I’ve been a little MIA from A Big Mouthful lately. No excuses, but I wanted to fill you in on what I’ve been doing lately.
Earlier this year, I launched Tacoma Foodie, my other blog.
Yes, there’s someone else. I’m not normally a cheater, but this is an exception.
Tacoma Foodie is my local restaurant blog where I cover all things food in my hometown of Tacoma, WA.
So there. I’m far from done with A Big Mouthful. I’ve just added a new member of the blog family. She’s been birthed and I’m back.
Also, I’ve recently gone pretty much gluten free.
What’s that you say? I’m a food writer, and how can I possibly be gluten free? To be honest, I haven’t quite figured it out yet. I’ve been eating this way since the beginning of the year, and I’m still adjusting, tweaking and getting used to this whole thing. I still occasionally eat glutinous foods when my restaurant writing job requires it. But the rest of the time, I avoid it as much as possible.
Why am I doing this?! I love bread, pasta and pizza! have I completely lost my mind?
No, I haven’t. Not yet at least. Back in December I was having some mysterious health problems that weren’t resolving themselves with medical intervention, so I decided to take things in my own hands. I was feeling tired and just generally sick (without going into all the details). I don’t think I have Celiac disease, but I do think I have a gluten intolerance. There’s a whole host of research and information you can find out about these things on the internet. It’s confusing. I’m still not sure I understand it all. But I’m trying to listen to my body and figure it out along the way.
Three months later, I have more energy and feel a million times better when I’m not eating gluten. It isn’t always easy. I have to plan ahead much more so I have something to eat at work for lunch. Gluten is in practically everything. You don’t realize it until you watch out for it. Really, go check the labels on foods in your pantry. Gluten everywhere.
This has led to less processed foods, more cooking and most importantly, more fruits and vegetables in my diet. I ate a lot of them before, but now they’ve really become the center of what I eat. Sure, there are good gluten free substitutions for pizza, bread and pasta, and I am eating a good amount of those — but I’m trying to focus more on the naturally gluten free side rather than the gluten free substitutions.
And that’s how this amazingly flavorful salad came about. Gluten free or not, eat this and it makes you feel amazing. Clean, fresh and zippy.
So far, so good.
Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
Makes 4-6 generous servings
1 English cucumber, diced into 1-inch pieces
2 large roma tomatoes, seeds removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
small handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
small bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
zest and juice of one large lemon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
In a large bowl, add the cucumber, tomato, chickpeas, parsley and chives. Mix gently to combine.
In a small bowl, mix together the lemon zest and juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over vegetable mixture and stir gently to coat.
Add the crumbled feta, stir gently to combine and taste for seasoning. Serve at room temperature.
Note: This salad can be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Keep the cut vegetables in a separate container from the dressing, and do not add the feta. When you’re ready to serve, mix it all together and add the feta cheese.