Tag Archives: Mediterranean

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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Salmon Florentine

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I’ve been enjoying a lot of Mediterranean dishes lately and dreaming of lying on a beach off the coast of Italy. When I saw that Sprouts (our local “farmer’s market”) had wild sockeye salmon on sale I knew it was time to make this Salmon Florentine recipe I had been eye-balling. Now I know sockeye salmon is mostly found in the Northern Pacific, and Florence is slightly far-off from the Mediterranean, but Tuscany is still teeming with those fresh local flavors like sun-dried tomatoes and spinach and this is a nice twist on the classic Chicken Florentine. It is the perfect summer dish, packed with flavor, yet still light and fresh. I served mine with parsley and lemon quinoa with pine nuts and a sprinkle of pecorino cheese. And if you’re looking for a grain-free, yet indulgent dessert, check out my Chocolate and Olive Oil Fig Cakes here! Ahh what I wouldn’t give to be sitting outside a Tuscan cafe right now…

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Salmon Florentine (Adapted from SELF) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 2) 

  • 5 oz.  organic spinach
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. minced shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 c. cottage cheese
  • 2-3 wild-caught skinless salmon fillets (4-6 oz each), rinsed and patted dry

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute more. Add spinach, tomatoes, salt, pepper flakes and pepper; cook, stirring until spinach is cooked through, 2-3 minutes more. Remove from heat; let cool about 15 minutes. Add cottage cheese; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

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Pack about 1/2 cup spinach mixture on top of each fillet, matching the shape of the fillet. Place fillets in a glass baking dish; bake until cooked through, 15 minutes. 

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Mediterranean Lollipops–Turkey Kofte

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Nothing beats a flavor-packed refreshing Mediterranean dish like kofte with greek yogurt and Baba Ghanoush. While flipping through my most recent edition of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, I stumbled upon a recipe for kofte and was immediately drawn in. Their original recipe calls for ground lamb, but I opted to substitute this for ground turkey, but it can also be made with ground beef–have your pick! This meal is unbelievably satisfying and flavorful–it’s the perfect balance of a hot home-cooked meal with cool salads for a hot summer day.

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Turkey Kofte with Yogurt Sauce (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Serves 4)

Yogurt-Garlic Sauce:

  • 1 c. greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 c. minced organic parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt

Kofte:

  • 1 lb. all-natural free-range ground turkey (or substitute lamb or beef)
  • 1/2 c. pine nuts
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1/3 c. minced organic parsley
  • 1/3 c. minced organic mint
  • 1 1/2 tsp. arrow root powder
  • 8 skewers, soaked in water

The article in Cook’s Illustrated detailed the hard work of testing out several different skewers to find the best ones–the resolution was that simple metal skewers work the best, but since I don’t have any at home and wanted to make this dish ASAP, I just stopped at the store and grabbed some pre-soaked wooden skewers and soaked them again at home for good measure. I also used a grill pan for this recipe instead of a real gas or charcoal grill so I needed to trim the skewers about an inch to fit on my grill pan. That extra step was well worth the convenience of grilling these quickly right on my stove.

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Make the Yogurt Sauce: Whisk all ingredients in a bowl and set in the refrigerator to chill.

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Make the Kofte: Add the pine nuts, garlic, paprika, salt, cumin, pepper, coriander, nutmeg and cinnamon to a food processor and pulse until a coarse paste forms, about 1 minute. Transfer the spice mixture to a large bowl with the ground turkey, onion, parsley, mint, and arrow root powder, which is used to firm up the meat mixture so that it is properly stable on the skewer. I swapped this in for the gelatin used in the original recipe. Knead the mixture with your hands until thoroughly combined and the mixture feels slightly sticky, about 2 minutes. Divide into 8 equal portions and shape each portion into a 5-inch cylinder. Thread each cylinder onto a skewer, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer the skewers to a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour. (I actually froze mine for 30 minutes because I was in that much of a hurry to eat this delicious meal!)

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Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and lightly spray with all-natural cooking oil. Place the skewers on the hot grill pan and sear about 5-7 minutes on each side. While cooking, place a large lid of a pot over the grill pan to seal in the heat. This will ensure that the turkey is cooked all the way through.

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Serve with yogurt sauce, Baba Ghanoush, freshly sliced cucumbers and any other condiment your heart desires.

Baba Ghanoush

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Summer weather always brings cravings for fresh Mediterranean fare with all of the refreshing cold dips and vibrant flavors from seasonal fruits and veggies and powerful spices. I absolutely love hummus, and occasionally still enjoy it with crisp cucumbers or celery for a light snack, though since becoming Primal, I have turned more towards Baba Ghanoush and Tsatsiki. Anything with eggplant involved and I’m immediately sold. It’s one of those foods that people love or hate, but I just could never understand how you could not love it. It is so versatile and highlighted in all of my favorite cuisines–Italian, Thai, Mediterranean…I just don’t think you could ever go wrong with this beautiful purple fruit. I especially like the more vibrantly colored Chinese eggplants, which I throw into a stir-fry any chance I get. I made this amazing easy Baba Ghanoush as a grain-free side to my turkey kofte. It doesn’t get any more flavorful and refreshing than this dish on a beautiful Southern California Summer day (although I suppose it would be might taste even better on a remote Mediterranean island ;)).

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Baba Ghanoush (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4-6)

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. tahini (Trader Joe’s is my favorite!)
  • 1 Tbsp. organic extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 c. fresh organic parsley

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Prick whole eggplant with a fork and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake the eggplant until it is soft inside, about 20 minutes. Let the eggplant cool, about 10 minutes. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, drain off the liquid, and scoop the pulp into a food processor. IMAG0672

On a cutting board, work garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt together with the flat side of a knife, until it forms a paste. Add the garlic-salt mixture, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and 1 tsp. salt to the food processor. Pulse a few times until the ingredients are well-incoporated, but be careful not to over process or the mixture will become too mushy. Add the parsley and pulse once more to incorporate. Season with more salt, to taste. This is a perfect condiment for the turkey kofte or a delicious dip for cucumbers, bell peppers and other cold crisp veggies.

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Roasted Green Beans with Lemon, Garlic, and Pine Nuts

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I needed some new and exciting ways to prepare the veggies in my life when I spotted this simple yet flavorful combo in a magazine my roommate had left on the coffee table. It was the perfect side for the Pomegranate Balsamic Glazed Salmon I was craving. So easy to throw together and so fresh and delicious! To keep this dairy-free just omit the cheese–the lemon, pine nuts and garlic add plenty of flavor to this dish.

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Roasted Green Beans with Lemon, Garlic, and Pine Nuts (Adapted from Fine Cooking) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4)

  • 1 lb. organic green beans, rinsed and snapped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon zest, plus 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 pine nuts
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated pecorino cheese (optional)

Heat oven to 450°F. Put the beans in a large bowl. Peel the garlic, quarter each clove lengthwise (if the cloves are small, halve them), and add them to the green beans. Toss the beans and garlic with 1/4 cup of the olive oil, 1 Tbsp. of the lemon zest, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

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Spread the beans on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the top third of the oven for 10 minutes. Stir the beans and garlic with a spatula for more even cooking and coloring. Add the pine nuts to the pan, and continue roasting until the beans and garlic pieces are lightly browned and tender throughout, another 5 to 10 minutes.

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Transfer the beans to a small serving platter or shallow bowl and dress with the lemon juice and the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Toss gently to coat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. lemon zest and Pecorino cheese if using. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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