Posts filed under ‘Main Dish’
All this hot summer weather makes me crave three things: crisp salads, fresh fruits and food with a Mexican flare. It brings me back to my Texas roots where Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican restaurants are everywhere. Chips with table-side guacamole and tacos or fajitas are my go-to so I am always up for a new twist on an old favorite to “get my fix”. Enter this tacos!
Fruit + avocado + crunchy cabbage and crisp cauliflower in handheld form – hello summer! There’s something fun about eating with your hands, right? This flavor combination is a total win! I was blown away by it’s complexity – zesty lime juice, sweet fresh mango, warm and almost nutty cauliflower with crunchy cabbage and velvety avocado topped off with a tangy yogurt drizzle…wow.
This taco recipe was lightly adapted from Fried Ice and Donut Holes blog that I was assigned for this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal. Talk about a fun name for a site! I LOVED scanning through Melissa’s blog…her food style is right up my alley: lots of vegetarian options, salads and yummy breakfasts. I searched her recipes multiple times while I was hungry…mmmm, a bad (but oh-so-good) idea since I wanted to eat my computer screen :)
At first peek, both Melissa’s Crispy Avocado and BLT Salad and Buffalo Chicken Burgers with Spicy Celery Slaw called my name (who doesn’t love avocado, bacon and tomato?) but without eating nightshades, these recipes are “on hold” for now. Oh, and her Mexican Chocolate Tart with Cinnamon-Spiced Pecans looked and sounded sinfully delicious! I ultimately chose her Crispy Cauliflower Tacos with Mango Salsa— love the concept, love the taste and YES, I will be making these again for sure!
Based on my dietary restrictions, I switched up a few things. I made my own grain-free cauliflower tortillas but any tortillas can be subbed here (corn, gluten-free etc). I reduced the amount of oil bit and subbed finely crushed plantain chips for a grain-free swap for the breadcrumbs. I sliced the avocado instead if mashing and used dairy-free coconut milk yogurt in place of the the sour cream. In the mango salsa, I eliminated the jalapeño (nightshade) and didn’t miss it at all!
Crispy Cauliflower Tacos with Mango Salsa (Adapted from Fried Ice and Donut Holes’ recipe)
Grain-free option, Gluten-free, Egg-free option, Vegetarian, Vegan Option, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Nightshade free option, Soy-free, Paleo and AIP friendly
For the Mango Salsa
1 Mango, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 Red Onion, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)
1 Jalapeño, seeded and finely diced (omit for AIP and Nightshade-free)
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 Lime, juiced
1/2 cup Cilantro, coarsely chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste
For the Crispy Cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 head Cauliflower, cut into small florets
6 Tbsp gluten-fee Panko breadcrumbs, divided OR crushed plantain chips or sweet potato chips (AIP/Paleo/Grain-free)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
For the Tacos
8-10 Small Tortillas (I made Grain-free Cauliflower Tortillas)*
1/2 Lime, juiced
1 cup Shredded Cabbage (I used green but red would be great too)
Dairy-free Yogurt or AIP Friendly mayo (or Sour Cream if you can do dairy)
For the Mango Salsa
1. Combine the mango, onion, jalapeño (if using), and garlic in a bowl. Toss with lime juice and fold in cilantro.
2. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside.
For the Cauliflower
1. Working in batches, heat half of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 7-10 minutes.
2. Toss with half of the panko/plantain/chips and cook until have become golden brown, 2-3 minutes.
3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the cauliflower from the skillet into a bowl and repeat with the remaining oil, cauliflower, and panko/plaintain/chips.
For the Tacos and Serving
1. To assemble tacos, mash the avocado with the lime juice.
2. Spread some avocado onto a tortilla and top with cabbage, cauliflower, salsa, and sour cream.
Serves 4 (2 tacos each)
For other recipes from this month’s reveal, please click the link below!
Greek food is hard to find in the town I live in…while that’s a true statement, it’s also my lame excuse for completely forgetting how delicious it is! After making this flavorful and fuss-free dish, I racked my brain wondering why I don’t make more Greek-inspired food…and I’m determined it won’t be the last!
I was given the blog Hapa-tite for this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment, and what fun I had getting to know Nicole. I searched through oodles of sweet treats that called my name…Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee and Rhubarb Ginger Crumble Bars to name a couple. With the sunny weather peaking through on occasion, I was fishing for recipes to utilize the grill in order to catapult me out of this rainy Spring and into summer and warmth. Nicole’s recipe’s did just that, and how appropriate for a Memorial Day cookout! I was choosing between her Curried Chicken Skewers with Lime-Apricot Glaze and her Pork Souvlaki to coerce me to fire up the grill. I was really intrigued by her Tomato Petit-Fours with Mango Glaze but didn’t want to alter the recipe too much to fit my dietary needs for this month’s reveal, but I’d like to explore that flavor combination soon. Ultimately, I opted for Souvlaki, that was marinated overnight to infuse some zesty flavor and tenderize the meat from the acidity of the vinegar and lemon. Oh My Yum!
Nicole recommends serving this with toasted naan wedges along with the Tzatiki sauce, but I switched up a few things to cater to my current grain-free elimination diet. I wound up serving this in a lettuce wrap for a fresh, light dinner that is delicious served warm or chilled for a lovely lunch of leftovers.
The protein in this dish is versatile – make it with pork like Nicole suggested, cube some chicken or beef, substitute in cubed ahi tuna or swordfish or even marinate pressed tofu or veggies with this recipe. Stuff the protein (or veggies) sandwich-style in naan or a pita, serve over a salad or in a bowl with rice (or cauliflower rice – pictured) for a little versatility…all are SO super delicious with this dairy free cucumber-yogurt sauce. I’d never made Tzatziki before, but I sure will again!
I made a few little changes to the recipe based on dietary necessity: I swapped out chicken for the pork loin for the protein. For the tzatiki sauce, I used dairy-free, unsweetened coconut milk yogurt and a few spoonfuls of full-fat coconut cream (for richness) in lieu of the Greek yogurt and opted not to peel cucumber for added color. I squeezed the grated cucumber to remove excess liquid in order to thicken the sauce. In the marinade, I used apple cider vinegar in place of the red wine vinegar and added an extra garlic punch by using garlic-infused sea salt. I purchased some Mediterranean leaf oregano from the bulk herb section of our local natural food store…I thought that option was more appropriate in this Greek dish as opposed to Mexican leaf oregano. The Mediterranean oregano had a lemon citrus scent as opposed to the Mexican variety, which paired nicely with the lemon, garlic and olive oil marinade. This dish is crazy flavorful and easy, plus if you do a little prep work dinner can be thrown together in a flash!
Greek Souvlaki Skewers with Tzatziki Sauce (lightly adapted from Hapa-tite)
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo & AIP-friendly, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Soy-free, Nut-free, Vegan/Vegetarian Option, Sugar-free
For the Marinade:
½ cup olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic cloves, minced (could probably sub 1/4 tsp garlic powder if necessary)
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
2 tsp oregano (I used Mediterranean oregano)
sea salt to taste (I used a rounded 1/4 tsp of garlic salt)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1½ pounds pork loin, chicken or beef, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1 (for vegetarian/vegan see notes below*)
For the Dairy-free Tzatziki Sauce:
1 cup unsweetened plain coconut milk yogurt (can use 2% greek yogurt if you can do dairy)
1/2 cup full-fat coconut cream (the thick cream on the top of the can. I use Natural Value brand without gums)
1 English cucumber, grated and squeezed well to release extra water (can peel but not necessary)
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch of sea salt
wooden skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes before use OR metal skewers
For Serving (Options):
cooked grain of choice or grain-free cauliflower rice (pictured)
sliced cucumber, de-pitted and sliced Kalamata olives, diced tomato (not AIP-friendly or nightshade free)
Lettuce leaves (for lettuce wraps) or chopped greens for a salad (pictured)
Grilled or roasted vegetables (pictured)
Gluten-free naan or gluten-free pita bread
- Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Place pork/chicken/etc cubes in a Ziploc bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and toss to coat evenly with the marinade, then open the bag and reseal, removing as much air as possible. Place bag in the refrigerator for at least two hours to overnight (overnight recommended for optimal flavor!).
