All posts by Handmade Health


Black bean gluten free brownies

Black bean brownies are one of the first desserts I discovered when going gluten free. I was amazed and wowed by their great texture, moistness and flavour. Nobody would even know they’re eating a high protein dessert. Best of all , my son thinks these are terrific so this is a great treat to fill  your kids up with vitamins and fiber. Remember to grease your pan thoroughly and let your brownies cool before removing from the pan or they’ll break up a little as mine did this time around. Enjoy!

Black bean gluten free brownies
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Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
  • 1½ cups cooked and rinsed black beans or 1 15 oz can drained and rinsed
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 TBLS warm butter or virgin coconut oil( I prefer this)
  • 6 TBLS cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ baking soda
  • 1 TBLS water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle
  2. Place beans and 3 eggs in a blender along with sugar, vanilla and salt
  3. Mix well until beans are liquified
  4. In a separate bowl,mix cocoa,baking soda and baking powder
  5. In a larger bowl, beat butter or coconut oil adding 2 final eggs
  6. Pour bean batter into egg mixture
  7. Mix in dry ingredients and water and beat on high for 1 minute until smooth
  8. Pour into greased 8x8 pan or separate muffin tins ( use coconut oil for this too)
  9. Top with sliced almonds or nuts of your choice for texture
  10. Bake for 30-40 minutes until firm to the touch
  11. Let cool before removing gently from the pan
  12. Can sprinkle with icing sugar as well
  13. Enjoy!







Chicken satays

My son has been yelling for chicken satay’s lately ever since we went to a Malaysian restaurant in our neighbourhood. To get away from too much sodium and the possibility of gluten in the soy sauce, I finally made my own. Although my son says they’re not as good as the restaurant ( I suspect it’s the salt content), he still ate them ravenously off the stick including the cucumber salad that accompanied it.  Although there are a multitude of recipes off the internet, I looked for the easiest that best emulated the flavours I was looking for. These are flavourful and tender and once marinated, very fast to make.

Chicken satays
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Recipe type: Appetizer/dinner
Serves: 4
  • 4 chicken boneless chicken thighs
  • wooden skewers soaked in water
  • Marinade:
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon or lime juice (approx 2 lemons or limes)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 TBLS finely grated ginger
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • 1 TBLS brown sugar or honey
  • 1 TBLS low sodium gluten free soy sauce
  • Peanut sauce:
  • ¼ cup sauce from above recipe before marinating
  • 1 TBLS brown sugar or honey
  • 3 TBLS peanut butter
  • salt to taste
  • Cucumber salad:
  • 1 sliced cucumber
  • 1 TBLS juice of lemon or lime juice
  • ¼ tsp grated ginger
  1. In a shallow dish, place 10 bamboo sticks in warm water and leave to soak 20 minutes
  2. Mix up sauce and reserve ¼ cup for the peanut sauce side
  3. Slice thighs ¾ inch strips and add to marinade
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours
  5. Using bamboo skewers, lace chicken until you have about a 3 inch length
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake chicken approx. 15 minutes.
  7. Turn on broiler and place chicken close to broiler for the last 5 or so to brown
  8. While the chicken is cooking ,add reserve marinade in pot and heat
  9. Add peanut butter and seasoning
  10. Add water if too thick and serve warm
  11. Place cucumber salad on the base or side with skewers and sauce



Gluten free lemon squares

If your looking for something citrus to go with tea when the guests come over, this is an easy and tasty treat. They’re quick to make and  keep well on the counter. You can also sprinkle a little toasted coconut on top to add some texture.

