Mushroom Lime Salad

This recipe was inspired by an Instagram pic posted by one of my absolute favorite veg bloggers, @heidijswanson from 101 Cookbooks.

Aaaand now that I’m actually looking at the recipe for her salad, she’s got a lot more going on flavor-wise. Mine turned out great – but I bet hers is even more exciting. I was super curious to see if lime + roasted mushrooms would be a good combo, and I’m happy to report it is!

And I bet you could make this even more Fall-feeling with a creamy dressing or some butter in the roast. Or roasted garlic. Everything’s better with roasted garlic.

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

Mushroom Lime Salad

500g your favorite mushrooms (I used half crimini and half button, but fall wild mushrooms would be amazing here)
1 lime
1/2 bunch chives
1 big hand full roasted salted peanuts
1/2c. baby greens or a nice herby salad
Chili garlic spice mix (I use a prepackaged blend)
Your favorite sprinkleable stock starter (I used chicken here – but only because I ran out of my favorite roasted mushroom & onion)

Preheat your oven to 200C and prep a baking sheet with foil.

Quarter the mushrooms and lay in a single layer on the sheet. If you want to bump this up into a full meal and you’re not veg, add chicken breasts to one side of the pan.

Sprinkle everything liberally with the chili garlic spice blend & stock starter and bake for 25 – 35 minutes or until the chicken is done (~25 mins) and the mushrooms are nice and roasted (~35, maybe 40 minutes).

To serve, plunk the warm mushrooms on a bed of baby greens, and sprinkle all with snipped chives, chopped peanuts & lime juice.

Serves 2 for dinner with meat; you may want more greens if veg

Spice Cake Faux-Meal

This recipe was inspired by a carrot cake oatmeal posted by Sukkari Life, the sudden bloom of PSLs (yes, we get Pumpkin Spice Lattes here in Doha), and the wishful thinking October brings for lower temperatures (it was only 97F today).

And … it has a vegetable + a fruit, so it’s a healthy breakfast!

Gluten-free, low carb, paleo, Whole30 (with substitutions), vegetarian, vegan (with substations)

Spice Cake Faux-Meal

2 Tbsp. chia seeds
2 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes
2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
3 Tbsp. grated carrot
3 Tbsp. unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. butter (sub if vegan)
1 c. your favorite milk (I used hazelnut)
Pinch salt
Pecan halves
1 Tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. date molasses (sub if Keto or Whole30)

Sautée the carrot in the butter over medium heat until soft or just browning.

Add a generous pinch salt and stir.

Add the applesauce, chia, coconut, flaxseed meal and milk. Stir to combine.

Bring up to a bubble and add the spices. Stir.

When the mixture has been cooking a minute or two and has thickened, cut the heat. Let sit a minute or two.

Scoop into a bowl and top with the nuts, tahini and date molasses (if using).

Serves 1 for breakfast

East of the Border Bowl

This meal is straight out of that twilight time between sleeping and awake – at 3 am – and I’m glad it turned out so well! Korean food and Mexican totally don’t sound like complementary flavors, but this dish works. And it’s delicious.

gluten-free, paleo, keto

East of the Border Bowl

1 spaghetti squash
1 Tbsp. garlic ginger paste
Big handful parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos or soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground chicken
1 packet (4 Tbsp.) your favorite taco seasoning blend (check your labels!)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. neutral oil
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 scallions, sliced
2-4 Tbsp. gochujiang tahini sauce 

Cook your spaghetti squash until soft, using your favorite method. Shred and reserve half.

Dump half into a large pan over medium-high heat with the sesame oil. Fry until just beginning to brown. Add the soy sauce and stir. Add the parsley and half the garlic and cook, stirring 1-2 minutes or until fully incorporated. Add the rest of the garlic, toss, pull from the heat and set aside.

Put your pan back on the heat and add the Tablespoon neutral oil. Add the chicken and onion and break up with a spoon. Add half the seasoning and work to brown, breaking the chicken up as you go. Add the rest of the seasoning in thirds and cook until browned.

To assemble the bowls, split the squash between two, top with chicken, and arrange the peppers and scallions. Each bowl gets 1-2 Tbsp. sauce.

Serves 2 (bowl) with 2 servings leftover chicken 

Not Quite Barbacoa

This is another of those ‘I went to the store wanting to make 1 thing, but they didn’t have half the ingredients so I adapted’ recipes. What I *wanted* was a nice barbacoa. Preferably nicely spiced and not bland (which is what usually happens when I try to make it).

Buuuuutt … the canned chipotles I saw a few weeks ago in one of the markets seem to have evaporated. Dried chilis are not happening. Should have learned my lesson from the enchiladas Turkiladas I made a few months ago and grabbed chipotles when I saw them.

Such is life. Teachable expat moments – even if I learn my lessons slowly.

