Thursday, June 9, 2011

An easy and delicious Salad Nicoise

(note, this is not an Egg-free recipe, but simply omit the egg to turn it into one, and consider replacing with potato).

Until I decided to sound more sophisticated, my Salad Nicoise was just a simple "Tuna Salad". However, a simple tuna salad it's not. Tuna salad can be anything ie. Tuna mixed in with any ingredients you constitute as salad.

But the authentic Salad Nicoise, hailing from the gorgeous French Riviera town of Nice, has two base ingredients: tuna and anchovies. After that, the recipe calls for lettuce, green beans, potatoes, tomato wedges, and boiled egg. It's a devine and healthy salad any GF or DF person can enjoy.

I've ordered it a few times at restaurants and each time, I seem to eat a different version!

So, a few years ago, when I was living in Italy, hungry faced with very little in the pantry besides tuna, I whipped up my own version which I still make to this day. It's really a complete meal - full of protein and greens with a little good fat to complete the meal. Teamed with fresh, hot crusty GF bread (see my post "The Bread Moment" for my recommendation), you can enjoy it for lunch or dinner and feel totally satisfied.

Using only the yummiest tuna (don't be boring and buy tuna in Brine - that's a waste of tuna if you ask me), it's healthy, gets the mouth-watering, and it's ridiculously quick and easy to make.

So, here is Anna's Salad Nicoise (Italian version) - if that makes any sense!?


(Serves 2)

One large can of Sirena Tuna, or any other tuna in olive oil (a good oil, rich in essential fatty acids!)
Two large handfuls of green beans, topped and tailed
One large or two small cloves of garlic
Handful cherry tomatoes
Two small eggs, hard boiled (omit if you are egg-free, replace for potatoes?)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper


Hard-boil the eggs. My favourite method is to cover both eggs in cold water, bring to the boil, lower the heat to a rolling boil for eight minutes, then drain and immediately rinse with cold water. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, top and tail and wash the beans. Boil them in salted water until tender (usually until a fork is able to pierce through them).

Drain and allow to cool.

Wash then slice the cherry tomatoes in half or keep them whole, it depends how you prefer them.

Peel the garlic clove and cut into quarters.

Drain the tuna. Once cooled down, arrange the beans on a platter or dish, top with tomatoes and tuna, peeled eggs cut in quarters, and add garlic cloves. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Give a light toss. Add more or less oil and salt as desired.


I know it sounds weird that you'd drain the olive oil from the tuna then re-add your own, but I like the olive oil tuna because it's packed with flavour, however I then prefer to drizzle with my own olive oil because I love the freshness and flavour of a good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Also, watch out for the garlic. Don't eat it unless you want your breath to reek for the rest of the day. It's really there to give flavour to the salad.

Finally, I don't use potatoes in this salad. I find it's filling enough without the need for extra carbs.

Now, where's that tuna? :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My love affair with the legume


Ok, I'm not the biggest fans of legumes. Let's face it, they give you gas, they're not overly tasty unless doused with oil and seasoning, and god forbid you find rotting beans in the refrigerator. That counts for many moments where I've had to hold my nose, and breath.

But, this uber-tasty, hearty Lentil soup will make you love your legumes. In fact, you'll simply fall in love with them.

This Italian Lentil soup (called "Lenticcia") is everything a good winter soup should be - hearty, healthy, filling, and extremely flavoursome (not to mention, soooooooo easy to cook!). If you team it with gluten-free macaroni pasta or boiled rice, it's a complete meal.

I gave this recipe to a friend of mine about six years ago, and she tells me that her and hubby love it so much, that she makes it every week in winter!

Oh, don't forget to soak the lentils the night before.


500g packet of green or brown lentils (soaked in water the night before)
2 potatoes
2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
1/2 medium onion
1/4 can peeled tomatoes
olive oil
2 x small gluten-free chicken stock cubes or 1 large (Massel are gf)
Gluten free macaroni pasta or rice
salt and pepper


Strain your soaked lentils in a large colander and rinse thoroughly. Put them in a large pot, then fill the pot with water so it's 3/4 full (make sure the water covers the lentils more than enough).

Put the pot on high heat and while it's heating, chop all your vegetables (chop your veggies in large chunks), chop the celery and onion smaller and throw it all in.

Add about three peeled tomatoes, chop them up a little first.

Add about two tablespoons of olive oil, crumble in the chicken stock cubes, then add a good pinch of salt and a sprinkle of pepper.

Bring the soup to the boil, then reduce to a rolling boil and cook for 1.5 hours.

After about 20-30 mins, check for flavour and add more seasoning if necessary.

About 10-15 minutes before cooking time has ended, boil some macaroni pasta or rice and mix into each serve.

Finally, if you can eat dairy, a devine finishing touch is a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese. I'm not so lucky, but this soup is so good, I'm perfectly happy without it.

Also freezes well.

Enjoy! x