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olive oil

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Low Carb/High Protein - Nicoise Salads on Portabello Caps

Nicoise Portobello

I am still on a mission to give you delicious, healthy recipes as we become more and more tempted by this Holiday seasons mind field of indulgent eats. Frosted snowman, gingerbread houses, and orange chocolates that you break up against the wall…..AHHHHH I shake my fist at you delicious sugary treats of Christmas. 

Treating yourself is fine but lets stay focused on healthy eating in between cookie binges. Here is a super flavorful high protein low carb dish that I just had for lunch…and let me say its crazy good!

Basically I deconstructed a Nicoise salad and placed the ingredients on top of a baked Portobello mushroom cap. Mmmm. Oh and I also wrote a recipe for my Olive Oil mayonnaise that I make in big batches every week. I use pasture raised egg yolks and organic cold expeller pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil. 

A little note that olive oil mayonnaise is going to taste a bit different than your regular storebought mayo, it will tatse more like well olive oil! Why olive oil and not a light flavored vegetable oil? I am always combatting inflammation and I like to keep hydrogenated, processed, refined vegetable oils aways from my everyday food. Industrialized  refined oils are the cause of many of Americas health issues (especially silent inflammation which makes weight loss close to impossible). Is it a coincidence that obesity, diabetes, and heart disease numbers in this country are at an all time high while the consumption of vegetable based oils are also at an all time high? I think not. 100 years ago we did not consume this amount of omega 6 filled vegetable oils. We ate real food like lard, eggs, and butter which contain naturally occurring Omega 3 fats, fat soluble vitamins like D, K, & A, and CLA. 

The optimal ratio would be 4:1 or 2:1 (Omega 3:Omega 6). While olive oil doesn’t contain any omega 3’s a cold pressed olive oil has great monounsaturated fats, phenols and vitamin E  preserved when they are not introduced to heat. (monounsaturated fats may lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.) This type of olive oil is best when used in cold preparations. I use grass-fed ghee or coconut oil for high heat cooking NOT my beautiful cold pressed olive oil. 

It may take a bit of getting used to flavor wise when cooking with traditional fats like ghee, grass-fed lard, and olive oil mayo but this is REAL food and REAL food will keep you healthy, energized, lean and mean! If you are concerned about your Omega 3 ratio balance I would encourage you to supplement with Cod liver oil or a high quality fish oil like this one. 

Nicoise Salads on Portabello Caps

Yields 4

Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Low Carb - Soy Free - Dairy Free

Base

  • 4 Large Portobello Caps
  • 1 Tbl Olive Oil/Ghee
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme (optional)

Tapenade Spread

  • 1 Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives
  • 1 Tbl Drained Capers
  • 1 tsp Anchovy Paste or 2 Anchovy Fillets
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbl Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbl Chopped Parsley
  • 2 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove Finely Minced

Tuna

  • 2 Cans High Quality Tuna Drained (Recommended Brand: Wild Planet Line Caught Albacore)
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil Mayonaise (homemade recipe here)
  • 1 Tbl Dijon or Grain Mustard
  • 1 Tbl Lemon Juice

Toppings

  1. 6 String Beans, Steamed and Each Cut into Four 1-inch Pieces
  2. 1 Large Tomato Cut into 4 1/2'' slices
  3. Chopped Parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Wipe the mushrooms with a paper towel or kitchen towel to remove any dirt. Gently scrape out the scales inside of the cap using a spoon.
  3. Lay the caps on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and thyme leaves.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned and softened.

Tapenade

  1. In the bowl of a food processor blend the olives, capers, anchovies, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, parsley, and garlic until it is a somewhat smooth spread. I leave mine with a little texture.
  2. Set aside.

Tuna

  1. Drain the tuna and place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the tuna, mustards, and lemon juice.
  3. Pour the mayo/mustard mixture over the tuna and mix well.

