Warm Kale, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with a Lemon, Tahini and Chive Dressing

To celebrate Coeliac UK Awareness Week this year, I’ve teamed up with Knorr UK to create the ultimate gluten free meal using one of my favourite grains – quinoa. I fell in love with this grain when I lived in South America and was delighted when I realised I wouldn’t have to give it up when I stopped eating gluten. It is delicious when cooked in vegetable stock – for this recipe I used Knorr Organic Vegetable Stock Pot, which gives it great depth and flavour. Try out this veggie recipe for yourselves for a perfect mid-week meal or a summery lunch.

Warm Kale, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with a Lemon, Tahini and Chive Dressing
(Serves 2)

Ingredients

40g x Sweet Potato
2 x Garlic Cloves
1 x Tablespoon Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Pepper
80g x Quinoa
1 x Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot
200g x Kale

For the Dressing:
2 x Tablespoons Tahini
4 x Lemons (juiced)
1 x Garlic Clove (minced)
1 x Teaspoon Gluten Free Soy Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.
2. Prepare your sweet potato for roasting by cutting into small cubes and then
arranging on a baking tray with the two garlic cloves. Drizzle the olive oil over the
pan and add cracked black pepper.
3. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, prepare your quinoa by washing thoroughly before adding to a pan
with 400ml water. Add the Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot and bring to the boil. Cover
the pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until the water has cooked off and the quinoa
is soft.
5. Separately, wash and then steam the kale for six to eight minutes. Drain.
6. Start preparing your dressing by adding the minced garlic clove, tahini, lemon juice
and soy sauce to a bowl. Stir until all mixed together into a dressing consistency.
Add chopped chives and salt and pepper to taste.
7. Combine the cooked quinoa, kale and sweet potato together before serving and
adding the dressing. Serve with a lemon wedge and extra chives.

Toulouse: The Mini Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

Known for its cassoulet and confit de canard, Toulouse can be a food lover’s paradise. The city pulls in multitudes of tourists each year, especially during the summer months when the masses head to the wine region. It’s a beautiful city to walk around in, with lots of culture and a rich history. But how good is it for gluten free food you ask? Finding gluten-free friendly eateries can still be a challenge and so I’ve pulled together a mini guide to the provincial city, which will be perfect for anyone staying nearby and venturing in for the day or in Toulouse for a city-break over a weekend. Bon Appétit!

Lucas et Marie Sans Genes

A highly popular free from spot, Lucas and Marie Sans Genes is a 100% gluten free bakery, which also specialises in vegan products too. From beautiful pastries to homemade bread, you’ll be spoilt for choice here and will not have to worry about traces. The bakery prides itself on creating food that is free of up to 14 key allergens and is entirely organic. A lovely family run business created by mother Marie and her son Lucas, this place is a must-visit for coeliacs and vegans alike who will go absolutely crazy over the pastry selection – trust me! Closed on Sundays.

Where?
28 Rue des Polinaires
31000 Toulouse

Yard – La Burger Factory

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If you’re craving a proper hamburger while you’re in Toulouse, this is your one-stop shop. This fast food joint is incredibly gluten free friendly, and offers most burgers on a soft and squidgy sesame seed gluten free bun! I was assured that the regular fries and sweet potato fries are also safe, so just be sure to state your dietary requirements at the beginning so the staff make sure to take extra care of you. I opted for a classic cheese burger, which is entirely gluten free when the house Yard sauce is removed and it was absolutely delicious. Yard gets brownie points in my book for also offering a gluten free beer on the menu – the perfect accompaniment to your burger!

Where?
51 Rue du Taur
31000 Toulouse

Invita

Another organic hotspot, Invita is a great destination for lunch, dinner or weekend brunch while you’re in Toulouse. The menu, which is entirely vegetarian, has a great array of options from salads to gluten free pizzas (yes you read correctly!) to galettes. What’s great about Invita is their availability of a weekday meal deal, where you can get two courses for €16 or three for €20. As I hate missing out on dessert, I’d personally recommend you opt for three courses! If you fancy a pizza or vegetarian lasagne course, head to Invita on a Friday or Saturday when they are available. Vegan options are also aplenty!

