Posts filed under ‘Soups and Salads’

Triple Squash Veggie Soup

Squash is an everyday staple at the moment – from zucchini and yellow squash to butternut, acorn and kabocha, I eat it all…all the time. Im finding it interesting that some of my favorite foods that used to agree with me are simply off-limits for now. Take peanut butter and nuts for example, I had several varieties on a daily basis and now my stomach just can’t handle it. Gluten-free grains such as rice and quinoa fall into the same category.

triple squash soup close1

Starchy vegetables have been the easiest for my body to accept – carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash, and beets are being consumed by the pounds. I wish I could tell you I was joking! I never thought I could eat so many foods with an orange hue…and I can’t tell if my hands are tinted orange from the constant prep of these ingredients or if it’s a result of all the Vitamin A I am consuming. However, orange is better than a green or purple glow so I won’t complain too much ;)

triple squash soup1

A variation of this soup is made on a weekly basis as a back-up option for quick lunches, last minutes dinners or an easy snack. Sometimes I’ll throw in some sweet potatoes in place of the cauliflower or add some coconut cream for richness with some spices for a different flavor. This soup is versatile and comforting, feel free to experiment with add-ins for serving to jazz it up a bit — Avocado, baby greens, infused oils, more roasted carrots or squash cubes (if you like a bit of texture in your soup) and caramelized onions are all great options. If you’re looking to bump up the protein, I imagine cooked white beans, quinoa, shredded chicken or hemp seeds would compliment this soup quite well. If you like to make dishes ahead, whip up a big pot of this soup and reheat throughout the week!

triple squash soup close

Triple Squash Veggie Soup
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Vegan/Vegetarian option, Nightshade-free, Paleo/AIP-friendly

Ingredients

2-3 cups cauliflower florets*
3 medium carrots, diced
1 1/2 cups bone broth, low-sodium veggie broth or chicken stock (use veggie stock for vegetarian/vegan)
2 stalks celery, rough chopped
1 medium onion or 1 leek, rough chopped (optional but adds flavor)
1 medium zucchini, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 medium yellow squash, chopped into 1 inch cubes
cooked flesh from 1/2 medium spaghetti squash (about 2 cups)**(see notes below)
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 – 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
freshly ground pepper to taste
Drizzle of olive oil (about 1-2 Tbsp, I used garlic-infused oil)
fresh juice from 1 lemon
drizzle of apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar (or more lemon juice. I like a generous drizzle but I enjoy the acidity)

For serving (optional)
drizzle of olive oil (I used garlic Italian herb infused oil) – pictured
handful of leafy greens (baby spinach, kale, swiss chard) – pictured
zucchini cheese (recipe to come) or your favorite cheese
coconut cream
fresh avocado, cubed or sliced
fresh chopped herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro)
lemon zest

Directions

1. In a medium dutch oven or soup pot filled with 3 inches of water over high heat, add cauliflower, carrots, celery and onion to a steamer basket and cook until almost tender (roughly 5-7 minutes).
2. Add zucchini and yellow squash on top and steam for another 2 minutes or so until tender and let cool slightly. Reserve some of the cooking water just in case you need to add it to a blender.
3. Add broth, rosemary, olive oil, lemon, vinegar, salt and pepper to a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix). Top with steamed veggies and puree in a until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. If you have a smaller blender, you may need to do this in batches, please be careful with hot contents in a closed blender!
4. If you want the soup thinner, add a bit of reserved cooking liquid. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, lemon juice etc and serve!

*Cauliflower adds creaminess to the soup, but you can swap this out for cooked sweet potato (Japanese sweet potatoes are a favorite!) or even white potato if you can eat them. White potatoes are not nightshade-free, paleo or AIP friendly (just in case you need to follow that eating style).

**To cook a spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the strings and the seeds. Cook cut-side down at 350F for 30-40 minutes until tender, based on the size of the squash. Sometimes I will put a couple tablespoons of water to steam in the bottom of a baking pan to steam it a bit while baking. After you remove the squash from the oven, let cool and take a fork to scrape out the “spaghetti” looking strands/flesh. If you like soup with some texture, don’t blend the spaghetti squash and add it in at the end for serving.

