Healthy & Gluten Free

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Categories: Side Dishes    

Quinoa is a great change of pace from plain boiled potatoes. The broccoli and black beans add a nice twist, and the lime adds a tart tang to this delicious side dish.

Quinoa with broccoli and black beans
Image by: Thora Toft

Soak time: 12 to 24 hours      Prep time: 30 minutes      Cook time: 1:20 hours      Makes: 8 servings      Difficulty: Medium

Gluten free Dairy free Egg free Vegan option

Adding some variety to the foods you eat can maximize the nutrition your body gets, since each food item has different nutrients. It also reduces the chance of becoming or staying intolerant to some foods. You can become intolerant to foods simply because you eat the same thing day after day.

The black beans and quinoa need to be soaked, to make them more digestible, and to properly release the nutrients. For those needing to eat gluten free for medical conditions, it's important to make your food as digestible as possible, and to reduce any excess stress on the digestive system. Unsoaked beans, grains, seeds and legumes can cause excess gas and bloating.

Shopping Tips - what to look for to get the best gluten free, real ingredients for this recipe:

Dried beans and grains should always be purchased Certified Gluten Free. Due to the way beans are grown, harvested, and transported, they are commonly contaminated with gluten. Rinsing is not good enough to remove the gluten. They should also be purchased as organic, to prevent pesticide contamination.

Beans and grains should also always be soaked overnight with an acid such as vinegar, prior to cooking. This removes phytic acid, an antinutrient, that is the main reason beans will often cause gas and bloating. The soaking greatly reduces this substance, and makes them easier to digest, and releases more nutrients. Also, when not soaked, this substance will leach nutrients, which is not good.

Canned beans are best avoided. The main reasons are that they are not soaked, and are cooked right in the can, so there will be much higher levels of phytic acid in them. They also will leach chemicals from the lining of the can.

Check out these 3 articles on beans and grains that explain how best to prepare them to make them the most nutritious and the least harmful. These are excellent if you want to regularly include beans and grains in your diet. They also shed a lot of light on why some people may be intolerant or sensitive to these types of foods, and how you can mitigate some of this problem:

Look for organic apple cider vinegar, labeled gluten free, and preferably unpasteurized, with the "mother."

Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with the "mother," is very good for most people. Some people will count this as a super food.

This vinegar can be used any time vinegar is called for. It does have a unique flavor, but for most recipes this can be a suitable vinegar.

Be sure to read the label, to ensure it only contains apple cider vinegar. The additives added to some brands cause varying levels of digestive upset, and should be avoided.

Bragg’s is a brand of this specific type of apple cider vinegar that is quite well known, and as of 2018 creates a superior product. Check out the link below (I am NOT an affiliate).

To learn more about vinegar, check out this article:

Fresh fruits and vegetables should be organic.

This reduces a number of toxic chemicals that can cause harm to humans. When you are required to eat gluten free, you will need to reduce all unnecessary stress on your stomach, so that it has a better chance of healing. Using organic fresh fruits and vegetables will go a long way to achieving this.

Each year a US report is created by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) listing the most and least pesticide contaminated common produce in the US. It is useful to know where to put your initial focus on what to buy organic and what can be lower on your priority list. I'd suggest that if a crop is not on the EWG "Clean 15" list on the below listed site, that you buy organic.

Consumer Reports has also published a report. They have a nice summary of residues on both conventional and organic produce. This is a good place to start if this is a new topic for you, and it gives good detail, but in a readable format.

They found that all organic produce has consistently been tested to show low or very low levels of residue. This can make you confident that organic is a good way to go. A link to their summary page on pesticide residues is linked below.

For anyone who really wants to dig into the full datasets of the EPA residue testing, they can find that at the bottom link below. This will include the most recent reported data.

Lemon and lime juice should be made from fresh, organic lemons or limes. Bottled lemon and lime juice often has additives that can cause digestive issues, including preservatives and flavorings. Lemons and limes have not been tested by the EPA for pesticide residue. Three other citrus fruits have been tested, and all of them are midway between the least and most residue contamination. Tangerines rank 22nd, grapefruit ranks 24th, and oranges rank 27th. Since organic produce for other fruits and vegetables have consistently had less residue, you should buy only organic lemons and limes.

Broccoli are on the EWG Clean 15 list of the least contaminated produce. They rank 15th on their list. However, they have not been tested since 2014. At the time 70 percent of broccoli samples had no detectable pesticide residues. One in ten broccoli samples contained more than one pesticide residue. They should be purchased as organic.

Tomatoes are listed as #9 on the EWG "Dirty Dozen" list (2018). Nearly four pesticides were detected on the average conventionally grown tomato. One sample of conventional tomatoes contained 15 different pesticides and breakdown products. They should be purchased as organic.

Green onions have not been tested since 2009. At the time, they did test positive for residues, so you should purchase only organic green onions.

Check out these 4 articles. The first 2 show this year's EWG report on pesticide contamination, and will be updated automatically based on the current year. The third article is the Consumer Reports summary page for pesticide residue on produce, including conventional and organic, and domestic and imported. The fourth article is the direct link to the EPA residue testing site, where you can do further research:

You want to find unrefined salt, with no additives. It should say unrefined on the label. If it is refined, it will simply say salt. Refined salt does not need to list the chemicals used in the refining process, but the word "refined" will tell you that something was used (and most are toxic).

Look for unrefined sea salt, Himalayan salt, or various gourmet hand crafted salt.

Good sea salt should be unrefined, and will not be pure white.

There is also Himalayan salt that many consider a healthy source of salt. It is generally unrefined. There is some debate as to the quality, and the exact makeup of the other minerals found in it. If you find a source of it you like, then go ahead and use it. It's largest benefit is that it does not have added chemicals, and has a wide range of other minerals. If you want the other minerals, then this is a good option.

There are a number of different gourmet salts that are hand crafted via evaporation that are nice quality. With some investigating, you can find very clean, uncontaminated sources.

For additional reading on salt, check out this article on our site:

You can make homemade Chicken Stock, on our site, that is gluten free and free of any additives.

If you are going to buy prepared broth or stock, be sure that it’s labeled gluten free and organic. Also be careful when using packaged broth and soups, as they usually have some form of msg, which is an additive that should be avoided (bad for anyone’s health). It can be difficult to spot msg on a label so if there is any ingredient that is not a pure, named food, then investigate. Note that the word "spice" in the ingredient list indicates that it could contain msg.

You most likely want to always avoid soup cubes or powdered flavor packets. These are almost exclusively made from flavors, additives, msg, etc. rather than from actual meat and vegetables, as well as most not being gluten free.

Check out these 2 article on why you should avoid msg, and some of the names used to indicate it’s msg:

Fresh herbs and spices should be 100% certified organic.

This reduces a number of toxic chemicals that can cause harm to humans. When you are required to eat gluten free, you will need to reduce all unnecessary stress on your stomach, so that it has a better chance of healing. Using organic fresh fruits and vegetables will go a long way to achieving this.

Consumer Reports has also published a report. They have a nice summary of residues on both conventional and organic produce. This is a good place to start if this is a new topic for you, and it gives good detail, but in a readable format.

They found that all organic produce has consistently been tested to show low or very low levels of residue. This can make you confident that organic is a good way to go. A link to their summary page on pesticide residues is linked below.

Testing specifically on fresh and dried herbs and spices is more limited, and has not been done as consistently as other produce. Some of the testing that has been done, mostly on conventionally grown herbs and spices, is showing much higher pesticide residues than on other common fresh produce. For this reason, all fresh and dried spices and herbs should only be purchased as 100% certified organic.

A good option is also to grown you own herbs. Many herbs can be easily grown in small pots, even if just on your window sill in your kitchen. It is then possible to completely control what goes on them and into the soil.

Check out these 4 articles. The first is the Consumer Report on pesticide residues in general. The second article explains what the different versions of organic labeling mean. The third article is the USDA report on pesticide residues on organic produce. The fourth article is a pesticide report specifically on fresh and dried herbs and spices, in a limited market in the US:

Ingredients:
1 cup Quinoa, uncooked
1/3 cup Black beans, dry
9 tablespoons Raw apple cider vinegar with the mother, or fresh lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
2 cups Homemade Chicken Stock
1 cup Broccoli florets
1/2 cup Tomato, chopped
1/4 cup Green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon Fresh lime juice
1 clove Garlic, finely chopped
Directions:
Soaking Quinoa and Beans:
  1. Rinse the quinoa and beans under running water for 2 minutes, separately. Pick out anything that's not supposed to be there.
  2. Place in glass or other non reactive bowls, and cover with water to at least 2 inches above the beans, and 1 inch above the quinoa. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the beans, and 2 tablespoons vinegar to the quinoa.
  3. The beans and quinoa need to soak for 12 to 24 hours, the longer the better. They need to be drained and rinsed well at least 2 times during this time. Refill with water, and add more vinegar, the same amount as the first time.
  4. When finished soaking, drain and rinse well.
Cooking:
  1. To cook the beans, add enough water to cover by at least 2 inches. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally so the bean cook uniformly. Add boiling water if needed.
  2. To cook the quinoa, heat the Homemade Chicken Stock to boiling. Add the quinoa. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid is almost all absorbed. Keep covered and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  3. Lightly steam the broccoli florets, for no more than 5 minutes, or less. Don't overcook them, as they should remain crisp for this dish.
  4. Drain and rinse the cooked beans. Measure and add to the quinoa. Add the tomato, green onions, broccoli and lime juice.
  5. Cook uncovered for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Taste, and add 1/4 teaspoon salt if needed, and stir to mix.

Enjoy!

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Gluten free quick start booklet on top of meal preparation
10 Steps to Healthy
Gluten Free Eating
 
The free 10 Step Guide is packed full of tips, tricks, recipes and regular member only tips to get you started on the road to healthy gluten free living.
Gluten free quick start booklet on top of meal preparation
10 Steps to Healthy
Gluten Free Eating
 
The free 10 Step Guide is packed full of tips, tricks, recipes and regular member only tips to get you started on the road to healthy gluten free living.
Gluten free quick start booklet on top of meal preparation
10 Steps to Healthy
Gluten Free Eating
 
The free 10 Step Guide is packed full of tips, tricks, recipes and regular member only tips to get you started on the road to healthy gluten free living.