Recently, I was invited to review a cookbook for a health-focused writer. I loved her easy-to-read tips and recipes, and I know a lot of my readers are interested in healthy, whole foods, and gluten-free or grain-free recipes… So I invited her to share with you all here at Dancing With My Father! She’s sent over some yummy (Asian) Grain-free recipes. Introducing Vanessa, guest-posting today!
I want to thank Angela for allowing me to share some grain-free recipes with you all!
My name is Vanessa Olson, and I make my living helping people – specifically athletes – stay healthy. Because each client is different, I have to educate myself constantly to stay tuned into their unique nutritional requirements, training schedules, and so on. I love to develop my own recipes that anyone – athlete or not – can benefit from. The recipes I’m sharing with you today are all grain-free, and instead use ingredients like coconut flour, arrowroot powder, nuts, and lots of veggies!
Going grain-free has a lot of benefits, even if you aren’t grain-intolerant or sensitive. Grains are full of starch, lectins, and other ingredients that have been shown to cause inflammation, digestive problems, and serotonin imbalances, which can negatively affect your mood. The other problem with grain is that eating it causes blood-sugar levels to spike. In the long term, this can increase your risk for dementia. Giving up bread and pasta is a great way to focus on other foods that don’t pack so much punch when it comes to blood sugar.
People also like to give up grain in an attempt to lose weight, but they’re often disappointed. Simply giving up grain isn’t enough for most, but it can help you choose better foods and eat less sugar, which grain-based products like bread and pasta are full of. When combined with other good habits, giving up grain can definitely make weight loss easier.
But what about the nutrition? A lot of people are wary of going grain-free because they don’t want to have gaps in their nutritional intake, but the reality is there’s nothing in grain that can’t be found in other sources. The main question is carbs, which the body needs to produce energy. However, great carb sources can be found in legumes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and nuts. The same goes with fiber – try beans, berries, nuts, and dark leafy vegetables.
The next three recipes are all about three things: being grain-free, fast, and delicious. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “great” chef, you can master these meals very quickly, and there aren’t any unusual ingredients. If something is not considered a “pantry staple,” I will let you know where you can find it. Let’s get started!
Time: Less than 10 minutes
Crepes are one of my favorite vehicles for a variety of sweet and savory dishes, but they use flour. Luckily, you can use coconut flour for tender, flavorful crepes that will satisfy a sweet tooth come dessert-time, or make a satisfying breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
First, melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over very low heat. While that’s melting, you can put the eggs and coconut flour in your food processor, and blend. When the oil is melted, pour into the food processor along with ½ cup of water. This is your crepe batter.
Heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in an 8-inch skillet, on medium-low. Coconut oil is delicate, so you never want to turn the burner up too high. When the oil is hot, use a ¼ cup measuring utensil to scoop out your batter. Pour into your skillet and let the batter spread the edges. Watch the batter until it begins to bubble and the bubbles are bursting. Flip the crepe. Wait another 2-3 minutes before moving the crepe to a plate. Repeat until all the batter is gone.
For a savory onion, mushroom, and spinach crepe:
Heat some olive oil in a separate skillet. Add 2 cups of chopped onions, 3 cups of
mushrooms, and salt. Cook for about 8 minutes, then add 2 big handfuls of spinach.
Keep cooking until the onions and mushrooms are tender, and the spinach has
wilted. Season with more salt, if necessary, and pepper.
For a sweet Nutella-banana crepe:
Cut up 5-6 small bananas into round slices. Spread into your crepes and spread on a
heaping spoonful of Nutella. Fold over, and dust with powdered sugar and a dollop
of whipped cream.
4 big eggs
½ cup water
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Using a food processor, blend the eggs and coconut flour.
- Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, the water, and pulse again until combined.
- Pour 1 teaspoon of coconut oil into an 8-inch skillet and heat over medium-low.
- When hot, ladle ¼ cup of batter into the skillet so the batter spreads to the edges.
- Wait until you can see bubbles on the crepe (they should also burst) and then flip.
- After 2-3 minutes, the other side of the crepe should be cooked through.
- Move to a plate and continue with the rest of the batter.
- Serve sweet or savory, and enjoy!
Nutritional Info (⅙ of the crepe batter):
Simply-Delicious Chicken Stir-Fry
Time: About 35 minutes
I love stir-fry! It’s easy to make and easy to pack with nutritious, grain-free ingredients. This recipe is for a chicken stir-fry with lots of veggies like broccoli, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms, to name just a few. It also includes toasted sesame oil and Ume Plum Vinegar, which gives the whole dish an incredibly tasty, slightly fruity, acidic, toasty flavor. With just those two add-ins, this homemade stir-fry beats out even your favorite take-out place.
