Meal plans, grocery lists and weekly cooking tips to cook in Vancouver for under $150 a week.

The Key to Liking Gluten-Free Food Is to Lie About It Recipe and Grocery List January 21 to 26

Eating gluten-free has hit the streets of Vancouver faster than the trend of Lululemon pants with high heels. Often, it’s equally infuriating. “Sorry, I don’t know if I can come for dinner, I eat gluten-free.” “Sorry, I’ll pass on a taste, I’m not doing gluten right now.” “You can only tell they’re Lululemon if you’re looking closely, and they make my butt look so good.”

Yes, I’m sure eating gluten-free is healthier. But if I put out gluten-free toast points instead of a plate of cornbread, biscuits and schnitzel buns (see picture above for this taunting platter) for friends over for the Sunday football games, I might as well bury my cooking reputation with Manti Te’O’s chances in the next draft.

This week, when I stopped mocking the “trend” for a minute, I realized I’ve been looking at it all wrong. The major error: using the search term “gluten-free.” It’s like looking up a recipe in a Weight Watchers forum – it doesn’t matter how delicious it sounds, it’ll always be framed by the thought of some woman holding her big jeans and talking about how her life has changed.

So, after learning what foods have gluten, I surprisingly only had to knock pasta, bread and soy sauce and off of the list of what I usually cook, and find recipes that don’t involve frying stuff in oil. What remains is basically everything else I normally cook, like rice, beans, meat, and vegetables. I’ve also learned some pre-packaged spice blends have gluten, but I usually put my own spices together, as it’s far cheaper than buying them pre-packaged.

So, this week, I’m not telling myself or anyone that I’m cooking gluten-free – because labels are for cans, not recipes.

Meal Plan 

Monday Thai-Flavoured Green Curry with Sweet Potato, Green Beans and Chicken

Tuesday Vinegar-Braised Chicken and Onions with Potato Puree (aka whipped potatoes with a 50:50 ratio of butter to potatoes)

Wednesday Gundi (Persian Chicken Meatball Soup)

Thursday Weeknight Pakistani Chicken Biryani  (using chicken in place of lamb)

Friday Easy Roast Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas

Saturday Chorizo and White Bean Stew on Rice

Grocery List and Where to Shop

I had to go to quite a few stores this week to get everything on the list. You could find everything if you just went to Kin’s, Whole Foods and Meinhardt’s if you’re not in the mood for the grocery store crawl.

Kin’s Farm Market

  • 2 oranges
  • 3lb bag yellow onions
  • 1 bag pearl onions
  • celery
  • box spinach
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 2 bunches green onions
  • 2lbs carrots
  • 1 package serrano peppers
  • 1 3″ piece ginger
  • 1lb green beans
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 4 Russet potatoes

Whole Foods

  • 2 cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cans coconut milk (Aroy-D brand has gluten, so use the Whole Foods brand, which is cheaper anyway)
  • 2 cans cannelini beans
  • 1 can navy beans
  • Swiss chard
  • collard greens
  • 1 package gluten-free chicken bouillon


  • chickpea flour
  • whole chicken
  • 2 sweet potatoes


  • black rice
  • chicken thighs
  • plain yogurt


  • ground turkey
  • balsamic vinegar
  • pancetta
  • 2 chorizos

Tips for the Week

  • Thai Green Curry with Green Beans: Make your own Green Curry Paste to add freshness, save some money, and know what’s really in it. It’ll add 5 minutes to an otherwise quick recipe.
  • Vinegar-Braised Chicken and Onions with Potato Puree: Don’t substitute regular onions for pearl onions here, or you’ll miss out on tonnes of flavour. Add some chopped collard greens to the recipe to get another vegetable in there. If you’re not in the mood for corrupting the healthy dinner with Potato Puree, you can also just bake the potatoes instead.
  • Gundi (Persian Chicken Meatball Soup): Meinhardt’s is the only place around that had chickpea flour for this recipe, so if you want to make this one, you’ll have to make a stop here. I’m using ground turkey with some chicken thighs, and grinding the meat together in a food processor after cooking the meat to make this recipe take less time.
  • Pakistani Chicken Biryani: It’s a weeknight, so I’m not busting out the lamb for a Thursday and sticking to chicken instead. This recipe is deceivingly miles long – if you want to cut it down, use 2 to 3 tablespoons of your favourite curry powder instead of the spice mix, substitute the cardamom pods for a teaspoon or so of ground cardamom, and cut out the expensive saffron (deep sighs – huge flavour, but at $13 for a few grams, it’s a bit much for this week). It hurts my soul to corrupt this recipe so much, but the taste is still great.
  • Easy Roast Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas: In a house with one German and one Canadian, you’d be surprised at the scrutiny faced by every jerk chicken recipe at our table. Granted, this recipe has nothing on Prince’s jerk chicken at Kingston 11 in North Vancouver, but it’s a good recipe nonetheless. I always add juice from 1/2 an orange to the marinade for flavour. This week, I’m omitting the soy sauce to keep it gluten-free, but adding a tablespoon of rum to the marinade to make up for a bit of the flavour. I’m jerking the whole chicken (not the thighs) this week, to try something new. Also, with rice and peas, pigeon peas are common – I like black-eyed peas, navy beans or kidney beans for the mix.
  • Chorizo and White Bean Stew on Rice: All of Freybe’s sausages are gluten-free, so we’re safe here. I’m also doing half spinach and half Swiss chard for the stew, as spinach is a bit pricey this time of year, and I love the bitterness of the chard with the spicy sausage.

Got a suggestion for a weekly recipe theme? Leave a comment with your idea. As long as it’s not cooking with chicken livers. That’s gross.


One comment on “The Key to Liking Gluten-Free Food Is to Lie About It Recipe and Grocery List January 21 to 26

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    July 28, 2013

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This entry was posted on January 20, 2013 by in Food, Groceries, Recipes, Vancouver and tagged , , , , .
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