- Mix all the tzatziki ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours to overnight (overnight is preferable).
- Put pork/chicken/protein on skewers and grill until they are browned on all sides and cooked through, about 8 to 12 minutes, turning 4 times during cooking. Remove the skewers to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- While the meat rests, prep your serving options: salad greens, veggies, heat grains/bread/cauliflower rice then serve with a large dollop of tzatziki sauce and enjoy!
*Vegetarian/Vegan options: If you want to use tofu in place of the protein (will not be soy-free/paleo or AIP if so), use pressed, drained firm tofu. Marinate overnight or atleast a few hours. If you prefer vegetables instead, they will not need to marinate overnight, slice your favorite veggies (I used yellow squash, zucchini and red onion, but mushrooms/tomatoes/eggplant/bell peppers (if allowed) would all be good options). Toss the marinade with the veggies, let sit for 30 minutes then cook.
If using swordfish or ahi, you will not need to marinate the fish as long, otherwise the lemon juice will “cook” the fish. Set aside a bit of the marinade prior to adding the fish so you can use that to drizzle on top after cooking. Marinate fish for about 20 minutes and cook until flaky.
For other recipes from this month’s reveal, click the link below!
Weeknight dinners can be a chore when you’re in a time-crunch, especially if you’re hungry and ready to eat. While the idea of meal planning is fantastic and I try to schedule out meals for the work-week, yet sometimes I “live on the edge”….or that’s what I tell myself when I’m forced to wing it and try to whip up something different with ingredients I have on hand.
Thus, this chorizo ragu was born. Quick, simple and tasty…yay for spontaneous dinners! Plus, add some bonus points since you can make this ahead; the leftovers are deeeelicious! If you prefer to prep meals on the weekend to get a jumpstart to your busy week, this dish might be on your next to-make list. If you want a filling grain-free meal packed with veggies and nutrition, give this one a go as well :)
Slightly spicy and loaded with smoky flavor from the cumin and paprika, this Mexican-inspired ragu packed with protein, fiber, veggies to keep you full AND satisfied. The squeeze of fresh lime really makes the spices and flavors pop and brightens the dish so I’d advise not the leave that out :)
If you don’t have spaghetti squash, serve this ragu over fresh greens for a spin on a warm taco salad or even your favorite cooked grain (like quinoa or brown rice) for a burrito bowl type meal. I had a little bit of the ragu leftover and served it over a baked sweet potato for lunch…YUM. Yep, I’ll be doing that again soon!
Chorizo Ragu over Spaghetti Squash
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Vegetarian/Vegan option, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free
1 medium spaghetti squash, halved and deseeded
2/3 lb gluten free chorizo (can use chicken chorizo or vegetarian chorizo)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 jalapeno, deseeded and deveined, minced OR several shakes of ground cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t want added heat)
1/2 small onion, sliced or chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1 bell pepper, diced (red, yellow or orange)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 cups cooked black or pinto beans
2-4 cups of spinach or swiss chard, collards or kale, de-stemmed, deveined and chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
squeeze of fresh lime
sea salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheddar or monterrey jack cheese, optional (omit for vegan and/or dairy free)
fresh cilantro for serving, optional
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly drizzle olive oil over squash and season with salt and pepper. Place squash cut side down onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until tender, roughly 30-35 minutes based on size. Once cooked, let cool slightly then scrape with a fork to create strands and set aside for serving.
2. While squash cooks, prepare the “ragu”. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add chorizo and onion. If using a really lean chorizo or a vegetarian substitute, saute in 1 Tbsp of oil. Saute until cooked through and no longer pink and lightly browned.