Gluten free lemon squares
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Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: gluten free
Serves: 4
  • Crust:
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ¼ white sugar
  • 4 TBLS melted butter or coconut oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Curd:
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 TBLS white rice flour
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray 8x8 inch pan with spray pam
  3. Mix almond and flour together with salt and sugar
  4. Add melted butter or oil and mix with hands
  5. Press into base of pan
  6. Bake for 10 mins and remove from oven
  7. While baking ,whisk together eggs with lemon juice zest, sugar, baking powder and salt
  8. Pour mixture over crust and baking another 20 minutes
  9. Remove from oven and let cool 10 min. before carefully removing from pan
  10. Cut into squares and sprinkle with icing sugar once cooled .



Gluten free salmon cakes

I’ve loved salmon cakes since I was a kid. They’re quick to make and with a few ingredients around the house, always great for the last minute dinner. My son thinks they’re great , too as long as the capers are omitted so it’s up to you.

Gluten free salmon cakes
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Recipe type: dinner
Serves: 4
  • 1 210 oz can sockeye salmon
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • 2 cups grated potato ( 2-3 medium potatoes)
  • 1 TBLS dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp salt and pepper
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 grated carrot
  • ¼ cup capers
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • toasted sesame oil
  1. Empty tin with juice into bowl
  2. Add grated carrot, peas,eggs,mustard,flour ,baking powder,capers, 1 TBLS lemon juice and zest and seasoning and mix thoroughly
  3. Add grated potato and quickly mix (potatoes turn black so move quickly)
  4. Heat pan to medium high heat
  5. Add enough olive oil to coat pan and add large dollops (2 large TBLS) of salmon mix
  6. Once cakes look like their crispy and brown, flip to other side(approx. 5 minutes)
  7. Add a little sesame oil to flavor
  8. Spoon onto plate with paper towel to absorb grease
  9. Makes approx. 12 3 inch cakes
  10. Mustard sauce:
  11. /4 yogurt
  12. TBLS dijon mustard
  13. TBLS lemon juice
  14. TBLS capers
  15. Add a little water to thin out and serve over salmon cakes with a few chili flakes
  16. Serve with grilled broccoli or cabbage and soba noodles tossed with a little sesame oil



Caribbean black bean banana soup

Looking at my browning bananas in the corner that my son refuses to eat, I had to come up with something before they went into the compost. After freezing a few for later baking projects, I decided to use one in a black bean soup. I found this recipe online somewhere but have since modified it, increasing the seasoning and turning up the heat .

Caribbean black bean banana soup
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Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4
  • 4 cups cooked and rinsed black beans or 2 15 oz can of rinsed beans
  • I medium onion minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • one ripe banana mashed
  • 1 mango pealed and chopped into large chunks
  • 2½ tsp cumin
  • 1 TBLS grated fresh ginger
  • 1 TBLS tabasco
  • 1 tsp chilis
  • 3 cups chicken broth( or vegetable)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup minced red pepper for garnish
  • lime juice
  1. Put a dollop of olive oil and add chopped onions, garlic and 1 diced red pepper to a hot pot
  2. Cook until transparent
  3. Stir in black beans, cumin, grated ginger, mashed banana and chilis and hot sauce
  4. Add coconut milk and broth
  5. If too thick, add a bit more chicken stock
  6. Bring to a boil and reduce heat
  7. Simmer for 45 minutes
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste
  9. I like to add a lot of black pepper to give it some heat
  10. Using a stick blender give it a few pulses to blend a bit but not totally pureed
  11. Serve with a few diced red peppers and lime juice



Black eyed pea curry bean spread

I created this lovely spread after attempting to make a bean curry that my son would actually eat. Unfortunately, he didn’t like the madras spice I used so I decided to blend this up for an appetizer with a few crackers. Well, it seems to be a hit with the adults do that’s not a bad return. It’s a nice change from traditional tahini hummous and has a nutty flavour with the black eyed beans. Spread it on a cracker and enjoy!

