Cherry Watermelon Popsicles

All fruit, totally refreshing cherry and watermelon blends together in these popsicles. Frosty fruit treats take the edge off summer’s heat in a most delicious way.

Cherry Watermelon Popsicles {100% Fruit} | Swirls and Spice

Bring on the sunshine–so long as we have our freezer stocked with naturally sweet popsicles.  I really would rather steer clear artificially coloured sugar water, which somehow becomes popular once it is frozen.  Real fruit tastes so much better.  And I will offer these Cherry Watermelon Popsicles to my children gladly, without regret.  The only consequence of them tasting so good is that we could use more popsicle moulds to keep up with the demand!

Cherry Watermelon Popsicles {100% Fruit} | Swirls and Spice

Cherry Watermelon Popsicles


  • Fresh watermelon cubes, seedless or seeds removed
  • Fresh or frozen sweet cherries, pitted
  • Fresh lime juice, to taste OR fresh pineapple cubes


  1. Into a blender jar, place watermelon and cherries (at least half of the fruit should be watermelon to provide liquid for blending).  Puree fruits until smooth, pausing to push down fruit if necessary.  Add lime juice or pineapple to taste, blending again as needed.
  2. Pour blended fruit mixture into popsicle moulds.  Insert popsicle sticks.  (Or to make the popsicles colourful, I used thin wooden coffee stirrers partially covered with striped paper straws.)  Freeze until solid, remove from moulds, and enjoy!

Cherry Watermelon Popsicles {100% Fruit} | Swirls and SpiceI share recipes here and at Allergy Free Wednesdays.


10 Crowd-Pleasing Salads to Kick Off Summer

10 Summer Salads | Swirls and Spice  #glutenfreeIt’s salad season! Picnics, barbecues, and al fresco meals are great opportunities to create something fresh and inviting.  We just returned from a weekend away at family camp where I was blessed to have someone else take care of all our family’s meals for a few days.  The food at camp was made well too.  Feta cheese even made an appearance in the pasta salad, which is quite a step up from the camp food I recall back in the day.

Returning to my own kitchen is something I enjoy too, since I can make a salad any way I please.  At the moment, my body would like a break from all the carbs and white flour we were fed over the weekend, delicious as it was.  Here are ten of our favourite gluten-free salads that will be making appearances in the weeks ahead.

May all your salads this summer be as tasty and refreshing as these!

Glass Noodle Salad with Cucumber and Sesame | Swirls and Spice

1) Glass Noodle Salad with Cucumber and Sesame

Creamy Layered Sweet Pea Salad

2) Creamy Sweet Pea Salad

Napa Salad with Sesame Orange Dressing

3) Sesame Orange Napa Cabbage Salad

Sesame Quinoa Salad

4) Sesame Quinoa Salad


5) Tangy Cucumber Salad with Chicken and Peanuts

Kohlrabi Cube Salad

6) Kohlrabi Cube Salad

Sesame Black Bean Salad | Swirls and Spice

7) Sesame Black Bean Salad with Red Peppers

Tuna and White Bean Salad with Tahini | Swirls and Spice

8) Tuna and White Bean Salad with Tahini and Avocado

Pesto-Dressed Three Bean Salad

9) Pesto-Dressed Three Bean Salad

Rainbow Potato Salad copy

10) Rainbow Potato Salad

Do you have a favourite summer salad?

I’m bringing this salad smorgasbord to Fiesta Friday this week.

I also share recipes here.


Banana Coconut Spice Cookies with Turmeric

Just four simple ingredients and “bam!”–you’ve got cookies!  Coconut and banana need no other sweetener, so these flourless cookies are impossibly healthy too!
Banana Coconut Spice Cookies with Turmeric {4-ingredient recipe} | Swirls and Spice  #vegan When I want to make cookies both delicious and healthy, I usually turn to sweet potatoes.  My Cocoa Nut Breakfast Cookies and Healthier Samoa Coconut Cookies are proof of this trend.  But sometimes I would rather skip shredding or cooking sweet potatoes.  That led me to try a 2-ingredient cookie recipe that seemed too good to be true.  Still, to have fresh cookies the easy way seemed worth a try.

Not being one to leave well enough alone, however, I spiced the cookies up a bit.  Turmeric tastes wonderful with banana and coconut, as one sip of a Soothing Spiced Smoothie with Turmeric will confirm.  So I added a similar blend of turmeric and cinnamon to these cookies and was thrilled with how they turned out.  Not only did these get a healthy boost of anti-inflammatory spices, the cookies gained a beautiful golden hue.  And they were among the quickest and easiest cookies I have ever made!

