Recipes from the Allergy and Free From Show 2014

Falafel lunch box jp gf.jpg

Creative Lunch Boxes 

It was the end of a long day so thank you to those intrepid and energetic gluten freers who stayed on to watch my dem at the Sainsbury’s Free From Kitchen.

The objective was to show off some fun, snappy and above all really easy lunch box ideas, many of them suitable with a little adaptation to a wide range of free from diets.

The focus was on ease of preparation and on using healthy ingredients.  Most important to emphasise is that colour and texture are really key to making food appealing to the young and to us older folk.  These recipes were tested on my own children (and thankfully they got the go ahead) but equally these recipes work for adults too.  Despite the name….glutenfree4 kids my mission is and always has been

Great tasting gluten free food that everyone is happy to eat.   

lucia with Falafel jpg gfportrait.jpg

lucia with Falafel jpg gfportrait.jpg

lucia with Falafel jpg gfportrait.jpg

So on to the recipes.  All of them are nut free and wheat and gluten free.  Most can easily be adapted for dairy and egg free and some are vegetarian and vegan friendly with a few small adaptations.  

Thank you to Sainsbury’s and to Tom Teverton of the Allergy and Free From Show, for inviting me to demonstrate and for letting me use your kitchen.

 The Recipes

 Little Falafels with Tahini dressing

These little balls of goodness have just about everything going for them.  They are moist, crispy and full of personality.  Snuggle them up in a nice gluten free wrap, or just place in a crisp lettuce leaf and drizzle with a little tahini dressing. 

(GF, WF, NF and can also be adapted for DF.  Suitable for vegans and vegetarians if egg and cheese are omitted)



350g carrots peeled and trimmed

2 shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise

2 tbs olive oil

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

 2 slices of GF bread

½ clove of garlic

A good handful of fresh parsley

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground coriander

50g cheddar, finely grated (optional)

1 egg (optional)- if not using egg add about 50ml water instead – the falafels will be a little more crumbly when baked.



Preheat oven to 200 C. 

Cut the peeled carrots in half lengthwise and place in a roasting tin along with the shallots.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with some sea salt.  Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until the carrots are soft and the shallots are lightly caramelised.  Leave to cool.

roasted carrots for felafel.jpg 

Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and leave to drain for a few minutes.

In a food processor, combine the bread, garlic and fresh parsley and pulse until fine crumbs.  Add the remaining ingredients, including the roast carrots and using the pulse button on the processor mix until everything is combined.  Try not to over mix so that you get a little bit of texture in the mixture. 

Make small walnut sized balls from the mixture and place on a lined baking tray.  Cover and place in the fridge to set for an hour if possible.

When you are ready to make the falafels preheat the oven to 190C.  Drizzle the falafels with a little olive oil and bake for about 15 minutes until hot and crispy.


If the mixture is too wet and difficult to make into balls, place in a container in the fridge and leave to set for an hour or overnight.  If the mixture is too dry, add a little water to moisten or process a little more so that it sticks together.

You can freeze the falafels before you bake them.  Place them in a lined container and freeze.  No need to defrost them before baking, but you will need to leave them in the oven a bit longer- about 20- 25 minutes until fully cooked through.

The falafels can be baked the night before and eaten cold the next day.  They also reheat well.


Tahini Dressing


150ml Plain Yoghurt (for dairy free use Alpro Soy Plain or CoYo )

2 tsp Tahini sesame paste

Lemon juice to taste

½ garlic clove, finely minced (optional)

Olive oil (optional)

Salt and pepper


Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl or in a food processor/blender.  Blend until creamy.  If too thick add a little warm water.  The ideal consistency is single cream.   Season to taste with a little lemon juice, salt and pepper.  You can also add a little olive oil to make the dressing richer.



Turkey Meatball wrap jpg gf.jpg

Mini turkey meatballs with a Sundried Tomato dipping sauce

I’ve added extra colour and vitamins in the shape of parsley and red pepper.  These little meatballs are really tasty and very satisfying.  You can also swap the turkey for beef or chicken if you prefer.  The trick is to not over process and keep the colour and texture vibrant. These little meatballs travel well too, so perfect for picnics and lunchboxes.  Can be eaten cold or even better warm or at room temperature.

