Tag Archives: Latin

Paleo Picadillo Lettuce Wraps


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.


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.


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.


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





Chile Citrus Banana Leaf Mahi Mahi with Fried Plantain & Spinach Quinoa


Nothing says summer to me more than Latin flavors which always bring thoughts of sunshine, beaches, and carefree living! I remember when I returned from a Costa Rican vacation a couple years ago, I made rice and beans for weeks to keep the dream alive. This dish reminded me of that trip where I ate plantains multiple times a day–I couldn’t get enough of them. They are loaded with sugar so they are not really Primal but I splurged a little for this brightly flavored summer meal.


Chile and Citrus Banana Leaf Mahi Mahi (Adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Serves 4-6)

  • 5 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 orange (1/2 juiced, 1/2 thinly sliced into 6 half-moons)
  • 1 lime (1/2 juiced, 1/2 thinly sliced into 6 half-moons)
  • Kosher salt
  • 16 oz. fresh banana leaves
  • 6 6-ounce mahi mahi fillets

Put the chiles in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak until pliable, about 15 minutes. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the soaking liquid, then drain the chiles.



Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, oregano and cumin and cook until the onion is soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender along with the reserved chile soaking liquid, the chiles, orange juice, lime juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; blend until smooth.


Unfold the banana leaves and cut into six 12-inch-long pieces; rinse and pat dry. Place a banana leaf shiny-side down on a work surface. Coat the fish generously with the pureed chile mixture. Place 1 mahi mahi fillet in the center of the leaf and top with a slice each of orange and lime. Fold 2 opposite ends of the leaf over the fish, overlapping them to tightly enclose the fish, then tuck the open ends underneath. Transfer to a large roasting pan or baking dish. Repeat to make 5 more banana leaf-wrapped fillets, then transfer the pan to the refrigerator and let the fish marinate 1 to 3 hours.

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Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and cover tightly with foil. Bake until the fish is just cooked through, opening a packet to check for doneness, about 30-35 minutes. Transfer to plates and carefully unwrap just before eating.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/banana-leaf-mahi-mahi-with-citrus-and-chiles-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback\

Fried Plantain and Spinach Quinoa (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 6)

  • 2 medium plantains, peeled and sliced
  • 3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, palm oil, or animal fat for frying
  • 2-3 organic scallions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. mexican seasoning
  • 1 tsp. coarse ground sea salt
  • 12 oz. organic baby spinach
  • 1 cup yellow quinoa, cooked

Cook quinoa in two cups of simmering salted water for 15 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the plantains and fry about 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove to a paper towel to drain. You can also bake the plantains at 375°F for 15 minutes.  

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Remove all but 2 tablespoons of frying oil and reduce heat to medium. Add scallions, cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and spinach, season with salt and pepper, and cook about 5 minutes or until spinach is just wilted. Add the quinoa, paprika, cayenne, mexican seasoning, and salt. Finally stir in the fried or baked plantains and serve with chile citrus mahi mahi.

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Southwestern Watermelon Salad


Nothing says Summer like a sweet juicy watermelon! Although this fruit is not really Primal since it is so loaded with sugar, I just had to make it as a side to my barbecue pulled pork and spicy cole slaw for a pool party I hosted. I typically make a Mediterranean style salad with lemon juice and feta, but my brother inspired me to put a more Mexican or Southwestern spin on it and voila! A great success!


Southwestern Watermelon Salad (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 10-12)

  • 1 medium-large seedless watermelon, diced (about 6-8 cups)
  • 2 organic cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 ripe avocados, diced
  • 12 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/2 c. organic cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 c. lime juice (from about 3 organic limes)
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste

Slice the red onion and place in a small bowl of cold water and set aside for 10-15 minutes. Soaking the red onion mellows the flavor a bit so it doesn’t overpower the rest of the ingredients. Combine the diced watermelon, cucumber, sliced red onion, and cilantro. Add the lime juice, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste, and mix well. Lastly, add the crumbled queso fresco and diced avocado. Serve with a slotted spoon to drain the juice.

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Chorizo and Almond Crusted Mahi Mahi


I’ve really been getting into seafood more and more lately! I think my cavewoman self must have lived right near an ocean or river, catching fresh fish everyday–or so I can imagine. I love how easy it is to prepare and how great it makes me feel. This dish adapted from Mark Sisson is packed with protein and flavor and takes less than 20 minutes to whip up!


Chorizo and Almond Crusted Mahi Mahi (Adapted from Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 2-3)

  • 1 lb. wild caught mahi mahi, halibut, or other flaky white fish
  • 2 oz. Spanish chorizo
  • 1/4 c. blanched almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. organic parsley, roughly chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a blender or small food processor, blend the chorizo, almonds and parsley until almonds are in small pieces. While pulsing, drizzle in a teaspoon or so of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom of a baking sheet and set the fish on top. Salt the fish, and spoon the chorizo mixture on top of the fish, patting it down so it sticks as much as possible and the sides are partially covered.

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Roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. To finish, turn the oven broiler to high and broil for 2-3 minutes until the nuts are lightly browned.


Primal Mushroom and Chile-Caramelized Onion Tacos


I’m sending all my love and thoughts of healing to those in Boston this week (and always), so I thought I’d share my version of a recipe adapted from a local Boston favorite. This is one of the quickest most delicious weeknight meals that can be vegetarian, or made with ground turkey or beef–it’s up to you! The original recipe is from this cute little cafe and bookstore in Boston, called Trident. They have a variety of great events at Trident, including cooking demos, where a friend of mine got clued into this wonderful dish. Not only did she cook me dinner for a much-needed catch up, but she even shared the recipe. And now I’m sharing it with you.


Mushroom and Chile-Caramelized Onion Tacos (Adapted from Joe Yonan) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4-6)

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. ground ancho, chipotle or other chile powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 large or 2 small red onions, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 16 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb. organic free-range ground turkey or beef (optional)
  • 1-2 organic romaine lettuce heads
  • 4 oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • salsa verde for topping
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, sprinkle in the ground chile powder, cumin, and cinnamon and cook until the spices sizzle and are very fragrant, about 30 seconds. Toss in the onion slices, stirring to break them apart. Cook until the onion starts to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and salt. Decrease the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft, about 10-15 minutes.While the onions are cooking, wash and dry the romaine and pull the leaves off to use as taco “shells.”Increase the heat under the skillet to medium-high. Add the mushrooms, toss to combine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms exude their juices and are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. If using, add the ground turkey or beef to the hot skillet and brown. Drain any excess fat, and remove from the heat.Lay the lettuce leaves out on a plate. Divide the taco filling among the lettuce. Top each with a few crumbles of goat cheese, a generous drizzle of salsa verde, and enjoy!