It’s getting warm outside, and you’ve just come inside from an afternoon of soccer games, a run, softball, or even just mowing the lawn. It’s hot, and you want a refreshing treat – something cool, creamy and delicious. But you want a healthier treat. Why not try a Chocolate Protein “Frosty“? It’s easy to whip up and definitely hits the spot. Check out my recipe (and learn about some good, healthy sources of protein) over at The Balanced Platter today!
Category Archives: Healthy Meals
Sometimes, you just need a dip. Something to bring the crowd together. Something to munch on. Something to make your lunch a little more delightful. Whatever the reason, this dip might just be the answer. It’s smoky and creamy. It’s unique. It’s great with raw veggies, such as celery sticks or cucumber slices, but also delicious with tortilla chips or crackers.
What I also can appreciate about a recipe like this is that there is no cooking. Zero. Zilch. And when it’s hot outside, especially 100+ degrees hot, anything I can prepare without having to cook is a definite bonus. One could definitely make this part of a meal, along with some crackers, assorted pickles, and maybe something special like a terrine, and a glass of wine or a gluten-free beer. It also only takes a few minutes to whip up, so I would encourage you to do so at your first chance. It’s that good.
It’s safe to say, it’s my new favorite thing.
Well, as far as dips go, anyway. I’m sure I’ll have a new favorite next week. Until then, enjoy.Print Recipe
Fire-Roasted Tomato Almond Dip (gluten-free, vegan)
1 c roasted, salted almonds
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 15-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
Salt to taste (1/4-1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 t smoked paprika
3-4 T extra virgin olive oil
Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground and starting to clump a bit. Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and paprika and continue to process until everything is smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Turn the processor back on and drizzle in the olive oil, continuing to process until creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Serve with crackers, raw vegetables, chips, or even gluten-free bread. Makes 6-8 servings.
Join us tonight, July 1, at 8PM Eastern Time for a free LIVE CHAT where we will be discussing how to travel on a gluten-free diet. There will be prizes, courtesy of Udi’s!
It’s berry season! At the farmer’s market, I’m finding tons of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries everywhere I turn. I try to exercise some restraint, but this past weekend, I came home with some of each. I consider it a victory – I haven’t come home with a dozen pints just yet.
Most of the time, I just open the fridge, and there the berries are, staring at me. They are usually just munched on a little at a time, every time the fridge is opened. (So, in other words, they’re there for like, three days, tops.) But once in a great while, they actually make it into a recipe. Most recently, they made it into some salsa.
Strawberry salsa? Why, yes! If you haven’t tried it before, you’re in for a real treat. You might just make it every week until strawberries are out of season. It’s that tasty.
Earlier this month, we did some renovations to our kitchen. For about a week, I was kitchenless. As in, I couldn’t cook. There were even two days where we could barely get water from the fridge. (Seriously. We had to tear away some plastic sheeting to get to the water and ice, and if I wanted into our pantry, I had to suck it in and squeeze between the fridge and the wall in what amounted to less than 10 inches of space.) When we finally scheduled for the work to start, we only had about a day’s notice before I had to clean out the cabinets. I went into a state of half-panic. I would starve! I thought. After all, I pretty much prepare all of my meals myself. I didn’t have time to make much of anything in advance. How would I survive? Well, needless to say, I managed. I’m grateful for some trustworthy gluten-free restaurants and my arsenal of snacks that I stashed in my desk drawer at work. And now we are back in the new kitchen. Let me tell you, it’s awesome. I am so excited.
In fact, I’m so excited that I definitely need to take some photos for you and share. I have a few, and I’ve shared a bit on Instagram, but I really need to get some decent (read: non-iphone) photos for you! Stay tuned for that.
Meanwhile, my garden didn’t stop growing just because we weren’t cooking. In fact, the lettuces, radishes, Swiss chard, collard greens, arugula and even some mizuna were all in need of harvesting. But I left them there, as I didn’t really have a way to wash or prepare them. Once we were back in business, I pulled radishes (some of which had grown to the size of golf balls!), cut what was left of the good lettuce (much of it has bolted), attempted to take control of the cucumber beetles, and harvested some of the Swiss chard for this easy little side dish.
