Get taste buds tingling the gluten-free way

Tue, Jul 23, 2013, 14:55

Coeliac disease is a permanent, lifelong condition. If gluten is introduced back into the diet, the immune system will react and the gut lining will become damaged again. Fortunately, adherence to a gluten-free diet that’s nutrient dense can help heal intestinal damage and promote overall good health and wellbeing.

As diet is the cornerstone of treatment, consulting a qualified dietitian in the field can be of enormous help, especially for the the newly diagnosed coeliac.

Switching to a gluten-free diet is a big change and, like anything new, it takes some getting used to. You may initially feel deprived, but try to stay positive and focus on all the foods you can eat. As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade; just make your lemonade gluten free.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Serves 4

100g quinoa
400g cherry tomatoes, mixed colours
4 scallions
2 bunches flat leaf parsley
1 bunch of mint
1 cos or 2 little gem lettuces

For the dressing:
Juice of a lemon
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice
3-4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Rinse the quinoa and then cook it in boiling water for about 8 minutes till tender. Drain well and place on a flat bowl or plate and stir through the dressing ingredients. Leave to cool.
2. Cut the tomatoes into halves and add to the quinoa and stir through. Leave to stand for a couple of minutes.
3. Thinly slice the scallions and chop the leaves of the parsley and mint. Add these to the quinoa and tomatoes and mix well. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
4. Separate the leaves of the lettuce, wash and dry them well.
5. Serve the tabbouleh in the lettuce leaves as a starter or as part of a mezze.

Meatballs in Tomato and Ginger Sauce
This is a very easy recipe from Maire Dufficy and a favourite with everyone. Serve with baked potatoes or quinoa and a big crisp green salad. I freeze the meatballs and sauce separately and successfully.

Serves 4

450g minced beef or lamb (I used beef)
1 large onion, finely chopped, sautéed in oil till golden and cooled
1 tbsp scallions, chopped
1 tbsp rapeseed oil with chilli
Black pepper

Tomato and ginger sauce
2-3 cloves garlic
Piece of ginger, the size of your thumb, chopped
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Black pepper
Handful chopped coriander

1. Mix the mince, onion, scallions, chilli oil and seasoning well together. With wet hands shape into small meatballs the size of a very large walnut. Fry the meatballs in a large pan with a little oil until nicely browned. Set aside while you make the Tomato and Ginger Sauce.
2. Put the garlic, ginger, cider vinegar and brown sugar into the processor and whizz for a minute.
3. Pour the mixture and the tin of tomatoes into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, add the meatballs and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
4. Season and add coriander just before serving.

Paula Mee is lead dietitian at Medfit Proactive Healthcare and a member of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute. Tweet @paulamarymee

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