Tag Archives: Special Diets

Falafels (Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free)

*This also offers the regular wheat version of the original recipe.

I have loved Falafels for as long as I can remember. The combination of the crispy, savoury falafel, smothered in a wrap with tahini sauce is enough to send me to heaven and back, and then back again. I haven’t eaten a falafel since I started my wheat-free diet several years ago and truthfully they always seemed terribly exotic and mysterious so I never even thought to try.

Then I bought the Canadian Living Vegetarian Collection Cookbook and there they were completely demystified. I made them last week and they were delicious. And here forthwith gluten-free falafel lovers is  your very own recipe to make this wonderful dish at home. Don’t be frightened wheat eaters, you can easily use the original recipe which calls for flour and use wheat-flour wraps or pita pockets.

One little note before you start. This recipe calls for dried chickpeas which means you have to plan ahead and soak them for at least 4 hours if not longer. You also have to refrigerate this recipe for up to two hours so this definitely isn’t a last-minute kind of meal.

I used canned chickpeas and it still worked beautifully.

Here goes:

1 cup dried chickpeas (I used 1 can)
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup gluten-free flour or 1/2 cup wheat flour
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp lemon juice
11/2 tsp salt
Vegetable oil for frying.
Thinly sliced radishes and tomatoes and shredded lettuce.

24 mini pitas or regular wheat wraps for full serving pitas. I used Food For Life Brown Rice wraps from Wholefoods for mine.

If you’re using dried chickpeas, place in bowl and pour enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Soak for 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.

In food processor, coarsely chop chickpeas, onion, parsely and garlic for about 30 seconds. Add flour, cumin, baking powder, lemon juice and salt: pulse until blended. Shape by heaping 1 tbsp into 24 balls ; flatten to 1/2 inch thickness. Arrange in single layer on waxed paper-lined tray: refrigerate for two hours or up to 12 hours. *this part is pretty key otherwise they’re too mushy.

Pour enough oil into wok or Dutch over to come about 2 inches up the side of the pot; heat to 350 degrees using deep-fry thermometer…I don’t have one so I tested by placing a bit of the mixture in to see if it sizzled. Drop falafels in the oil in batches. Deep-fry, turning once, until golden and cooked through, 3 minutes. Drain on paper towel-lined tray. To reheat bake on greased baking sheet in 350 Degree oven (I microwaved mine) for 5 to 10 minutes.

Tahini Sauce
I made my sauce without yogurt. I simply added a little more lemon juice and a bit of water to make it less thick. Simply whisk all the ingredients together and voila!

Stuff wraps or pitas with falafels and sauce. I added shredded lettuce and tomato to ours.

The Vegetarian Collection Cookbook from Canadian Living is a great cookbook full of fabulous recipes. Check it out.

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Re-calibrating My Post Christmas Digestive System

Echhh. It’s that time of year again where I make a promise to be good to myself. Being a stomach sufferer for most of my life I have come to know what makes my stomach happy and what doesn’t. For starters, anything with wheat in it does not make me happy. Anything with cow dairy definitely doesn’t make me happy. But finally I have also found that when I eat too much sugar or anything that processes like sugar and yeast (for example potatoes, mushrooms, miso), that that doesn’t make my stomach happy either. The holidays, are of course, the hardest time of the year to try and manage this kind of diet. Besides who can resist truffles, cookies, gorgonzola and a fine glass of wine. Not me. But generally I pay for it.

What are the symptoms? Well for one thing, I become bloated, my stomach is distended and it hurts, I become extremely tired and irritable, my skin gets blotchy with itchy spots. I get miserable and depressed. This year I tried to not get too carried away. Eating an entire stollen made of kamut (I can eat kamut which does have gluten in it) didn’t help. I did eat cow cheese and I definitely drank wine and toasted the season joyously. But I didn’t go crazy.

I didn’t go crazy mainly because I didn’t want to have to do the full-on anti-candida, no wheat (non-gluten) no yeast, no sugar, no dairy, barely any fruit diet. I did it for about 6 months a few years ago when I had gotten really sick and it was worth it. Now I live a modified version of that diet. On the original diet I couldn’t eat any wheat, kamut, or spelt, absolutely no dairy product whatsoever, no meat, nothing with sugar in it including alcohol, miso, soya sauce, Bragg, vinegar, processed foods, no bananas, oranges, mangoes or grapefruit, no broccoli, potatoes mushrooms or garlic and eeekkkk no coffee.

As I started introducing things back into my diet I finally found a balance of foods that allowed me to maintain my stomach health. On a regular basis I can eat: kamut, I eat all fruits and vegetables and legumes, I eat limited fish (salmon, mussels, Seawise prawns and scallops), I eat some but limited amounts of goat cheese (usually once or twice a week)  because if I eat too much it still affects me. I avoid all condiments especially things like ketchup and HP sauces which are full of sugar. I also avoid things like cookies, muffins and cakes because they tend to be packed with sugar.  I now eat Bragg, miso, mushrooms etc… the main thing I try and control is my dairy and sugar in-take. Throughout the year when I’m maintaining I will occasionally have things like a muffin or my mother-in-laws amazing veggie/rice noodle lasagna loaded with all kinds of cheese, and I also drink wine mostly on the weekends but I’m always striving to maintain some kind of balance in my diet.

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