Basic sandwich wraps

Basic sandwich wraps

These are nutrient-packed versions of the sandwich wraps that are so fashionable now.  They are as simple as a normal pancake to make and are inspired by the delicious buckwheat galettes you get in traditional restaurants in Brittany.  This recipe comes from Ian Marber’s book, The Food Doctor everyday diet, which has lots of lovely recipes.  Make them in advance and store them in the fridge for a day or two, or freeze for up to a month.  When freezing, separate them with greaseproof or baking paper and store them in a self-seal bag to prevent drying out.   Like all other grains, buckwheat is much more digestible if you soak before using (ie. make the batter a few hours before you need it or the previous day and store it at room temperature for an extra light result).

Basic sandwich wrap

Makes 8 small wraps
See “larder & shopping” to source new-to-you ingredients

100g buckwheat flour
1 large egg, organic if possible
300ml liquid – use 150ml/ ¼ pint each water and milk (rice milk, cows milk, or soya milk or oat milk – NB oat milk may contain gluten) or use all water.  See larder for further info.
A little virgin macadamia oil, coconut oil or, if you can’t get these, some extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper
Baking/greaseproof paper (or tin foil) and (if you want to freeze the wraps) a self-seal bag

1. Sift the flour into a large bowl, then make a well in the middle and break in the egg and add a few grinds of black pepper.
3. Using a whisk, gradually add the liquid, whisking well, until the mix has the consistency of thin cream.  Depending on the size of the egg, you may need a little more or less fluid than the quantity specified.   Like all grain-based foods, the buckwheat flour becomes even more digestible if you leave the batter overnight to soak before cooking the wraps.
4. Heat a flat-based frying pan or griddle until hot, wiping a little oil over it with kitchen paper while it is still quite cool (macadamia oil, coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil are fine)
5. When hot, pour an eighth of the mixture into the centre of the pan, tilting the pan to spread the mixture.  We use a ladle for this as it’s easier to measure out an eighth rather than trying to estimate when in mid-pour.   Cook for a minute or two, until the pancake, begins to bubble around the edge.  Flip it over with a spatula and continue cooking for another minute or two.  Meanwhile, line a plate with greaseproof/baking paper/tinfoil
6. When the wrap is cooked, turn it on to the lined plate.  Put another piece of paper/foil on top and continue cooking wraps and piling them up, separated by pieces of paper or foil to stop them from sticking to each other.   When all the wraps are cooked and cooled, cover with either another plate and store in the fridge for up to 2 days or else place in a self-seal bag and freeze, to thaw and use as required.

Serving ideas:
Just spread a wrap with one of these combinations, roll up and wrap in a paper sandwich bag secured with an elastic band for a great packed lunch.  If you can, add some additional salad in a box on the side.

  • Plenty of humous, some de-seeded, chopped tomatoes and/or cucumber, and baby spinach/rocket/lettuce leaves
  • Lean chicken, chopped red onion and cucumber, and avocado mashed with lemon/lime juice and some black pepper
  • Ricotta or low-fat cottage cheese mashed with crushed garlic or chopped dill, black pepper, and strips of smoked salmon or mackerel
  • Grilled Toulouse sausage (Toulouse sausage is usually gluten- and nitrite-free but check with your butcher) or Taifun grill herb sausages (contain gluten) or thickly sliced grilled Taifun basil tofu (gluten-free) PLUS salad veggies (eg rocket, chopped peppers, cherry tomatoes) and a little home-made mayo, aioli, non-sugar tomato ketchup or extra virgin olive oil to moisten.
    Again, please see my larder section for all unusual ingredients.

Why this is good for you:
Buckwheat flour is a grain that is naturally gluten-free and is packed with nutrition.  It is a valuable source of rutin, a bioflavonoid with anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties.  Rutin, like many other bioflavonoids, helps support the integrity of your skin, making it stronger and less prone to allergic reactions.  Bioflavonoids help build collagen, which is also vital for bone strength.  So if you want strong healthy bones and wrinkle-free skin…Fresh raw vegetables are also a source of bioflavonoids.
As regards the fillings, protein (humous, ricotta, vegan sausage, basil tofu, Toulouse sausage, and smoked salmon) delays digestion, giving you a slow-burn, long-lasting energy for hours to follow.

Buckwheat & amaranth porridge with berries & seeds

Buckwheat & amaranth porridge with berries & seeds

This recipe serves 1 big eater and the grains in it are naturally gluten-free.