This beef turned out pretty darn good, though – despite having to go back to olden times and use the oven (gasp!) instead of my electric pressure cooker that decided to up and die on me in the middle of cooking DH’s rice. The day before I was set to make this dish. I’m still not thrilled, and finding a replacement has proven itself a challenge – good thing people have been cooking meat in a liquid low and slow for thousands of years. (still whining though).

Gluten-free, paleo, keto

Processed with MOLDIV

Not Quite Barbacoa

4 or so lb. beef roast
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. black pepper
3 Tbsp. Thai roast chili paste (see pic)
3 Tbsp. harissa paste (see pic)
1 – 2 onions
4 – 6 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. neutral oil
1 c. beef broth
Extra water on hand

First, preheat your oven to 300F.

Then, make a spice rub out of the oregano, salt and pepper. Rub the beef on all sides with the mixture. Heat the oil in a large pan over high and sear the beef on all sides.

While the beef is working, thinly slice the onions and place in a single layer over the bottom of a casserole dish or dutch oven. Add bay leaves down the center of the pan.

In a small bowl, combine the chili and harissa pastes.

When the beef is done, frost like a cake with the seasoning paste, taking care to flip and get the bottom of the beef as well. Sprinkle any remaining spice rub over top.

Add 1 cup beef broth to the pan around the sides of the beef.

Cover and braise 4 hours. Check to see if the meat will shred and add half a cup or so of water if the mixture is looking a little dry. Chuck back into the oven until the meat will shred, checking every hour – mine took 6 hours to just shred, but honestly I could have left it in a little longer.

Shred the beef, adding more water to the onion mixture if it looks too thick – you don’t want the beef swimming in liquid, but you want enough that it stays juicy.

Makes a big meat you can nibble at all week – I served mine in lettuce wraps, over zoodles, over cauliflower mash, over roasted butternut squash, and DH had his with rice.

Low Carb Paleo Falafel

Mmmmm … falafel. Theoretically. I’ve been eating paleo or some variation for so long, I barely remember what falafel tastes like – and feel like most of them that I’ve had (except for the very few I’ve taken bites of over here) are kind of dry and tasteless. Joyless.

These could use a touch of work on the wetness side – I suspect an extra egg in the batter would do it – but they’re good. Flavorful, they hold together pretty well, and with the sauce drizzles: yuuuuummmmmmm.

gluten-free, paleo, low-carb, vegetarian, vegan


Low Carb Paleo Falafel 

Based on Perfect Whole30 Blender Cauliflower Falafel Tahini Bowl by Paleo Gluten Free Eats


2 cups cauliflower rice
1 cup onion
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. mango powder (or sumac or lemon powder)
2 tsp. cayenne
1 Tbsp. turmeric
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. zaatar
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
4 – 5 cloves garlic

Tahini Sauce

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup neutral oil (like avocado oil)
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 date (or 1 tsp. date molasses)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. sea salt


Neutral oil for baking
Pomegranate molasses (check your labels for sugar!)

Preheat your oven to 200C (about 400F). Line a baking tray with foil.

Pulse all falafel items except cauliflower rice in a large food processor until a paste forms. Dump into a large bowl. Add the cauliflower and stir with your hands to combine thoroughly.

Form into golf ball sized balls and place onto the baking tray. Drizzle with a little neutral oil and bake 20 mins. Flip and bake an additional 15 – 20 minutes, or until browned nicely.

Drizzle with the tahini sauce and pomegranate molasses. Dust liberally with zaatar and serve.

Serves 4 for dinner or makes a nice party platter

Low Carb Broccoli Chicken Salad

This salad is great as a side for a potluck, is even better when it sits for awhile, and can be easily made vegetarian/vegan/Keto/allergen-friendly.

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

Low Carb Broccoli Chicken Salad

2-3 cups broccoli, chopped
1/4 head (about 1 cup) red cabbage, chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion, sliced
Almonds – mix of slivered raw and smoked, chopped


1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons almond butter
2 teaspoons white miso (can sub if strict paleo)
2 Tablespoons neutral oil

Optional Toppers

Shredded rotisserie chicken
Your favorite raisins

Chop and steam your broccoli until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

While the broccoli is cooling, prep all ingredients, adding all but the dressing and toppers to a large bowl. Add the broccoli.

Whisk the dressing and pour over the bowl.

Toss (I massage in with my hands). Hit with salt & pepper.

To serve, top with your desired extras.

As written, serves 2-4 for dinner

Japanese CYOA Bowls

This is another in my series of Asian-inspired ‘choose your own adventure’ dinners – these seem to be working best for DH’s and my separate nutrition needs and the type of light summer foods we’ve both been craving.

