Category Archives: Appetizers

Paleo Picadillo Lettuce Wraps

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I can’t think of any food that screams childhood more than Sloppy Joe’s–okay maybe, Macaroni and Cheese, or better yet, both of these together! But my favorite adult version of sloppy joes is the Latin style Picadillo, which is typically served as filling for tacos or on a sandwich in Latin cultures. But who needs tacos or bread when you can wrap it in lettuce?!  This is a great meal to make in a pinch and will only take you about 30 minutes, fifteen of which you can leave this delicious medley of flavors sitting on the stove to simmer. Picadillo is generally made with ground beef but I opted for ground turkey since my local store always stocks the organic version.

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Picadillo Lettuce Wraps (Adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Diffculty-Easy, Serves 4)

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 1/4 lbs free-range organic ground turkey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 oz organic tomato paste
  • 1/3 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c chopped pimiento-stuffed olives, plus 2 Tbsp olive juice
  • 2 heads organic romaine hearts organic iceberg
  • Sliced avocado, for garnish (optional)

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, cumin, chili powder and allspice; toast 1 to 2 minutes to bring out the flavors and fragrance of the spices. Add the turkey, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Cook about 5 minutes, breaking up the meat.

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Add the tomato paste and stir until brick red, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 cups water, the dried cranberries, olives and olive juice. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over medium heat until thickened, about 15 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, 3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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Serve turkey mixture over rinsed and dried leaves of romaine or iceberg lettuce. Garnish with sliced avocado, if desired.

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Creamy Basil Zucchini “Pasta”

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I’ve made my share of spaghetti squash dishes in place of pasta which is so easy, but I had yet to do anything with zucchini since I didn’t have a spiralizer and was honestly too lazy to julienne zucchini noodles by hand. When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I decided it was time to invest in a veggie spiralizer and I am so glad I did! I bought this GEFU Spiralizer on Amazon and it is super easy to use and makes beautiful zucchini spirals. I definitely recommend it! I also recommend this creamy, raw, paleo dish to go with an Italian Summer meal. It went wonderfully with my Paleo Shrimp Scampi.

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Creamy Basil Zucchini Pasta (Courtesy of Running to the Kitchen) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Serves 4)

  • 4 small zucchini, ends trimmed and spiralized with a julienne peeler or spiralizer
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ an organic cucumber, chopped
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons almond or coconut milk
  • about 8 leaves of organic basil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • halved cherry tomatoes for garnish

Place zucchini spirals in a large bowl. In a mini food processor, combine the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Toss the zucchini with the avocado sauce until fully coated. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves, season with more salt & pepper to taste.

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Paleo Shrimp Scampi

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I saw this incredibly simple paleo shrimp scampi recipe that I had to make to go along with my raw paleo creamy basil zucchini pasta dish–it just seemed like the right thing to do. This dish literally takes less than 10 minutes to throw together and is full of delicious lemony, herby white wine flavor. The best part is the obligatory glass of wine while you’re cooking. A little dash in the pan and a little dash in your glass!

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Paleo Shrimp Scampi (Adapted from Naomi Siegel on Pinterest) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4)

  • 1 lb. wild-caught shrimp, rinsed, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. organic parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. almond meal
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • juice from 1/2 an organic lemon
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine

Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Place olive oil in a baking dish and set oven to broil. Place the shrimp in the baking dish, season with salt and cover with fresh squeezed lemon juice and white wine.

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Place the remaining ingredients in a small food processor or chopper and pulse to combine. The resulting mixture will be a little more moist if you use fresh garlic and parsley, which I did, and think is well worth taking an extra minute to distribute the seasoning over the shrimp than if you had used dried herbs. Lastly, sprinkle the mixture evenly over the shrimp and place in the oven. Broil until pink, about 3-4 minutes. Flip with a spatula and return to the oven for an additional 2-3 minutes. Serve with creamy basil zucchini pasta and generously spoon the extra sauce from the pan over the shrimp.  

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Nutty Fig Toasts

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It was time for the Thursday night pier concert again!! And I had leftover figs to make this perfectly salty and sweet (non-primal, gluten-filled SORRY) snack for our beach picnic. And when I read the description of the Found Object Syrah at Trader Joes with notes of fig and vanilla I obviously had to get it to go along–it was too perfect not to. While this dish is certainly full of grains, it makes a great appetizer or not-so-sweet dessert for guests if you’re feeling like you want a little glutenous (or gluttonous ;)) treat in your life.

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Nutty Fig Toasts (Adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4-6)

  • 8 to 10 fresh figs, halved
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 c. unsalted almond butter
  • 1/2 c. raw hazelnuts 
  • 1 Tbsp. organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 c.cottage cheese
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. honey, plus more for drizzling
  • Toasted multigrain bread, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the figs with the olive oil and a pinch of salt in a baking dish. Roast until soft, about 12-15 minutes.

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Meanwhile, puree the almond butter, hazelnuts, coconut oil and 1/2 tsp. sea salt in a food processor until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cottage cheese, honey and cinnamon and pulse until combined, about 1 minute.

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Spread the ricotta mixture on the bread and top with the roasted figs. Drizzle with honey and top with chopped nuts.

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Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/nutty-fig-toasts-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Basil Cannelini Hummus

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One of my favorite LA summer attractions is the beach concert series at Santa Monica Pier. Every Thursday evening they offer a free concert where everyone sets out a blanket in the sand and brings a picnic to share with friends amidst the delightful ocean breeze–sounds pretty perfect, right? So last week I was trying to think of what to make and I remembered this basil cannelini hummus I had seen on Pinterest. I thought it would be the perfect healthy summer snack with an assortment of raw crisp veggies. Generally I don’t eat any legumes or beans being on the Primal diet, but I thought I could make an exception for this occasion. Check out the paleo chocolate chip coconut cookies I made for dessert!

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Basil Cannelini Hummus (Slightly Adapted from Greatist) (Difficulty-Easy, Makes about 2 cups hummus)

  • 1 can organic cannellini beans
  • 1 handful of fresh organic basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • /4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced 

Blend all ingredients except for olive oil in a food processor until smooth. Add oil while food processor is still running. Serve with raw organic cauliflower, celery, cucumber, and red bell pepper!