Category Archives: Vegetarian

Cauliflower Polenta

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Ok, so I’ve never had polenta, but I’ve had grits.. Like grits, it’s another grain based porridge or gruel. Traditionally polenta was made by boiling corn meal, and was a common peasant food. Today, It’s easily found in the supermarket, pre-cooked and packaged in a plastic tube. Even though it’s gluten-free, It’s still a grain based food, so it’s not a part of a primal diet. I’ve never had it, but I hear it’s somewhat creamy, and at least the tube version can be baked, fried, griddled, and used as a pasta substitute. Mine doesn’t have that versatility, but I’m totally ok with that! Mine is more like the traditional mush. I decided to use some of my awesome purple cauliflower to make a baked grain free and gluten-free mock polenta. It was really yummy, and a perfect side dish to serve my crock pot pulled chicken over.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of Cauliflower (Steamed)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • Salt, pepper, thyme, basil, oregano
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg

Steam the cauliflower and place in a large metal bowl. I had to do this in two batches. Slice and steam the onion and garlic, and add that to the bowl as well. Add the egg, water, and spices and mash with a fork. Then use a hand blender to get it to a creamy consistency. Pour the mixture into a 9×9 glass pan and use parchment paper or plastic wrap to press it down (I also lined the pan with aluminum foil for easier clean up, but that’s totally optional. Remove the plastic wrap/paper and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.

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Served with Crock Pot Balsamic and Mushroom Chicken (Click for Recipe)

Shown Served with Crock Pot Balsamic and Mushroom Chicken (Click for Recipe)

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Crustless No Sugar Added Paleo Pumpkin Bake

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This is more savory than your typical pumpkin pie, with just a hint of sweetness from the coconut butter. It made the house smell amazing as it was baking, just like pumpkin pie. When I took it out initially, it was done cooking (the toothpick came out clean),It tasted good, and it held together fairly well if I used a spatula, but wasn’t as forgiving if I tried to use a spoon or fork to remove squares of it. I decided to put it back in a little longer to get some more moisture out which did the trick. It still wasn’t as firm as traditional pumpkin pie, but letting it chill in the fridge helped it firm up more. Maybe next time I’ll play with the ratio, but it was definitely yummy and made for a great side to my eggs in the morning. If you’re looking for more of a dessert, or are feeling more indulgent, add some maple syrup, honey, or maybe some shredded coconut! But I liked it just fine this way.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can organic Pumpkin
  • 1 can Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 cup (or a few heaping spoons) Raw Coconut butter
  • Some good big shakes of Cinnamon and Ginger
  • A large Dash of Nutmeg

Combine all ingredients with a hand blender until smooth, then pour into glass pan. Bake at 350 for 40-60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. If there is still a lot of moisture, turn the heat down to 300 and cook 15-20 minutes longer. For best results, chill in the refrigerator, and then lightly warm when ready to eat/serve.

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Pineapple Vegetable Fried Cauliflower “Rice”

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I’ve heard about making cauliflower rice before, but didn’t think I could do it, as I don’t own a food processor. Then, I was searching around the internet, and saw a few people suggest you could do it just with a hand grater. I decided to give it a try. I had a beautiful head of yellow “cheddar cauliflower” (no relation to the cheese), and it was BIG, so I had plenty to use. I cut a few big florets off, and used the larger hole setting on the grater.

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It worked! It was a little messy, and a little extra work, but it came out wonderfully! Trying to figure out how to spice it up, I decided to be inspired by this pineapple fried rice I used to love at the Thai restaurant, as well as bringing in complimentary curry and spice flavors.

I cut up some carrots and broccoli into small chunks, grabbed some frozen pineapple (Trader Joe’s brand) and organic frozen peas (legumes not paleo, blah blah) out of the freezer, and went to work.

