So GoodDec/Jan 2014 Issue

Potluck Dishes: Gluten-Free for Holiday Gatherings

Win ‘em over with cook-and-carry recipes.

[Updated May 15, 2015]

Potlucks are popular during this season of get-togethers. And with so many fabulous “free-from” ingredients now available, it’s easier than ever to whip up dishes that are safe to eat and sure to please everyone on the guest list.

These recipes are destined to become your go-to’s for toting to office celebrations, dinner parties and family gatherings. Taken together, they can be served as a complete meal. But each also works beautifully on its own as a contribution to someone else’s party table. They come together quickly and can be made far in advance so you can prepare them when your schedule permits.

Best of all, there’s no need to tell people that these are “special diet” foods. And no one will ever guess, since they are enticing and delectable without gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, corn, soy or refined sugars.


Photo by Ricki Heller

front Cauliflower, Potato and Artichoke Gratin.

Gluten-Free Cauliflower, Potato and Artichoke Gratin


Combining potatoes and cauliflower with slightly earthy artichoke hearts creates a standout dish. White beans and seeds add a boost of protein.

Vegetable Gratin

½ medium cauliflower, cut into florets (about 4 cups florets)
1 large red potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1 (14-ounce) can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained and cut in quarters
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup canned white beans, navy beans or white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups gluten-free vegetable broth
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon dried thyme
-Salt and pepper, to taste


¼ cup coconut flour
½ cup lightly toasted sunflower seeds
1 clove garlic, chopped
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, preferably organic

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. Add cauliflower, potato and artichoke hearts, stirring to combine.

2. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onion begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add chopped parsley and turn off heat. Add sautéed mixture to vegetables in the casserole dish.

3. Meanwhile, place the beans, broth, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper in a blender and process until smooth. Pour over vegetables, stirring to cover.

4. Bake in preheated oven 35 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are just tender.

5. To make the topping, blend all topping ingredients in a blender or food processor until mixture resembles bread crumbs.

6. Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle topping over it. Return to oven to bake an additional 25 to 35 minutes or until topping is golden, vegetables are soft and mixture is bubbling.

Each serving contains 163 calories, 7g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 151mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 3g sugars, 6g protein, 7Est GL.

Cranberry Kale Salad

Photo by Ricki Heller

Cranberry Kale Salad with Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Cranberry Kale Salad with Pumpkin Seed Brittle


This party salad contains crispy kale and romaine, along with colorful vegetables and fruit, all bathed in a tart cranberry vinaigrette. Even people who don’t like greens will fall in love. Short on time? The brittle topping is optional. Toss with lightly toasted pumpkin seeds instead.

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

¼ cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
❧ Pinch of fine sea salt
½ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas), lightly toasted
½ cup pecan halves or pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted


2 tablespoons pure unsweetened cranberry juice, undiluted
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, preferably organic
-Pinch of fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pure stevia powder or 1 tablespoon agave nectar, to taste


1 small head curly kale (8-12 leaves), stems removed, leaves washed and dried
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 small head romaine lettuce, leaves only, washed and dried
1 medium beet, peeled and grated
3 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
⅓ cup dried cranberries or pomegranate arils

1. To make the brittle, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, stir together coconut sugar, water, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt until mixture begins to bubble and sugar is melted. Stir in pumpkin seeds and pecans (if tolerated), tossing to coat well. Keep stirring and tossing until liquid is absorbed and seeds and nuts are evenly coated, 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Quickly spread the mixture on prepared cookie sheet and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad. Once cool, break into bite-sized pieces.

3. To make the dressing, place all dressing ingredients in a small jar. Cover and shake vigorously to blend.

4. Chop the kale and place it in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Then “massage” the kale with clean hands by squeezing it repeatedly between your fingers and thumbs until it softens and darkens; it will reduce in size by about half. Add romaine lettuce, beets, green onions and cranberries.

5. Toss salad with dressing to coat. Sprinkle with brittle. Serve immediately.

Each serving contains 159 calories, 11g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 139mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 8g sugars, 5g protein, 6Est GL.

TIP Add grated beets at the last minute to avoid staining other ingredients. Toss the salad with dressing right before serving to prevent greens from wilting.

Gluten-Free Rustic Chickpea and Sweet Potato Pot Pie


This easy pot pie was created for those who’d rather not fool with rolling out a crust. A true crowd-pleaser, it can be made ahead and reheated at the party.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley


1 tablespoon coconut oil
¼ cup brown rice flour
1 cup plain unsweetened coconut beverage or hemp, flax, soy or almond milk, divided
1 cup gluten-free vegetable broth
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional (adds a cheesy flavor)
1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-Salt and pepper, to taste

Crumble Topping

2 cups Ricki’s All-Purpose Flour Blend
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup coconut oil, chilled
½ cup plain unsweetened coconut beverage or hemp, flax, soy or almond milk

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, celery, sweet potato and chickpeas. Cook and stir until onions are translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add parsley and turn off the heat.

3. To make the sauce, melt coconut oil along with the rice flour in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes. Then slowly whisk in about ½ cup milk until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the milk and the broth, whisking constantly until combined. Stir in nutritional yeast, if desired, and tamari. Continue to stir the mixture constantly just until it begins to bubble and thicken slightly. Pour the sauce over the vegetables in the skillet, stirring gently to coat. Turn mixture into prepared casserole dish.

