Super Seed Salad

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a great base for any salad and I love to use it as an alternative to rice.  If you’re not familiar with quinoa, then you will be impressed by it’s nutritional stats and how well it adapts to suit different flavours.  Not only does quinoa contain B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium, but it also has a higher protein content than any other grain and is naturally gluten free!

Pop it in to cook with chicken or vegetable stock, seasoning, some spices and fresh herbs and you automatically have a gorgeous side dish for any meal.  The combinations are endless!  As an example, I combine quinoa with chicken stock, beans, sweet corn, coriander (cilantro), chilli powder, cumin powder and garlic to make an amazing accompaniment to chilli con carne.

For me, a salad needs to have different textures and flavours to keep me interested and to count it as a ‘real meal’.  I like just the right amount of crunchiness combined with crisp fresh flavours, with a balance of sweet and salty foods and an added surprise element.

My ‘Super Seed Salad’ makes a great healthy dinner or a perfect lunchbox number that is packed full of flavour; and with a low GI rating, this quinoa salad will keep you fuller for longer with no need to reach for the peanut butter jar (don’t…I’m addicted!).

This colourful quinoa salad is jam packed full of healthy ingredients - apple, carrot, red onion, celery, puy lentils, basil, chopped almonds, sesame seeds and dried cranberries – and has the best coriander and lime dressing to give the whole salad an amazing bite.  Filled with antioxidants and vitamins, use this salad as a cold and flu-buster before the winter chill sets in.

The only challenge you now face is trying to fit every ingredient onto your fork.

Be sure to let me know if you try and test this recipe by posting on @glutenfreefi on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter x

Welcome to Gluten Free Fi

People often begin their gluten free stories with inspiring tales of motivation.  My story is quite different, it begins with years of denial, an addiction to all things gluten-filled and the horror of being diagnosed as a coeliac.  No bread ever again, not a problem, right?  Wrong. 

As many people know, supermarkets have the ‘delightful’ idea of pumping out the smell of freshly baked bread to entice people further into the store.  As a result, my first shopping trip as a coeliac was comparable to a Britney-esque meltdown.  I tiptoed past the doughnuts, averting my eyes from my old comforting friends and crawled past the bread aisle (with tears in my eyes) commando-style, on a one woman mission reluctantly heading for the ‘free from’ aisle.

What the doctor didn’t tell me about the array of gluten free foods is that they are often also ‘free from’ flavour and jam-packed with preservatives, which give them a longer shelf life.  I imagine they want to keep the products on the shelf for as long as possible, awaiting the next recently diagnosed coeliac to visit the aisle wide-eyed and ready to buy one of everything.  This is when my motivation kick started.  I made the decision to avoid this type of food and to only give it consideration if a bomb shelter was on the cards for my next DIY project.  I didn’t need to eat these foods anymore to prove to myself that I could still eat cakes and breads; I decided to make them myself.

Trying to cope with the stress of being coeliac

Trying to cope with the stress of being coeliac

I have always been a foodie and love to cook, it is my passion.  This love developed when I was five years old and used to make ‘recipes’ with my best friend, Fiona (yes, another one).  These recipes normally consisted of flour (of the gluten variety), water and green food colouring…not to be included in this blog.  Trial and error has played a huge part in creating some delicious recipes and well, let’s face it, some disasters (my boyfriend now shudders when someone mentions a ‘Vietnamese Spring Roll’…sorry).  On a positive note, my exploration into gluten free cookery has reignited my interest in nutrition. 

The deadly combination of being a balanced Libra with a ‘Type A’ personality makes coping with this allergy that bit more of a struggle.  This isn’t something that is easy, but it does get easier.  After following my gluten free diet for just over a year, that sluggish feeling that I felt permanently and the agony I went through every day is a distant memory.  I feel energetic, I feel happy.  I love the food that I cook.

This change has been the best I have ever made in my life. 

Please join me on my road to discovery…

GF Fi x