Middle Eastern Spiced Meatballs

This is a good one – baked meatballs are quick to make and last in the fridge for days – a great meal prep component or emergency snack to keep on hand.

gluten-free, paleo, low carb

Middle Eastern Spiced Meatballs

1 lb. ground chicken

3 Tbsp. zaatar

1/4 c. slivered pistachios

2 tsp. sumac or lemon powder

1 small onion, grated

4 cloves garlic, grated

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water

Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F. Prepare a baking sheet.

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix with your hands to combine.

Form into meatballs and bake 15 minutes.

Makes enough for 4 servings

Bonus Recipe: A quick side salad to go with

2 cucumbers, cut into small moons

15 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 Tbsp. green onions, minced

2 cloves garlic, grated

1/4 c. parsley, chopped

Hand full of olives, sliced thin

Hand full of your favorite salty cheese (I used an aged provolone tasting vegan cheese)

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. your favorite mustard (I used Dijon)

1 Tbsp. zaatar

Salt & pepper

Whisk together all ingredients from the olive oil down. Pour over the rest.

Salad serves 2-3

Halal? Legal? Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Avo Brekkie

Everything But The Bagel Seasoning is on it’s way out of the zeitgeist, but I’m behind the times. EBB seasoning has been causing a stir as of late where I live, with warnings going out left and right to not try and smuggle illegal items into the country while coming back from your Summer vacations.

Whaa?

Where I live, poppy seeds are illegal. I thought this had something to do with them not being halal, but according to Islamweb.net, they are fine to consume as food. The Global Arabic Encyclopedia says that the seeds have no narcotic properties, and are fine for both human and livestock consumption. [Source]

No idea why they’re illegal where I live, but they most certainly are.

In a 2019 bulletin, they were still on the banned import list.

“All Types of Papaver or Opium poppy seeds with or without mixing with other substances and all foodstuff include Papaver or Opium poppy seeds as ingredient.” The reason given was “Precautionary measure due to possibility of non-food prohibited use.” [Source]

Which is a total bummer, since I’ve been dying to get my hands on an EBB seasoned avocado toast (I know, stick me in Uggs and gimme a PSL at Target).

I was not about to risk going to jail for a seasoning, so I indulged during my trip to the US and then made plans to make my own when I got home.

I’m glad I did. Yum. I remember liking EBB seasoning on bagels, but it’s a nice way to dress up an otherwise pretty plain breakfast (unless you top it with Tajin, that is – my other go-to).

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Legal Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Avo Brekkie

seasoning:

2 Tbsp. granulated onion (chunky dried onion)

2 Tbsp. granulated garlic (chunky dried garlic)

1 Tbsp. black sesame or nigella seeds

1 Tbsp. white sesame seeds

1 Tbsp. chia seeds

2 tsp. flaky salt

the rest:

2 tsp. oil

1/2 shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3-1/2 c. frozen spinach

Dusting nutmeg

Dusting smoked paprika

Salt & pepper

1 small avocado

2 slices toast

Heat the oil in a pan over medium. Sauté the shallot and garlic until soft. Add the spinach, and let go a minute or two to start thawing.

Add a couple dashes of water to steam the rest of the spinach thaw.

When thaw, add the spices and stir. Let cook a minute more to combine. Hit with salt & pepper.

To serve, mash the avocado lightly and spread in a thick layer on the toast. Add the spinach and sprinkle the whole thing liberally with the EBB Seasoning. Add a little more flake salt to the top. Enjoy.

Breakfast serves 1; the seasoning makes extra

Roasted Veggie Coconut Curry

This is a good one and fine for a nice light Summer dinner. I think I also finally licked the issue with having my coconut curries turn out too bland – I think I *finally* added enough spice!

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Veggie Coconut Curry

2-3 c. pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and chopped

1 c. broccolini, chopped

2 green chilis, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 shallot, chopped

15 oz. can coconut milk

2 empty cans’ worth your favorite stock

4 Tbsp. curry blend

1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes

Protein of choice

Rice noodles

2 Tbsp. lime juice

1 scallion, sliced

1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

Bake the pumpkin at 400F in a little oil, seasoned with salt & pepper, 20-30 minutes or until soft.

Add the rest of the ingredients to a slow cooker or Instant Pot, minus the protein, noodles, lime juice, scallion or cilantro. Set on “Soup” or “Stew” and let cook. If you are using chicken, add the protein at this step. If you’re using something like seafood or tofu, cook separately and add at the end with the noodles.

Prepare your noodles separately.

When the curry is done cooking, tase for salt & pepper and top with the lime juice, scallion and cilantro.

Serves 4

Miso Butter Bowl

Miso. Butter. Is. Amazing. I don’t know why the combo never occurred to me, but when I scrolled past the mere mention somewhere out there on the Internets, I was intrigued.

I’m glad I followed that particular tangent, because I would happily slather this stuff on pretty much anything (including toast).

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan if you swap for vegan butter

Pictured here with sweet potato fries, which is also a good call

Miso Butter Bowl

miso butter:

3 Tbsp. your favorite butter, softened

2 Tbsp. white miso

A big hand full of minced scallion whites

Mush the above into a compound butter.

bowl:

1 zucchini, chopped

1/2 c. frozen corn kernels

1/2 onion, sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Your favorite seasoning (I used Tony’s Cajun)

toppers:

Roast chickpeas (to make: drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, spread out in a single layer on a prepared sheet and bake at 400F for 20-30 mins or until your desired level of crisp and brownness has been reached. Toss with a Tablespoon of oil and a liberal amount of your favorite seasoning – I used more of that Tony’s)

The greens from your scallions

Sesame seeds

This would also be great with a good cashew cheese, but I did not have any on hand

To assemble, sauté the zucchini, corn, onion and garlic in a teaspoon of oil until your desired level of brownness has been reached. Season with salt, pepper and your seasoning. Add the miso butter and let go another minute or two.

Add the veggies into a bowl, and top with your extras.

Serves 2-3

Miso Vinaigrette Salad

I’ve been having a mini love-affair with miso this week – stay tuned for more umami bomb recipes coming in the next few weeks – and this delicious little dinner salad does that love justice.

I can see using the leftovers of this dressing mixed with quinoa, or in a pumpkin-heavy dish. Also as a drizzle for chicken.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Miso Vinaigrette Salad

Dressing:

1 heaping Tbsp. white miso

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. neutral oil

2 Tbsp. sushi vinegar

2 Tbsp. lime juice

2 tsp. honey

Pinch cayenne

Salt & pepper

Salad:

1 large zucchini, chopped

1 large bok choy, washed and sliced thin

1 package baby spinach

2 tsp. sesame oil

Soy sauce

1 scallion, thinly sliced

Sesame seeds

Big hand pepitas (toasted cashews would also be great)

Protein of choice: I used simply sautéed tofu

Optional topper: crispy chickpeas

Chop the zucchini and bok choy (whites) and set to sautee over medium-high with the sesame oil.

Let cook until crisp-tender.

Add a generous sprinkle of soy sauce.

Add the spinach and bok choy greens and toss until the spinach is barely wilted. Set aside. Drain if wet.

To make the dressing, whisk or shake all ingredients together.

To assemble the salad, add the toppers and toss with a couple Tablespoons dressing.

Salad serves 1-2 with extra dressing

Multipurpose Grain Bowl

This week, I was really attracted to the Buddha bowl pics scattered throughout my Pinterest feed and didn’t want to make 9,000 ingredients – so I worked to combine a list (albeit a large list) of simple ingredients in a variety of ways to make the best of a simple mixture of quinoa + rice.

My week 100% could have been more cost-effective, but it gave me a good dose of the ingredients combining kind of Chopped Kitchen kind of life I’ve been missing.

Quinoa & Rice Base

3/4 c. quinoa (rinse if you’re not lazy like me)

3/4 c. sushi rice (rinse if you aren’t lazy like me)

2 Tbsp. mushroom-based umami powder

1 Tbsp. vinegar (I usually use rice vinegar but only had black vinegar on hand)

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

Big sprinkle salt

3c. water

Combine all and set your rice cooker to cook. Alternately, sushi rice & quinoa both take about 25 minutes to cook on the stove.

Now for the mix-ins to transform this simple added-protein base into a few different dishes.

Day 1: Sesame Crusted Salmon Bowl

Sesame crusted salmon (take 1 salmon steak, skin and de-bone. Pat dry. Brush with a little soy sauce and sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds. Press the sesame seeds into the fish to adhere. Shallow fry over medium-high in a pan until cooked to your desired doneness. Drain on paper towels until ready to use.)

Quinoa + sushi rice base (see recipe above)

Avocado, sliced or cubed

Lemon sesame pickled cucumbers , diced

Pickled ginger, minced

Nori

Roasted butternut squash (Mix 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, 1/2 tsp. date molasses & 1/2 tsp. white miso into a sauce – drizzle over a halved and seeded butternut squash and bake @ 400F for 25 mins or until soft and browned)

Sauce

1 Tbsp. peanut butter (tahini would also be great)

1 tsp. white miso

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. Bulldog sauce (or Worcestershire)

2 tsp. black vinegar (or sushi vinegar)

1 Tbsp. water

1 tsp. your favorite hot sauce (I used a habanero mix)

To make your bowl, assemble about half a cup of the quinoa mix and later the desired amount of the rest of the ingredients. Drizzle sauce over top and sprinkle with thinly sliced nori. Dust with more sesame if desired.

Day 2: Spicy Fiesta(ish) Bowl

1/2 c. frozen corn

1 bell pepper, chopped

1/4 red onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

Sauté the above in olive oil; season with salt, pepper & Tony’s Creole seasoning or your favorite spicy mix

Bowl Base

1/2 c. quinoa

1 hand full cilantro, chopped

1 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. lime juice

Add the water to the quinoa and zap to warm. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice.

Sauce

2 Tbsp. your favorite plain yogurt (mine is a plain coconut milk)

2 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. your favorite hot sauce (mine is a habanero garlic mix)

Stir to combine.

Toppers

Avocado

Butternut squash leftover from the first bowl

To make your bowl, assemble about half a cup of the quinoa mix and later the desired amount of the rest of the ingredients. Drizzle sauce over top and top with avocado & squash.

Day 3: Spiced Chickpea Veggie Bowl

1.5 c. chopped kale

1/2 small red onion, diced

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 lg. zucchini, diced

1 Tbsp. oil

Salt & pepper

Sauce

1/4 c. yogurt

1 Tbsp. almond butter

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. sumac

2 tsp. lemon juice

Leftover Bowl Components

Butternut squash

Quinoa rice mix

Topper

Avocado

Roasted chickpeas (I usually buy mine and have an Indian spiced variety that’s amazing)

To make your bowl, assemble about half a cup of the quinoa mix and later the desired amount of the rest of the ingredients. Drizzle sauce over top and add avocado & chickpeas.

Random Bowl Combinations

Quinoa mix, salmon, avocado, butternut squash, pickled cucumber, pickled ginger, Kewpie Mayo, garlic hot sauce, soy sauce

Green Sauce Salad

This green sauce makes a fantastic all-around dressing to keep on hand as a meat seasoning, salad dressing, dip, and little add-in to something like a nice grain bowl for a flavor punch.

A note on spice: I used 1 Tbsp. Fiery Fool hot sauce. This stuff is hot, and it made my sauce nice and spicy. I lean toward spice so I would totally suggest going in that direction. If you do not, a de-seeded jalapeño would be fine.

gluten-free, paleo, pescatarian

Great Green Sauce Salad

Sauce

10 cloves garlic

4 scallions (reserve 2 + 2 of the dark green parts for the salad body)

1/4 c. cilantro

1 Tbsp. your favorite pretty dang hot hot sauce (see head note)

1 Tbsp. vinegar (I used black vinegar)

1 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 Tbsp. sweetener (I used brown sugar)

1/3 c. olive oil

Salad

10 radishes, sliced into thin moons

3 – 4 small cucumbers, sliced into thin moons

2 scallions (whole), sliced thin + 2 green parts of scallions, also sliced thin

1/2 c. snap peas, sliced thin on the bias

1 jalapeño

5 – 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Optional: Chicken that’s been marinated and sauteed in some sauce

Topper: Finishing salt & fresh cracked black pepper

To make the dressing, blitz all the sauce ingredients, incorporating the oil in a steady stream to make an emulsification. Set aside.

