Marching on with my 5 Days Without Grains diet, we’ve come to day 3. I hope these recipes are providing you with some ideas of how to go plant-based and grain-free (if you want) yourself. Unless you know without a doubt that whole grains have a negative impact on your health, I would never suggest removing them from your diet completely. They’re such a valuable and delicious source of nourishment. But as I explained on day 1, it can be beneficial to give your digestive system a break from processing them every now and then. If your diet was heavy in grains before starting a grain-free diet, you’ll notice by day 3 that you’re not as bloated…who doesn’t like that?
Breakfast: Chia seed pudding, the last of it. Fresh fruit and walnut flax butter to accompany, just like the previous 2 days.
Lunch: Rather a fancy affair since I was giving a cooking lesson. Normally I would prepare a meal like this for dinner, especially if I had guests over. It’s components are simple on their own, but once composed it makes quite the impressive dish.
Chickpea Panelle with Sprouted Mung Beans, sauteed Zucchini, quick-pickled Red Onions, and Cashew Cauliflower Cream
This recipe is largely based on the one I learned while working in Cafe Paradiso. I’ve modified the technique to diminish the possibility of clumping and added anti-inflammatory/anticarcinogenic ground turmeric for rich color and subtle flavor. Some forethought is required since the panelle needs at least 2 hours to firm in the fridge. This recipe makes more than you’ll need, we’ll be using it again soon!
250 grams (about 2 cups) Chickpea Flour
½ tsp Turmeric
1 ½ tsp Sea Salt
1 liter (about 4 cups) Water or Stock, divided
Drizzle Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Unrefined Coconut Oil, to sear
1. Prepare a 9” rectangular baking dish by lining it with parchment paper.
2. Soak the chickpea flour, turmeric and salt in 500 mls (2 cups) water (or stock) for 30 minutes.
3. Bring 500 mls water (or stock) to a boil. Whisk in soaked chickpea flour. Cook on high for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes, whisking frequently.
4. Pour the mixture into prepared dish. Let it come to room temperature before storing in the fridge to chill and firm.
5. After at least 2 hours of chilling, use the parchment paper to lift the panelle from the dish. Cut into cubes.
6. Heat a pan over medium heat, once hot add a drizzle of oil. Place panelle in the pan without overcrowding. After a few minutes, use an angled spatula facing down to gently scrape up the panelle and flip to cook on the other side. Keep warm in a low oven while preparing the other components of the meal. Use the same pan to sear the zucchini.
Quick-Pickled Red Onion
1 Red Onion, halved then thinly sliced
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Marinate the red onion in enough vinegar to halfway cover at least 30 minutes before serving. Stir occasionally to soak every slice of onion. They will soften and reduce over time. These will keep for days when stored, covered, in the fridge.
Sprouted Mung Beans
I cooked 1 cup according to the package directions. Unsprouted mung beans (which will need to be soaked overnight) or beluga lentils make fine substitutes.
Drizzle Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 medium Zuchinni
Sprinkle Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper or Chili Pepper Flakes
1. Slice zucchini into long thin strips.
2. Heat a skillet over medium heat, once hot, add oil. Arrange zucchini slices in the pan so they are not overcrowded, you may have to work in batches. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper or chili pepper. Once first side is nicely seared, turn to brown the other side. Season this side as well.
3. These can be kept warm in a low oven while working on the other components of the meal.
Basil Cauliflower Cashew Cream
1 cup raw Cashews, soaked at least 2 hours
½ cup raw Cauliflower
½ cup Water
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Coconut Sugar
1 tsp raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Small pinch Sea Salt
¼ cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Small bunch Basil, stems removed
1. Drain the cashews. Blend with the cauliflower and ½ cup water in a food processor or high-speed blender until smooth.
2. Add remaining ingredients, except for oil, and continue blending, scraping down sides of machine from time to time.
3. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in oil. Then purée in the basil. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
4. This recipe will firm up in the fridge. If you want a sauce that’s easier to drizzle on the plate, simply whisk in a small amount of water before serving.
Scoop a few spoonfuls of mungbeans onto the bottom of the plate
Drape the zucchini over the mung beans
Scatter a few cubes of panelle over plate
With a spoon, drizzle sauce in circular motions
Place a small spoonful of red onion on the very center of the “pile”
…I know, rather involved for lunchtime or even an ordinary weeknight meal. Whip this one out for special occasions.
Dinner: Much simpler than lunch. Grilled vegetables, hummus (already prepared), more braised green beans, and a coleslaw with shredded cabbage, some quick-pickled red onion mixed in, sliced radishes, sliced kale and the rest of the basil cauliflower cashew cream sauce as dressing.
My hummus recipe is based on Ottolenghi’s. The greatest difference is that I omit the baking soda and add a stick of kombu, a sea vegetable, to the chickpea’s cooking liquid. This creates a broth rich in minerals and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids that I don’t discard when I drain the chickpeas. I purée the kombu with the chickpeas when making hummus since it doesn’t add noticeable flavor.
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