Gluten Free Mother’s Day Dinner

I would like to make a special meal for my Mom. But she lives in West Virginia and I live in Wisconsin. So my gift to her this year will be delivered by a white truck. But if I could, I would make the following simple menu in her honor. Today’s menu features several dishes my Mom especially loves.

It starts with a salad that seemed so unusual, so elegant the first time Mom served it, long ago. Spinach, Orange, and Onion Salad. Fruit and greens? Wow. Now, that is not at all unusual, but it is still delicious.


photo by blair_25

Spinach, Orange, and Onion Salad serves 4

5 ounces fresh baby spinach

1 orange, sectioned and membranes removed OR 1 can mandarin oranges, drained

¼ sweet onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup thawed orange juice concentrate (calcium fortified works well)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon grainy mustard

salt and pepper to taste


Arrange spinach, orange sections and onion on serving plates.

In a small bowl, whisk orange juice concentrate, olive oil and mustard until well blended. Add salt and pepper as desired. Drizzle dressing over the salad.


My mom nearly drools at the mention of pork, nearly any kind of pork. Such a simple entree, Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin is roasted and served in only 30 minutes.


photo by tvol

Herb Rubbed Pork Tenderloin Serves 4

2 tablespoons dried onion flakes

2 teaspoons dried thyme

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ tsp salt, optional

1 1/4 lbs pork tenderloin



Preheat oven to 400.

Slide a sharp knife under sliver skin, or the white membrane, of the tenderloin and discard. For easy clean up, line a sheet pan with non-stick foil or parchment paper. Mix herbs together on the foil, arrange in a long line. Roll pork in the mixture.

For very tender and moist meat, a bit pink in the center, roast for 20-25 minutes, or to an internal temperature of 150 degrees.

But Mom likes her pork well done. If you do too, cook it a bit longer to 160 degrees. It is tenderloin, so it will still be tender. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Slice pork against the grain and serve. Rhubarb sauce is a nice spring sauce to serve with the pork.


Just as Mom drools at the mere mention of pork, she positively swoons over potatoes. For her, no dinner is complete with out mashed potatoes. Smashed potatoes elevate the usual comfort food with more texture, rich flavor and color.


photo by vsimon

Smashed Potatoes Serves 6

Creamy and chunky, with bits of red skins.

Adapted from Cooking Illustrated Nov/Dec 2004


2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled

4 tablespoons butter

4 oz reduced fat cream cheese

salt and pepper to taste


Halve the potatoes if they are large. Boil until very soft, 30 or more minutes. Drain and reserve cooking water. Add butter and cream cheese to the pan, cover, and allow to melt.

With a wooden spoon, mash potatoes, butter, and cream cheese. Add some reserved water to thin to desired consistency.

Save any unused potato water for making yeast bread or soup. Mom would not do that, but I would.



photo by –stamina-

Spring Peas are an easy side, full of bright green color and healthy fiber. Maybe you and your Mom can get them at a local farmers market. If it is still too early for peas where you live, use frozen tiny peas. Cook quickly in a little water and add a bit of butter and dill if you like.


My mom is known for a few recipes, Lemon Bars is one. She has been making this for probably 50 years. The original recipe adapted beautifully to gluten free ingredients. I hope that they will become a favorite at your house too. Mom notes use only real butter, no substitutes.


photo by surlygirl

Lemon Squares Yield 12 squares

Traditional, full fat, and very sweet. Just the way Mom likes them.


parchment paper

1 cup all purpose gluten free baking flour mix (Bob’s Red Mill works well)

¼ cup powdered sugar plus a few tablespoons for garnishing

½ cup chilled butter

2 eggs

1 dash salt

1 cup sugar

½ tsp baking powder

2 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Oil the sides of the pan.

In a small bowl mix flour and powdered sugar. Cut in butter. You can pinch the butter and flour between your fingers, or use a tool called a pastry cutter. Either way mix the butter and flour together until it is crumbly and resembles cornmeal.

Pat the crumbles into a crust on the bottom only of the pan, not up the sides. Bake 20 minutes at 350.

Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients together. Pour over crust and bake an additional 20-25 minutes. Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.


Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

WVtrip (17) 

Mom leading me in water aerobics   photo by abush

This menu, with slight changes, appears in the May issue of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness newsletter.