Indiany Beef Bowl with Zucchini, Eggplant and Leeks

I’ve gotten stuck on vaguely Indian-spiced bowls of beef + tons of CSA veggies lately. I partially blame this place and it’s Chipotle-like bowls of meat + lettuce + toppings awesomeness.

This dish started out as a semi-sincere rip of their beef keema salad bowl, which is enchanting. And then I got to tinkering/looking into the fridge to see what CSA veggies needed eating immediately before I went to pick up the new batch.

And a new franken-bowl was born.

Gluten-free, paleo, Whole30 compliant


Indiany Beef Bowl with Zucchini, Eggplant and Leeks

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 large onion (about 1 cup diced)
1 green bell pepper
1 bunch leeks (about 2 cups sliced)
Roasted eggplant (about 1 cup “guts”)
1 medium zucchini
2 cloves garlic
6 cloves
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. garam masala
Fat Of Choice
Salt & pepper
Juice of half a lime

First, prep your aromatics. Clean your leeks, halve length-wise and slice into thin moons. dice your onion. Chop the garlic.

Heat 2 Tbsp. Fat Of Choice (I used ghee) in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the aromatics and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks have softened and the onions are translucent.

While that is cooking, grab your spices and beef.

When the aromatics are ready, add your spices + liberal pinches of salt and black pepper and stir to combine. Let cook until fragrant (about a minute).

Add the beef and cook until just browned, breaking up and stirring frequently as you go.

While the beef is working, chop the pepper, zucchini, and eggplant.

When the beef is just browned, add the veggies and stir to combine. Let cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes or until the veggies are soft. Taste for salt & pepper and adjust as necessary. Turn the heat off and hit with the lime juice.

Serves 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch.


To make roasted eggplant: Place a large foil-lined sheet about 6 inches under your broiler. Poke your eggplant (I used skinny purple Japanese and streaky purple & white varieties) with a fork a few times and broil until blackened (5 or so minutes, depending upon the size of your eggplant). Flip and blacken until the whole thing is black and yields to a poke – you want no resistance left but not a fiery mess. Let cool and peel the burnt skin. Save for a bunch of applications. 

Indian Spiced Meatballs In Coconut Sauce

This dinner earned high praise from the DH – the sauce wasn’t his favorite thing on Earth, but I loved it and he loved the texture – and he loved the texture of the meatballs. I think this method (cribbed from Melissa Joulwan of The Clothes Make The Girl) is going to be my general go-to from now on.

Gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30-compliant if you omit the sweetener


Indian Spiced Meatballs In Coconut Sauce

For the Balls

1 pound grass fed ground beef
A bit of onion
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1/3 cup cilantro
2 Tbsp. warm water
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. fat of choice

For the Sauce

6 cloves garlic
1/2 inch fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground turmeric
2 Tbsp. fat of choice
1 can coconut milk
Juice of 2 limes (if small – you’re looking for 1-2 Tbsp.)
Pinch brown sugar/tsp or so maple syrup or honey – or omit
1-2 tsp. hot hungarian paprika
Tomato (2 roma sized)
Black pepper
Kosher salt to taste

First, make the sauce. Mince the garlic, grate the ginger, chop the tomatoes and collect your other ingredients. In a medium pan, sautee the garlic and ginger over medium heat in 2 Tbsp. fat until beginning to soften. Add the turmeric and stir, cooking 1 minute more. Add the tomato and, stirring frequently, cook 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer 5 minutes more while you prep the meatball components.

In a large bowl, add the beef, salt, and granulated garlic. Grate the onion and add to the bowl (you want about 2 Tbsp.). Chop the cilantro and add. Bash the fennel to break it up a bit and add. In a separate bowl, combine the warm water with the baking soda and cream of tartar; stir to combine and add to the meat bowl. Combine and shape into ping pong sized meatballs.

Add 2 Tbsp. fat to a large pan and bring up to almost shimmering. Drop the meatballs into the pan as you finish making them and brown on all sides, shaking the pan as you go – 5 minutes or so.

Add the sauce and let simmer until balls are cooked through and the sauce reduces a bit and becomes almost velvety – about 10 minutes.

Top with more cilantro if desired and serve.

Serves 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch 


Thai-style Ground Beef with Zoodles & Peppers

Mmmm…. Thai. I’ve been missing the tart/sweet flavors of Thai food in my life lately, and this meal was just the correction for that loss. This sauce is kickin – and could definitely be used on a salad if you have leftovers, or as a dipping sauce for some lettuce wraps. Yum.

Paleo, gluten-free and Whole 30 compliant


Thai-style Ground Beef with Zoodles & Peppers

1 lb. ground beef
1 large zucchini
2 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
1/2 onion
1 red pepper
2 medium carrots
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
Cilantro (optional for you poor souls with the ‘this crap tastes like soap’ gene)


1/2 cup canned coconut milk
2 Tbsp. almond (or other nut) butter
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. Red Boat fish sauce
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
2 tsp. sriracha (or other hot sauce – if you use the Whole30 sriracha from Nom Nom Paleo, this dish is even W30-compliant)
4 Tbsp. lime juice

In a large pan over medium-high heat, brown your ground beef until crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined bowl.

While that is working, mince your garlic and ginger and thinly slice the onion. When the pan is free, add the coconut oil and sautee the ginger, garlic and onion until softened (stirring frequently to avoid burning).

Add the pepper, which you’ve cut into thin strips. Sautee until beginning to soften, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Add the carrots, scraping up all the delicious browned bits from the meat. Sautee until the carrots are softened and everything is starting to brown.

While this is working, make your sauce. Whisk the coconut milk and almond butter together over medium heat to combine, making sure to beat all the lumps out. Cut the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Turn the heat back on for a minute or two to thicken a bit and whisk to combine. Let sit while you zoodle.

I happen to like my zoodles raw, so I made them at this point. If you prefer yours cooked, add with the carrots.

Don’t forget to chop your cilantro, if using.

To serve: toss the beef mixture with the sauce and either spoon over the zoodles or throw the zoodles in and toss. Sprinkle with cilantro before hitting the table.

Makes enough to serve 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch

Whole30 Slow Cooked Balsamic Short Ribs

This is another of those recipes cobbled together from random inspiration on the Internets. I had short ribs, I’m in the middle of a balsamic vinegar obsession, I have fallen in love with my new slow cooker – and bam. This.

Paleo, gluten-free & Whole30-compliant


Whole30 Slow Cooked Balsamic Short Ribs

1 lb. boneless short ribs
1 15-ounce can plain tomato sauce (check your labels!)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
4 dates, minced
8 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. aleppo pepper
2 tsp. black pepper
Beef stock (optional)

Set the beef in your slow cooker. Mix together the rest of the ingredients (minus the beef stock) and pour over the meat. Add a few splashes of beef stock until the liquid barely covers the meat. Latch your lid down if your slow cooker has latches and let cook 4-6 hours on High. When done, the meat should shred like butter.

If you then reduce the cooking liquid on the stove, the resulting gravy will be great.

I served with a simple parsnip mash (parsnips cooked in the rest of the beef stock for 8-10 minutes and whirred in the blender with a few splashes stock to even out).

Serves 2 for dinner

Whole30 Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef

This recipe is tasty. Not quite what I had envisioned (I had visions of sticky almost tart beef dancing in my head), but good. A great ‘cook once and use as the backbone for many meals’ recipe.

I’ve served over brussels sprouts, eaten straight of the container, and paired with mashed cauliflower this week – I’m also dying to try it as a “pizza” topper, as a “taco” filling, and with more and varied greens. Yum.


Whole30 Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef

Adapted from Balsamic Roast Beef by Add A Pinch – thanks go out to one of my husband’s Facebook friends who posted the recipe that got the obsession rolling

2-4 pound boneless beef roast (chuck or one of the rounds – I used top round)
1 cup beef broth (check your labels!)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (check your labels!)
2 Tbsp. Red Boat fish sauce
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
1/2 a date, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
Big pinch red pepper flakes

Plop your meat into a slow cooker. Combine all other ingredients and pour over top. Cook on High 4-8 hours. When your beef can shred with a fork, it’s done. Remove to a platter and go to town.

Place the cooking liquid into a pan and reduce by half for a nicely flavored gravy. Drizzle with extra balsamic before serving for an extra kick of taste. (and if you have some sticky aged balsamic? Heaven.)

4-8 hours? Can you be more specific? Here’s what happened: The original recipe calls for 4 hours on High or 6-8 hours on Low. This is the second time using my new crock pot and we weren’t sure if we needed to latch the lid down while cooking or if that would cause some sort of meatsplosion, so we left it unlatched. Came back 4 hours later and the meat was about half done. So we latched the lid and put it on for another 4. If you know how to operate your crock pot properly, I’d go with the original cooking directions and work from there.

Makes a bunch. I’ve gotten at least 2 dinners for two out of it + 3-4 lunches and I still have 1-2 days’ worth of lunch portions leftover. 

Almost-As-Good-As-Having-Salsa Sweet Potato Bowl

I realize this is not the best photo, nor is the most exciting dish out there – but it did do make a little dent in the craving I was having one night.

I love salsa, guacamole, lime juice and tacos – I could live off of them happily. Sadly, tacos (at least tacos with corn tortillas + the tortilla chips they come with) are a no-go on Whole30.

