Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Gluten Free Sardine Salad -- by Valerie of City|Life|Eats

Today's guest post is from Valerie at City|Life|Eats, a wonderful gluten fee & casein free blog. Valerie is sharing a recipe for sardine salad which I'm really excited about because I'm actually a fan of sardines... and you should be too as they are so incredibly healthy for you!

I am so excited to be guest blogging for Carrie here at Ginger Lemon Girl.  My name is Valerie and I blog at City|Life|Eats about mindful living, allergy-friendly eats and city life.  I first discovered GLG last year, when I began to explore whether I had food intolerances (which my research had indicated might be the common denominator between several ongoing health issues I was dealing with) and was looking for tasty food-intolerance-friendly recipes to complement the new diet protocol my ND had put me on. I am so grateful for Carrie's upbeat tone, wonderful recipes, and how she is always introducing us to other great bloggers.  Through Carrie, I discovered Meghan Telpner, for example, which came in particularly handy when part of my dietary restrictions included switching to a lower-glycemic way of eating.

Fast-forward 15 months later, and I feel better than I ever have as an adult.  While I continue to work with my both my doctor and ND towards even better health, blogs like GLG have been a huge part of this adventure and provided with me with a sense of community.  I eat completely gluten-free and dairy-free (as gluten and dairy are my main two trigger foods) but I also avoid many other foods for various reasons, and generally eat a plant-based diet with the occasional addition of wild-caught fish or lean grass-fed meats.  I had been blogging for a couple of years about mindful living, green beauty, city life and yummy eats, so adjusted my blog to reflect my gluten-free, dairy-free recipes and I focused my food-related posts to be "food intolerance friendly."

Since Carrie recently wrote about the challenges of cooking fish, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite fool-proof approaches to eating fish: canned sardines.  They are sustainable, do not require cooking, and are inexpensive.  While I enjoy a nice piece of fresh wild-caught salmon, whether grilled or broiled, I do love the convenience of canned sardines. And yes, I agree, sardines can taste fishy.  

Today's recipe removes the fishiness out of the equation and adds lots of terrific fresh flavors and vegetables.  If you are trying to upgrade from a basic tuna and mayo sandwich, I hope you consider trying this sardine salad.  The avocado lends it delicious creaminess, making mayo unnecessary, and the lime juice is a perfect foil to the fishiness of sardines.  This sardine salad is delicious on gluten-free bread or crackers, but I also really enjoy it by scooping it with celery or carrot sticks.

Sardine Salad (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free)
Serves 1-2

1 can boneless, skinless sardines, drained
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro or basil (use what you have on hand)
Juice of two limes, separated
1 jalapeño chili, with stem, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
Pinch of sea salt
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced

Place sardines, carrots, celery, scallions, sundried tomatoes, herb of your choosing, jalapeño (if using), juice of one lime and salt in a bowl.  Mix bowl, breaking up the sardines into flakes.  Add avocado and taste to adjust seasoning. I usually add about half the juice of the second lime, but it is really up to you. If you are not serving immediately, you can make the recipe up to the addition of the avocado and have the salad sit for a couple of hours and even overnight in the refrigerator. Add the avocado immediately before serving.
Note: just as with any tuna fish salad recipe, feel free to swap ingredients or adjust ratios – if you like celery better, add more celery.  Swap diced red onion for the scallions. Add hot sauce.  Whatever makes you happy.

If you want to bring this salad to work for lunch: When I make this salad to bring to work, I add all the ingredients up to the avocado and only use the juice of one lime.  Then I bring this little kit you see in the picture immediately above, where I pack the sardine salad in one container and my celery and carrots in another, along with an avocado and a lime.  When I am ready to eat the salad at work, I cut the avocado and add it to the salad along with some freshly squeezed lime juice.  It makes for a delicious fresh-tasting lunch that transports you away from the office.

Valerie blogs City|Life|Eats about mindful living, allergy-friendly eats and city life.  In addition to cooking always gluten-free and dairy-free (and often vegan) recipes, Valerie loves exploring farmers’ markets, practicing yoga, and spending time with her husband and loved ones.  You can also find Valerie on Twitter @citylifeeats and Facebook.

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