To make this stir-fry, you basically just cook all the ingredients in shifts. Now, you’ll notice this recipe calls for Celtic sea salt. This is a fancy unrefined salt, which means it has no additives and has numerous health benefits. You don’t have to go out of your way to buy it for this dish, but if you choose to, there are different “cuts” of the salt, like fine-ground or coarse. I like fine-ground for this recipe, personally, because the dish is already pretty salty with the plum vinegar, and the coarse salt just creates really salty pockets that aren’t super appealing. Celtic sea salt is strong, so don’t go over the ½ teaspoon recommendation.
Begin by prepping the chicken. Rinse and dry the breasts before cutting them into 1-inch cubes. They’ll cook faster in bite-sized pieces. Next, heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When melted, add the onion and cook for 8-10 minutes, until it’s clear and soft. Toss in the carrots, broccoli, and chicken. Cook for another 10 minutes. Next come the mushrooms, zucchini, and bok choy. Toss in some sea salt, too, while you’re at it. After five minutes, pour in 1 cup of water and cover the skillet.
While the veggies are steaming, whisk the arrowroot powder with ½ cup of water. After the veggies are done, pour your water/arrowroot mixture into the skillet and keep whisking. When the sauce has thickened, it’s time to add the sesame oil and plum vinegar. That’s it! It’s time to eat!
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 ½ cups water
1 finely-chopped medium-sized onion
2 medium-sized sliced carrots
2 heads of broccoli, sliced into spears
2 heads sliced baby bok choy
4-ounces stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 small sliced zucchini
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons Ume Plum Vinegar
½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes.
- Melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Toss in the onion to cook for 8-10 minutes, until clear and soft.
- Add the carrots, broccoli, and chicken cubes.
- Cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, zucchini, bok choy, and salt.
- After 5 minutes, pour in the cup of water and cover the skillet.
- Cook for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, mix ½ cup of water with the arrowroot powder until smooth.
- Pour into the skillet and stir for 2-3 minutes to thicken the sauce.
- Stir in the plum vinegar and sesame oil before serving.
Nutritional Info (¼ recipe of stir-fry):
Thai Peanut Chicken
Time: About 10-15 minutes
If you’re looking for a quick weekday dinner, this savory peanut chicken is super easy. You just whip up a quick sauce and cook some chicken tenders, and you’re ready to go! The combination of classic Asian flavors like ginger and bright scallions with the creamy, nutty-sweet of peanut butter is absolutely lip-smacking. To keep this recipe grain-free, you use tamari instead of soy sauce. You can find it at any Asian market or a grocery store like Target.
To make the sauce, just mix the water, vinegar, tamari, cayenne, garlic, ginger, and creamy peanut butter together in a pot till smooth. Turn the burner to low, so the sauce can reduce for 8 minutes. While that’s simmering, season your chicken tenders with salt and pepper, and heat some olive oil in a skillet. Lay the chicken in the hot oil and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Depending on your stove, it may take a bit longer.
To blanch the broccoli, boil a large pot of water with a tablespoon of salt. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. When the boiling water is ready, add the broccoli and cook for 1-1 ½ minutes. Immediately remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and submerge in the ice water to stop the cooking process.
When the chicken and sauce are done, get out two plates and transfer the chicken tenders. Serve with the blanched broccoli and lots of the peanut sauce. To finish things off, garnish with chopped peanuts and scallions.
9-ounces of chicken tenders
3 cups of water
1 ½ cups blanched broccoli florets
¼ cup chopped peanuts
5 chopped scallions
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Begin by mixing the water, vinegar, tamari, cayenne, garlic, ginger, and peanut butter in a pot.
- Turn the burner to “low” and reduce for 8 minutes.
- Season the chicken with some salt and pepper.
- Grease a skillet with a healthy splash of olive oil and heat on medium-high.
- When hot, add the chicken tenders and cook through.
- After about 4 minutes per side (8 minutes total), the chicken should be done.
- Serve chicken tenders with the blanched broccoli and lots of the sauce on top.
- Sprinkle on the peanuts and scallions.
Nutritional Info (½ recipe):
You probably noticed that two of these recipes are clearly Asian-inspired. That’s not just a coincidence. I love homemade versions of these take-out classics, because they’re way healthier, and just as tasty. They’re also really great for going grain-free, because the only adjustments you need to make are to skip the rice side dish.
One of the challenges of grain-free is experimenting with different grain substitutes and flours (like coconut flour, from the crepe recipe), and that can be tricky and a bit touch-’n-go at first. When you just want an easy meal after a long day, that kind of experimentation is not fun, which is why I gave you two recipes that are simple and easy to make grain-free. Just sub out soy sauce for tamari, and use arrowroot instead of flour or cornstarch.
If you like what you see here and want to look at some other recipes I’ve done, check out my Happy Healthy Cooking blog for some French-inspired pressure cooker recipes. Two of them are even grain-free!
Thank you so much, Vanessa, for sharing today!
For regular readers of Dancing With My Father, here are a couple other recipes for yummy grain-free treats!
What is your favorite grain-free recipe?