Sweet Potato Chicken Meatballs

This is a healthy little snack or light main that’s high in nutrients and can really help to stretch a pound of ground meat further. A win-win in my book.

gluten-free, paleo, Whole30

Sweet Potato Chicken Meatballs

1 lb. ground chicken

1.5 cups grated sweet potato

2 Tbsp. flour (as a binder – potato starch or tapioca flour would work well)

2 scallions, minced

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. onion powder

2 tsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. light oil – I used turmeric olive oil; coconut or nut oil would be fine

2 Tbsp. cornstarch (arrowroot powder is fine)

2 tsp. ground cumin

Combine all ingredients and mix until incorporated. Parcel out into golf ball sized meatballs and bake at 200C/375F 10 minutes; flip, bake an additional 10 minutes.

Serves 4 as a main and more as a snack

Eggplant Hummus with Dill Pesto

This is a fantastic way to hide some eggplant and use up a big hunk of pesto. I’ve served this on toast, with eggs, as the base of a sandwich, and would absolutely love the pesto swirled into some mashed potatoes. The hummus, too, tbh. Ooh. Would also be nice thinned with a bit of oil or water and tossed with pasta. I need to make a second batch.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Eggplant Hummus with Dill Pesto


1 smallish eggplant, roasted

1 can chickpeas, drained

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp. tahini

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. red pepper


To make, combine all ingredients in a food processor and whiz. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or acid as necessary.

Dill Pesto

1 huge hand dill (about 1/3 of a cup packed)

About 1/3 of a cup smoked almonds, chopped

1 big clove garlic

3-4 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. water

Zest of 1 lemon


To make, combine all ingredients in a food processor and whiz. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or acid as necessary.

Makes about a cup of hummus and half – 3/4 a cup of pesto

Sweet & Sour Eggplant Hummus

This sounds like a weird one, but is addictive. This dish is based on a crazy good hummus a girlfriend and I (hello, Val @hellotinywonder) had at the staple ‘bring your out-of-town guests’ place Damasca One, a stunning mostly-Syrian restaurant in Souq Waqif.

The dish we had tasted like vegan sloppy joes in the best possible way – sweet and tangy eggplant nestled in luscious kibbeh on a bed of silky hummus. It was a stunner, and the stand-out of the night (at least for me – there was also a fantastic lentil dish I couldn’t eat enough of to parse).

My recreation is solid (as attested by another girlfriend, who I had the chance to make it for – Annmarie of last weeks’ Za’atar Eggplant fame). No kibbeh in mine, and longer cooking is definitely better – but it’s super freaking good and probably a touch healthier.

I’m super pumped that I have leftovers!

Gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Sweet & Sour Eggplant Hummus


1 large purple eggplant
1 red pepper
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
Neutral oil
Salt & pepper
Ground cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano


1 can chickpeas
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c. tahini
1/2 tsp. cumin
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper


Pomegranate arils
Toasted pine nuts

First, roast the veg. Preheat your oven to 200C/375F. Prep a baking sheet.

Chop the pepper into big chunks and put to 1 side of the tray.

Chop the eggplant into 1/2 inch pieces and put to the other side of the tray.

Sprinkle both with neutral oil, salt, pepper & ground cumin.

Bake for 30-ish minutes or until soft and blackened lightly in spots. Set aside to cool.

While that’s going, slice the onion as thinly as possible. Mince the garlic. Add to a saucepan with 3 Tbsp. neutral oil over low heat. Add some salt & pepper.

Let gently cook, stirring occasionally, 30 – 45 minutes or until the onions are deeply caramelized.

While those are both working, whiz all hummus ingredients together. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or acid if necessary. Set aside.

When the veggies are baked, whiz the peppers a bit to break them up some.

Add the whizzed pepper, tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. oregano, and 3 Tablespoons water into the onion mixture. Let cook a few minutes to combine.

Whiz to combine a bit better, dump back into the pan, fold in the eggplant, and cook an additional 10 minutes to reduce back down a bit and let the flavors mature.