One night it was just me for dinner and I was having a wicked craving for salsa. Like full-blown nothing else would do in my life craving – but I had no W30 tomato products in the house but tomato paste, and that’s not happening. I briefly considered picking around the corn and beans in the jar of salsa I had – but a: that’s cheating, b: that salsa wasn’t what I wanted, and c: the bean and corn to tomato ratio was too high.

And since I’m lazy and it was arctic cold out, I decided to rough it out with what I had in the house. I’m happy to report, that while this dish isn’t beautiful – it did fit the bill.


Almost-As-Good-As-Having-Salsa Sweet Potato Bowl

1 medium sweet potato, baked (pierce with fork, bake @400 for 45 minutes – bake a few at once so you don’t have to go through that drama again when you want a quick dinner)

1/2 an avocado

1 tsp. aleppo pepper

2 tsp. lime juice

pinch cumin

pinch garlic powder

pinch onion powder

1 burger patty

Reheat your sweet potato under the broiler if it’s a leftover; bake if not. While that is working, cook your burger to your liking – I do 3 minutes per side in a medium-hot pan.

When the potato is done and cool enough to handle, slip the skin of however you can. Add to a bowl and mash. Add the avocado and spices and mash some more.

Top with the burger patty and go to town.

Serves 1 for dinner

Double Beef Winter Chili

There’s nothing better than coming home to a big bowl of beefy chili come winter. This slow cooker version uses root vegetables for bulk and some added umami-rich boosters for extra flavor. Whole30 compliant and delicious.


Double Beef Winter Chili

1 pound grass fed stew beef
1 pound grass fed ground beef
4 parsnips (about 1 pound)
2 carrots (about 2 cups)
4 stalks celery
1 small onion
4 cloves garlic
2 (15 ounce) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes – with or without chiles (I used Muir Glen)
2 Tbsp. Red Boat fish sauce
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
4 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. chipotle powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 big pinches Kosher salt
2 tsp. black pepper

Brown your beef(s) and add to a 6 quart crockpot when done. Chop the parsnips, carrots, onion and celery into roughly half-inch pieces and add to the pot when done. Chop the garlic and add. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine, adding a can of water if your mixture looks dry.

Set on low for 8 hours and go to work. Come home and enjoy!

Mom’s London Broil with Pureed Bacony Spinach

London broil had to be one of my very favorite dishes growing up. My mother made it often, since it was an inexpensive way to feel like you’re having steak, and I remember thinking it was the height of attainable fancy (especially when served with asparagus slathered in faker hollandaise or buttered button mushrooms). To this day, London broil – and specifically this cooking method – is my go-to when I’m tired of dithering with other cuts of meat and just want something that a: isn’t going to break the bank, b: can stretch through multiple meals, and c: feels and tastes like steak – without having to deal with trimming fat and guesstimating cooking times. My DH and I generally end up eating a generous portion for dinner, and then I use the leftovers in salads (if they make it that far) for a few days after in lunches.

In celebration of her birthday this year, I’m sharing this childhood favorite with you guys – I think Mom would definitely approve of the side.

Happy birthday, ma. I sure do miss you.


Mom’s London Broil with Pureed Bacony Spinach

16 ounce bag frozen spinach
1/4 c. coconut milk
4 slices thick cut bacon (double smoked is awesome here)
1 onion
8 cloves garlic
2 lb. London broil
Kosher salt & cracked black pepper

Set your broiler on high and place the top rack as close to the heating element as you can get it. Wrap a cookie sheet in tinfoil. Place your steak on the prepared cookie sheet to come to room temperature while you make the side.

Stack your bacon slices and slice into thin strips width-wise (mini lardons). Slice the onion thinly. Add to a large pan over medium heat and sautee until the bacon and onion are browned, stirring often to avoid burning. While that is working, slice your garlic cloves. When you have half the garlic done, add to the pan with the onions & bacon – the rest is going in the London broil.

When your bacon & onions are nice and browned. add the spinach. If you defrost first, your life will be easier – I never remember to, so I ended up breaking it up with a spoon as I could and stirring frequently to avoid sticking and burning. If you go this route and need a little oil, that’s ok.

When the spinach is melted, add the coconut milk and stir to combine. Add a big pinch salt and a few cracks black pepper and transfer the whole mixture to a blender. Blend until smooth, adding splashes of water if the mixture gets too dry to move. Taste & add salt and pepper if needed.

On to the meat. Score your London broil in a diamond pattern on both sides – slipping garlic slices into the scores as you go. Liberally salt and pepper both sides.

