Fusilli with Turkey, Swiss Chard, and White Beans

Hope all my followers aren’t getting tired of pasta dishes! Here’s one that’s even more delicious than the last two. I do love Swiss chard, such a great flavor; I do choose rainbow or red chard because I can’t eat green leafy vegetables but feel free to use any chard you find at your market. And the meat and beans can be changed around as well, depending on your family’s taste – chicken, pork loin, even a sausage would work great in this recipe as well as any canned beans.

Start an 8 quart pot of water to boil. When boiling, add:

1 teaspoon sea salt

8 ounces gluten free fusilli (or whatever pasta you have on hand)

Cook the pasta per package instructions, usually between 8-10 minutes for fusilli. When the pasta is el dente, add to the boiling pot:

12 ounces of Swiss chard, washed with the leaves from the rib and broken into pieces (discard the ribs)

Bring back to the boil and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain the chard and the pasta and return to the pot. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over the pasta so it doesn’t stick together. Set aside.

In a 10″ skillet heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Add:

12 ounces cooked and diced turkey (or chicken, pork, or sausage)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

15 ounces cannellini beans with the liquid

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon dried mixed Italian herbs

Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced by about half. Pour over the pasta and chard along and add:

1/4 to 1/2 cup non-dairy shredded parmesan cheese

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Stir to combine and serve. Have some extra cheese to top each serving. Serves 4-6.

Prune and Carob Squares

Here’s another bar that’s downright delicious! Not something to eat with fingers, there’s too much soft, gooey filling in them for that. Of course, if wanted, other dried fruit (like dates or figs) would work just as well as prunes and be equally tasty. And like the raspberry bars, refrigerating the baking dish overnight or even for several hours before cutting will help the crust firm up and make removing them from the dish easier.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9×9″ baking dish with parchment paper or spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Blend in a food processor:

1/3 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds (lightly roasted)*

1/4 cup date or coconut sugar

1 cup gluten-free organic old fashioned oats

1/3 cup millet flour

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Pulse until the oatmeal mixture resembles ground nuts or cornmeal. Add:

1/2 cup avocado oil or 1/2 cup melted vegan margarine, or melted coconut oil

Pulse until the mixture begins to form clumps. If the mixture is too dry and doesn’t clump add:

up to 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time

Remove from the food processor and add:

1/2 cup gluten-free organic old fashioned oats

1/4 cup hemp hulls (or if nuts are possible, ground nuts)

Stir to combine. Pour half the mix into the bottom of the prepared baking dish and press down to make a firm bottom. Reserve the other half for the top of the bars. In the food processor bowl blend:

1 16 ounce drained can of beans (whatever kind you like, I used chickpeas but any bean will work)

2 cups prune puree**

Blend until the beans are creamy so the softer the bean used, the less time and creamier this mixture will be. Add:

1/4 cup carob powder

1/3 cup date or coconut sugar (if using dates, this added sugar isn’t necessary)

1/8 sea salt

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1 tablespoon lemon juice and zest from 1/2 lemon (optional)

Pulse until the mixture is combined. Scoop out and spread on the crust in the baking dish. Cover with the remaining oat mixture and bake 35-40 minutes until the top is browned. Remove and cool on a cooling rack until no heat is felt on the bottom of the baking dish. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before slicing.

*To roast seeds or nuts, heat oven to 350 degree, place seeds on a dry baking sheet and roast until you smell them, usually not more than a few minutes.

**To make prune puree (or puree with any dried fruit), place the fruit in a saucepan large enough to hold the fruit and enough water to cover it. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15-30 minutes depending on how much fruit used. When the fruit begins to dissolve into the water when stirred, it’s sufficiently cooked. Turn up the heat and boil, uncovered, several minutes to reduce the liquid until, when stirred, very little liquid is visible. If a smooth puree is needed, use an immersion blender. For this recipe, that’s not needed since the mixture will be going into the food processor.

Easy Spicy Barbeque Beans (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, vegan)

Being a New England girl, I’m not accustomed to barbeque beans; we are famous for our Boston Baked Beans where I come from (see recipe under side dishes). Since beans are a great source of protein and generally lower in carbs than many side dishes, I’m trying to use them more often as a side dish. Here’s a recipe that’s quick and easy (takes longer to make the sauce than the beans!).

Feel free to use any bean your family likes. And if you have time and prefer dried beans, soak them overnight or boil them for about an hour before adding the sauce, and the recipe is just as easy.

