Tag Archives: asparagus

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Sushi from Renée Elliott’s Me, You & the Kids, Too

Zoe loves nori which is great because it’s amazingly good for you. Like other sea vegetables, it is high in B vitamins, beta-carotene, calcium, iron and zinc, so it is brilliant at boosting your immune system. And it’s particularly high in vitamin A which helps prevent colds and sore throats, as well as maintaining healthy skin. She’ll eat the sheets of nori by themselves (and I’m inwardly cheering as she nibbles all those fantastic nutrients!) and is particularly keen on having it as sushi, especially with this avocado/mayonnaise filling.

I used to make sushi the more standard way, by rolling the nori over the filling and then cutting each roll into pieces. But then Renée Elliott showed me how easy hand rolls are to make – in fact, you can put all the ingredients on the table and let everyone (kids included) make their own rolls. This recipe is adapted from Renée’s latest book, Me, You & the Kids, Too – you can use any combination of veggies – we used the cucumber and carrots we had in the fridge this time (and added extra avocado), instead of the asparagus, sprouts and beetroot in Renée’s recipe.

The additional bonus about this recipe (like all the recipes in Me, You & the Kids Too) is that you can also make nutrient-dense purées for your baby, from this recipe. There’s no need for additional ingredients, you just take from the main amount. And bingo – a meal that feeds all. However, as Zoe told me this morning (on her first day at nursery/school), she’s not my baby any longer. So no more purées for her… Sob!

gluten-free, wheat-free, yeast-free, dairy-free, soya-free, nut-free, seed-free

Makes: 20     Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus 40 minutes cooking the brown sushi rice     Cooking time: 5 minutes


  • 10 asparagus, woody ends removed and halved
  • 40 green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 200g/7oz/1 cup brown sushi rice or brown short grain rice
  • 10 nori sheets, halved lengthways
  • 12 tbsp wasabi (optional)
  • 1 beetroot, grated
  • 50g/134oz sprouts such as alfalfa, broccoli or mung (optional)

For the sauce:

  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  1. Put the rice and 455ml/16fl oz/scant 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes until the rice is just cooked but still retains a slight bite.
  2. Put the asparagus and green beans in a steamer and steam, covered, for 5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked but still slightly crunchy. Add the salt to the cooked brown sushi rice and mix well.
  3. To make the sauce, mix together the avocados and mayonnaise in a bowl until smooth.
  4. To make a hand roll, spread 1 tablespoon of the sauce diagonally down the centre of one nori sheet, then add a little wasabi on top, if using. Put 1 tablespoon of the cooked brown sushi rice, 1 piece of asparagus, 2 green beans and 1 tablespoon each of the beetroot and sprouts, if using, on top of the sauce. Take the nori sheet in your hand and roll into a cone shape. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and serve.

Green bean, Avocado & Rice Purée for a 6–9 month old baby

  • Put 4 tablespoons of the cooked brown sushi rice and 135ml/4½fl oz/generous ½ cup boiling water in a saucepan and simmer, covered, over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add 4 green beans and cook, covered, for a further 10 minutes until completely soft. Transfer to a blender and add 2 tablespoons of the avocado and 3 tablespoons water. Blend for 30 seconds, adding extra water 1 teaspoon at a time, until smooth. Serve warm.

Vegetables, Avocado, Sprouts, Beetroot & Rice for a 6–9 month old baby

  • Put 4 tablespoons of the cooked brown sushi rice and 135ml/4½fl oz/generous ½ cup boiling water in a saucepan and simmer, covered, over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add 2 green beans and 1 asparagus piece and cook for a further 10 minutes until completely soft. Transfer to a blender and add 2 tablespoons of the avocado, 1 tablespoon each of the beetroot and sprouts, if using, and 3 tablespoons water. Pulse for 15 seconds, adding extra water 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture forms a lumpy purée. Serve warm.

