Tag Archives: Asian

My Accidental Paleo Stir Fry

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Asian Pear Quinoa Salad

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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.

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Asian Pear Quinoa Salad (Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4-6)

Salad:

  • 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

Dressing:

  • 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.

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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.

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Primal Pad Thai

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It’s so nice to share a Primal meal with people you love! My brother turned me over to the Primal side last summer and I loved it so much I’ve never looked back. Around that time, I met a woman in her young twenties that was battling uterine cancer and she had started a Paleo lifestyle and quit taking her prescription drugs. Each time she returned for blood work, her levels were better and better. She was healing herself purely through diet.

At the same time, my dear cousin, Joanna, in Boston was fighting breast cancer and I immediately called her to tell her this inspirational story and how great I had been feeling on the Primal diet. After getting her diagnosis, Joanna and her husband John immediately started reevaluating their eating habits, even though they have always lived a healthy lifestyle. They bought a vitamix and started focusing on eating more raw fruits and vegetables. Most people I told about my new Primal lifestyle thought I was nuts, but John and Joanna were of course receptive to it because they had just been handed a new perspective on life. As much as the last year has been full of struggle for them, sometimes the best thing life can throw at us is a new perspective, and a chance to inspire others, which is exactly what Joanna has done. I am thrilled to report that she is cancer free and I just spent Memorial Day with them and their beautiful daughter, making fresh juices and a delicious primal meal.

And apparently my Thai kick is still going strong. I had been hearing about kelp noodles from a local raw vegan chef in LA and I was eager to try them. I was flipping through one of my cousins’ new cookbooks, Thrive foods, a collection of plant-based recipes, when I found a recipe for kelp noodles with an almond butter based sauce (essentially a new and improved pad thai–this sauce is killer!). unfortunately, our visit to the Asian market was not fruitful for kelp noodles, so we decided to try the sweet potato noodles that we stumbled upon. These noodles are obviously still full of starch so not an everyday option, but if you really are craving noodles, you can feel much better about their nutrient-rich source.  Being so used to our Primal lifestyle, we felt we needed to add some protein to this plant-based meal, so of course we threw in some chicken, and naturally swapped the high glycemic carrots fo greens. I also made a version of my Primal Chocolate Cupcakes for dessert–recipe coming soon.

My favorite part is the gorgeous garden in my cousins backyard, which we picked our broccoli directly from. And best of all, we used the entire plant, stalks and all, in this delicious stirfry!

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Primal Pad Thai (Adapted from Thrive Foods Cookbook) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Serves 4)

  • 1 package sweet potato noodles (found in Asian markets)’
  • 1/2 c. creamy almond butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp. organic honey
  • 2 Tbsp. organic brown rice miso
  • 2 tsp. wasabi powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1/2 c. water, or more as needed
  • 1 1/2 lbs. organic chicken breast, diced into bite sized-pieces
  • 1 bunch organic kale, chopped
  • 1 head organic broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 c. organic cilantro, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. toasted almonds, finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • sesame oil
  • salt and pepper
  • sriracha

Prepare the Sauce and Noodles: Whisk the almond butter, honey, miso, wasabi, garlic, ginger and water in a medium bowl until smooth. Add extra water to thin the sauce as necessary. If you like your food spicy, you can add some sriracha or red chili flakes to the sauce, or also to the completed dish just before serving.

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Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the sweet potato noodles, and cook for about 6 minutes, or until al dente. Transfer noodles to a strainer and coat with a teaspoon or two of sesame oil to prevent them from sticking together. The noodles will be very sticky! When you add them to the stir fry, the sesame oil and sauce should help to separate them.

Make the stir fry: Heat 2 tsp. of sesame oil in a large skillet or wok on medium-high. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a little Hungarian paprika for color. Add the chicken to the hot oil and cook until slightly browned on the outside, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. The chicken will finish cooking when you add it back to the pan with the veggies.

With the skillet still hot, add another teaspoon of sesame oil if necessary, and cook the kale and broccoli until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potato noodles and chicken to the skillet and pour the sauce over. Stir to evenly distribute the sauce, adding any water as necessary to thin the sauce out. Serve with fresh cilantro, scallions, toasted sesame seeds, chopped almonds, and sriracha (if desired).

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Cucumber and Cabbage Salad

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I really have a thing for Asian salads–cucumber salad, the salad typical of Japanese cuisine with the delicious carrot ginger dressing, seaweed salad– I could go.  So when I saw this recipe I just had to make it. It was a perfect accoutrement to my Shrimp Green Curry. It’s like if cole slaw and cucumber salad had a baby. Crisp, refreshing, and tasty! A warm weather must.

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Cucumber and Cabbage Salad (Adapted from Healthy Seasonal Recipes) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4-6)

  • 1 head organic Napa Cabbage, finely sliced
  • 6 seedless Persian cucumbers, julienne cut (4 cups)
  • ½ c. chopped roasted, salted peanuts (or blanched almonds to stay completely primal)
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh organic cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin organic coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • ¼ c. freshly squeezed organic lime juice
  • 2 tsp. raw honey
  • 2 tsp. coarse sea salt, or more to taste
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • Red chili flake to taste, optional

Combine cabbage, cucumbers, peanuts and cilantro in a large bowl. Whisk oil, lime juice, honey, salt, garlic and onion powder and red chili flake if using in a small bowl. Pour over the vegetable mixture and toss to coat. Chill at least 20 minutes before serving.

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Shrimp and Veggie Green Curry

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Continuing on with my Thai kick, I made this deliciously simple shrimp and veggie curry. It is amazing how easy it is to make Thai food at home, and not just any Thai food, but food that tastes better than your favorite take out spot and is healthier!! I served this over my infamous Cauliflower Rice, and started with a refreshing Cucumber Cabbage Salad.

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Shrimp and Veggie Green Curry (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4)

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 oz. green curry paste
  • 1 c. organic low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 organic red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 oz. organic snap peas
  • 8 oz. organic bok choy, quartered lengthwise
  • 3-4 sprigs organic Thai basil, with stems (or regular basil)
  • 1 serrano chile
  • zest of 1 organic lime
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup lightly salted peanuts, chopped

In a large wok or saucepan, bring the coconut milk and curry paste to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, bell pepper, onion, basil, chile, lime zest, and sesame oil. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cover the pan and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.

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Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Remove the lid from the curry and add the shrimp, snap peas and the bok choy. Simmer, uncovered, until the shrimp is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the basil sprigs and discard.

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Ladle the curry into bowls. Garnish with the cilantro and peanuts.