Posts filed under ‘Soups and Salads’
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. 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.
Shawarma-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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
*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
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
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.
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
Chopped nuts or seeds
Makes 1 large salad or 2 smaller salads
- 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
- 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!
Healing is a journey. Besides the physical, it’s also emotional and mental, and just like seasons in life, it can be difficult while beautiful at the same time. I’ve learned to slow down and take time to really breath, or even have a good cry. I’ve learned to really appreciate sleep and listening to my body instead of my “normal routine”. My hope is that this doesn’t come off as complaining or whining, but more as a self-check and better understanding of myself and what my body wants and needs.
For the past 3+ years, I was up by 5 or 6 am and wouldn’t be in bed until midnight or 1 am. Even though I was making healthy food choices and working out, the constant rush-rush, go-go lifestyle and sleep deprivation finally caught up with me.
Add candida, adrenal fatigue, constant sinus infections, viruses and food allergies… my body hit a point and said “NO! Slow down!”. No wonder my body wasn’t keeping up…even though I tried to convince myself I was SuperWoman, that’s far from reality.
My priority now is healing… slowing down, and making sure I get a good night’s rest. If I don’t get enough sleep one night, I’ll take a nap or sleep longer the next night and call it an early evening.
Another thing I’ve enjoyed is simplifying, and that goes for cooking too. Batch cooking and making meals that don’t require 20+ steps or 30 different ingredients. I’ll get the urge to try out a more time-consuming recipe but simple recipes such as this roasted carrot and beet soup are tasty and no-hassle!
This soup is silky in texture, a bit earthy from the beets and cumin and comforting. It’s appropriate for this time of year too –looks a little like Halloween with the orange base and the green “cheese”!
Cumin-Roasted Carrot and Golden Beet Soup
Grain-free, Nightshade-free, Gluten-free, Vegan/Vegetarian Option, Dairy-free, Paleo-friendly, Egg-free, Nut-free, Sugar-free, Soy-free
6-7 medium organic carrots, peeled (if desired) and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2-3 medium golden beets, peeled (if desired) and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (can use red beets but will change the color)
2 shallots, chopped into chunks
1 Tbsp olive oil (can sub coconut oil or butter/ghee if you do dairy)
1/4 tsp ground turmeric, divided
rounded 1/4 tsp ground cumin, divided
1/2 tsp dried thyme, divided
1/2 tsp sea salt (I used smoked sea salt for a smoky flavor)
2-3 cups bone broth, low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock/broth (use veggie if vegan/vegetarian), or more to reach your desired thickness of soup, I prefer a thicker soup
2-3 tsp lime juice (or lemon juice for a different flavor)
For serving (optional)
chopped cilantro or parsley for serving, optional
Summer squash “cheese” or non-dairy cheese, optional but adds depth of flavor
If you like a little texture in your soup, cubed or sliced avocado
aluminum foil (to create foil packets)
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lay two large squares of aluminum foil down, placing carrots in the middle of one square and beets in the middle of the other. Divide the shallots evenly and place on top of each.
2. Combine herbs, spices and salt in a small bowl (turmeric through salt).
3. Drizzle each of the veggies with 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil, then sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the vegetables.
4. Fold the foil up, creating a seal with each packet and bake for 30 minutes or until tender, the carrots cooked a bit faster than the beets, so check them at 30 minutes.
5. Add roasted veggies and remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Top with cilantro or parsley, squash cheese and/or avocado and enjoy warm!
*If you prefer to roasted your carrots and beets on a baking pan instead of in foil packets, that’s an option too. I like how the foil packets steam the veggies a bit first and then after opening the pouches, I can brown them a bit.
Stovetop Preparation: You can always sauté the carrots and beets first a bit in a dutch oven, add the spices for 30 seconds until fragrant. Then add broth and remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook until the carrots and beets are tender and soft, about 15-20 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree or add soup to a blender on high until velvety smooth (Yay Vitamix!). Season to taste with more salt and lime juice if desired.
Slow cooker meals are a lifesaver after a long day of work. I get home, I’m hungry and I’d prefer not to spend a couple hours in the kitchen. I’d rather heat up or whip up something quick to eat and be able to enjoy “free time” outside of work in the evenings. While cooking is certainly a passion, it can seem more like a chore at the end of a busy day.
When I find a recipe that can be used as a base for multiple meals, it’s a definite winner. This slow cooker pulled chicken is just that. I served this dish as a filling snack over a half of an avocado, over a bowl of cooked grains and lentils with green onions, as an add-in to a smoky veggie soup and as the main dish with some cabbage slaw and pickled onions. You can also serve this in a wrap, over a salad, in a panini, as a pizza topping or as a topping to a baked potato or yam. Can you say endless possibilities?
Let’s not forget the BBQ sauce — Apple cider vinegar is such a versatile ingredient and I love love LOVE the taste! It’s bold and tangy, and adds a lovely zip to dishes from soups and salad dressings to marinades and main dishes. While lemon and lime juice have their places, apple cider vinegar has a place in my heart all it’s own. Naturally, when I came across Lauren’s recipe for a Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken and Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ sauce, I knew I had to make it.
This month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment was Lauren’s delicious and crafty blog Sew You Think You Can Cook. I knew Lauren was a great match when I came across fun flavor combos such as her Hummus Waffles with Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Sweet Potato and Chorizo Hand Pies, Coconut Shrimp with Bloody Mary Dip and Parsnip and Blueberry Baked Oatmeal. While I chose her Pulled Chicken and Apple Cider BBQ Sauce, with my newfound love for parsnips, you can be sure Lauren’s baked oatmeal will be made in the next week or so!
I made a few changes to Lauren’s recipe based on what I had on hand. I had a combo or chicken breasts and boneless, skinless chicken thighs and I really loved the flavor that the richer thigh meat lent to this dish. I swapped out the sweetener for maple sugar and used smoked salt instead of regular sea salt. I made a special grocery store run to buy gluten-free beer…I didn’t want to swap that out so I could stay true to the recipe, though now I have several bottles of beer to experiment in other recipes 🙂 Thanks Lauren for this recipe, I’ll be making this again!
Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or a combo (I used 2 chicken breasts, 4 chicken thighs)
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp granulated sweetener (maple sugar, sucanat, coconut sugar)
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard powder
1 tsp cayenne (can reduce if you are sensitive to spicy food)
1 bottle or can (12 oz) gluten-free beer
sea salt and pepper to taste (I used smoked salt)
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper generously. Place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl combine paprika, garlic powder, sweetener, mustard powder, and cayenne. Sprinkle over the chicken.
3. Pour beer into the slow cooker. Cook on LOW 5-7 hours until the chicken shreds easily.
4. Serve as a sandwich, wrap, over grains, over avocado, as a pizza topping, on top of a salad and drizzle withe apple cider vinegar BBQ sauce (recipe below).
Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free
1 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 Fresno chili pepper, deseeded and halved
2 tbsp sweetener (coconut sugar, maple sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 – 30 minutes, or until a desired consistency is achieved. Remove the garlic and chili pepper, if used.