Cooking for Karina: Grilled Sesame Vegetables and Cashew Cream Fruit Salad Recipe

fruitsalad5.jpgAmong all of the gluten free blogs, a few blogs stand out as truly extraordinary artistic endeavors that inspire both the newly diagnosed and long term gluten intolerant cooks. One of my favorite blogs has consistently been Karina’s blog over at Gluten Free Goddess. Her immensely popular blog is renowned for fabulous recipes centering on fresh, delicious ingredients as well as mouthwatering, gorgeous photos. Unfortunately Karina recently found that she has multiple allergies to some of the central ingredients in her culinary experiments, including Cow’s milk, cheese, whey, casein, goat’s milk, eggs (including whites and yolks), chicken, turkey, gluten, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, lemon, avocado, pineapple, papaya, green beans and kidney beans.. grilledveggies2.jpgAll of her readers were equally dismayed, but BytheBay came to the rescue with a brilliant idea for a blog event she titled Cooking for Karina: A Blogging Festival and a Cooking Challenge. Our mission? To create delicious, healthful recipes for Karina that did not contain the above allergy inducing ingredients. I went to my local farmer’s market for inspiration and brought home an assortment of fresh, local produce for grilling in my Recipe for Grilled Vegetables. This recipe is deceptively simple but sure to be a hit at any party-private or for a crowd! Using a propane grill makes it about as easy as turning on a burner on your stove, with amazing flavor. You can also try it using a grill pan or broiler on a rack, but I highly recommend a grill. Because Karina is the queen of healthy gluten free desserts (Apple flourless cake, anyone?) and also often features seasonal fresh fruit, I created a lovely summer fruit salad for her topped with a fresh, sweet, and creamy Cashew Cream. (Almond, Soy, and Dairy Free- but still yummy!) If Maple Syrup is too sweet or high on the glycemic index, Agave syrup may be substituted. Here’s to Karina- no matter what is or isn’t on her plate, she’ll always be a goddess to her readers! Thanks also to BytheBay, for hosting this event!

Grilled Sesame Vegetable Recipe
Spice Rub
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp sugar (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp chipotle pepper

Zucchini, cleaned, cut in half and cut into horizontal slices (about6 slices per small/med. zucchini)
1 fennel, root and top removed and sliced into slabs
2 portobello mushrooms either sliced or whole
1 lg red pepper, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into strips
1 Chinese eggplant, sliced into rounds or halves
Any additional vegetables you like

2-3 tbsp Sesame Oil

Once you have sliced the veggies into desired size for grilling, baste the veggies with sesame oil. Combine the spice rub and then sprinkle the vegetables evenly with the mixture. Make sure you season all of the vegetables- and if you have extra veggies, mix up more spices!
You can either put these veggies on skewers (soaked in water for at least 30 minutes) or place them straight on the grill. Turn when grill marks are clearly visible and serve heaped up on a big platter.
I made a huge feast for the 4th of July and this recipe was one of the most popular things I made. Deceptively simple but the sesame oil and spices combine with a smoky grill to make food that is absolutely yummy. Great for a summer grill party. Vegetarians and Omnivores alike will enjoy this dish!
Organic Farmer’s Market Fruit and Cashew Vanilla Cream Recipe
Assorted Fresh fruit from farmer’s market (I used plumicots, nectarines, fresh blueberries, fresh strawberries, grapes, etc)
Edible flowers (organic, optional)
Sprig of fresh mint (optional)

Cashew Vanilla Cream:
1 cup cashews
3/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Freshly ground nutmeg

Vanilla Cashew Cream:
Soak 1 cup of cashews in 2 cups of water. If you’re in a
very warm climate, soak them in your refrigerator. After 8-12 hours,
discard the soaking water and rinse the nuts. In a blender, place the
nuts and enough fresh water to allow the blender to operate. Blend,
gradually adding enough water to achieve a smooth consistency. Yields
1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups. (I often halve this recipe and still have some left over for other applications- you only use 1/2 cup cream at most for this recipe)

To assemble salad:
Collect an assortment of beautiful organic fruits from the farmers market and top with Cashew Vanilla Cream. You can even add edible flowers for garnish! Garnish with fresh mint (Adds a lot of flavor!!) and sprinkle with freshly ground nutmeg.

*Cream is also really lovely served with fresh fruit and chocolate fondue as a substitute for whipped cream- dip in chocolate OR cashew cream

Version of cream found at

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7 Responses to “Cooking for Karina: Grilled Sesame Vegetables and Cashew Cream Fruit Salad Recipe”

  1. Hi Sea! These are beautiful dishes! Colorful – tempting. Thank you so much for sharing these recipes. You are so sweet! I am overwhelmed by the response to Isaiah’s blogging event. Take care and be well! xoxo Karina

  2. Hi Karina,
    You are so welcome. I wanted to create dishes that would please the artist’s eye as well as palate! The spicy ingredients could also be easily left out of the rub. I always tone down recipe for DH, who doesn’t like spicy, spicy things, anyway. *hugs* and I hope we were able to cheer our favorite gluten free goddess. Hurrah for Isaiah!

  3. Hi Sea:

    Those are gorgeous grilled vegetables. I have been living off them recently but hadn’t thought to try a spice rub. Excellent idea! Tomorrow morning I’m going to try it; yes, I have been eating grilled tofu and veggies on brown rice for_breakfast_. Guess it’s never too early for grilled veg.

    Looks like you had a nice celebration with your family. Brought back a few memories for me; next year I plan to be home for July 1st (Canada Day).

    Nice idea to make recipes for Karina, too. I hope she is feeling better soon.

    I always look forward to reading your blog, knowing it will be chock-a-block full of cooking ideas. With the energy of thousands, Super Seamaiden swims the 7 seas of the culinary globe. Go SS!

  4. Hi VegJ- Thank you for coming by! Yes, the spice rub hadn’t occurred to me either but adds amazing flavor. The sesame oil is key as well- and luckily, that’s easy to come by in Japan. :) DH got completely addicted to sesame oil when we lived there. Do you ever walk by those ramen shops and just smell the hot sesame oil wafting out?

    I did have a nice holiday- unfortunately it’s always a bit lonely living overseas on holidays that aren’t celebrated there. Happy late Canada day!

    Thank you for the blog love- you made my day!

    -SS ;)

  5. [...] GF Quesadillas / GF Pizza / Cashew Cream Fruit Salad [...]

  6. [...] to everyone’s fondness and appreciation for Karina and her lovely blog. (I made a recipe for Grilled Sesame Vegetables and Cashew Cream Fruit Salad- not to be eaten together, of course.) But besides the dishes that were cooked FOR Karina, I had [...]

  7. [...] my Recipe for Grilled Sesame Vegetables with this accompanying Ginger Peanut Sauce (Complete with pics from our 4th of July last year) My [...]

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