Allergy Friendly Spring Vegetable Risotto



Spring Vegetable Risotto


Serves 4

Free From: gluten and all top allergens

Brimming with the bounty of spring, this risotto is so flavorful that you won’t even miss the customary Parmesan. Tender asparagus, baby zucchini, and young peas are rounded out by the delicate notes of sweet onions, fresh herbs, and early season tomatoes. Luckily, you can find these ingredients year round, so bring a little spring to your table, all year long!

Prep all ingredients, read the recipe through, and be ready to go. Risotto is easy, but requires continuous attention.


4½ cups vegetable or chicken broth (or stock)

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon dairy-free, soy-free margarine or buttery spread

1 cup finely chopped sweet onion (e.g. Vidalia or Walla Walla)

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1½ cups uncooked Arborio rice

½ cup dry white wine

1 small zucchini, finely chopped

12 ounces small asparagus, chopped into ¼-inch pieces

1 cup fresh shelled peas, the smaller the better

3 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

¼ teaspoon salt, plus a pinch for finishing

¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, divided

¼ cup chopped fresh basil, divided

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve

Black truffle salt, to serve (optional)


1. In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a slow boil. Reduce heat and simmer over lowest possible heat.

2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil and margarine over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until aromatic. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add rice and sauté until glistening, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook while stirring until absorbed, about 2 minutes.

3. Add ½ cup heated broth to rice. Simmer while stirring continuously over medium heat until all broth is absorbed. Repeat, continuing to add 3 more cups heated broth, a half cup at a time, stirring continuously after each addition, until completely absorbed. After 10 minutes, stir in zucchini, asparagus, peas, tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon salt. Add another ½ cup broth and continue cooking as before, for 8 to 10 minutes, (reduce heat if simmering too hard) or until rice and vegetables are just tender, and ½ cup broth remains. Turn off heat.

4. Add final ½ cup broth, half of herbs, pinch salt and a few turns of black pepper. Cover and let rest 2 minutes.

5. Serve immediately, topped with remaining fresh herbs, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a little black truffle salt, if using.

Allergy-Friendly Spring Vegetable Risotto © 2014 by Cybele Pascal

This recipe first appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Allergic Living Magazine

Allergy Friendly Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Squares



Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Squares


Rich, decadent and flavorful, this hybrid dessert takes dairy-free indulgence to a whole new level.  Thank you, Daiya, you’ve made the world a better place with your vegan dairy-free cheeses!

Makes 16 squares

Free From: gluten and all top allergens


Chocolate Layer Ingredients

½ cup + 4 tbsp dairy-free milk alternative (such as rice milk), divided

1½ tsp powdered egg replacer (such as Ener-G)

1¼ cups my Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix or Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend

1¼ cups sugar

½ cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder

1¼ tsp baking soda

⅝ tsp double-acting baking powder

⅝ tsp salt

½ tsp xanthan gum

½ cup + 2 tbsp warm water

¼ cup + 1 tbsp canola oil

¾ tsp vanilla extract


Cherry Cheesecake Layer Ingredients

2 tbsp dairy-free milk alternative (such as rice milk)

1½ tsp powdered egg replacer (such as Ener-G)

4 oz dairy-free, soy-free plain cream cheese alternative (such as Daiya)

2 tbsp dairy-free soy-free vegetable shortening

2 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp my Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix or Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend

⅜ tsp vanilla extract

1¼ cups cherry pie filling


Chocolate Drizzle

¼ cup allergen-free semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tsp dairy-free soy-free vegetable shortening


1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9-inch baking pan with foil, extending ends over sides of pan and lightly grease.

2. For chocolate layer, whisk together 2 tablespoons milk alternative and egg replacer in a small bowl, until frothy.

3. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, whisk together flour blend, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum.

4. Add remaining ½ cup + 2 tablespoons milk alternative, warm water, oil, vanilla and egg replacer and beat on medium-low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

5. Transfer batter to foil-lined pan. Bake 25 minutes.

6. For cherry cheesecake layer, whisk together milk alternative and egg replacer in a small bowl, until frothy.

7. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese alternative and shortening on medium speed until smooth. Mix in sugar and flour. Add egg replacer and vanilla and beat on medium speed until creamy and slightly fluffy.