Banana Coconut Spice Cookies with Turmeric {4-ingredient recipe} | Swirls and Spice

A few of the cookies became five-ingredient cookies because I thought it would be fun to top them with pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds).  Pretty like a daisy, aren’t they?  Another bonus to this vegan recipe is that you can eat the dough without worry.  It is egg-free and is essentially a baked variation of Instant Banana Coconut Grain-Free “Oatmeal.”  And of course you need to taste the dough as you go, to make sure you get the spices exactly how you like them.Banana Coconut Spice Cookies with Turmeric {4-ingredient recipe} | Swirls and Spice

Coconut Banana Spice Cookies with Turmeric - vegan and gluten free

  • Servings: about 15 cookies
  • Print

Banana Coconut Spice Cookies with Turmeric {4-ingredient recipe} | Swirls and SpiceIngredients:

  • 2 large ripe bananas (or 3 medium)
  • 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (plus another 1/4 cup if needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon OR pumpkin pie spice blend (or make your own freestyle blend)


  1. Blend the ingredients together in a food processor until the dough holds together well.  Add another 1/4 cup coconut if dough seems runny.
  2. Shape dough by hand into round cookies about 1/2-inch (1.3 cm) thick.  Place on baking sheet lined with lightly greased baking parchment.  Bake at 350 degrees until fragrant and toasted.  Cookies will be soft.

Adapted from Grok Grub

Coconut Banana Spice Cookies with Turmeric | Swirls and SpiceI share recipes at Allergy Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, and here.


Wild Rice Waffles with Pecans (GF)

Wild Rice Waffles with Pecans (GF) | Swirls and SpiceThe prospect of wild rice, maple syrup, and rhubarb together on a plate enticed me to get my waffle iron out again.  The resulting crisp, nutty waffles tasted wonderful on their own, but adding cherry-rhubarb maple syrup was a perfect complement to the waffles.  Complex and hefty enough to be a stand-alone meal, I didn’t even miss having bacon.

Never have I tasted a heartier waffle, so I highly recommend these for brunch, or when you are in the mood to enjoy breakfast for dinner.  Now I have one more reason to wish my rhubarb would grow faster–so I can enjoy another batch of wild rice waffles!

Wild Rice Waffles with Pecans (GF) | Swirls and Spice

Wild Rice Waffles with Pecans - gluten free and dairy free

Ingredients:Wild Rice Waffles with Pecans (GF) | Swirls and Spice

  • 1/2 cup oat flour*, packed
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, optional (omit salt if using salted butter)
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup almond milk, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or sunflower oil
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice**
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  1.  Whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, almond milk, and butter or oil.  Stir together wet and dry mixtures until just combined.
  2. Preheat waffle iron.  Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form.  Fold egg whites into batter, followed by cooked wild rice and chopped pecans.  Grease the waffle iron lightly with oil or butter and pour in batter.  Cook waffles according to waffle iron directions, until golden and crisp on the outside and batter is cooked through inside.  Serve waffles warm with pure maple syrup or cherry-rhubarb-infused maple syrup.

*from certified gluten-free oats if avoiding all gluten

**To prepare wild rice, bring 1 and 1/2 cups water to a boil.  Add 1/2 cup dry wild rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt and reduce heat to simmer.  Cover and simmer for 50 minutes, then drain wild rice and measure out 1 cup.

Adapted from Taste of Home

Wild Rice Waffles with Pecans (GF) | Swirls and SpiceI share recipes at Gluten Free Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, and here.


Triple Layer Pina Colada Rice Pudding

Sweet side dish or dessert? Normally rice pudding can be both. With its layers of pineapple and fluffy meringue, this one is definitely angling for the dessert table at your next potluck or family gathering.

Triple Layer Pina Colada Rice Pudding | Swirls and SpiceRice pudding is versatility in edible form.  As a sweet side or a comforting dessert, it complements almost any type of spice palette, from Mexican to Indian to Scandanavian dishes.  With something just so deliciously sweet and creamy, you cannot go wrong.

Meringue-Topped Pineapple Coconut Rice Pudding | Swirls and SpiceMy perfect late spring or summer meal would be this rice pudding, along with barbequed ribs, coleslaw, and freshly shucked corn on the cob. The only debate people have is whether to serve it warm or cold.  I prefer it cold, especially since I like to eat baked rice pudding, which is rather like custard.

Meringue-Topped Pineapple Coconut Rice Pudding | Swirls and SpiceThanks to my mom, I’ve never made rice pudding any other way except baking it.  This recipe and my Custard-Style Coconut Rice Pudding are based on her classic recipe, which (if you can enjoy dairy milk) is extraordinary.  But since I have become somewhat lactose intolerant/sensitive after eliminating dairy for so many years, coconut milk works best for me.

My mom likes the richer coconut milk version of the rice pudding too.  In fact, a lot of my adventurousness in the kitchen comes from her.  She’s a person who has been eager to try all sorts of new things, from teaching strategies to travel destinations.  The three layers of this rice pudding could even represent places my mom has gone:

  1. Pudding, for her trip to Sweden in 1968, where she met distant relatives and bought the lace for her wedding dress.
  2. Pineapple, for her trips to Thailand and Vietnam, where her first two grandchildren were born.
  3. Meringue topping, for Alaska (á la the classic dessert), where she traveled to be at her brother’s wedding.  She’s going back to Alaska this summer–on a cruise with my dad.