(GF, WF, NF can also be adapted to egg free by omitting egg and DF by omitting milk and cheese)


30g Parmesan (optional)

30g GF breadcrumbs (or 1 slice of GF bread, you can also use GF Corn Flakes)

1 small onion, peeled and quartered

½ red pepper, de seeded and quartered

20g fresh parsley (or coriander if you prefer)

30ml milk (optional)

1 egg (optional)

400g coarsely minced turkey meat (you can also use chicken, beef or pork)

Salt and pepper to taste

Sunflower oil


Combine the bread and the Parmesan in the food process and process until fine breadcrumbs.  Tip out of the process and place in a bowl.  Add the pepper, parsley and onion to the food processor bowl and chop until fine.  Add all of the remaining ingredients including the breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture and using the pulse button on the food processor combine until everything holds together. 

Form the mixture into small meatballs and place on a lined baking tray.  Refrigerate until needed.

Heat a little sunflower oil in a skillet.  Add the meatballs in batches and cook until just crispy and brown.  You will need to watch them and turn them every so often to ensure even cooking.  Once cooked through place on a plate lined with a paper towel.  Serve hot, warm or cold.

Picture shown above is of a meatball sandwich wrap with shredded carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers.  Here's what it looked like less then 3 minutes more wrap jpg gf 2.jpg

no more wrap jpg gf 2.jpg

no more wrap jpg gf 2.jpg










Sundried Tomato Dipping Sauce for Turkey Meatballs

Sundried tomato dip jpg gf 2.jpg



A spoonful of sundried tomato paste (or a few sundried tomatoes)

A few dollops of mayonnaise (or a mayonnaise substitute for DF.EF)

A spoonful of yoghurt (or Alpro Soy yoghurt or CoYo)

Lemon juice to taste

Salt and pepper to taste


Blend until smooth and creamy.  Adjust seasoning to taste and add a little more lemon juice to thin down if necessary.


crazy pasta salad.jpg

 crazy pasta salad small.jpg

Crazy Pasta salad

I got a bit of slack over this, as it’s not exactly a new invention.  However, what I love about this salad is that you can mix up the ingredients and have fun building your own combination by putting in the things you like the most and leaving out the bits you hate.  Also, for busy parents with fussy children, it’s a great way to a) let them do some of the work and b) give them the power to choose from a range of healthy options.

Despite the criticism, these little pots disappeared very quickly and I could hear lots of appreciative noises along with the scraping of a plastic fork at the bottom of the pot.     

(GF, WF, NF, EF, DF and can easily be adapted to vegan and vegetarian)


100g Doves Farm Organic Pasta Twirls (Spinach, tomato and Rice), cooked and rinsed in cold water

1 small tin of tuna fish

3 lettuce leaves, finely shredded

1 carrot, peeled and grated

3 cherry tomatoes, chopped in quarters

A handful of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Black olives, pitted and cut in half



2 tbs Olive Oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

3 tbs white wine vinegar

Smidgen of honey (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)

This will make enough for one good sized child friendly portion.  Up the quantities or lessen as appropriate.


This is a lovely fresh tasting salad that can be made using all sorts of things that need using up.  The secret is to layer the ingredients in a way that stops everything going soggy.  Put the dressing in a separate container or dress the salad once it’s been layered up with a little olive oil and freshly ground pepper.  Add the salt and a little lemon juice just before eating.  This will keep everything nice and crisp. 

Also important is to rinse the pasta in cold water once you’ve cooked it.  This washes off some of the starch and keeps it from sticking together.

The ingredients listed above are only a suggestion.  You can really add anything!  I try and think of this like a painting and go for lots of different colours.  Also think about textures and try and add a little of each of the four main food groups, so a little carbohydrate, some protein, some raw vegetables and some pulses.  I suggest keeping the pasta at the bottom of the container and then putting everything else in neat layers on top.

