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Tabouleh

I love summer… shorts, sandals, BBQ’s and most importantly an abundance of local Farmer’s Markets!   There is something so wonderful about being able to buy locally grown fresh ingredients straight from the farmer’s field.  Being that this is my first summer in B.C. I’ve been enjoying exploring these little neighbourhood markets that seem to pop up right in the center of the City each weekend.   Not only is the people watching fun, the produce is constantly changing depending on what happens to be in season that week making each trip different from the last.  This recipe was made exclusively with ingredients that I picked up at one of my local markets and is a new paleo twist on a classic middle eastern favourite – Tabouleh. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups cauliflower rice (see below)
  • ~ 5 fresh vine ripened tomatoes, diced into small cubes
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 handful mint leaves, finely chopped 
  • 1 – 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • pinch of salt (optional)

Directions:

  • In bowl, combine cauliflower rice, tomatoes, scallions, parsley and mint.  Stir to combine. 
  • To make dressing, in small bowl combine lemon juice and olive.  Add to salad and stir well to combine. 
  • Add more lemon juice if desired and season with salt if using.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Note:  To make cauliflower rice – process one head of cauliflower in food processor until it is a rice like consistency.   In saucepan over medium heat, simmer cauliflower in approximately 2 cups organic chicken stock  (or water) until tender.  Remove from heat and using a sieve, drain the cauliflower rice, reserving it to a bowl.  Discard liquid.  Cool before using in above recipe.

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This recipe comes with a huge disclaimer – I will not be held responsible if you sit down and eat nearly the entire batch!   Honestly, this is probably some of the best stuff I have made and I am really struggling with the  whole concept of “eat in moderation”, so much so that I packed a bunch of it up and gave it away to friends.  

For a sweetener in this recipe I did use some organic raspberry blossom honey, so it is definitely a treat and should be enjoyed in moderation!  If dariy still makes its way into your diet, this granola would be excellent sprinkled over plain yogurt and fresh berries. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup each sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, ribbon coconut and chopped walnuts (really any mixture of nuts and seed will work)
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup each chopped figs and goji berries
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey (I used raspberry blossom honey)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, or more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. In saucepan over low heat combine coconut oil, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt.  Continue stirring until heated through, but not boiling.
  2. In separate bowl, combine nuts, seeds and fruit.   Drizzle hot oil/honey mixture over nuts, stirring until well coated.
  3. Place mixture on a cookie sheet and bake in 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, turning once or twice during cooking
  4. Remove and let cool. 
  5. Break granola apart and store in air-tight container.

Like most of us who follow a paleo/primal lifestyle, I’m pretty familiar with zucchini as it forms an excellent noodle replacement for some previously starch laden dishes.  However, up until recently I had not given much thought to it in its raw state.  But, by using a mandolin slicer to julienne the zucchini and then tossing it in a simple dressing, it can be easily transformed into a wonderful summer salad that goes fabulously alongside any of your favourite BBQ’ed meats. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 zucchini, washed, dried and stem removed
  • ~ 20 cherry tomatoes, or any other small tomato variety
  • 3 small or 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1/4 cup Extra-Virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grainy mustard, add more or less depending on your taste
  • 1/2 tsp honey (optional) – I find it helps to balance the flavour
  • salt & pepper to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Using a mandolin slicer set on the 1/8 inch julienne setting, julienne the zucchini into long strips.  Cut the strips into bite size pieces (I cut each into 3 pieces)  
  2. Cut tomatoes into bite size piece.  (I cut each into 8 pieces)
  3. Place zucchini and tomatoes into large bowl
  4. For dressing, in mini-chopper add shallots, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and honey.  Process until well combined.
  5. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to combine
  6. Season with salt & pepper to taste
  7. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.
  8. This will also keep in the fridge for at least a few days and as it sits, the zucchini takes on more and more flavour.  Delish!

Note:  Don’t have a mandolin slicer – no problem!  You can either julienne the zucchini by hand or just chop the zucchini up into small pieces.

Wow what a month!  For most of April, I found myself wheeling my little suitcase through airport after airport answering to the demands of my day job.  But now I’m back home on the West Coast making up for lost time by cooking up a storm and working on some exciting primal by design projects!

With Spring now fully upon us, I find that I’m craving lighter foods, especially healthy, colourful salads.  Having finally sourced Kelp Noodles locally, I wanted to create a quick cold salad to serve as a refreshing side dish.  To speed up the prep and reduce the clean up, I opted to buy a bag of tri-colour coleslaw mix instead of shredding my own.       

Ingredients – makes 4-6 servings

  • 1 bag (16 oz) of Kelp Noodles
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • water
  • 1 bag tri-coloured coleslaw mix
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 recipe spicy citrus vinaigrette – see below
  • Toasted silvered almonds

Directions:

  1. Rinse Kelp Noodles under cold water.
  2. Pull noodles apart and place in a sauce pan with chicken stock.  Add enough water to cover noodles.
  3. Bring noodles to a boil and simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes
  4. Drain and rinse under cold water. 
  5. Place noodles, coleslaw mixture, red and green pepper in bowl and toss to combine.   You’ll likely find that your hands will work well for this as you will need to pull the noodles apart.
  6. Pour vinaigrette over the vegetable mixture and continue tossing until well combined.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving in order for the flavours to blend. 
  8. Sprinkle with toasted silvered almonds just before serving. 
  9. This recipe can be made a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use. 

Spicy Citrus Vinaigrette

  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • zest of one lime
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp honey

Add all ingredients to mini-chopper and process until well combined.  Let sit in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving in order for the flavours to blend. 

Looking for Kelp Noodles – In Vancouver try Organic Lives.  In Toronto try The Big Carrot.   Noodles can also be ordered online from Upaya Naturals.

Like many of us, I grew up eating grains and it has only been in the past few years since becoming primal have I come to understand how truly bad grains are for us.  Not only are they a poor source of vitamins and minerals they also have a high glycemic load which contributes to a host of other issues.

As I’m all about looking for substitutions, a rice substitute that I have come to love is cauliflower as it has a mild flavor and when chopped finely in your food processor, it takes on the consistency of rice.  Creating a pilaf by cooking the cauliflower “rice” in a mixture of veggies and chicken stock will create a wonderful side dish that will leave even your grain loving parents asking for seconds. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/4 diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock, you may require more depending on how much cauliflower you have

Directions:

  1. Place 1/3 of the cauliflower in food processor and process until it is a rice like consistency.  Remove and set aside. 
  2. Repeat step with remaining cauliflower until all has been processed into a rice like consistency. 
  3. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat
  4. Add onion, garlic, carrot, celery and red pepper and saute until softened ~ 5 minutes
  5. Add chicken stock and bring to boil, turn down and simmer for 2 minutes
  6. Add cauliflower “rice” to stock mixture and stir to combine
  7. Simmer over medium-low heat until cauliflower is tender.   Fluff with fork and serve.

Note:  Most of the liquid should evaporate during cooking however, if you find that you have excess liquid, use a sieve to drain the cauliflower.  Return to saucepan, fluff with fork and serve.

We’ve all been there, we arrive home after a long day, starving and in search of something to eat.  For some reason, these days always seem to be the ones where we haven’t been to the grocery store to stock up on supplies.  However, even with only a few ingredients, you can still pull together a very quick and satisfying paleo friendly dish like this one. 

The inspiration for this meal came from some grass-fed pork that I had recently picked up at the market.  By paring this with the few lonely items that I had left in my refrigerator that included a bag of broccoli slaw, kale (I love kale!), and a few apples, I was able to create a very satisfying dish with a touch of sweetness in less time that it would have taken to order in takeout!   

Ingredients (4-6 servings):

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 lbs grass fed pork, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 bag broccoli slaw
  • 2 apples, cored and cut into 1 inch chunks.  I used gala apples because that is what I had, but granny smith would be nice too
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed, stems removed and torn into pieces

Cook it up:

  1. In large saucepan or dutch oven, heat oil
  2. Season pork with salt and pepper, and meat to pan and brown, turning occasionally for about 6 minutes.  Remove and set aside.
  3. Add onion to pan, saute until softened, about 3 minutes
  4. Add chicken stock, water, rosemary, Dijon mustard and bring to a boil
  5. Add pork, broccoli slaw and apples to pan and simmer until apples are tender ~ 10 minutes
  6. Add kale and simmer until kale has wilted.  Enjoy!  

Not a fan of broccoli slaw, try adding shredded cabbage  or any other veggie instead.

Looking to pack a protein filled snack for my longer day adventures, I decided to add a simple twist to my primal nut ball recipe through the addition protein powder.  Using your food processor, you’ll find that these bars come together very quickly and the paste like mixture will press easily into bars making these a perfect pack and go snack.  

Ingredients:

  • 3 dates, seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • 12 dried prunes, seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup organic dried apple slices, soaked for about 30 seconds in hot water and drained well
  • 1 cup roasted mixed nuts
  • 1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3 scoops “proteins+” brand vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon, or more to taste

Directions:

  1. In food processor, process nuts and coconut until roughly ground, remove and set aside
  2. Add dates, prunes and apples to food processor, and process until finely chopped
  3. Add nuts, cinnamon and protein powder and process until mixture comes together
  4. While processor is running, add maple syrup and continue processing until the mixture begins to ball
  5. Turn mixture out onto parchment paper and press into a block.   Wrap up in parchment paper and refrigerate until cold.  Cut into pieces and enjoy.

Note: If you still want nut chunks in your bars, reserve 1/2 of the ground nuts and coconut, and quickly pulse or knead it into the mix after all the other ingredients have come together.  Like in my primal nut ball recipe, flax seeds would also be a great addition to these.