by Andrea Sperling




I remember when I was a kid my mom ordered a Waldorf salad at a restaurant instead of her usual iceberg lettuce wedge with  Russian dressing. I tasted it and loved the crunchy mix of apples, celery and walnuts served on a bed of lettuce. The Waldorf salad was invented at the Waldorf Hotel in Manhattan (now the  Waldorf Astoria Hotel) in 1928, and it deserves a comeback.

I was recently working with my friend Barbara Goodman on a project and she served me a celery root remoulade for lunch, another seminal dish, which combines celeriac, also know as celery root,  with a mustard aioli.  It was so delicious that I was inspired to go home and make my own twist on the dish- a Waldorf celery root salad.

The classic Waldorf salad uses mayonnaise to hold it together, but I'm not a big fan of mayonnaise. For a lighter, fresher taste, I use Greek yogurt. It's a lovely gluten-free dish for fall and winter.



Serves 4-6

Don't be shy with the mustard here. Start small, see if you like it and if you want it to have a bit more of a tang, by all means add more. This dish is great served over escarole or lettuce as an appetizer, or as a side dish with fish.  Feel free to add some chiffonaded kale to the salad, too. Since the celeriac can turn brown, it needs to be acidulated right after it's shredded. You can peel the apple, or leave it unpeeled. I liked the unpeeled little pieces of lime green Granny Smith for color. Garnish with the walnuts and lemon thyme. If the thyme isn't available, use parsley. 


¼ cup walnuts

4 cups peeled and shredded celery root – about 1 large celery root

1 ½ teaspoons sea salt + 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

2 1/2 tablespoons organic plain Greek yogurt

1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

2 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme or parsley

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

1 Granny Smith apple,  cored and diced ( approximately 1 cup)

Salt, as needed

Freshly ground black pepper, as needed



Preheat the oven to 350.

Place the walnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet and toast  for about 8 minutes until lightly brown and fragrant, tossing frequently. Do not burn. Set aside. When cooled, roughly chop.

To prepare the celery root, cut off the top and bottom ends. Using a knife, cut down the sides the way you would cut a pineapple. Grate the celery root in a food processor or use a hand grater to shred. If you're not afraid of using a mandoline, like me, grate it into matchsticks.   Place the celery root in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 ½ tablespoons of the lemon juice so the celery root won't turn brown. Set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together the yogurt, mustard, apple cider vinegar, lemon and lemon zest and salt. Add fresh pepper to taste.

Combine the vinaigrette with the celery root. Toss well. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Before serving, add the diced apple, toasted walnuts and lemon thyme.



by Andrea Sperling



East meets Middle East in these black and white gluten-free sesame treats. East is gomasio, Japanese black toasted sesame salt, and Middle East is the tahini, unhulled white sesame seeds and pistachios.  I like these little snacks because they satisfy my craving for a dessert, but yet they're not cloyingly sweet like the peanut honey bars you find in a lot of Indian stores.

My daughter and I have eaten them for breakfast a few times when we're in a rush, too.  Between the sesame seeds, tahini and nuts, they have a lot of protein, calcium and fiber. They're also great for an afternoon snack.  Just check your teeth after you eat them, as the black and white sesame seeds can get stuck between your teeth.



Make sure you mix the almond butter and tahini mixture thoroughly with the dry ingredients so they don't fall apart.  Use a good quality almond butter - once,  I made them using almond butter from a jar and they weren't holding up as well as when I had the almonds freshly ground at the health food store.

You can make them without the gomasio and just add more sesame seeds. You can add rose water, dates, apricots or spice it up with cardamom. This recipe is just a starting point. Cut them into squares, diamonds or rectangles.



 1/2 cup raw cashew nuts

3/4  cups unsweetened dried coconut

1/3 cup organic almond butter

1/3 cup tahini

1/4 cup coconut sugar, sucanut or other organic sugar

1/2 cup raw honey, maple syrup or agave

1/2  teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1  cup raw white sesame seeds

1/2 cup gomasio

1/3 cup chopped pistachios

Optional: 1/3 cup chopped apricots, dates or golden raisins



Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Take an 8” x 8” baking pan and line it with a 8” x 10” piece of parchment paper. One inch will hang over on two sides and this will help you lift it out of the pan easier.

Spray some olive oil spray on the bottom of the parchment paper and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the cashews and coconut until they make a fine flour.

On the stove, heat the almond butter, tahini, coconut sugar, honey and vanilla until well mixed.