Where?
18 Rue d’Aubuisson
31000 Toulouse

Pastel & Sarrasin

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Everytime I venture to France I crave crepes and galettes. Luckily for the gluten free community, more and more places are starting to offer a gluten free friendly alternative so that everyone can feel included. Pastel et Sarrasin is a must-visit during your time in Toulouse as they not only use the freshest of ingredients to top and fill their pancakes, but they offer a gluten free batter on the menu too. This expansive restaurant has lots of indoor seating and sets up tables outside on warmer days so you can watch the world going by while you feast. WARNING: As Pastel et Sarrasin deals with non gluten free flour in its kitchen as well, the company warns that traces in the preparation area are a possibility but they take as much care as is possible to avoid that by keeping the gluten free batter away from the rest and cleaning the pans before use.

Where?
75 Rue du Taur
31000 Toulouse

Silex & Fourchette

Are you both gluten and lactose free? Then Silex & Fourchette must be your first stop in the city. This is the first “paleo” restaurant I have seen in continental Europe, so imagine my excitement, especially as paleo food is all naturally gluten free! Silex & Fourchette serves lunch five days a week and has a monthly Sunday brunch for only €18, which includes a lot of food, so check the company website to see if brunch falls on your weekend! The most photographed and ordered item here is undoubtedly the paleo burger, which comes with sweet potato fries and is definitely worth a try! Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Where?
138 Grande Rue Saint-Michel
31400 Toulouse

Aux Douces Heures

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While not an obvious gluten free spot, Aux Douces Heures is the perfect place to stop for a coffee and a rest while you are whizzing around Toulouse. The regular menu at this French tea room is not gluten free, but the team at Aux Douces Heures make sure to always have at least two freshly baked gluten free sweet treats to accompany your coffee or tea for a pick-me-up. The cakes are kept separately from the rest of the restaurant’s offerings and are usually displayed in the window next to a welcoming gluten free sign. The chocolate tart makes a regular appearance and is deliciously rich. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
9bis Rue des Lois
31000 Toulouse

Shopping

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Supermarkets in France have come a long way in the past few years, and that includes smaller city branches. The two biggest supermarket chains in Toulouse are Carrefour and Monoprix, both of which have several stores across the city, so you are never too far from gluten free snacks or necessities. I was able to find gluten free bread, pasta and cookies in all shops I went into so check the company website for your nearest store and stock up!

Gluten Free Pasta by Mamma Flora

Where From? Mamma Flora
Available Directly Via the Company Website

Despite the wide range of gluten free pasta available on the market today, finding a brand that cooks properly and does not fall apart is still incredibly difficult. Cue Mamma Flora – an Italian start-up based in London and run by the wonderful Maria. Maria has worked hard with Italian farmers and manufacturers to create the perfect gluten free pasta recipe, which comes in three different traditional Amalfi coast varieties: Mezzi Paccheri, Casarecce and Gnocchetti Sardi. The texture is fantastic and perfect when mixed with some of Mamma Flora’s Sundried Tomato Pesto or Pumpkin Pesto – both of which are 100% gluten and dairy free. Order online via the company website and prepare to be wowed!

Amsterdam: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

If canals, culture and good gluten free food are your thing then you will not be disappointed by Amsterdam. Every time I venture to the Dutch capital I count myself lucky, not least because of the spiffing public transport which allows me to hop from gluten free destination to gluten free destination with relative ease. Feast your eyes upon the diverse options in my guide which I have pulled together after several trips to this gem of a city! From traditional Dutch fare to vegan Italian delicacies – Amsterdam has it, so eet smakelijk!

Mastino V

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Vegans and gluten free eaters alike will rejoice when they realise that coming to Amsterdam can include delicious, wood fired pizza. The team behind De Pijp’s trendy Mastino pizzeria decided to open Amsterdam’s first 100% gluten free and vegan restaurant in 2017, when they noticed a gap in the market. Mastino V serves up pizza to-go or eat-in in a completely no frills environment, with 12 tantalising options on the menu to choose from. I can highly recommend the “Love” pizza, which features a sensational vegan pesto. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Bilderdijkstraat 192 H
1053 LE Amsterdam

Luza’s Caffeine Club

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Forever searching for the perfect sandwich, I was delighted to come across Luza’s – a new gluten free friendly café – on my most recent trip to Amsterdam. This gorgeously quaint café will serve you Parisian vibes with your sandwiches and tea and is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet moment in the Dutch capital. While most sandwiches can be made on homemade gluten free bread, you may wish to try one of the gluten free quiche options, which alongside a number of free from cakes are proudly displayed in the café window. All food is prepared in an open kitchen in the corner of the restaurant and could not be fresher!

