I had quite an eventful weekend in San Francisco for the Outside Lands festival (which was epic!), but returned home to an empty refrigerator. So Tuesday, still completely exhausted from our non-stop four days of fun, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from work to throw together an easy stir fry. I had my heart set on a pad-thai-like dish with spaghetti squash, shrimp and veggies. I got home, threw the squash into the oven to roast while I started prepping veggies, and only upon pulling the squash out of the oven did I realize that in my brain-dead state I grabbed a butternut squash at the store. Don’t you just hate when that happens?! So there I was fantasizing about Thai noodles with no noodles. Alas, it was getting late and I was getting hungry so I begrudgingly diced up the squash and threw it into the skillet with the rest of my ingredients. As it turns out, it was happened to be a very tasty stir fry! Generally I opt for the sweet butternut for my favorite rustic Fall dishes, but it went surprisingly well with my Thai inspired creation. Try it out for a new, yet quick, weeknight meal. First I ate the veggies with sautéed shrimp, and then as leftovers I piled them onto a portion of quinoa. Get creative with it!
Paleo Squash & Broccoli Stir-Fry (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4)
For the Sauce:
- 1/3 c gluten-free soy sauce or liquid aminos
- juice from 1 lime
- 3 Tbsp organic rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp raw honey
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp sriracha, or more to taste
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- coarse sea salt
For the Stir-Fry:
- 2 Tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
- 3 organic scallions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb organic broccoli, florets and stems diced
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 lb mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 c organic basil leaves
- chopped almonds and sesame seeds for topping
Make the Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Season with salt and sriracha or red chili flakes to taste. I put a lot of sriracha in mine as I LOVE spice!
Make the Stir-Fry: Heat the oven to 400°F. Place the squash onto a baking sheet and roast whole for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the scallions and cook until slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli florets and stems and mushrooms and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Make a well in the center of the veggies and add the coconut to toast. Pour half of the sauce into the veggies and allow to cook down, about 2 minutes.
Once the squash is roasted and slightly cooled, peel and dice and add into the hot skillet with the remaining sauce and torn basil leaves to finish cooking a few more minutes. Remove from the heat and serve with quinoa, shrimp, or chicken, or your protein of choice. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped almonds for a little crunch.
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.
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.
This recipe is incredibly easy, packed with protein and flavor, and so versatile! You can serve these as an appetizer or snack to party guests, eat them as a meal with a side of sautéed veggies and coconut cauliflower rice, or even as a side to your favorite curry (check out my Saag Paneer and Fish Tikka Masala!). I made the meatballs with ground turkey meat that I already had on hand, but they can easily be made with ground chicken, or even with chicken breasts processed with all of the ingredients in a food processor (or beef or lamb if you prefer). What’s great about this recipe is that the shredded carrot and coconut really help the meatballs retain their moisture making it a great option for poultry. A dab of sweet chili sauce gives them that perfect extra little kick if you’re willing to indulge in a small bit of sugar. I just can’t get enough curry in my life–hope you enjoy!
Coconut Curry Turkey Meatballs (Adapted from Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals) (Difficulty-Easy, Serves 4)
- 1 lb. organic free range ground turkey (or chicken)
- 1/2 c. grated organic carrot (about half a large carrot)
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 egg, lightly scrambled
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1/2 tsp. coarse ground sea salt
- 1/2 c. organic parsley, chopped
- 2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin organic coconut oil
- sweet chili sauce for topping (optional)
Place the ground turkey, carrot, garlic, coconut, egg, curry powder, salt and parsley in a medium mixing bowl and combine using your hands until ingredients are well incorporated into the turkey meat. Using your hands, form 12 medium sized meatballs.
Heat coconut oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Place meatballs in hot oil and brown about 2 minutes. Turn meatballs over and continue browning another 5 minutes. Cover the pan and continue cooking 6-7 more minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
Serve with a dab of sweet chili sauce.
Here’s another Asian inspired salad that you can whip up in less than 20 minutes on a hot summer evening–I am really on a roll with Asian cooking and summer salads these days and I have to say I’m thoroughly enjoying it! I have my mind (and heart) set on a South Pacific Asian adventure as soon as I can save up enough vacation time to Bali and Thailand, so I think I’m subconsciously gearing up for it and my taste buds are very appreciative. But back to the salad–most people tend to think of pears as a winter fruit, but their season actually lasts most of the year from September to July, and the amazingly juicy organic pears I bought at Trader Joes for this salad were certainly in season. I love the contrast of their sweetness against the buttery toasted walnuts and salty bacon and soy sauce or liquid aminos. I also have been using a lot of red quinoa lately, but I definitely think white quinoa is the way to go with this dish–it has a more subtle less bitter flavor that pairs well with the dressing.
Asian Pear Quinoa Salad (Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4-6)
- 1 c. uncooked organic quinoa
- 2 organic Bartlett pears, diced
- 2 organic green onions, sliced
- 4 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 c. organic spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1 organic red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 c. toasted walnuts, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 c. extra virgin organic grapeseed or olive oil
- 1/3 c. organic rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. Bragg’s liquid aminos (or soy sauce, though beware it is not gluten free)
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tsp. raw honey
- ¼ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Prepare the quinoa according to the package directions–generally, boil 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water and 1 tsp. salt for 15 minutes. I like to let it rest in a covered pot away from any heat for an extra 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork for ideal texture. 1 cup dry quinoa should yield over 4 cups of cooked quinoa. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl add the cooled quinoa, pears, green onions, bacon, spinach, bell pepper and walnuts.
Meanwhile prepare the dressing: Place the garlic clove on a cutting board and season with about 1/ 4 teaspoon of salt. Smash the salted clove with the flat surface of a chef’s knife and finely mince–this helps to soften some of the flavor since it is raw garlic. Combine remaining dressing ingredients in a small bowl and pour over quinoa mixture. Toss gently. You might not want to use all of the dressing depending on how wet you want your salad so add a little at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste.
On my recent trip to Boston my Primal cousins also took me to this amazing organic cafe and juice bar in Cambridge, Life Alive, where I had the delicious Flourish smoothie made with berry Kombucha, blueberries, mango, lemon juice, avocado, and maca. Now that is what I call nutrients in a glass! My cousin ordered the Swami to go, which was a delicious blend of veggies in a sweet Miso Curry Sauce, traditionally served over brown rice, which he swapped for quinoa. It was so incredibly flavorful, we spent the rest of the car ride gushing over the sauce and thinking up other veggies we’d add, and soon after we headed to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients to make it. It’s been two weeks since my visit and I still have Swami on the brain so here it is! For added protein, serve with grilled chicken, salmon, or a fried egg.
Miso Curry and Steamed Veggie Bowl (Adapted from Andrea Isabelle Lucas) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4)
- 1 1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed and cooked
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, chopped
- 8 oz. organic broccolini, chopped
- 3 c. organic kale, chopped
- 3/4 c. organic raisins
- 1 c. tamari almonds
- 3/4 tsp. ginger
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 4 Tbsp. organic miso paste
- 2 Tbsp. raw honey
- 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
- 1/2 c. rice vinegar
- 1/2 c. cold water
- 3/4 c. organic canola, grapeseed, or coconut oil
Cook quinoa over the stove. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth. The recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups which is plenty for 4 servings of veggies as I like things extra saucy and I still had leftovers.
Steam the veggies, raisins, and almonds until desired tenderness, about 5 minutes. Pour the curry miso sauce over the veggies and mix to combine. Serve over the cooked quinoa and enjoy!