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.

Risotto Milanese

Our first meal in Milan was this delicious, beautiful rice dish. While it is technically a first course or served with Osso Bucco, my husband and I devoured a huge serving of Risotto Milanese and declared ourselves happy. I will confess to eating this dish a, um, few more times over the next week.

And, of course, making it the moment we got home. Risotto is a perfect gluten-free dish — elegant and delicious.

Risotto has a reputation for being challenging and time-consuming. This is only sort of true. Yes, you need to keep on eye on the pan while the rice is absorbing liquid, but this generally happens in about thirty to forty minutes. Constant stirring is important, but you can also find time to do other tasks, including drinking a glass of wine!

Cachapas (Corn Pancakes)

Cachapas are a sweet and savory (and gluten free!) corn pancake from Venezuela. Traditionally, they’re eaten with a bit of butter and melted cheese (just fold them in half and enjoy!). You can customize them however you want, of course. Pulled pork, roasted vegetables, chicken — all make great fillings for your naturally gluten-free corn pancake. Adjust the size of the pancake (and cooking time) accordingly.

I like to serve mine with a simple salsa either directly over the melted cheese or as a dipping sauce on the side.

(Note: this recipe isn’t 100% authentic — I’ve developed it over time based on lots of research.)

Chicken Paprikash

Since I’m half Hungarian, I’d like to pretend that I’ve been making this dish since birth. The truth is I’ve only been making it for a few years. While you can make it spicy with the addition of cayenne or hot paprika, I like the way the onions and paprika mellow into a slightly sweet and smoky dish. Some dishes don’t need to be spicy hot!

This version uses chicken on the bone (I generally use thighs because they are so good and relatively inexpensive), but you can substitute boneless meat. The volume of onions will seem huge, but they cook down pretty quickly. The longer the onions braise, the more they melt into the sauce.

If you’re making this for a party, transfer the browned meat and onions to a crockpot and cook on low for several hours. I prefer using cut-up boneless thighs if I’m making this for a party.

Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Green Olives

There are, by my count, a zillion ways to make this dish, but all are essentially braised chicken with preserved lemons and green olives…and a fantastic sauce to be soaked up by gluten-free pasta or rice. Modify the flavors as your mood strikes, adjusting spices to evoke dishes from Morocco to Spain.

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!

Twice-Baked Potatoes

Twice baked potatoes are a fun way to make our friend the potato something special. If you use a microwave to cook the potatoes, this comes together pretty quickly on a weeknight.

The key to twice baked potatoes is what you do with your mashed potato filling (plus, well, that sprinkling of cheese on the top of the potatoes). You can go as basic as salt, pepper, and butter. Or you can fancy your potatoes up with Greek yogurt or sour cream. Whatever strikes your tastebuds.

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