Basic Carrot Slaw

Carrots are the perfect vegetable to star in a salad. Flavor-wise, they can range from savory to sweet. Presentation-wise, they are perfect for every style: long ribbons, pretty julienned batons, shredded, or even cut into simple coins. For this salad, you can julienne the carrots or shred them — your choice (or, you know, do whatever works to get dinner on the table).

About half an hour before assembling the salad, lightly salt the carrots to draw out moisture — this helps keeps your slaw crunchy despite the addition of dressing. Rinse and pat the carrots dry, then toss. The dressing below is Just A Suggestion. Carrots can handle just about anything, and the notes to the recipe include other ideas.

Overnight Crockpot Baked Beans

While I will admit to a fondness for baked beans, I’ve always shied away from the canned version because I am not a fan of sweet foods. Sure, I’ll indulge if I encounter the canned version, but I won’t buy them unless I have a serious craving.

Yeah, I crave baked beans.

If the craving is minor and time is plentiful — or I know I need a killer dish to bring to a barbecue — I go straight for my crockpot and let the beans cook overnight. The slow cooker does all the work of cooking the beans through while developing a rich sauce that is just sweet enough with some tangy and spicy flavors to balance that sweetness. Best of all: no soaking required! I just toss everything into the crockpot, and let it work while I catch up on TV and much-needed sleep.

Buffalo-Style Roasted Cauliflower

This recipe came about after some trial and error. A friend had a similar dish at a local restaurant, and raved about it. When we tried to recreate it, something was missing. We’re still trying.

In the meantime, I decided to try roasting cauliflower florets and drizzling them with a bit of Frank’s Red Hot sauce. One of the problems with the dish my friend and I made was that the cauliflower got soggy when doused in the stuff. I decided a good drizzle was all that was needed.

And so we have it — one of my favorite (and most likely to surprise guests!) side dishes. It’s easy, it’s gluten free, and the flavors of cauliflower and hot sauce mingle perfectly.

Pan-Roasted Chickpea Salad

When I’m hungry for chickpeas (and I’m always hungry for chickpeas), I simply heat some olive oil in a skillet, toss the dry, cooked chickpeas into the pan, and let them roast away over medium-high heat, stirring to get roasted brown spots all over. I don’t want them crispy — that’s an entirely different recipe! — but I do want them browned in spots and full of roasted flavor.

While the chickpeas are doing their thing on the stove, I whip together a lemony vinaigrette and chop parsley. When the chickpeas are done, I toss them in the vinaigrette, add the parsley, adjust the seasonings, and serve.

This ridiculously easy recipe will impress your family and friends. They’ll never know how simple it really is!

Greens with Baked Eggs

I do love my greens, and I love this dish. It can be spicy, warm, tangy, or even creamy. Use lots of greens to make this a full mean for Meatless Monday, or reduce the amounts for a side dish.

While I’ve noted that you can use any type of greens you wish, I find I get the most satisfaction from spinach and chard. They are “wetter”, meaning you don’t need to add a lot of extra liquid while cooking down the greens. Kale and collard greens will need more liquid to braise until suitably tender.

Note: once you’ve made this dish once, you will crave it all the time!

Roasted Potatoes

Needless to say, when it comes to carbs, potatoes are my first (and second!) choice. I love them in all forms, but since I’ve given up most restaurant french fries due to the possibility of gluten cross-contamination, I tend to eat my crispy potatoes at home.

The key to a perfect roasted potato is this: parboil before roasting. Parboiling starts the cooking process, meaning the potato will be cooked on the inside when the outside is done. Parboiling also releases starches necessary for crispy exteriors.

This recipe works equally well for oven fries! Note that you can season your potatoes with anything, from a simple salt and pepper with olive oil glaze to an aioli crust. Mmm, that sounds so good right about now.

Tip of the Week

Roasting vegetables requires high heat, making your outdoor grill perfect for this task. To make it easier to turn the veggies on a hot grill, place them on skewers before grilling. And remember that denser veggies like potatoes will require more cooking time than vegetables like asparagus (here’s a quick reference guide).

Menu of the Week

In Southern California, it’s almost always grilling season, so I tend to think about cooking outside whenever I cook certain cuts of meat. A flank steak with a chimichurri sauce is a perfect signal that it’s time to set up the outside table!

While I like to dip my potatoes in the chimichurri, you can make a quick creamy ranch-style dressing with mayonnaise, sour cream or greek yogurt, and a bit of seasoning. This can offset the garlicky, peppery heat of the chimichurri sauce!

  • Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
  • Roasted Salt and Pepper Potatoes
  • Grilled Corn on the Cob or Grilled Stone Fruit

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Topping

I think gluten-free versions of “cream of anything” soups are like unicorns. Very expensive unicorns. I’ve heard rumors of companies like Progresso making GF cream of mushroom soup, but haven’t found it at my local store. And I use soups like this so infrequently, it doesn’t make sense to order from my usual sources.

Luckily, I stumbled across a great Smitten Kitchen version of a green bean casserole with homemade mushroom sauce that was easily (easily!) converted to gluten-free. Add crispy fried onions, and you’ve got yourself that most traditional of Thanksgiving dishes — one nobody will ever know is GF. Though they will know it’s incredibly delicious!

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