Tag Archives: healthy side dishes

Recipe: Grain-free crumble topping

A crumble topping is something I figured I’d never have again once Andy and I gave up wheat in September 2012. Crumble toppings require one main ingredient–flour (or breadcrumbs if you’re going the savory route), and flour was out entirely.

Imagine my joy (I may have squeaked–I do that when I get excited) when I realized I could make a grain-free crumble topping (sweet or savory) with just a few ingredients I already keep in my pantry.

I’ve provided two variations here–one sweet and one savory. I use this on everything from apple crumble to chicken divan. Feel free to trade up the spices in either version to suit your preference. I like the option of being flexible.

Base ingredients:
1/2 cup almond flour (I prefer Honeyville, but as this is a crumble topping something coarser will do)
2 TBL cold butter, cut into small pieces and stored in the refrigerator until just ready to use*

Sweet version:
1–2 tsp. cinnamon (or a combination of warm spices including ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom)
1–2 tsp. granulated sugar (I like brown or coconut palm)

Savory version:
1 tsp. garlic powder
a pinch of salt
a couple grinds of black pepper

Stir together the almond flour with either the sweet or savory ingredients. Add the butter and cut in with either a fork or your fingers until the mixture resembles small pieces of gravel. If you use your fingers, the butter may get a little melty. Don’t worry, you can pop it into the fridge to chill so the butter is nice and cold going into the oven.

Evenly sprinkle the mixture over your pie, coffeecake, or casserole. Pop into the oven and bake per your recipe’s instructions. (Almond flour can be a little sensitive when it comes to high cooking temps. Keep an eye on it– if it starts to look a little dark, just cover it with foil while the dish finishes cooking.)

* Don’t want to use butter? You can use melted coconut or olive oils, just use a fork to stir until the mixture gets a little clumpy. I find that coconut oil can be a little too sweet for savory dishes, but that’s just me. Coconut and I have a complicated relationship. If that’s all you have, go for it!

Recipe: Mexican green cauli-rice

One of the things that most definitely had to change after Andy’s Diabetes diagnosis was how we ate. It took some time, but we’ve been able to create a completely new way of eating that is healthy and delicious.

One of our favorite side dishes is cauli-rice. It’s a fantastic substitute for standard white rice, and is endlessly customizable. Add cumin, turmeric, coriander, and a dash of cinnamon for a Middle Eastern flair. Scallions and a bunch of summery herbs (parsley, basil, maybe some dill) will give you the perfect partner for some grilled chicken or fish. But the one I make most often is a little south of the border. This is a great accompaniment for carnitas, grilled chicken cauli-rice bowls, or any of your favorite Mexican dishes. Enjoy!

1 (or 2 or more) poblano peppers, tops and seeds removed, cut into large chunks*
3 scallions, whites and light green tops roughly chopped
1 handful of Italian parsley, rinsed
1 handful of cilantro, rinsed**
1 TBL cumin seeds***
a pinch of salt
1 head of cauliflower
1–2 TBL olive or avocado oil

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, pulse together the poblanos, scallions, parsley, cilantro, cumin seeds, and a pinch of salt until you reach your desired consistency. I like mine almost like a pesto without the oil.

Remove the blade of the food processor and replace with the shredder blade. Cut cauliflower into pieces and process through the shredder blade. (You’ll have a layer of green herbs and flavorings at the bottom with the snowy white cauliflower on top.)

Heat oil in a large pan over medium high. I usually make this in my 10-inch cast iron skillet. The shallow sides make it a little messy, but that’s just how I roll.  It works just as well in my 10-inch aluminum saute pan with higher sides.

When the oil is hot, dump the cauliflower and herb mixture into the pan and let it sizzle. Add another healthy pinch of salt and start stirring gently to incorporate the herbs throughout the cauliflower. This is where things turn really green. Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning as needed–it will most likely need more salt. Possibly some extra cumin.

Continue to cook until the cauli-rice is done to your preference. Cauliflower lets off a fair amount of liquid and kind of steams itself. I like ours with a tiny bit of bite–nobody likes mushy rice. Just before serving, fluff with a fork to separate the cauliflower pieces a little.

Recipe notes:
* Like your rice a little more spicy? Replace one or all of the poblanos with the hot chile pepper of your choice.
** Cilantro isn’t a necessity here. A lot of people really can’t stand it. (Even Andy’s not a huge fan, but I sneak it in…) If you choose to omit it, add a little more scallions and parsley and maybe a pinch more cumin.
*** You may want more or less cumin. Adjust to your own taste. I prefer the cumin seeds because they keep the rice really green. If you don’t have them, ground cumin works just as well.