Posts tagged ‘vegan. grain free’

Shawarma-Spiced Meat and Roasted Root Stew

It’s that time again in Montana, where the overcast days are more than just a rare occurrence and the winter is looming…while I’m holding on tight to fall as long as I can, I am embracing heartier dishes that heat me up from the inside-out. emu-roasted-root-stew That means it’s chili, stew and soup season! The first to make an appearance is this warm-spiced stew with ground emu and an array of sweet roasted root vegetables. Not only is this recipe easily adapted for what veggies and ground meat you have on hand, it’s a lovely pairing of sweet, salty and comfort with a variety of textures where you can swap out ingredients to suite your dietary needs. The root veggies compliment the shawarma spices and the ground meat beautifully, the apple cider vinegar makes the flavors really pop and the quinoa and mushrooms add to bulk and “meatiness” of the stew.

If you prefer a vegan or vegetarian cuisine, substitute the ground meat for chickpeas, more grains or add in additional mushrooms. If you do not have broccoli or zucchini on hand, swap either for chopped kale, chard and/or cauliflower. If you avoid grains, leave out the quinoa and serve on it’s own or over sweet potato or rutabaga rice.
emu-roasted-root-stew2Shawarma-Spiced Emu and Roasted Roots Stew
Paleo-friendly option, Vegan/Vegetarian option, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Nut-free, Seed-free, Egg-free, AIP-option, Grain-free option, Sugar-free

3/4 lb ground emu or ground meat of choice* (for vegan substitute 1 can of cooked chickpeas or 8 oz more mushrooms)
3 Tbsp olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil (can reduce to 1 Tbsp if using a higher fat ground meat since emu is quite lean)
1 small onion, diced (yellow or sweet onion)
8 oz sliced mushrooms
3-4 Tbsp Shawarma curry spice mix**
1 small zucchini, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 -2 tsp sea salt
3-4 cups bone broth or homemade chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegan/vegetarian)
1-2 cups broccoli, broken or chopped into small florets
3/4 – 1 cup cooked quinoa (or rice. For veggie friendly, can increase to 2 cups or omit for paleo/grain-free)
3 cups roasted root veggies (sweet potato, beets, carrots, parsnips – one, two or a combo)***
2-3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley + more for garnish
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt to taste


  1. If you do not already have roasted root veggies on hand, go ahead and preheat oven to 400F. Toss the following peeled and small diced veggies in 2 Tbsp oil of choice and sea salt and roast for 30 minutes or until tender and lightly browned: 1 sweet potato, 1 beet, 1 carrot and 1 parsnip and set aside.
  2. In a soup pot or a Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and ground meat and saute until meat is no longer pink. (If using chickpeas, do not add quite yet), stirring often and breaking up pieces of meat into crumbles, about 7-8 minutes.
  3. Add in the remaining 1 Tbsp oil, shawarma spice mix, salt, garlic, mushrooms and zucchini and saute for another 6 minutes or so until mushrooms have released their natural juices.
  4. Add in broth/stock, broccoli, cooked quinoa (and chickpeas if vegan/vegetarian) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in cooked root veggies, apple cider vinegar and parsley and let cook for one minute or so. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, garnish with additional parsley and enjoy!

emu-roasted-root-stew1*Ground beef, bison, chicken, turkey or lamb would all be lovely options if not vegetarian. You can use up as much as 1 lb of meat if omitting the quinoa/rice or reduce to 1/2 pound of meat and increase grain or veggies if wanting to reduce the cost when purchasing good quality meat.

***I peeled and small diced 1 sweet potato, 1 beet, 1 carrot and 1 parsnip, then tossed in 2 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted at 400F for roughly 30 minutes until cooked and tender.

**If you follow the AIP diet, use the following shawarma spice blend and combine the following. Start with 2 1/2 – 3 Tbsp and add more if you want more flavor and spice, I am generous with seasoning but some people may prefer a more mild dish: 3 tsp garlic powder, 3 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp tsp tumeric, 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp sea salt, 3/4 tsp Ceylon cinnamon and 1/4 tsp cloves

October 3, 2016 at 2:06 pm Leave a comment

Sweet Plantain Rolls (Paleo, Vegan)

Bread needs to be in my life. It’s a non-negotiable…because bread and carbs make me happy…and for me, life’s too short to deprive myself of things of things that make me happy :) Although I can’t consume the standard loaf or French bread, I am always looking for substitutes to satisfy my carb cravings and need for a biscuit, bun, wrap, or a slice of sandwich bread.
I love experimenting, such as when I used cooked rice as a flatbread or pizza crust, tinkered with variations of lentil bread, whipped up skillet bread with quinoa and buckwheat and mini flaxseed meal loafs, and now plantains. In the paleo and grain-free world, plantains are the perfect starch substitute and variations of plantain baked goods can be found all over on the web.