The (estimated) Breakdown:

1 cup Carrots (diced small)
1 cup Broccoli (diced)
2 cloves garlic (diced)
1 cup peas (organic, frozen)
1 cup pineapple chunks (Trader Joe’s frozen)
3-4 cups grated cauliflower (1/4- 1 head depending on the size)
2 tablespoons duck fat
Cinnamon, nutmeg, curry powder, ginger powder, turmeric, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne

Heat 1 tablespoon duck fat over medium high heat. Then, add the carrots, broccoli, and garlic. After a minutes or so, add the peas and pineapple. Season and stir for a few minutes before adding the second tablespoon duck fat . Add the cauliflower and stir. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring once or twice.

That’s it! It’s really easy, relatively quick once you prep everything, and it was AMAAAAAZING. It was so good that I decided to make a second batch, and went through the entire prep process again….it was so very worth the effort. In the future I might try mixing some egg, or onion in there, for more of a fried rice feel, but i think it’s pretty perfect as is. If you don’t have duck fat, you can use coconut oil, bacon grease, tallow, ghee, or butter. Coconut oil would probably go really well, otherwise I think an animal based fat is ideal.


Kabocha Squash (3 Ways)

Have I mentioned yet how much I love Autumn. It brings so many beautiful things; Cool air…. colorful leaves….winter squash. Yes, I L-O-V-E winter squashes, there are so many varieties, they are so tasty and nutritious, they store well, you get bonus seeds to roast, and they are relatively easy to make. Not to mention, when they are in season they are cheap too, less than $2 a pound, so load up! This week I bought a couple of Kabocha Squash, which I had previously only had in a Japanese style pumpkin curry, so I decided to roast it, and then use the roasted squash to make some recipes.

I used to have a love/hate relationship with roasting squash. I think, it was because cutting them was so tough and annoying. Then I found out you can roast them whole, and now it’s really the easiest thing ever. Which brings us to the first dish.

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  1. Naked Roasted Kobocha Squash

    It’s almost too easy. The flavor of a good Kabocha is so delicious on its own, that you don’t even need to season. Simply place the squash on a pan, and poke some holes in it with a fork. Then stick it in the oven, preheated to 375 degrees, and roast for 60-90 minutes until it’s easy to stick a fork in it. Cut it open, scoop out the seeds (and save them for roasting later!), and cut up or scoop out of the skin.

 

After scooping out all the roast squash, I used about half of it (so a whole Kabocha) to make the next dish. It originally was going to be a soup, but I got lazy and didn’t feel like watering it down. I’m glad I didn’t because I really like it came out. Thicker than a soup, but creamier and thinner than mashed potatoes. It’s actually almost like a dessert. The coconut milk brings out the sweetness of the kabocha, but the best part is, there is no added sweetener.

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2. Kabocha Squash Puree

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk
  • 8 oz Vegetable Broth (I used Pacific Brand)
  • Thyme, Nutmeg, Salt, Pepper

Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and using a hand blender, mix until smooth and creamy. Heat (unless it’s already warm from roasting) and serve.

Finally, I took a bit more of the roasted squash, and made this final dish. I got inspired to do the spinach/squash/nut mixture when remembering these vegan pumpkin kibbeh things I had a few weeks ago. It clued me in that the flavors went well together, so I came up with this side.

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3. Spinach Kobucha Saute

Ingredients:

  • Spinach
  • Garlic
  • Roasted Kobocha
  • Pine Nuts
  • LIGHTLY season with Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, , cinnamon, paprika, ginger, and half a dash of cardamom.

In a pan with some duck fat (and I also used the juice from the steak I just cooked) saute all ingredients for a few minutes until the spinach and garlic are cooked.  Stir in seasoning.

 

I served all three dishes as sides for a wonderful steak. I believe it was a top sirloin. For the steak I marinated it in a combination of thyme, salt, pepper, paprika, ginger, apple cider vinegar, allspice, and nutmeg. Then I cooked it in a pan, in a little tallow, 4 minutes per side before letting it rest for 10 minutes. It was a perfect medium rare. All together, not including the squash roasting time, this whole meal took under an hour, which is great!

