So GoodJune/July 2009 Issue

Summer Grilling Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

Enjoy the good taste of a gluten-free, dairy-free summer.

Dust off the grill and celebrate summer with fresh recipes for the barbeque. It’s time for outdoor cooking, eating and entertaining. These dishes can be prepared in advance with minimal fuss. That means there’s more time to enjoy your guests and less time spent in the kitchen.

Grilling Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

For a special appetizer, wow friends and family with a platter of Korean beef and lettuce cups—morsels of rice and spice wrapped in small lettuce leaves. Or pass around a bowl of smoky eggplant dip with crusty gluten-free breads or flatbreads. Whip up pork satay or an elegant dish of chicken breasts with green grapes for an entree. If you’re catering to vegetarians, dazzle them with charred bell peppers stuffed with grilled eggplant and cherry tomatoes.

Some of these recipes call for a cast-iron griddle, also known as a hot plate. This is an valuable piece of barbeque equipment that may come as part of your grill. If not, consider purchasing a cast-iron griddle to enhance grilling variety. You can cook just about anything on it—from eggs and tomatoes to hotcakes and pancakes. Even small items like garlic cloves, which would normally fall through the grill, can be prepared on a cast-iron griddle.

Here’s how to test the temperature of your cast-iron griddle. Set the griddle on the barbeque grill to preheat. Hold your hand about two inches above the griddle. If it’s uncomfortably hot after two seconds, griddle temperature is really hot. If your hand gets too hot after four seconds, it’s medium heat. If you can hold your hand there for six seconds or more, it’s low heat.

Welcome the best of the season with this gluten-free, dairy-free menu of flavorful food—hot and delicious from your grill.

Pork and Fennel Satay


This handy recipe can be quickly put together ahead of time. The flavor of the meat improves while it marinates. Thread meat on skewers just before grilling. Serve with a salad of fresh sliced fennel drizzled with a lemony vinaigrette.

2  teaspoons freshly ground cumin seeds
2  teaspoons freshly ground fennel seeds
2  teaspoons ground turmeric
1½  teaspoons salt
1  tablespoon raw sugar
-  Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
6  tablespoons coconut cream (see sidebar)
1¼  to 1½ pounds trimmed pork, cut into small pieces             
-  Vegetable oil
-  Salad for serving
-  Small bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes

1. In a bowl, mix together the seeds, turmeric, salt, sugar and lemon zest. Blend in coconut cream.

2. Add pork pieces, stirring well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

3. Thread meat onto bamboo skewers, about 3 to 4 pieces per skewer, not too tightly pressed together. Brush meat with a little oil.

4. Cook skewers over gentle heat on a grill, brushing with oil regularly, until crisp and brown and just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Or cook on a preheated oiled cast-iron griddle over medium heat. Serve hot.

Each serving contains 342 calories, 27g total fat, 14g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 70mg cholesterol, 5g carbohydrate, 660mg sodium, 1g fiber, 21g protein.

TIP Bamboo skewers are ideal for grilling small pieces of meat or vegetables. They’re inexpensive and there’s no clean up. Throw them away after use. Be careful as they can burn if positioned over direct flames. To prevent scorching, soak them in water before using.

Korean Beef and Lettuce Cups

Grilling Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free


There’s plenty of taste in these little bundles. Traditionally, the spicy meat is served on top of a spoonful of cooked rice but you can substitute peeled, sliced cucumber, which provides a contrasting crunch.

1-2  inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1  clove garlic, peeled and crushed
3  scallions, trimmed and finely sliced
½  teaspoon chili paste
1  tablespoon superfine granulated sugar
2  tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
3  tablespoons tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
1  tablespoon sesame oil
1  tablespoon sweet Thai chili sauce
1  (8-ounce) sirloin steak or 2 (4.5-ounce) porterhouse steaks
1  cup jasmine rice, cooked, optional
1  cup deseeded, sliced cucumber, optional
1  buttercrunch lettuce, broken apart into cups, washed and dried
1  fresh hot red chili, thinly sliced, to garnish
1  tablespoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted in a dry pan

1. In a dish, combine ginger, garlic, scallions, chili paste, sugar, rice wine or sherry, tamari, sesame oil and sweet Thai chili sauce.

2. Trim beef and slice thinly against the grain. Add to marinade and toss well. Leave beef covered at room temperature for 30 minutes.

3. Drain meat, reserving marinade. Cook the meat o

4. Boil reserved marinade in a small saucepan, cooking until thick and syrupy. Pour juices over beef. (Alternatively, heat a wok over high heat, adding 1 teaspoon oil. When oil is hot, add the beef and cook quickly until lightly browned. Add marinade to wok and simmer as described.)

5. Assemble beef and lettuce cups by putting a small spoonful of rice or cucumber in each lettuce cup and topping with a spoonful of beef. And a dollop of sweet Thai chili sauce. Sprinkle with chopped red chili and a smattering of sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Each serving contains 175 calories, 8g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 20mg cholesterol, 16g carbohydrate, 555mg sodium, 1g fiber, 10g protein.

TIP When selecting fresh ginger, look for plump, firm clumps. Avoid ginger that is withered, as it will be pungent and coarsely textured. The best way to store ginger is to wrap it in paper towels and refrigerate it in the vegetable crisper. It can also be frozen in a resealable plastic bag and grated while still frozen.

