gluten-free Archives

Single-Layer, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

I love a good carrot cake, spicy and chock-full of carrots, covered with a cream cheese frosting that’s just the right amount of sweetness. Baking gluten-free, without any expensive flours, can be tough. But almonds…almonds we tend to have around.

And they can be made into a simple substitute for gluten-free flour with just a few pulses of your food processor.

Gluten Free Carrot CakeA springform pan is ideal for this recipe since it releases in a snap, but a regular cake pan will work, too. The frosting is fluffy and and the recipe makes a generous amount so you can eat a few spoonfuls as you go. This cake is a good keeper on the counter, but if it’s crazy-hot, I’d recommend keeping it in the refrigerator so the frosting doesn’t melt. Quick tip: If you don’t want to shred carrots yourself, buy a 10 ounce bag of pre-shredded carrots in the salad aisle and this cake will bake up in no time at all.

Natalie of Good Girl Style joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just stuff like cream cheese and almonds and carrots. 

Apricot & Chocolate Energy Truffles

Apricot Chocolate Energy Truffles

Even though fresh apricots don’t make their appearance until later in the season, the dried versions provide bright fruity flavor just at the moment when you need thing to taste like spring. Add some chocolate, cashews and dates, and these little truffles are sure to put a spring in your step! Perfect for those on healthy eating plans for swimsuit season, you won’t feel guilty enjoying one or two of these babies after dinner.  And even better? They take just minutes to prepare. Throw all of the ingredients in the food processor and you’re good to go. A virtuous indulgence, indeed.

Apricot Chocolate Energy Truffles

If you don’t like coconut, no need to worry. You can simply omit it on the outside and substitute a few more apricots in the main mixture. In fact, these take well to all kinds of adaptations: try adding spices or substituting other sorts of nuts. Plus, the truffles travel well, so they’re great to throw in your work bag or gym bag for an after-lunch or post-workout treat. All that goodness and a hit of chocolate will keep you going. Be sure to use the mini chocolate chips (the tiny, extra-cute ones), or give regular chocolate chips a few turns in the food processor first.

This post is by Natalie of Good Girl Style, who joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit. Don’t miss her gorgeous spring pavlova.

Fennel, Cherry Tomato & Chicken Salad with Toasted Pistachios

Fennel, Cherry Tomato & Chicken Salad with Toasted Pistachios

I never thought I’d shout about one of those look-what-I-made-from-the-random-stuff-in-the-fridge salads today, or tell you that it belongs on your festive Easter table or in the spread of a baby shower brunch you might be hosting. But this one turned out so well, especially when I recast the crunchy side dish as a main, with the addition of shredded chicken. And so I thought it might be useful to tell you more about what happens when you combine paper-thin fennel with crunchy lettuce, cherry tomatoes, a spicy garlic vinaigrette, and toasted pistachios, in case you’re looking for a healthful but substantial dish that’s easy to make ahead and totally fine to serve at room temperature.

Here’s how the combination of ingredients happened.

After being out all day, we got back to our neighborhood really tired and hungry. I finally worked up the energy to cook dinner, but I used every hands-off cooking tip I could think of. I plopped a filet of Arctic char into a 300°F oven with olive oil, salt, and lemon wedges (you can cook salmon or char this way without worrying about over-cooking). I smashed garlic cloves and didn’t chop them. I grated carrots and sweet potatoes so I didn’t have to dice them. Those veggies went into my Instant Pot with rice, onions, broth, and rosemary to emerge as no-stirring-necessary pressure-cooker risotto in minutes.

