Air Fryer Pork Belly

This is a decadent dinner and can stretch – we found the fattiness of the pork meant we didn’t need a huge hunk for dinner. I expect this piece we did to last 4-5 servings, depending on what else we do with it.

gluten-free, paleo, keto

The back half looks a little brown – this was after the first smoking incident, caused by the oven. With a little more smoke. Still damn good though.

Air Fryer Pork Belly

500-600g pork belly

2 Tbsp rice vinegar, divided

1 tsp Chinese 5-spice (or any 5-spice kind of situation, really – I think mine isn’t strictly Chinese, but that is what I was going for)

Salt & pepper

Score the skin of your pork belly about every half inch or so.

Add to a shallow dish (I used one of my largest Tupperware). Sprinkle with half the rice vinegar and dust with the 5-spice. Add some pepper.

Flip, pat the skin dry and let sit uncovered in the fridge 4 hours to overnight.

Preheat your air fryer to 180C.

Flip the pork belly again, sprinkle with the rest of the vinegar and add a healthy amount of chunky salt.

Put on tinfoil, and fold/tuck the sides up to make a little tray.

Add to your air fryer and cook :45 – 1 hour.

Note: This may cause life to become smoky. I smoked the house out and have no idea why; the fat didn’t leak and nothing was burned.

Either way, brush the salt off the top.

If your life is smoky, finish off in the oven at 400 until the skin cracks.

If you managed to avoid such drama, crank the air fryer up to 400 and do the same. This should take 5 – 10 mins.

Enjoy! We have eaten this as-is alongside some parsnips one night and drizzled with a little sweet soy the next. I’m scheming a jammy wine sauce for a third night.

Serves 4 – 5

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

Easy Japanese-Style Chicken Zoodles

This is an easy, FODMAP-friendly, low calorie and carb dinner for nights when you don’t want to be bothered and/or have macros to hit.

Gluten-free (check your labels), FODMAP, keto (especially if you increase the fat), could be Paleo if you use coconut aminos, but that will be higher FODMAPs

Easy Japanese-Style Chicken Zoodles

1 large zucchini, spiraled into zoodles

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari (coconut aminos will be higher in FODMAPs)

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the sesame oil. When it starts to shimmer, add the zoodles and stir-fry until just beginning to soften. Add the soy sauce and continue cooking until the zoodles are to your liking. I like mine still a bit toothsome (or at least not mushy).

While that’s working, whisk together:

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1.5 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

Pinch of red pepper flakes

When the zoodles are ready, add to the sauce and top with 4 ounces shredded poached chicken and 1 tsp. sesame seeds per serving.

Serves 2 as a light dinner

Macros per serving (assuming your zoodles come out to 1 cup and you use standard soy sauce):

345 Calories

36.6g Protein

6.6g Net carbs

16.9g Fat

Quick Japanese-ish Bowl

This was supposed to be something complicated involving roasted spaghetti squash and dashi broth with mushrooms, but the day and availability of spaghetti squash at the grocery store conspired against that plan.

So, I went quick and easy – still in the vein of the Japanese I’ve been craving (can you tell I’ve been on an Asian kick lately?) and something I could prepare one-handed while I cradled a pup whose belly wasn’t feeling the best (Princess decided to try mulch while in the park yesterday).

Vegetarian option, paleo option, low carb option

Quick Japanese-ish Bowl

1 Tbsp. neutral oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 packet shimeji or other mushrooms
1 small packet shiritaki (aka kontjac) noodles
2-3 tsp. Kenko triple balance onion dressing (https://goo.gl/images/Q3GwQd)
2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos
Optional: leftover ground chicken
Optional: green cabbage noodles, carrot and/or green onions

In a large skillet over medium – high heat, warm the oil.

If you’re adding carrot, add now.

Add the chopped onion and sautée until beginning to brown.

If you’re adding cabbage, add now.

Add the chicken if using and mushrooms – sautée until the mushrooms are beginning to soften.

Drain noodles and add. Cook, stirring, until water has evaporated and everything else is almost where you want it.

Add the sauces and stir; cook an additional 2-3 minutes.

Tip with sliced green onions if using.

Serves 1 with a small pack noodles & mushrooms and no additions; stretches to 2 with additions or larger packets

Korean Coconut Buddha Bowl

I’ve been quite excited to see a resurgence of bowl-related meals in the popular press (mostly because that’s what I’ve mainly been making for dinner since .. Miami) – Call them Buddha Bowls, Nutri Bowls, Glow Bowls … they all amount to the same basic formula: filling item, accents, protein source & sauce.

