Elimination Phase

Vegan Nut & Veggie Tart with Green Herb Sauce (Low-FODMAP, Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Vegan Nut & Veggie Tart with Green Herb Sauce (Low-FODMAP, Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

If you are vegan or plan to cook for vegans or vegetarians, this meatless main dish is perfect for a crowd! It makes a beautiful holiday main course, and it can be made ahead of time. It's full of delicious winter vegetables, plus rice, lentils and nuts, so it doesn't taste heavy like most vegan nut loaves. Click through for the recipe!

Ah, holiday cooking. So many dietary needs to take care of. Enter the vegan tart. This recipe is for you if…

  • You're a vegan or vegetarian.

  • You're cooking for vegans or vegetarians sometime soon.

  • You want a crazy-nutritious meatless main dish for the holidays.

But let me backtrack for a second. This recipe came about through an informal collaboration with Alana, the very talented writer behind the blog, A Little Bit Yummy.

She had a lot of readers asking for a vegan nut loaf recipe to make for the holidays. However, being allergic to nuts, she asked if I'd be interested in developing the recipe.

My answer: Heck, yes!

Through the past 9 years of doing freelance recipe development, some of my favorite jobs have been the ones that are different from my personal eating style. Stretching that creative muscle is always a good idea: It's both fun and mentally engaging!

Let's get into the details...

Here's what the ingredients look like before stirring in the nuts and right before going in the oven. Everything stays super-moist, without any crumbling.

Here's why I think this is the vegan recipe you need to try this season:

It won't weigh you down. Some vegan nut loaves have the heft of a hockey puck and come in at 1,000 calories per serving (it happens!). Not this tart. Instead of mostly nuts, this recipe consists of brown rice, lentils and a bunch of winter veggies. It will make your kitchen smell like Thanksgiving.

The sauce. The sauce alone is a gem. With the creaminess of avocado and a tangy hit of lemon, you'll want to eat it straight. Double the recipe if you want; whip it up anytime you've got extra herbs on hand; put it on everything!

It's not a loaf, it's a tart! If you've never found the look of traditional vegan nut loaves all that enticing, this pretty tart is the answer.

No advanced cooking skills. There are quite a few steps to get all the components together, but they're easy-peasy. Plus, you can do some or all of it ahead if you want.

Freedom of choice. If you really want to make a loaf, this recipe should fit in 2 standard loaf pans. But there are other fun possibilities: Use a muffin tin to make individual servings for a potluck or buffet. Use mini muffin tins to make appetizers (cute!)--just be sure to decrease the baking time. I love baking in my cast iron skillet because it looks great at the table, but a pie plate or similar-sized baking dish will work too.

So are you convinced? I'd love to know how many of you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. Do want to see more recipes like this? Will you give this one a try? Let me know below in the comments!

If you are vegan or plan to cook for vegans or vegetarians, this meatless main dish is perfect for a crowd! It makes a beautiful holiday main course, and it can be made ahead of time. It's full of delicious winter vegetables, plus rice, lentils and nuts, so it doesn't taste heavy like most vegan nut loaves. Click through for the recipe!

Vegan Nut and Veggie Tart with Green Herb Sauce (Low-FODMAP, Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

A cast iron skillet is great for baking this rustic tart, but any oven-safe 9-inch pan will work, as well as any similar-size baking dish, such as a pie plate. If you use a baking dish, I recommend greasing it with butter or ghee as noted in the recipe. The easiest way to shred the carrot and parsnip is with a food processor with a shredding disk. If you don't have this attachment, you can grate them on a box grater or cut into very thin strips (julienne) with a knife.

Author: Julie-Calm Belly Kitchen             Recipe type: Entrée
Prep time: 50 mins        Cook time: 25 mins        Total time: 1 hour, 15 mins
Makes 8 servings


INGREDIENTS

For Tart:
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
3/4 cup (84g) walnuts
3/4 cup (84g) pecans
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup/85 g shredded; see note above) 
1 medium parsnip, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup/85 g shredded; see note above) 
½ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium leek, green part only, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 rib celery, diced (about 2/3 cup)
¾ cup (105 g) cooked brown rice
2/3 cup (92g) rinsed and drained canned lentils
3 small slices (75g) low-FODMAP, gluten-free bread
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
Nonstick cooking spray, butter or ghee for greasing your pan (see note above)

For sauce:
1 cup (packed) mixed parsley and cilantro (leaves and thin stems)
¼ avocado, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp hot sauce (optional)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ to ½ cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spread walnuts and pecans on a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake until fragrant and light golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes, stirring them around about halfway through. Transfer to a plate and set aside until completely cool (I like to do this a day or two ahead of time). When cool (otherwise they can turn into a paste), finely chop in a food processor fitted with the metal blade.