4. Place in preheated oven and bake 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, make the crumble topping: In a medium bowl, sift together flour blend, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt. Dollop spoonfuls of coconut oil over the flour. Then pinch with your fingers until all the oil is incorporated. Drizzle with milk and toss with a fork until you have a crumbly, moist dough.

6. Remove casserole and sprinkle evenly with crumble topping. Return to oven and bake another 30 to 40 minutes until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly browned.

7. If making ahead, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature before reheating. Reheat in 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Each serving contains 443 calories, 22g total fat, 16g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 656mg sodium, 54g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 3g sugars, 8g protein, 27Est GL.


Photo by Ricki Heller

“Polenta” with Black Olive Tapenade

“Polenta” with Black Olive Tapenade, Gluten-Free


If you’re missing polenta due to corn sensitivity, this easy appetizer offers polenta-like texture and flavor with a piquant tapenade that’s delicious and visually appealing. It can be made ahead and reheated just before serving. It’s equally tasty at room temperature.


½ cup gluten-free steel cut oats
½ cup gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups gluten-free vegetable broth or water
-Fine sea salt, to taste (omit if using broth)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, preferably organic, more for brushing top
4 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
⅓ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, more for garnish


¼ cup pitted oil-cured black olives
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon capers, lightly drained
½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1. Grease an 8- or 9- inch square pan or line it with parchment paper.

2. In a medium pot, bring steel-cut oats, rolled oats, broth and salt to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook 25 to 35 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid scorching, until very thick and creamy. Texture should be spreadable but too thick to pour.

3. While oats cook, heat oil in a medium skillet. Add green onions and parsley and sauté just until onions are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.

4. When oats are ready, add onion mixture (including any oil in the pan) and stir well. Working quickly (it will start to solidify), turn the mixture into prepared pan and smooth the top. Allow to cool completely at room temperature.

5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

6. Invert polenta on a cutting board. Cut into 16 equal squares and place them on prepared cookie sheet. Brush tops lightly with olive oil.

7. Place in preheated oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes until edges begin to brown slightly. (This recipe may be made ahead up to this point. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator up to 2 days.)

8. To make the tapenade, place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. (Tapenade may be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator up to 2 days.)

9. To assemble polenta, place the squares (either warm or room temperature) on a serving plate and top each with about ½ teaspoon tapenade. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Each serving contains 53 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 49mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 0g sugars, 1g protein, 3Est GL.

Double Chocolate Brownies

Photo by Ricki Heller

Double Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate-Mint Frosting

Gluten-Free Double-Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate-Mint Frosting


These fudgy treats feature a mint frosting for festive flair. When baking them, aim for a slightly under-baked result. As the brownies cool, they tend to dry out a bit. What seems too moist when warm is perfectly fudgy when cooled. Garnish with fresh mint leaves for a pretty color contrast.


2 medium unpeeled ripe pears, cored and cut into chunks (about 10 ounces)
1¼ cups coconut sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
⅓ cup coconut oil, softened
¼ cup smooth natural sunflower seed butter or sesame tahini
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 tablespoon whole psyllium seed husks or ¾ teaspoon guar or xanthan gum
½ cup chocolate or vanilla rice milk
1¼ cups Ricki’s All-Purpose Flour Blend
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
⅓ cup dairy-free chocolate chips or unsweetened carob chips


⅔cup coconut butter, gently melted (not coconut oil)
2 tablespoons sesame tahini or smooth natural sunflower butter
2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup light agave nectar or pure maple syrup
10-15 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, optional
¼-½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract, to taste
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons chocolate rice milk, more as needed
-Shredded coconut, for garnish, optional
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan or line it with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, process pears, sugar, vanilla, oil, sunflower seed butter, ground flax seed, psyllium and rice milk until smooth and no traces of pear remain visible. Add remaining brownie ingredients, except chocolate chips. Pulse a few times to mix and then process until combined. Scrape the sides of the processor, if necessary, to incorporate all dry ingredients.

3. Remove blade and add chocolate chips. Do not process again.

4. Turn batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.

5. Place in preheated oven and bake 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan about halfway through baking. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out just barely clean. (Do not over-bake or brownies will be more cake-like.) Cool completely in the pan before frosting.

6. To make frosting, place all frosting ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. If frosting is too thick, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and blend again. (Frosting will firm up when refrigerated.)

7. Spread frosting over cooled brownies, swirling the top. Sprinkle with shredded unsweetened coconut and garnish with fresh mint leaves, if desired. Refrigerate. About 15 minutes before serving, remove from the refrigerator and cut into 20 to 25 squares.

Each frosted brownie contains 195 calories, 10g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 14g sugars, 3g protein, 15Est GL.

TIP For perfectly sliced brownies, refrigerate frosted brownies in the pan. When firm, invert the entire pan to empty brownies onto a cutting board and flip right-side up. Slice into squares.

Ricki’s All-Purpose Flour Blend

Canadian Ricki Heller is a holistic nutritionist and author of Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free: 100 Allergy Friendly Desserts.


2 cups millet flour
⅔cup garfava flour
⅔cup potato starch (not potato flour)
⅔cup arrowroot starch

1. Mix ingredients until well combined. Refrigerate in a tightly covered container until used.

Each cup contains 500 calories, 4g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 28mg sodium, 104g carbohydrate, 11g fiber, 0g sugars, 12g protein, 58Est GL.

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