Assembly

  1. Place the cooled portabello caps onto a serving plate and spread 1 heaping tablespoon of the tapenade onto the mushroom cap.
  2. Place one slice of the tomato on top of the tapenade.
  3. Divide the tuna into four portions and mound the tuna on top of the tomato pressing it into the tomato so it doesn't fall over.
  4. Spoon a little more tapenade on top of the tune and place 4 pieces of the steamed string beans on top.
  5. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Notes

  1. The tuna, string beans, and tapenade can all be made ahead of time and can be assembled right before serving.

Adapted from  From Giada DeLaurentis Nicoise Salad Pizzettes

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Low Carb Turnip Mash with Dried Mushrooms

Todays post is for all of you out there who have been working so hard trying to stay in shape and are having a bit of a panic for this years holiday eating season. Lets tackle the Thanksgiving table and make  a low carb alternative to mashed potatoes. I have had my fair share of cauliflower “faux” mashed potatoes so lets mix it up with a new veggie that you probably haven’t thought to use in a vegetable puree. 

Enter the low starch phenomenon called the turnip! 

These little beauties have a very low starch content and are the Paleo/low carb dieters key to satisfying the need for a creamy puree  for Holiday and comfort meals. A quick disclaimer, they do not taste like a potato so I like to add some rich flavors like dried mushrooms to change the somewhat spicy flavor a turnip can have. Don’t worry though, once the turnips cook that spice turns sweet and luscious. The other option is to use half potatoes and half cauliflower or half potatoes half turnips to cut the starch content down. Either way you will eliminate  a lot  of calories and add in a different profile for nutrition and taste. Just make sure to cook the potatoes separately from the turnips and/or cauliflower because the cooking times are different. 

Turnip Mash with Dried Mushrooms

Serves 4-6

Vegetarian - Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Low Carb

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Peeled Turnips cut into large chunks
  • 2 Cups Low Sodium Broth (Vegetable, Chicken, Turkey etc)
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Mushrooms cut finely
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tbl Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium sauce pan add the broth, the mushrooms, and the chopped turnips.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a simmer with the lid off and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the turnips are easily pierced with a knife.
  3. Transfer all of the mixture to a blender and puree with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Notes

  1. The mushrooms can be omitted and milk and butter can be used if you can tolerate dairy but make sure to not add the maple syrup.
  2. Half the turnips can also be exchanged for potatoes if you want a more traditional style of mashed potatoes as well and omit the maple syrup.

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Gluten Free Paleo Thanksgiving App - Carrot Sunflower Seed Dip

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Gluten Free Paleo Thanksgiving App - Carrot Sunflower Seed Dip

Are you prepared with a recipe arsenal for last-minute family and unannounced guests showing up this Holiday season ready to eat? Oh and don’t forget Auntie Pattie who is Paleo now, and Jimmy who has a peanut allergy, oh right and your gluten allergy. 

Are you sweating already? 

Its ok, I am here to help. 

Let me introduce you to a healthy, quick, and easy dip that is usable for an appetizer dip with crackers or veggies, or to pull together a meal by using it as a spread for roasted meats, or even thinned out with some olive oil for a salad dressing. 

Oh and did I mention its Gluten, Dairy, Grain, and Peanut Free?

Boom! 

A bonus aspect to this recipe is that you can exchange the sunflower seeds for any nut or seed you have on hand. I usually make my own crackers but let’s be honest, during the holidays sometimes we need to take short cuts, so here are some links to gluten-free crackers that I have pictured with the dip.

Obviously fresh veggies would be optimal but we need to please a crowd so lets not be too pushy on family and friends during Thanksgiving about gluten-free this and vegan that. Just put the food down and make no health announcements (unless you need to) and see what the reaction is. Plus a dip made of carrots that is completely vegan is way better than the usual cream cheese stuffed fried food that is usually around, but they don’t need to know that right? 

Carrot Sunflower Orange Date Spread

Yields 2

Vegan - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo - Sugar Free - Make Ahead

Ingredients

  1. 1 Lb Carrots Peeled and Cut into 1/2'' Pieces
  2. 1 Cup Roasted Sunflower Seeds or Nut/Seed of Choice
  3. 1/2 Cup Pitted Dates (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)
  4. 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  5. Zest and Juice of 1 Orange
  6. 1/2 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
  7. Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Steam the carrots for 5-7 minutes or until the carrots are easily pierced with a knife.
  2. Drain the dates and add all of the ingredients to a blender.
  3. Blend the mixture until smooth.
  4. Taste for seasoning and transfer to a bowl and serve with crackers, crudite, or use as a dip for meat or veggies.

