Friday, March 6, 2009

Great Gluten-Free Wraps


I like food. I love the contrasting colors, pungent flavors, and good feelings that come from it. And eating these naturally delicious whole foods is really just as wonderful when eating gluten-free.

For those of you who have just begun this process of switching your diet to its new gluten-free form I offer you these suggestions for making wrap style sandwiches work with gluten-free tortillas.

I know it can be frustrating to make a wrap with a cold, and somewhat dry brown rice tortilla only to look away for a second and find the whole thing in pieces. Think about it though, what happens to rice when you put it in the refrigerator? It becomes dry and hard, right? And to make it edible you heat it up with a little water?

This holds true for using rice tortillas also. For best results steam them, in a steamer basket or over a pan of piping hot food. Flip them, and wait until they get ultra pliable before removing and proceeding with your wrap or fajita or whatever your meal may be.

But I digress, I was in a hurry when I made these wraps and did not steam them long enough. And so, inevitably, they began to crack apart like you see happening in the top wrap in the photo above.

Another trick is to run a clean dish towel under very hot water, ring it out, and place it underneath the tortilla while you are putting the filling in.


Alright, so on the the wrap. The flavor combinations are unusual I know -- arugula, cauliflower, onions, roasted red peppers -- but the contrasting pungent flavors are truly delicious. Each bite is as savory as the last. And for me, maybe one wrap wasn't enough for this hungry breastfeeding mama of twin boys! Yes, I admit, I had two they were so good.

Roasting your own red peppers is super easy, it only takes about 10 minutes. And if you think you don't have time, just know I made these wraps along with a big pot of creamy (dairy-free) potato soup with four kids at my feet and Tom out of town for the day (and evening). It is a quick and easy meal as long as you have beans that are already cooked. I had a container in the freezer but canned beans would work too. Once it is made you will have tasty meals or snacks for days to come. I know for our family, having already-made bean spreads is indispensable.

If a roasted red pepper spread doesn't peek your interest then try our tasty, simple Hummus recipe.


Roasted Cauliflower and Arugula Wraps with Red Pepper Chickpea Spread

Roasted Red Pepper Spread:1 ½ red bell peppers, roasted *see instructions below
2 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
4 tablespoons almond butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic
1 to 2 teaspoons Herbamare or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Roasted Cauliflower:
2 tablespoons or so extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, cut into chunks
fresh cauliflower, cut into pieces
sea salt


Other Ingredients:
fresh arugula or any fresh organic green
brown rice tortillas (steamed and still warm)

To roast bell peppers: Place 2 or 3 peppers on a baking sheet under the broiler until the skin is charred, turning frequently, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove peppers from pan and place them into a paper bag or a covered glass bowl, let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Remove peppers and peel off charred skin. Cut peppers and remove the seeds.

To make the spread: Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or garlic if needed. *Note: if you are nut-free or have toddlers who are not yet eating nuts then you can replace the almond butter with sunflower seed butter or pumpkin seed butter (this one won't produce a color that is as lovely as the one pictured though). For toddlers, just take some of the spread out before you add the almond butter and stir in one of the above mentioned seed butters.

To roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place onions and cauliflower pieces on a baking sheet and toss in olive oil. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Roast for about 15 minutes.

To assemble the wrap: Steam and warm the tortillas like we talked about above. Spread with red pepper spread, add veggies and arugula, roll, slice in half, enjoy!

We would like to hear what other ideas for wraps you might have. Please share what you like best. Thanks and Happy Cooking!


26 comments:

  1. These look super yummy! I think I'll give them a go with the hummus. Any good ideas for wraps with avocado? On another note, do you have a good carrot cake recipe up your sleeve? I've really been craving that lately.
    Thanks!

    -Jenny

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ali--Those are just beautiful! I knew about the steaming idea for tortillas, but had not read the dish towel method. So easy.

    Do you make your own almond butter or purchase that? I actually went to an upscale grocery while in Richmond today (over an hour away from me). I bought some almond milk to try. The red pepper spread appears to be similar to red pepper hummus, which I like very much.

    All the ingredients look wonderful. I love the roasted veggies for filling, too. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. My mouth is absolutely watering!!! I still love the tip you gave us about sauteing two of these tortillas in a little coconut oil, with a bean dip or beans and yams in between, and cutting them with a pizza cutter into triangles-we have those at least 2x/month! (who needs cheese?) Actually, this might be simpler than what we used to do, some times I top them with sliced avo :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jenny - You know I usually put some sliced avocado into just about every kind of wrap. I don't think you can go wrong with it. Yes I do have a carrot cupcake recipe that I recently created, not sure if I am gong to post it to the blog though. I can't give away all of my recipes - need to save them for the next book!

    Shirley - I buy raw, organic almond butter from the co-op. Thanks for your feedback!

    Jenna - Glad you shared this idea here. This is great for kids who may have trouble holding a wrap. I make them a lot for my kids with smashed black beans - they like to dip them in salsa.