3. Add garlic, cumin, paprika and jalapeno or red pepper (if using) and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to one minute.
4. Add bell pepper, tomato and beans and cook for 3-4 minutes. Toss in spinach/greens and cook another minute or two until wilted.
5. Add cilantro the the skillet along with fresh squeezed lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Serve ragu over cooked spaghetti squash. Sprinkle with grated cheese, diced avocado and/or additional cilantro if desired and enjoy!
Timesaver: You can cook the spaghetti squash a couple of days ahead or the night before to speed up prep time. Just reheat in the oven or in the skillet.
I purchased a Spiralizer a year ago, and wow has that little tool come in handy! Apple “noodles”, super-quick sweet potato fries and spiralized zucchini are just a few of my favorites. For some, zucchini noodles and spiralized ingredients might be old news but if this concept is new, I encourage you to give them a go. Plus, it’s fun…and who couldn’t use some extra fun?!
I continue to be amazed at the versatility of zucchini: what an incredible veggie. You can use zucchini noodles aka “zoodles” as a grain-free or light pasta replacement OR you can bulk up your pasta dishes so you can have half zoodles and half noodles…that way you can load up on veggies and still have your pasta without a carb-induced coma :) I’ve pureed zucchini for a bean-free hummus, used grated zucchini in a sweet quick bread and added it to smoothies to thicken and add some veg without affecting flavor.
Since Spring has sprung, lighter dishes have been on the menu. This dish is quick, crazy easy and packed with fresh and bright flavor! Plus, you can make it vegan by swapping out the chicken for an extra roasted veggie (think roasted marinated portabella mushrooms or roasted asparagus..mmmm). The creamy avocado sauce adds a punch of flavor from the fresh basil, garlic and bright lime or lemon juice, and the roasted broccoli lends a nutty flavor to this meal. This dish is packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber and nutrition and can be served as a power lunch or dinner…and if you manage to have leftovers, those are tasty right from the fridge :)
Creamy Zoodles with Chicken and Broccoli
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free, Vegan Option, Vegetarian Option, Soy-free, Paleo-friendly, Nut-free
3 medium zucchini, spiralized
1 large or two small chicken breast, cooked & cubed* (For vegan/vegetarian option, use 2 cups sauteed mushrooms and/or roasted asparagus)
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
2 small avocado 1 large avocado, pit removed and rough diced (will be pureed)
handful of fresh basil, chopped (roughly 1/2 cup) or cilantro
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
2 limes, juiced or 1 lemon, juiced (roughly 2 Tbsp or to taste)
1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1-2 Tbsp water or as needed
Optional garnish/serving ideas
hemp seed or pinenuts or slivered almonds (if adding nuts, will not be nut-free)
fresh basil, chiffonade
slices of fresh lemon or lime
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease with olive oil. Add broccoli florets to the pan, drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook for approximately 10-12 minutes or until broccoli is tender and lightly browned.
2. While broccoli is cooking, prepare the avocado lime sauce. Add avocado, lime/lemon juice, basil, minced garlic, salt and 1 Tbsp olive oil and pureed until smooth. Add a couple tablespoons of water to thin out the sauce as needed.
3. If you prefer a less crunchy and softer zucchini noodle, either steam or saute the noodles for a couple minutes until your desired texture.
4. Add chicken, broccoli and zucchini noodles to a mixing bowl or pot. Pour/spoon the avocado sauce over the ingredients and toss to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and lime/lemon juice.
5. Divide into serving dishes and top with more basil, pinenuts/hemp seeds/almonds if desired and serve!
*I baked two small chicken breasts simply seasoned with lemon pepper, salt and olive oil at 350F for 20 minutes. I let them cool off and then cut into bite-size pieces. You could also use 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken for a super quick lunch or dinner tossed with a little lemon.
**If you prefer to steam your broccoli, that’s ok too. I enjoy the depth of flavor from roasting them.
Serves approximately 3-4 people