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Easy dinner recipes: Asian rice noodles and more gluten-free ideas

Curious about going gluten-free but think your options are limited? With dishes like Asian rice noodles with shrimp and pork, or rice with roasted cauliflower you might forget you've cut anything out. Check out these ideas: 

Larger than their Western counterparts, Chinese chives lend a fresh yet delicate garlic flavor to dishes with their full, flat leaves. In this quick noodle recipe, the chives are cooked along with shrimp, pork and flat rice noodles, making for a lightly sweet dish, brightened with a squeeze of fresh lime at the end. You can find the Chinese chives and noodles at Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.   - See more at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dailydish/2012/05/dinner-tonight-rice-noodles-with-chinese-chives-shrimp-and-pork.html#sthash.92DrzErk.dpuf

Larger than their Western counterparts, Chinese chives lend a fresh yet delicate garlic flavor to Asian rice noodles with their full, flat leaves. In this quick recipe, the chives are cooked along with shrimp, pork and flat rice noodles, making for a lightly sweet dish, brightened with a squeeze of fresh lime at the end. You can find Chinese chives and noodles at Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.

Rice with cauliflower may sound deceptively simple, but this dish contains a wealth of layered flavors. Roasting the cauliflower concentrates the vegetable's flavor while softening it to buttery tenderness, the rich caramelization complemented with a sprinkling of earthy curry powder. Tossed with rice spiced with a pinch of chili flakes, the dish is finished with bright crunch from fresh green onion. A perfect harmony in every mouthful.

RECIPES: 99 easy dinner ideas in about an hour or less

Rice salad takes a colorful turn with cooked small shrimp, fresh arugula, tomatoes, minced red onion and toasted pine nuts. The whole dish comes together in about 45 minutes.

You can find all three recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

RICE NOODLES WITH CHINESE CHIVES, SHRIMP AND PORK

Total time: 35 minutes, plus soaking time for the noodles

Servings: 2 to 3 as a main course, 4 to 6 as a side

Note: Chinese chives are significantly larger than Western chives, and their flat leaves have a delicate garlic, rather than onion, flavor. In Chinese and Southeast Asian markets, they are typically sold in 1-pound bundles. Vietnamese cooks treat them like a green vegetable, often cooking them with noodles.

1/2 pound medium dried flat rice noodles (banh pho)

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, divided

3 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped into pea-sized pieces

1/3 pound ground pork, coarsely chopped to loosen

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound Chinese chives, bottom 1/2 inch trimmed and cut into 3-inch lengths

2 or 3 limes, quartered

1. Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let them soak until they are pliable and opaque, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and use kitchen scissors to cut them into 3- to 4-inch lengths.

2. To make the flavoring sauce, in a small bowl combine 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar, the fish sauce and water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.

3. In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry just until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the shrimp and pork and stir briefly to break up the meat. Sprinkle in the salt and remaining one-fourth teaspoon sugar. Keep stirring until the shrimp and pork have turned opaque, about 2 minutes. Stir in the Chinese chives. Because there is so much food in the pan now, use 2 cooking utensils to stir and toss the ingredients, ensuring even exposure to the heat. (Think of tossing a big salad.)

4. When the chives have collapsed by one-third of their original volume, after about 3 minutes, add the noodles and combine well. When all of the ingredients are well combined, give the flavoring sauce a stir and pour over the mixture. Continue stirring and tossing 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the noodles and chives are soft and cooked.

5. Remove from the heat, squeeze 4 lime wedges (1 lime) over the noodles, and mix well to distribute the flavors. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately with the remaining lime wedges.

Each of 3 servings: 604 calories; 27 grams protein; 77 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 22 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 148 mg. cholesterol; 1,753 mg. sodium.

AD HOC'S RICE WITH ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

Total time: 45 minutes

Servings: 8 to 10

1/2 head white cauliflower, cut into florets

2 tablespoons canola oil

Salt

Pepper

Pinch of curry powder

6 cups water

1 cup Carolina, or long grain, rice

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the canola oil and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, or to taste.

3. Place the cauliflower in a roasting pan (reserve the bowl) and roast until the cauliflower is a deep brown and tender throughout when pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing every few minutes for even coloring and cooking. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees.

4. While the cauliflower is roasting, cook the rice: In a large saucepan, add the water and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice and chili flakes and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the rice just until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the rice well, then spread the rice in a thin shallow layer in a large baking dish.

5. Place the rice in the oven to dry out for 5 minutes. Remove, then stir in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired with salt and pepper.

6. Place the cauliflower back in the bowl and toss with the curry powder. Taste and season, if desired, with additional salt and pepper.

7. Gently stir in the warmed rice and butter, tossing until the butter is melted and evenly coats the rice and cauliflower. Stir in the green onions and serve immediately.

Each of 10 servings: 136 calories; 2 grams protein; 18 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 6 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 6 mg. cholesterol; 68 mg. sodium.

RICE SALAD WITH SHRIMP AND ARUGULA

Total time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8

2 cups medium-grain rice, such as Arborio

Salt

3 tablespoons good-quality olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

1/2 pound cooked small shrimp (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/4 cup minced red onion

1 cup diced tomato

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 1/2 cups torn arugula, loosely packed

3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

1. Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a rolling boil. Stir in the rice and return the water to a boil; reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer. Cook until the rice is tender, 15 minutes. Drain the rice in a strainer and rinse quickly in cool running water. Line a large mixing bowl with a tea towel and empty the rice into it. Fold the tea towel over the top of the rice and set aside to cool, about 5 minutes.

2. When the rice has cooled slightly, add the olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and salt to taste, stirring lightly with a fork to avoid crushing the tender rice grains. (The rice can be prepared to this point a day ahead and refrigerated in a tightly covered container. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.)

3. When almost ready to serve, combine the shrimp, red onion and tomato in a medium bowl and season with red wine vinegar and one-fourth teaspoon salt, or to taste.

4. Add the shrimp mixture to the rice along with the arugula and pine nuts. Stir to combine well, taste and add more salt or lemon juice if necessary. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 30 minutes in advance.)

5. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve at room temperature.

Each of 8 servings: 300 calories; 10 grams protein; 45 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 8 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 55 mg. cholesterol; 139 mg. sodium.

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