To serve, lay the hummus down, top with the eggplant mixture and sprinkle with the toppers.

Serves a few

Dutch-Style Shrimp Deviled Eggs

This simple appetizer is quick to put together, serves a crowd, and gives a bit different flavor to an old favorite (at least for my American readers).

A note for those American readers: If you’re a fan of American-style deviled eggs, you’re going to think that these yolks will never hold together with this amount of mayonnaise. Resist the urge to add more – it *does* work. Don’t go into auto-pilot. Be strong: the difference in taste is worth it.

Gluten-free, Paleo, pescatarian

Dutch-Style Shrimp Deviled Eggs

12 large eggs
8 ounces tiny sized shrimp (canned is fine)
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise or aioli (I used Kewpie mayo)
3 tsp. ketchup (I used American-style)
3 tsp. whiskey
Salt & pepper
Chives for garnish

First, hard boil and peel the eggs. Halve lengthwise and add the yolks to a bowl.

Add the mayo, ketchup & whiskey. Chop the shrimp into small bits, reserving 1 per egg half for garnish. Add the chopped shrimp to the bowl.

Mix to combine, taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the mixture into each egg half, top with a whole shrimp, and snip chives to garnish.

Serves a party

Herbed Hummus Dip

Mmmmm … hummus. This quick to whip together dip is a fantastic last-minute thing to bring to a party, and pairs well with pretty much anything you want to dip in it (I served with raw veggies & pretzels, but potato chips were also fantastic).

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Herbed Hummus Dip

Prepared hummus
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Big hand parsley
Big hand mint
Juice of 1 lemon
1 green chili
1 tsp. ground cumin
Salt & pepper
Toasted pine nuts
Pomegranate molasses

Whiz together the herbs, oil, lemon juice, chili & cumin. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add the hummus to a small bowl. Swirl the herby oil over top. Add a swirl of pomegranate molasses. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Dust with zaatar. Serve

Makes enough for a 6-person game night with a second dip

Keto Eggrolls

Mmmmm….. eggrolls. Sushi. These are two things I kinda miss on Keto. Sure, sashimi is great – buuuuuuut I can eat my bodyweight in fresh fish, and that ish gets expensive.

I’ve got my favorite egg roll in a bowl recipes, but I wanted something a little different.

Gluten-free, paleo, Keto

Keto Eggrolls

About 4 ounces shrimp
1/2 an avocado
1/2 inch ginger
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. soy, tamari, coconut aminos or ponzu
2-3 sheets nori
A few Tablespoons frying oil

Dipping Sauce

2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. soy, tamari, coconut aminos or ponzu
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tsp. Sambal olek

Grate your ginger and garlic. Chop the shrimp. Peel and slice the avocado. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, warm a quarter of the frying oil.

Add the shrimp, garlic & ginger and stir-fry until cooked through. Set aside and wipe the pan.

Assemble the eggrolls by placing about 2 Tablespoons shrimp and a slice or two of avocado in the center of the nori sheet.

Gently roll the nori sheet, taking care to tuck the ends in like a burrito so you have an enclosed packet. If the nori rips a little, that’s ok – the frying will keep your eggroll mostly together.

Add the rest of the frying oil to the pan over medium-high heat.

When the oil comes up to temperature, place the eggrolls seam side down and fry 1-2 minutes or until crisp. Flip and fry. Be careful here not to burn your eggrolls to cinders – it’s easy. A little burned is fine; just no carbon.

To make your dipping sauce, combine all dipping sauce ingredients in a small dish.

Serves 1

Personal Pistachio Goat Cheese Balls

Ok, so an apparent theme of this Thanksgiving has arisen and it’s personal-sized appetizers and desserts. I made these balls, the mini apple tarts I shared last week, and the strawberry parfaits I’m sharing next week. Mini is in?

These little mini balls are just the right size to pop into your mouth, and since they’re covered in pistachio they don’t even need crackers. Whoo. Taking one of my favorite appetizers – a cheese ball – and making it less messy FTW!

