Farinata: A Recipe for an Easy, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Appetizer
The reason we love recipes for healthy dairy-free and gluten-free snacks here at Healing Blends is because it has been proven time and again that gluten and dairy trigger inflammation in the body, and inflammation leads to disease. It doesn’t matter if you have celiac or not – you should avoid gluten and dairy. A great resource for more information on this topic is Dr. Thomas O’Bryan, founder of theDr.com and a wealth of information on the impact of gluten on auto-immune disorders.
Gluten sensitivity has become “one of the most common lifelong disorders in both the U.S. and Europe,” but it isn’t because we have changed as humans, it’s because the world we live in has changed so much. This article on the rise on gluten intolerance cites the following potential causes for this increase over the past 50 years:
- Changes in the farming industry. Wheat grain has been altered to provide crops that are more resistant to drought and bake more easily. Our stomachs, however, have not adapted as quickly to these changes. We are also eating more wheat products now than ever before.
- Damaged gut flora or dysbiosis is on the rise due to the high usage of antibiotics and consuming food we can’t digest. As a result, our immune systems see undigested gluten particles as microbial invaders and attacks them.
- Overly sterile environment. The increasingly clean and sterile environments in which we live cause our antibodies to overreact to items that should be harmless. Wheat and peanuts are the common culprits in these studies.
- Vitamin deficiency. Constant dieting is one of many factors that has contributed to us becoming a vitamin deficient people, which impacts the body’s ability to regulate immune cells.
- Genetic factors may also part apart, somewhat smaller than others. Diseases are a combination of genetics and environmental factors. So, people react differently in their reactions to these changes.
While avoiding gluten and dairy is an incredibly valuable step toward reducing inflammation, it is important to exercise caution when choosing gluten- free or dairy-free alternatives, as many recipes, flours, or baked goods are often loaded with sugar, which is terrible for you too.
Our recipe for farinata avoids this pitfall while still remaining delicious. Farinata is an Italian street food, and is believed to be one of the oldest dishes in the Liguria region of north-western Italy. Legend claims it was invented by Roman soldiers who first roasted it on a shield.
Its modern interpretation is perfect to use during the holidays as a finger food for guests and a gluten free, dairy free appetizer. It’s an incredibly versatile dish with almost limitless options. While experimenting with this recipe, I made a version that was plainer in taste, which I served with a yummy strawberry preserve spread. It was wonderful. The final recipe is more savory, and pairs really well with a goat’s cheese or nut cheese on top with a piece of fruit.
Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Farinata Recipe
1½ cups of warm filtered water
1 tablespoon of olive oil
½ teaspoon of sea salt
Seasonings you can play with:
- A sprinkle of garlic powder
- Black pepper, rosemary, and a pinch of nutmeg worked great
Mix all ingredients together; it should look like a thin pancake batter. Let it sit for 2-6 hours covered on the counter.
Once that is done, get out a cast iron or stainless steel skillet. Coat liberally with olive oil, and pour in the batter. Cook stovetop for a few minutes; when you see it bubble and the sides are holding together, it’s done. Next, place it in the oven on Broil to cook the top layer, or you can bake around 475-500° F.
When the top is browned it is ready to take out. Let cool and indulge!
Avoiding gluten and dairy doesn’t mean you have to forego flavorful foods. This recipe is a great example. Don’t be afraid to play around with it – try different variations to see what you like best!