Grilled Pesto Chicken and Rutabaga Rice (AIP and Grain-free)

I’ve recently discovered rutabaga and it’s many ways to enjoy it! I’ve seen it at the store for years sitting next to the turnips and daikon radishes and never gave them a second glance, though I’m not sure why?! Over the last few months, I’ve experimented with various preparations and recipes and they are quite versatile and delicious.

While I love my quinoa and brown rice, sometimes I need a dish that’s light and filling and packed with nutrition… and this recipe fits the bill. Rutabaga is a bit sweeter than a turnip, compliments the hearty greens and they hold up nicely when pulsed into rice-like pieces in a food processor and sautéed in a skillet. If you are a fan of alternative rice dishes or you avoid grains and/or you follow a paleo lifestyle, add this dish to your repertoire!
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This AIP-friendly pesto can be used as a dip, a marinade, a sauce or a spread. You can whip up a batch quickly and marinade chicken or toss it with fresh roasted veggies for some added zip. For a vegan dish, substitute grilled portobella mushrooms or roasted cauliflower steaks for the chicken. Oh, how I love options! rutabag-rice-and-pesto-chicken1

Grilled Pesto Chicken & Rutabaga Rice (AIP-friendly, Grain-free) 
Gluten-free, Grain-free, AIP-friendly, Soy-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free, Paleo-friendly, Sugar-free, Nut and Seed-free

 For marinade:
4 chicken breasts (roughly 8 oz), pounded to even thickness to ensure even cooking
1/2 cup AIP-friendly pesto (use store bought if you can have nuts and/or dairy but check ingredients because might not be dairy-free, AIP-friendly and/or vegan)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt

For rutabaga rice:
2 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into medium cubes
2 Tbsp coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil
1 small yellow or white onion, small diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt or more to taste
3 cups chopped kale, swiss chard (or your favorite greens)
1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
fresh lemon juice for serving
additional pesto for serving if desired

Directions

  1. In a tupperware container with a lid or in a gallon zip lock bag, add chicken, pesto, lemon juice and salt. Shake around fully coated and let marinate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. To make the “rice”, pull out a food processor and use the “S” blade (you might be able to use a high-powered blender but I haven’t tried this). Add the cubed rutabaga chunks and pulse until it resembles a rice-like size.
  3. Preheat your outdoor grill or indoor grill pan (or skillet). Grill the chicken for 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked through depending on thickness (chicken is safely cooked when internal temperature reaches 160 degrees). Tent the chicken with foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
  4. While chicken is cooking (or while resting after if you don’t want to multi-task), heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and rutabaga rice and saute for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add sea salt, kale/chard/greens and broth and stir. Cover with lid or aluminum foil and reduce heat to medium and cook for another 5-8 minutes, checking to see when the rutabaga “rice” is tender.
  6. Taste and season rice with salt if needed and/or toss in a drizzle of lemon juice or pesto. Serve with chicken and enjoy!

rutabag-rice-and-pesto-chicken2

Nut-free, Dairy-free Basil Pesto
Makes roughly 1/2 cup

3 1/2 cups chopped basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1/2 cup more basil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions for pesto: Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend on high for a smoother sauce-like pesto until smooth or pulse for 30 – 60 secs until pesto reaches your preferred consistency, stopping as needed to scrape down the sides of the blender or food processor with a spatula. Store leftovers in the fridge for 3 days.
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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

Directions

  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

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.
plantain-buns3
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!

plantain-buns1

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

Ingredients

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

Directions
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

plantain-buns

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

  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