Summer is here! It is in the smell of the fresh cut grass, the fragrant flowers in bloom, and, ah yes, that irresistible, unmistakable aroma of a fired up grill.It is a time when people are busy planting their gardens, and planning their menus. Summer is where good friends and loving families get together to enjoy each other’s company over a soul filling, light, yet hearty delicious gluten-free BBQ. Yes, you read it correctly, “delicious, gluten free, BBQ.”
Entertaining gluten-free is just as fun and easy as any other summer BBQ. It is all about friends and family coming together over a hot meal cooked over an open flame served with plenty of cold salads, fresh ice cold watermelon, and, of course, a refreshing beverage to bring it all together. This tradition has been evolving over the generations and now it is time to bring the gluten- free BBQ into its rightful place.
Here are a few quick tips for an easy and fun summer BBQ, gluten-free, of course!
Make the menu fun and simple.
1. Check to make sure your grill is clean and that you have enough propane or charcoal for your grill to make it through the party. (Take it from someone who has had to run out in the middle of the party. That’s when I had my husband put out more snacks, and ask, “Who wants a refill?”).
2. Keep your food cross contamination free. If your grill has had gluten contaminated marinades on it, simply buy a new grilling stone. Make sure you mark the grilling stone so the same side always touches the grill and the other your gluten free food.
3. Preparation is key. Do the shopping a day in advance, if possible. Remember to read all of your ingredient labels to make sure they are gluten-free. When in doubt, go on the company’s website or call their consumer hotline. A great gluten-free BBQ Sauce is made by Dinosaur BBQ, Roasted Garlic & Honey.
4. Buy items that are on sale. For instance, if strawberries are on sale, you can make a fruit salad, chocolate dipped strawberries, or even gluten-free strawberry shortcake. If making kabobs, prepare them before your guests arrive, so all you have to do is throw them on the grill whenever the moment is right. Have a fun theme to your BBQ. The last one I threw was a Mediterranean BBQ. I find it’s always fun to include a themed beverage like cucumber limeade served in cups made out of cucumbers…easy, affordable, and impressive.
5. Make the whole party gluten free goodness! Everyone who needs to eat gluten free can relax and feel safe if the entire spread is truly gluten free. The guests that do not need to eat gluten free also do not need to eat gluten. They will love your delicious menu and of course the star of the party, You!!
Here are a few of my family’s favorite grilling recipes, Enjoy!!
GRILLED MOJITO CHICKEN TACOS (Amy Rota-Poulin Copyright 2014)
2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh mint
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
¼ cup rum
½ cup organic raw apple cider
¼ cup olive oil
¾ teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
Add all of the ingredients, except for the chicken, to a large food storage bag. Mix the marinade together until thoroughly combined. Save 1/4 of the marinade in a separate jar to use later. Add the chicken to the food storage bag with the remaining marinade. Seal the bag and place in a glass baking dish in the refrigerator to marinate for 1-24 hours.
Preheat grill to 350-400 degrees. Remove chicken breasts from marinade and grill for 5-7 minutes per side, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice chicken and set aside.
*Quick Tip: when the chicken breasts are almost finished cooking, add the taco shells to the grill. Grill the taco shells for approximately 1 minute per side.
1 package of organic gluten free taco shells
1 shallot, thinly sliced
Fresh organic baby greens & arugula
1/4 the marinade to use as a dressing
Toasted unsweetened coconut
Grilled ripe plantains (Pick a firm plantain with the skin that is mostly black) For more information on plantains: :http://www.turbana.com/fruit/plantains/varieties/hartons
Fresh lemon juice
*Quick Tip: Place each individual ingredient in small serving bowls. Let you friends and family create their own custom chicken mojito tacos.
Always read the ingredient labels of each individual ingredient you are using to make sure that, that particular brand is completely gluten free. If you are unsure call the manufacturer or visit their web site, they are usually more than happy to answer your questions.
GRILLED ASPARAGUS SALAD (Amy Rota-Poulin Copyright 2014)
2 pounds of fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into ½ inch thick slices
8 ounces of organic grape tomatoes, halved
2 ounces of sharp cheese, such as Asiago
11 ounces organic baby greens
½ teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
Toss asparagus and onions in olive oil and sea salt. Grill until just tender. Once cooked, cut asparagus into bite sized pieces.
Meanwhile, place greens on a large platter and top with tomatoes. Add the warm grilled asparagus and grilled onions. Top with the lemon basil dressing and Asiago cheese shavings. Enjoy this simple delicious side dish all summer long. *Quick Tip: Turn this side dish into the main dish by adding grilled shrimp or chicken.*
Lemon Basil Dressing:
The juice of 1 organic lemon & zest
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Shake ingredients together in a small jar until combined.
ADIRONDACK GLACIER FLOAT (Amy Rota-Poulin Copyright 2014)
1 cup double strength brewed coffee, cooled
½ cup premium gluten free root beer
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
¼ cup milk (dairy free milk may also be used)
2 scoops premium gluten free vanilla bean ice cream
In a pint sized Mason jar filled half way full with ice: add cooled coffee, root beer, maple syrup, and milk. Stir gently. Top with premium vanilla bean ice cream
To turn this refreshing mocktail into a cocktail: Add 1 ounce premium white rum
Please Drink Responsibly. Cocktail is for adults over age 21 only.
Always Read the ingredient labels of each individual ingredient you are using to make sure that, that particular brand is completely gluten free. If you are unsure call the manufacturer or visit their web site, they are usually more than happy to answer your questions.
Warmest Regards & Happy Grilling,