Chicken Shawarma – AIP, Paleo, Dairy Free, and Gluten Free!

As I’ve mentioned before … one of the best things about Hamilton is also one of the most difficult things, when it comes to being on a restrictive diet. There is amazing food EVERYWHERE – every ethnicity you can think of is represented, and then some.

As part of that, there’s a shawarma place pretty much every three blocks – and I honestly don’t know how much of an exaggeration that is. There are shawarma-specific places, shawarma on combined focus menus, many pizza places even offer shawarma pizza.

Anyway, I digress. With shawarma everywhere, I knew I’d have to come up with a reasonable facsimile to serve at home. I’d proud to say that I managed to do just that – this is amazingly accurate for something that has no dairy or nightshades – and really hits the spot!

We’ve been making this almost every week since developing the recipe. The chicken leftovers reheat well, and also make a great salad:

AIp Chicken Shawarma Salad

Some of the prep work can be done beforehand. Toum can be done several days ahead, same with the pickles. You can marinate the chicken overnight … really, the seasoned tortillas and actually cooking the chicken are the only tasks that really should be done right before serving.

As far as the chicken goes, the recipe reflects the quickest and easiest way to cook it – sauteeing on the stove top. Alternatively, you could bake it or charcoal grill it (which has THE most authentic flavour, imho) – in either of these cases, marinate whole chicken breasts, cook them, then slice them up for service.

Enjoy!







Toum! Lebanese Garlic Dip – Gluten Free and AIP!

A few years ago, we were travelling through Kalamazoo, en route to Toronto. It was the first of our site scouting trips to prepare for our upcoming move back to Canada, and my husband wanted to stop by his favourite brewery – Bell’s – on the trip. We stopped for lunch at a random shawarma place, and my world was ROCKED.

I have no idea how I’d never tried toum before then. It was this thick white dip that they served alongside their grape leaves… SUPER potent with garlic – it burned to eat! – and was absolutely addictive. I wanted to put it on everything! We cleaned our plates, bought some more to go, and made a point of stopping off at that same restaurant on subsequent trips between Minnesota and Ontario.

The thing is, it wasn’t listed as “toum” on the menu. They just called it their house garlic sauce – or something similar – and I’d assumed it to be a unique thing. It wasn’t til one of my facebook friends mentioned “garlic dip” alongside “toum”, that I googled and found my long lost love, LOL. Not only did it mean I had a name of an item to look for / ask for when dining out, I found that it was something that is very easy to make at home. I put that knowledge aside for the time being.

Recently, I’ve had to adopt the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet, as a result of some thyroid weirdness. The next 6 months mean a very strict diet that cuts out a lot of fun stuff – nightshades, grains, dairy, seeds, nuts, sugar, etc. It’s not that big a deal for me – I cook, I can make any diet taste great! – but it does sting a little, now that we’ve moved to Hamilton. You see, there is a shawarma place pretty much on every block here, and we were definitely getting into trying as many as we could, before this change of dietary direction. Amazing stuff, as far as the eye can see!

This past weekend, I was really, REALLY wanting some shawarma… so I came up with an AIP version. I’ll be blogging that shortly, but wanted to post components of it, first.

Now, you don’t have to be on AIP to go for AIP shawarma. It’s an excellent dish on its own (“I want 6 more of these, right now… but I am FULL, AUGH!” – my non-AIP husband, when I made shawarma wraps from the leftovers), and it’s a great option when dealing with a number of dietary restrictions. It’s nightshade free, so safe for the many people who have that allergy. It’s gluten-free, paleo, dairy free, and avoid all of the most common allergens. If you’re cooking for a group that involves some people with dietary restrictions, it’s a good place to start!

So, first part of that: Toum.

This is every bit the burny, addictive, wildly satisfying garlic condiment that we had in Kalamazoo. A simple change of oils used takes it from not being AIP safe, to AIP all the way – with no change in the taste. This is exactly the sort of thing that any number of articles warn you to not eat before a date, for some reason. So bizarre. IMHO, if you’re dating someone afraid of garlic breath … you need to reconsider your standards. Accept no less than someone that who will fight you for the last bit of garlic deliciousness left on the plate!

This is super easy to make – with a food processor – and requires fairly basic ingredients.

A word on the garlic used: I’m lazy, and buy garlic cloves that have been pre-peeled by the produce department at my local grocery store. (For $2.50 for about a cup worth of garlic, it’s not worth it to peel them myself, IMHO!). I haven’t tried this with the mass produced pre-peeled garlic, but would assume that to be almost as good, just not as fresh. I would NOT recommend using pre-minced garlic, as that always tastes bitter and weird.