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars | Big Girls Small Kitchen

Here’s a new one: skip the marshmallow and coat puffed rice cereal (and salty peanuts) in peanut butter instead. The idea comes from the brilliant sweets masters behind Baked – it’s in the cookbook Baked Elements, which I browsed in my cinnamon bun research. The instant I read the recipe, I knew I had to try these delicious things, which they term “Good Morning Sunshine Bars.”Peanut Butter Crispy Bars | Big Girls Small KitchenPeanut Butter Crispy Bars | Big Girls Small Kitchen

The method consists of simmering sugar and corn syrup together, then adding peanut butter, salty peanuts, and crunchy rice cereal. The result is a pan of sticky, crunchy sweet stuff that you can cut into perfectly textured, not-too-sweet little candy bars. The name in Baked, good morning sunshine, comes from the fact that you could technically eat these for breakfast (cereal: check. peanut butter: check).Peanut Butter Crispy Bars | Big Girls Small KitchenPeanut Butter Crispy Bars | Big Girls Small Kitchen

I didn’t, though I think a bite or two could complete an unsatisfying breakfast. I packed the bars up into a bakery box and presented them as a hostess gift. I didn’t even sneak a few on the way there.

Rice ‘N Cheese

Rice 'n Cheese| Big Girls Small Kitchen

I had always saved my leftover rice for fried rice or breakfast-style rice pudding.

Last year, I read about a method for making leftover rice pudding that used rice’s starchiness as a natural thickener, activated by a slow simmer with the liquid of your choice–coconut milk, half and half, whole milk, or a mix.

Rice 'n Cheese| Big Girls Small KitchenRice 'n Cheese| Big Girls Small Kitchen

Immediately, I thought about how this might work as a savory rice pudding instead of a sweet one. Immediately after that, I had a feeling that I’d replace all the sugar with grated cheese. The result, which I’ve been making for lunches on days when there’s extra rice, tastes a lot like mac ‘n cheese but with rice instead of pasta.

Rice 'n Cheese| Big Girls Small KitchenRice n Cheese | Big Girls Small Kitchen

With mac ‘n cheese, you have to add flour to the béchamel sauce. In most recipes, that’s what turns plain milk into a sauce that can insinuate itself into pasta shapes. But with this recipe, the rice releases enough starch into the milk that the dish thickens of its own accord. By the time 40 minutes are up, you’ll find your milk turned into a thick sauce. Stir in cheese, as much as you like, and whatever kind you like or have, and lunch is ready. A green salad is nice, but you can also one-bowl this and get your vegetable intake at another meal.

Aloo Gobi with Chickpeas

Aloo Gobi | Big Girls Small Kitchen

Every so often, I return to my vegetarian ways of the past (I was a vegetarian when BGSK started, just in case you haven’t been reading forever). With the notable exceptions of pepperoni pizza and ShackBurgers, I’ve been choosing to cook veggies since 2016 started. This is all accidental, not as part of a big resolution or anything. In this small kitchen, it’s been all potatoes and peppers and beans and rice and pasta and sauce and cheese.

Aloo Gobi | Big Girls Small KitchenAloo Gobi | Big Girls Small KitchenAs an omnivore, I don’t worry too much about protein in my vegetarian food. But after a couple weeks of pasta with veggies, I had the feeling that I should maybe add a handful of chickpeas to my aloo gobi to make sure my muscles stayed strong enough for barre class.

And so, I turned a recipe for the beloved Indian potato and cauliflower curry into a spicy, warming, all-vegetarian formula for a potato and cauliflower stew with chickpeas, making for a complete–if carb-centric–vegetarian dinner whose leftovers make a lunch I couldn’t wait to eat. Aloo Gobi | Big Girls Small KitchenAloo Gobi | Big Girls Small KitchenAloo Gobi | Big Girls Small Kitchen

You should know that this–and most of the recipes I used as starting points for my experimentations in spicy potatoes and cauliflower–are all shortcuts. The best aloo gobi, like the best ratatouille, requires individually frying the vegetables before you combine them with the sauce. You can do it if you want. I might, sometime. But on a busy weeknight, that sounded like a pain. The other bit of knowledge to have is that aloo gobi is most often a dry curry. There’s not a ton of sauce, though you could increase the amount of tomatoes if you wanted. For that reason, I serve it with paratha instead of rice. Aloo Gobi | Big Girls Small KitchenIf I have a little extra time til dinner, I’ll mix up the carrot raita from this New York Times recipe, which is an ideal match.