Wraps! Part 4 – Sesame Flatbread with Recipe (Vegan, GF, Soy Free)

I hope you have enjoyed my series on low-carb sandwich alternatives, and hopefully tried one or more of them? If not check out Part 1 (Mountain Bread), Part 2 (nori sheets), Part 3 (raw chard leaves).

But here is one more, and I saved the best for last. This one is closest to actual bread-based sandwiches that I crave often. It’s so good I’ve been eating this for many days in a row for breakfast.
low carb flatbread toastie

Homemade flatbread toasted sandwiches! This comes together in about 20 minutes, all from pretty basic pantry items. Plus each bread only has about 4g of net carbs – now that’s a good (carb) bargain, I say. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros:

(a) Super low-carb. Based on my recipe below, each flatbread has about 4g of carbohydrate. You can easily have two per meal, with all kinds of fillings you desire, and you are likely to go well below the 30g-carb goal.

(b) Gluten free, soy free, and oil free (well, the dough itself is oil free – cooking oil is optional).

(c) Quick and easy to make at home. The dough only takes a few minutes to assemble and roll. And you can roll it out and cook them right away. No resting or rising necessary.

Rolling out the bread is pain-free and mess-free as well, because you’ll be rolling it between two sheets of baking paper. Just don’t skip the arrowroot starch.

If you are feeding a few people, just double or triple the batch, and put multiple frying pans on for quick production.

(d) The ingredients are readily available at most supermarkets -and while I haven’t done the cost analysis, they are all inexpensive. Craving a hot, cheesy toasted sandwich in the middle of the night? No need to drive to the shops and spend money on stale bread.

(e) Full of nutritious goodness and no nasties added – flaxseeds, almond meal, and sesame seeds are packed with nutrients. Use organic when possible, and you’d feel much better than eating anything wrapped in plastic in supermarkets.

(f) Incredibly delicious. Seriously. The flavour of toasted sesame seeds and almond meal is amazing. Most importantly, the bread has just the right amount of fluffy, bread-like texture (thanks to the baking powder).

(g) If you make a toasted sandwich, you can make it right there in the same pan you cook the flatbread (see below).

(h) The recipe is versatile. You can use it as a pizza base, or for sweeter fillings like peanut butter. You can also cook it in the oven till a bit crunchy, and use it like a cracker to scoop up hummus and other dips.

Cons

(a) Although quick and easy to make, you’ll still have to make it yourself.

(b) Being homemade, and gluten free, my flatbreads tend to end up looking a little, well, “rustic” around the edges. But is this a problem? Not in my aesthetic realm.

(c) The bread won’t last forever. It’s best to eat it straight away, though it’ll probably keep for a few days in the fridge, and longer in the freezer.

low carb sesame flatbread toastie

How to: Melty Cheesy One-Pan Toasted Sandwich

(1) Make the flatbread dough from the recipe below. Heat up a frying pan, and when hot, spread a little olive oil (olive oil adds so much to the flavour and texture of the sandwich, but you can use a nonstick pan without oil if you like).

(2) When the oil is hot, cook a flatbread for about a minute or two. Flip to the other side, and on one half of the bread, place your fillings. Here, I used vegan cheese, mustard/mayo, and spinach and radish leaves.

(3) Fold up the bread in half with a spatula, so the filling is covered up inside like a sandwich. Turn down the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid, and gently cook the sandwich until the cheese melts and greens wilted.

low carb sesame flatbread toastie

low carb sesame flatbread toastie

Enjoy right away – perhaps with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and/or hot sauce.

low carb flatbread toastie
low carb flatbread toastie

Quick Sesame Flatbread (GF, Low Carb, Vegan)

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October 25, 2017

Quick and easy, low-carb flat bread that is super tasty! Great for satisfying your bread cravings without the guilt (and high blood sugar). Great on its own, as a toasted sandwich, or as a pizza base. Don't skip the arrowroot starch here - despite the high carb content of the starch, you only need a tiny bit, and it helps to make the dough more workable.

  • Yields: 2 flatbreads

Ingredients

2 tbsp almond meal

2 tbsp flax meal (linseed meal)

1 tbsp coconut flour

1 tbsp sesame seeds, plus more for rolling

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/4 cup water

pinch salt (to taste)

1 tsp olive oil, for fying

Directions

I love the flavour of toasted sesame seeds, but experiment with other seeds and nuts - like hemp seeds, fennel / cumin / coriander seeds, coarsely ground hazelnuts and walnuts, pine nuts, and so on. Also try adding herbs and spices for variety!