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

Japanese CYOA Bowls

In the bottom of your bowl, add:

1/2 tsp. ginger garlic paste
1 tsp. coconut aminos
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. rice vinegar
Squirt sriracha (optional)

Add your base – like zoodles or rice – and toss.

Top with:

Sliced radish
Sliced nori
Sliced scallions
Shredded rotisserie chicken
Soft boiled egg

Sprinkle on a little furikake or some sesame seeds, serve and enjoy.

Paleo Poke Bowls

Mmmmm… poke. This is a dead simple choose your own adventure kind of dinner – the kind of thing I’m making a lot lately, since I’m back to eating low carb and DH is craving rice to fuel his workouts.

Gluten-free, paleo, Keto if you make it Keto

Paleo Poke Bowls

Fresh salmon or tuna, chopped bite-sized
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
4 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
2 Tbsp. pineapple juice
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds


Sliced avocado
Shredded purple cabbage
Julienned carrots
Chopped cucumber
Minced ginger
Lime juice
Chopped pineapple
Sliced scallions
Chili garlic paste


Zoodles, rice, lettuce or steamed and chilled broccoli

Marinate the fish in the next 5 ingredients while prepping the toppings.

To serve, top X with X and fish. I laid out a plate of toppings + bowls of zoodles & rice for an interactive choose-your-own bar. Enjoy.

Keto Sushi

Ha! Finally! Keto sushi! I have no idea where exactly I saw a version of this recipe, but I do remember I was deep in a Pinterest recipe hole at 3am while I couldn’t sleep one night. Go, night cravings me. I didn’t think keto sushi was a thing unless it involved cream cheese and cauliflower rice.

You can make these however you want – I’d say the only “must” is avocado, but mostly because I love avocado and without it these would not be filling in the slightest. I made 2 rolls for my dinner, and could have eaten double happily. But then again, much like Homer Simpson, I can lay waste to some seafood.

Gluten-free, paleo, keto

Keto Sushi

Nori sheets (1 per roll)
Avocado, sliced into thin strips
Fresh fish of choice (I had salmon on hand), sliced into thin strips
Julienned kimchi
Julienned bell peppers
Julienned green onions

To assemble

  1. Place the nori shiny side up on a bamboo sushi mat or piece of parchment paper.
  2. Place your fish down about half an inch from the edge facing you.
  3. Add your other ingredients in a strip – I did a double-wide strip – fish in a quarter-inch thick slice topped with avocado then pepper and scallion with kimchi on top.
  4. Wet the edge closest to you with a finger dipped in water.
  5. Roll the damp raw edge over the fillings.
  6. Roll the edge of the mat (or paper) over the roll and push back with your hands to compress into shape.
  7. Slowly roll the mat (or paper) away from you while compressing to form the roll.
  8. Wet the far edge with a finger dipped in water.
  9. Seal by rolling the sushi over the edge and pressing a bit to stick.
  10. To slice, dip your sharpest (non-serrated) blade in water and pull through the roll quickly, taking care not to mash. My first cut was a hot mess – with subsequent cuts, I started on the far side and sliced towards myself. Which I’m sure offends some sort of sushi gods, but so probably does kimchi and zero rice. I have not yet been haunted.

Low Carb Instant Pot Bulgogi Bowls

We’ve been on a Korean kick lately – and it’s been delicious. This recipe comes together relatively quickly, can be eaten hot or cold, and can accommodate a bunch of different eating styles.

Gluten-free, paleo-ish, keto-ish

Low Carb Instant Pot Bulgogi Bowls

For the Beef

3 – 4 lb. chuck roast
4 Tbsp. ginger garlic paste (or the equivalent chopped fresh)
1 small apple or pear, cored (I used Granny Smith, but I’ve heard Fuji is closest to a pear)
4 Tbsp. gochujang
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1/4 c. tamari, soy or coconut aminos
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. avocado or other neutral oil
1 date, pitted

Whiz all ingredients but the beef in your blender. Cut the roast into bite sized chunks and marinate 2 hours to overnight.

To prepare, pressure cook 12-14 minutes.

Bowl Fixins

Baby asparagus (I lightly sauteed in sesame oil)
Enoki mushrooms (I lightly sauteed with the asparagus)
Green onion slivers
Shredded carrots
Fried eggs
Bowl filler – I tried to “rice” cucumber, which ended up with cucumber pulp – which was a hot mess, but wasn’t bad when drained — DH had sushi rice, which he also pressure cooks and makes in big batches. Cauli rice would be great here, as would broccoli rice. Zoodles would work, too

Bulgogi Sauce

1 Tbsp. gochujang
2 Tbsp. tamari, soy or coconut aminos
1 Tbsp. ginger/garlic paste (or equivalent)
2 Tbsp, sesame oil
3-5 drops stevia

Whisk together and drizzle over the top of each bowl.