2. If the shredded carrots or parsnips are very long, roughly chop so pieces are no longer than 1 inch. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet (if you'll be baking the tart in a 9-inch oven-safe skillet, you can use that) on medium. Add the carrot, parsnip, rosemary, thyme, and salt and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. Add remaining 1 tbsp of the oil to the same skillet and heat on medium. Add leek, celery and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender and light golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add to bowl with carrot mixture. Add the rice, lentils and chopped nuts and stir until combined.

4. Place the bread in a shallow bowl or small baking dish in a single layer. Add the almond milk and allow the bread to soak until very soft but not dissolving, about 5 minutes, turning once. Tear into small ½-inch pieces and add to bowl with veggie mixture (discard remaining almond milk). Stir until combined.

5. In a small bowl, stir together the chia seeds and 3 tbsp warm water. Set aside until mixture thickens to a gel-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Add to bowl with veggie mixture and stir until combined. Taste for seasoning and add extra salt, pepper or herbs (or other spices) as desired. Coat a 9-inch oven-safe skillet (such as cast iron or stainless steel) with nonstick cooking spray; or coat a 9-inch pie plate or similar-size baking dish with butter or ghee. Add veggie mixture and pat into an even layer. Bake at 350F until slightly puffed in the center and lightly browned at the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. 

6. Make the sauce: In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine herbs, avocado, lemon juice, mustard and hot sauce if using. Pulse until herbs are chopped, scraping down the bowl as needed. With processor running, slowly pour the olive oil in through the feed tube, followed by ¼ cup of the water. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add more water as needed until the sauce is thick but pourable (you should be able to drizzle it off a spoon). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

7. When tart is done baking, cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into slices and drizzle with the sauce to serve. Tart may be made up to 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. To reheat, cover with foil and bake at 275F until heated through, about 20 minutes; or transfer to a microwave-safe plate and microwave on medium power for about 2 minutes or until center is hot. For the most vibrant color, it's best to make the sauce just before serving.


Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/8 of recipe (including sauce)  Calories: 360  Fat: 26 g Saturated fat: 3 g Carbohydrates: 29 g Sugar: 3  g Sodium: 108 mg Fiber: 6 g Protein: 8 g

Orange-Pecan Cookies (Low-FODMAP, Gluten-Free)

Orange-Pecan Cookies (Low-FODMAP, Gluten-Free)

These are the perfect healthy holiday cookies! If you're looking for a moist, chewy low-FODMAP cookie recipe, try this one. The orange-pecan flavor is amazing, so don't skimp on the orange zest. With just a few ingredients, they're easy to make with minimal mess.

If you think being on a low-FODMAP diet means you'll miss out on all the food-related traditions that go along with the holidays, don't worry.

It's a myth.

In fact, you don't have to miss out on any of them. You might not be eating the exact same foods you did in years past, but that is okay.

As you learn new cooking techniques and try more low-FODMAP recipes, it will get easier to fill your kitchen with food that doesn't leave you feeling restricted and fulfills the spirit of your holiday traditions.

These cookies are the perfect place to start. Let me just stop here for a second and be really blunt: I love them. I'm usually not that impressed with health-ified desserts, but this is a major exception. 

Here's why these cookies are awesome:

  • The orange zest gives them incredible flavor.

  • They have just a few ingredients, which equals minimal effort and minimal mess.

  • Pecans. Toasted pecans.