I use a very light olive oil for this, so the flavour doesn’t compete with the garlic too much. You could, alternatively, use all avocado oil, instead of the mix. If you don’t need to follow AIP diet restrictions, feel free to save a few bucks by using canola oil instead.

With regards to oil amounts: as listed, this will give you a nice, thick dip. If you’re looking for a bit thinner, you can continue to add more oil – about 3 cups total will give you more of a sauce consistency, rather than the dip.

Enjoy! Also: Keep an eye out for the coming recipes – AIP quick beet pickles, chicken shawarma, and more! Follow us on any of our social media accounts for updates, or subscribe to our newsletter for monthly emails!




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Spinach Pies Recipe

So, we’re at that point in the moving phase, where we’re starting to look at pre-move bucket lists : things we want to do here, before moving to Canada.

For me, that means spending time with friends when possible. For my husband – who grew up here – it’s more things like going to the State Fair, Valley Fair, etc one last time. Also: Have me create a great Spinach Pie recipe. There’s a great local Lebanese deli – Emily’s – that makes spinach pies that he adores.

While we’d usually go for a direct replica when it comes to something like this, he decided he preferred to have a bit of fun with it, developing a custom filling. So, if you’re looking for an Emily’s knockoff, this is not the recipe you’re looking for! (It is definitely in the same ballpark, though.)

To adjust it a bit more to my husband’s tastes, there is more filling than in the source material, as well as flavour additions like kalamata olives. Ours features an egg glaze, giving the outside of the crust a bit of sheen, and a bit of bite/crunch. For a softer finished crust, skip the egg glaze.

Enjoy!







Moroccan Spiced Lamb Burgers with Pea Hummus, Goat Cheese, and Beets

The other day, I posted a recipe that was the indirect result of my husband’s recent business trip to Ireland: Tandoori Spiced Chicken Burgers with Mango. Insane!

Today I’m posting the first “inspired by that trip” recipe I actually made – the day after he got back. Yes, tired, jetlagged, and just happy to be home, I dragged his ass to the grocery store to get ingredients for it. To be fair, he shouldn’t have shown me his photo and told me about what was in it. He knows what I’m like 🙂

This was developed based on the burger he actually ordered at G Counter, whereas the Tandoori one was based entirely upon a menu description. What he was attracted to about this burger in Ireland was that it’s SO different from anything he’s ever seen locally. Also: he’s addicted to beets.

We made this up as 2 giant burgers, and were full all day. It would definitely work as smaller burgers – 3 or 4 of them. Actually, I bet these would be super cute and elegant if done up as a tray of sliders!

This has many layers of flavour, all of which complement each other without being overwhelming. It’s a very satisfying burger! Additionally, this can be made gluten-free with the appropriate choice of bun (or exclusion of the bun, which is how I had it!)

Moroccan Spiced Lamb Burgers with Pea Hummus, Goat Cheese, and Beets






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Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

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Quick Falafel Patties

As with many ethnic recipes – well, recipes in general, I suppose – there is a traditional way to do it, and there are the nontraditional ways to do it.

Generally speaking, non traditional versions usually act as a workaround to some unwieldly aspect of the original – a hard to come by ingredient, a specialty piece of equipment, etc. In some cases, it’s simply a matter of saving time.

Such is the case with my quick version of falafel. Traditionally, these are made from dried chick peas – soaked overnight and then ground down for the batter, and then deep fried. In this version, we strain canned chickpeas, and use the addition of garbanzo/fava flour to prevent them from falling apart. (Falafel made traditionally does not require the addition of flour to keep the patties together.) The use of bean flour – rather than a wheat flour – makes these not ONLY fast, but also gluten free!

Enjoy!

Quick Falafel Patties

1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
15 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained well
1 egg
1/4 cup garbanzo/fava flour
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
pepper
pinch cayenne
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil

Process onion, garlic, and half of the beans till smooth. Add remaining ingredients (aside from remaining beans and olive oil), process till smooth. Add remaining beans, process till new beans are small but chunky.

Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan, swirl to coat well. Use a large Tablespoon, 1/4 cup measure, or cookie scoop to drop balls of batter into fry pan, carefully flatten them a bit. Fry for a couple minutes on the first side, flipping when golden brown. Fry on other side until also golden brown.

Serve hot, with tahini or a cucumber dill dip.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.