Sunday, November 13, 2011

G is for: Gluten Free Spaghetti & Meatballs with Brazilian Cheese Bread

On May 29th, 2009…my friend Devon’s life forever changed. The bad news: she received word that she has celiac disease, which means she had to immediately cut gluten from her diet. (i.e. anything with wheat, barley, or rye). The good news: she finally had an explanation for why she was feeling so awful for most of her life.

There are a ton of gluten-free products on the market these days, so it’s not as daunting as it might seem…but on the other hand, she has to be very careful because there are a lot of things that have gluten in them you might not expect. (Soy sauce, several brands of vodkas, etc).

When I decided to start this food blog adventure, she said, “We HAVE to do “Gluten Free” for G week!”

Most meatball recipes contain bread crumbs to help give the meatballs some structure. So the easy gluten free fix here is to simply use gluten free bread crumbs. You can make your own if you have gluten free bread, or you can use store bought crumbs, made from rice flour. We found this recipe on Gluten Free Goddess, and made a few modifications based on our own tastes. Basically, you mince up some vegetables in a food processor and combine it with meats, seasonings, bread crumbs, and egg in a big bowl.

Don't be shy! Get in there and make sure everything is well incorporated, but take care not to over-mix. (Thanks to Devon for being the lovely hand model).

Rub a little olive oil on your hands and form the meatball mixture into balls (roughly the size of golf balls). Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.

Now, you could use some rice pasta for the noodles, but since it's fall and there are so many beautiful varieties of squash in season right now we decided to use spaghetti squash. If you've never cooked with it before, it's pretty neat. After roasting in the oven, it literally comes out looking like spaghetti noodles. 

Toss the cooked squash with some pesto on the stove, and serve with your meatballs! (I love cooking at Devon's house because she has the prettiest platters).

Now onto the rolls. The easiest way to avoid gluten is to eat foods that naturally don’t contain it. Brazilian cheese bread (or Pao de Queijo) traditionally uses tapioca flour (or Polvilho if you can find it), so there's no need to figure out the right combination of rice or almond flour. All you do is heat a little olive oil, water, milk, and salt on the stove, and then stir in the tapioca flour and garlic powder and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes. Then add in the cheese and eggs. The mixture will be chunky...sort of like cottage cheese. Knead it for a bit and drop onto a parchment lined baking sheet or a silpat and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes.  

Although I liked the rustic look of these ones, after doing a little research, they are traditionally a little "smoother." To remedy this, I would roll them in your hands with a little olive oil. They are not like your normal dinner roll...a little more dense and chewy, but tasted great! I don't think they would reheat well, so definitely eat them hot out of the oven. And the best part...gluten free!

Gluten Free Meatballs with Pesto Spaghetti Squash

by adapted from Gluten Free Goddess
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Keywords: bake roast entree gluten-free low-carb turkey pork spaghetti squash

Ingredients (24 meatballs)
  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into several pieces
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 c. organic ketchup
  • 1 T. organic molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 c. Italian-seasoned gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 c. pesto
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place squash on a baking sheet and roast for about 20-30 minutes, until you can cut it in half lengthwise with a knife. Scoop out pulp and seeds and brush with olive oil. Place cut side down for another 20-30 minutes. Scoop out "spaghetti" strands of squash and set aside.
  3. While squash is roasting, prepare the meatballs. Put the onion, garlic and carrot pieces into a food processor and pulse until the texture is very finely diced. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, briefly stir together the ground turkey and pork. Add in the processed vegetable mixture, ketchup, molasses, balsamic vinegar, egg, parsley, gluten-free bread crumbs, sea salt and pepper flakes. Mix gently to combine. Try not to over-mix (over-mixing makes a dense meatball).
  5. Rub a little olive oil on your hands and form the meatball mixture into balls (roughly the size of golf balls). Place them on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. You should end up with about 20-24 balls.
  6. Bake the meatballs in the center of the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes until done (no longer pink in the center).
  7. Towards the end of the meatball cooking time, heat 1 T. olive oil and about 1/2 cup of pesto in a medium saucepan. Add in the spaghetti squash and toss until combined.
  8. Place pesto squash on a platter and top with meatballs.
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Brazilian Cheese Bread

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: bake bread gluten-free tapioca flour

Ingredients (8-12 rolls)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup tapioca starch/flour (or Polvilho if you can find it)
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place olive oil, water, milk and salt into a large saucepan over high heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and stir in the tapioca and garlic powder until smooth. Let mixture rest for 10 to 15 minutes. (This is an important step!)
  3. Stir the cheeses and eggs into the tapioca mixture until well combined. The mixture will have the consistency of cottage cheese. Knead and roll into small rolls, using more olive oil on hands if necessary.
  4. Drop rounded 1/4-cup sized balls of the dough onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake until the tops are lightly browned, 20-30 minutes. Serve immediately.
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