Yes, Ratatouille is Gluten-Free!

ratatouille gluten free

Ratatouille (not cooked by the famous chef rat, as the animated movie would have you believe) is a classic autumnal vegetable dish hailing from Provence.  Some say it is a dish for leftover pieces of vegetables. Some say it’s a celebration of the bountiful harvest of early 20th century Nice in Provence, in the south of France.  Whichever way it came about, if you’re worrying about foods that contain gluten, you’ll definitely enjoy this classic French delicacy. It’s one of those real comfort foods which makes you want to curl up on a nice plush couch bowl in hand,  taking 2 spoonfuls at a time.

It’s not a very usual thing to cook in a Filipino kitchen,  but really. What could be more Pinoy than a very delicious vegetable stew (Pakbet, anyone?)

I think the only reason we don’t embrace this dish as much as we would is because it uses Zucchini (or sukini in Tagalog),  which can come a bit pricey to as much as P250.00 per kilo.  But if you are ready to shell out a few extra pesos, you can have this exciting nutritious meal that can just make you parler francais.  We can even get a bit Pinoy-dangerous, and try it with rice and a side of meat. (Do we dare? Of course.) Let’s get cooking!

Ingredients

1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1-inch pieces

1½ tsp salt

½ cup olive oil

1 large zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds

2 big tomatoes, sliced into ¼-inch think rounds

4 thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

2 medium yellow onions, cut into ½-inch dice

1 red bell pepper—stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Red pepper flakes

1 cup basil leaves, torn

1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, choped

Directions

Prepare the eggplant by mixing with 1 teaspoon salt.  Let sit for 30 minutes and drain. This process sweats out the eggplant and removes extra moisture.  Pat the eggplant pieces dry and set aside. Heat olive oil in a heavy pot, and cook the eggplant until golden, stirring occasionally. Set aside.  In the same pot, add more oil as needed. Cook the zucchini in this same pot until golden, and then set aside with the eggplant.

Prepare half the tomatoes by crushing by hand, and seasoning with ½ teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

Tie thyme, bay leaf sprigs together. In the same pot, cook onions and herb bundle until soft and translucent. Add the bell pepper and cook stirring occasionally, until very soft.

Add garlic, pepper flakes until fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the tomatoes are very soft flavors have married. Add the reserved eggplant and zucchini and the remaining tomatoes. Lightly mix to combine.

Season with salt, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook until all the vegetables have softened. Remove pot from heat, and take out the herb bundle. Top dish with the basil and parsley. Serve!

Making this makes for a surprisingly easy cleanup, no peeling, and you cook everything in just one pot! Have a go a this recipe and let us know how you find it. 🙂 Bon appetit!

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Gluten-Free Food You Are Already Eating

donut

When you are dealing with Celiac disease or non Celiac gluten-intolerance,  it is easy to focus on what you can’t have: pasta, pizza, bread, beer, that very attractive glazed donut.  I mean anything with wheat, barley and rye and its other forms. Basically, a whole lot of delicious. Frustrating, right? 

It is serious business to try to steer clear of  gluten in order to avoid those pesky gluten related symptoms. When you cannot eat just anything off the shelf, it is pretty much a cause for much worry and anxiety.  Completely understandable, since the Philippines is not exactly a haven for gluten-free food.

meal

Taking time to see what is already gluten-free in your current diet, can save you a lot of gluten induced headaches, rash breakouts or very angry trips to the loo. Think, which items in your regular food list are already naturally gluten-free? If you actually take time to look back over your many countless effortless and delicious meals you’ve regularly eaten, you might be pleasantly relieved.

For example: Roasted chicken seasoned with just a little salt and pepper, a side of steamed vegetables, and rice? Gluten-free. Your sunny side up or omelet in the morning? Both gluten-free. The classic hungry combo of homemade mashed potatoes and grilled steak? Gluten-free. Delicious caramel crusted bananacue? Corn-on-a-cob? Pop-corn? Gluten-free. Fresh fruits for snacks? Again, gluten-free. 

vegan pasta 1

It doesn’t necessarily mean an overhaul for your diet if you find out that you suddenly have to chuck the bread, pizza and anything containing gluten. If you can’t live without pasta, for example, it would simply be a brand switch (for the gluten-free kind, corn & rice pastas are very popular. )

Anything in mind pops up to make your gluten-free dining a whole lot easier? Feel free to share with us in the comments!

Gluten-Free (and Nut-Free) Trail Mix

reipe image trailmix bar

Who says you can’t have trail mix without nuts? This s a great snack option for you if you’re watching your gluten intake. A smart way is to find gluten-free oats for this recipe, but if you can’t find one, simply ditch it and stick with the dried fruits and seeds. This one is packed with energy, with natural sugars from the fruits to rev up when you need it. Takes seconds to make! Are you ready? Let’s start mixing it up!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 dried probiotic prunes, chopped
1/2 cup premium raisins
1/4 to 1/2 cup raw cocoa nibs
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

DIRECTIONS

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl… and enjoy!

If you want a snack pack version, after mixing, put the contents of the bowl in a baking sheet. Cover with wax paper and flatten with a rolling pin. Take a sharp knife and cut them into bars. Store in the refrigerator to keep for several weeks.