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Wraps! Part 3 – Raw Rainbow Chard

Did you have a chance to make wraps with Nori sheets? I still eat nori wraps all the time, but here is my current favourite: rainbow chard wraps! I first learned to use it as a raw wrap by watching a Laura Miller video, and it changed my life.

Raw rainbow chard / lettuce (gluten free naturally)

rainbow chard

See how and flat these leaves are? They are just made to be wraps. I chop the stem off and keep them for other dishes.

Pros:

(a) Rainbow chard is super tasty and beautiful to look at – I particularly love the pink and yellow ones.

rainbow chard wraps

Chard (at least the kind I find here in Sydney), like celery, also has a naturally salty flavour. So if you are on a low-sodium diet, you’ll love the “free” salty taste. I often just munch on these leaves as is as snacks for this reason.

(b) Chard has next to zero carbs, like nori. Have as many as you like, all guilt free!

(c) It is inexpensive and widely available. If you can’t find rainbow chard in a shop near you, try silverbeet or kale (though a bit tougher to chew raw, and the leaves are not as big and flat as rainbow chard). Iceberg and cos lettuce are also good options. So is napa cabbage and pak choi (all delicious raw).

(d) Rainbow chard leaves are so large, flat, and pliable – it makes a superb wrap for a large amount of filling.

(e) You can go organic.

(f) They are super nutritious. You can check “leafy greens” off your daily healthy-food list while eating delicious wraps. (g) relatively mess free to eat! See how neat these wraps make? You can eat while reading a book and not worry about things dripping onto the pages.
chard wrap

chard wrap

What are in these wraps, you ask? They are (1) walnut and sun-dried tomato taco meat (per Laura Miller) with tofu sour cream, (2) Cajun barbecue jackfruit on cauliflower rice, an (3) tofu hummus, yellow capsicum, with homemade sauerkraut.

chard wrap with chickpeas

This one has the same walnut taco meat, with cooked chickpeas, fennels, and raw broccoli.

Cons:

I can’t think of any cons. Seriously.

If you haven’t tried any of these wraps, give them a go. Happy low-carb wrapping, everyone.

 

Wraps! Part 2 – Nori Wraps (Not Just for Sushi)

 

If you think nori sheets are just for sushi – it’s time to think outside the bento box. Nori make tasty, nutritious wraps for just about any filling – well, so long as it’s not too wet.

Here’s my pros vs cons list:

Nori sheets (gluten free, vegan)

nori rolls

Pros:

(a) Nori sheets have nearly ZERO net carb and extremely low in calories. What a bargain! You can eat as many as you like, and save all your carb allowance for more fun fillings.

(b) Nori is super tasty on its own, unlike Mountain Bread. My kids love to devour them as is for snacks. Nori also has a very satisfying crunchy texture.

(c) Made from sea vegetable, nori is nutritious.

(d) Nori goes with all kinds of fillings and flavours, not just Asian stuff. Go for vegan sausages and schnitzel slices, veggie sticks, sauerkraut, tofu scramble, baked beans, cauliflower rice… Be creative, because the possibilities are endless.

Nori wrapsOf course, you can make traditional sushi rolls, too. To make the rolls hold together though, you’ll need to use some rice replacement. I mean, there is nothing wrong with rice at all if you are not diabetic, but for those of us on a low-carb diet, rice is sadly too extravagant.

cauliflower sushi cauliflower sushi

Here I made these rolls with cauliflower rice (steamed and moisture squeezed out), okara (soy pulp) scramble, avocado, cashew miso dip, and oven-roasted sweet potato. Delicious, fun, and veeery low-carb.

(e) Nori sheets are widely available in most metropolitan supermarkets or Asian shops.

(f) Nori lasts pretty much forever. Store original packages in your pantry, and once opened, tightly seal them and store in the fridge or freezer.

(g) Nori is gluten free.

Cons:

(a) Nori can be on the expensive side, like Mountain Bread. At big supermarkets in Australia, you can get a packet of 10 sheets for $3-4. High-quality nori are more expensive, however.

(b) If you live in the country, you may not have access to nori locally – though there is always online shopping.

(c) Nori does not have the similar bread-like chewy texture or taste.

(d) Nori sheets are rather fragile. It also doesn’t like moisture (it’ll get soggy), so it’s best to eat nori wraps straight away. Which makes a great sushi party idea!

Make a stack of mini nori sheets (cut one large sheet into 4 square-ish sheets with scissors), and serve with various fillings. Your guests or family can choose their own filling combination, wrap them in nori, and eat immediately. Can’t be easier!