 If you're like me and think Christmas is a wasted without a lot of cookie baking, then you need this recipe! And if you're the chief baker and think people won't be able to cope if you don't make the same cookies you've made every year, I think you might be wrong. At the very least, throw a few new recipes at them and give them a chance to be heroic. You never know. :-)

These are the perfect healthy holiday cookies! If you're looking for a moist, chewy low-FODMAP cookie recipe, try this one. The orange-pecan flavor is amazing, so don't skimp on the orange zest. With just a few ingredients, they're easy to make with minimal mess.

Orange-Pecan Cookies (Low-FODMAP, Gluten Free)

These easy cookies are totally grain free, which helps them stay soft in the center and chewy at the edges. The flavor of the orange zest is the star. To get finely grated zest, I use this microplane grater.

Author: Julie-Calm Belly Kitchen             Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 25 mins (plus chilling)        Cook time: 15 mins        Total time: 40 mins
Makes 28 to 30 cookies (1 serving = 2 cookies)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups (225 grams) pecans
2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
2 large or extra large egg whites
Zest of 1 naval orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract (optional)
½ tsp sea salt
Cooking spray or shortening

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spread pecans on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, 7 to 8 minutes, stirring them around about halfway through. Cool completely. You can do this ahead of time. If I'm not using them within a couple days, I keep them in the freezer so they stay fresh.

2. Add the cooled pecans (they must be cool or they'll get pasty) and sugar to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse several times until finely chopped with a chunky, slightly sandy texture.

3. In a large bowl, combine egg whites, orange zest, extracts and salt. Add pecan mixture and stir until combined. Refrigerate until completely chilled, 90 minutes to 2 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 350F and position racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and grease the parchment with cooking spray or shortening. Scoop heaping teaspoons of batter onto parchment about 2 inches apart. You should get 28 to 30 cookies.

5. Bake until cookies are puffed and just set in the center, 13 to 15 minutes. Switch position of the baking sheets up and down and back to front about halfway through. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack and cool completely.

Adapted from this recipe at Self Magazine.

Nutrition Information
For 1 cookie of 28:  Calories: 76 Fat: 6g Saturated fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 6g Sugar:  5g Sodium: 45mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 1g

 

Products linked in this post are affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but I earn a small commission if you decide to purchase. I only recommend products that I personally use and/or genuinely recommend, and I always have my readers’ best interest at heart. 

Brown Rice Noodle and Veggie Stir Fry with Shrimp (Low-FODMAP, gluten free)

Brown Rice Noodle and Veggie Stir Fry with Shrimp (Low-FODMAP, gluten free, dairy free)

This low-FODMAP, gluten free stir fry is easy and healthy! It's made with brown rice noodles for extra fiber. You can use any veggies and protein you want. It's a quick weeknight meal and tastes great for lunch the next day. Click through for the recipe (and free printable shopping list).

Save it on Pinterest!

If giving up traditional wheat pasta still bums you out, this recipe will having you loving life again.

Plus, it's fast, addictive and makes for a great leftover lunch.

This is all because of the star ingredient, Asian rice noodles. They're gluten-free of course, they cook in 3 minutes, and they don't take on a weird, gummy texture the next day-- which means you can easily reheat or eat 'em cold straight from the fridge.

Asian rice noodles are versatile (just try them with extra-virgin olive oil, parmesan and lemon zest), but I absolutely love them in this simple stir fry.

How to make this easy rice noodle stir fry!

Here's how it works: You make a quick, tasty sauce and sauté (or steam, or microwave) some veggies. Meanwhile you boil a big pot of water and cook the noodles.

Then you get your protein ready. In this case, I made sautéed shrimp, but you could use baked salmon or chicken, smoked fish, stir fried pork or tempeh, ground turkey or chicken--pretty much anything.

Finally you add it all back to the pot you cooked the noodles in and toss it up. Done. 

All about Asian rice noodles

For this recipe, I used brown rice vermicelli from Annie Chun. You can use any brand. If you have access to an Asian market, you can get them fairly cheaply, but they might only have the white rice variety, not brown.

I like using brown rice noodles because they have 4 grams of fiber per serving (read more about how I like to build my meals around fiber-rich foods). But go with what works for you! I find the Annie Chun brand at large supermarkets, Whole Foods and Vitacost.com.

