Garden produce season is alive and well here in the Midwest, which means since our house is the pit-stop in between my parents house in Iowa and our family’s cabin in Northwest Minnesota, we get regular produce deliveries from my parents. Right now we have yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers and 5 million jalapenos. It’s been pretty hot and humid in Minnesota, so I’ve been eating fresh [cold] cukes a lot. I threw this salad together the other night, it’s really easy and has great flavor. The coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute) adds the perfect sweetness to the nutty sesame flavor.
Sesame Cucumber Salad
Slice cukes and drizzle oil and coconut aminos over top (more or less depending on how much sauce you prefer, I wanted it to be a light flavor), then sprinkle with sea salt, garlic salt and chili flakes. Toss, and then top with sesame seeds last so they don’t get soggy.
I’m doing the Whole 30 for the first time. It’s something I’ve been thinking and reading about for a long time, just never committed to. Fast forward years, when modern medicine has failed to help me with an ongoing-what-seems-to-be-another-chronic-issue, you just can’t help but think, it has to be something within my environment that is triggering these things. 30+ medications and treatments and not a single budge in improvement, when those treatments typically help 95% of the population? Well, I mean, I know I historically reside in the 5%, but for fucks sake! Anyway, more on that later.
Needless to say, I’ve been cooking up a storm and getting creative in the kitchen! Fortunately I consider myself pretty savvy in the kitchen and love food, so I don’t feel stress or obligation to follow specific recipes while completing this Whole 30. I probably will make some recipes, but it just isn’t my style. I’d rather create random things using quality ingredients. I had plenty of leftover protein to reheat from cooking throughout the week, so I needed a side to go with it last night, and I was craving some different flavors, Asian sounded tasty. What I ended up with had the perfect balance of sweet, spicy and nutty.
Asian Inspired Stir-Fry
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 white onion, diced
1 cup finely chopped brussels sprouts
2 TBSP minced garlic
2 TBSP coconut oil
2 tsp dried ginger
Himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup coconut aminos
Put all veggies, garlic, coconut oil, dried ginger, and sprinkle of salt and pepper in saute pan on med-high heat, sauteing until coconut oil is mostly absorbed and onions are starting to turn transparent. Decrease heat to low-med and sprinkle chili flakes (personal preference for spice, but I used probably 2 tsp) and add coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute), continuing to saute until everything is cooked but not mushy, maybe 3 minutes more. Reduced to low heat and drizzle sesame oil over vegetables and toss. However you decide to plate this side, garnish with sesame seeds. If you think you’ll have leftovers, I’d garnish with seeds only on specific plates/bowls so the seeds don’t get mushy in the leftover portion to be reheated. Side note – I toss the sesame oil in recipes last, because it has a low smoke point and oxidizes when heated on high heat. Perfect blend of nutty, sweet, spicy flavor!
I know we all love fried egg rolls – who doesn’t? What you may not realize is you can enjoy virtually the same flavors without the gluten filled fried egg roll wrap, and the task of rolling, filling and frying them! I remade the paleo egg roll in a bowl I posted a couple weeks ago basically because it’s AMAZING and so incredibly easy, changing it up a little to make it spicy (and it was spicy)! I can’t seem to get enough of the Asian flavors lately, such great combinations by switching out or adding just a couple ingredients.
Spicy Egg Roll in a Bowl
1 bag coleslaw mix
1 shredded/thinly grated carrot
1/4 cup coconut aminos (soy free, gluten free)
1 TBSP sesame oil
2 TBSP minced garlic
1 large jalapeno, 1/2 seeded and finely minced
Chopped green onion
Shredded unsweetened coconut
1 TBSP coconut oil
Saute the coleslaw mix and minced garlic in the coconut oil for about 5 minutes until the coleslaw starts to cook down, add the grated carrot and jalapeno. Continue sauteing until vegetables become soft and pour the coconut aminos and sesame oil on the mixture. Toss to coat and saute 10 minutes more so the vegetables absorb the liquid flavor and start to “fry” in the pan. Portion desired amount into a bowl and top with green onion, cilantro and shredded unsweetened coconut.
Side note: I didn’t measure the cilantro, green onion or coconut. I love cilantro so I was fairly generous with it and as a result it had a great flavor, same with the onion. The coconut added a nice sweet crunchy flavor, although I used it more sparingly.
Major Asian flavor cravings this weekend and I remembered I’d pinned a recipe on pinterest for a paleo egg roll in a bowl a while back, so I looked it up and made it. Not only was it extremely easy to make, it was exactly the flavor I was wanting and super healthy!
The original recipe is from Ancestral Nutrition and can be found here. There are so many options to modify this recipe too with different proteins and/or sauces!
The only modification I made was with the cabbage – to save time, rather than buy a head of cabbage and slice it, I bought a bag of shredded coleslaw mix (the red and white cabbage with carrot) and used the entire bag. For the carrot, I used my vegetable peeler to get it into real thin strips. It doesn’t seem like the 1 tbsp of coconut oil will be enough to saute, but it is – it provides enough moisture to cook the cabbage down and let it “fry” without leaving it super oily. Coconut aminos is a tasty soy sauce alternative (soy and gluten free!) and sesame oil is a flavor handy oil to have on hand, most people wouldn’t think they’d use it very much, but once you do it finds its way into things more often 😉
I’ll definitely be making this again, and will probably experiment with ingredients (I’m thinking egg, maybe shrimp, sriracha, etc.)!
I only recently learned about harissa, and I’m thinking its better late than never because it is jam packed full of flavor from fresh ingredients. It can be made many different ways, spicy, as a paste, sauce, etc. but the kind I use is a mild Moroccan red pepper sauce, the brand is Mina. I actually found it at Target and was curious so I bought some – amazing!
I had a bag of riced cauliflower that needed to be used so I decided to make a new cauli fried rice recipe with what I had on hand, the result is a new recipe I’ll be making again and again. Warm, comforting, and important for me super low-glycemic! Little impact on blood sugar is a major win.
Harissa Garlic Cauli Fried Rice
1 bag of riced cauliflower
1 large red onion, diced
3 TBSP minced garlic
Fresh ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper
1/2 cup black olives, halved
1/4 cup harissa sauce
I started with a drizzle of avocado oil in a large saute pan, adding the diced red onion, minced garlic, sea salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. I let the onion and garlic cook down until the onions were transparent, then added a dash of coconut aminos (gluten free soy sauce alternative) and the bag of riced cauliflower. I continued stirring to incorporate the moisture into the cauliflower so it’d start to “fry” a little bit – feel free to add additional avocado oil for the frying aspect being careful not to add too much or you’ll have an oily mess. I let all of the ingredients cook for about 20 minutes stirring constantly and then added the black olives and harissa sauce. I cooked about five minutes more just to distribute heat to the olives but preventing mushiness.
I ate two bowls with coconut aminos sprinkled on them – very flavorful and filling. Harissa, my NEW FAVORITE!