    -Ali :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Steaming the tortillas first? Duh, why didn't I think of that! Great idea as they are hard to work with. Have you used rice paper to make wraps? Like spring roll type things? Those work well for a lighter wrap.

    Every time I come to your blog I want to take a few of those luscious looking blueberries you're offering your readers. They're gorgeous!

    :-)

    Melissa

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for this tasty idea Ali!
    I have never cooked/eaten any kind of beans before... in fear of not being able to digest them. I feel like I am at a place where I could try a small amount now. So please forgive the silly question, but how do you cook the chickpeas? Do you have any recommendations for the best way to prepare them to make them the most digestible? Do you think soaking them overnight may help?
    Also, do you buy canned or the dry bulk beans?
    Hope that's not too many questions :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am quite impressed that I can cook a lot of yummy food from scratch with one child under foot. Having four "helpers" is just mighty impressive.

    What's your rhythm for the week/month when it comes to meal planning? (Getting the beans soaked/cooked, making the bread, soaking the nuts, etc...). I feel like I spend more time cleaning the kitchen than I do actually cooking!

    Steaming the tortillas is a great idea. I've wondered what to do to perk up those rice tortillas. We might try making a wrap. Though like another person commented, bean, yams and greens are a current favorite now.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have never thought to steam the wraps. What a great solution!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This looks good. I'd like to take a bite of them right now! I appreciate the tips you give for the tortillas. Sometimes we heat them in the oven, then break into pieces and use in place of tortilla chips - much healthier! Bean spreads are a staple in our house also, the red pepper one here looks good, I'll give it a try next week.

    ReplyDelete
  10. These look yummy-I'm glad I signed up for your weekly recipes!
    One of my favorite GF kitchen items is my electric tortilla maker. It is great for quickly steam heating the pre-made rice or teff tortillas as well as cooking them from scratch. I usually have a bag of Chebe bread mix in the pantry, which makes decent flat bread in a hurry. I like to add a bit of Montina or pumpkin seed flour to make it a bit more nutritious. If you leave them in a longer, you can make crackers without heating up the whole house.

    ReplyDelete
  11. First, I want to say thank you for all of the wonderful recipes! You've made living with my allergies and sensitivities much easier and tastier!
    I was wondering if you have any ideas for substituting the beans in the spread. I'm allergic to all beans except for pinto, but would really like to find a good spread. I can't eat peanuts or any tree nuts either, so those butters are out. I would appreciate any ideas!
    ~Sophie

    ReplyDelete
  12. Alright the kids are all asleep now so I can answer your comments (and Tom is doing the dishes).

    Melissa - I do use rice paper to make spring rolls occasionally. But I had not thought of using them for a lighter wrap - thanks for the tip!

    CoconutGal - Great questions! Yes I buy the bulk dry beans, but we also usually like to have a few cans of beans on hand for those super busy days. To make beans digestible I soak mine overnight or begin soaking first thing in the morning so you can cook them in the evening. If you add a strip of kombu seaweed it will help to break down the indigestible sugars in the beans while they are cooking. Also, removing the foam that rises to the top of the pot during cooking helps too. Let me know if you have any more questions. Hope they work for you.

    Jennifer L. - Yes they can be helpers sometimes. Grace loves to do dishes and Lily helps by clearing off art projects from the table and setting it for everyone. She is not into cooking as much as she used to be. The boys play with each other by running laps around the house giggling with delight. They don't like to be in an ergo carrier unless they are tired now. Currently I don't have a good rhythm for everything, when I think of it I will start soaking a big bowl of beans or two and cook them in the morning. Then I like to freeze at least half of each pot in small containers. Making bread? I do this occasionally, but bread just isn't a staple in our house anymore. And yes there is always lots of cleaning in the kitchen to be done - usually happens after we get the kids in bed.

    meghantelpnerblog.com - Thanks, glad you stopped by.

    David D. - Your idea for making tortilla chips sounds great! Thanks for sharing.

    Tracey - Where did you find your tortilla maker? I need to look into getting one. I would much rather make our own. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!

    Anon - First, you are very welcome! And second, I will need to think about your question and hopefully come up with a recipe to post to the blog. So look for a yummy bean-free and nut-free spread in the future.

    Thanks! -Ali :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I bought my VillaWare tortilla maker on Amazon a few months ago. I purchased another brand on Amazon(can't remember the name) about 4 years ago, and it jsut stopped working this summer. They were both around $25.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tracey - Thanks for sharing the brand name and where you purchased it, I will look into now.

    -Ali :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ali thanks so much for the tips!
    Does the soaking with kombu seaweed work well for all beans or just chickpeas? Also, will there be instructions for cooking the bulk bins at the store or do you basically boil in water till tender?
    Are all beans pretty similar in flavor? Any favorites I should try?
    I appreciate your advice! :-D

    ReplyDelete
  16. CoconutGal - Here is how to do it:

    1. Add two or so cups of chickpeas to a large bowl, rinse them well with water. Drain. Then fill the bowl with water to cover with at least 2 inches of water above the beans. Let soak for at least 8 hours.