Asian rice noodles can't flat-out replace Italian pasta (my favorite gluten-free brand of Italian pasta is Jovial, by the way), but they definitely make some tasty meals. I love making pad thai with the thicker type of rice noodles. Have you ever had a low-FODMAP version? Let me know if you'd like a pad thai recipe, and I can make that happen!

Have you cooked with Asian rice noodles before? What do you like to make? Share in the comments or stop by my Facebook page and post your recipes! 

If you liked this post, enter your info below to get a free 1-week menu of Low-FODMAP, gluten-free suppers delivered straight to your inbox!

This low-FODMAP, gluten free stir fry is easy and healthy! It's made with brown rice noodles for extra fiber. You can use any veggies and protein you want. It's a quick weeknight meal and tastes great for lunch the next day. Click through for the recipe (and free printable shopping list).

Brown Rice Noodle & Veggie Stir Fry with Shrimp (Low-FODMAP, gluten free, dairy free)

You can use any veggies you want (or any protein--precooked chicken, pork or tempeh makes the cooking even faster). Some good options are zucchini, tomatoes, kale, broccoli, water chestnuts, bokchoy and eggplant. I also like sprinkling sesame seeds on as a garnish, but I forgot to do it for the photo shoot! A little hot sauce is nice too, if you like some heat.

Author: Julie-Calm Belly Kitchen             Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 5 mins        Cook time: 30 mins        Total time: 35 mins
Serves 4 (makes great leftovers!)

INGREDIENTS

5 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce (gluten free if needed)
3 tbsp light brown sugar or maple syrup
3 tbsp fresh lime juice (1 to 2 limes)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large red bell pepper, sliced into thin 3-inch strips
2 cups matchstick carrots
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger (1-inch piece)
Cooking spray (or additional vegetable oil)
5 oz spinach leaves
1 1/4 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (frozen, defrosted work well)
1/4 tsp salt, plus additional to taste
Black pepper to taste
8 oz brown rice vermicelli
6 scallions, green parts only, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar or maple syrup, lime juice, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add bell peppers and cook, stirring frequently for about 4 minutes. Add carrots and continue cooking until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes more (add a few tablespoons of water to the skillet if vegetables start to stick). Add ginger and about three-quarters of the scallions and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Transfer to a medium bowl.

2. Return skillet to the stove top, mist with cooking spray (or add more vegetable oil) and heat on medium. Add spinach and cook, stirring frequntly, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add to bowl with carrot mixture.

3. Return the skillet to the stove top one more time and mist with cooking spray (or add more vegetable oil). Heat on medium-high. Add shrimp, 1/4 tsp salt and black pepper to taste. Cook, turning occasionally, until shrimp are firm to the touch and opaque in the thickest part, 4 to 6 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add rice noodles and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water. Return noodles to the pot you cooked them in. Give the soy sauce mixture a quick whisk and add to the noodles. Heat on medium high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and add the vegetable mixture. Gently toss until combined and heated through. Stir in the shrimp. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve right away and garnish with the remaining scallions.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/4 of recipe Calories: 492 Fat: 9g Saturated fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 68g Sugar:  14g Sodium: 1302mg Fiber: 9g Protein: 38g

Shrimp and Grits Recipe (Low-FODMAP, gluten free, dairy free)

Low-FODMAP Shrimp and Grits Recipe

Shrimp and millet grits are low-FODMAP, gluten free and dairy free. Plus, they're so quick and easy for weeknight cooking! Click through for a free printable recipe and shopping list.

This little recipe kicked off my fascination with southern cooking.

I've been making versions of it for years. It is so simple, I never followed any one specific recipe. I probably saw it for the first time in a food magazine. Having never eaten grits once in my life, I was so ready to jump on that train!

What are grits, anyway?

Grits are corn that has been dried and ground. So, cornmeal essentially! If you think this sounds a lot like polenta, you're right.

Italian polenta and southern grits are made from different types of corn, and the texture of the grind often varies too. Polenta is almost always made from yellow corn and grits are traditionally made from white.

But at the end of the day, they're very similar, and you can switch them up anytime. 

Why use millet?

I've always made shrimp and grits with ground cornmeal or polenta. Then one day, I was shopping online for gluten-free baking supplies and I came across these millet grits from Bob's Red Mill. They're made by grinding the hulled, whole grain millet so they have a more porridge-like texture and are faster to cook (This post is in no way sponsored by Bob, I just like his products!).

