

½ t salt

½ c chopped black walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie or tart pan and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor or high-speed blender, add the psyllium husk, raisins, wine, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Puree until no chunks of raisins remain. Add coconut palm sugar and puree again.

In a medium bowl, whisk together brown rice flour, teff flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Scrape the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well-combined. (If using a food processor, you can alternatively put the dry ingredients right into the bowl of the food processor and process until combined.) You will end up with a thick, sticky batter. Stir in black walnuts by hand.

Turn dough out into the pie or tart pan and using greased fingers, press into pan in an even layer. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

On a side note: I am co-hosting a Live Chat tomorrow, February 9, 2012, at 9PM EST over at the Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community! We’ll be talking about supporting the gluten-free people in your life. Join us here tomorrow! It’s free, and I’d love to see you there.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

 

It’s A Surprise Baby Shower! Grapefruit Salad with Avocado and Jicama

Today is a wonderful occasion! We are celebrating a soon-to-be new arrival – a lovely little bundle of joy coming any day now to the Green household! Amy Green is the founder of the blog Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free, and the author of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free: 180 Easy and Delicious Recipes You Can Make In 20 Minutes Or Less, and co-founder of The Balanced Platter, a new healthy living website that just launched in 2012. And those are just the highlights – Amy also is a co-founder of Nourished – a food blogger conference, has held countless cooking classes, has been an amazing mentor to many fellow food bloggers, and has touched many lives for the better through her dedication to healthier gluten-free, refined sugar-free living. She’s obviously a very busy, accomplished individual.

But personally, Amy is so much more than just these things. She’s a dear friend of mine. She has a huge heart and gives so much to so many of us. When we heard Amy and her husband Joe were expecting a baby boy, we knew we needed to take this opportunity to give back just a bit of the love Amy has shown for us…

…by having a virtual, surprise BABY SHOWER!

Of course, those of us throwing this shower are spread all over across North America, so it’s not exactly easy to get together for a party. So why not have a virtual shower? The added bonus, of course, is that you all can share in the fun!

Check out all of the amazing baby shower food being served at our Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free Surprise Shower:

Hallie at Daily Bites

Maggie at She Let Them Eat Cake

Lexie at Lexie’s Kitchen

Kelly at The Spunky Coconut

Carol at Simply Gluten-Free

Cara at Cara’s Cravings

Ricki at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs

Alisa at Alisa Cooks

Kim at Cook It Allergy Free

Silvana at Silvana’s Kitchen

Jen at Gluten-Free Life

Cybele at Cybele Pascal

Helen at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Wow, going through that list makes me hungry! Personally, I opted to share a refreshing grapefruit salad with avocado and jicama. Texas grapefruit is in season right now, and is such a sunny, welcome treat when spring produce still seems so far off. With creamy avocado, crunchy jicama, refreshing mint, and a slightly savory dressing, the grapefruit really sings. It’s perfect for a baby shower, or any winter brunch or lunch. I’m already aware of Amy’s love for grapefruit, so it only seemed fitting to serve a salad such as this at their baby shower.

Help me wish Amy and Joe congratulations as they welcome their new baby boy!

Grapefruit Salad with Avocado and Jicama

2 large pink grapefruits

1 navel orange

1 jicama, peeled and cut into strips

1 avocado, diced

1-2 handfuls arugula

2 T mint leaves

1 t Dijon mustard

2-3 T olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Peel and section the grapefruits and oranges over a bowl so you can catch the juice. Squeeze the membranes to get as much juice as possible. Discard peels and membrane. Carefully remove the slices from the juice and place into a separate bowl.

On a large plate, place the handfuls of arugula and spread out. Lay the slices of grapefruit, orange, and jicama on top of the arugula. Scatter diced avocado over the top of the salad. Garnish with mint leaves.

Place the grapefruit and orange juice in a small bowl with the Dijon mustard. Whisk together, and drizzle the olive oil in and whisk constantly until well-blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the salad and serve immediately.

 

 

Minty Bison Meatballs

Whether you’re looking for another SuperBowl recipe (I’ve already shared some healthy sweet-and-spicy dip) or just a delicious treat to feed your family, these unassuming meatballs might just be the thing. Sure, I’ve shared meatballs before. We’ve had Swedish Meatballs. Spanish Almond Meatballs. Good ol’ Spaghetti and Meatballs (these aren’t dairy-free, FYI). Needless to say, meatballs are a beloved dish in our house. They are one of the few things everyone in the house will eat without complaint, even the child who refuses to eat hamburgers will still gladly eat meatballs. (And even meatball sandwiches, which makes no sense to me – both are ground meat and bread..? I am not a picky eater, however, so some of the picky eating habits baffle me.)

These particular meatballs are a light and lean variation with clean, Mediterranean spices (I used cinnamon, cumin, garlic, mint, and parsley), but a delightfully American slant, as I used ground bison in place of beef or pork. When I can find ground bison, commonly referred to as buffalo, I love to get it. It’s leaner than beef, but boasts a great amount of protein, iron and vitamin B12. If you can find grass-fed buffalo meat, even better. The meat is flavorful in spite of the leanness, which means your meatball can be “meaty” without being fatty. Not that I’m one to shy away from fat – you won’t find me cutting off the fat on a delicious, grass-fed beef rib-eye anytime soon – but once in a while, lighter is better. That, and I’m an equal opportunity eater – bison deserves a chance at my table just as much as any other protein! That being said, if you prefer to use beef in this recipe, feel free to substitute.

You can serve these meatballs with a squeeze of lemon, or even a more substantial sauce, if you feel like experimenting. I imagine a tzatziki or other cool, creamy sauce would be delicious with these babies. They are great both as an appetizer, or as part of a main meal. For me, they were a success for the picky eaters, as each could decide whether to eat them unadorned, mix them in with a gluten-free pasta I’d made, or squeeze some lemon juice over. Personally? I enjoyed mine on top of a heap of these collard greens. Delish!

 

Minty Bison Meatballs (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

 

1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks

6 cloves garlic, peeled

2 T olive oil

2 1/2 lbs lean ground bison or beef

2 eggs

1 c packed flat-leaf parsley

½ c packed mint leaves

½ – ¾ c gluten-free bread crumbs (can substitute almond flour as well)

3 T ground cumin

½ t ground cinnamon

¼ t cayenne pepper

1 ½ t kosher salt

½ t ground black pepper

Lemon wedges

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and arrange one rack in the upper third of the oven, and one rack in the lower third. Place the onion and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until it becomes a paste. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and scrape onion paste into skillet. Sauté paste until it softens and no longer has a raw taste, about 4-5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

Combine onion paste, ground beef, eggs, parsley, mint, bread crumbs, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well (using your hands is the easiest method). Form into 1 oz meatballs and place on 2 foil-lined baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake both sheets of meatballs on two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for 10 minutes. Rotate sheets and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove and serve with lemon wedges for garnish.

Makes about 40 meatballs.