News, recipes, information and helpful tips for living gluten free

News, recipes, information and helpful tips for living gluten free

  • Category Archives: light meals/lunch

  • Gluten Free Polenta Bites

    Hello sunshine! Spring is here and in Melbourne it’s time to party. If you need inspiration for gluten free snacks to serve at your gathering, try these golden gluten free polenta bites.  I love polenta, it is so versatile and delicious when served this way especially if you have quite a few mouths to feed! The polenta base can be made in advance, then cut to size and served on the day with your favourite topping.

    200g yellow polenta
    1 litre stock (vegetable or chicken)
    75g parmesan, finely grated
    5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
    Pinch salt

    Bring stock to the boil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add polenta in a steady stream, stirring constantly until mixture returns to the boil.  Cook over low heat, stirring regularly, for 20 minutes, or until mixture is thick. Remove from heat and stir through grated parmesan and fresh thyme. Taste and add salt if required, season with black pepper. Pour into a 30cm x 20cm slice tray, lined with baking paper. Smooth the top and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to cool slightly then refrigerate till firm. Cut into 2cm x 5cm pieces to make 60 bites!

    Options: Shallow fry polenta in vegetable oil to make polenta chips, dusted with sea salt and fresh thyme leaves. BBQ polenta and top with marinated vegetables, or some feta softened with lemon juice and finished with black olives. Roast polenta, as recipe below.

    Polenta bites with roasted haloumi and prosciutto
    180g haloumi
    12 slices prosciutto
    Makes 24 bites: Heat oven to 180℃. Slice haloumi in half lengthways, then working down the length, cut 12 pieces from each half.  Depending on how long your strips of prosciutto are, cut into two or three pieces widthways. Place haloumi on polenta and wrap in prosciutto. Place on oven tray lined with baking paper and roast for 10 minutes until prosciutto is crisp. Serve scattered with some fresh thyme leaves. Polenta bites can also be made without prosciutto if preferred. Simply top the polenta with a slice of haloumi and roast. Serve with small strips of marinated capsicum.

  • Gluten Free Eggplant and Walnut Dip

    My summer eggplant bushes may still be in the seedling stage, but I’m hoping they’ll produce lots of juicy Lebanese eggplants when the time is right. I love eggplant, or aubergine – in dips, chips, pickles and salads. This dip is light and delicious, it doesn’t contain tahini and is not quite Baba ghanoush but similar in taste. It may be best to ask the resident BBQ guru in your life to assist, if barbecues are not your thing. Serve with your favourite GF flat bread, corn chips or biscuits.

    1 large eggplant
    50g walnut pieces
    1 large clove garlic, crushed
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
    Handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
    Good pinch salt
    Ground black pepper
    Gluten free flatbread to serve

    Wipe eggplant with a damp cloth to clean surface. Use barbecue or stovetop gas burner to blacken the whole eggplant, so the fruit will develop its distinctive smoky flavour. Continue cooking until flesh is soft and cooked through, placing in the oven for 10 minutes at 180° if necessary to achieve this. Set aside to cool, then gently remove skin and discard.
    Roughly chop eggplant and place in food processor with walnuts, crushed garlic, lemon juice, creme fraiche and parsley. Blend until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper.
    Delicious served with a drizzle of best quality olive oil, garnished with fresh parsley or coriander and  gluten free flatbread, warmed on the barbecue.

    Follow recipe to prepare eggplant, then place all ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix 5 sec/speed 5. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula and repeat 5 sec/speed 5, or until desired consistency is reached.

  • Gluten Free Sweet Potato Fritters

    It’s Father’s Day in Australia this Sunday, and what better way to start the day than with a delicious home cooked breakfast. These tasty gluten free sweet potato fritters are easy to make. If you prefer, you can cook a batch in advance and simply re-heat to serve with your favourite toppings. Not just for breakfast, these tasty morsels make a great vegetarian lunch or light meal with some quinoa and salad on the side. Happy Father’s Day dads!