Where?
Van Woustraat 47
1074 AC Amsterdam

DeLepel

Another fairly new addition to the gluten free scene, DeLepel’s mission is simple: serve authentic Italian gelato to the masses in a 100% worry-free zone. Gelateria owner Massimo opened up shop in De Pijp just last year and produces all-natural ice cream which can be served in either a cup or gluten free cone. Yes you read right! Even better, not a single ingredient containing gluten is present on the premises so ice cream fans can eat in peace without worrying about cross contamination, which is a fear in so many ice cream shops across the globe. Pick from up to 24 different gelato and dairy free sorbet flavours and be sure to look out for the six weekly special flavours. Not in the mood for ice cream? No problem – Massimo even offers freshly-made tiramisu and other chilled desserts to customers. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Ceintuurbaan 320
1072 GP Amsterdam

Stroom

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In case you fancy a brunch or a sandwich on delicious, homemade gluten free bread you should definitely head to Stroom. Located in the De Pijp area, this Brooklyn style coffee shop come sandwich bar has one of the most gluten free friendly menus in Amsterdam. Almost all sandwiches can be prepared on free from bread, including toasties, which can be paired with a variety of soups too. Perfect spot for a lazy or working lunch.

Where?
Ferdinand Bolstraat 151
1072 LH Amsterdam

Loetje

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Famous Dutch steak restaurant Loetje knows its stuff when it comes to gluten free dining, and lists all allergens in its clearly marked and accessible menu. As this eatery is known for its meat, staff will urge you to try the traditional Dutch beef steak, which comes swimming in a rich and delectable gluten free gravy. French fries, naturally, are the perfect accompaniment to this meat fiesta, and here they are fried in their own oil to avoid any risk of cross contamination with other fried items served onsite. Vegetarians needn’t shy away however as they will be catered for too. Loetje now has several locations across the city but my favourite is listed below.

Where?
Ferdinand Bolstraat 188A
1072 LV Amsterdam

The Meets

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Another new spot to add to your De Pijp list, The Meets is a gluten free, vegan haven with plenty of free from options which not only are delicious but healthy too. It’s the perfect spot for breakfast or lunch with incredibly allergy-aware staff who triple check everything for you according to your allergy or dietary requirement. Take your pick from the clearly labelled menu from a selection of soups, salads and wraps or if you’re feeling something sweet opt for a vegan twix bar and wash it down with a beautifully instagrammable turmeric latte.

Where?
Cornelius Troostplein 3,
1072 JJ Amsterdam

Puri Mas

Many say that the Netherlands is responsible for introducing Indonesian cuisine to northern Europe. For that reason alone, no one should miss out on a proper Indonesian culinary experience when they’re in Amsterdam, even the gluten free crowd. Puri Mas is located in the centre of the city and immediately feels like a fine dining restaurant as soon as you step in. The staff are wonderfully accommodating and take allergies seriously. Given the style in many Indonesian restaurants is sharing plates, I was naturally nervous. However, say you’re gluten free, and the chef will prepare almost single dish without any gluten containing ingredients. I was able to share with the entire group and felt like a regular diner. Puri Mas serves up a mixture of meat, fish and vegetable dishes which are all fragrant and perfectly seasoned and needs to be shouted about!

Where?
Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 37-41
1017 NG Amsterdam

Pancakes Amsterdam

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With three Amsterdam locations, gluten free tourists won’t have to skip the quintessentially Dutch pancake experience when they are in town! Here, most pancakes on the menu – both sweet and savoury – can be made using the house gluten free batter, which is buckwheat-based. Gluten free pancakes are prepped in separate pans, according to staff, and so risk of cross contamination is very low. I can never resist a savoury pancake when I am here and often leave no room for dessert so sharing is highly recommended! Get ready to queue – Pancakes Amsterdam is highly popular with gluten free and non gluten free patrons alike!