In a small saute pan mix:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, minced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 small jar tomato paste

1/4 cup vinegar (I use rice but any kind will work)

1/4 cup maple, agave, or coconut nectar, or honey

2 tablespoons molasses

Salt and pepper to taste, 1/4 to 1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon-1 tablespoons hot sauce (or cayenne pepper)

sufficient bean liquid to thin the sauce

Heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook a minute more, about 5 minutes all together. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, mix thoroughly, and simmer over low heat for about a half hour. For a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender before mixing in:

1-2 cans (or about 1 1/2 cups dried beans that have been soaked or boiled) beans (I used red kidney beans because those are the ones I like but feel free to use any beans you have on hand).

The sauce makes enough for 2 cans of beans but I used only 1 and froze the other half of the sauce.

Serves 4

Curried Vegetable Pie (dairy free, gluten free, soy free, vegan)

I LOVE curry! It’s one of my very favorite dishes so when I saw a recipe in the Trader Joe Fearless Flyer for Spicy Pumpkin Curry Pot Pie, I had to adapt it. Since I didn’t put any pumpkin in my pie, I’ve renamed the recipe to fit the actual ingredients. Since it contains beans, you could serve it as a side dish or an entree.

Like many of my recipes, this one can be adapted to suit your family’s tastes. For example, I used butternut squash but any winter squash, including pumpkin, could be substituted. Also, I love white kidney beans so I used those but feel free to substitute another bean, such as garbanzo; instead of parsnips, you could use carrots, and instead of the chopped dates, feel free to use dried cranberries, raisins, currents, etc. Whatever your choices, remember that curry loves sweet foods!

You’ll need for the vegetables:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion (I used sweet onions)

2 medium parsnips, cut into medium sized pieces

1 cup butternut squash, cut into medium sized pieces

1 bunch rainbow chard cut into shreds (feel free to use any chard or kale)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

16 oz can of beans, drained

1/3 cup chopped dates (or other dried fruit)

For the sauce, you’ll need:

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup gluten free flour mix

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 cup non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon curry paste (depending on your taste)

And for the pie, you’ll need:

1 9″ pie gluten-free pie crust (I use Wholly Gluten Free even though it has a small amount of sugar in it but feel free to use whatever pie crust your family likes, just remember, don’t put a cold pie crust on top of hot mixture or hot mixture into a cold uncooked pie crust) (or see my recipe for gluten-free pie crust)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, add the 3 tablespoons of oil, heat then saute the onion and parsnips (or carrots) for about 5 minutes. Add the squash, cover and cook another 5 minutes. Add the chard, salt, pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook for about 5 more minutes or until vegetables are softened but still hold together. Remove from heat.

To prepare the sauce, heat the oil in the bottom of a saucepan and add the curry powder (remember not to burn the curry, just toast it so have your heat on medium). Add the flour and whisk in; it should absorb all the oil. Let simmer on low for several minutes to cook the flour. Add the non-dairy milk (any milk except soy which will not thicken); coconut milk would be wonderful if you can eat coconut. Whisk constantly until thickened; if too thick (should be the consistency of watery mash potatoes), add a little more milk. Once completed, pour over the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Grease a 9″ round casserole dish and then add the vegetable mixture.

If you are using a frozen pie crust, prebake per directions. Many frozen crusts will not come out of the pan until pre-baked (like the Wholly Gluten Free crust I use). That works well since then we’re putting a hot crust on hot mixture. Once pre-baked, flip it on top of the vegetable mixture. Bake in the oven until crust is done and mixture is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serves 6-8.

HINT: If you’d like to add some crunch to this dish, add some seeds, I used pumpkin.

Nachos (dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free)

If you love nachos like I do, you’ll like this recipe.  I spent 12 years living in the Phoenix area and our favorites places to eat were the Mexican restaurants.  Now, with my dairy, gluten and corn allergies, I don’t get to eat nachos very often.  I found using this tortilla recipe, that the nachos stay sturdier; with regular flour or corn chips, they can get very soggy after the cheese sauce is added.  These did get a little soft but they still held up and everything didn’t spill off when they were picked up, even the ones on the bottom.  This recipe makes 3 tortillas or about enough a large plate of nachos.  As an appetizer, enough for 6-8 people but as a meal, probably only enough for 1-2.

First make the tortillas.  Combine in a quart bowl:

  • 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour (or another dense flour such as hemp)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • dash (or two) of cumin or chili powder (optional)
  • 3/4 cup cool water

Whisk until all ingredients are combined and mixture is smooth.  Heat an 8″ skillet (non-stick) over medium heat.  When hot pour about 1/3 of the mixture into the skillet and, like a crepe, move pan to let the mixture cover the entire bottom of the pan.  Cook until small bubbles cover most of the tortilla (this will only take 2-4 minutes) and then turn over and cook for another 1-2 minutes.  Repeat for the next two tortillas.  Let cool slightly before cutting into eighths.

