The Food Philosopher: Gluten-Free Recipes, Health and Nutrition, Diet and Weight Loss


The Food Philosopher



Lighten Up

It's time to think about eating food that is rich in flavor but lighter than some of our traditional holiday fare. Our hearty vegetarian supper is a good place to start. We’ve put together a heady mix of crunchy fresh vegetables, creamy chickpeas and tofu, fragrant lentils, and pungent, ripe cheeses with fruit. Our luscious angel–food cake is the perfect way to end the meal on a sweet, light note. This gustatory repast will fill you up with vitamins, protein, calcium, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and isoflavones, and your taste buds will love all the attention. Why wait? Invite over some friends and start cooking!

Hummus Tofu Dip with Fresh Vegetables

Lentil Soup and Crusty Bread or Corn Muffins

Select Artisinal Cheese, Pear, Grapes, and Pressed Fig Cake

Gluten–Free Angel Food Cake

Chamomile Tea


Our hummus tofu dip can be made in minutes right before you serve it, or up to two days ahead. We like to set it out along with a big platter of colorful cut–up vegetables: slices of red, yellow, and orange bell peppers; baby carrots; chunks of celery; green beans; snap peas; and slices of jicama. You can also make a more formal presentation by filling individual endive leaves and slices of cucumber with the dip and then topping each with tiny pieces of red or yellow tomato.

When you’re ready for the main course, dish up steamy bowls of lentil soup and surprise yourself with how satisfying a bowl of beans can be. It is chock–full of tender lentils, vegetables, and savory seasonings. A slice of hot, crusty bread or a warm, just–out–of–the–oven corn muffin is a perfect accompaniment.

Bring out a plate of special artisinal cheeses after the soup. Try a flavorful semi–hard Manchego (or another of the delicious Spanish cheeses featured in your store), a creamy St. André, a pungent Maytag Blue, a well–aged extra sharp cheddar, and a favorite goat cheese. Or mix together some old favorites with a few you’ve never had. Make sure you take them out several hours before you plan on eating and let them soften and ripen up a bit. Serve a few small pieces of cheese with slices of ripe pear, small clusters of grapes, and a sliver of pressed fig cake (often sold in fine cheese departments). If you haven’t indulged up to this point, this is the perfect course to pair with a glass of wine. Don't worry about red or white. Just relax and pour what you like.

You can always make a grand entrance when you’re carrying an angel–food cake. It can make even the humblest of meals seem special. We count on it to bring smiles and requests for second helpings. You can make this cake early in the day or the day before you serve it. Our simple recipe tastes so fresh it is hard to resist squishing a slice in your hands and then popping it in your mouth. The cake melts deliciously on contact with your tongue. Top it off with a warm cup of chamomile tea and enjoy the moment.

Featured Menu Archive


Yields 3 cups

1½ tablespoons cumin seeds
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
12 ounces soft tofu, drained
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus additional for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper

  1. In a dry, small, heavy skillet, toast cumin seeds over moderate heat, shaking pan, until seeds are a shade darker and transfer to a plate to cool.
  2. In a food processor, purée garlic, chickpeas, tofu, cumin seeds, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of oil until smooth.
  3. Stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle dip with remaining tablespoon oil and garnish with parsley.
  4. Serve dip with pita bread, crackers, or cut vegetables.


© 2005 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts



4–6 Servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green pepper
½ cup chopped red pepper
½ cup minced celery
½ cup diced carrots
1 tablespoon sugar

3 cups dried lentils, rinsed
7 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
2 teaspoons salt

1½ cups diced canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons dry red wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced

  1. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium–high heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add green and red pepper, celery, and carrots. Sauté for 5 more minutes over medium heat.
  2. Turn heat to high and add sugar. Stir continuously for 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
  3. In same stockpot, add lentils, stock, and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour.
  4. Uncover and add vegetables, tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, and spices. Bring to boil and then continue to simmer covered, over low heat for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Soup can be prepared up to two days in advance. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Warm over medium–high heat.


© 2005 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts


Food Philosopher’s® Gluten–Free



Yields 9 muffins
or 1 8–inch round bread

1 cup corn meal
1 cup brown rice flour mix*
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ cup sugar
3½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup canola oil
1 cup milk minus 1 tablespoon
1 egg, well–beaten
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Baking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray muffin pan or 8–inch round cake pan with baking spray.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl.
  3. Combine oil, milk, egg, and vanilla in another small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry and gently stir to combine. Do not over–mix. Pour batter into muffin pan or 8–inch round cake pan.
  4. Bake 18 minutes for muffins or 23 minutes for bread. Remove from pan and serve immediately. Store in refrigerator.

Cook’s note: dry and wet ingredients can be prepped and held separately. Do not mix together until just before ready to bake.

*see “Gluten–Free Flour Mixes” in our Recipe Archive

© 2002 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts


Food Philosopher’s® Gluten–Free


Yields one 10–inch cake

1¼ cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup brown rice flour mix sifted 3 times before measuring*
1½ cups egg whites, at room temperature (about 12 egg whites)
1½ teaspoons cream of tartar
½ teaspoon guar gum (or xanthan gum if guar gum unavailable)
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Position rack on second shelf from bottom. Have ready a clean 10–inch tube pan with a removable bottom.
  2. Combine and then sift confectioners' sugar, flour, and guar gum into a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla, and almond extract in large bowl of electric mixer. Start mixer at medium speed and beat until whites are foamy. Gradually increase speed to high. Add sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until sugar dissolves and whites form stiff peaks. Do not scrape bowl while beating.
  4. Fold in flour mixture in three additions using a rubber spatula. Pour into ungreased 10–inch tube pan. Use the spatula to break any air bubbles and smooth the batter.
  5. Place cake in oven and turn down oven temperature to 375°F. Bake about 35 minutes or until top of cake springs back when lightly touched with finger and any cracks on surface look dry.
  6. Invert cake in pan on funnel or narrow–necked bottle (an empty wine bottle is perfect for this); cool completely. Loosen cake with sharp knife and remove from pan onto a plate. Store covered in the refrigerator.

*See “Gluten–Free Flour Mixes” in our Recipe Archive


© 2005 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts