Wilted Spinach, Butternut Squash Salad

This tastes amazing. Let me start by saying that. This is a great option for a side dish now that it’s getting colder. It’s not quite a salad, not quite a veggie dish, but I’m still gonna call it a salad. 

Ingredients:

1.5lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 medium red onion, diced

1 bag of spinach

2 Tbsp olive oil plus 1/4 c set aside

1 tsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp coconut sugar

1/2 c walnuts

1/4 c water

1/2 c red wine vinegar

1 small shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp honey

Salt and pepper to taste

Ready? There are lots of moving parts, so read through before you begin. Ok? Let’s begin. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prep your butternut squash and red onion. 

  

  
Toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil and a heavy sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. 

Pour onto a cookie sheet and arrange into a single layer. 
  
Place in oven. Roast for 40 min (toss around halfway through).

In a skillet, warm your 1 tsp of coconut oil (on low). 

Add walnuts and toast. 

Add coconut sugar and water. Allow to reduce. Stir occasionally and remove from heat once walnuts are “candied.” DONT BURN! 🙂

  
In your salad bowl, add red wine vinegar, shallot, garlic, dijon mustard, honey, and some sea salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in 1/4 c reserved olive oil. 

  
Add spinach, walnuts, and squash/onion mixture. Toss. 

  

Adjust seasoning if you wish. I served ours with some simple chicken. 
  

This salad would be great with a little goat cheese. Speaking from experience here. Either way, Enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable Salad

This is my take on California Pizza Kitchen’s salad. I think mine tastes better, though. Hehe. (Just kidding, corporate attorneys!)

This salad blends roasted or grilled veggies with crisp, fresh lettuces for a yummy variety of textures, flavors, and temperatures. You can add meat to make it a meal, or serve it on the side of your protein. Either way, this is no boring salad. Use prepackaged salad mix to make this even easier.

Roasted Vegetable Salad (cut everything into roughly the same size for even roasting)
1 eggplant or about half a dozen baby eggplants: sliced or quartered, respectively
1 bunch of asparagus (cut off woodsy ends)
1 zucchini, sliced or cut into coins
1 bell pepper, slices
1 shallot, sliced
Fat of choice
Sea salt, pepper, Italian herb blend
1-2 bags of salad mix (you can use a simple blend, spring mix, or just spinach)
Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prep veggies and make sure they are completely dry.

Place all veggies in roasting pan, mix with fat of choice and seasonings. Toss.

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Keep in oven until veggies veggies are nice and roasted. This may take between 30-45 minutes. Once veggies are cooked, remove from oven.

Arrange your lettuce or salad mix of choice on a serving tray. Top with roasted vegetables and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

I topped mine with a cayenne pepper pan-seared chicken breast cut into pieces.

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I also added carrot sticks and fresh broccoli florets before serving.

Vegetarian Option
Serve as-is without meat.

Primal Option
Add a good blue cheese. The flavors work together really well.

Vegetable Soup

Paleo Vegetable Soup

This recipe is quick and easy. You can also modify it by adding meat if you’d like to make it a one-pot-meal. It was really cold and rainy yesterday so I threw this together and served it with some oven baked chicken breast.

You will need:
-About 3 cups of tomato sauce (I used Pomi strained tomatoes)
-2 cups of vegetable, chicken, or beef broth (I would base my broth selection on my meat)
-Lots of veggies–I used a zucchini (sliced), bell pepper (diced), a quarter of an onion (diced), a tomato (diced), red chard (julienned), a small broccoli crown (just the florets)
-Fat of choice (to sauté veggies)
-Seasonings to taste: Italian seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper

In a large saucepan, or small pot, heat your fat of choice before adding vegetables (minus the tomatoes, we’ll add them later).

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Begin to add seasonings before adding tomato sauce and broth.

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Add tomato sauce, broth, and your diced tomatoes.

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Allow soup to simmer. Check seasonings before serving.

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I might be biased, but this is better than anything you’ll find in a can.

