Fire Up the Grill: Gluten-Free Cookout
Unlock summer’s sizzle with gluten-free, dairy-free marinades, rubs and sauces.
[Updated June 15, 2015]
Here’s my idea of warm-weather entertaining: My guests relaxing on the patio, sipping chilled wine as the sun sinks low in the summer sky. Dinner is on the grill. The evening is surrounded by succulent smells wafting from the barbecue and all feels right with the world.
Barbecuing is one of my favorite activities. If it weren’t for the chilly bluster of Connecticut winters where I live, I would grill all year long.
This delectable way of cooking originated in Europe as a method of preserving meats and it has evolved into part of the American lifestyle. We barbecue for birthday get-togethers, outdoor weddings, tailgate parties and to celebrate beautiful, sunny days with friends.
As a professional chef, I find that many of my customers gravitate toward the tasty barbecue items on a restaurant menu, often preferring these deep, smoky meat flavors over fancy French cuisine.
Grilling is the perfect way to meet the special dietary needs of people who are food allergic or sensitive. Fresh meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and potatoes are all naturally free of gluten, dairy, nuts, eggs and soy. And it’s easy to make flavorful sauces and marinades that are gluten free and allergy friendly, ensuring scrumptious meals that are safe for almost everyone.
Summertime is the ideal season for grilling, not only because the weather is warm but because of the abundance of local produce. The grill adds a slightly smoky flavor to zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, peppers, squash and any other vegetables fit to skewer. It sweetly caramelizes ripe fruit, transforming any ho-hum peach, plum or pineapple into a luscious dessert.
Flavorful and Healthy
Grilled Antipasto Platter
SERVES 6 TO 8
This good-for-you appetizer comes straight from the garden. A drizzle of white balsamic vinegar wakes up the taste so even those who are veggie-reluctant will ask for more.
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling and
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
¼ cup sundried tomatoes
2 zucchini squash, cut into ½-inch
2 yellow squash, cut into ½-inch slices lengthwise
1 medium eggplant, cut into ½-inch slices
2 large Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
2 red onions, cut into ½-inch slices
12 asparagus spears, root ends trimmed
3 Italian frying peppers
1 bulb fennel, cut into quarters
1 lemon, cut into ½-inch slices
1 jar marinated artichokes, drained
1 cup Kalamata olives
6 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
- White balsamic vinegar, to taste
1. In small saucepan over low heat, whisk together oil, garlic, rosemary and a dash of salt and pepper. Heat for 5 minutes and set aside to cool.
2. Cover sundried tomatoes with hot water and soak for 10 minutes. Drain.
3. Heat grill and brush grates with olive oil.
4. Brush zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, asparagus, frying peppers, fennel and lemon slices with herbed garlic oil. Place vegetables and lemon slices on preheated grill and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side until slightly charred on edges and tender.
5. Remove vegetables and lemon slices from grill. De-stem and de-seed peppers and cut into strips.
6. Arrange vegetables on a serving platter, along with sundried tomatoes, artichokes and olives. Sprinkle with basil and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
7. Garnish with grilled lemon slices and drizzle with additional olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.
Each serving contains 358 calories, 28g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 866mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 14g fiber, 6g protein.
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Honey Cilantro Lime Butter
SERVES 4 TO 6
Grilling fresh corn in its husk steams the kernels, charring them ever so slightly. This sweet and tangy side dish is perfect for a backyard picnic or dinner party.
1 cup butter or dairy-free Earth Balance
Organic Buttery Spread, room temperature
1 teaspoon honey
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 garlic clove
1 dash hot sauce
- Salt, to taste
-Freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 ears corn, silks removed, husks left on and tied
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
- Butcher’s twine, as needed
1. In a food processor, blend together butter (or dairy-free buttery spread), honey, lime zest and juice, garlic and hot sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the grill to medium high.
3. Peel the outer husks away from the corn without removing them. Remove the silk from inside the husk and then fold the husks back around the corn, tying the top with butcher’s twine. Soak ears of corn in cold water for 10 minutes.
4. Place the corn on preheated grill. Close the lid and cook the corn 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Remove corn from grill, cool slightly and peel off husks. Brush generously with buttery mixture and sprinkle with cilantro.
Each ear of corn with 1 tablespoon butter contains 231 calories, 13g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 30mg cholesterol, 26mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 5g protein.
Herb Marinated Chicken Breasts
This recipe is for those who love barbecue but don’t like sticky fingers. It can be enjoyed with a knife and fork.
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil, more for brushing grill
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1. Place garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Using the side of the knife, continuously apply pressure to garlic and salt until a paste forms.