I'm always excited to find a "new food," and I know millet is great low-FODMAP grain option. It took about two seconds for me to click "Add to cart!"

You can use any kind of polenta, cornmeal or grits you want, but I definitely recommend the millet grits. Here's why:

  • It's quick! The millet required about 10 minutes of cooking, while stone ground cornmeal takes at least 20.

  • No lumps. I had a MUCH easier time getting lump-free grits than when I use cornmeal or polenta. Tip: Sprinkle in about 1 tbsp at a time and whisk into the simmering liquid before adding more.

  • It's belly friendly. I don't have digestive trouble with cornmeal products but I know many of you do. Millet could be a great alternative!

 If you want to try your hand at southern cooking, this recipe is a great start. It comes together so quickly and easily. When I give the total cooking time, that includes any chopping that needs to happen beforehand, by the way.

Even better, this is a healthy dish that's low in calories (not usually associated with southern food, I know). It's one of my weeknight stand-bys when I want something a little different and special.

Do you make shrimp and grits? Or are you a die-hard polenta fan looking to try something new? Share in the comments!

Shrimp and millet grits are low-FODMAP, gluten free and dairy free. Plus, they're so quick and easy for weeknight cooking! Click through for a free printable recipe and shopping list.

Shrimp and Millet Grits (Low-FODMAP, gluten free, dairy free)

You can substitute regular corn grits or polenta for the millet grits. Cook them according to the instructions on the package. I used heirloom cherry tomatoes in this recipe, but you can use any tomato (It also works with canned tomatoes. Just simmer to reduce the liquid a bit.). Halve them if you're using cherry tomatoes and chop if you're using large ones. If you're sensitive to tomatoes, try using a larger variety since the small ones are sweeter and are likely to contain more sugar. Do what works for your body!
Author: Julie~Calm Belly Kitchen             Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 8 mins        Cook time: 30 mins        Total time: 38 mins
Serves 4 (can easily be halved)

INGREDIENTS

3 1/2 cups water
1 cup millet grits (see note above)
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tbsp garlic infused oil
1 lb tomatoes, chopped (see note above)
5 scallions (green parts only), sliced
1 1/4 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp ancho chile powder

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly add the millet (about 1 tbsp at a time), whisking as you go. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally until millet thickens. Reduce heat to low, maintaining a slow simmer, and partially cover the pan with it's lid. Grits have a tendency to pop up and splatter, so be careful! Continue cooking until millet is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. If you want a thinner consistency, add more water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the skin slackens and they release their juices, 4 to 6 minutes. Add about 3/4 of the scallions and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the skillet with paper towel (carefully!).

3. Mist the skillet with cooking spray (or use more garlic oil) and heat on medium high. Season the shrimp with ancho chile powder, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp feel firm to the touch and are opaque in the thickest part, 4 to 6 minutes. 

4. Add tomatoes back to the skillet with the shrimp and reduce heat to medium low. Stir to combine and cook just until heated through. Serve shrimp mixture over the grits and garnish with remaining scallions.


Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/4 of recipe  Calories: 352  Fat: 7g  Saturated fat: 1g  Carbohydrates: 40g  Sugar: 3g Sodium: 344mg  Fiber: 5g  Protein: 36g

Classic Vinaigrette & Strawberry-Spinach-Feta Salad (low-FODMAP recipes)

Classic Vinaigrette & Strawberry-Spinach-Feta Salad (low-FODMAP recipes)

Strawberry-Spinach-Feta Salad with Classic Vinaigrette Low-FODMAP

I'm a big fan of "go-to" recipes. If you've been part of the email crew for a while, you might remember me talking about this in a past newsletter.

To sum it up, you've got to have easy, no-brainer recipes you can make even if you're totally exhausted and didn't do any planning beforehand.

For a lot of women I talk to, starting the low-FODMAP diet (or ANY specialized healthy eating plan) means you're suddenly cooking every bite of food that goes in your mouth.

So not only do you have the challenge of a restrictive diet, but you have to learn a whole new skill set to go along with it. And watching a few episodes of Giada (or Guy Fieri, if that's your jam), isn't going to cut it.