Gluten-free & Dairy-free Prawn, Asparagus, Pea & Mint Risotto

I made this delicious risotto during the asparagus season – along with sweet peas, fresh, aromatic mint, and large, juicy prawns. The soya yogurt gives it a tangy, light creaminess, with the taste of summer. You can leave it out if you don’t have any, but you can easily find soya yogurt in many supermarkets and health food shops now, and it makes all the difference.

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, nut-free, seed-free, egg-free, citrus-free

preparation time 5 minutes  cooking time 20-25 minutes  serves 4


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250g arborio or other risotto rice
  • 300ml organic dry white wine
  • 800ml hot gluten-, yeast- and dairy-free vegetable stock, or vegetable stock made from gluten-, yeast- and dairy-free stock powder
  • 20 asparagus spears, woody ends removed and chopped into 5cm lengths
  • 200g fresh or frozen peas
  • 300g cooked, peeled, large king prawns
  • 1 handful chopped mint leaves
  • 100g soya yogurt
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2–3 minutes until just starting to turn golden. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then lower the heat and stir in the rice until it is well coated in oil.
  2. Pour a little of the wine into the mixture and stir. Continue cooking over a low heat, gradually adding and stirring in the wine, until it has all been absorbed. Add a ladle of the hot stock and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding and stirring in the hot stock for 18–20 minutes until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile, steam the asparagus stalks in a saucepan of boiling water or a steamer for 1-2 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks. Add the tips and the peas and continue to steam for another 2-3 minutes, until the asparagus is just tender but still slightly crunchy. Remove from the heat, drain and set to one side.
  4. Pour the yogurt into a mixing bowl and, using a whisk or hand-held electric blender, blend the yogurt until smooth.
  5. When the risotto mixture is almost cooked, season lightly with salt and pepper to taste and carefully stir in the prawns, asparagus and peas. Continue to cook for a further minute until the rice is soft but still has a slight bite and all the liquid has been absorbed. Sprinkle in the mint leaves, add the yogurt and stir gently. Serve immediately.

Gluten-Free Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb With Roasted Asparagus

Great times – asparagus is in season! I’ve used it here with a herb-crusted rack of lamb. This recipe looks impressive yet it’s extremely easy. The combination of honey and pine nuts with the herbs for the lamb give this dish a suggestion of sweetness amongst the savoury tastes. And the roasted asparagus add more sweet, tender tastes.

I’ve made this recipe using gluten-free polenta, instead of the traditional breadcrumbs to make a delicious crust – and it is well worth finding the quick-cook variety as this works the best. Instead of the usual Dijon mustard, I’ve used honey, both for the taste combination and because honey doesn’t contain any preservatives.

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, seed-free, soya-free, egg-free, citrus-free

Preparation time 5 minutes cooking time 30–35 minutes  serves 4


  • 2 French-trimmed racks of lamb
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large handfuls chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 40g quick-cook polenta
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 500g asparagus, woody ends removed
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • boiled new potatoes, to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Score the layer of fat on each lamb rack and sprinkle salt over them. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the lamb racks and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side, until browned all over.
  2. Put the herbs, garlic, pine nuts and polenta into a food processor and blend to form a paste. With the motor running, pour in 2 tbsp of the oil until well combined.
  3. Heat the honey in a small saucepan over a gentle heat until almost bubbling. When the lamb has browned, remove from the frying pan and place on a roasting tin, fat-side up. Using a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of honey over the top of the fat and then cover with the herb mixture, pressing down well. Cook the lamb for 25-30 minutes, depending on how pink you like the meat.
  4. When the lamb has been cooking for 20 minutes, place the asparagus on a baking tray. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and roast for 10 minutes until tender.
  5. When the lamb is cooked, remove from the oven, cover with greaseproof paper, ensuring the ends of the paper are tucked under the tin, and leave to stand in a warm place for 5 minutes.
  6. Carve the lamb into cutlets, taking care not to dislodge the crust, and serve with the roasted asparagus and boiled new potatoes.