Don't overheat. Let it cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, combine the coarse sea salt, white sesame seeds, gomasio, flaxseed and pistachios.  Add the cashews and coconut mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed. If you're adding the dried fruits, add them here.

Pour the warm almond butter mixture in with the other ingredients, and with your hands thoroughly mix.

Press the mixture into the baking pan. Flatten it evenly with the bottom of a glass. Bake for approximately 15 minutes.

Refrigerate for several hours before you cut them.












by Andrea Sperling


I'm rehashing this blog post from my old blog about Marcella Hazen, who died recently. Her Chickpea Soup With Arborio Rice is still one of my favorites, and I will honor her memory by making it again this week. When I became gluten-free, it was comforting to know that I could still eat this hearty and easy to prepare chickpea soup.

Marcella Hazan is my Julia Child. I’ve cooked and eaten my way through much of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and learned, as they say in the musical  Nine, how to “Be Italian,” from this 1992 classic cookbook.

Ever the groupie, years ago I even went to see Ms. Hazan give a lecture at New York’s Metropolitan Museum, which goes to prove that cooking Italian food is a fine art. I remember a man in the audience asked her what her favorite recipe was for clams. She looked at him like he was crazy for asking such a question and said, “It depends what you’re in the mood for at the time,” an answer that only an Italian could give. It made perfect sense to me, even though I’m not Italian. (Although having been to Italy at least a dozen times, I like to think of myself as an honorary Italian).

I love this cookbook because as a home cook who grew up on Poptarts and canned vegetables, it taught me that if you respect your ingredients – the best meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, cheeses and herbs you can afford, there’s not a lot of fancy cooking you have to do.

Now that the weather is finally turned a bit colder, I went right to my Marcella Hazan bible and opened it to the Chickpea Soup with Arborio Rice recipe, which tastes almost like a risotto.  It’s one of our winter staples, with a salad and it will always be remembered as the recipe that got my daughter to become a fan of chickpeas, a good source of protein and manganese.  It’s a stick-to-your-ribs kind of dish that even Julia Child would love.


CHICKPEA SOUP  (from Marcella Hazan)

This is one of those really easy soups to make when there’s nothing to eat and you look through the pantry, and voila, there are all the ingredients. When I make this soup, I add a rind of parmesan cheese that’s usually in the refrigerator to act as a bone and give it some depth.

Serves 4 



4 whole garlic cloves, peeled

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed or a small sprig of fresh rosemary

2/3 cup canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up with their juices

¾ cup dried chickpeas, soaked and cooked or 2 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, drained 

1 cup homemade meat broth or 1 bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup water (I use a vegetable broth when I make it)




Put the garlic and olive oil in a pot that can subsequently accommodate all the ingredients and turn on the heat to medium.

Saute the garlic cloves until light brown, and then remove from the pan.

Add the crushed rosemary leaves or the sprig, stir, then put in the cut-up tomatoes with their juice.

Cook for about 20-25 minutes until the oil floats free from the tomatoes.

Add the drained chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.                                             

Add the broth or bouillon, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.                                                   

Puree about half of the soup. If soup is too thick, add a little more water or broth.

Taste and correct for salt. Add pepper.




The Chickpea Soup made from the preceding recipe

3 cups (or more) basic meat broth, or 2 bouillon cubes dissolved with 3 cups water. (I use vegetable broth)

1 cup rice, preferably Italian Arborio rice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil



Puree all but a quarter cupful of the chickpea soup with an immersion blender or use a food processor. Add the rest of the soup or the dissolved bouillon, and bring to a steady, but moderate boil.

Add the rice, stir, cover the pot, and cook, letting the soup bubble steadily, but moderately, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite. Check after about 10-12 minutes to see if more liquid is needed. If the soup is becoming too dense, add more homemade broth or water. When the rice is done, swirl in the olive oil, then taste and correct for salt. Let the soup settle for two or three minutes before serving.



by Andrea Sperling


I confess, I've had acid reflux (GERD) for years. Some health practitioners feel that a gluten-free diet helps reduce the symptoms of acid reflux, as does a diet without a lot of acidic foods, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, sugar and spicy foods.

If you're interested in food as medicine, one of the best remedies for acid reflux is miso soup. Miso has so many health properties – it's mineral rich,  antibacterial, high in antioxidants and it's alkaline. (Ladies, it's also good for hot flashes!)  I have a cup of miso broth many mornings when my throat is feeling sore from reflux, and it helps get me through the day.

