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May brings us two ideas for what we call fortified salads, i.e. salads that are nutritionally complete and therefore perfect as one-course meals for lunch in the office, at school or for dinner.

The rule applies that ingredients must be in season in order to maximise their nutritional contribution, so asparagus and mixed greens, as well as frozen edamame beans, will be the vegetable protagonists of the dishes.

The protein part of our salads is mainly of animal origin, being represented by grilled chicken and egg, not forgetting the contribution of edamame beans, an excellent source of plant protein.

As always, fibre is our best ally and is provided not only by vegetables, but also by buckwheat grains, an excellent alternative to rice and cereals containing gluten (for those who can eat them).

So here’s how to prepare reinforced salads that you can put in your lunch box for an absolutely perfect lunch out.

Discover more ideas for your salads here!

Buckwheat and asparagus salad

carbohydrates 24.48g for the whole serving

insalata-di-saraceno-e-asparagi

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 4 asparagus
  • 40g buckwheat grains*
  • 1 egg
  • 15g Pecorino Romano cheese in very thin slices
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Cook buckwheat grains in lightly salted boiling water, then drain and set aside.
  2. Place 4 asparagus in a container suitable for microwave cooking and cook for 4 minutes at maximum power.
  3. Put a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick pan, break the egg into it and cook for a few minutes until the egg white is cooked.
  4. Assemble the salad by placing the buckwheat grains in a soup plate, add the asparagus cut in pieces; dress with a sauce prepared whisking a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  5. Lay the hot egg on top of the asparagus and complete with very thin slices of Pecorino Romano cheese and a grinding of pepper.insalata-di-saraceno-e-asparagi

Chicken and edamame salad

carbohydrates15.77g for the whole serving

insalata-di-pollo-ed-edamame

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 120g chicken breast
  • 50g edamame beans
  • baby lettuce or mixed greens
  • 15g raisins
  • 2 tablespoons of soy milk*
  • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise*
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Boil the edamame beans in lightly salted water for a few minutes, then  throw them in cold water. Drain them and set them aside.
  2. Grill the chicken breast. Cut it into strips horizontally.
  3. Prepare the dressing by putting the mayonnaise, lemon juice and soy milk in a small bowl, mix well with a fork and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the desired amount of lettuce or mixed greens in a soup plate, add the edamame beans and lay the chicken on top. Season with the mayonnaise emulsion, then top with raisins and pumpkin seeds.

insalata-di-pollo-ed-edamame

Version with gluten of Fortified salads

These recipes contain only naturally gluten free ingredients, so no adaptation is necessary for their version with gluten.

My journey to find tasty and quick salad recipes continues to serve dishes that are always new and today my proposal is two Raw and cooked salads.

Remember that the principle we shoul follow when choosing our salad ingredients is their being in season. So, opening the fruit and vegetable calendar is a must before going to the greengrocer’s because stores are more an more thriving with all sorts of produce even if coming from any other part of the world.

Our star ingredients today are fennels and barilla plants. Fennel is rich of fibre and water, it helps digestion and prevents bloating; it can be eaten in many different ways. It is excellent raw at the beginning of the meal to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates eaten afterwards thanks to the presence fo water and fibre that will also contribute to reduce hunger.

Barilla plants are a shrub that grows between March and May. They are rich in vitamins and antixodants, but especially fibre and water, whereas they are very low in fat, which makes them perfect for low calorie diets and to quench hunger. Unlike fennels, they must be boiled or steamed before eating.

Find out how I used our hero vegetables in two fantastic raw and cooked salads. And if you missed my previous salads, check the recipes of Three 5-minute salads.

Fennel and orange salad with light dressing

carbohydrate 9g for 1 serving

insalata-di-finocchi-e-arance

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 1/2 fennel
  • 50g orange
  • slivers of Piave chees or Emmentaler
  • pomegranate seeds
  • 30g soy milk*
  • 10g rice or extra virgin olive oil
  • orange juice
  • salt and pepper

**Ingredienti specifici per celiaci

*Ingredienti per i quali verificare l’assenza di glutine in etichetta o sul Prontuario AIC

Preparation

  1. Slice the fennel very thinly with a mandoline.
  2. Peel half an orange and cut it into segments and keep the second half to squeeze its juice.
  3. Prepare the dressing: put rice oil, soy milk, orange juice, salt and pepper in a tall container and blend with a hand blender to a texture similar to a runny mayonnaise.
  4. Assemple the salad: put the fennel in the centre of a deep dish, top with the orange segments, slivers of cheese, then dress with the orance sauce and garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Salad of Barilla plants with egg and hard Gorgonzola cheese 

carbohydrates for the whole serving negligible

insalata-di-agretti-uova-e-gorgonzola

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 1 bunch of Barilla plants
  • 1 egg
  • 20g hard Gorgonzola cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and papper

Preparation

  1. Put a pot of water on the heat, salt it and when it reaches the boil, cook the Barilla plants for a couple of minuters. Drain and throw in cold water, then drain again. Set aside.
  2. Hard boil 1 egg for 9 minutes from when the water starts boiling. Once cooked, shall the egg and separate egg white and yolk.
  3. Assemble the salad: put the Barilla plants in a deep dish, top with the diced egg white, crumble the egg yolk, arrange the hard Gorgonzola cheese cut into small cubes and dress with salt, pepper and a dribble of extra virgin olive oil.