This version starts with a coconut curry, and wanders into the territory of Korea with the substitution of gochujang for red curry paste. Yum.

gluten-free, low carb

Korean Coconut Buddha Bowl

For the sauce

1 Tbsp. neutral oil
2 medium shallots
1 inch ginger
2 Tbsp. gochujang
1 can coconut milk
2 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. sambal olek
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce

For the bowl

1 Tbsp. neutral oil
1/2 onion
1 c. snap or snow peas
1 c. carrot batons
1 c. asparagus
2 c. shredded purple cabbage
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1-2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 c. water

Optional: ground chicken & fried eggs

Sesame seeds

Mince the shallot & ginger and sautée in the oil until softened. Add the rest of the ingredients, whisk to combine, and let simmer 15 minutes or until thickened and velvety.

While that’s working, prep your bowl.

When your sauce is done, set aside, wipe your pan and add the oil + carrots. Stir. Add the onion and sautée until the onions are softened.

Add the peas and sautée, stirring frequently, until the peas are beginning to soften.

Add the cabbage and stir. Add 1/4 c. water and cook, stirring frequently, until the water has evaporated and the cabbage is crisp-tender.

Add the asparagus, soy sauce & lime juice and cook, stirring, a few minutes more.

Divide veggies between two bowls and top with ground chicken & fried egg if desired. Spoon over about a quarter to a third of the sauce per bowl. Sprinkle sesame seeds over top.

If you are after a shot for the ‘gram, cook all these veggies separately and arrange artfully. Ain’t nobody in this house got time for that.

Bowls serve 2 with leftover sauce

Low Carb Gochujang Shrimp Bowl

What to do with leftover shrimp, and the massive tub of gochujang I’ve acquired? Make a yummy, yummy “noodle” bowl to kill that ramen craving I was also having.

If you’re nervous about gochujang and Korean food in general, don’t be – the paste I have may look spicy, but it’s not. It’s delicious, and is useful in a bunch of different ways.

gluten-free, low carb

Low Carb Gochujang Shrimp Bowl

14-16 shrimp
1-2 scallions
A bunch of shredded cabbage (I had about 1.5/2 cups per serving)
1-2 eggs per serving
Sesame oil
Soy sauce
Sesame seeds
Salt & pepper

for the marinade

2 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. Gochujang (I could have done with a full Tablespoon here happily)
1/2 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. water

First, whisk together all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Add the shrimp, toss, and let marinate :30 to a couple hours in the fridge.

While that’s working, shred your cabbage and prep all other ingredients.

Cook in batches for each serving.

First, fry the cabbage in 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat until beginning to brown and soften. Season with salt & pepper.

Push to the outside of the pan and add the shrimp + a hand full of scallion to the middle and cook until 3/4 done.

Stir all together and push to the outside of the pan. Add 1 tsp. sesame oil in the center and crack the 2 eggs in. Season with a sprinkle of soy sauce.

When the egg whites have turned white, poke the yolks and stir into ribbons.

When 3/4 of the way cooked through, stir into the rest.

Transfer to a bowl and top with a sprinkle of raw scallion + sesame seeds.

Repeat with subsequent batches.

Serves 1-2 for dinner, depending on whether you have other banchan

Guac Noodles with Miso Pesto

This recipe comes largely courtesy of Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbook’s Instagram feed. She mentioned restocking her freezer after a move and the outline of what she calls Winter Green Miso Paste and it sounded fabulous, so I decided to make my own version.

And boy am I glad I did. This stuff is versatile! I served it with shiritaki noodles, a neutral guacamole, roasted broccoli & batch cooked ground chicken, but it would also be fantastic baked with salmon, swirled into soup, piled into or onto root vegetables, or thinned a bit and used in place of chimichurri to dress up red meat.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, low carb

Guac Noodles with Miso Pesto

First, make the pesto by whizzing:

1/2 c. yellow miso
3/4 c. your favorite oil
6 large cloves garlic
3 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch parsley
16 garlic chives
2 inches fresh ginger
2 tsp. vinegar
Salt & pepper

Then, the noodles:

1 pack shiritaki or kontjac noodles
2 tsp. stock powder (I used Ina Parman’s chicken, which is strangely vegan)
2 tsp. your favorite oil

Drain and rinse noodles. In a medium pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the noodles and stock powder and cook until noodles are dried.

