Low-fat gluten-free dinner menu?
March 23, 2012 6:29 PM   Subscribe

I am cooking dinner for me and a friend on Tuesday. The friend used to be a chef, and I want to make her something she'll really enjoy. But there are two contraints that are making it hard for me to choose a menu.

1. I currently have to avoid fat as much as possible, due to gallstone issues.
2. She is gluten-free (sensitivity, not celiac; trace amounts and cross-contamination won't cause her issues, fortunately), and also doesn't really eat potatoes (sweet potatoes are okay).

I'm a pretty competent cook and happy to spend a few hours in the kitchen for this. Day-before prep is fine too. I'm looking for a hearty main course (it's getting cold here now, so I'm in the mood for wintery comfort foods) plus a dessert, and something to nibble on when she first arrives.

I don't want to have to use weird frankenfood ingredients or subsitutes that are likely to be hard to track down and that I won't use again (which is the sort of thing I'm seeing in recipes when I google "gluten-free low-fat desserts"). I'd rather make something that just doesn't have ingredients that would contain gluten or much fat naturally.

Please help me come up with something delicious!
posted by lollusc to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Risotto with vegetable stock instead of chicken fat could work. And asparagus-mushroom stir-fry on the side... maybe cold balsamic walnut-beet salad also.
posted by devymetal at 6:36 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dessert could be raspberry jam tarts made out of almond-meal crust.
posted by devymetal at 6:37 PM on March 23, 2012

Meringues would make a nice dessert. Maybe make little nests and fill with a scoop of sorbet.
posted by lakeroon at 6:38 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pavlova with fresh fruit on top is a great dessert that just happens to be low fat and gluten-free.
posted by donnagirl at 6:39 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

How about beef tenderloin with roasted vegetables?


Roasted chicken -- Since you need to avoid fat you can eat the breast meat without the skin.

desert: chocolate mouse or flourless chocolate cake. Not low fat but maybe you could have a sliver. Cake looks beautiful with a dusting of powdered sugar and a few raspberries in the middle.
posted by Fairchild at 6:53 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Spring rolls might make a tasty appetizer. These sound good. For the main course, roasted chicken and spaghetti squash?
posted by lakeroon at 6:53 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Chocolate sorbet might be a better choice
posted by Fairchild at 6:59 PM on March 23, 2012

Response by poster: There are some great ideas here already. A couple that wouldn't work: I don't think we can get spaghetti squash here - I've never seen it. And "just having a sliver" is not a realistic option when it comes to me and desserts :) Also, as a New Zealander, I think they would revoke my citizenship if I didn't put cream on a pavlova.

But I like the ideas of spring rolls (I'm thinking thai-style, not fried), the roast meat ideas (although that would make too much for two people - but I guess leftovers are good), meringue nests with fruit (I have no ice cream maker and almost no freezer space, so I don't think I could make sorbet. But I guess I could buy it), and just about everything that devymetal suggests. I want the menu to have some sort of cohesion, so I probably wouldn't combine spring rolls with a roast meat main, though.
posted by lollusc at 7:04 PM on March 23, 2012

Best answer: How about Vietnamese roast chicken (something like this for the main? Goes with spring rolls, you can get gluten free soy sauce for the glaze, and stick to the white meat to stay close to nonfat. Then dessert could be some variation on Vietnamese coffee with nonfat condensed milk?
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:25 PM on March 23, 2012 [6 favorites]

If you have access to an ice cream maker, and you can find decent pears, this recipe for pear sorbet comes out pretty amazing. If you can think of a low-gluten, low-fat ginger thing to serve it with, that would be good, but I'm drawing a blank there.
posted by aubilenon at 7:27 PM on March 23, 2012

Response by poster: Oh my god, fingersandtoes, that sounds amazing! It's more summery than I had in mind, but I might do it anyway. I've marked it as best answer because it's my top runner for now, but I'm open to other ideas still too.
posted by lollusc at 7:30 PM on March 23, 2012

If you're feeling Italian: Appetizer: homemade pesto (you can omit or greatly reduce the olive oil) spread on gluten-free rice crackers. Dessert: strawberries with zabaione.
posted by Lettuce_Leaves at 7:31 PM on March 23, 2012

maybe you could add a clear soup too and serve with rice to up the coziness factor? Or maybe consolidate the soup/chicken and do pho with rice noodles, you can offer with different meats if you want for varying fattiness?
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:37 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

This Spanish-style chick pea and spinach stew is amazing and delicious. Would work as a side or a first course too.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:07 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We will often make Greek-style kebabs that are lowfat and delicious. Marinate the chicken overnight in fat-free yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper, and mint. Skewer with your choice of summer squash, zucchini, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onion, chunks of bell pepper, and/or eggplant. Lightly brush with olive oil and grill or broil. On the side, serve Greek stewed green beans and tomatoes (cook them together with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, until soft) and rice pilaf made with chicken stock, diced carrots and peas, onion, and pine nuts or chopped walnuts.

For dessert, some grilled halloumi cheese (you can eat just a bit) and apricots, dates, figs, and honey.
posted by elizeh at 8:45 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

You could try making Korean Bingsu for dessert, I can't imagine a dessert too much lower in fat. You can skip the Pat (red bean paste) if you're not a fan, I'm not. And the little bits of rice cake are optional as well. But the combination of shaved ice, milk, fruit, and strawberry ice cream topping is pretty delicious.
posted by FakePalindrome at 8:48 PM on March 23, 2012

Oh I should mention, the wikipedia link mentions sweetened condensed milk, and that could add to the fat content. However, I've been in Korea for over a year and had bingsu more times than I can count, and it's always just been regular milk.
posted by FakePalindrome at 8:50 PM on March 23, 2012

If you can think of a low-gluten, low-fat ginger thing to serve it with, that would be good, but I'm drawing a blank there.

A simple ginger syrup is what you're looking for here. That is, a simple syrup, with coins of ginger added while the sugar is reducing, and then straining the ginger out. Let it cool before serving. Keeps for up to a week in the fridge.
posted by vitabellosi at 3:00 AM on March 24, 2012

How about a hearty hot Indian dish such as chana masala (chick peas in a spicy tomato sauce; can be served over rice for a no-gluten option) for dinner, and then kheer (using low-fat milk) for dessert?
posted by parrot_person at 6:05 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

An easy dessert is frozen banana "ice cream". Cut up a banana and freeze it, or freeze it and then cut it into chunks after, and then toss it in the blender. The consistency is surprisingly rich and creamy, just like good ice cream.
posted by Xianny at 7:55 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've had great success with the kind of banana ice cream Xianny suggests (and it won't take a lot of freezer space), but with two caveats: you need a pretty powerful blender for this and cutting the banana before freezing makes life a lot easier!
posted by Ms. Next at 11:22 AM on March 24, 2012

Response by poster: Mmm... I love that "ice cream" recipe, but last time I made it it killed my blender. So now I don't have a blender :(

I'm favouriting the chana masala recipe - I got really into cooking Indian food a few months back but all my favourites are too high fat for now, but that is a great looking low fat dish. I won't make it for my friend, though - she's a big meat-lover, so I think the roast chicken idea would be more appreciated. (The meat-lover issue is the reason why I hesitated on devymetal's risotto idea too, although it sounds great to me...)

I'm tossing up between the Vietnamese menu and the Greek (kebab) menu, and I think I'll decide based on what looks good at the market tomorrow.

Thanks, all!
posted by lollusc at 9:19 PM on March 24, 2012

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