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Lemon Garlic Zucchini Boats

Here is a super simple, light, and refreshing zucchini recipe that can be used as a side, snack, or appetizer.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cut the ends off the zucchini and then cut lengthwise. You can cut the zucchini into smaller halves if you wish. Cut a slit down the center, and stick some thin slices of garlic inside. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Bake between 375-400 degrees for 30-45 minutes until the zucchini is cooked through.

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Before Going in the Oven


The Works or The Kitchen Sink – A Mighty Good Salad

kitchensinksaladAlright, so here I am for round two today. I made this yesterday on a whim, while looking for a way to use some stuff in the ‘fridge. Not totally sure what to call this. I’ve seen them called “The Kitchen Sink” or “Garbage Salad”, and it reminds me of getting a sandwich (Blasphemy!) with “The Works”. Whatever you give it for a name, it’s good. Now, half the fun, is using ingredients that you’re trying to clear out, so technically, no two salads should turn out the same. But this rendition was really satisfying, with enough fat, protein, and vegetables, to keep me full. It makes a great lunch. It’s also perfect for a hot summer day, with its clean, mostly raw, ingredients. You can leave out the meat for a vegetarian version.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 Cucumbers sliced and quartered
  • 7 Medium Tomatoes quartered
  • 1 Zucchini sliced and cut into strips
  • 2 avocados cubed
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 can Trader Joe’s pitted green olives
  • 1 heart celery chopped
  • a few sprigs basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 chicken breast chopped up or shredded

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp coconut amino
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1 can Cento brand sliced anchovies chopped

Other:

  • Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • oregano or thyme (optional)

That’s it. Prep is super easy. Just chop everything up and throw it in a bowl. Put together the dressing in a separate bowl, whisk it around, and then throw it in with the rest of it. Add in some seasoning – pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano or thyme, then Stir to combine. I used my hands to stir everything, It’s really easier that way.


Easiest Paleo Banana Pancakes

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This morning I felt like putting more effort into breakfast. One of the main reasons I like hard boiled eggs, and usually stick to them, besides being quick and easy, is mostly because I’m just absolutely atrocious at cooking eggs in anything without a “non-stick” coating. Really, I know it’s a terrible excuse. I’ve tried so many different tips and tricks, nothing helps. I’m just bad at it. I can make eggs fabulously on a non-stick surface, but I just didn’t have anything in my arsenal…Until now!

I just recently bought an electric griddle, and have been dying to try it out. In addition to finally being able to cook gooey and delicious over medium eggs, one of the recipes I’ve been looking forward to making again, is this easy recipe I found for Paleo Banana Pancakes!

http://southernhospitalityblog.com/paleo-banana-pancakes/

There are so many variations out there, some using nut flours, some using a different ratio of banana to egg, but these work fantastically, and are BEYOND easy. Last time I made them, I used my little frying pan, and although with coconut oil I had no problem with sticking, I had to make one at a time. I’ve been wanting an electric griddle ever since, and pretty much avoided making them until I bought one.

Anyway, the pancakes are easy. I don’t really consider them “Paleo-ified” food, because they actually are healthy. The problem I always have with things like “Paleo Cupcakes” or “Paleo Scones” is that they often aren’t really that good for you, and they are still promoting the standard american diet that got so many of us into trouble in the first place. These are simple, no added sugars or sweetners, just egg and banana (with maybe a pinch of salt and a little cinnamon). It’s stripped down, It’s protien, it’s carbs….it’s a fantastic morning food.

I made sort of a big batch today, using 4 bananas and 4 eggs. You get about 3-4 pancakes per banana/egg so I made about 12. I like using the hand blender to make sure everything is combined evenly. In the past I’ve tried cooking them in butter, but even before cutting butter out, I liked the way they cooked in coconut oil much better. Afterwards I cooked a few eggs, flawlessly, and rushed off to work. Best breakfast I’ve had in awhile.


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