Where?
Berenstraat 38
1016 GH Amsterdam

Prins Hendrikkade 48
1012 AC Amsterdam

Prinsengracht 277
1016 GW Amsterdam

Omelegg

Never have I seen such an homage to eggs! Omelegg (if you hadn’t guessed from the name) serves up everything egg-based and has a humongous menu to boot. While this institution of a restaurant does not have any gluten free bread, the omelettes are so generously sized that you won’t miss it. Just about every omelette combination can be served with delightfully dressed mixed leaves on the side instead of toast to make a delicious breakfast, brunch or lunch. The restaurant also serves Shakshuka and fry ups for those egg fans wanting something a little different to the traditional fare. Luckily for us, Omelegg has two locations. Go early to avoid disappointment!

Where?
Ferdinand Bolstraat 143
1072 LH Amsterdam

Nieuwebrugsteeg 24
1012 AC Amsterdam

La Viña Experience

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La Vina Experience has become a staple for coeliacs in Amsterdam. It labels itself as a Spanish and Mediterranean style restaurant but most diners going may not in fact realise that the majority of dishes are gluten free. Owner and restaurant sommelier Jacqueline is a coeliac herself and so naturally wanted to cater to the free from crowd and provide them with a comfortable and elegant dining experience. Make sure you try the hot spinach dip with gluten free toast to start and then tuck into the freshly grilled squid or Spanish smoked BBQ ribs with frites and plenty of Dutch mayonnaise.

Where?
Maasstraat 72
1078 HL Amsterdam

Cafe Piazza

In case you’re in the mood for pasta, Cafe Piazza has a number of delicious options on its gluten free menu. Sit down and mention you are gluten free and a long list will be reeled off by staff – something which made me feel immediately at ease in this modest Nieuwmarkt eatery. As well as fresh starters and main dishes starring different types of meat and fish, gluten free diners can tuck into a rustic lasagne or a simple spaghetti with homemade pesto sauce, to name but a few of the heavenly carb-loaded options. Save room for dessert – chocolate lovers won’t want to skip the Tartufo Nero.

Where?
Kloveniersburgwal 5
1011 JT Amsterdam

Vapiano

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Sometimes all you need is a chain to get your pizza fix. International restaurant group Vapiano does exactly what it says on the tin – fast, cheap and tasty pizza in a number of locations across the city. Gluten free pizzas are cooked separately and on their own special foil tray to avoid cross contamination and can be enjoyed straight out of the box with a decently priced glass of wine onsite or taken to go for those not wanting to sit in the middle of the hustle and bustle. For your closest restaurant, check out the company website.

McDonald’sIMG_0204Yes, Amsterdam is one of the few cities that offer the Mcdonald’s experience to gluten free visitors and I can confirm it is fantastic. Most classic burgers can be made on a fluffy, sesame seed gluten free bun, served with the classic french fries which I can’t seem to get enough of. If you don’t want to miss out on the more quintessentially Dutch food options during your stay in the city, save this indulgent stop for your route home and enjoy at the Amsterdam Schipol Airport branch. For your closest restaurant, use the online store locator.

Haesje Claes

Typical Dutch cuisine is known for being hearty, warming and often laced with wheat flour. At one of Amsterdam’s oldest restaurants Haesje Claes however, gluten free folk needn’t feel left out – there is a whole menu for you! From a selection of naturally gluten free fresh fish starter plates to filling stews and fried dishes – this canal side restaurant has it all! I asked the waitress what she recommended last time I went and was not disappointed. I started off my meal with some salted herring, smoked salmon and a gluten free beer, before moving on to a Stamppot stew loaded with meatballs, sausage and bacon. Those wanting lighter fare can opt for pan fried fish if they need to ensure room is left for gluten free dessert pancakes!

Where?
Spuistraat 275
1012 VR Amsterdam

Bagels and Beans

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This long-standing Netherlands chain became accessible to gluten free diners a few years ago when it introduced a gluten free bagel. Bagels and Beans now make breakfast or lunch as a gluten free tourist incredibly easy. Stop by and choose from a number of cream-cheese flavours or more sandwich-like fillings, all of which can be prepared on a toasted gluten free bagel. With over 20 locations in Amsterdam, how can you go wrong? Use the online store locator to find your nearest branch.

