Gluten-free Pasta Salad

Gluten-free Fusilli Pasta | Quinoa and Brown Rice Pasta

There have been many BBQ’s this summer where we have had nothing to eat but bun-less hot dogs (or burgers) and a piece of watermelon. Why?

Well, mainly because hosts who are not on any dietary restrictions don’t think to offer a variety of options. So true to the “Standard American Diet” (whose initials ironically spell “SAD”) every dish is either loaded with dairy or encrusted with wheat.

At least if the BBQ is potluck you are guaranteed to have at least one side dish you can enjoy…because you made it yourself.

So, that got me thinking. What could I bring to a potluck so that we, as gluten-free, dairy-free eaters, could have something other than plain weenies.

Here is the first recipe I came up with: Gluten-free Pasta Salad!

I wish I could say for sure that it is also dairy-free but depending on which brand of salad dressing you use, that may not be the case. Many bottled Italian dressings use parmesan cheese as an ingredient so read your labels carefully.

I used my favorite gluten-free pasta from Trader Joe’s. It’s made with quinoa and brown rice flours and holds up well drenched in dressing.

Gluten-free Fusilli Pasta | Quinoa and Brown Rice Pasta


Helpful hints:

1) Chop your veggies ahead of time and store together in a bowl with clear wrap. This will expedite your salad making process.

2) Experiment with different veggies and try lemon dressing instead if the Italian dressing

Gluten-free Pasta Salad


Gluten-free Pasta Salad

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked gluten-free fusilli pasta
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup orange bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup pitted black olives, sliced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped

1 cup gluten-free Italian-style salad dressing like Wish-Bone House Italian Salad Dressing
(add more to taste).

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until al dente. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and drain.

Mix the celery, bell pepper, cucumber, olives, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and onion together in large bowl.

Combine cooled pasta and vegetables together in large bowl. Pour Italian dressing over mixture, add basil and mix well.

Chill for one hour before serving.


Stay tuned for my dairy-free creamy potato salad!

Have a great summer!


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Bean and Bell Pepper Salad Recipe

Bean and Bell Pepper Salad | Gluten-free, Dairy-free

One thing I miss about being gluten-free is the feeling of being “stuffed”. I know — weird. Since our diet now consists of predominately whole foods, we can finish a meal, feel satiated but not completely stuffed. Of course, this is healthy but unusual in our American culture which is used to the bloated feeling that follows a meal high in processed carbohydrates.

It’s helpful to remember that wheat gives us carbohydrates, protein and fiber and it is those components that give us the “full belly” feeling. Since I was craving that feeling today, I came up with a gluten-free alternative. Beans! Beans are loaded with protein and fiber and do have some complex carbohydrates.

It’s hot out today in Southern California and since we were cooking on the grill for lunch, I decided to make a bean salad as a side dish.

Bean and Bell Pepper Salad | Gluten-free, Dairy-free

It was delicious – even the boys gobbled it up.

A few notes regarding this recipe:

1) Use the full celery stalk. Cut up the green leafy part too.
2) For added color and a little more zing, use a red onion. I didn’t have any today so I used white onion and it was still fabulous.
3) In the dressing you can use plain ol’ sugar or whatever sweetener your family is used to (I hope it’s natural :) ). But, I highly recommend you try the coconut palm sugar. It really adds a depth to the flavor of the dressing that other sweeteners won’t be able to replicate.
4) You can use olive oil instead of grapeseed oil but I like to get a variety of oils into our weekly diet so I went with grapeseed for it’s benefits.

Let me know if you tweaked this recipe in anyway. I’d love to hear your take on it!

Bean and Bell Pepper Salad
Serves 4 to 8.

1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can cut green beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup canned fire roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup fresh, finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

3 Tablespoons Bragg’s Organic, Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Organic Coconut Palm Sugar
3 Tablespoons  Grapeseed Oil
1 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a large bowl, mix the beans, celery, onion and parsley.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, oil, salt, and pepper. Add the dressing to the beans. Toss to coat.

Chill beans in the refrigerator for several hours, to allow the beans to soak up the flavor of the dressing. Serve cold.



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Dairy-free, Gluten-free French Dressing

Gluten-free, Dairy-free French Dressing

One of my fondest memories growing up in Chicago is of going to authentic Italian weddings. The great food, the dancing and running around with dozens of cousins until the wee hours…

But secretly, my favorite part was when salads would be served with a choice of Italian, Ranch or my favorite – French Dressing. I just loved that banquet hall French Dressing! Something about it’s creamy tangy-ness just made my taste buds sing!

Of course, as an adult I have always kept a bottle of French Dressing in my fridge until I recently read the label. Sadly it was loaded with wheat and dairy derivatives. I decided to get creative and came up with this dairy-free, gluten-free version instead.

It’s flavor is delish and sweetly satisfies the cravings of my youth. I hope you get to try it soon and report back to me. What do you think?


Dairy-free, Gluten-free French Dressing

2/3 cups grapeseed oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


Combine all the ingredients together is a jar. Shake well before each use. For a “creamier” consistency, blend for 1 minute in a blender or mini food processor. I actually have an immersion blending attachment for my electric mixer that worked well for blending this.

Makes about 1 cup of dressing.