After my recent indulgent trip to Sicily, I had to get back to healthy eating as soon as possible. Though, I would have loved a crispy cannoli filled with creamy ricotta for breakfast every morning, I could not have fitted into my jeans if I continued for even one more week. A leisurely visit to the supermarket is what I needed. Looking at beautiful fresh vegetables and fruits make me crave for healthy meals..very strange, I know. Got these amazing blood oranges, fresh bulbs of fennel, yellow and red cherry tomatoes, crispy chard leaves, some beautiful tunisian artichokes and stocked my fridge with lots of colorful food.
Nature is amazing and provides us with an abundance of colorful food, and cooking with these gorgeous colorful produce is not only exciting but also increases our food health nutrition. I get very excited when I see vibrant colors in any dish. I love some bright red pepper in a green lentil salad, refreshing baby greens topped on a hearty creamy quiche, beetroot pasta with ricotta, a purple potato salad, a rainbow color quinoa with white feta cheese and mint, a broccoli salad with pomegranate seeds and pine nuts, bright yellow pumpkin chips with rosemary etc. I am already craving for a healthy meal now!

Result of the supermarket visit was a simple and super healthy wild rice salad. I discovered wild rice only a couple of months back and have been hooked on it since then. I like the nutty flavor and the chewy texture which is a delight to eat. Just throw in some fresh veg, herbs, nuts, fruits and you have a tasty meal in such recipes which are flexible and do not require hundreds of ingredients.

So for this salad, there is no recipe as such. Prepare wild rice as per packet instructions, add sliced fennel, blood orange wedges, cherry tomatoes, sliced radish, spring onions and some salad leaves. I made a dressing of yoghurt, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. If you like, you could also add some feta cheese too..yum!

I had been wanting to incorporate more gluten-free meals in our diet for sometime now. Gluten-free Orange and Almond Cake and the Gluten-free Granola was a hit and if I didn’t tell Sunil, they were gluten-free, he would have not known..they were yumm! As we know, gluten is a special type of protein that is found in foods such as cereals, certain grains, and wheat. One of the main purposes of gluten is to keep the elasticity intact in foods during the fermentation phase of food production. Gluten makes bread “chewy,” and prevents other foods from having a sticky, doughy-like texture.

Though, I am not gluten intolerant, I think incorporating gluten-free dishes in your diet means that we are slowly eliminating a variety of foods that are unhealthy like fried food, pasta, bread, doughnuts, pastries, processed food etc. Cutting down on gluten means cutting down on carbs, and that’s generally a good thing. The fewer muffins, bagels, and breadsticks we are scarfing up, the healthier and leaner we are going to be—as long as we replace those carbs with nutritious foods like vegetables and lean meats.

Gluten-free diet equates to good health only when we replace unhealthy carbs with wholesome food like less starchy fruits and vegetables. We cannot substitute them with calorie rich foods like sugary candies, processed gluten-free alternatives available in the market like canned soups, pizza crust mix all labeled as ‘gluten-free’ etc. If it’s packaged or processed — gluten or no gluten — it’s not as healthy as other whole foods we could be eating. The best gluten-free foods aren’t products at all; they’re fresh fruits and vegetables really.

I will be doing more of healthy gluten-free meals in the coming weeks to see how our bodies respond to this new way of eating. Incorporating wholesome food and slowly eliminating processed, canned, unhealthy food is what I am aiming for. After all, healthy body is healthy mind!

Shopping List
This makes 1 large 20 cm (8 in) tart or 4 small 10 cm (4 in) tartlets. I had a rectangular tart, so I doubled the measurements.
Tart Case
65 gm rice flour
45 gm almond flour or chestnut flour
2 tbsp potato flour or tapioca flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp coconut oil or Ghee
3 tbsp ice-cold water
Fennel Filling
120 ml coconut milk
2 eggs beaten
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
Salad leaves to garnish
1. To make the tart case, sift together the flours and salt in a bowl. Add the coconut milk and ice-cold water and use your hands to work the dry ingredients towards the centre until a dough forms. If it feels crumbly, add 1-2 tbsp more water. Gather into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 min in the fridge.
2. Meanwhile, make the filling. Whisk the coconut milk, eggs, nutmeg, rosemary, salt and pepper together in a small bowl until combined. Preheat oven to 375F (190C)
3. Use your hands to press the dough evenly into the bottom and up to the sides of the tart tin. If making 4 small tarts, divide the dough into 4 equal parts before pressing into the tins. Trim the dough flush with edge of the tin and prick the base with a fork to prevent the pastry from rising as it bakes.
4. Pour the coconut and egg mixture into the tart case then place the fennel slices on top. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 35 min or until the tart is golden and crispy. Once done, cool the tart and top it with your favorite salad leaves.

Happy Days!!

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