Gluten-free, vegetarian, primal, keto

Personal Pistachio Goat Cheese Balls

4 – 6 ounces goat cheese
2 – 3 Tbsp. snipped fresh chives
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. granulated onion powder
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 – 1/3 cup pistachios

First, make your pistachio dust by processing the nuts in a food processor or blender until tiny.

In a medium bowl, combine all the other ingredients and mix with your hands to combine.

Form into small balls – mine were about 1 ounce each – and roll in the pistachio dust to coat.

Chill a few hours to set up.

Serves 8 as an appetizer in a spread of a few appetizers comfortably

Beer Cheese – aka ‘Man Dip’

So… this recipe isn’t healthy, and it sure isn’t paleo. But it *is* tasty, and it *did* make a great ‘manly’ dip for my hubby’s UFC PPV viewing party. I’m glad I was out to dinner with my best friend who just happened to be in town – I have a feeling I would have had an aching stomach from eating too much dairy had I been there.


Beer Cheese – aka ‘Man Dip’

1/4 pound extra sharp white cheddar cheese
8 ounces cream cheese (the full fat stuff)
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. onion powder
4 ounces beer (I used Sixpoint Diesel brown ale, but your favorite beer will do just fine)

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pot over medium heat. Stir fairly continuously until the cheeses are melted; once the cheeses are melted and look like a gross gloopy mess, whisk to break up the lumps until you get a nice glossy mixture. If your cheese isn’t liquid enough, add a few more splashes of beer and whisk to combine.

Serves a bunch – makes a small bowl full

Lemon Ginger Thai Meatballs (paleo)

I’m glad I kept those aging stalks of lemongrass in the crisper drawer. They’ve been there, silent, like an accusation, for weeks. I finally found a vehicle for their tender lemony brightness – meatballs. Specifically, Thai inspired meatballs. The lemon works well here, balancing the fish sauce and providing a nice bridge for ginger’s blustery heat. If you do not have access to lemongrass, a bit of zest would work; just don’t go crazy with it. A teaspoon or so should do.

My attempt to 'sex up' meatballs. My attempt to ‘sex up’ meatballs.

Lemon Ginger Thai Meatballs
1 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce
1.5 Tbsp. fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. cilantro
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 lb. grass fed ground beef
2 stalks lemongrass
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
Fat of Choice (if you make this salad as a side, bacon fat is a fantastic fat to use)

Mince your ginger and cilantro. Add to a bowl with the beef, chili garlic sauce, fish sauce, and coconut aminos. Bash the lemongrass with the back of your knife to get the goodness out – chop and add to the bowl.

Form little ping pong sized balls and fry in fat of choice over medium heat until browned. Flip and brown.

Makes about 14 balls, enough to serve 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This is not a ‘healthy’ or ‘paleo’ recipe, but it is delicious. My mother in law makes this dip for family gatherings and special occasions (luckily us coming to visit counts as just such an occasion), and I love it. Crave it, even. It may or may not be the first thing I think of when I know a visit is imminent. Not that the in-laws aren’t great, but since one of the (many) reasons I married their son was his prowess in the kitchen; I’d say that getting excited about a visit (partially) because of food is not out of the question. Lucky for you guys, she was gracious enough to share the recipe and help direct the photography.

photo (1)

Buffalo Chicken Dip

10 ounces chicken breast (canned)
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (the recipes calls for 1/4 to 1/2 cup; my MIL uses less if a non-spicy eater is in residence)
8 oz. cream cheese (full fat is best)
1/2 c. ranch dressing (Hidden Valley is the favorite)
1/2 c. sharp cheddar, shredded
Tortilla chips to serve

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine cream cheese, hot sauce and chicken in a medium pan over medium heat. Stir to combine until cheese is melted and chicken is broken up.

Remove from the heat, add the ranch, and stir. Pour into an 8×8 casserole dish and top with the cheddar. Bake 20-25 minutes and serve with tortilla chips.

Serves umm…. depends on who is in the house. If my sister in law and I are both there, maybe two? Three? She usually doubles or triples the recipe, depending upon how excited the two of us look.