 

I love salads and am constantly thinking of new combinations that can be prepared with tasty ingredients in a very short time, so here’s how to prepare Three 5-minute salads.

Each of these salads will delight both the eyes and the palate, and as they are ready in a matter of minutes, you can indulge yourself and prepare all 3 in case you want to use them for a complete dinner instead of just a side dish.

Follow me not to run short of ideas for everyday cooking and have a look at my Lentil and chickpea burgers to discover a solution for your lunches away from home.

Tre-insalate-da-5-minuti

Treviso radicchio salad

5g carbohydrates for 1 serving

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 1/2 tuft of Treviso radicchio
  • 40g pear
  • 2 shelled walnuts
  • slivers of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Cut the Treviso radicchio into small pieces and put them in a salad or soup dish.
  2. Add the Parmesan slivers, the sliced pear and the walnut kernels slightly broken up using your hands.
  3. Complete with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

insalata-di-trevigiano

Aromatic cabbage and carrot salad

14g carbohydrates for 1 serving

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 1 handful of thinly sliced white cabbage
  • 1 handful of thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 1 carrot (mine was 80g)
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard*
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup*
  • 1 tablespoon apple vinegar
  • sunflower seeds
  • pumpking seeds
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Cut the cabbage using a slicer or by hand so that it is very thin and grate the carrot into julienne.
  2. Prepare the aromatic dressing by mixing mustard, maple syrup, apple vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Mix well with a fork.
  3. Place the sliced cabbage and carrot in a deep dish, then drizzle with the dressing and top with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.

insalata-di-cappucci-aromatica

Chickpea salad with pink chicory

13.9g carbohydrates for 1 serving

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 1/2 tuft of pink chicory
  • 100g cooked chickpeas
  • 30g avocado
  • lemon juice
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preparatio

  1. Cut the pink chicory leaves and place them in a salad or soup dish.
  2. Top them with the cooked chickpeas and sliced avocado.
  3. Drizzle with a little lemon juice and complete the seasoning with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

 

Insalata-di-ceci-e-radicchio-rosa-mantovano

Who can resist gluten free Focaccia with lentil flour? At home, it finishes right away because it is good, soft, fragrant and more blood sugar-friendly than classic Focaccia. Watch how to prepare it!

I love focaccia because it is easy to cut into portions, freeze and stuff quickly in the morning before school even just out of the freezer: that way, by break time, it will be perfect to be enjoyed.

The addition of lentil flour helps reduce the glycaemic index of the focaccia and gives it a golden, slightly orange colour that is very pleasing to the eye. Serve it stuffed with whatever you like or enjoy it plain: whatever solution you choose, it will not disappoint you!

If you love focaccia, also try Gluten-free Buckwheat and corn focaccia.

Focaccia with Lentil Flour     

43g carbohydrates per 100g

 Ingredients

  • 400g water
  • 250g gluten free bread flour mix, brand Schär Mix B**
  • 250g gluten free bread flour mix, brand Fibreban Farmo**
  • 200g milk
  • 100g lentil flour*
  • 30g extra virgin olive oil
  • 17g brewer’s yeast
  • 10g salt
  • extra virgin olive oil for spreading the focaccia and for the emulsion
  • coarse salt
  • oregano
  • water for the emulsion

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Pour water and milk into a food processor or thermomix and dissolve the brewer’s yeast in it.
  2. Pour the flours into the processor with the liquids and mix, adding oil and salt until a smooth, creamy dough is obtained.
  3. Pour the mixture onto a baking tin covered with parchment paper, pour a good amount of oil on the surface to help you flatten out the dough using your hands, lightly sinking your fingers in to give it the typical focaccia appearance.
  4. Let rise for about 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in volume. Sprinkle with a grinding of coarse salt and dried oregano.
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes in a convection oven preheated to 200°C.
  6. Let the focaccia cool and brush the surface with an emulsion of water and a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

focaccia con farina di lenticchie

Version with gluten of Focaccia with lentil flour

Replace the gluten free flour with 500g wheat flour and reduce the total amount of liquid (water and milk) to 420g instead of 600g.

Quinoa surprises are a way for me to use vegetables, definitely my favourite ingredients! For each season, we have a great variety of them, allowing us to indulge in their preparation. Yet, sometimes there is a lack of ideas for preparing something tasty in front of which the kids do not turn up their noses.

Round courgettes are loved by young and old alike because they are perfect for filling with anything we like, so mine is just one of hundreds of possible filling solutions.

The version prepared with quinoa, one of Latin America’s super foods (see its history) also popular in our country due to its high protein, Omega 6 and Omega 3 content, makes the recipe a perfect one-course meal for both lunch and dinner. Personally, I prepared the recipe in a vegan version, i.e. without adding melted cheese, and offered it for dinner to my hungry family members, and Gaia’s blood sugar behaved very well throughout the night, which made us enjoy the dish even more.