Buckwheat flakes (see “larder & shopping” for where to buy these and other unusual ingredients)
Amaranth grains
1 cup fresh or thawed mixed berries (buy frozen from most supermarkets)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 heaped dsp ground raw seeds (a blend of linseed, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower is good) – see larder & shopping

Optional extras:
Sweetener if needed (stevia drops  or xylitol – see larder for info)
Dairy-free milk of your choice (NB, if you are coeliac, almond milk, and unsweetened rice milk, are OK but oat milk would need to be certified gluten-free as oats are often contaminated with wheat) – see larder for where to buy dairy-free milk.
2 rounded dsp rice protein, pea protein, or (if you want to eat dairy) 1/2-1 scoop Solgar Whey to Go Vanilla – from health stores
1 dsp lecithin granules (from health stores – brilliant for those with difficulty digesting fats)

  1. You want about 1/2 mug of mixed buckwheat and amaranth – I find 3 parts buckwheat to 1 part amaranth delicious.  Empty into a saucepan with lid, cover to a depth of about 1cm with boiling water, and, if possible, soak overnight.  This soaking makes the nutrients in the grains MUCH more easily absorbed by your body.  Soaking for even 30 minutes makes a difference though.
  2. Simmer for 5-10 mins, stirring occasionally and adding in more water or milk if you wish, so it doesn’t get too thick.  Add half a teaspoon of cinnamon now.  If using stevia drops to sweeten, add them to taste and mix well.  If using a protein powder (see below) stir it in now.
  3. Pour into a bowl and top with the berries and ground seeds and whatever other extras you choose. Variations:
    Use a chopped/grated apple pear or 2 plums instead of the berries

Dietary note:
Buckwheat is a rich source of a phytochemical called rutin, which helps build collagen in your body to help strengthen bones, intestines, blood vessels, and skin.  Purple fruits are rich in proanthocyanidins which are profoundly anti-inflammatory – like paracetamol but longer-acting and without side effects!  both amaranth and buckwheat are technically seeds rather than grains and are  100% gluten-free.   Coeliacs can eat oats but only those that are certified gluten-free, that is, which are guaranteed not contaminated with gluten grains.  Scientific research shows cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels.  It is also anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing, and helps neutralise harmful bacteria in the gut.  Lecithin helps emulsify fats, aiding digestion.

Tabbouleth (Tabouleth) with mint & cucumber

Tabbouleth (Tabouleth) with mint & cucumber

This is my even more delicious gluten-free version of the classic Middle Eastern salad which is normally based on bulgar wheat. This is great with grilled or roast meat or fish, or a chickpea/bean salad.  You can make it in advance for a barbecue or buffet.  Don’t skimp on the fresh parsley or lemon juice.

For 2 people, with leftovers:
½ mug/1 cup millet grains (not flakes), available in wholefood stores
3 tbsp finely sliced red onion (or spring onion, if you can’t get red)
4 tomatoes, finely chopped
½ cucumber, skin and all, chopped into about ½cm cubes
6 rounded tbsp parsley (flat-leaf is nice), finely chopped
3 tbs finely chopped fresh mint or 3 dsp dried mint
Juice of 2-3 lemons (or more, to taste)
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt or Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Boil the kettle.  Add the millet to a saucepan with double its quantity (2 cups) of boiling water, cover with a lid, and simmer without stirring until all the water is absorbed and the grains are fluffy.  Rough up with a fork and allow to cool.
  2. When the millet is no more than lukewarm, put it and the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently to combine, taking care not to mash the millet.   If you have time, let it stand for at least half an hour to let the flavors amalgamate.

Why this is good for you:
I use millet here because it is naturally gluten-free, tastes great, and is packed with the relaxing nutrient magnesium.  Wheat contains high levels of phytates that impede mineral absorption in the gut.  People who eat wheat at several meals a day often end up short of essential minerals such as zinc and iron even if they eat them in the diet.  Also (and this is a shocker from recent research) gluten in wheat damages your gut for several hours after exposure – you don’t have to be gluten-sensitive for this to happen!  Parsley is rich in iron and aids detoxification, good news if you care about your skin or your energy levels.  Lemon juice aids the stomach in the digestive process while mint is anti-spasmodic, helping relieve gas or cramps in the gut.  Extra virgin olive oil is rich in vitamin E and research shows that including it in your daily diet increases your healthy lifespan.  Tomatoes are a fantastic source of lycopene and act as a natural UV filter, helping reduce skin burning and ageing.