Black eyed pea curry bean spread
Prep time
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Recipe type: appetizer
Serves: 4
  • ½ cup dried blacked eyed beans to soak
  • 1 medium onion
  • salt and pepper
  • yoghurt
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Madras curry powder
  1. Soak beans overnight and cook with water for at least one hour until tender and drain
  2. Alternatively, open one 19 oz can of black eyed beans and drain liquid
  3. Dice one medium onion and add to hot frying pan with a little oil
  4. Cook onions until have cooked to clear
  5. Add beans and 1 TBLS Madras curry powder
  6. Cook until onions are soft
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Set aside to cool
  9. Blend mixture in the blender until smooth
  10. Add 1 tsp lemon juice or squeeze juice of one lemon
  11. Add 1 TBLS yoghurt
  12. Add salt to taste and a little water if too thick
  13. Add a pinch of red chilis to spice it up



Gluten free lemon curd cheesecake

Decadence is the only word to describe this luscious dessert. I rarely eat cheesecake but after searching around, I was taken in by the lemon curd addition that would otherwise be an ordinary cheesecake. After modifying the crust to suite my gluten free needs and lightening the fat content as best as I could, I still found this cake to be extremely smooth, rich and satisfying. This was served with a lovely pot roast and really finished off the meal nicely.


Gluten free lemon curd cheesecake
Prep time
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Recipe type: gluten free dessert
Serves: 8
  • Lemon curd:
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBLS unsalted butter
  • Zest from one lemon
  • Crust:
  • 11/2 cups ground almond flour
  • 2 TBLS melted butter
  • ⅓ cup sugar if desired
  • Filling:
  • 3 8oz packages of light cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 9 - 91/2 inch spring form pan
  • Serve with warm blueberries, whipped cream and sliced almonds with a dash of nutmeg
  1. When making the curd, place a stainless steel bowl over a pot half full of water.
  2. Add zest, eggs, sugar and lemon juice and whisk up until smooth
  3. Turn stove to high and keep whisking until curd begins to thicken (5-10 min)
  4. Add butter and mix in until well blended
  5. Remove from heat and scrape into bowl and allow to cool completely
  6. For crust mix almond flour with 2 TBLS melted butter and mix well.
  7. Press into the base of pan
  8. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes and remove to cool completely
  9. Reduce oven to 300 degrees
  10. Beat together softened cream cheese and sugar in bowl until smooth( 2-3 minutes)
  11. Beat in sour cream and vanilla
  12. Pour ⅔ of cream mixture into crust, then spoon half of lemon curd and swirl into filling with a small knife(avoid crust to get crumbs in filling)
  13. Repeat with remaining filling and curd.
  14. Bake cheesecake until center trembles when pan gently shaken (1hour and 15 minutes)
  15. Cake center will continue to set once removed
  16. Cool completely 2 hours uncovered
  17. Then chill uncovered at least 4 hours
  18. Serve with warm blueberries and cream with a few sliced almonds
  19. Cheesecake can be made up to 2 days before serving (chilled loosely covered)



Black kale with parmesan and garlic

This easy salad truly represents winter as  kale and other root vegetables are still available and in season in the markets. This new variety of  black kale is tender and can be eaten fresh. Once you wash and cut the center vein away from each stalk, add lemon juice, garlic , grated parmesan with a little salt and pepper and you’ll be hooked. This is high in iron and my son even likes it now and again.


Black kale with parmesan and garlic
Recipe type: salad
  • Bunch of black kale
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • ½ cup gluten free crutons
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Wash and de-vein kale( cut out any of the thicker stalks from the leaves)
  2. Pat dry
  3. Cut or tear up kale into 2 inch squares
  4. Add ¼ cup parmesan
  5. Add a dollop of olive oil
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. Parmesan crisps:
  8. Put a piece of parchment onto and pan and sprinkle ¼ of parmesan as a thin layer
  9. Let melt at 350 degrees
  10. Once cool, break up parmesan into pieces and add to salad
  11. Add toasted seasoned gluten free crutons for a little extra crunch if you have them.