    2. Drain the beans in a colander. Place the beans into a large pot (6 to 8 quart) and cover with water a few inches above the beans. Add one 3-inch strip of kombu seaweed.

    3. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer (just about med-low on my stove). Cook for about 1 to 1.5 hours or until beans are tender and not opaque in the center. Test a few beans for doneness to make sure.

    Different beans require different cooking times. Also, some beans don't require soaking. But in your case I would suggest soaking all of your beans.

    I am not sure if you have our cookbook; if you do, we have a bean cooking chart on page 143 that provides an easy reference for cooking times and directions for cooking beans.

    I love lentils - you may want to try those out too. We have a recipe for an easy lentil soup on this blog - the post is called "Lentil Soup in a Hurry."

    Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions.

    Thanks, Ali :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks so much for the red pepper dip recipe, we have been making it this week and it is yum! I just cut up raw cauliflower, carrots, and celery and put it out for the fam and it gets devoured in no time!

    ReplyDelete
  18. We also found that leaving them out in the sun for a short while makes them nice and pliable. We did this once when we went on a picnic, and we were able to roll them into a wrap quite easily!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love everything about these wraps. I finally got my husband to try roasted cauliflower and surprise, he liked it. Now I'll try and sneak it in one of these wraps with the chickpea spread. He may go for that. Just need a different wrap, no rice for me. Thank you for sharing this on Friday Foodie Fix too!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Ali,
    I've liked the idea of eating cauliflower throughout my whole life, but only now have I truly enjoyed it - thanks for the suggestion of roasting it! Wow - who knew it could taste so good! My daughter was in another part of the house when I put the cauliflower into the oven, and asked "What smells so good? Are you making toasted english muffins? Can I have some?" When I told her it was roasted cauliflower - she balked and said she hates cauliflower (she's 7). Considering how much she loved the smell - I have no doubts that one of these days (maybe the 10th time I roast cauliflower) she'll be gobbling it down :-)

    I'll definitely be trying the entire recipe for the wrap soon. It sounds so yummy! Maybe we'll try them (modified by omitting the roasted peppers, almond butter, and chickpeas - substitute adzuki beans or lentils and roasted carrots?) during Phase 1 of the Elimination Diet (we'll be starting this Friday).

    Many thanks for sharing all of your wonderful recipes and ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  21. What brand of wraps do you suggest? i can't find them in stores?! please help!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ali -- this wrap of yours is just my style (love the almond butter addition). I love your recipes! I just made roasted sweet potato, zucchini, cauliflower and broccoli tacos. We're on the same page with healthy fillings!
    Melissa
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  23. We've been having the greatest luck using Indian dosas as wraps. It's a really simple recipe - soak 2 C basmati rice (or two cups millet - my kids prefer millet!) and 1 C urad dal for 4 hours or more, rinse, then puree in blender with fresh water (I fill the blender with water up to the level of the rice/dal mix) until it's a smooth-ish paste. Then let it sit in warm place for 12 or more hours until it gets slightly bubbly with healthy fermentation (if it's very warm it might even froth over the side of the bowl). After this you can take a portion of the paste, mix it with a bit of salt, and spread it thinly in a lightly oiled skillet (I use grape seed oil) using a spoon. It will be easy to flip when it's cooked enough on the bottom (just like a pancake is). Drizzle a little oil on the top which helps to crisp up the still-cooking underside. When it looks lightly toasted on the underside it's ready to eat! You can fill with anything (Indians put in some yummy turmeric-y potatoes), and we like it best with smooshed avocado inside. Ah, I forgot to mention, the unused portion of the dosa paste can be refrigerated for 5 days. This is such a staple in our gluten free household, and so loved by the kids, and I love that it contains protein, unlike a plain rice wrap. I think this should go in your next cookbook (which, by the way, I can't wait for)!! Oh, also, in my dosa research on the internet (also sometimes spelled dosai and thosa/i), I have noticed that some Indian recipes use other kinds of soaked dals and beans, like chickpeas, so I think this is a pretty forgiving recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm so into roasted cauliflower right now and adding that into a wrap is a brilliant idea. I also love the tip about the wet dishtowel. That's a keeper!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I've had these several times now and think they are delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Another great recipe. So yummy. The flavors go so well together. Thanks for another great recipe. I'm slowly making my way through Nourishing Meals.

    ReplyDelete

.
.
Thanks for stopping by The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. We appreciate and value your feedback.

If you have a question about a particular recipe please leave your comment under that post. I will answer substitution questions as best as I can. Though if you alter a recipe, your feedback will help other readers who may have similar questions.

If you have a question on a particular product I use in my recipes, then please view the Links to Products We Use post for more information.

Comment moderation is in place. Your comment will be visible once we publish it.

Thanks, and as always, Happy Cooking! Ali & Tom