    400g (approx.) fresh sweet potato, grated
    2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    ⅓ cup gluten free plain flour
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    Salt, ground black pepper
    Vegetable oil for cooking

    In a medium size bowl combine grated sweet potato, parsley and eggs. Add flour and cumin and mix well to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
    Heat a small amount of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Add ½ tablespoons of fritter mixture to pan, gently pressing flat with the back of spoon. Fry a few minutes on each side until crisp and golden. Lower temperature if the fritters are browning too much. Drain on absorbent paper then place in the oven for 10 minutes to ensure fritters are cooked through.
    If you prefer a larger, round fritter you can cook mixture in a greased egg ring. Fry on one side, then carefully remove the egg ring and flip to cook the other side.
    Serve with your choice of eggs, bacon, avocado, feta, wilted spinach …. or for lunch with quinoa and salad. 

  • Gluten Free Pumpkin Fritters

    Not all kids like pumpkin, but mine love these gluten free pumpkin fritters. We tested recipes during the recent school holidays and decided on this version, flavoured with cumin and chickpeas. I’m very happy to add that they are now on the request list for school lunches! They also make a great light vegetarian meal served with salad.

    350g butternut pumpkin, cut into 2cm cubes
    400g can chickpeas
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    1 small onion, finely diced
    1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
    2 tablespoons fresh coriander, leaves picked
    3 tablespoons plain gluten free flour
    Salt & ground black pepper
    Olive oil

    Cook pumpkin in salted water until soft. Drain well, mash and set aside.
    Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan. Add onion and stir over low heat until soft. Add cumin and stir for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat.
    Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then add half to a large bowl and mash until smooth. Add pumpkin, onion, egg, flour, coriander and remaining chickpeas. Combine well and season with salt and pepper.
    Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add ½ tablespoons of fritter mixture to pan, gently pressing flat with the back of spoon. Fry a few minutes on each side until golden and cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper. Delicious served warm with a little natural yoghurt flavoured with ½ garlic clove and squeeze of lemon. If saving for lunches, keep chilled in an airtight container for three days.  Makes approx 25 fritters.


  • Gluten Free Vegetable Hotpot

    I’m one of those people who can’t go too many days without a veggie fix. This delicious gluten free Hotpot (for want of a better title) fits the bill – especially when served with pan fried haloumi and avocado toast. If you prefer, you can serve with some goat’s cheese or pan fried chicken breast (olive oil and fresh thyme works well) instead of haloumi. I’ve included a list of the vegetables used in this dish, but you can mix it up and use whatever you have in the fridge, or what you like. The key thing is plenty of freshness -with vegetables and herbs, the fresher the better. If not home-grown, try buying your veggies from a local farmer’s market if possible.

    ¾ cup puy style lentils
    1 bay leaf
    1 onion, sliced
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 teaspoon of ground cumin
    2 teaspoons ground coriander
    1 medium size sweet potato (approx. 300 grams), chopped into chunks roughly 4x3cm
    2 medium size carrots, chopped into rounds 2cm thick
    1 stalk celery, chopped into 2cm pieces
    ½ teaspoon saffron, soaked in ¼ cup water
    500ml vegetable stock
    ½ cup orange juice
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1 can crushed tomatoes
    1 can chick peas, drained (optional)
    Handful of olives
    1 bunch asparagus, trimmed 

    1 cup each of green beans and broccoli, chopped
    180 grams Haloumi cheese
    Handful of fresh parsley, leaves picked
    Fresh avocado, to serve 

