Allergy-Friendly Cinco de Mayo Fiesta


¡Salud! to authentic, allergy-friendly Mexican cuisine

My love affair with Mexican food began with a visit to Yucatan where the fresh, robust flavors of genuine south-of-the-border cuisine stirred my senses. Roasted stuffed peppers, delectable black beans and chayote squash, homemade corn tortillas, brightly colored sauces. I was hooked. There was no turning back to the TexMex of my youth. (Those wheat-flour tortillas, flavorless sauces and mounds of tired cheese are now off limits anyway. )

Happily, real Mexican fare offers gluten-free, dairy-free dishes that are healthy and bursting with mouthwatering goodness.

Here’s a delicious selection of fiesta-worthy food, just in time for Cinco de Mayo. These recipes take you on a culinary trip across the Rio Grande without the cost of airfare.

A Hint of Lime

Homemade Corn Tortillas


There’s no substitute for hot tortillas fresh from the skillet. Flavor and texture is far superior to the packaged variety. Tortillas can be made in advance and reheated, wrapped in foil, at 250°F for 10 minutes. Refrigerate leftovers in a sealed plastic bag for up to a week.

2 cups freshly ground corn masa flour or masa harina
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
-Pinch of salt

1. Place ingredients in a medium-size bowl. With your hands, knead until dough forms a pliable but not sticky ball. If the dough is too crumbly, add a little warm water, one tablespoon at a time. If it’s too sticky to handle, add more masa flour. Dough should resemble soft modeling clay.

2. Separate dough into 12 3-tablespoon amounts and roll dough into balls. Place them on a foil tray and cover with a damp towel to keep moist.

3. Cut two 8-inch circles out of heavy-duty plastic storage bags. Place one bag on the bottom of a tortilla press. Add dough to center of press and put remaining bag on top. (If you don’t have a tortilla press, place dough between two evenly matched heavy plates.) Close press. Lift and rotate tortilla 180 degrees and press again for a 5-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick.

4. Peel off top plastic and flip tortilla over into your hand. Drop tortilla onto a hot griddle and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

5. Place cooked tortilla in a basket lined with a clean towel and keep wrapped. Repeat until all dough balls are cooked. Serve warm.

Each tortilla contains 70 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 9mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 2g protein.

Jicama Coleslaw

Easy and Nutritious

Gluten-Free Lime Jicama Coleslaw


A lime-mayo sauce enhances fresh, crunchy vegetables in this refreshing salad.

¼ cup gluten-free mayonnaise*
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
½ red cabbage head, sliced thinly
1 small carrot, grated
¼ cup fresh jicama, grated
2 tablespoons white onion, grated
-Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, lime juice, vinegar and syrup.

2. Add sliced and grated vegetables to sauce and mix thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste.

3. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to chill and combine flavors before serving.

Each serving contains 105 calories, 5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 4mg cholesterol, 142mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 2g protein.

*TIP Vegenaise is a dairy-free, egg-free mayonnaise product. It is available at

Mango Salsa

Delicious Appetizer or Sauce

Mango Salsa


Fresh salsa is a delicious dip with chips and a flavorful sauce with fish or chicken. To adjust the heat, add jalapeño in stages, to taste.

½-1 jalapeño, roasted, peeled and chopped
    or 1 (4-ounce) can jalapeño, to
    desired heat
½ cup finely minced white onion
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice, more to taste
-Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, including juice

1. Roast fresh jalapeño by wiping it with olive oil and placing it under a broiler. Turn pepper over every few minutes until skin is lightly blistered. When done, place in a small paper bag or bowl covered with plastic wrap to sweat and cool.

2. Place onion, garlic and cilantro in a food processor or blender. Add lime juice, salt and pepper and pulse to mix.

3. Using gloves, peel translucent skin off cooled jalapeño, removing the stem, and mince. For hotter salsa, include seeds, to taste. Add jalapeño to food processor and pulse to mix.

4. Add mango and tomatoes with juice and pulse to desired chunkiness. Taste and adjust flavor with lime juice, salt and pepper.

5. Refrigerate to combine flavors for 1 hour and serve. Refrigerate any unused salsa for up to 2 weeks.

Each ¼ cup serving contains 20 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 70mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g protein.

TIP For mild salsa, use ½ jalapeño without seeds. Medium salsa, 1 jalapeño without seeds. Hot salsa, 1 jalapeño with seeds.

Chili Pepper Brownies

Sweet, Spicy, Chocolaty

Dairy-Free Chili Pepper Brownies


These scrumptious brownies combine chili peppers and chocolate with the rich flavors of cinnamon and vanilla. This recipe can be made egg free with good results.

¾ cup Mary’s All-Purpose Flour Blend or
    all-purpose blend of choice
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
⅛ teaspoon salt
1⅓ cups granulated sugar or evaporated
    cane juice
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, room temperature, or egg replacer
8 tablespoons unsalted butter or dairy-free butter alternative
¾ teaspoon ground chili powder or 3-4 small dried New Mexico chili peppers
¼ cup vegetable oil of choice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
⅓ cup chocolate chips*

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch pan and line with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add eggs, one at a time, or egg replacer and blend with a wooden spoon or hand mixer.

3. In a small saucepan, melt butter or dairy-free butter alternative. Add chili powder or whole dried chili peppers. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes to infuse chili flavor into butter. If using whole chilis, remove them from butter after 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Stir oil and chili butter into batter just until incorporated. Add vanilla and chocolate chips and blend just until incorporated. Batter will be thick and fudge like.

5. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, smoothing top with a knife.

6. Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 24 to 28 minutes or until center is set. Let cool before slicing.

Each brownie contains 172 calories, 10g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 44mg cholesterol, 42mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2g protein.

*TIP Allergy-friendly chocolate chips are available from EnjoyLife Foods (

Chili Rellleno

Chili Rellenos


Serve smothered in Green Chili Sauce and sprinkled with fresh cheese or dairy-free cheese replacement. For best results, do not replace eggs with egg replacer.

6 Anaheim chili peppers or 1 (7-ounce)
    can whole green chilies (fire roasted)
½ yellow onion, chopped
-Olive oil, for frying
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 small zucchini, diced
1 (15-16 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup corn, frozen, or fresh corn removed from cob
-Salt and pepper, to taste
3 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons tapioca starch/flour
¼ teaspoon salt

1. If using fresh chili peppers, roast them by wiping them with olive oil and placing them on a cookie sheet under the broiler. Turn peppers over every few minutes until skin is lightly blistered. When done, place in a small paper bag or bowl covered with plastic wrap to sweat and cool.

2. In a medium skillet, add onions to hot oil and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, cumin and chili powder and sauté for 2 minutes. Add zucchini, black beans and corn and sauté until zucchini takes on color, about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

3. Separate egg whites and yolks into two medium-size bowls. Beat whites until they form soft peaks.

4. Add water, flour and salt to egg yolks and blend until creamy. Gently fold in egg whites to make a batter.

5. Peel translucent skin off cooled peppers. Make a 3 to 4-inch slit up each pepper, keeping stem intact. Remove seeds, if desired. (Seeds increase the heat.)

6. Stuff peppers with equal amounts of vegetable mixture.

7. In a heavy skillet, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until smoking slightly. Spoon in egg batter in the shape of a pepper. Place pepper on top of batter and cook over medium heat for five minutes.

8. Spoon more egg batter on top of pepper and then flip and cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes until golden brown. Repeat with each pepper.

Each chili contains 152 calories, 3g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 106mg cholesterol, 409mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 9g protein.


Vegetarian Variation

Green Chili Sauce


Packed with flavor, this recipe combines rich Pasilla peppers with spicy-hot jalapeños. Great for smothering favorite dishes or served as a soup with tortilla chips. For Vegetarian Green Chili, eliminate the pork and use vegetable broth.

4 Pasilla peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
2 Jalapeños peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ white onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
½ pound cubed lean pork loin
3 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter alternative
4 tablespoons potato starch (not potato flour)
3-4 cups gluten-free chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
-Pepper, to taste

1. Roast peppers by wiping them with olive oil and placing them on a cookie sheet under the broiler. Turn peppers over every few minutes until skin is lightly blistered. When done, place in a small paper bag or bowl covered with plastic wrap to sweat and cool.

2. In large pan, sauté onions, garlic and diced tomatoes in olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes or until garlic is light brown. Add cubed pork and sauté for 5 minutes until browned on all sides. Remove from heat.

3. Using gloves, remove translucent skin from peppers, along with seeds and stem. Chop finely or pulse in a food processor.

4. In a sauté pan, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add 4 tablespoons potato starch and whisk together, stirring constantly for 5 minutes until roux is light brown and has the consistency of paste. Add minced peppers to the roux and combine with a whisk.

5. Add broth and pork mixture to roux and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until pork and all flavors are well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Each 1 cup contains 296 calories, 18g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 49mg cholesterol, 783mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 15g protein.

TIP Short on time? Use 1 (7-ounce) can diced green chilies (hot or fire roasted) and 1 (4-ounce) can diced jalapeño instead of fresh peppers.

Gluten-Free Blackened Tilapia Tacos

Gluten-Free Blackened Chicken Tacos


Lightly battered in potato starch, lime juice and roasted spices, these crowd-pleasing tacos can be made quickly. A delicious way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, they’re great with either chicken or tilapia, if fish is tolerated. Serve with sliced avocados, warm Homemade Corn Tortillas, Lime Jicama Coleslaw and fresh Mango Salsa. Top it off with mouthwatering Chili Pepper Brownies.

4-6 tilapia fillets, about 1 pound, or 2 whole
    chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
2 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano or regular
    dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground clove
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ cup potato starch
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil, for sautéing
10 gluten-free tortillas

1. Rinse fish or chicken and pat dry.

2. In a small sauté pan, add chili powder, cinnamon, oregano, clove and allspice to pan. Roast spices over medium heat until they begin to have a strong fragrance, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. In a medium-size bowl, blend potato starch with roasted spices.

4. In separate bowl, place lime juice. Dip fillets or chicken pieces in lime juice and then in starch/spice mixture.

5. Heat oil in a pan and sauté fillets for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Do not overcrowd the pan. For blackened chicken, cook 5 to 7 minutes per side or until meat is firm to touch. Remove from pan and serve with warm tortillas and your favorite toppings.

Each fish taco with corn tortilla contains 171 calories, 4g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 22mg cholesterol, 30mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 11g protein.

Mary’s All-Purpose Flour Blend


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

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

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

Recipe by Living Without contributor Mary Capone, author of  The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook. To buy this cookbook, click here.





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