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Book Review: ‘The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook’ by Judith Finlayson

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From nutty to sweet, gluten-free whole grains are simply delicious and surprisingly tasty.

Whole grains offer a wide variety of health benefits, and are also incredibly delicious. We also know that more and more people are looking for gluten-free alternatives. That’s where The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook fits in perfectly. The recipes in this cookbook feature amaranth, buckwheat, corn, Job’s tears, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, sorghum, teff and wild rice. The diversity in grains offered in these recipes is healthy and will help you feel full too.

This full-color book has a wealth of health information on all these grains, and color photographs of each grain are included for easy identification – yes, that was helpful. If you were wondering how to have great taste and be gluten-free, this book is proof that they are not mutually exclusive.

Judith Finlayson offers 125 delicious whole grain recipes, completely gluten-free, to help you get started with a whole grain eating routine. The recipes have influences from all over the world, and the recipes are simple enough that you may find yourself including a bigger variety of whole grains into your diet.

Here are two recipes to get you started.

Kasha and Beet Salad with Celery and Feta (page 92)
I love the robust flavors of this hearty salad. Beets, parsley and feta are the perfect balance for assertive buckwheat. It’s a great combination and a wonderful buffet dish.

Buckwheat groats that are already toasted are known as kasha. If you prefer a milder buckwheat flavor, use groats rather than kasha in this dish. Just place them in a dry skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until they are nicely fragrant, about 4 minutes. In the process they will darken from a light shade of sand to one with a hint of brown. Groats you toast yourself have a milder flavor than store-bought kasha.

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock     500 mL
2 cloves garlic, minced    2
1 cup kasha or buckwheat groats (see Tip)    250 mL

1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar    60 mL
1 tsp  Dijon mustard     5 mL
1⁄2 tsp  salt    2 mL
1⁄2 tsp freshly ground black pepper    2 mL
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil    45 mL
2 cups diced peeled cooked beets    500 mL
4 stalks celery, diced    4
6  green onions, white part only, thinly     6
1⁄2 cup finely chopped parsley    125 mL
3 oz crumbled feta cheese    90 g

1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring stock and garlic to a boil. Gradually add kasha, stirring constantly to prevent clumping. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and kasha is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Fluff up with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl and let cool slightly.
2.  Dressing: In a small bowl, combine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper, stirring until salt dissolves. Gradually whisk in olive oil until blended. Add to kasha and toss well.
3.    Add beets, celery and green onions to kasha and toss again. Chill until ready to serve. Just before serving, garnish with parsley and sprinkle feta over top.

Makes 6 to 8 side servings

Excerpted from The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook by Judith Finlayson © 2013 Robert Rose Inc May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Red Beans and Red Rice (GF & Vegan Friendly) page 178

From: The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook

“Here’s a fresh twist on the classic Southern dish of red beans and rice. Bulked up with muscular red rice, this is very hearty — with the addition of salad, it’s a meal in itself. It is particularly tasty as an accompaniment to roast chicken or pork, or pork chops or a platter of roasted vegetables,” says author of The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook, Judith Finlayson. Serves 8


1 tbsp olive oil 15 mL
1 onion, finely chopped 1
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced 1
4 stalks celery, diced 4
4 cloves garlic, minced 4
1 tsp dried thyme leaves 5 mL
1⁄2 tsp salt (see Tips) 2 mL
1⁄2 tsp cracked black peppercorns 2 mL
1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper 1 mL
1 cup Wehani or Camargue red rice, rinsed and drained 250 mL
2 cups water (or reduced-sodium chicken stock if not vegan) (see Tips) 500 mL
2 cups drained, rinsed cooked or canned red beans (see Tips) 500 mL
2 cups drained, rinsed cooked or canned red beans (see Tips) 500 mL
2 cups cooked green peas 500 mL


  1. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic and cook, stirring, until pepper is softened, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, salt, peppercorns and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  2. Add rice and toss to coat. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until rice is tender and most of the water is absorbed, about 1 hour. Stir in beans and peas and cook, covered, until heated through, about 10 minutes.


If you’re using chicken stock to cook the rice, you may not need the added salt.

Notes – When using any canned product, such as chicken stock or beans, check the label to make sure ingredients containing gluten have not been added.

Notes – You can cook your own beans or use 1 can (14 to 19 oz/398 to 540 mL) no-salt-added red kidney or small red beans, drained and rinsed.

Excerpted from The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook by Judith Finlayson © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca May not be reprinted without publisher permission.


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