Gluten free meat lasagne

When you have many guests to feed during family gatherings, I find lasagne always comes in handy. Although there is some prep work with pre-making the meat sauce,  using oven ready gluten free noodles saves time and fuss and I find the results outstanding. This recipe is easy to make and always delicious. If you make the meat sauce the night before and let if rest overnight, I find the flavours are even better to assemble the next day.  If you have left over sauce, you can always freeze it and use for a spaghetti sauce another time. Remember to put a layer of sauce down first, then the oven ready brown rice noodles followed by meat sauce, gluten free bechemal and prewashed spinach. Keep going until you run out of noodles. Make sure the noodles are completely covered in sauce or they will burn. I like to finish with a top layer of meat sauce, bechemal and a layer of mozzarella. Cover loosely with foil and place in center rack of preheated oven. If you have a big lasagne pan like I do, it takes a good hour for the noodles to cook through. Near the end, you can remove the foil and leave in another 15 or 20 minutes so the top is nicely browned. This tastes even better the next day to reheat.





Gluten free meat lasagne
Prep time
Cook time
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Serves: 6
  • 1 lb beef
  • 1 lb pork
  • 2 small diced onions
  • 6-10 cloves of garlic depending on your taste
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 TBLS dried basil
  • 1 TBLS thyme
  • 2 sticks diced celery
  • 2 large diced carrots
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Bechemel:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 TBLS brown rice flour
  • ½ cup grated cheddar
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • Prewashed dryed spinach
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  1. Add diced onions and garlic to a hot dutch oven or large pot with a little olive oil
  2. Add in diced carrots and celery and brown
  3. Add pork and beef and cook until browned
  4. Add basil, thyme,bay leaves and salt and pepper
  5. Add 1 28 fl oz san marzano tomatoes(if you can find them)
  6. Add 1 28 fl oz crushed tomotoes
  7. Simmer sauce for at least an hour until flavours blend.
  8. Season to taste and set on low
  9. Prepare bechemal as listed heating 2 cups of milk adding 2 TBLS brown rice flour
  10. Whisk until thickened
  11. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg or other seasonings to taste along with ¼ cup grated cheese until melted
  12. Set aside bechemal to cool
  13. Use a large lasagne pan that serves 6
  14. To prevent sticking to bottom of the pan, add a layer of sauce to the bottom of dish and then a layer of oven ready brown rice noodles
  15. Add another layer of sauce followed by a third of cream sauce poured evenly over
  16. Add a layer of spinach and repeat noodles, meat, sauce and spinach
  17. Depending on how deep your dish, you might just have room for another layer of noodles, then meat and sauce followed by the top layer of grated cheese
  18. Cover with foil and bake in middle rack at 400 degrees for 60 minutes.
  19. Remove foil about 25 min before ending so the top is browned nicely
  20. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes until serving.



Gluten free vegan birds nest cookies

During the xmas holidays, I did a little minor baking and decided to make up some of these delicious lovelies.  If you have ground flax seed on hand, they really work beautifully without eggs and no one will ever know they’re gluten free.


Gluten free vegan birds nest cookies
Prep time
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Recipe type: gluten free desserts
Serves: 4
  • 2 TBLS flax seeds
  • 6 TBLS warm water
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil or butter
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1.5 cups ground or finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup dessicated unsweetened shredded coconut
  • raspberry or strawberry jam to fill cookie centers
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grind or chop walnuts and set aside
  3. Put flax and warm water in cup and leave to gel about 5 minutes
  4. Cream butter and sugar together with a mixer and add flax mixture
  5. Add vanilla, flour and salt and mix with hands
  6. Add in walnuts until well mixed
  7. Roll into 2 inch balls and roll in coconut until well covered and place on cookie sheet
  8. Push down center of each cookie with a wet finger creating a nest
  9. Add a little jam to each center
  10. Put cookies in preheated oven and bake 12 minutes
  11. Remove from oven and leave to rest until cool
  12. These cookies are very delicate when warm and need to be completely cool before removing from the pan.