I have been trying to think of creative dishes to make for my family that are gluten free, dairy free and egg free. Something that is wonderful to have discovered is the wealth of GF flours out there – my favorites being coconut flour and almond flour. The coconut flour has a great taste, but it doesn’t substitute well for all-purpose flour – something in how it mixes and stuff. I dunno, I’m not a baker. Almond flour does much better. Garbanzo flour works better, as does Buckwheat flour, but they both have strong tastes. Bob’s Red Mill has a huge selection.
That said, the trick has always been how to get it to bind – for example when breading chicken breast with it. Eggs work like magic, but I am trying to avoid them in my cooking due to some allergies I’m working around (not for me, but one of the people I’m cooking for). I’ve learned of flax eggs, and have tried those. They’re great, but don’t see to work with breading. Why? Unlike an egg, flax eggs don’t solidify when heated. They’re more like gluey stuff than anything.
So, this recipe came together almost by accident, but it’s fantastic, and I have to share it. It was my attempt at making zucchini latkes (since potatoes are out for me and my wife’s diet, and I’d rather give my son something more nutritious than white starch). I made the mixture below, tried to fry it but failed. What I came up with instead is so much better than the latkes would have been. My mistake is your benefit…and my wife’s, who loves this stuff.
- 4-6 zucchini (I prefer organic), peeled and grated, then pressed in a strainer to get as much water out as possible – the more the better
- 2 flax eggs (each egg is: grind 1 table spoon of flax seeds and add 1 table spoon of water, stir, let sit and thicken, stirring occasionally – don’t hesitate to add a touch more water until it has almost (but slightly thicker) the consistency of a raw, beaten egg)
- 1-2 tablespoons of minced garlic – go with your taste preference
- 1-1.5 cups of almond flour (the amount will depend on how much zucchini you use, and how wet it is)
- Seasoning to taste per your preference (I used turmeric and sea salt, chopped cilantro, and would also throw in a touch of cayenne if this was just for me and not my wife and 4 year old)
- Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, really working it through with your hands so there are no areas of flour or flax egg bunched up, nor any zucchini left out of getting coated
- Spread onto a cookie sheet with some tin foil that you lightly coated with olive oil (this is healthier than using a Teflon coated cookie sheet, but do as you like); spread it so that it isn’t too thick across or high/deep, this will ensure it gets crisped throughout. A trick I figured out was to leave a gap in the middle so you get more ‘edges’.
- Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, and check on it.
- Keep baking until it’s got a nice brown color around the edges, and has started to get more golden throughout. This will vary by oven, cookie sheet, thickness of the spread, etc. The first time I made it, it took 20 minutes. The second time took 27.
- There’s no such thing as over or under cooked. You aren’t using raw egg, so there’s zero health risk to undercooking, so you’re really going for the level of crisp that you want. That said, crispier is better. If you like it less crispy, you’re wrong. Stick it back in and cook it longer. 🙂