Spicy Pineapple Salsa

Many people believe the pico de gallo — a mix of tomatoes, onions, pepper, and cilantro — served in many Mexican restaurants is the only type of salsa there is.┬áSalsa is, quite simply, Spanish for sauce, and these sauces can be as varied as sauces in any other cuisine.

For fish tacos, nothing beats a fruit-based salsa. I love the flavor of this spicy grilled pineapple salsa. It comes together quickly, and can be used for other dishes as well!

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!

Gluten-Free Ponzu

There is something absolutely refreshing about chilled soba noodles with a few crisp, cool vegetable piled high, served with a tangy dipping sauce called ponzu. Gluten-free ponzu can be purchased, no doubt about it. But it’s a bit pricy. As with many sauces, I find the effort involved with making my own to be so minimal that it’s worth the time. Plus, this recipe uses many of the ingredients I keep on hand for other dishes, so no special purchases are required.

For general cooking like this, I purchase restaurant-sized containers of gluten-free soy sauce from Amazon. I also purchase fancier GF soy sauces for those dishes where the flavor of the soy sauce needs to shine — in those instances, a little goes a long way, making it easier to justify a higher price point. Bonito flakes can be bought online or at Asian grocery stores (some major chain stores and Whole Foods also stock them).

Strawberry, Kale, and Buckwheat Salad

This salad is great for parties, weeknight meals, or hot summer evenings. Buckwheat adds great flavor, especially since it’s dressed in a lemony sauce. I love that the whole thing is on the table in under thirty minutes — while the buckwheat cooks, you can prepare the strawberries.

I make this salad without cheese for a vegan option. If you like cheese — and it will add a salty component to the dish — ricotta is great. Feta works. Even blue cheeses are lovely. I also love to add toasted nuts or seeds, like pumpkin, to the dish for some crunch.

Note: start testing the buckwheat for doneness about twelve minutes into the simmer. You want the grains to be firm, not mushy. That way they hold their shape and add texture to this salad.

Gluten-Free Soy Sauce Eggs

Our household is eating more eggs than ever, and I’m including them in my lunch bag in different ways (hello, frittatas!). Lately, though, I’ve been adding soy sauce eggs into the mix because they’re the perfect mid-afternoon snack.

What are soy sauce eggs? Quite simply, they are hard- or soft-boiled eggs that have been peeled and marinated in a soy sauce solution. The marinade penetrates the egg white and adds lots of flavor.

I make them in batches of six, though I think I’m going to need to up my game and starting making them by the dozen since the husband is also consuming them. He likes having a low calorie, low carb option at the ready.

These eggs are, of course, delicious on their own. I also use them when making my versions of bibimbap or ramen. Add them as a topping to stir fries or fried rice. Or anything. Seriously. Anything.

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