Swiss chard is one of my favorite greens. It’s so pretty – especially the rainbow chard, with the colorful red, pink, yellow and white stems. It’s also milder in flavor than some other greens, and it cooks quickly – nearly as quickly as spinach. And the stems are tender, which is a bonus. I love munching on them raw. They have a texture somewhat similar to celery; crunchy and crisp.
This dish highlights that freshness that chard offers by throwing in a hit of citrus. It’s bright and light. I served it alongside some roasted chicken, but I imagine it would go extremely well with grilled pork, shrimp or any poultry. The pepitas (a.k.a. pumpkin seeds) add a nice crunch and nuttiness.
This recipe should serve 3-4; unless you’re me and love greens. In that case, I’d say it’s enough for 2.Print Recipe
Swiss Chard with Orange and Pepitas (gluten-free, vegan, paleo, sugar-free)
1 T coconut oil
1 large bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange
Salt and pepper to taste
About 3 T raw pepitas, toasted in a dry skillet
Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the stems of the Swiss chard and sauté for a minute. Add the garlic and orange zest and sauté for another minute. Then add the leaves of the chard and stir, and add the orange juice. Cover the pan with a lid and lower the heat to medium-low. Allow to wilt for about a minute, then remove the lid and stir again. Allow the juice to reduce a little, season with salt and pepper to taste, and then remove the pan from the heat.
Serve with toasted pepitas sprinkled over.
Okay, well, as you can tell by the photo, this sweet potato is stuffed with more than just that simple radish top pesto I made the other day. (See, I told you it was good for lots of things!) There’s all sorts of delicious, nutritious goodness stuffed in there – specifically black beans, shiitake mushrooms, and red bell peppers. It’s a filling, healthy, meatless mish-mash of flavor. Perfect for a quick little meal, or a side dish – whichever you prefer.
Never stuffed a sweet potato before? Well, don’t you fret – it’s not hard. In fact, this version of a stuffed sweet potato is just one of many (and exists merely as a result of my desire to utilize the available produce hanging out in my fridge). Hallie over at Daily Bites made a Broccoli and Walnut Stuffed Sweet Potato a while back, Gena from Choosing Raw has a super-healthy Kale and Quinoa version, and Kate from Eat, Recycle, Repeat shared a Bacon, Mushroom and Onion version as well as a sweet Chestnut, Apple and Coconut version over at Paleo Parents. Clearly, we love our sweet potatoes out there in the blogosphere!
Personally, I am partial to my version topped with my radish top pesto. That fresh, creamy pesto added a lovely flavor and texture that married all of the other ingredients together wonderfully. Back in the day, I would have reached for cheese as an easy way to achieve that result – now, it’s liberating to find new ways to combine flavors and textures and still satisfy the way cheese used to. I would be lying if I said there weren’t days when I miss cheese, but with flavors like this, those days are few and far between.
Next time you’re looking for an easy meal idea, try stuffing a sweet potato! This version, with smoky beans, sweet bell pepper, and the rich umami of the mushrooms, topped with pesto, is definitely a win in my book.Print Recipe
Radish Top Pesto Stuffed Sweet Potato (with Black Beans, Red Pepper, and Shiitakes) (gluten-free, vegan, grain-free)
2 large sweet potatoes, baked until tender (bake in 375 degree oven for about 40-50 minutes)
1 T olive oil
8 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 oz can black beans (I like Eden Organic), drained
1 t ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Bake sweet potatoes. While they are baking, add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and bell pepper. Saute until the mushrooms soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another minute or until garlic is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat black beans over medium-low heat, adding ground cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir occasionally until warmed through.
Once sweet potatoes are baked through, cut a slit in each sweet potato. Open enough to expose a good amount of the flesh inside. Season with a bit of salt, and then top with mushroom-red pepper mixture and black beans. Finally, top with a healthy dollop of radish top pesto.
Radish tops – have you ever eaten them?
Up until recently, it never occurred to me that you could. After all, when you visit the grocery and buy a typical bunch of radishes, the green tops are usually wilted and past their prime, and really, they don’t look the least bit appetizing. I just assumed they were something you threw away.