    Step 1. Rinse lentils using a fine sieve and remove any small stones. Place the lentils and bay leaf in a large saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until lentils are tender. Don’t overcook! Drain well and set aside.
    Step 2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large casserole dish. Add onion and gently cook over low heat for a few minutes until the onions are soft, but not coloured. Add garlic, cumin and coriander and stir for another minute. Add chopped sweet potato, carrot and celery. Then stir in saffron (and water), tomato paste, tomatoes, stock and juice. Cover with casserole lid and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
    Step 3.  Add the cooked lentils, chick peas (if using) and olives to the casserole dish and combine. Continue cooking over low heat until vegetables are just soft enough to eat, not falling apart.
    Step 3.  Meanwhile, place chopped asparagus, broccoli and beans in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to blanche for a few minutes, drain then add to the casserole dish. Once these green vegetables have been incorporated, turn off the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Step 4. Chop haloumi into chunks, approx. 2x4cm and pan fry gently in olive oil until golden.
    To serve: Ladle Vegetable Hotpot onto serving plates and garnish with haloumi and parsley leaves. Serve with fresh avocado, spread on toast. Alternatively, pan fried chicken, and goats cheese with fresh rocket. 


  • Gluten Free Corn and Rice Cakes

    Lunchbox Lovelies…

    Our gluten free corn and rice cakes are a tasty addition to our lunchbox recipe collection.  The savoury cakes are delicious and it’s a great way to use leftover rice. This is the base recipe, you can add other vegetables, bacon or cheese to taste. You may want to double the recipe as they are so moreish.

    1 cup cooked rice
    1 cob of cooked corn, kernels removed
    1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
    3 eggs, lightly beaten
    2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
    Salt and ground pepper
    6 mini tomatoes, cut in half

    Preheat oven to 170° C.
    Place cooked rice (cooled), corn kernels, cheese, eggs and parsley in a large bowl and mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Grease a muffin tray and spoon tablespoons of mixture into muffin holes (I use ¼ cup size muffin holes for this recipe). Place a slice of tomato on top of each cake. Bake for 30-35 minutes until cake is cooked when tested with a skewer. Makes 12 savoury cakes.

  • Gluten Free Zucchini Bites

    Lunchbox Lovelies

    Zucchini is abundant at the moment and these tasty bites are perfect for the back to school/work lunchbox. If this summer squash happens to be on your kids’ banned veggies list, you may need to apply some wordplay when you hear the inevitable… “What’s the green stuff?”
    You could try calling them “yummy cheesy savoury bites.” Or do as the Brits do, and refer to the key ingredient as courgette. As in, little green courgette bitesFar more palatable. In my case, the addition of haloumi cheese won my little people over… but if the mint and haloumi are a flavour experience too far for your crew, substitute cheddar cheese and parsley. If you prefer, the dish can be made as a slice, see below.

    2 small zucchini, (approx 300g), grated
    1 large carrot, grated
    1 cup gluten free self raising flour, sifted
    180g haloumi cheese, grated
    5 eggs, lightly beaten
    ½ teaspoon cummin
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
    Salt and pepper

    Preheat oven to 170° C.
    Place zucchini, carrot, cheese, cumin and flour in a large bowl and mix to combine. Stir in the eggs, olive oil and mint, then season with salt and pepper. Use just a pinch of salt, as haloumi can be salty.
    For Zucchini Bites:  Grease a muffin tray and spoon tablespoons of batter into holes (I use ¼ cup size muffin holes for this recipe).  Bake for 20 minutes until set and slightly browned.
    For Zucchini Slice: Spoon batter into a lined baking tray approx 20cm x 20cm and bake for 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature before slicing. Can be reheated if desired, or enjoyed at room temperature.

  • Gluten Free Corn Cakes

    Lunchbox Lovelies…

    Back to work or school after summer holidays?  If you need inspiration for your gluten free lunchbox, try these delicious GF corn cakes.  They are a staple in our house for lunches, or as a canapé topped with avocado or smoked salmon. In this version I’ve used continental parsley, but you can use coriander instead if you prefer, or add a few spring onions, or chilli to the batter for extra oomph!

    2 cobs of corn, (approx 280g)
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    3 eggs, lightly beaten
    ½ cup gluten free flour
    Salt, ground black pepper

    Using a steamer, cook the corn on the cobs until tender. Allow to cool a little, then remove the kernels from the corn and combine with cayenne, parsley and eggs in a large bowl.  Add the gluten free flour and season with salt and pepper, mix well.

    Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add tablespoons of corn cake batter and fry a few minutes on each side until golden. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve at room temperature topped with sour cream and smoked salmon, or salad. If saving for lunches, keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three days.  Makes approx. 20 corncakes.


  • Chimichurri Sauce

    If you’re looking for a flavour hit for your Australia Day BBQ you can’t go past chimichurri. This fragrant sauce originates from Argentina and will elevate your BBQ offerings from meh to oh yeah!

    My introduction to chimichurri was something of a surprise. Visiting Los Angeles with my family we’d made a reservation at a restaurant renowned for its gluten free fare. We arrived full of expectation only to find the restaurant closing down for the night due to a power failure. Tears flowed from the youngest gluten free member of the family.

    The apologetic waiter assured us we’d find somewhere to eat nearby. My heart sank as the maitre’d at one busy restaurant welcomed us with, “I have no idea about gluten free, but come and talk to the chef.”

    I followed him into the kitchen and was reassured by the chef that he could rustle up something without gluten for us. I still remember that first meltingly soft mouthful of steak and the explosion of flavour in that bright green sauce. Chimichurri works well scattered on prawns, BBQ eggplant and other vegetables, it’s super on a bowl of spaghetti too … perhaps even the Australia Day lamb chop.

    1 cup fresh flat leaf (continental) parsley
    2 tablespoons fresh oregano
    1 tablespoon each fresh rosemary & thyme
    4 fresh bay leaves
    4 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
    1 teaspoon dried chilli
    ⅔ cup olive oil
    ¼ cup Jerez or red wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper

    Wash, dry and roughly chop the herbs, then add to food processor. Add remaining ingredients except olive oil and pulse to combine. Add the olive oil in a steady stream until a saucy consistency. Keep in an airtight container for a couple of hours for flavour to develop. Chimichurri will keep in the refrigerator for a week. 

  • Gluten Free Chia Pizza

    We have a new favourite pizza! The base is thin and crispy (just the way we like it) with a delicious nutty flavour thanks to the addition of chia seeds, pepitas and pine nuts.  It is very quick and easy to make and you can add your own topping – we’ve gone with a classic Margherita for this version.

    Chia Pizza Base
    ½ cup chia seeds
    ½ cup buckwheat flour, sifted
    ½ cup rice flour, sifted
    2 teaspoons dried oregano
    1 tablespoon pine nuts, chopped
    2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds), chopped
    1½ cups of water
    1 teaspoon sea salt

    Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and combine using a hand whisk. Gently add water and whisk until mixture starts to thicken. The mixture will appear quite wet and runny (see below). Leave mixture to thicken for 20 minutes, while you prepare the pizza topping.

    Preheat the oven to 180℃ and place two baking trays or pizza stones in the oven to heat up. The chia pizza mixture should have a thicker consistency, but won’t resemble a traditional firm ball of dough. Spoon half the mixture onto a piece of baking paper that is the size of your baking tray. Using the back of a spoon, spread the mixture into a round shape about 1cm thick and 26cm in diameter (see below). If tiny ‘holes’ appear, just smooth over with the mixture. Repeat process with the remaining pizza dough and second sheet of baking paper.

    Spoon Margherita sauce onto pizza base and scatter with mozzarella cheese. Carefully place baking paper and pizza onto the hot oven tray or pizza stone. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the crust is firm and slightly browned. To serve, drizzle with a little olive oil and scatter with remaining basil leaves.

    Margherita Sauce
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    2 large garlic cloves, crushed
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    500ml tomato passata (puree), or 400g can tomatoes, crushed
    6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped, plus extra leaves for garnish
    Few springs of fresh thyme
    Mozzarella cheese, sliced into rounds

    Gently heat the olive oil in a heavy base frypan. Add the onion, garlic and thyme leaves and stir over low heat until onion is translucent. Add the passata or tomatoes and finely chopped basil. Continue to cook over low heat until sauce reduces and thickens a little. Set aside.

     Gluten Free Chia Pizza Mix 

    Chia Pizza Base


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