On New Year’s Eve instead of going out to a crowded party or bar, we decided to stay in, cook ourselves a wonderful dinner, play games, drink wine, and enjoy each others’ company. And honestly, I think I prefer my NYE that way! The dinner we made was four courses, gluten-free, vegetarian, EASY, and delicious.
My boyfriend and I visited my parents in Northern Illinois for the holidays, and had such a wonderful week with them. Lots of great food, great talk, and great wine! New Year’s Eve was no different. To start off, my mom set a gorgeous table, soon to be laden with more food than we could eat.
And here’s a short description of all four courses in our amazing gluten-free, vegetarian dinner!
First Course: Bruschetta
The appetizer we decided to make is a favorite that I hadn’t eaten in so long, due to the difficulty in finding good gluten-free French bread. At a gourmet food store in Barrington, IL, I found some that looked promising! It was in the frozen section, already baked, and just needed to be thawed. It was a bit airy and had more holes than you’d usually find, but for gluten-free, not bad at all! You should be able to find some at your local health food or gourmet grocery store.
We didn’t use a recipe for this, but rather just chopped about 6 roma tomatoes, mixed in fresh basil, salt, pepper, olive oil, fresh garlic, and balsamic vinegar to taste. To toast the bread, slice in approximately 1/2 inch pieces, brush one side with olive oil, and bake olive oil side down at 450 degrees for 5 minutes, or when the slices just start to turn golden brown.
Second Course: Oven Roasted Asparagus
The recipe this can be found in a previous post on Pink Troll Kitchen, but I’ll copy it again here for convenience! Feel free to add more garlic, and top with parmesan cheese!
1 bunch asparagus spears, tough part of stem cut off
2 tbs butter OR 2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place asparagus spears in a glass baking dish. Melt butter in microwave and pour over asparagus. Use olive oil instead to make this vegan and a bit healthier. Shake the dish around a bit until all the spears are well coated. Spread out flat in dish, and sprinkle minced garlic, salt, and pepper over the top.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until spears are tender when pierced with a fork and lightly browned. Boom! Just that easy.
Third Course: Pesto Polenta Stacks
This was my absolute favorite part of the meal. It was fantastic, especially because for me, eating pesto is a religious experience. But be warned…it is MUCH more filling than it looks! We were all so stuffed, we had to decompress on the couch for an hour before we could start on dessert. It had so many parts I actually had to sketch out the plan first!
Here are the layers, 1 being the bottom, and 9 being the top:
2. Small handful of fresh spinach leaves.
3. 1/4 inch thick slice of polenta, lightly pan fried in olive oil over medium-high heat, for roughly 7 minutes per side.
4. 1/4 inch thick slice of marinated fresh mozzarella. Marinade includes: olive oil, dried basil, salt, pepper, dash of balsamic. Add 1/2 tbsp of pesto on top of the cheese.
5. Another slice of polenta
6. Another slice of mozzarella. Add 1/2 tbsp of pesto on top of the cheese.
7. One parmesan broiled tomato. Slice roma tomatoes roughly 1/4 thick, lay out on baking sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle parmesan cheese, dried basil, salt, and pepper over the top. Drizzle olive oil and a bit of balsamic over tomatoes. Broil on high for 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
8. Sauteed sweet onions: sautee rings of sweet onions with 1 tablespoon of canola/vegetable oil, salt, and pepper, until brown and slightly caramelized.
9. Garnish with shredded parmesan, fresh basil, and drizzle of olive oil and dots of balsamic, if desired.
Fourth Course: Warm Brownies with Coffee Ice Cream & Caramel
Nothing custom happening with this dish! We made Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Brownies, topped them (when warm) with a scoop of coffee-flavored ice cream, drizzled with caramel sauce and topped with chocolate chips. Not an original recipe, but you can’t deny its deliciousness.
I’m hungry just reliving this meal! Just a little bit more proof for you that gluten-free vegetarian food can make a glamorous, delicious meal. Hope it gives you some ideas for your next big holiday dinner!