FeaturesDec/Jan 2015 Issue

Gluten-Free Holiday Feast

Our mouthwatering dinner menu will help you celebrate the season.

As far back as I can remember, my Italian family celebrated the holidays by sharing food. Aunt Carmel’s baked stuffed artichokes, Grandpa Levo’s braised meats, Great Uncle Joe’s fried vegetable platter and Aunt Lillian’s fabulous cakes and cookies filled us with joy. They were gifts that everyone anticipated, appreciated and savored.

Now I carry on the tradition, inviting friends and family to a table full of culinary gifts. This year’s gluten-free and allergy-friendly menu combines some Italian favorites with traditional holiday cuisine. It starts with Fava Bean Crostini, Braised Leeks in Red Wine Sauce and Yorkshire Popovers and moves on to the hearty entrée, Dijon Rosemary Encrusted Pork Loin with Citrus Sauce and Rosemary New Potatoes. A fun version of the Italian classic, Pizzelle Cannoli with Chocolate Chip Filling, delivers the sweet finish.

These gluten-free  recipes are surprisingly easy to make. Some can be prepared ahead so the host can relax with family and friends.

Sharing the gift of food is a time-honored holiday tradition. Now with this gluten-free, allergy-friendly menu, it’s one that everybody can enjoy.

Photos by Benko Photographics

Gluten-Free Fava Bean Crostini


Fava beans, an ancient broad bean used in Mediterranean cuisine, makes a delicious gluten-free dish when sautéed with garlic, shallots and herbs. Serve the beans on oven-toasted gluten-free garlic bread for a tasty appetizer.

2 pounds fresh or frozen fava beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped shallots
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chopped herbs, such as basil or parsley
½ teaspoon sea salt
-Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
-Parmesan cheese or dairy-free alternative, optional

Garlic Toast

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 slices gluten-free bread

1. If using fresh fava beans in their pods, bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Add beans and boil on high 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pods and run under cold water to stop further cooking. When cool, remove beans from pod. Frozen beans don’t require this step; use them straight from the package.

2. Heat olive oil in large skillet until hot. Add shallots and cook 3 minutes. Add beans, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Sauté 5 to 7 minutes until beans are al dente (cooked but firm). Lightly chop mixture with a knife or in a food processor. Set aside. (Mixture can be made ahead to this point and stored in the refrigerator for 2 days.)

3. To make garlic toast, preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine olive oil and garlic. Brush both sides of bread slices with this mixture. Place bread on prepared baking sheet and toast in preheated oven 5 minutes on each side.

4. Cut each slice of toast diagonally into 4 to 6 triangles. Top toast with fava bean mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Each serving contains 100 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1mg cholesterol, 92mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 1g sugars, 5g protein, 8 Est GL.

Photos by Benko Photographics

Gluten-Free Braised Leeks in Red Wine Sauce


Adding beef stock and red wine to earthy leeks creates a sensational gluten-free side dish. Thoroughly wash the leeks to rinse off any sand or grit.

2 pounds leeks
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
¾ cup red wine, more as needed, divided
¼ cup gluten-free beef stock

1. Remove outer leaves from leeks. Trim roots and cut off dark green ends halfway.

2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat butter or oil. Add leeks, lower heat to simmer, cover and cook 3 minutes. Add ½ cup wine and beef stock. Reduce heat to low and braise leeks in covered saucepan until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove leeks to a serving platter.

3. Over low heat, add ¼ cup red wine to sauce in skillet. Deglaze the pan by scraping up caramelized bits and whisking into the wine sauce. Reduce liquid until it is ¼ cup. Pour pan sauce over leeks and serve.

Each serving contains 74 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1mg cholesterol, 61mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 4g sugars, 2g protein, 6 Est GL.

Photos by Benko Photographics

Gluten-Free Yorkshire Popovers


While Yorkshire popovers are traditionally prepared with meat drippings from a standing rib roast, you can make these tasty breads with beef stock or brown butter with equally good results. Make these gluten-free popovers after the roast comes out of the oven. They will be hot and ready to serve with the main course. This recipe can be doubled. For best results, do not replace the eggs.