Broil 4 minutes per side* and set on a cutting board with drip channel to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

To serve, slice against the grain on a bias. The meat serves 4 for dinner or 2 for dinner + 2 lunches; the side can comfortably serve 3-4 for dinner if you’re not expecting potatoes. I might supplement with come cauliflower mash if everyone is starving.

* I’ve always eaten mine rare — oh, who am I kidding – I love it blue — if your predilections are a little less macabre, adjust the cooking time to your liking – about a minute or so extra per doneness measure. 5 minutes should get you medium-rare. As always, your mileage may vary and this is just an estimated cooking time. Listen to your broiler. 

Crab Salad “Sushi” Burger

Burger, meet your new BFF: crab salad. I’ve been seeing variations on a “sushi” burger for awhile now on the Internets and had passed it off as a too-decadent (expensive) dinner for a weeknight. Well, no more. The Asian flavors and crabby sweetness of this salad were a nice addition to what would otherwise just be yet another basic burger/dinner staple ’round these parts. I see this simple salad in my (distant) future for many hot summer nights – kicked up with some cool celery and spooned over some sort of crunch – a plantain chip, shattery tortilla or nut cracker would be delightful here.

This recipe serves 2 for dinner or 1 for dinner + 1 for lunch. For a side, some broccoli slaw would be fantastic here; but I wasn’t starving to death, so I served on its own.


Crab Salad “Sushi” Burger

Make The Aioli

1 egg
1 egg yolk
2/3 c. neutral oil (like grapeseed or avocado)
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp. fish sauce (Red Boat ftw)
1 Tbsp. coconut aminos
2 tsp. sriracha (if you’re feeling froggy, the Whole30 sriracha from Nom Nom Paleo is fantastic)
1 tsp. mustard (I use Gulden’s)
1 tsp. kosher salt

Combine everything but the mayo in a bowl or jar – I use the container that came with my immersion blender. Whiz with the immersion blender, adding oil in a steady stream until everything comes together and thickens up.

Assemble The Salad

Add to a small bowl:

2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 6 ounce can lump crab meat, drained and picked through for shells
1 tsp. minced or grated ginger
zest of half a lime
2 tsp. sriracha
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
Pinch kosher salt
3-4 Tbsp. aioli

Mix until combined, adding aioli until your desired cohesiveness is reached. Stash in the fridge for half an hour or so to give the flavors a chance to meet and mingle.

Make Your Burgers

You’ll need:

1 lb. grass fed ground beef
Salt & pepper
1/4 to 1/2 avocado per person

Form ground beef into 2-4 burger patties. Salt & pepper both sides.

Cook 3-4 minutes per side in a large pan over medium-high heat.

While the burgers are working, slice avocado and set aside.

When the burgers are finished, top with generous spoonfuls crab salad + sliced avocado + more aioli and go to town.

Serves 2 for dinner if you want big burgers; 4 if you want quarter pounders.

Steak with Shaved Asparagus Salad (paleo)

Some nights it’s good to be in the house alone. I’d been seeing talk of shaved asparagus on the interwebs for weeks and developed a hankering. Turns out, raw asparagus makes a tasty salad. A finicky, fussy, tasty salad.

This dish serves one, but can be easily scaled up to serve two. The salad could actually possibly serve two as it stands if you’re having something other than just steak and asparagus, but I happily ate it all in one go.


Steak with Shaved Asparagus Salad (paleo)

1 tsp. grainy mustard
1 tsp. wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. almond oil (or other neutral oil like grapeseed)
Big pinch citrus salt
12 oz. asparagus
Nice thick steak
1 tsp. coconut oil
Your favorite steak seasoning
Aged balsamic vinegar

First, prep your asparagus by snapping off the woody stems. Now shave. I’ve found the best way to do this with my particular vegetable peeler is to hold the tip and kind of balance the asparagus over something – like the jar of grainy mustard – and carefully go to town. I was left with a bunch of tips + some thicker pieces I couldn’t shave down enough and a few broken stalks from overzealous peeling. Save those rejects for a frittata. Add your asparagus curls to a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, make the vinaigrette by whisking the mustard, wine vinegar and oil to form an emulsion. Hit with a big pinch of citrus salt and set aside.

On to the steak. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. While that is going, pat your steak dry and season with your favorite steak seasoning + salt if it doesn’t already incorporate it. Cook your steak until the desired doneness is reached. I had a 1/2 inch thick strip steak and like my steak rare, so I cooked 4 minutes on 1 side, flipped, and cooked an additional 3 minutes on the other. Remove the steak to rest 5 minutes and cut the heat. Chuck in your asparagus tips and let soften and cook using the residual heat in the pan.

To serve, give the vinaigrette another whisk and toss with the asparagus. Drizzle with some nice aged balsamic for a little extra kick.

Serves 1, with a large portion of the salad.