2. Place garlic-salt paste into a small bowl with oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, mint, oregano, thyme, onion powder and black pepper. Whisk until thoroughly blended.
3. Place mixture and chicken into a re-sealable bag and shake ingredients together until chicken is evenly coated. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Remove chicken from refrigerator and let rest at room temperature 30 minutes before grilling.
4. Heat grill to medium-high heat and brush grates with olive oil. Place chicken on grill and cook 4 to 6 minutes per side until cooked through.
Each chicken breast contains 275 calories, 15g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 68mg cholesterol, 550mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 28g protein.
Grilled Pizza Crust
MAKES FOUR 6-INCH PIZZAS
Grilled pizza is a family favorite. The trick is using extremely hot, well-oiled grates to keep the dough from sticking. Once the crust is grilled, brush it with olive oil and sprinkle it with chopped tomatoes, oregano, garlic cloves and fresh basil leaves. Shut the lid and you’ll have a delicious pizza within minutes.
¾ cup warm water (105-110 degrees)
1 packet dry yeast, quick rising
1 cup sorghum flour
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup white rice flour
¼ cup tapioca flour, extra for dusting
¼ cup potato starch
¼ cup golden milled flax seed
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rice milk
2 tablespoons olive oil, more for brushing grates and tops of pizzas
1 egg, beaten, or egg replacer
- Toppings (such as chopped tomatoes, oregano, chopped garlic, fresh basil leaves, grated
cheese of choice or dairy-free cheese replacement)
1. Combine warm water and yeast in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a food processor, pulse together sorghum flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, flax seeds, cornstarch, sugar, xanthan gum, garlic powder and salt.
3. Add rice milk, olive oil, egg and yeast mixture, pulsing until dough begins to form a ball.
4. Dust cutting board with tapioca flour and place dough on board. Divide dough into 4 balls. Cover with a clean towel and let dough rise slightly in a warm place for 1 hour.
5. Dust cutting board with more tapioca flour and roll out dough into 6-inch rounds. Using fingers, pinch sides of dough to form an edge.
6. Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat and brush grates with olive oil.
7. Brush tops of dough with oil. Using a spatula, place crusts on the grill, oil side down. Shut lid and cook 5 minutes. Brush top side with oil and flip crust over. Top with desired toppings (sauce, dairy-free cheese, etc.). Shut lid and cook 4 to 5 minutes until crust is crispy on the bottom and toppings are heated.
Each pizza contains 503 calories, 12g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 53mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 90g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 9g protein.
Sweet and Sensational
Maple Glazed Grilled Fruit Skewers
We don’t usually associate dessert with the grill–but why not? Serve this recipe over a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dairy-free substitute.
½ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
2 firm ripe peaches, halved and pitted
2 firm ripe plums, halved and pitted
2 firm ripe nectarines, halved and pitted
1 cup pineapple chunks
4 wooden skewers, soaked in water 20 minutes
1 pint vanilla ice cream or dairy-free substitute
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together maple syrup, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add fruit and toss gently to coat with glaze. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
2. Preheat grill to medium-high and generously brush grates with olive oil. Thread the fruit onto skewers, alternating variety. Place skewered fruit on the grill, cut side down, and cook, turning occasionally, until heated through and syrup caramelizes, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve fruit warm over ice cream.
Each serving contains 326 calories, 8g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 29mg cholesterol, 57mg sodium, 63g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 4g protein.
Plum Barbecued Baby Back Ribs
SERVES 6 TO 8
The key to juicy, melt-in-your-mouth ribs is to cook them slowly at a low temperature, allowing the dry rub to tenderize the meat. After coating the ribs with rub, refrigerate them overnight to let the flavors settle in. Then roast the ribs in a 200-degree oven for four hours and finish them on the grill.
3 tablespoons allspice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
6 pounds pork ribs
1. Prepare dry rub by combining all ingredients, except the ribs, in a medium bowl. Stir until thoroughly blended.
2. Using hands, massage dry rub on both sides of the ribs until they’re evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
3. Place ribs on a sheet pan and bake in 200-degree oven for 4 hours. Remove ribs from oven and cool slightly.
4. Heat grill to medium or medium-high.
5. Brush ribs with Plum Sauce and place them on preheated grill. Turn ribs every 10 minutes while brushing with additional Plum Sauce. Cook for 30 minutes.
½ cup plum jam
½ cup distilled white vinegar
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon minced sweet onion
½ cup plum wine
1. Combine all ingredients, except plum wine, in a saucepan over medium heat until sauce boils.
2. Add plum wine and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Each serving with 1 tablespoon Plum Sauce contains 527 calories, 17g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 190mg cholesterol, 825mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 75g protein.