2 large eggs
1 cup milk of choice
⅔ cup brown rice flour
⅓ cup tapioca starch/flour
1 tablespoon chopped, stemmed fresh rosemary
¼ teaspoon sea salt
-Pinch freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup meat drippings, gluten-free beef broth or brown butter

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat a non-stick popover pan or a 12-cup muffin pan in the oven while preparing batter. (If you don’t use a non-stick pan, lightly grease the pan.) A warm pan helps batter climb up the sides of the pan.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. In a large bowl, combine brown rice flour, tapioca starch, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add egg mixture to flour and whisk until smooth.

3. Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of drippings or broth to each muffin cup. Pour in the batter, filling the tins halfway.

4. Place pan in preheated oven and bake 20 to 22 minutes or until popovers are a deep golden brown. Serve immediately.

Each serving contains 116 calories, 8g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 50mg cholesterol, 118mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 1g sugars, 3g protein, 6 Est GL.

Photo by Benko Photographics

Gluten-Free Dijon Rosemary Encrusted Pork Loin with Citrus Sauce & Rosemary New Potatoes


A Dijon gluten-free breadcrumb crust keeps the meat moist and tender while giving it bountiful flavor. Have your butcher French cut the bones on your roast to dress up the dish. I always buy a scant ½ pound per person. The Citrus Pan Sauce, ready in minutes, adds the perfect balance to the meat. Instead of pork loin, you can substitute a standing rib roast with a slight variation in cook time and pan sauce.

1 cup toasted gluten-free breadcrumbs or panko-style breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, stems removed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns, crushed
2½ pounds French-cut pork loin or bone-in standing rib roast
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup gluten-free chicken or beef broth

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a large roasting pan or Dutch oven.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, mustard, rosemary, garlic, salt and peppercorns. Set aside.

3. Pat meat dry with a paper towel and lightly season with salt and pepper. Press breadcrumb mixture into dry meat, covering outside of roast. Let meat return to room temperature.

4. Add olive oil and broth to prepared pan and then add prepared roast. Place in preheated oven and roast uncovered 75 to 80 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 135°F. (For standing rib roast, cook 45 to 60 minutes or 18 minutes per pound for rare, 20 minutes for medium rare and 22 minutes for medium or until internal temperature is 125°F for medium rare and 130°F for medium.) After 30 minutes of roasting time, place uncooked Rosemary New Potatoes (page 53) in the pan with the roast. (If making a standing rib roast, add the potatoes to the pan at the start.)

5. Remove roast and potatoes to a serving platter, keeping drippings in pan. Let roast rest and prepare Citrus Pan Sauce (page 53) before slicing. Cut chops in between bones. You can cut chops in half since they will be large. Serve with Citrus Pan Sauce and sides.

Each serving contains 384 calories, 14g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 111mg cholesterol, 416mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 4g sugars, 43g protein, 11 Est GL.
Rosemary New Potatoes


Add these potatoes to your roast or bake them separately for a super-easy side dish.

1½ pounds new potatoes, red or yellow
1 tablespoon butter or dairy-free alternative, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped, stemmed fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Place potatoes in large bowl. Add butter, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss to coat potatoes.

2. Add potatoes to Dijon Rosemary Encrusted Pork Loin after meat has cooked 30 minutes. If making a standing rib roast, add potatoes at the start.

3. To bake potatoes separately, place them in a large baking dish and cook in preheated 400°F oven for 45 minutes, turning potatoes once.

Each serving contains 125 calories, 5g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 194mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 1g sugars, 2g protein, 8 Est GL.
Citrus Pan Sauce

If making a standing rib roast, use ½ cup red wine instead of white wine in this recipe.

Pan drippings
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon orange zest (from 1 orange)
Juice from 1 orange or ½ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup or brown sugar
1 tablespoon cold butter or dairy-free butter alternative
Salt and pepper

1. Place roasting pan with pan drippings on the stovetop over medium-low heat.

2. Whisk wine into drippings, scraping up breadcrumbs and brown bits. Whisk orange zest, juice and maple syrup into the sauce. Add cold butter and whisk until sauce begins to thicken and reduce, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Each tablespoon contains 14 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 2mg cholesterol, 1mg sodium, 1 carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 1g sugars, 0g protein, 0 Est GL.