I’ve given you a suggestion for a dressing but you can also play around with this.  For variety  have a repertoire of dressings so you can change the character of the salad with just a little change here and there.  You can also use store bought dressings, but check the label for allergens and for sugar content.

For those of you with fussy eaters, I suggest getting them involved in the process.  Let children build their own salads the night before.  Have everything ready and let them pick the things they most enjoy. A little messy, but worth it if it makes them more likely to eat it.

You can make the pots up the night before and keep them cold in the fridge.   Don’t forget to add a fork! 

PS.  And for adults….this makes a terrific healthy and filling lunch.  Up the quantities of the ingredients and get some suitable containers and you are on to a good thing.



Pizza Tacos

These little tacos got rave reviews from my children.  Easy to do, very portable and with bold flavours and colours, these will make you lots of lunchbox devotees. 

(GF, WF and can be adapted to DF, Vegan and vegetarian diets)


Warburton wraps

Concentrated tomato paste

Cheddar Cheese, grated (mozzarella can also be used)

Red pepper, thinly sliced

Fresh basil





Cut out 6 circles from each wrap  using a biscuit cutter.  Place them on a lined baking tray.  Place a little dollop of tomato paste on each wrap and spread thinly with a knife.  Sprinkle each circle with some grated cheese and top with pepperoni and some red pepper.

Preheat oven to 200 C.  Bake the mini pizzas for 8-10 minutes until bubbly.  Leave to cool for a few minutes and whilst still warm form into taco shapes.  Leave to cool on a plate lined with a paper towel. 

These can be made the night before and kept in the fridge.  Best eaten warm or at room temperature.

To make these Dairy free- omit the cheese and use other vegetables like caramelised onions or roasted butternut squash and chorizo.

To make these vegan and vegetarian, omit the ham/salami etc and use a selection of roasted vegetables.


Fruit Jellysmall.jpg

Jelly with a twist

There is something wonderfully comforting about jelly.  It’s easy on the eye and easy on the tummy too.  Light, fruity and pretty to look at these little jellies are packed full of fresh fruit.  I’ve added a small amount of sugar and you can add more or less as you wish.  The flavour of the fruit will be more prominent with less sugar, so if you want to taste those fresh berries, keep the sugar content down. 


(GF, WF, DF, EF, NF - also suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians if Agar Agar is used instead of gelatine)


Ingredients for fruit Jelly

300m fruit juice or fruit puree (homemade if possible)

Lemon juice to taste

3 leaves of gelatin (use Agar Agar if vegetarian)

50g sugar (you can use less, depending on sweetness, if using store bought juice, omit sugar)



Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water.  Leave to soften for about 5 minutes.

Measure out about 100ml of the fruit juice and place in a saucepan with the sugar. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves.  Try not to let the mixture boil.

Once the sugar has dissolved, lift out the gelatine leaves from the water and place in the hot liquid.  Stir for a few minutes to dissolve the gelatine.  Pour the rest of the fruit juice or fruit puree into the sauce pan and mix gently. 

Pour the mixture into containers and place in the fridge to set.  Best left to sit overnight ready for packing into lunchboxes in the morning.

Keep refrigerated until fully set.

To make layered jellies, repeat the process adding a second layer of contrasting flavour and colour once the first layer has set. 



Rice crispy bars in a pot 1 jpg gf.jpg

Crispy Coconut Bars

(WF,GF, DF, EF, NF ) Suitable for vegetarians and vegans subject to chocolate meeting the appropriate criteria.



400g desiccated  coconut (unsweetened)

20g Green and Blacks cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

50g Billingtons dark Moscavado sugar

Pinch of Himalayan crushed pink salt flakes (or Maldon Sea Salt)

Nature's Path Crispy Rice 



Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.  Process for 4- 8 minutes scraping down the bowl as necessary.   The mixture will become quite melted and runny. Add a good handful of crispy rice and mix gently. 

Pour into chocolate moulds or small plastic containers.  Place in the fridge or freezer to firm up.  Best done and left overnight to set.

You can unmould the bars easily by inserting a knife around the edge of the plastic container and dislodging the chocolate bars.

These will keep in the fridge or freezer for several days.




                ```                                            ``






Your rating: None