Make the most of the season by creatively using sweet berries and stone fruit in a variety of gluten-free dishes and desserts
Nothing says good old summertime quite like the bounty of luscious summer fruits, especially berries (e.g., strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries) and stone fruits (e.g., cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums). Here are some simple ways to incorporate more of these nutrient-rich gems into your diet at the peak of their freshness, and enjoy the best of summer sweetness:
- Pair a breakfast protein—say, eggs or gluten-free sausage—with a side of chopped fresh fruit or a fresh fruit salad.
- Top a bowl of gluten-free cereal, such as Enjoy Life Foods Perky’s Crunchy Flax or Lydia’s Sprouted Cinnamon Cereal, with chopped berries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, or cherries.
- Add blueberries to gluten-free pancake or muffin batter to make blueberry pancakes or muffins. Pitted chopped cherries can also work well.
Picnics, Lunch, & Dinner
- Include plums, apricots, or cherries as easy-to-grab additions at picnics. Plums and apricots are the perfect size to serve individually. Cherries are ideal for passing around in a bowl or adding to a buffet of finger foods.
- Make salads taste gourmet by adding summer fruit. Try raspberries, chopped nectarines, or sliced strawberries along with slivered almonds or chopped pecans on assorted salad greens and vegetables such as carrots and jicama. Top with organic olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or strawberry balsamic vinegar dressing.
- Prepare a fresh fruit salsa for your entrées. Combine peppers, onions, chives, shallots, tomatoes, lime juice, and chopped fresh cilantro with chopped peaches or nectarines to give a light summer feel to grilled or broiled fish, chicken, or pork.
- Make a fruit crisp, crumble, cobbler, or tart. Each of these desserts is a great way to use up a lot of fruits at their peak of freshness and flavor, and each is easier to prepare than making and rolling dough, or making a fruit pie with a top and bottom crust. As the names suggest, crisps and crumbles are made with combinations of mostly dry, crispy or crumbly ingredients—such as gluten-free or grain-free flour, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, and sweetener, with or without certified gluten-free oats (such as Bob’s Red Mill Certified Gluten-Free Oats)—and a small bit of oil or butter that top a fruit filling base. Cobblers, on the other hand, typically contain gluten-free flour, eggs, and milk or milk substitutes, or larger amounts of oil or butter, to create a wetter, smoother biscuit batter that tops the fruit base. Tarts have a crust on the bottom, usually a pastry cream or non-dairy creamy filling in the middle, and a raw or lightly glazed fresh fruit topping.
- Serve fresh fruit either on top of, or topped with, frozen dessert. Depending on your preferences and intolerances, there are many gluten-free options available at health food stores, such as Straus Family Creamery organic ice cream. There are also many dairy-free choices, including Mr. Dewie’s almond milk frozen dessert, Organic Nectars Cashewtopia, Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss, or Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Cream.
Grain-Free Fresh Nectarine Tart*
Makes 12 slices
The secret to this no-sugar recipe is using nectarines at their peak, which is typically July through September.
2 cups blanched almond flour
½ tsp. unrefined salt
2½ Tbs. unrefined coconut oil
1 large organic pastured egg
1 cup organic coconut milk
1½ small organic nectarines, peeled, halved, pitted, and chopped
3 large organic pastured eggs
1 tsp. organic vanilla extract
2 organic nectarines (skin on)
½ tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
2 Tbs. fresh organic blueberries
- To make Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine almond flour and salt in large bowl. Whisk together coconut oil and egg in medium bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry until thoroughly combined. Press dough into 9-inch tart or pie pan. Set aside.
- To make Filling: Combine all filling ingredients in blender, and mix well.
- Pour Filling into Crust. Bake 35–40 minutes, until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely at room temperature, then cover and chill in refrigerator at least 1 hour.
- To make Topping: Halve, pit, and slice nectarines. If desired, sprinkle with cinnamon and mix together.
- Remove tart from refrigerator. Line nectarine slices around outer edge of tart, then work your way in to form an attractive, layered pattern.
PER SERVING: 202 cal; 7g pro; 17g total fat (7g sat fat); 8g carb; 62mg chol; 139mg sod; 2g fiber; 3g sugars
*Recipe reprinted from the Going Against the Grain Group, 2013.
Melissa Diane Smith, a nationally known writer and holistic nutritionist who specializes in personalizing the gluten-free diet, offers long-distance telephone counseling and coaching services to clients across the country. She is the author of Going Against the Grain and Gluten Free Throughout the Year: A Two-Year, Month-to-Month Guide for Healthy Eating. To learn about her books, long-distance consultations, nutrition coaching programs, or speaking, visit her websites melissadianesmith.com and againstthegrainnutrition.com.