Once I started purchasing radishes from the farmer’s market, however, one of the farmers mentioned to me that the tops were delicious as well. Eat the tops?, I thought. What a novel concept. I sautéed them once or twice after then, but never really thought them anything special. I’d eat them, sure, but if I was to choose between them and another leafy green, chances are I’d choose arugula, kale, or chard over radish tops. But this weekend, I was faced with a huge bunch of radish tops after harvesting radishes from our garden. (A side note: If you are new to gardening, I suggest planting radishes. They’re easy, and they go from seed to harvest in what seems like record time. These took a little over a month.) They were better-looking radish tops than even most I’ve seen, even at the farmer’s markets. I’m not trying to brag on my gardening skills, which are far from spectacular; it’s just that they were perfectly green, healthy-looking, with no blemishes to speak of. I felt I really needed to highlight them, not just throw them in a skillet and sauté. So, I put a shout-out on Instagram and Twitter. After I received the suggestion from Ali at Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen to throw it in smoothies, I made plans to add a good amount into my green juices. But I still had plenty left.
And then, like magic, it came to me. Why not make pesto? I’ve seen basil pesto (and have even made some), arugula pesto, and even kale pesto. Radish tops could be made into pesto too! The next thing I knew, the food processor was out and in a matter of minutes, this pesto was born.
This little condiment is a bit milder than a basil or arugula pesto – there isn’t that overly herbal or peppery bite to it. Instead, it adds a lovely freshness to anything it graces. It would be delicious in a sandwich, in a chicken salad, on top of eggs, in potato salad, on a burger, or as a dip for raw veggies. I could keep going. Basically, I think pesto could be added to everything. Because, well, why not?
If you happen upon some lovely radish tops this spring, don’t just toss them – give this pesto a try!Print Recipe
Radish Top Pesto with Walnuts and Hemp (gluten-free, vegan, grain-free)
4 cups radish tops/greens, packed
1/4 c walnuts, toasted in a skillet
1/4 c hemp seeds/hemp hearts
1/4 c nutritional yeast flakes
1 T green garlic (young garlic – 1-2 cloves of regular garlic can be substituted), roughly chopped
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t black pepper
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
Place radish tops, walnuts, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until the leaves are broken down. With the processor going, drizzle in the olive oil and continue to blend until everything is pretty smooth and no large chunks remain. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Makes about 2/3 cup. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for about a week.
While I know some of you might still be dealing with snow (even though it’s mid-April!), down in Texas, Spring is definitely here. The farmer’s markets have opened for the season, and they’re full of greens, asparagus, spring onions, carrots, beets, and more. There’s even some zucchini from East Texas. I didn’t hesitate to grab as much as we could possibly consume this week when I went this past Saturday, and possibly a little too much. I tend to get really ambitious when I see so much fresh produce, and I buy like there’s no tomorrow. Does anyone else have this issue?
Of course, in my usual fashion, I arrived home after my farmer’s market trip late in the morning, famished. I had to get something tasty in my belly that wouldn’t take a ton of time. With all the veggies in the house, and cravings lately for all sorts of Asian flavors, I suddenly had an idea strike. What if I made bibimbap?
Bibimbap is traditionally a popular Korean dish consisting of rice topped with a mixture of seasoned and/or cooked vegetables, and often beef and a raw or fried egg. The vegetables I’ve seen in bibimbap are typically cucumber, bean sprouts, carrots, daikon radish, spinach, and the like. I figured that I could take some liberty, and use what I had on hand (along with some quinoa instead of the traditional rice, just for fun) to make a unique version of this dish. I grabbed some of my wares from the farmer’s market: zucchini, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, green onions, and mizuna (Mizuna is a Japanese green, slightly peppery and spicy, although not as spicy as arugula. It’s one of my favorite greens). Next thing I knew, this new “bibimbap” was born.