Meanwhile get the rest of the nacho ingredients started.  Combine in a small sauce pan:

  • 1 cup shredded non-dairy cheese (I really like the Daiya Classic Combo cheese for this)
  • non-dairy milk of choice just until it almost covers the cheese (about 2/3 of a cup)

Cook over low heat until cheese is completely melted and incorporated into the milk.  Whisk every few minutes.

If you like ground meat on your nachos, cook a quarter to a half pound of ground meat, seasoned with salt, pepper, and chili powder (optional).

Heat 1/4 to 1/2 cup of refried beans in a small skillet with a little oil (or if you want, a minute in the microwave).

You can use store-bought guacamole or make some.  I use a very simple guacamole recipe:

Combine in a food processor:

  • the meat from 2 avocados
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
  • juice of 1 lime

Blend until smooth.  I prefer a smooth guacamole but I know some people like it chunky so if a chunky one is preferred, pulse until desired consistency.  Add 1/4 cup pomegranate arils if  you like a little crunch in your guacamole (and they add a nice flavor as well).

These tortillas absorb oil like crazy so I didn’t deep fry them.  Instead, I used my air fryer and placed them in a single layer, air fried them for about 10 minutes or until crispy.  

Then it time to make the nachos.  Start with a layer of chips, cover with meat and/or refried beans, top with cheese sauce and guacamole.  Repeat until chips are all used.  Top with some diced tomatoes and scallions.

Sweet Potato Hummus (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)

I love hummus but regular hummus loses all its taste when compared with sweet potato hummus!  Oh it is so good be sure to only make it when you have company to help you eat it or you’ll end up devouring the entire batch yourself in one sitting — it is really that good.  And easy to make with canned sweet potato.

In a food processor or blender:

  • 1  15-ounce can drained chickpeas
  • 1 cup of sweet potato puree
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin oil (or avocado or olive oil)
  • 2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon papika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Blend until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.  Garnish with scallions — be generous, they add another layer of flavor and go very well with this hummus.  Serve with crackers or raw veggies (I love mine with plantain chips),  pitas or flatbread.

If you’re looking for a healthy snack that your kids along with anybody else will love, try this alternative to sweet potato hummus:

Carob or Chocolate Hummus:  In your food processor, add:

  • 1 15-oumce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup date syrup, agave or coconut nectar (add more if you want it really sweet)
  • 1/2 cup carob or cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend until smooth.

Baked Beans (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, fat-free, vegan)

Being from New England, one of my comfort foods has to be baked beans.  I like to eat mine with rice, that way I eat fewer baked beans but my husband likes to eat his plain with extra ketchup.  Whatever way you like them, this baked bean recipe makes hearty, not too sweet beans.

Soak overnight:

  • 1 16-ounce bag of dried red kidney beans (or whatever bean your family prefers)

Be sure that the water covers the beans by at least 3 inches.  Cover the bowl so that nothing falls in it while the beans are soaking.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  You’ll need:

  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup real maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want your beans)
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar-free ketchup (such as Organicsville Agave Ketchup)
  • 1/2 cup diced bacon (optional) [when I add bacon, I use turkey bacon that doesn’t add any fat to the beans]

Combine above ingredients except the beans and onion.  Add the diced onion and your soaked beans to a bean pot.  If you don’t have a bean pot, a very heavy Dutch over would work (like a cast iron one).  Add 2 cups of the bean soaking liquid into the mixed ingredients and pour over the beans until they are just covered.  Don’t overfill your bean pot to start or you’ll have a mess in your oven.

Bake, adding liquid as needed, for approximately 3 hours or until the beans are soft but not mushy.  You want to check them every half hour and add liquid as needed as well as stirring them so that the beans on top don’t get undercooked while the beans on the bottom get overcooked.  Remember, once you take them out of the oven and leave the cover on the pot, they will continue to cook.  I usually let mine sit on the counter for about a half hour after taking them out and then I transfer them to a serving dish.