Variations
-For your vegetarian/vegan friends: serve as is (use vegetable broth); add beans to make a minestrone.
-For your carnivore friends: add beef, Italian sausage, or chicken basil sausage; for the beef, add with the veggies and allow to cook through before you add broth and tomato sauce (so you can check for seasonings); for the sausages, cook the whole sausage thoroughly, slice, then add to the soup before serving.

Enjoy!

Lazy Day Paleo

To call my day lazy would be a misnomer. I woke woke up at 5:30am, caught the 6:50 am train, got to campus, set up for the class I TA for, went through the class, ran errands, made copies, figured out section, then got on the bus to LA Union Station. For whatever reason, it seemed like everyone and their mother was eating pretzels from the pretzel place in Union Station. It was like they were all mocking me. I would have to say that I’ve been really strong and nothing has tempted me, but every now and then the idea of bread, cheese or cheese covered bread almost makes me cheat. So while everyone was tempting me with their pretzels and cheese dipping sauce, I find solace in hoping that maybe, just maybe, I was making them feel guilty about their choices as I indulged in my crisp salad with leftover rotisserie chicken and homemade vinaigrette.

Once I got home, I argued with myself for about an hour about going to Crossfit. I haven’t been since Monday since my schedule doesn’t allow me to make it on Tuesday, and I will have to start going to the 6am class on Wednesday (I apologize to Ivan and Mando in advance). The wod seemed really hard and relaxing sounded so much better. Regardless, I got ready and made it to the 5:30pm class. So glad I ended up making it. I got through the workout and felt so much better after I did it.

Once I got home, it was time for my next challenge. Dinner. What to make? What to make?

This is a super quick and easy dish for those days when you’re feeling lazy. It’s delicious and versatile. Enjoy.

Zucchini Pasta (mine made 2-4 servings)

  • 2 large zucchinis
  • Salt
  • Tiny bit of your cooking fat of choice

This couldn’t be any simpler. All you do is wash your zucchini and cut the weird little ends off. Then, using your Titan Peeler or other julienne peeler (what?? you don’t have one yet??!!), just work at making your zucchini look like beautiful ribbons of linguine. Salt the zucchini and pat with a paper towel to get off as much of the excess moisture as you can.

Try to draw out as much of the liquid as possible

Just before serving, heat a wok or skillet with a little fat. Toss in the zucchini, just until it’s warm, then remove from the heat (so it doesn’t overcook and get soggy). If you just heat the zucchini to get it a little warm, it will have a nice little bite, almost reminiscent of al dente pasta. Almost.  Toss with your sauce just before serving.

Just make sure you don't overcook it!

Marinara

  • A jar of your favorite paleo marinara sauce (I used White Linen Collection Gourmet Pasta Sauce by Victoria’s All Natural Marinara Sauce. If my memory serves me well, it’s available at Costco. The ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil, onions, basil, garlic, sea salt and spices). If you don’t have a sauce you like, just refer back to my eggplant recipe for my sauce.
  • Seasonings to taste: Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, pepper
  • Tomato sauce and/or tomato paste to adjust the consistency (optional)
  • Mushrooms (sliced)

My mother never served anything out of a can or jar without doing something to it. I believe I’ve inherited that tradition. Saute your mushrooms with some seasonings. Once they’ve sweated a bit, add your jar of marinara sauce and the other ingredients if you choose. Let this simmer in the background until your zucchini is done. Then, just toss with your zucchini and this dish is done!

If you’re serving this on the side of some protein, I would leave meat out of the sauce. If this dish is your main dish, add some meat to your sauce to make it a little heartier. I served this with an herb-crusted pan seared chicken.

This is very simple, and is often a recipe I fall back on. For variations, just change the sauce. Tired of marinara? Try a coconut milk “alfredo” sauce (I can post that recipe another day).

So for the weekend–I foresee less chicken recipes (you guys are probably sick of them… but they’re soooo easy, so expect many Monday-Friday), and an experimental and hopefully delicious recipe for your slow-cooker.

 

Enjoy!