This could be my new favorite Saturday meal, to be honest. It’s endlessly versatile and can be modifed throughout the season as different vegetables are available. It also helps take care of that “OMG, what will I do with all this stuff?” dilemma that so often accompanies a big farmer’s market purchase. And with an egg or two on top, plus a little Sriracha, how can you go wrong?Print Recipe
Farmer’s Market Quinoa Bibimbap (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)
1 c quinoa, rinsed
Sauteed shiitake mushrooms (see instructions below)
Sauteed asparagus (see instructions below)
Sauteed mizuna (see instructions below)
1 medium zucchini, cut into strips
2 carrots, peeled and cut into strips
1-2 T coconut oil
1 sheet toasted nori, crumbled
1/2 c chopped green onion
Additional wheat-free tamari
Prepare the quinoa as directed on the package. Once cooked, divide among 4 bowls. Prepare the shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, and mizuna, and divide among the bowls. Divide zucchini and carrot strips among the bowls as well.
Wipe out the skillet used for sautéing vegetables and add coconut oil. Heat over medium heat. Fry eggs just until whites are set, 2 at a time, adding more oil as needed. Remove eggs and place on top of each bowl of quinoa and veggies.
Serve bowls with crumbled nori, green onion, kimchi, additional tamari, and Sriracha as desired.
For the mushrooms:
1 T coconut oil
1 t sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 t wheat-free tamari
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil and sesame oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and mushrooms and sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are cooked through. Add tamari and toss to incorporate. Remove from skillet into a bowl and set aside.
For the asparagus:
Additional coconut oil as needed
2 c asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch lengths
Salt and pepper to taste
Using the same skillet, add a little additional oil if needed. Once the oil is hot, add the asparagus spears and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Remove from skillet into a bowl and set aside.
For the mizuna:
Additional coconut oil as needed
1 bunch mizuna, leaves torn into pieces (can substitute spinach or another leafy green)
1 t wheat-free tamari
1 t sesame seeds
In the same skillet, add additional oil if needed. Once the oil is hot, add the mizuna and a splash of water and sauté for a minute, just until wilted. Add tamari and sesame seeds and toss. Remove from skillet into a bowl and set aside.
It’s no secret I love beets. I’ve proclaimed my love for them before. Well, here I am again, sharing yet another beet recipe with you all. But this one’s different. Yes, you still get that vibrant, amazing color, and yes, you still get all the nutritional benefit of beets, but this “hummus” has a more approachable flavor than some other beet-centric recipes. Dare I say, it’s one of those that could convert a beet-a-phobe!
Check out this recipe and more over at The Balanced Platter today!
Today is the official release day for Hallie Klecker’s (author of the blog Daily Bites and of two amazing books, The Pure Kitchen and Super Healthy Cookies) newest creation – the Crazy For Kale e-book! This e-book contains 40 recipes using kale in everything from salads to main dishes to snacks, and yes, even sweet treats.
It’s really no secret that I adore kale. I use it in my green juice. I make salads with it. I even have some growing in my garden. But for those of you who are new to kale, or even seasoned kale veterans looking for some new kale inspiration, this e-book is definitely handy to have in your arsenal.
This book, which will have 40 recipes (33 are Paleo/grain-free, 31 are vegan or have vegan alternatives) includes recipes such as:
Orange Greensicle Smoothie
Tropical Asian Fusion Salad
Kale in Almond Cream Sauce
Burgers with Avocado Kale Slaw
Green Goddess Tart
And much more! This e-book goes for only $5.99, so purchase your copy today!
Of course, in honor of this release, I’m sharing a kale recipe that’s fast and easy to make – Lemony Kale Salad with Candied Black Walnuts. This is something you could throw together to serve alongside any meal. It would pair perfectly with a soup for a light lunch, or could accompany a simple seared fillet of salmon, and everything in between. I couldn’t get enough of it, personally!Print Recipe
Lemony Kale Salad with Candied Black Walnuts (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)
5 oz of baby kale (I used Earthbound Organic’s Mixed Baby Kales, but you could substitute 1 bunch of any variety of kale and tear the leaves from the stem into bite-sized pieces)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 T extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
1/4 c black walnut pieces
2 T coconut palm sugar
1 t water
Place the kale in a large bowl and drizzle over the lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. Gently massage the leaves, tossing, until the lemon juice and olive oil coat them all. Massaging the leaves will make them more tender. Set aside.
In a small nonstick skillet, add the black walnut pieces and heat to medium heat. Stir the walnuts and allow to toast for a minute, and then add the coconut palm sugar and water. Keep stirring until the sugar melts and clings to the nuts. Remove from heat and allow the nuts to cool and for the sugar to crisp up. Break into smaller pieces if needed.