Notes: if you want to bump up the protein, feel free to add your favorite protein of choice – cooked beans, shredded chicken, hemp seeds or cooked quinoa if you’d like!

triple squash soup spoon

May 31, 2015 at 11:21 pm 2 comments

Greek Souvlaki Skewers with Tzatziki (SRC)

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!

Soulvaki 3 dishes

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!

Soulvaki over cauli rice

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.

Soulvaki WrapThe 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!

Soulvaki tzatiki

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!

Soulvaki skewer1

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

Ingre­di­ents

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

Instruc­tions

  1. 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!).
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Soulvaki Wrap fold and unfold

For other recipes from this month’s reveal, click the link below!

May 24, 2015 at 10:00 pm 8 comments

5 Minute Avocado and Sauerkraut Salad

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).

avocado sauerkraut salad 1

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.

avocado sauerkraut salad 2

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!
avocado sauerkraut salad

5-Minute Avocado and Sauerkraut Salad
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly, AIP-friendly, Soy-free, Nut-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Sugar-free

Ingredients

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

Directions

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!

avocado sauerkraut salad 3

May 21, 2015 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment

Thai Pumpkin Soup (SRC)

It’s no secret that I have a devotion to all things pumpkin and winter squash. My posts for Kabocha Squash Lovin‘, Butternut and Apple Crumble and Sausage Pumpkin Pizza are just scratching the surface of my affinity….while you’re at it, just add sweet potato to the list…I am shocked I’m not bright orange by now!

thai pumpkin soup2

I’ve been craving (and making) all kinds of soup this Fall…I seriously need to start taking some photos and sharing some of these one-pot creations. I thought I’d kick off my Fall soup repertoire with this Thai Pumpkin Soup that I lightly adapted from Lynsey Lou’s beautiful blog! I was assigned Lynsey’s blog for this month’s Secret Recipe Club and I had a crazy-fun yet difficult time deciding what to make. Her Toasted Coconut Cake with Walnuts and Cranberries made me want to lick my computer screen, and I loved the flavor combination in her Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Cranberry-Pecan Salsa. Hmmm…besides pumpkin, apparently the nut and cranberry combo is also on the brain?!

I made a few minimal changes to Lynsey’s recipe based on what I had on hand — I substituted leek for the onion and included two extra carrots (woohoo for a small veggie boost). I used coconut oil in lieu of olive oil and sprinkled a bit of black lava salt on top for a Halloween-ish look. The cilantro garnish is completely optional, it’s more for the contrast of colors :) I did add in the coconut milk from a can, but for photo purposes, I left those out…the soup was thick and the lite coconut milk I had looked watery and funky but it tasted delish! This soup was SO tasty – hot or cold! I even ate it chilled one day for lunch sprinkled with roasted spicy pepitas. When Lynsey mentioned this was a “must-make this Fall”, she was absolutely correct!
thai pumpkin soup1

Thai Pumpkin Soup (lightly adapted from Lynsey Lou’s recipe)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Vegan, Dairy-free, Vegetarian, Soy-free, Nut-free

Ingredients

2 Celery stalks, chopped
1-3 Carrots, sliced
1 Onion or 1 leek, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 1/2 Pounds fresh pumpkin, skin removed and cubed (about 6 cups…I had about 7 cups total)
2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 Tbsp ground curry
1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
1/2-1 Tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 Liter (about 4 1/4 cups) vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you prefer, but this isn’t vegetarian)
Cream or coconut cream, optional
Black lava salt (or other salt to taste)
a few cilantro leaves for garnish, optional

Directions

1. In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add celery, onion/leek, and carrot and let sit for 7 mintues, or until just starting to get soft, stir as needed.

2. Stir in curry paste, ground curry, garam masala, and cayenne making a paste and cook for 1 minute. Then add cubed pumpkin and fresh ginger. Cover vegetables with stock and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes or until soft.

3. Process with a food processor or an immersion blender, being very careful not to burn yourself. This process may also be done using a regular blender, but be very careful and do small batches.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle cream or coconut cream on top if using, garnish with salt and cilantro (optional) and serve immediately. Enjoy :)

thai pumpkin soup
For other recipes in this month’s reveal, please click the link below!

October 26, 2014 at 10:00 pm 12 comments

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