Here's my advice: Don't start bookmarking complicated recipes online and trying to make a new and exciting dish every night of the week. Instead, start with the basics. 

ENTER, CLASSIC VINAIGRETTE...

Everyone needs a simple salad dressing they can make in 2 seconds (fine, it really takes 2 minutes). Because, and here's where the magic happens, it's not just for salad. Here's what you can do with my classic vinaigrette recipe:

  • Use as a marinade for chicken, beef or pork.

  • Use as a sauce for any kind of seafood (shrimp, salmon, scallops, white fish).

  • Toss with cold leftover quinoa, sorghum or gluten free pasta.

  • Drizzle over grilled, steamed or roasted vegetables (eggplant, potatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, green beans, broccoli).

  • Use it on a salad, but get creative with your greens. Try arugula, butter lettuce, baby kale, radicchio, endive or frisée.

To make a really tasty (and super versatile!) dressing you only need 4 ingredients. Plus salt. But here's the real kicker: The measurements don't need to be exact. Once you do this a few times, you don't need to bother with measuring spoons unless you want to.

Strawberry-Spinach-Feta Salad with Classic Vinaigrette Low-FODMAP

The measurements I'm giving you are great place to start.

Can you make substitutions (lemon juice instead of vinegar, for example)? Can you add stuff (herbs, spices)? Yes and yes. You cannot mess this up. If you don't think your creation tastes quite right, tweak away until it does. I personally like a higher proportion of acidic ingredients than most traditional vinaigrettes contain, so that's how I make it!

Classic Vinaigrette with Strawberry, Spinach & Feta Salad

This recipe makes 2 good-sized entrée salads. You can make half the recipe for a single meal, but why not make the whole thing and save half for lunch the following day? Put a serving of vinaigrette in a little jar so you can take it with you on the go and dress your salad when you're ready to eat--no soggy greens! I like adding chicken to this salad (I broil a big batch of chicken breasts every few days and use them for everything), but any protein works here. A great meatless option would be quinoa or sorghum. Note that the vinaigrette recipe makes enough for 4 servings. It keeps in the refrigerator for several days.
 

Author: Julie~Calm Belly Kitchen             Recipe type: Entrée
Prep time:  15 mins        Cook time:  0 mins        Total time:  15 mins
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

For Classic Vinaigrette:
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar or maple syrup
Pinch sea salt

For Salad:
5 oz spinach leaves (about 5 packed cups)
12 medium strawberries
12 to 16 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
4 tsp sunflower seeds
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 recipe (approximately) Classic Vinaigrette
6 to 8 oz broiled, roasted or grilled chicken breasts, sliced
2 oz feta, crumbled (about 1/2 packed cup)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Add all the vinaigrette ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake it up until combined (or emulsified if we're fancy). Taste and adjust as you like.

2. Add spinach, strawberries, olives, sunflower seeds and black pepper to a large bowl. Add 4 to 5 tbsp of the vinaigrette (a little less than half of the recipe). Toss well and add more vinaigrette if needed. Remaining vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

3. Divide salad between two bowls and top with sliced chicken. Sprinkle with feta and enjoy.

Nutrition Information (with 12 olives and 6 oz chicken)
Serving size: 1/2 of recipe  Calories: 484 Fat: 35g Saturated fat: 8g Carbohydrates: 13g Sugar: 6g Sodium: 848mg Fiber: 4g Protein: 35g

NOTES

-I use Dijon mustard in my vinaigrette not just for flavor, but because it's an emulsifier. Which means, it keeps the oil and vinegar from separating for longer, even after you've put it your salad. (Here's more info for the food science nerds. Of which I am one.)

-I also use a little somethin' sweet in my vinaigrette. Sugar (I usually just use the plain old white stuff) creates a more complex, balanced flavor. You can use any type of sweet stuff you like. Maple syrup is great, and it's an emulsifier too!

One-Pot Cheesy Quinoa with Prosciutto, Ground Turkey and Basil (Low-FODMAP, gluten free)

One-Pot Cheesy Quinoa with Prosciutto, Ground Turkey and Basil (Low-FODMAP, gluten free)

I love that this requires just one pot! It's a great, simple weeknight meal that happens to taste like pizza, but much healthier. 