Shopping

De Glutenvrije Winkel

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Not only is Oostpoort’s gluten free hot spot De Gluten Vrije Winkel your one stop destination for every single gluten free pantry or frozen item you might ever want, it also offers fresh cakes, bread and amazing sandwiches you can eat in or take away, with a number of dairy free options. Owner Nadia has been passionate about bringing the best of gluten free to her customers ever since her son was diagnosed a coeliac. Wonderful family business which I already can’t wait to visit again! Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Where?
Pretoriusstraat 37
1092 EZ Amsterdam

Meanwhile, general supermarkets in Amsterdam are often fantastic for gluten free options, with the wonderful Albert Heijn firmly in the lead. Here you can stock up on an array of gluten free pantry items, including gluten free caramel waffles or Stroopwafels, which I highly recommend you fill your suitcase with on the way home!

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Marqt, meanwhile, is home to a vast array of gluten free and organic products, including more widely available goods from labels like Schar and Genius. Don’t forget to pick up a packet of chocolate-covered gluten free waffles here by Damhert Nutrition!

 

Creamy Spinach and Comté Stuffed Pancakes

Pancakes, my American mother taught me from an early age, are an incredibly versatile foodstuff. The common misconception is that they can be eaten only at breakfast time or for brunch, but, when they are prepared in a savoury way, they are the perfect base for any meal. This sentiment was backed up even more by my Dutch friend Elfi, who I met when I landed my first journalism job in London. She would often bring pancakes for lunch – the thick, crepe kind – that she would stuff and roll up with salad, meats, cheeses and more. I soon caught on added them to my desk lunch repertoire.

This wonderful lunch discovery gave me great practice in the art of pancake flipping for the annual Pancake Day party that my school friends and I take turns to host each year. If you’re looking to step away from the ‘lemon and sugar’ tradition this Shrove Tuesday or are simply wanting to try something different as a weeknight dinner, I urge you to try my recipe below. It’s a wonderfully indulgent way to eat pancakes as a main course and tops any sweet combination in my view. Happy flipping guys!

Creamy Spinach and Comté Stuffed Pancakes
(Serves 4)

Ingredients

For the Pancakes
220g Gluten Free Flour
2 x Eggs
2 x Egg Yolks
2 x Cups Milk
4 x Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 x Teaspoon Vegetable Bouillon Powder
50g Unsalted Butter
Salt and Pepper

For the Filling:
500g Spinach
300g Cherry Tomatoes
200g Comté Cheese, grated
1 x Teaspoon dried parsley
Pepper

For the Sauce:
1/3 x Cup Gluten Free Flour
1 x Cup milk
30g Unsalted Butter
2 x Garlic cloves, minced
½ x 1 onion
1 x Cup white wine
2 x Tablespoons Dijon mustard
Pinch of Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
100g Grated Mozzarella (to sprinkle over pancakes pre-oven)

Method

1. Prepare your pancake mixture by adding all dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Beat eggs, milk and vegetable oil in a separate bowl and gradually add to the dry mixture until smooth.
2. Melt a little bit of your butter a non-stick pan over medium heat and when melted and hot, add your pancake mixture using a soup ladle which is 2/3 of the way full.
3. Let the pancake mixture cook until air bubbles appear. This is when the pancake is ready to flip, or, if you’re feeling less adventurous, turn over carefully with a fish slice. Repeat until all mixture is used up and set pancakes aside on a plate lined with paper towels and cool (this mixture will be enough to make 8-10 pancakes, depending on how full your ladle is)
4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius before moving on to the pancake filling.
5. Place spinach in a microwaveable bowl and heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute until withered. Remove and place in a mixing bowl.
6. Chop each cherry tomato into fours, setting aside a handful to decorate the pancakes before baking. Add the chopped tomatoes to the withered spinach and mix in the grated Comte cheese with a large spoon, seasoning with some black pepper and the parsley.
7. Stuff your pancakes with 1-2 tablespoons each of the filling mixture and roll carefully to form tubes. Line up the pancakes in a standard lasagne dish (I am able to fit around 8 in mine).
8. Now prepare your sauce by melting the butter in a pot and sautéing the garlic and onion until soft.
9. Remove from heat and place in a mixing bowl with the milk, white wine, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir with a whisk before adding the flour and then using a hand mixer, blend until smooth.
10. Return sauce to the heat and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes before removing from heat again to cool. If the sauce is too thick for you, add a splash of milk and whisk lightly again.
11. Pour the sauce evenly over the pancakes and sprinkle with mozzarella. Halve the remaining cherry tomatoes to decorate the dish.
12. Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until the dish is bubbling, and the top is golden brown.
13. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving with fresh leaves.