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

Shaved Zucchini + Stone Fruit Salad

I love a good end-of-Summer savory fruit salad. It’s kind of a yearly thing with my brain, and I’m here for it.

Stone Fruit Salad

Lots of peach salad recipes

This is no exception to that rule. This salad is about as light as one would expect, but works well. I worried that the zucchini wouldn’t be great, but it was; even raw. The key here is to peel it into ribbons. I used my regular vegetable peeler. My ribbons weren’t even, but they were delicious.

So much so, I can’t really say this is more than a 1-person meal. I mean, sure, you can feed 2 if you want to throw a main in, but I managed to knock it out in a second helping at lunch.

If you can’t find the Kewpie dressing, a nice sesame would be good. So would my love pomegranate molasses. Balsamic would also work really well. Grapefruit would play nicely.

I had also meant to grab some good vegan Feta for this salad but forgot. It would be nice and would definitely help fill this out to more of a meal, but wasn’t necessary.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo

Shaved Zucchini + Stone Fruit Salad

1 large zucchini, ribboned thinly

1/2 shallot, minced

1 plum, chopped

3Tbsp. Kewpie no-oil Yuzu dressing

1Tbsp. your favorite neutral oil

2Tbsp. smoked almonds, chopped

1.5tsp. fresh thyme

1/4c. fresh parsley, chopped

1/2tsp. red chili flakes

Ribbon the zucchini thinly and add to a large bowl.

I tossed any ribbons that were purely peel to the pups, and stopped when I hit all-seed strips. A bit is wasted here, but can be easily chopped and chucked in a pan for a quick little pop of veggie later in the week. I ended up using mine in a breakfast zucchini & fried egg rice with browned butter and snipped chives.

Mince the shallot, de-stem the thyme, and chop both the parsley and plum. Add to the bowl.

Add the red chili flakes, along with the dressing and oil. I’d start with 2 Tbsp. dressing, toss, and see if it needs more. Hit with a few grinds salt and pepper.

When it’s time to plate, add the chopped almonds and toss quickly so they don’t go soggy.

Serves 1 – 2 for lunch depending upon what all else you have going on

Roasted Pumpkin Miso Pasta

This lower-than-it-could be in carbs dish started life as the baby of a Japanese curry recipe and a ramen recipe and snowballed into a straight-up yummy pasta dish. I’m super bummed I only made enough to serve two; this was fantastic.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Pumpkin Miso Pasta

About a cup chopped pumpkin or butternut squash

2 tsp. white miso paste

Veggie or chicken stock

1/2 tsp. red chili flakes

Olive oil

1 Tbsp. + sesame oil

Curry powder

1 inch peeled fresh ginger, minced

2 scallions, minced

Sesame seeds

Soft egg (optional)

Togarishi (optional)

Kontjac noodles or sushi rice or ramen or udon or zoodles – all would be awesome, though I’ve only tried wide kontjac and rice

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F. Peel and chop the pumpkin into smallish pieces. Add to a prepared baking sheet, lash with oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and curry powder. Toss. Bake about 40 minutes or until browned in spots and soft.

Let cool for a beat, and then add to a blender with the miso, red chili flakes, 2 tsp. oil, 1 Tbsp. curry powder, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, and 1/2 a cup of stock. Blitz, adding more stock if needed to get smooth. I used about a cup in this stage.

In a saucepan or tall-ish sided skillet, add the minced ginger and the white + light green parts of the scallions with 2 tsp. garlic oil. Sauté until the onion is beginning to soften.

Add the blitzed pumpkin and another half cup or so of stock. Let simmer down to the consistency of a thick soup.

Add your drained and rinsed kontjac or whatever curry vehicle you’re feeling, toss, and let simmer a few minutes to combine.

Serve with an optional soft egg, the green parts of the scallions, a little drizzle of sesame oil, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and some togarishi if you want another hit of spice.

Serves 2 but can easily be scaled up

Sesame Coconut Rice Bowl

This dish turned out miles better than I feared it would. I was hella worried that by using coconut milk as the sole liquid to cook my rice I was going to blow up my rice cooker.

I’m glad those fears were unjustified, because this rice is bomb. So bomb, I made more just so I could serve it with another ‘stepping out on a limb’ dish I’m hoping will be good enough to share with you guys in a few days (spoiler: it involves beets and stir-frying).

This rice makes a great base for simple broccolini like I’ve served here, a nice light green curry, some simple salmon, or even – strangely – some soft-scrambled eggs (or as soft as I can get them, which is not Julia Child level soft).

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Sesame Coconut Rice Bowl

1 cup rice (I used a Basmati/wild combination)

1 14 ounce can coconut milk

1 Tbsp. sesame oil (+more)

2 tsp. your favorite chicken bouillon (mine happens to be vegan and it’s fantastic – Ida’s is the brand and I believe it’s out of South Africa)

Zest of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp. tahini

Red chili flakes

Toasted sesame seeds

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1 bunch broccolini, chopped

2 tsp. neutral oil

2 tsp. ground turmeric

Set your rice, coconut milk, sesame oil and chicken bouillon in your rice cooker. Add a generous sprinkle salt and cook however you cook rice.

While the rice is going, stir-fry the broccolini and onion in the oil until browned (if you add the stalks in first and get those going until just starting to look cooked you’ll have less chance of burning the flowery bits). Whack with salt and pepper. Add the turmeric and toss. Throw in a few Tablespoons water and let cook until the water evaporates and the broccolini is done to your liking. We like browned in spots but still crisp-tender.

Stir in the tahini and lemon zest.

To serve, add 1/3 of the rice to a bowl and top with 1/3 of the broccolini. Add a drizzle of sesame oil, sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Serves 3 as a light meal or side

Chili Tuna Fried Rice

This pantry-friendly fried rice is quick enough for a weeknight meal (for when the world gets back to working outside the home), and makes a great lunch the next day if there are leftovers.

Gluten-free, pescatarian

Chili Tuna Fried Rice

1.5 cups leftover cooked rice (I used sushi rice)

1/3 cup frozen shelled edamame

1/3 cup frozen cut green beans

2 Tbsp. neutral oil

2 eggs

1/4 cup coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 Tbsp. sambal olek

1 green onion, sliced

1/2 can chili tuna in oil, drained

Add your neutral oil to a large pan over high heat. When it shimmers, add the frozen veggies and green onion. Stir fry until no longer frozen and starting to look cooked.

Add the rice and tuna. Continue to stir fry until the veggies begin to brown.

Make a well in the center of the rice mixture and crack the eggs in. Let sit until the bottom is firm, then scrape up, folding into the rice mix.

Add the coconut aminos, fish sauce and sambal. Stir quickly to combine.

As written, serves 2 for dinner

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

Sauce:

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

Hummus:

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

Toppers:

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

Za’atar Eggplant

This is a dead simple way to explore a sometimes under-utilized and misunderstood vegetable: the simple Italian style eggplant.

I can’t take credit for this recipe – I was treated to it at a good friend’s house after she raved about it. She wasn’t wrong.

Gluten-free, paleo, Whole30, low carb, vegetarian, vegan

Za’atar Eggplant

1 purple eggplant
Za’atar
Your favorite cooking oil
Salt & pepper

Line a baking sheet with paper or silicone. Preheat your oven to 200C/375F.

Slice your eggplant into thick “steaks” however you like – width or lengthwise.

Lightly score each slice with a knife in a crosshatch pattern, taking care not to slice through the pieces.

Sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper.

Top very generously with za’atar (enough time form a crust).

Sprinkle lightly with your oil of choice to kind of stick the spice down. Alternately, you can mix the spice and oil together in a bowl, then smooth over the eggplant slices – depends on how much oil you want to use.

Bake 25 – 35 mins or until softened and browned – a bit crisp if they’re thin slices.

Serves 2

Crispy Miso Tofu Bowl

This is a great little choose-your-own-adventure dinner that’s perfect for batch cooking – or a party.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Crispy Miso Tofu Bowl

1 block extra firm tofu
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2 tsp. honey or agave
2 tsp. date molasses
2 Tbsp. sriracha
3 Tbsp. coconut aminos or soy sauce
2 tsp. white miso
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
3-4 big handfuls baby spinach
2 c. sautéed green beans, chopped
1 green onion, sliced into thin rounds
1 Tbsp. pickled ginger, minced
Nori, snipped into small strips
Furikake
Toasted sesame seeds
Togarishi spice or red pepper flakes
Sushi rice (short grain rice cooked with 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and salt)

First, place paper towels or a tea towel over your tofu and press with a plate or something heavy about 30 minutes to remove all the water.

Prepare your oven to 200C/375F. Line a baking sheet with paper or a silicone pad.

Make a sauce by whisking the sweetener, molasses, soy, sriracha and miso.

Slice the tofu into small squares, and fold 2 Tbsp. sauce into the tofu carefully – making sure not to break the squares up. Dust with pepper & cornstarch and toss.

Dump out into the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake 10 mins, flip, and bake an additional 10 to crisp.

Sautée the spinach with the garlic and ginger and add the green beans to warm through. Add the rest of the sauce and toss to coat.

To assemble, place rice in a bowl, add the tofu and veggie mix. Top with furikake, nori, sesame seeds, togarishi, pickled ginger and green onion.

Serves 4

Harvest Cauliflower Pilaf

Ok, so I’m on a harvest-theme here lately, and all the dishes that have been making me happy speak of (North American) Fall.

This dish is lighter-than-expected, makes a lovely salad for surprise company, and can be bulked up easily to feed a crowd.

It’s also fantastic topped with leftover turkey pancetta and pepitas from last week’s Fall Harvest Soup recipe.

Quick note: if your coconut flakes look like mine (shreds) and you toast your cauliflower as deeply as me (I like some burnt pieces), this dish may look like it has croutons in it. Which was giving my brain a weird disconnect that was less than pleasant. The coconut in here is actually really pleasant and gives a nice little subtly sweet nuttiness with a bit of texture.

Gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, Whole30

Harvest Cauliflower Pilaf

1 smallish head cauliflower, cut into small bits or riced (I did small bits because with my current kitchen setup I just can’t be bothered to fully rice cauliflower)

1 apple (Granny Smith or Fuji – you want something with a bit of tartness or crispness)

2 cloves garlic, minced

Double hand full flat leaf parsley, chopped

Pomegranate seeds (I’m lazy and buy mine prepared – I used a good amount and keep adding more fresh every time I go for leftovers because they’re delightful and so very pretty. Use however much your eye wants to bring nice color to this otherwise very green dish)

3 Tbsp. coconut milk (optional)

Juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses

Few generous sprays oil (I love a grape seed oil pump I’ve been using lately – it’s really cutting down on the amount of oil I feel I have to use)

Generous sprinkle black pepper

Liberal amount of salt

Generous sprinkle cayenne pepper

Generous sprinkle curry powder

Generous sprinkle cumin powder

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup unsweet shredded or flaked coconut

Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Prep a baking sheet with a liner, process your cauliflower into tiny bits, and spread in a single layer.

Hit with the oil, salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, and curry). Toss and roast for 35-40 minutes or until your desired toastiness is achieved.

In the last 5 minutes (or if you forget, stir the cauliflower, flip the pan around and put back in the oven), chuck the almonds & coconut on the pan. Roast to toast 3-5 minutes, being careful to watch and make sure these delicate additions don’t burn.

When done, add to a large bowl.

Chop and toss in the apple, garlic and parsley. Add the coconut milk, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. Toss to combine. Add enough pomegranate arils to make yourself happy.

Serve room temp or cold – either way is fantastic.

Serves 4 as a meal or a party as part of a larger spread

Fall Harvest Soup

This soup feels like a hearty, warm hug but gives a nice light dinner that doesn’t weigh one down.

Gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, halal, Whole30

Fall Harvest Soup

1 medium carrot, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cups kale, chopped
2 Tbsp. stock powder (I used a vegan chicken stock)
48 ounces water
1/2 can coconut milk
Generous sprinkle oregano
Generous sprinkle cumin
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Liberal sprinkle black pepper
Liberal salt
1.5 Tbsp. butter or vegan equivalent
Big hand full pepitas toasted in 1/2 tsp. coconut aminos
Optional: 4 ounces turkey bresaola, crisped until browned in a dry pan

Prep all veggies and add to a slow or multi cooker with spices and liquids (everything but the butter, pepitas and bresaola).

Press the stew/soup setting.

When complete, open the lid and add the butter/butter substitute. Let cool a bit and blend all but 1/4 until smooth. Add the reserved 1/4 back in for texture.

Serve topped with the pepitas and bresaola if desired.

Serves 6