Nori wraps

 

 

Wraps! Part 1 – Mountain Bread

I don’t miss sugar much anymore, but I do miss bread. And by “bread” I don’t mean almond croissants dusted with powdered sugar – I’m not that unreasonable at this stage in my diabetic journey. It’s the humble sandwiches I miss the most.

Well, I used to miss toast in the morning, too, until I found this fantastic seedy bread recipe, which I make on a regular basis. This bread, however, is not really suitable for sandwiches unfortunately.

Why are sandwiches so… desirable? Well, I thought about it. It’s the softness of the bread, the joy of eating with your hands, and the “surprise” of tasty filling inside, all melding together in your mouth in one happy bite…. Most bread is too carb-rich for me, but is there a guilt-free alternative?

Enter wraps. Wraps are great! Here is the most bread-like commercial (i.e. most low-carb per square cm) wrap I found, after searching high and low through supermarket aisles. Here’s my low-down “pro vs con” analysis:

Mountain Bread (or similar, super-thin wrap bread)

mountain bread wrapPros:

(a) Relatively low-carb (13.6g per wrap for Mountain Bread rye version) and low calorie.

(b) Each wrap is large, and can hold a decent amount of fillings. If you fill it with low or zero-carb veggies and other food, you can have two wraps per meal and be on track at nearly 30g per meal. That’s not bad at all. I usually have just one though, with salad or soup on the side, or with more substantial and fun (read: high-carb) fillings like beans and vegetarian sausages.

(c) Mountain Bread is conveniently available at most Australian supermarkets.

(d) They last for a week or more in the plastic bag it comes in. Great for camping trips!

(e) I haven’t tried it, but you can make a toasty version of it – oozy vegan cheese and tomato, anyone?

Cons:

(a) It is a bit pricey. In stores in Sydney, they cost 50c per wrap.

(b) The wrap dries out quickly if left in the open. At a picnic on a sunny day, I left the wrap on my plate for a few minutes while attending to my kids, and the wrap had gone all brittle and cracker like. What a disappointment.

(c) Mountain Bread itself has very little flavour in my opinion.

(d) 13.6g is still a chunk of carbs. If you eat two wraps, that’s it for your carb “allowance” – no room for much else, like dessert.

(e) It’s not gluten free, and it’s not organic.

mountain bread wrap

Oops, this was too much filling! See what I mean? But see black thingy hiding behind my Mountain Bread? Could it be a back-up wrap for the spilled food? That’s for the next post.

 

Cashew Miso Tofu Dip (Vegan, GF, Oil-free, Low-Carb)

Cashew is magical. It can morph into anything, it seems. Milk, butter, white sauce, sour cream, and of course cheese. All nuts and seeds are amazing in their shape-shifting abilities actually (and godsend to people on vegan, plant-based and/or raw food diets). But cashew? Cashew is the reigning Queen of Creaminess. Plus it’s more affordable than, say, macadamia nuts or pine nuts.

Cashew miso dip

Here’s a quick cashew miso dip recipe that’s one of my current favorites. Miso makes it extra tasty, and tofu adds more creaminess, substance, and balance. Without tofu, the combination of cashew, miso and garlic create way too much flavor in my opinion – umami overload. Tofu brings the whole thing together.

The dip is diabetes friendly, but cashew does have a rather high carbohydrate content, and high calories, so it’s best to watch your portion size even if you are tempted to eat it by the spoonful.

cashew miso dip

Try the dip also as a sandwich or wrap spread, in lieu of mayo, as a salad dressing with a bit of thinning, or on (zucchini?) pasta, fritters, vegan schnitzels… anything really. I hope you give the recipe a go, and let me know how you like it!

cashew miso dip

cashew miso dip
cashew miso dip

Cashew Miso and Tofu Dip

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October 2, 2017

A quick, creamy, and addictive cashew dip with a subtle Asian flavor.

  • Yields: about 1 cup

Ingredients

1 cup dry cashew, soaked for 2-3 hours or overnight

1/2 cup momen or medium-firm tofu (not hard tofu)

1 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped (optional)

1 tbsp tahini (optional)

1 tbsp miso (brown or white)

1/2 cup vegetable soup stock or water

Directions

1Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, and process until very, very smooth. I have a high-speed blender and it takes 1-3 minutes.

2Taste, and adjust seasoning.

Garnish with chopped coriander, green onion, or chives for a pretty presentation.

If you are avoiding soy, try using vegan yogurt instead of tofu. I tried it with Nudie coconut yogurt (natural), but I wasn't crazy about the noticeable coconut flavor. But a different brand might be okay.

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