Photo by Benko Photographics

Photo by Benko Photographics

Shaping the Cannoli Shells
Remove pizelle from the press and while still warm wrap it around the wooden dowel that comes with the press (or any cylindrical handle about 1½ inches in diameter). Hold cookie in place until it sets, about 1 minute.

Photo by Benko Photographics

Pizzelle Press
Pizzelle presses, similar to waffle irons, can be used year round for sweet and savory treats. Starting at about $40, they can be found in department stores and specialty stores nationwide and online.

Gluten-Free Pizzelle Cookies and Cannoli with Chocolate Chip Filling

MAKES 28 TO 30

Thank goodness for electric pizzelle makers. With these handy machines, you can make gluten-free pizzelle cookies in minutes. Eat pizzelles plain or shape them into cannoli and stuff with Chocolate Chip Filling. A great finish to a holiday meal.


1½ cups Mary’s Baking Flour Blend
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
-Pinch of salt
3 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla, anise or almond extract
½ cup butter or dairy-free alternative, melted
-Confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat the pizzelle press and spray lightly with oil.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour blend, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt.

3. With a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat eggs and sugar together 1 to 2 minutes. On low speed, add flavor extract and melted butter in a steady stream and mix 15 seconds. Add flour mixture and blend just until combined. Batter will resemble a sticky dough.

4. Using 2 spoons, form a pecan-size dough ball and place on the grid of the hot pizzelle press. Close the press and cook about 1 minute or until light indicates pizzelle is done. Lift corner of the pizzelle with a rubber spatula and transfer to a plate. Lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar.

5. To make cannoli shells, remove pizzelle from the press and wrap the warm cookie around the wooden dowel that comes with the press or a cylindrical handle about 1½ inches in diameter. Hold cookie in place until it sets, about 1 minute.

6. Pizzelle cookies and cannoli shells can be made several days ahead and stored in an airtight container. Do not add Chocolate Chip Filling (below) until just before serving or shell may become soggy.

Each serving contains 83 calories, 4g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 29mg cholesterol, 36mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 5g sugars, 1g protein, 7 Est GL.

For Egg-Free Pizzelles, omit 3 eggs. Mix 2 tablespoons flax meal with 6 tablespoons hot applesauce. Let cool. In a separate bowl, mix 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder with 2 tablespoons water. Combine the 2 mixtures and use to replace 2 eggs in step 3.

Chocolate Chip Filling

This filling can be made several days ahead. Refrigerate until ready to fill the cannoli shells.

8 ounces ricotta or dairy-free ricotta
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese or dairy- free cream cheese
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips, extra for dipping ends
½ cup pistachios, chopped, optional

1. If ricotta has liquid in it, line a strainer with cheesecloth, place ricotta in the strainer and set over a bowl. Refrigerate and let excess liquid drain overnight. For a faster method, place ricotta in several layers of cheesecloth and squeeze until excess liquid is removed.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment or by hand with a wooden spoon, mix ricotta, cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before filling cannoli shells.

3. Using a pastry bag fitted with an open tip or a ziptop plastic bag with ¾ inch cut out of the corner, squeeze filling into prepared cannoli shells immediately before serving. Dip ends of cannoli in mini chocolate chips and pistachios, if desired.

Each serving contains 155 calories, 8g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 40mg cholesterol, 69mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 11g sugars, 3g protein, 11 Est GL.

Mary’s Gluten-Free Baking Flour Blend


2 cups brown rice flour
2 cups white rice flour
1⅓ cups potato starch (not potato flour)
⅔ cup tapioca starch/flour

1. Mix ingredients together. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator until used.

Each serving contains 564 calories, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 4mg sodium, 127g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 7g protein.

Contributing chef Mary Capone is creator of Bella Gluten-Free allergy-friendly baking mixes (bellaglutenfree.com) and author of The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook (The Wheat Free Gourmet Press), available at GlutenFreeAndMore.com.

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