Refreshing Summer Salad

Do you have a 4th of July BBQ, picnic, or potluck tomorrow for which you have no idea what to make? Well you’re in luck. 

This salad is the opposite of boring. It has no lettuce, for one, and it had a ton of different textures. Another added bonus? You can make it tonight! 🙂

Refreshing Summer Salad

Veggies:

1lb green beans, trimmed (super strict paleo people, try asparagus)

1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 dry pint of grape/cherry/or baby heirloom tomatoes, halved

1 belgian endive, chiffonaded

1 bell pepper, sliced into strips

Dressing:

2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard

2 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1/4 tsp Flavorgod Garlic Lovers Seasoning (or 1/8 tsp granulated garlic and 1/8 tsp Italian Herbs/Seasoning)

Pinch of Sea Salt and Pepper

2tsp-1Tbsp honey

Set some salted water to boil as you prep your veggies.

Once the water has come to a boil, toss your trimmed green beans in there.

As soon as your green beans are bright green and al dente, pull them out and rinse under cold water or shock them in an ice bath. Let them drain/dry off fully. 

In a large bowl (could be your serving bowl if you want) combine and whisk together all dressing ingredients. 

Add all vegetables to that bowl and toss. Check/adjust seasonings to taste.

Keep in fridge or on ice until it’s time to eat 🙂

  

Balsamic Brussel Sprouts

I will preface this recipe by saying that these brussel sprouts are peppery. Like very peppery. If that’s not your thing, start with 1 teaspoon of pepper. You can always add more, but once it’s been added, there’s little you can do. 

1 tbsp bacon fat (or cooking fat of choice)

2 lbs brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved

1 tbsp pepper

1 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste if necessary

1/2 tsp each granulated onion, granulated garlic

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Prep your brussel sprouts.

  
Heat 1/2 the cooking fat in a pan (I accidently used it all at once, but you should split it. Do as I say, not as I did).

  
Add your prepped brussel sprouts and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

  
Allow to heat over low-medium heat for a few minutes. Do not disturb.
When the brussels at the bottom start to brown, stir them around and redistribute. Add the remaining cooking fat. 

  
Let sit for a few more minutes. 

Deglaze with balsamic vinegar and turn off heat. 

Let brussels sit for a minute, then check flavor and adjust seasonings to taste. 

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!

Eggplant

It’s my last day off before school begins again next week. Tomorrow it’s orientation/collaboration between the professor, writing instructors and other TA’s I work with. It appears I will be on campus Tuesday-Friday this semester, but I may add on another class. I’m hoping I can juggle everything fairly efficiently this semester.

I decided to make this dish because I had leftover meat sauce from a zucchini pasta dish I made the other day. I really wanted to use up the rest before it went bad, so I bought an eggplant from Sprouts.

Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • Ground beef
  • Seasonings to taste: Italian seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper
  • Canned/jarred diced tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomato paste

Heat pan with a little olive oil, and add ground beef and seasonings. When the beef is fully cooked, add the tomatoes, sauce and paste. If the consistency is too thick, add water. If it’s too thin, add more tomato sauce or paste. Add more seasonings to taste. Set aside.

Eggplant:

  • 1 smallish eggplant (I got  9 medallions out of mine)
  • Almond meal or coconut flour (I used coconut flour)
  • An egg (or two depending on the size of your eggplant)
  • Seasonings to taste: Italian seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash and cut the ends off of the eggplant. I peel the eggplant every inch or so around it (sometimes I find the skin too tough to cut through).

Cut the eggplant into (approximately) 1/2″ medallions.

Lay them on a cutting board and salt them to bring out some of the moisture.

Meanwhile, set up your other ingredients. You’ll need an egg, mixed with a little water in one shallow bowl or dish and in another shallow bowl or dish, place your almond meal or coconut flour with a generous mix of your seasonings (distribute with a fork).

Dip you eggplant medallions into the egg, then into your coconut flour mixture. Place the “breaded” medallion onto a cookie sheet. Repeat.

Once you’ve finished “breading” your eggplant, drizzle with a little olive oil (to help with crisping) and place into the oven for about 20-30 minutes (flip medallions about halfway through the cooking time).

Top with your meat sauce, then dinner’s done!

*Note. This was my first time making eggplant with coconut flour. Initially, I was thrilled that it had a texture more like flour, but I found that too much coconut flour caked on the eggplant does not cook well in the oven. If I were to use coconut flour again, I would probably pan fry. Almond meal works great either way, but it imparts a grainy texture that I don’t always appreciate. Try both and see which you prefer.

Variations:

Cook on the stove top. Heat a pan with your fat of choice and pan fry the eggplant medallions. This will usually get them a little more crispy. But unless you feel like babysitting a hot pan, putting the eggplant in the oven allows you to get some other things done.

For your vegetarian friends/family: Simply use a meat-free marinara sauce. Just don’t add the meat.

For chicken: Prepare the chicken breast just as you would the eggplant for a delicious main course option (I would probably use a meat-free marinara sauce if I was eating the chicken). This would go great with zucchini pasta!