Notes

           The sunflower seeds can be replaced with cashews, almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts.

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Raw Vegan Pub Cheese!!!

When I was growing up Friday nights in my house were great. My mom would let us put our feet up on the table and recline back like old men, we would eat pub cheese, and my mom would crack a rolling rock while we listened to tunes on the radio. Life was simple. Good cheese, family, and music was all we needed. 

Unfortunately dairy is no longer a friend of some members of my family (nor is the gluten in beer anymore) so we have had to make some changes. 

I have made a raw vegan version of the famous pub cheese to fill the void and luckily there are some great Gluten Free beers hitting the market to recreate the magic. 

Here is a list of the top 10 Gluten Free Beers from Gourmet Magazine

I made this with soaked raw almonds and macadamia nuts. The great thing about soaking your nuts before eating them is that it removes a lot of the lectins (protein binding carbohydrates that are found in plants and animals). Lectins can be harmful for digestion because of their binding qualities that can attach to the intestinal lining and cause a lot of problems such as reduced nutrient, mineral, and protein absorption, as well as leptin resistance (a pre diabetic condition linked to obesity). This is important information for people with gluten allergies who are probably dealing with or have dealt with some kind of intestinal damage like leaky gut :/

Read more about lectins and how to reduce them in your diet here

Not to fear because soaking nuts greatly diminishes the lectins levels so this recipe is free from gluten, grains, and dairy as well as gut friendly :) 

First off rinse and then soak your nuts overnight in filtered water.

Drain the nuts and rinse off any additional residue and place in a blender along with the remaining ingredients. 

Blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning. 

Transfer to a fine sieve lined with cheese cloth and place over a bowl to drain overnight. ( I know there is a lot of waiting here but the prep is stupid easy so it all works out in the end)

Turn out the cheese and eat up! 

Raw Vegan Pub Cheese

Raw - Vegan - Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Soy Free - Sugar Free

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews 
  • 1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts 
  • 3 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 Garlic Clove minced
  • 3 Tbl chopped Parsley (measure after chopping)
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbl Chopped Chives (measure after chopping)

Instructions

  1. Rinse off the nuts and place in a bowl.
  2. Cover with water and place in the fridge to soak overnight.
  3. Drain and rinse the nuts and place in a blender along with all of the remaining ingredients minus the chives.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Fold in the chives and transfer the cheese to a sieve lined with cheesecloth placed over a bowl to drain.
  6. Fold the cheesecloth over the top and place in the fridge to drain overnight.
  7. Turn out the cheese and serve!

Notes

  1. The flavors need time to mellow in this recipe so if you taste it right out of the blender don't be surprised if the garlic and lemon come on strong. Feel free to play around with the amount of garlic to suite your preference. If you don't like a raw onion favor feel free to leave the chives out but they really lend a good bite to the cheese.

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Beat the Heat: Chilled Cantaloupe Gazpacho

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Beat the Heat: Chilled Cantaloupe Gazpacho

canteloupe gazpacho ariel

Excuse my absence this week, I’ve been a bit busy and hot. Sooooo hot. There has been a heat wave all over the country so I know I’m not alone melting away here. 

When its this hot out I crave light refreshing food that does not require the use of the stove. 

This was my lunch yesterday…

Chilled Cantaloupe Gazpacho….ahhhhhhh 

I used a Tuscan cantaloupe because they have a sweeter flavor and more delicate flesh but whatever melon you have is just fine. Honeydew could actually be a very interesting substitute especially if you add half of an avocado.

This soup is raw, vegan, gluten-free and very cleansing. This makes one very large bowl but with a sprinkle of chopped nuts I think it’s the perfect light summer lunch or snack. If you are really hungry perhaps some brown rice or quinoa to soak up the soup would be a perfect addition. 

 

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