Add the candied nuts to the salad, toss, and serve immediately. Serves 3-4 as a side salad.
To purchase your copy of Crazy For Kale, visit here!
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.
Hold on, hold on…hear me out. I know that titling a blog post with “lamb heart” is likely to instill fear in many readers, or at the very least, cause them to leave and hope that more Ding Dong recipes come their way soon. I promise, I’ll be sure to share more desserts again shortly. I can’t stay away from them for long.
But for now, let’s talk about lamb heart.
Still with me?
Heart, along with many other offal (organ) meats, are quite nutritious. Over at Mark’s Daily Apple, he discusses the benefits of eating all sorts of offal. Heart in particular is an excellent source of lean protein, thiamin, folate, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, CoQ10, and several B vitamins. I’m no stranger to offal, and I’ve posted about making barbacoa and liver and onions before. We eat liver and onions fairly often at our home, and it’s one of my husband’s favorite dishes. Lamb heart (or the more easy-to-find beef heart) is not as common, but after this salad, it very will could be.
As far as the flavor of heart is concerned, it’s definitely more approachable than many other cuts of offal. Many newbies to organ meats try it by grinding it along with ground beef and serving it in hamburgers, thus “disguising” it. I promise you, heart is so mild, if you wanted to start by taking that route (use a 1:4 ratio of heart to ground beef), you’d never notice you were eating it. To me, though, eating heart even in this salad isn’t too “weird”. Heart is tender when cooked quickly and left at a medium or medium-rare temperature, and nearly has the taste and texture of a super-lean steak. There is no “livery” taste or texture to it, which is what tends to turn people off to much offal. And when combined with some strongly flavored greens, spicy radishes, and a creamy vinaigrette, it’s simply heaven. This is the kind of thing I could eat every day – no joke.
I opted for lamb hearts because that was what was easy for me to obtain from my local farmer, and honestly, I find lamb heart and lamb liver to be milder in flavor when compared to beef. You could certainly substitute beef for the lamb in this recipe and it would be delicious as well.
The list of ingredients might seem a tad long on this recipe, as you’re making a marinade, a dressing, and a salad, but in all honesty, it doesn’t take long to come together. The marinade takes moments to make, as does the dressing and the salad. The last time I made this, it was on a weeknight and I served it with sweet potato and rosemary flatbread. It was an easy and delicious dinner. In fact, as we were starting to eat, my husband confided to me that he’d been looking forward to it ever since the previous time I’d made it. (He also mentioned that he preferred this vinaigrette over ranch dressing, which in my book is a definite WIN.) I think it’s time to order more lamb heart, so we can experience it one more time.Print Recipe
Balsamic Lamb Heart Salad with Creamy Vinaigrette (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, sugar-free)
For the lamb:
1 lb lamb hearts, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (can substitute beef heart)
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1 t freshly picked thyme leaves
Combine all of the ingredients in a plastic zip-top bag and toss to coat evenly. Allow to marinate, refrigerated for at least 8 hours.
For the dressing:
1/2 c mayonnaise (I love to make my own using this recipe)
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 t honey
1 t sherry vinegar (can substitute white wine vinegar)
1 1/2 t Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy.
For the salad:
1 head of green leaf lettuce
1 bunch watercress
1 c flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
1 c celery leaves
A handful or two of alfalfa sprouts (or your favorite sprout)
1 bunch red radishes, sliced
Tear the lettuce leaves into small pieces and divide among 3-4 salad plates. Top each plate with watercress, parsley leaves, celery leaves, sprouts, and radishes.
When the dressing and salads are ready, remove the lamb from the marinade, lay it out on a plate, and pat dry with paper towels. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium high heat and add a bit of coconut oil, rendered lard, or your favorite cooking oil and swirl about. Add the lamb, spreading out into a single layer, and allow to brown for a minute or two. Toss and allow to brown on the other sides for another minute, and then remove. Divide among the plated salads and drizzle with dressing. Serves 3-4.
Do you eat offal/organ meats? Chime in on this topic (and more) at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community!