Meringue-Topped Pineapple Coconut Rice Pudding | Swirls and Spice

Meringue-Topped Pineapple Coconut Rice Pudding | Swirls and SpiceThe first time I made Pina Colada Rice Pudding, I used a large baking dish, which is great for serving a crowd.  But making smaller puddings in ramekins is another great option.  Mini desserts have mysterious powers of attraction.  And they can theoretically help with portion control.  It’s a challenge for me to stop at one of these creamy pudding cups though.   Perhaps I should make them often, as an exercise in self-control; or better yet, create a reason to invite friends over and share.

Triple Layer Pina Colada Rice Pudding | Swirls and Spice

Triple Layer Pina Colada Rice Pudding (with Meringue Topping)

  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Print


For the rice pudding:

  • 3 large eggs (whole)
  • 2 cups coconut milk (canned)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or other milk alternative)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup pure honey or light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1 + 1/2 cups cooked rice

For the pineapple topping:

  • 1 cup crushed pineapple with juice OR pineapple puree
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (or 2 teaspoons tapicoa starch), optional
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

For the meringue:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 Tablespoons raw sugar, finely ground OR confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Blend milks and vanilla, if using, into beaten eggs. Stir in sugar, salt, and rice.
  2. Pour rice mixture into greased round baking dish or divide into ramekins.  Fill another larger baking pan or dish with hot water 1-inch (2.5 cm) deep. Place rice pudding dish into water pan (as a bain marie); bake at 350 F (180 C) for 45 minutes or longer for a baking dish, or about 35 minutes if using ramekins, until the middle is loosely set.  Let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, make pineapple filling layer by combining pineapple, sugar, cornstarch (if using), and cinnamon in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until some of the liquid has evaporated and the pineapple thickens.  Remove from heat, stir in almond extract, and let cool.  Spread over baked rice pudding.
  4. To make the meringue topping, beat egg whites and salt together with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar and beat until incorporated and stiff peaks form.  Spread meringue over pineapple layer, forming peaks with the back of a spoon or spatula.
  5. Bake the meringue topped pudding(s) at 350 degrees F (180 C) for 7 to 10 minutes, until meringue turns light golden brown.  Serve warm or chilled.

I share recipes at Gluten Free Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, and here.


Roasted Radish Risotto

Rosy red radishes and emerald greens pair together in this seasonal risotto.  Topped with toasted pecans, you will find that the sweet, savoury, and hint-of-bitter flavours balance one another beautifully.  This novel twist on risotto makes an elegant side dish or vegan main course.

Roasted Radish RisottoThere seems to be some confusion as to when summer starts.  It’s May, and I say that spring is still here. Summer starts in June.

Spring is the best time for planting quick-growing radishes. They are so simple to grow that we actually managed to plant and harvest some last year, though we planted ours at the end of the summer.  Hopefully this year we can get our seeds sown in May, since they only take about a month to mature.  Whether I spy a fresh bunch at a farmers market or pull up some home-grown radishes from our plot of earth, it’s nice to know I can make this delicious risotto from roasted radishes.

Roasted Radishes

Because despite having a radish-loving daughter, I merely tolerate crisp red-rimmed slices in salads.  However, I found that roasting radishes mellows their peppery bite and gives them a flavour that is similar to kohlrabi or turnips.  The roasted radishes blended beautifully with the creamy risotto flavours.  I even saved some risotto for lunch the next day, and it tasted just as good if not better!

Roasted Radish Risotto

Roasted Radish Risotto - gluten free with vegan option

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Time: 50 min
  • Print


  • 12 medium radishes, rinsed, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 + 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach and/or radish greens
  • 1 + 1/2 cups short-grain rice or Arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup red onion or shallots, diced
  • 5 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup white wine, optional
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, vegan margarine, or refined coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon pure honey
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (210 C).  In a medium bowl, blend together 1 Tablespoon each of olive oil, lemon juice, and honey.  Toss with cut radishes.  Grease a baking tray with olive oil and place radishes on the tray.  Discard the marinade.  Roast for 15 to 18 minutes, stirring once or twice to help the radishes cook evenly.  Set tray aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, heat broth to a gentle simmer.  In another skillet or large sauce pan, heat butter over medium heat and add olive oil.  Saute onion or shallots for 2 minutes before adding garlic and rice.  Cook for one minute and then pour in wine, stirring constantly.  When wine has mostly evaporated, begin adding hot broth, 1/2 cup at time.  After each addition of broth, stir for several minutes until risotto thickens before adding the next portion of broth.  After adding the last 1/2 cup of broth, stir in spinach leaves and roasted radishes.  Continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed.  Remove risotto from heat and keep warm until ready to serve.
  3. Just before serving, top risotto with lightly toasted pecans.

I share recipes here, at Allergy Free Wednesdays, and at Gluten Free Wednesdays.





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