Rebecca's Gluten Free Blog

Gluten Free in the Upper Midwest

Spasso March 23, 2011

I’ve heard many great things about Spasso in Minnetonka.┬álocated next to Lakewinds Minnetonka, Spasso is spacious and has a great atmosphere inside.

the menu is marked with the items that are gluten-free. there are some apps/sides, including scallops and olives, and of course some salad options. but most of the gluten-free menu consists of seafood and steaks. they have salmon, risotto, short ribs, pork chops, a variety of steaks, and prime rib.

an interesting item is the vegetarian lasagna, which is marked as being gluten-free. I’m assuming that means that it’s a noodle-less lasagna, using the eggplant and zucchini for layering instead. they also have gluten-free pizzas! none of the burgers were marked as gluten-free~ I meant to ask but forgot. there’s a chance they may be gluten-free if you forgo the bun. so keep that in mind to ask if you’re interested.

the food is really delicious. when I ate there, after much debate about the short ribs, I decided to try the nightly special: tilapia and potato/ leek risotto. the tilapia was cooked perfectly~ it was very delicate. and while I was disappointed at first that the the potato/ leek risotto didn’t actually contain rice (the potato was the risotto), it was one of the best flavors I’ve tasted. I ended up only being disappointed that I didn’t get more of it! my friends (non-celiacs) enjoyed their dishes as much as I enjoyed mine, which explains why I’ve heard great things about Spasso from many different groups of people. it’s a perfect place for a night on the town or a special dinner.

the happy hour is from 3-6 if you’re interested, with $3 house wines and $2 off pizzas (which basically covers the surcharge for the gf crust).


recipe: Gluten-Free (Goat Cheese) Lasagna March 15, 2011

Filed under: Cooking & Baking — rebeccagf @ 9:02 pm
Tags: ,

when I try cooking something for the first time, I like to reference several recipes, and use ideas from each of them, and tailor it to how I like. I first tried making lasagna a few weeks ago, and it came out wonderfully (if I do say so myself)! goat cheese has lower casein than cow cheese, so it’s better tolerated by some. however, you can of course substitute regular (cow) cheeses for the ones below if you prefer. (it probably won’t turn out very well with a non-dairy cheese substitute unfortunately). here’s my recipe for lasagna:

meat mixture:

1 pound ground beef

1/4-1/2 pound Italian sausage (matter of preference, I add just 1/4 pound to get the taste, but keep the calories low)

1 small yellow onion

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp oregano

5-10 fresh basil leaves, depending on the size (or 1 tsp dried basil)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 jar of spaghetti sauce (a plain marinara preferably)


1 package of gluten-free lasagna noodles.


8 oz package of mozzarella-flavored goat cheese, such as Natural Valley or Mount Sterling brands

13.5 oz package (or thereabout) of soft goat cheese or chevre

as I mentioned, I like to play with my recipes, and I encourage you to do the same! so if you have less of the soft goat cheese, just get more of the mozzarella to make up for it. or if you don’t have basil or oregano, just add more Italian seasoning. if you enjoy Italian sausage more than the ground beef, switch around the amounts. if you don’t have garlic or an onion, just skip it~ it’s not the end of the world. feel free to adapt this recipe to suit you and your family. you’ll be the ones eating it!


preheat oven to 350 degrees

start a pot of boiling water, large enough to hold the lasagna noodles. continue on to do the meat mixture, but when the water starts boiling, put the package of lasagna noodles in, and let them cook for about 3/4 of the time it says on the package. this will leave the noodles limp but not completely cooked. the will finish cooking in the oven. if you fully cook them it’s not a huge problem, it just might be more difficult to work with without tearing. also, since they’re gluten-free noodles they can become┬áreally starchy in the final minutes of cooking, so I like to avoid that.

while the water is boiling, start the meat mixture in either a dutch oven or a frying pan. fry up the ground beef, onion, and garlic together on the stove over medium heat. as it starts to brown, add in all the seasonings and herbs, including the salt and pepper. once the meat is completely cooked, pour in 2/3 of the jar of marinara sauce, turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer.

now, start assembling! place half of the meat mixture in the bottom of a cake pan (9″ x 13″). then place half of the noodles, lined up next to each other, across the pan. next add half of the soft goat cheese/ chevre, followed by half of the shredded mozzarella. add the other layer of meat mixture, noodles, and each cheese. then pour the remaining marinara sauce (that was set aside) on top. place tinfoil over the top, and put it in the oven. it will bake for about 45 minutes total, but around halfway through, take the tinfoil off so the cheese on top will melt thoroughly.

once you take the lasagna out of the oven, let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving. and then enjoy!


Crave March 8, 2011

there are several locations of Crave: Galleria (Edina), West End (St Louis Park), Mall of America (Bloomington), and out of state: Orlando and Omaha. the menus may differ slightly by location. I visited the Mall of America location.

the gluten-free options are marked as such on the regular menu. there aren’t a ton of items, but enough to have some choices. there are a couple of appetizers: scallops and edamame.

main dishes that are gluten-free include a couple of salads, tomato pesto soup, salmon, chicken, and steak.

I asked about burgers, which weren’t labeled as gluten-free, and they were able to make me one. I’d brought my own bread, which worked out well. the ketchup was Heinz (safe), but of course the french fries were not. actually, Monday nights are special burger nights, so that would be a fun time to go if you enjoy burgers. for your gluten-eating friends and family, it looks like they have some fun varieties of malts and french fries on Mondays.

they also had a sushi bar, which I’m sure had a lot of gluten-free options. I didn’t inquire too much about the sushi though.

on Sundays they do brunch. supposedly there were several things that would be gluten-free. however, the brunch menu isn’t labeled. the waitress wasn’t entirely sure of what all would be safe to eat, but it sounds like they could make it work.

Sunday night specials include are All You Can Eat Prime Rib & Crab Legs and sushi platters, if you’re into either of those. I haven’t verified whether the prime rib is gluten-free, but I know that crab legs are! (yum!)

I would recommend making reservations for Crave if you plan to go, particularly on weekends.


That time of the year… March 3, 2011

just a few things to remember, if you’re interested:

Lakewinds is having their Annual Gluten-Free Round-Ups: this Saturday, March 5th in Chanhassen, and Saturday, March 19th at their Minnetonka location.

CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) shares are being sold like crazy about this time of year, so if you’re interested, you should sign up in the near future. (see my post from last year for a description of them and lists of local CSAs to choose from). on April 4th, Seward Co-op is having its Annual CSA Fair. this is a great chance to speak to the farmers and decide which one is for you. however, many of the drop-off locations are already filled by then. so beware the risks if you decide to wait until then to sign up.

Passover is right around the corner (late April). and as I discovered last year, the time leading up to Passover is a great time to find specialty gluten-free foods! among my favorite finds: Manischewitz Passover Gold egg noodles. also, Shabtai Gourmet has additional gluten-free Passover items. so check out the kosher/ Passover aisles in the grocery stores or online in the near future.