These rolls are slightly sweet but no added sugars are used since the hint of sweetness comes from the ripe plantains (which you can taste) plus these cute little bread balls are allergen-friendly. They are egg-free, nut-free, grain-free, soy-free, sugar-free, nightshade-free, vegan and paleo-friendly and can be prepared within 30 minutes — easy!
plantain-buns2You can serve them for breakfast alongside a fried egg or slathered with some chia fruit jam or your favorite spread (pictured is Nutiva’s buttery coconut oil). Enjoy these buns for lunch too; slice in half and serve with your favorite slider recipe, sliced protein or spread with hummus and top with sliced veggies. They are also a perfect addition for dinner or to dip into a steamy stew. If you’re looking for a sweeter option, slather with homemade nutella or a drizzle of maple syrup and melted coconut butter. Mmm…you have options, so many options!


Sweet Plantain Buns (inspired by the Organic Dietitian’s recipe)
Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Egg-free, Nut-free, Grain-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free, Nightshade-free, Vegan, Paleo-friendly


1 medium-large ripe plantain, peeled and cut into several pieces (look for yellow with black spot)
1/2 cup tapioca starch or arrowroot starch
1/4 cup sunflower seed meal (or you could probably substitute 2 Tbsp coconut flour but I haven’t tried)
1 tbsp ground chia/chia meal
1/2 tsp baking powder (use corn-free for paleo)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil in solid state (not melted)
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse plantain until in small pieces and slightly puree.
2. Add in the remaining ingredients and combine until a thick dough forms.
3. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Break dough into four or five pieces and form into a ball and place on parchment paper (dough will be really sticky).
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Makes 4-5 small buns


September 12, 2016 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

ABC Cabbage Salad (Vegan)

ABC…easy as 1-2-3…that’s what this salad and dressing is! If you have these three ingredients on hand, you can whip a quick dressing up in less than a minute, and there’s no need for a blender, just a simple whisk (or a fork if you must!).

A for Almond butter (or your favorite nut or seed butter)
B for Braggs liquid aminos (or coconut aminos for Paleo, Whole30 and/or soy-free)
C for Apple Cider Vinegar
ABC cabbage salad1 For the salad itself, choose your favorite chopped greens along with some crunchy cabbage for the base. Toss in your preference of veggies, such a sliced grape tomatoes, diced bell pepper and chopped celery and there you have it! You can top it off with your favorite nuts and/or seeds, diced apple or coconut chips for some extra crunch and flavor.

This dressing is simple but SO good! For a touch of sweetness, either add a drizzle of maple syrup or agave or a spoonful of date paste. If you are looking for a quick lunch or light dinner, this is it! You can substitute the greens for chopped kale or swiss chard and keep it in the fridge for longer since it will hold up as opposed to wilt. ABC cabbage salad 1

Toss this dressing into a cup of cooked quinoa or brown rice to make it more filling or add your favorite protein for a hearty main course. I served this salad with grilled salmon burgers the other night, and it was a lovely combination or smoky, sweet, salty and tart. If you like sweeter dressings, dial down the amount of vinegar you use and use two drizzles of maple or agave. 

ABC Cabbage Salad 
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free Option, Vegetarian, Vegan, Sugar-free, Egg-free, Keto-friendly, Paleo-friendly option


For the Dressing:

2 Tbsp almond butter or your favorite nut or seed butter*
2-3 tsp Bragg’s liquid aminos (or coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari)
1 -2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
water to thin, if needed
Optional – for a sweeter dressing, drizzle in a teaspoon or so of agave, honey or maple syrup or date paste to taste. For a lower carb option, add a couple drops of liquid stevia

For the Salad:
1 handful of chopped purple cabbage
2 handfuls of chopped greens
5-6 grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/3 cup alfalfa sprouts
Or whichever salad ingredients you enjoy, this recipe is flexible!

