Here is the perfect paleo side dish for your summer BBQ. It has all of the things in a normal pasta salad except the noodles are replaced with thinly sliced zucchini. The key is to blanch the zucchini to cook out some of the rawness. Fresh raw bell peppers add some sweetness and crunch. Pepperoni, cheese and olives add a good amount of saltiness. The salad is dressed with a simple Italian vinaigrette. You can vary the amounts to your liking and add any other veggies you have on hand such as carrots, onions, broccoli or cauliflower and the meat/cheese could be cut out to make this vegetarian as well.
1 bell pepper, sliced thinly.
Cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered. I like Trader Joe’s mini heirloom tomatoes.
Pepperoni, cut into small cubes.
Cheese, cut into small cubes. I used grass-fed cheddar but whole milk mozzarella would be good here too.
Olives, chopped finely. I used Trader Joe’s jalepeno-stuffed green olives for an extra kick.
5 T olive oil
2.5 T red wine vinegar
1-2 tsp each of dried oregano, basil and red chili flakes
Cut the zucchini into very thin broad slices using a mandoline. Cut the slices lengthwise several times so they resemble noodles. Add the zucchini “noodles” to a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain and immerse the “noodles” into an ice bath to stop the cooking. Once the zucchini is chilled, drain well and add the peppers, tomatoes, pepperoni, olives and cheese. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and spices and dress the vegetables. Chill before serving.
Here’s a recipe for a quick pickle; no cooking or waiting. A great way to use fresh cucumbers which will be plentiful now that summer has arrived. These are also salt-free, unlike those dubious jars from the grocery store. I can remember eating these growing up, so I have to thank my Mom for the inspiration on this one. Try them at your next BBQ.
Slice three medium-sized fresh cucumbers very thinly using a knife or mandoline. Add them to a mixture to 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 tbsp each of sugar, dill and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and refrigerate until you are ready to eat them, which could be immediately.
So I’m liking this posting with a week delay. Rather than speculation, I have results. This week (last week) was sort of a transition week. More summer veggies and a really great variety. Spinach and lettuces are less frequent. Summer squash is plentiful. This week included:
1 lettuce. Instead of salads this week we did chicken lettuce wraps. We cooked skinless chicken thighs in enchilada sauce I had frozen with a dash of homemade hot sauce. I would say this was a marginal success. The chicken was really good but it was too messy. I have yet to find a good paleo tortilla. I’ve tried coconut flour but they were too fluffy and fell apart easily.
3# squash. This was mostly the yellow summer squash and 1 large green zucchini. We incorporated this into “meatless Monday” by making a squash “pasta bake”. Essentially this was cooked sliced zucchini, onion, garlic, diced tomatoes and italian seasonings topped with fresh mozzarella and baked until brown and bubbly.
Swiss chard. We made Jacquie’s breakfast casserole again using local sausage and sweet potatoes. Went really well with the homemade hot sauce and yielded breakfast for four days this week.
Beets. One of me and Jacquie’s favorite veggies. Nothing better than roasted beets with a little olive oil. There weren’t many so we also made roasted parsnips to go with them. Both were a great side dish for chicken Kiev.
Cucumbers. Made some quick pickles with these to serve with a marinated and grilled flank steak.
Vegetables are often overlooked when grilling. And with beer in hand, grilling is what I like to do on warm Sunday afternoons. So next time you throw those steaks on the grill, consider grilling some veggies to go with it.
I used to make this salad with red potatoes or yukon golds. Since going paleo, I decided to try it with sweet potatoes and it came out great. I used to add some honey to the vinaigrette but I left it out of the sweet potato version. For even a bit more bite (a little less sweetness) I might try replacing the cider vinegar with red wine or rice vinegar. For our non-vegetarian friends, may I also suggest some bacon?
Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
For the salad…
4 sweet potatoes
1 red onion
6 green onions
~1/4 c. parsley + more for garnish
salt and pepper
For the vinaigrette…
6 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard
Wash the sweet potatoes and slice about 3/4″ thick. Boil the sweet potatoes until they are barely fork tender. Don’t overcook them since they will be going on the grill. I think if I could cook a vegetable medium-rare, that’s about where these would be.
While the sweet potatoes cook, trim the ends from the green onions and peel and slice the red onion about 3/4″ thick. Don’t go too thin with them since all of this is going on the grill. I get about 3-4 slices per onion.
Prepare the vinaigrette by mixing all of those items well.
After the sweet potatoes have cooked drizzle all the veggies with a little bit of oil and season them with salt and pepper. Throw them all on the grill. Pull the green onions off after a quick char (that will go pretty quickly). Cook the sweet potato and red onions on each side until they have a nice char as well. Turn the jalapenos frequently until the outside skin is blistered and charred. The jalapenos, onions and sweet potatoes take about the same amount of time, about 6-10 minutes total.
After the veggies are done dice the jalapenos and onions. Cut the sweet potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Combine the veggies and dress with the vinaigrette while everything is still warm. Mix in the fresh parsley and serve while still warm or at room temperature.
I haven’t dyed Easter eggs in I’m going to guess 15 years. Why not get some friends together and go for it? And this time let’s do it with beer! A fun time for sure, and now I have breakfast/lunch for the better part of a week. I also got a Cadbury egg but I haven’t eaten it yet.
We’re not big on celebrating Easter but I will take advantage of making a nice meal for a Sunday evening. I’ve been searching for a good ham for weeks now. A local farm who does some ham ran out before we got there. I saw uncured ham at Trader Joe’s last week. When I went back yesterday they were sold out. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. I gave up on the ham quest and bought a grass-fed beef roast from a local farm yesterday. I’ll cook it rare with some garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and I’m sure it will be wonderful.
I also wanted to talk about my most recent side-dish discovery… vanilla mashed sweet potatoes. Although a google search tells me I’m not the first one to combine these ingredients, it’s worth restating because the hint of vanilla made these stand out as one of my favorites. To make them, add about a half cup of cream or coconut milk and about 1-2 tsp vanilla extract to about 4 cups of boiled sweet potatoes as you mash them up. I also added some grass-fed butter to make them a little bit richer. A touch of honey would also bring out the sweetness. A perfect addition to your Easter dinner.
A great base for tons of primal recipes... and vegan to boot!
One of the things that we first struggled with when deciding to eat a primal diet was that we were missing bases to many of our favorite dishes, things like pasta and rice. That is why we were very excited to try cauliflower “rice”. The dish by itself has a great texture and very little flavor which makes it a great replacement for rice as a base of a dish, and can easily be “spiced” up to stand on its own. There are many versions of this recipe floating around the internet. Nevertheless, I feel like I should include my own version here since it is such a simple and versatile dish. One in my mind that any primal eater should have in their arsenal.
Cauliflower Rice (version 1)
Serves about 4
1 head of cauliflower
About 1 1/2 c chicken stock (homemade is preferable). You vegetarians can also make this by substituting vegetable stock. I bet no one will notice a difference.
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the cauliflower into florets and give it a whirl in your food processor with the “S” blade attachment until the cauliflower has roughly the consistency of rice. Add the cauliflower into a saucepan with the stock, salt and pepper. Bring it up to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, about 15-20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Cauliflower Rice (version 2)
1 bag of frozen cauliflower
Boil the cauliflower until it is fork tender. Drain it well and mash by hand using a potato masher until it has the consistency of rice.