Grilling Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

Smoky Eggplant Dip


Singeing the eggplant develops a nutty, smoky flavor. Don’t worry about the blackened skin—it’s easily picked off.

1  large eggplant
2  tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
½  teaspoon cumin seeds
1-2  inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1  fresh green chili, halved, deseeded and chopped
1  large onion, peeled and chopped
2  cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
½  teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 medium tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
2  tablespoons chopped coriander, to garnish

1. Rub eggplant with 1 tablespoon oil. Cook eggplant over high heat on the grill, turning often with tongs until charred. (Alternatively, char eggplant over a gas flame.)

2. Transfer eggplant to a shallow ovenproof dish and cook in an oven preheated to 475° degrees for 15 minutes or until tender. Set aside until cool.

3. Peel off blackened skin from eggplant. Scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork. Let eggplant puree drain for 10 minutes.

4. Heat remaining oil in a skillet over medium heat and add cumin seeds. When seeds begin to smell fragrant and to darken in color, add chopped ginger and green chili. Saute for 1 minute, stirring. Add onion and saute for 7 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and let it cook through for a minute. Add turmeric, chili powder and ground coriander.

5. Turn off heat and stir in eggplant puree. Stir in the tomatoes. Season with salt, to taste. Sprinkle coriander over top.

Each serving contains 82 calories, 5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 11g carbohydrate, 108mg sodium, 4g fiber, 2g protein.

Grilled Tarragon Chicken Breasts with Verjuice and Green Grapes



It’s true that life’s too short to peel a grape—but if you go to the trouble, the results are worth it. Peeling removes any tannic taste. Grill the chicken breasts until they're just cooked through. They'll continue to cook as they sit for the few minutes it takes you to prepare the sauce.

6  skinned and boned chicken breast halves
3  tablespoons olive oil, divided
3  tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, divided
-  Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
-  Freshly ground black pepper
1  cup (about 6 ounces) green grapes, preferably seedless
1-2  very small heads romaine lettuce
1  clove garlic, peeled and crushed
½ cup verjuice or dry white wine
-  Sea salt
¼  cup cream, optional     

1. Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towels. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a shallow dish large enough to hold all the chicken breasts. Add half the tarragon, the lemon zest and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add chicken breasts and turn them over in the marinade to evenly coat. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes (or keep them refrigerated up to 12 hours, returning to room temperature before cooking).

2. Put grapes and lemon juice in a small bowl. (If you've got time, peel the grapes before adding them to the lemon juice. They can be peeled 1 to 2 hours before using. Keep them covered in the refrigerator.)

3. Wash and dry romaine lettuce. Transfer leaves to a plastic bag and refrigerate until required.

4. Heat grill to medium heat. Cook chicken breasts on one side. Then turn them over and continue cooking until they are golden and just cooked through. Transfer chicken breasts to a platter and sprinkle with salt.

5. To make the sauce, put 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic in a small skillet over gentle heat and saute for a few minutes until garlic turns a pale biscuit color.

6. Add verjuice to pan and simmer, reducing verjuice by half. Add remaining tarragon and simmer. Season to taste with a few pinches of salt. Add grapes. If desired, stir in ¼ cup cream (if dairy is tolerated).

7. Arrange lettuce leaves on a platter. Place chicken breasts on top. Pour any juice from the grilled chicken over the meat and spoon sauce over the top. Serve immediately.

Each serving contains 216 calories, 8g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 68mg cholesterol, 6g carbohydrate, 79mg sodium, 1g fiber, 28g protein.

Charred Bell Peppers with Eggplant and Tomato

Grilling Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free


Red bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C and beta-carotene, both important antioxidants. While green bell peppers contain more vitamin C than other bell peppers, red and orange-colored bell peppers are higher in beta-carotene. Serve with gluten-free crusty bread.

4  red bell peppers
1  large eggplant
-  Olive oil
8  small plum tomatoes, halved
-  Sea salt
1  tablespoon superfine granulated sugar
-  Freshly ground black pepper
-  Finely grated zest 1 lemon
¼  cup basil leaves
-  Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin lemon-infused olive
    oil, for drizzling

1. Char whole bell peppers on a preheated barbecue grill or over the direct flame of a gas stove. Transfer to a plate when done. When cool, remove all the charred skin. Cut bell peppers in half through the stalks and carefully cut out seeds and seed casings, leaving stalks intact to hold the peppers together.

2. Cut eggplant lengthways into long, thin slices. Put a little oil on a large plate and dunk slices of eggplant in the oil.

3. Cook eggplant on a barbecue grill over medium-high heat until tender and deep golden. Transfer eggplant slices to a clean plate and season with salt.

4. Cut tomatoes in half. Sprinkle cut sides with sea salt and sugar. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and lemon zest.

5. Immediately cook tomatoes, season side down, on a preheated oiled cast-iron griddle for several minutes, until golden and just starting to blacken. Transfer tomatoes to a large plate.

6. Top pepper halves with eggplant slices, grilled tomatoes and basil leaves. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  

Each serving contains 63 calories, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 11g carbohydrate, 7mg sodium, 4g fiber, 2g protein.

TIP If you prepare this recipe indoors in your kitchen, saute eggplant slices in very hot oil in a wok or in an oiled frying pan over medium-high heat. Saute tomato slices over medium heat in an oiled frying pan. LW 

Food journalist Julie Biuso (, author of Sizzle, Sensational Barbecue Food (Julie Biuso Publications), lives in New Zealand.

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