Ideas for crunchy toppings
Diced apple
coconut chips
Chopped nuts or seeds

Makes 1 large salad or 2 smaller salads


  1. For the dressing: whisk almond butter/nut butter through vinegar in a small bowl until smooth. If it’s too thick, you can thin with a drizzle of water. I like my dressing on the acidic side so feel free to adjust to taste. Feel free to add in a
  2. For the salad: Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. Toss with salad dressing until combined, if you like a lightly dressed salad drizzle a little at a time (leftover dressing can be saved). Sprinkle with topping options if desired and serve!

*The choice or nut or seed butter will determine the flavor or your dressing. I’ve tried this with peanut butter, sunflower seed butter and cashew butter along with the almond butter. A roasted nut/seed butter has a lovely depth of flavor that adds to the dressing. If you use a salted version, you may want to adjust the Bragg’s/aminos to your taste. If you use sunflower seed butter, it’s not as sweet as the almond/peanut/cashew options so adding a little sweetener will balance out the flavors nicely! This dressing is flexible so adapt it to suite your taste buds and your tummy!

ABC cabbage salad mixed

August 21, 2016 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

Salted Chocolate Turtle Candy (vegan, SRC)

Chocolate turtle candies take me back to my childhood, and they remind me of my parents and most definitely my Papa. These chocolate caramel goodies are packed with buttery pecans and they transport me to family memories and holidays. They are our family go-to for Christmas stockings and are often included in gifts…and when turtles are in a variety chocolate box, they are the first to be picked.

Vegan turtlesThis version of our family favorite is not only free of refined sugars, it’s dairy-free, vegan, paleo-friendly and dare I say even better than the classic? Gasp! My grandpa would roll over in his grave if he heard me say that. Maybe it’s due to the fact that these candies are packed with healthy ingredients (and a short list at that!), but these homemade treats are the perfect ending to a meal or a fabulous afternoon pick-me-up, and they will make my tummy happy as well!

Vegan turtles pecans

I found this recipe at Anne’s delightful blog, Simple and Savory while browsing her site for this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment. Anne is “my type of people”, she’s a holistic health coach, and is a huge advocate for making your own food as a key to health. You can find vegan, dairy free, gluten-free, and Paleo and all sorts of recipes on her site! I had a blast searching through her recipes and though I ultimately  chose her Chocolate Turtle Candy, I have tagged many for future experimentation including Anne’s Roasted Vegetables with Cashew Cheese Dip, Hasselback Pork Tenderloin and her Gluten-free Irish Soda Bread.

Vegan turtles no chocFor the turtles, I swapped out Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) for the peanut butter since that’s what I had on hand, and opted for pecans as my nut choice. I prefer a contrast of bitter and sweet when it comes to chocolate so I used a 90% chocolate bar chopped up and it contrasted beautifully with the sweet dates. Lastly, I sprinkled a little sea salt flakes over the chocolate coating for that extra pow, and goodness these are scrumptious! No doubt that this recipe is a keeper, thanks Anne for the inspiration!

Vegan turtles1Salted Chocolate Turtle Candy (lightly adapted from Simple and Savory)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Vegan, Dairy-free, Peanut-free, Paleo-friendly, Egg-free, Refined sugar-free, Soy-free, No-bake


3/4 cup walnut or pecan halves
12 medjool dates
1/2 Tbsp nut or seed butter (I used sunflower seed butter)
8 oz dark chocolate, chopped (homemade, or your favorite chocolate bar, or can use unsweetened if you really like the contrast of bitter and sweet with dates)
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
sea salt flakes


  1. Place dates in the food processor and process for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes; until they form a ball (you may have to stop and scrap the sides down).
  2. Add the nut/seed butter to dates and process for 30 seconds until combined.
  3.  Remove date mixture from food processor and refrigerate atleast 30 minutes.
  4. Place pecan of walnut halves in a circle (about 3 pieces) on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  5. Remove date mixture from the fridge and roll into balls about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in diameter and slightly flatten (see photo above). Flatten on top of the nut halves and refrigerate while chocolate is melting.
  6. In a double broiler, heat chocolate and coconut oil over low, stirring until melted.
  7. Remove chocolate from heat and spoon over the date and nut clusters. Sprinkle with sea salt and place back in fridge to harden. Enjoy and devour!!🙂

Vegan turtles biteFor other recipes from this month’s reveal, please click the link below!

August 14, 2016 at 10:00 pm 7 comments

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