Quinoa surprises   

carbohydrates 6.2g per 100g

Ingredients

  • 4 large round courgettes (total weight when emptied 1kg)
  • 300g tomato sauce
  • 120g celery
  • 90g carrots
  • 80g quinoa (cooked in 240g water)
  • 70g shallot
  • 1 clove garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • chili
  • cheese cubes melting (optional)

Preparation

  1. Put quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer, rinse it thoroughly, then pour it in a small pan with three times its own weight of water. Slightly salt the water, put everything on the heat and cook the quinoa for about 15 minutes with the lid on until it has completely absorbed the water. Remove from the heat and let it cool down.
  2. Take the round courgettes, cut off the top part so that the courgettes are divided into 2 parts: a small one at the top and the large part underneath from which you will remove the pulp (you can use this to make vegetable soups). Sprinkle the inside of the courgettes with salt, place them with their tops on the side on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes. Once taken out of the oven, remove the water that will have formed inside the courgettes, then set them aside while you prepare the filling.
  3. Slice the shallot, put it in a pan with a little extra virgin olive oil together with the garlic clove, then add the tomato sauce and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Put a little oil in a non-stick frying pan and sauté the diced celery and carrot; season with salt and pepper. Now season the quinoa with the tomato sauce and sautéed vegetables; season with salt, pepper and chilli.
  5. Fill the courgettes with the quinoa, pressing it lightly into them. If you like, you can put a few cubes of cheese melting on top of the quinoa before covering each courgette with its own cap (personally, I did not add anything because I did not want to add cheese to this meal), then bake in a hot oven at 200°C for about ten minutes or for 5 minutes under the grill.
  6. Serve the courgettes hot with a drizzle of olive oil.
Le zucchine ripiene di verdure e quinoa

Courgettes stuffed with vegetables and quinoa

Version with gluten of Quinoa surprises

The recipe contains only naturally gluten-free ingredients, so no adaptation is necessary for its version with gluten.

Dense, creamy and delicious! Definitely Pumpkin and lentil soup with paprika is a tasty way to get children to eat vegetables and pulses.

The sweetness of pumpkin, combined with the unmistakable flavour of lentils, makes this soup perfect also for children, while if you want to give a twist to sweetness, paprika or, why not, chilli pepper, will be the ideal solution.

A light, balanced and tasty meal!

Do you love soups and creams? Try my Cabbage, potato and shallot soup.

Pumpkin and lentil soup with paprika

3.75g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients

  • 1.3 litres of water
  • 700g pumpkin
  • 375g onions
  • 50g lentils
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric (optional)
  • 1 pinch of chilli pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Cut the pumpkin and onion into small pieces, season with oil, salt and pepper and place in a baking dish covered with parchment paper; bake at 200°C for 20 minutes and set aside.
    Put water on the stove with garlic, bay leaf and lentils; cook for about ten minutes. Now add the baked pumpkin and onion, keeping a few pieces aside to decorate the dishes.
  2. Finish cooking the lentils and vegetables, remove the garlic and bay leaf, then blend and season with spices, salt and pepper. Finally, add the vegetable pieces left whole.
  3. Serve with a drizzle of oil and croutons to taste.

vellutata-di-zucca-e-lenticchie-alla-paprika-uno-chef-per-gaia-ph-chiara-marando

Version with gluten of Pumpkin and lentil soup with paprika

The recipe contains only naturally gluten-free ingredients, so no adaptation is necessary for its version with gluten.

We told you about it in the recipe for Mixed leavening bread and now we show you how to prepare it: Express sourdough to use in your doughs.

And do you know why I love it? Because it does not require the effort of being refreshed regularly to keep it alive, it will be ready for use when we decide we want to use it, and above all, we do not run the risk of fermentation getting out of control causing odours to develop that are not always pleasant.

It is important to remember that the use of sourdough combined with the addition of fibre to the bread reduces the bread’s glycaemic index by up to 40%, so it is worth planning the bread-making process a day in advance!

A true ally in the kitchen with just 2 ingredients!

Express sourdough

37.54g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients

  • 500g gluten-free buckwheat based flour, brand Petra 5 flour** (Molino Quaglia)
  • 400g water

** Ingredients specific for celiacs

Preparation

  1. Knead the flour with water at a temperature of 30°C (if you don’t have a thermometer to check the temperature, let the water run down from the tap until it is warm, but not hot), preferably in a planetary mixer or a food processor: the dough will become quite thick.
  2. Form a ball and immerse it completely in a bowl or pot containing water at 30°C, the ball will settle on the bottom. Then leave the dough to rise in a warm room, either in the oven at 30°C or in the switched off oven, but with a small pan of hot water on the bottom to keep the temperature, for at least 18 hours or however as long as it takes for the ball of dough to rise to the surface.

IMG_ricetta_lievito_madre_espresso

  1. When the dough rises to the surface, the sourdough starter is ready to be used without refreshments. Furthermore, given the ease of preparation, it is not advisable to store part of the dough to make refreshments which, if not kept at the required temperature and humidity, could develop unpleasant odours and flavours.