My slightly different version of Smitten Kitchen’s featured recipe this week! If you aren’t familiar with the Smitten Kitchen, I highly suggest stumbling over and getting sucked into her vortex of endless fresh seasonal recipes and heavenly indulgent baked goods. I love this perfectly simplistic kale salad, especially to take to the Santa Monica beach concert to share with friends! And if you are dairy free or paleo simply leave out the pecorino cheese or swap it for a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and you’ve got yourself a delicious dairy-free salad.
Primal Kale Salad (Slightly Adapted from Smitten Kitchen) (Difficulty-Easy, Serves 4-6)
- 1/2 c walnut halves or pieces
- 1/4 c organic dried cranberries
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1/4 c almond meal
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Coarse or kosher salt
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch purple kale, washed and patted dry
- 2 oz pecorino cheese, grated or ground in a food processor, which makes it delightfully rubbly (1/2 cup total) (optional)
- Juice of half a lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste
Prepare walnuts: Heat oven to 350°F. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 7 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop.
Prepare cranberries: In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and cranberries for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid.
Prepare crumbs: Toast almond meal, garlic and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.
Prepare kale: Trim heavy stems off kale and tear leaves off of the ribs by hand. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise.
Assemble salad: Put kale in a large bowl. Add pecorino (if using), walnuts and cranberries (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the cranberries, if needed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving, if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with almond meal crumbs and, if needed, a final 1 teaspoon drizzle of olive oil.
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 sure didn’t appreciate my freezer enough until it was broken and we couldn’t get in touch with our landlord for an entire week to get it fixed! My daily morning protein smoothie became a warmer much less appetizing juice of sorts and all of the food we had in there was quickly defrosting in the Topanga Summer heat. As some of you may know, I really loathe wasting food (thanks to mom! ;)) So when I noticed the fully thawed shredded carrots in the freezer and the overly ripe bananas on my kitchen counter (I now fully appreciate my frozen bananas), I had to put them to use. I decided to make some banana carrot muffins (sort of similar to my primal carrot cupcakes, but less sweet and without dairy for all you paleo folks) which were a great breakfast alternative while I impatiently waited for frozen fruit to return to my blender.
Paleo Banana Carrot Muffins (Difficulty-Intermediate; Makes ~12 muffins)
- 2 c blanched almond flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 organic free-range eggs, at room temp.
- 1/4 c organic pure maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin organic coconut oil
- 1 c organic carrots, grated
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2/3 c coarsely toasted walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 325° F and line a muffin pan. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. In the bowl of a stand mixer, gently mix together eggs, maple syrup, and oil on low speed. Fold the carrots, mashed bananas, and shredded coconut into the wet ingredients. Gradually add the dry ingredients and fold in the toasted walnuts.
Divide the batter evenly between 12 cupcake liners. Bake at 325° F for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.
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.
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.