Falafel

Is there a better food than falafel? No, I say, there is not. Except maybe mashed potatoes. It’s a close call.

Finding gluten-free falafel out in the wild is hard. Making it at home is so easy, you won’t miss going out for this wonderful food at all. As a bonus, falafel makes a great vegan option for those times you need one.

One huge note, that I’ll repeat in the Notes section as well: do not use canned chickpeas when making falafel. They have absorbed too much liquid in the can, and will create a heavy, less fluffy falafel. You will thank yourself for soaking your garbanzo beans the old-fashioned way!

Quinoa Tabbouleh

I’ll be honest: I was never a huge fan of tabbouleh. I think it was my body’s way or warning me away from foods that made me sick because all the components of tabbouleh are delicious on their own. Which makes this gluten-free tabbouleh just about perfect…and a bit addictive.

Serve it with homemade falafel. Or bring as a side salad to a party.

Crispy Fried Onions

I’m going to warn you up front: if you make these, make a lot. More than you need for whatever recipe you’re making. Trust me on this. You will find yourself “tasting” just one, then another. And another.

Your husband will grab a few, just make sure they do taste all right. Anyone who walks by the pile of fried onions will indulge in a taste test. Before you know it, you will have to lay down the law: no more tasting until you’re sure you have enough for the recipe.

After that, it’s open season for crispy fried onions. No point in having leftovers, right?

This gluten-free version of stuff you traditionally buy in a can during the holidays is so addictive, you’ll discover uses beyond green bean casserole just because you can’t stop eating them!

Larb, or Ground Meat Lettuce Cups

While you may not have heard of larb by that name, you are likely familiar with the variation known as “lettuce cups”. Lettuce cups often feature Chinese flavors while larb tends to be spicier, with flavors of Thailand and Laos.

This ground meat dish features lime juice, fish sauce, chiles, and herbs. You can use any type of ground meat, though chicken seems to be the most traditional. Serve in lettuce cups and make a little extra sauce for spooning over the completed dish if you’d like.

Once interesting ingredient in this dish is ground toasted rice. It can be optional, but the rice powder adds a bit of crunchiness that is surprising, so I suggest going for it. You can toast the rice on the stove, but I prefer the oven method because it’s less hands-on — I do all the other meal prep while the rice is browning away!

Zucchini Fritters

One day, as I was shredding potatoes for hash browns, I had an epiphany. A little one, but an epiphany nonetheless. I realized I needed to squeeze all the excess water out of the potatoes before cooking them. Now, based on what I see on the Internets, *everybody* already knew this somehow. I guessed I missed a memo.

So, putting two and two together — never let it be said that I don’t catch on quickly — I realized I needed to do the same thing for zucchini when making fritters. It is fascinating to discover how much liquid is in a zucchini. And making fritters is a tasty way to make zucchini interesting again. Seriously…it’s been coming on strong all summer, and I don’t think there’s an end in sight!

If you make too many fritters, you can freeze and reheat in the oven. If you’re looking for a party appetizer, make smaller fritters. The best part of this recipe? Nobody will ever know they’re gluten-free. I love delicious recipes that showcase GF-specific ingredients — the lack of gluten doesn’t mean a lack of flavor.

When researching this recipe, I discovered a few recipes featuring freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and one that used feta. I think cheese is always a good idea! Now, given my druthers, I’d go with the feta (and skip any additional salt), but it’s always good to have options. Also, you can make the dipping sauce however you like. I use Greek yogurt all the time, so naturally gravitate in that direction.

Chicken Adobo

This classic Filipino dish is also a classic chicken dish: chicken, vinegar, rice (and a few other things). A friend who detests vinegar makes an exception for chicken adobo — it reminds him of home.

Traditionally, this recipe is made with bone-in chicken, but I will confess that I’ve used boneless chicken breasts or thighs. This has the effect of making the sauce less rich — the effect of cutting the bone-in chicken into smaller pieces is the release of marrow, the stuff that makes this dish more delicious.

The large amount of vinegar in this recipe creates a tangy sauce. Adjust as necessary (remembering that it’s the vinegar that makes this adobo!) or substitute a mellower vinegar for the white vinegar. Cooking reduces the harsh edges of vinegar, just leaving the tanginess.

Chicken Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of my favorite go-to dishes during the week because I always have leftover rice in the refrigerator — I make a big batch every week because it’s great for lunches and dinners. Taking a few minutes to mix up a sauce, shred some chicken, pull out some veggies, and, if I have one handy, crack an egg makes ordinary rice more interesting.

The recipe below assumes you’re working with pre-cooked chicken and frozen vegetables. If you choose to cook your chicken, make sure it’s cut into very small bite-sized pieces. Saute the chicken until nearly cooked through and set aside. Do the same for the vegetables.

Fish sauce is a key ingredient here. It adds flavor that soy sauce alone can’t create. Also, this is a lightly sauced fried rice because the fish sauce adds to much flavor. If you like more sauce, add at the end to make sure your flavors are balanced.

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