At night, when I want to go all out, I'll make a big vegetable tofu miso soup.   It's just what the doctor ordered after I've been eating badly for awhile. I used to use barley miso in the winter, because with mushroom, it made such an earthy stock, but then I realized it wasn't gluten-free (duh, barley isn't gluten-free, so why would barley miso!), so now I use white, red or chickpea miso. I'll even mix them up. I add gluten-free rice vermicelli or mung bean thread noodles to the broth to make it more filling.  If you can find kelp noodles, they're a great gluten-free alternative to the rice noodles. If you're not gluten-free, try soba or udon noodles.

Do not boil the miso!  You should stir miso into a hot broth at the very end and take it off the flame. Boiling the miso destroys its healthy properties.



Serves 6

First,  make a vegetarian dashi with kombu. (You would use bonito flakes to make a non-veggie version). Kombu is a sea vegetable that is high in minerals and a good source of  iodine. Wakame is another delicious sea vegetable. Both are rich in antioxidants.

After you've made the dashi, the idea is to add whatever ingredients you want, and then add the miso at the end, right before you serve it.  (Since the miso paste is thick, it takes a while to dissolve in the dashi,  so it's a good idea to thin the miso in water first.)

You can use silken tofu or firm tofu, whatever your preference. You can substitute snow peas for the snap peas or add edamame or broccoli as your green. Bok choy would be wonderful, too.

Make the soup stronger, by adding more miso paste. A good rule of thumb is at least a tablespoon of miso per cup of water.  Some miso pastes are stronger than others so experiment and see what you like. In the warmer months, you might prefer a milder white miso. Also, the lighter the miso, the less salty it generally is. The lighter miso is  also less aged, so they will have less depth of flavor. You can even mix the white and red together. If you want to buy miso made from soybeans that are non-GMO, make sure you buy organically grown miso.

As a finishing touch, add a squirt of sesame oil, a handful of shiso leaves, scallions or cilantro. Be creative!


6 cups water

2-3 pieces  of kombu

¼ cup wakame, soaked 5 minutes

1/3 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water

2 small .5 oz packages of rice vermicelli

½ block firm tofu

1 cup savoy cabbage or napa cabbage, shredded

1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced

3/4-1 cup white miso paste (or more to taste)

Garnish with snap peas, diced on the diagonal

Optional: Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, gomasio, cilantro or shiso leaves

Optional: Squeeze of fresh lemon juice before serving

Optional: A squirt of toasted sesame oil



Boil the kombu in the water very slowly or soak overnight at room temperature. This will be your dashi stock.  Remove the kombu when finishing the preparation of the broth.

Soak 1/4 cup wakame in hot water for 15 minutes.

Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 15 mintues.

Soak the rice vermicelli or bean thread noodles in hot water for about 15-20 minutes.

Cut a ½ block of tofu and dice it into  one inch cubes.

Rinse the reconstituted wakame and chop. Set aside.

Chop the mushrooms. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring the dashi to a boil. Add the cabbage, carrot, ginger and simmer for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Add the wakame and mushrooms.

Put a spoonful of the miso into your bowl, add some of the broth and dissolve the miso, then add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl. Add the noodles (they will finish cooking in the hot broth), optional garnishes, and serve.


Source: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eating-Grac...


by Andrea Sperling

I don't really make desserts very often because they require too much precision and attention. But one thing I like to make are fruit crumbles or crisps, because you can improvise with whatever is in season and you don't have to follow a recipe too closely. They're a bit healthier than many other desserts, too.

Since this is a gluten-free version of a crumble, make sure you use gluten-free oatmeal. Oatmeal is naturally gluten-free, but since it's often processed in factories that process wheat and other grains, there can be cross-contamination.

Feel free to substitute blueberries or peaches for the cherries and apricots.



(Serves 4 to 6)



2 pounds apricots, pitted and sliced  

1 cup sweet cherries,  pitted          

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1 tablespoon arrowroot                                                                                            

½ teaspoon vanilla                                                                                                             

1 tablespoon lemon juice


1/2  cup almond meal        

1/4 cup oat flour      

3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats (not instant)          

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon      

Pinch of salt      

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces              

1/3 cup sliced almonds or walnuts



Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Butter a 1 ½ quart baking dish.

For the filling, combine apricots, cherries,  sugar,  arrowroot, vanilla and lemon juice in a large bowl. Toss to coat.

Place the filling in the prepared baking dish. Set aside.  

Meanwhile, make the topping. Mix the almond meal, flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl with a fork. Add the butter and using your fingertips, blend until it's coarse.   Add the nuts.    

 Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit mixture.

Bake, uncovered, until the fruit is bubbly and tender and the topping is lightly browned, 25 to 35 minutes. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.