While the noodles are working, make a neutral guacamole by smashing:

1 avocado
Juice 1/2 lemon
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
Salt & white pepper

To serve, combine and eat as-is or round out with roasted broccoli and/or ground chicken.

Makes a bunch of sauce – enough to freeze, enough guac for days, and 1-2 servings noodles

Coconut Chicken Chili

This dish is a light but comforting bowl of goodness.

Gluten-free, paleo, keto

Coconut Chicken Chili

1 lb. ground chicken

2 small bell peppers, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 jalapeños, chopped and separated

1/2 large onion, chopped

1/2 small bag frozen spinach

1/2 small bag frozen broccoli

1 chicken bouillon cube

1 can coconut milk

2 bay leaves

2 Tbsp. chili powder

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. ghee

Salt & pepper

Toppers:

Hand full chopped cilantro

The second jalapeño

Juice of 2 limes

2 chopped green onions

First, prep your onions & garlic and sautée in the ghee until beginning to brown.

While that’s working, prep the rest of your ingredients.

When done, add to the bowl of an electric pressure cooker with the chicken. When the garlic & onions are done, add. Add all the other ingredients but the toppers + 1-2 cans water.

Set the cooker to “stew” and let go.

When time is done, open and taste for seasoning. Add more salt & pepper if needed. Add the toppers and stir.

Serves 4

Yogurt Leeks & Eggs

I *think* I remember seeing a dish along these lines in the pages of one of Ottolenghi’s cookbooks – or somewhere on a Lebanese menu, and I got a craving.

Plus, I found leeks at the local grocery – Whoo hoo!

Gluten-free, paleo, (lacto ovo) vegetarian, keto

Yogurt Leeks & Eggs

4 oz. sliced button mushrooms
2 leeks
1-2 Tbsp. ghee
2 eggs per person
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. your favorite curry powder
Salt & pepper
Hand full fresh herbs (I had parsley & chives)
Yogurt (I used non-dairy)
Lemon powder (or sumac)

Chop your mushrooms, wash your leeks and slice into thin moons, chop your herbs.

In a large pan, heat the ghee over medium – medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sautée 3-5 minutes or until no longer dry and starting to soften. Salt & pepper.

Add the leeks and spices, stir, and sautée 15-20 minutes or until the desired doneness is reached. Top with the fresh herbs, taste for seasoning, and give one last stir.

Make a well in the leeks for each egg, crack the eggs into the depressions, salt & pepper, cover and cook until the eggs are to your liking.

Serve each portion with a Tablespoon or two of yogurt and 1/2 teaspoon lemon powder for garnish.

Serves 2 for lunch

Eggplant Pizza Boats

The idea for this low carb, Keto-friendly dinner came from a good friend who was looking for something tasty to eat while on a Whole30 – and started making stuffed zucchini pizzas.

I had eggplant and went a little nuts in the veggie aisle. Yum.

Also: I found a fantastic lactose-free sharp cheddar cheese that doesn’t kill my stomach. Win-freaking-win, and I’m happy it costs an arm and a leg, so I won’t be buying it every week!

gluten-free, paleo, Keto-ish

Eggplant Pizza Boats

1 large Italian (dark purple) eggplant
1 lb. ground beef
4 oz. crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2-1 c. marinara
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. onion powder
4 tsp. dried oregano
4 inches 2 in. diameter stick style pepperoni, chopped
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
Hand full green olives, chopped
Double hand full lactose free cheese, shredded
Salt & pepper
1 Tbsp. fat of choice
Green onion, chopped (optional topper)
Parsley, chopped (optional topper)
Big pinch red pepper flakes

Preheat your oven to 200C while you prep all your veggies.

Halve the eggplant lengthwise, scoop out a fair amount of the middles (reserve middles, chop & add to veggies), and bake 20 minutes or until mostly soft.

While the eggplant boats are baking, make the stuffing by sautéing the mushrooms, onion, pepper, and garlic in the fat until soft. Salt & pepper as you go. When desired doneness is achieved, remove from pan and reserve.

Put the pan back on the heat and add the pepperoni. Give that a couple minutes to start rendering and add the beef. Brown, adding the spices a half at a time and tasting as you go. You want this mix to be a hair salty.

When your desired brownness is reached, add the marinara, nutritional yeast and olives and stir to combine. Add the veggies back in. Taste. Season more if needed.

Pile into the boats and top with shredded cheese.

Bake 20-30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Top with chopped parsley & green onion if desired.

Serves 4 for dinner/lunch