Chili (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

My husband loves chili but it isn’t one of my favorite dishes.  I’ve experimented over the years with different chili recipes to please him and here’s the one we decided pleases both of us.  I like to eat mine over some soba noodles and garnish it with avocadoes but he’d rather eat his the traditional way.  Its a very easy recipe to make the way your family likes chili — swap out the meat, type of peppers, or even the type of beans, or even increase the spices.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 pound ground turkey (or if you prefer, hamburger, ground chicken, ground pork, etc.)
  • 1 can diced chili peppers (I used the mild but you can use whatever your family likes)*
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste (or 1 small can)
  • 2 cups stock (chicken, turkey, or beef depending on what meat you use)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto, or great northern, or kidney, or black beans, whichever you prefer
  • Bag of non-dairy grated cheese or for individual servings, slices
  • 1 diced avocado

*I wanted to use poblano chilis but the can I saw had added sugar so I went with my old standby of mild chili peppers.  Feel free to use fresh peppers and add the diced peppers with the onions and garlic.

In a large, deep skillet, or Dutch oven, heat oil over high heat.  Add spices (cumin, paprika, and chili powder) to release the oils.  Add onions and garlic and cook for a minute reducing heat to medium.  Add the meat and brown.  Pour in the stock and add the chili peppers, oregano, tomato paste, vinegar, molasses, salt and cinnamon sticks.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 40-60 minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove cinnamon sticks and discard.  Stir in the drained beans and simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve topped with cheese and the diced avocado.

Tomato Vegetable “Stoup” (vegan, dairy- free, gluten-free)

This time of year with all the fresh vegetables, this is one of my go to dishes.  My husband and I love this soup/stew.  Its one that is easy to customize to your taste since its basically whatever vegetables you have on hand.  Instead of using canned diced tomatoes, I peeled and chopped some of my husband’s fresh off-the-vine tomatoes sitting on my counter top.  Best of all, its delicious whether you serve it hot or cold.  Add some croutons for crunch (made with gluten-free bread of course!).  In the winter, this soup is a great vehicle for cooked chicken. Feel free to play with it and make it your own by adding the vegetables your family likes the best.  But keep the carrots since they add that sweetness that takes care of the acidity in the tomatoes (the parsnips help with that as well).  Makes 8-12 servings.

Peel as needed and dice into like size pieces:

  • 1 medium onion (I used a red onion)
  • 6-8 stocks of celery
  • 1 medium purple top turnip (or a regular one if you like them but the purple top have a milder flavor)
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 medium zucchini squash
  • 2 small parsnips
  • 2 baby bok choy (you could use regular chopped cabbage instead of the bok choy and then add some kale or spinach for the greens of the bok choy)
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms (I like to mix them up so I used half baby bella and half porcini)
  • 1 cup chopped or grated carrots
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 cup green beans

Add 4 cups (1 quart) of vegetable stock to a large stock pot (if you want, you could add 4 cups of chicken stock).  Be sure to use stock and not broth for that “cooked all day” flavor.  Add the onion, celery, turnip, squashes, bok choy and mushrooms and cook covered over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add:

  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (I find the Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes taste less metallic than regular canned tomatoes)
  • 1 12 ounce can of your favorite beans (I love the cannellini beans or great northern)

Cook over low heat for another 10-15 minutes until tomatoes and beans are heated through.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten, dairy, egg, and refined sugar free)

In fact, these cookies have no flour in them at all.  Here’s what you can do with the chickpeas you have left over when you use the agua fava (or aquafaba; bean water) in a recipe.  These are pretty good although not as chewy as the high calorie version and they can be quite soft.  Adding a nut butter, I use tahini since I’m allergic to nuts, gives them a great flavor.  I like to freeze them because they taste really good frozen; it adds the chewiness that you get in regular chocolate chip cookies.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees; cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with a non-stick spray.

Put in your food processor

  • 12 oz can of garbonzo beans drained
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup nut butter or tahini
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I really like the Garden of Eden Vanilla in this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (Whole Foods has a store brand of chopped dates that are coated in oat flour instead of the traditional sugar)*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder

Blend until the garbonzo beans and dates are pureed into the mixture.  I watch until I don’t see any more lumps and then blend it for  several more minutes since its not the most pleasant experience to bite into a large chunk of chickpea when eating a cookie!

Stir into mixture 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use Chatfield Carob Chips) [be sure to check the package for allergens such as dairy and sugar].  Drop by tablespoons (or 1/4 cup measure) onto the prepared cookie sheet and then, with the back of a wet spoon, flatten cookies.  Bake for approximately 12-18 minutes depending on how large or small you make the cookies.  Makes between 10 to 20 cookies depending on size.

*If you don’t like the taste of dates or they have too much sugar content, you can use 1/4 cup of agave, honey, or coconut nectar in this recipe or 1 tablespoon stevia.  If you add one of the nectars, be sure to decrease the water to 1/4 cup.

Tip:  I’m really bad about flattening cookies; these work as bars just as well so I usually spread the batter in a 9×9 or 8×10 greased pan and increase the baking time to 20-25 minutes.