Posts filed under ‘Sides and Snacks’
Tomato-free ketchup…is that a thing? YES! It looks like the real thing with a deep red hue and a tangy yet sweet taste. I’ve been eliminating nightshades amongst a few others food groups from my diet as recommended from my naturopath to see if some of my digestive issues and aches and pains subside. As things progress, I’ll be sharing a bit about my journey but for now you might be seeing some alternative recipes.
I love how that forces me to think outside the box…experiment a little, and switch up my routine. I’d be fibbing if I said it comes with great ease for my type-A, routine-driven, planner personality but it’s a great lesson (once again) in flexibility. Plus, if something isn’t working or feels “off”, then change is a must, and just the nudge I needed :)
If you aren’t familiar with the nightshade family, Jane’s Healthy Kitchen has an easy-to-understand yet comprehensive post…. click here for more information. To give you a short rundown, nightshades are part of the Solanaceae family and consist of foods such as tomatoes, white potatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos as well as goji berries, ashwagandha, paprika, and even tobacco.
While I am avoid nightshades, I am looking for alternatives and substitutes in the meantime, and I thought I’d experiment with No-tomato Ketchup to start…after all, it is America’s favorite condiment…or has Sriracha replaced that? :)
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
2/3 cup red beet (can use golden but won’t have red ketchup color), peeled and diced
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup honey, agave or date syrup for vegan
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp clove
1/8 tsp allspice
- Bring water to boil in medium sauce pan. Add beets, carrots and onion. Boil for 10-15 minutes, until tender.
- While vegetables are boiling, add remaining ingredients to blender (high speed like a Vitamix is recommended for silky smooth texture). Strain and add vegetables to blender when they are through cooking.
- Carefully blend on high until liquefied.
- Return blended mixture to sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Use a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries, as a base for a tomato-free BBQ sauce, slathered on meatloaf, a sandwich or a burger!
Sauerkraut and avocado…I didn’t think that pairing would come out of my mouth, errr computer, as a go-to snack…but I’m learning to be very flexible and creative with my food choices lately. There are always stranger combinations — Pickles and ice cream? (cough, cough).
I’ve always had a deep love and appreciation for food…but my body doesn’t seem to share the same sentiment, particularly in the last eight months. Almost anything I eat doesn’t agree with me — I’ve tried all types of “diets”, from vegan to raw food to paleo. I have been gluten free since 2009 and at different times I’ve avoided nuts, dairy, sugar, beans, eggs and meat…I’ve eaten super-duper healthy but it turns out there’s more to the equation.
In short, after multiple doctors and months and months of not feeling well, I discovered that I am not absorbing any of the nutrients from my food. My body revolted and doesn’t break down fats, proteins, carbs or sugars well, which led to a plethora of deficiencies, adrenal fatigue, sore joints, muscle weakness, massive and painful digestive issues, dry skin and constantly getting sick. I’ll be sharing a bit about what I learn as I continue along… just recently I’ve had the energy again to blog again during my healing process which is a relief and a breath of fresh air.
I’ve joked that this Spring I’ve really embraced the idea of “Spring Cleaning” – physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s gut-check time and I’m determined to be a lighter, brighter and healthier version of myself at the end of this whole journey.
Now, back to the food! I am not sure you can call this a recipe; it’s more like a combination of ingredients that pair well together yet I am sharing it here as a quick snack idea, side dish for a meal or even as an accompaniment or filling for sandwich or fresh lettuce wrap, or served with grilled protein of your choice. Simple, quick and incredibly tasty!
5-Minute Avocado and Sauerkraut Salad
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly, AIP-friendly, Soy-free, Nut-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Sugar-free
1 ripe avocado, de-pitted and thinly sliced
2/3 cup – 1 cup sauerkraut or fermented veggies (beet and cabbage pictured)
squeeze of fresh lemon juice or lime juice
splash of apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar (or your favorite…I love acidity to it’s up to you)
1-2 Tbsp fresh basil, sliced thinly or chopped cilantro or parsley
sea salt to taste (I’ve used pink Himalayan as well as lime-infused salt, ginger-infused salt)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Combine all ingredients. Taste and season accordingly to your preference; add more salt, pepper, basil/herbs, lemon juice, vinegar or more veggies. Enjoy on it’s own, in a wrap, as a bed for your favorite grilled or baked protein or mixed with quinoa or your favorite grain!
I’ve always been a big fan of nut butters but SEED butter is something I’ve really been loving on lately. I can’t get enough sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, tahini and hemp seeds being sprinkled or drizzled on all types of sweet and savory dishes.
Tahini is so versatile…whether it’s used in hummus, drizzled as a sauce, added to bread, used as a base for this ice cream flavor or featured in these cookies. Little bitty sesame seeds add a fun texture and nutty undertones to recipes and these two-bite treats are no exception! These cookies aren’t as sweet as if you used peanut or almond butter; tahini has a stronger flavor that’s both intriguing and addicting in my opinion.
These cookies came about when I was hankering for a treat…I was running low on time and I was craving something baked. No-fuss cookies that can be ready for devouring in less than 20 minutes…sign me up :)
Flourless Double Sesame Cookies (slightly adapted from my Chunky Monkey Chip Cookies)
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Nut-Free, Soy-free, Paleo-friendly, Refined Sugar-Free, Easy, Quick
1 cup of tahini* (sesame seed butter – make sure its a thick)
3/4 cup -1 cup of granulated sweetener**
1 egg, well beaten
pinch of sea salt (omit if your tahini is salted)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
1/4 cup sesame seeds (white, black or a combo)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a medium size bowl, add tahini, sweetener, egg, baking soda, vanilla and stir well to combine until forms a dough.
3. Form dough balls (I use a tablespoon), roll into sesame seeds and place onto lined cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 9-11 minutes until golden brown – ovens vary so keep an eye on them – then let cool completely before moving (they break apart easily when warm) and enjoy!
*Make sure your tahini isn’t really runny or you won’t be able to form balls of dough. This is especially important if you are using a liquid sweetener!
**I used coconut palm sugar, and if yours is really coarse, pulse for a few seconds in a blender to break up slightly (mine was really clumpy). You could also use Sucanat, brown sugar, or could even try xylitol for sugar-free (please report back with those results!) If you prefer using honey or agave, substitute the granulated sweetener for 1/2-2/3 cup of liquid sweetener.
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