Lemon Bars with Almond Shortbread Crust (Gluten free, low-FODMAP)

Lemon Bars with Almond Shortbread Crust (Gluten free, low-FODMAP)

Lemon Bars with Almond Crust Low-FODMAP, gluten free, dairy free

You know those desserts that are just pure nostalgia? Yours might be Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies, rice krispy treats, pumpkin pie. For me, it's lemon bars. 

When I started getting hired as a recipe developer, one of the first recipes I created for Shape magazine was a twist on lemon bars (Citrus Squares with less fat and sugar--but still super-yummy!).

Eventually, I created an ultra-lemony version for my old food blog that I called, "Lemon Lovers' Lemon Bars." Cute, huh? I try to make them at least once a year. A firm favorite for sure.

Crusty Conundrum

If you've never tried this classic, summery dessert, here's the deal: Lemon bars are the easy, short-cut version of a lemon tart, and that tart crust most definitely isn't low-FODMAP.

So, here's what I did to make the crust for my lemon bars low in FODMAPs, gluten free and possibly even better than the traditional version. I used almond meal to make a base that is crisp-tender and more flavorful than a dough made with white, all-purpose flour. 

Magic (aka sweet rice flour) to the rescue

The almond meal is the main ingredient, but the real magic comes from sweet rice flour. This the stuff that's made from short-grain sticky rice--the kind in your sushi. It is also known as glutinous rice flour (even though it is gluten free!), and sometimes goes by the name "mochiko."

Sweet rice flour keeps baked goods really tender, but it's also a great binder (think sticky rice)! This is amazing because it helps hold gluten free flours together without making the texture too chewy (you know, so chewy that your jaw is tired by the time you're done eating?).

The lemon filling is usually thickened with all-purpose flour, but the sweet rice flour does the job in my recipe.

When I used to make my old recipe, I'd always worry so much about over baking that filling; the edges get tough if you cook it too long. But guess what? That doesn't happen with sweet rice flour. The edges of the bars are just as soft and luscious as the center.

For me, this is huge.

Holler back!

Have you had lemon bars before? How long has it been? And do you do much baking with sweet rice flour? Share your recipes and tips in the comments. I read every one!

Lemon Bars with Almond Crust Low-FODMAP, gluten free, dairy free

Lemon Bars with Almond Shortbread Crust (Low-FODMAP, Gluten-Free)

With a tender almond meal crust and VERY lemony filling, these are bars make for an irresistible casual dessert.
Author: Julie~Calm Belly Kitchen             Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 20 mins        Cook time: 40 mins        Total time: 1 hour (plus cooling)
Serves 12

INGREDIENTS

For crust:
Butter for the pan
105 g almond meal (3/4 cup plus 3 tbsp)
50 g sweet rice flour (1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp)
38 g powdered sugar (1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp)
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (84 g)

For filling:
150 g granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
28 g sweet rice flour (2 tbsp plus 2 tsp sweet rice flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
1/2 cup lemon juice (from about 3 to 4 lemons) 

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8 x 8-inch (2 quart) metal baking pan with nonstick foil, leaving some hanging over the sides so you can lift the finished bars out of the pan. Lightly butter the foil (you can also use parchment paper, or just butter the pan really well!). 

Make the crust: In a large bowl, whisk together the almond meal, sweet rice flour, powdered sugar and salt. Add melted butter and stir until combined. Transfer to prepared baking pan and press into an even layer. Bake until the edges are just barely golden (center will still be pale), 20 to 24 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Wipe out the bowl you used to mix up the crust ingredients. Add the sugar, sweet rice flour and salt and whisk until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add to the bowl with the sugar mixture and stir until combined. Pour over the hot crust. Return to oven and bake until the filling is just set in the center, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into 12 bars. Store at room temperature in an airtight container up to 1 day or in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

NOTE: Baking time is for a light-colored metal pan. Dark-colored pans may require a shorter baking time.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/12 of recipe  Calories: 197 Fat: 11g Saturated fat: 4g Carbohydrates: 23g Sugar:  16g Sodium: 202mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 3g