8. When chocolate layer has baked 25 minutes, remove from oven and immediately spoon cheesecake mixture and cherry pie filling over top, alternating heaping tablespoons of each in a checkerboard pattern. Use a spoon to swirl together until marbled, leaving a little chocolate visible around edge of cake.

8. Bake 35 minutes, until chocolate layer starts to pull away from pan sides and filling edges are puffed and set. The center will still jiggle slightly.

9. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Transfer to refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours.

10. Grab edges of foil on both sides and lift cake out of pan. Cut into squares, wiping the knife blade clean after each cut. Transfer squares to individual cupcake liners.

11. For chocolate drizzle, place chocolate chips and shortening in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave on high 30 seconds. Vigorously stir. If not melted, microwave on high 30 seconds. Vigorously stir until smooth. Drizzle over squares and let stand 5 minutes. Serve immediately or store tightly covered in refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.



Allergy-Friendly Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Squares © 2014 by Cybele Pascal

This recipe first appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Allergic Living Magazine

Allergy Friendly Pasta e Fagioli with “Cheesy” Garlic Croutons





Serves 8

Free of: gluten and all top allergens

Pasta e Fagioli is about as comforting as a bowl of soup can get. The hearty combo of vegetables, beans, and pasta make a complete meal, perfect for any chilly fall night, or wonderful for lunch the next day. The “Cheesy” Garlic Croutons are an added bonus. Store them tightly covered at room temp… but don’t expect them to last, as kids devour them like candy.

This recipe makes enough for a hearty meal for 4, plus leftovers. I’ve swapped out the traditional allergens of gluten/wheat, anchovies (fish), egg, and dairy usually present in this dish, with olive oil, gluten-free pasta, dairy and soy-free “cheese”, and allergy-friendly bread. To make this vegan, swap vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and omit the prosciutto.


2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 ounces nitrite-free prosciutto, chopped (½ cup)

2 cups diced yellow onion

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

1 tbsp finely minced garlic

1 tbsp finely minced fresh rosemary

½ tsp crushed red pepper

¼ cup dry white wine

Big pinch salt

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup gluten-free pasta shells (I like Tinkyada brown rice pasta for this)

2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

½ teaspoon lemon zest

Salt and pepper, to taste

‘Cheesy’ Garlic Croutons (recipe follows)


1. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto and cook 3 minutes, or until crispy. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

2. Add onion, celery and carrot to the pot and cook 7 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften. Stir in garlic, rosemary and crushed red pepper and cook 1 minute. Add white wine and salt, and cook while stirring to deglaze bottom of pan, until almost all wine has evaporated. Incorporate chicken broth, diced tomatoes and pasta with a gentle stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until the pasta is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.

3. Mash half of the beans. Stir the mashed beans and whole beans into the pot and cook 5 minutes more. Add more chicken broth as necessary if the soup is too thick.

4. Remove from heat, stir in reserved prosciutto, parsley and lemon zest. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

5. Ladle into bowls and top with croutons.


‘Cheesy’ Gluten-Free Garlic Croutons

Makes 3 cups

These crunchy croutons can be stored tightly covered at room temperature, but don’t expect them to last as kids devour them like candy.


6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp finely minced garlic

½ tsp Kosher salt

½ tsp dried oregano, crushed between your fingers

5 heaping cups gluten-free* bread, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 6 slices, preferably stale)

1 cup dairy-free cheese alternative shreds (such as Daiya or Go Veggie!)


1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Combine oil, garlic, salt and oregano in a small bowl, whisking well to combine.

3. Put bread cubes in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil mixture, tossing gently with a rubber spatula to evenly coat.

4. Transfer bread cubes to a baking tray, spaced into a single layer. Sprinkle liberally with cheese alternative.

5. Bake 20-25 minutes, turning once, until lightly golden and dry. The cheese may seem goopy at first but it will become crunchy.

6. Transfer the crouton tray to a wire rack, and let cool to room temperature.

7. Break apart any croutons that have clumped together.


* For allergy-friendly bread that’s gluten-free and free of the top-8 allergens, seek Ener-G brand.

Allergy-Friendly Pasta e Fagioli with “Cheesy” Garlic Croutons © 2013 by Cybele Pascal

This recipe first appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of Allergic Living Magazine