Assemble the salad by tossing all salad ingredients together. Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the sauce to dress and top with some finishing salt & freshly cracked black pepper before serving.

Serves 2 for dinner beefed up with a protein (I had mine with leftover chicken, but steak bites, salmon or tofu chunks would also be great)

Tomato Salad Goes To Asia

I don’t know about you, but it’s boiling hot where I live – aaaaand I ate so much on my vacation to the States that pretty much all I want is a crisp, refreshing salad. With no lettuce, because it’s not my favorite way to do salad.

This recipe is a riff on a Vietnamese version I read in a magazine on the plane – if I remember correctly, that version had less in the way of heat and less in the way of vinegar. I had leftovers of this salad for days (yay, a salad that gets even better as it ages) and liked the days I remembered to add a little extra lime juice kick the most.

gluten-free (check your labels), paleo, pescatarian, low carb

Tomato Salad Goes To Asia

1/4 c. sugar (I used brown)

1/4 c. fish sauce

1/4 c. lime juice + more for serving

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

Big pinch red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)

Generous bit freshly cracked pepper

500g cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 fennel bulb, sliced into thin moons

3 small or 1 large cucumber, sliced into thin moons

1 long pepper (your fav variety – I used something red akin to a Cubanele)

2 c. mixed herbs (I used cilantro, mint & dill)

Toppers: Roasted, salted peanuts, French fried onions, green onion slices, finishing salt, extra squeeze lime juice, extra cracks black pepper

Combine all ingredients listed before the tomatoes in a jar and shake until we’ll combined and the sugar has dissolved.

Chuck the rest of the non-topper ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing.

Serve with your desired toppers and enjoy for a few meals.

Serves 4-6

Citrus & Avocado Shrimp Noodles

This is another light seafood-focused dinner that’s perfect for the sweltering heat.

gluten-free, pescatarian

Citrus & Avocado Shrimp Noodles

1 bundle rice noodles (I used rice udon noodles) or buckwheat soba

Hand full leftover shrimp, chopped

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 tsp. lime juice

1/2 avocado, peeled and chopped

1 tangerine, peeled, segmented and chopped

1/2 small red onion, minced

1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

2 tsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos

Stock to cook the noodles (I used a quick shrimp stock I’d made at the beginning of the week with the shells from the shrimp and a little water)

Sesame seeds for garnish

Cook the noodles according to package directions in stock. Drain, leaving a Tablespoon or two of stock in with the noodles.

Toss with the rest of the ingredients and serve.

Serves 2 for a light dinner.

Bruschetta Zucchini Boats

This is another quick and light little dinner for one – apparently, I was inspired to create while the hubby was gone on his trip.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian

Bruschetta Zucchini Boats

4 small globe zucchini or 1 medium zucchini

1 small red onion

2 small tomatoes

2 sprigs fresh basil

2 tsp. fresh thyme

1 tsp. dried oregano

Drizzle balsamic glaze

2-3 glugs olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp. vinegar

Preheat your oven to 375F/200C. Halve your zucchini and semi-scoop the middles out. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle heavily with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet cut side down.

Bake about 20 minutes or until browning and cooked through.

Meanwhile, make your bruschetta topping. Dice the tomato, mince the onion and garlic tear or chop the basil, chop the picked thyme. Add to a bowl with a couple good glugs of oil, a generous amount of salt & pepper, 1 tsp. your favorite vinegar, and a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Let sit while your zucchini bakes.

To assemble, fill each zucchini like a boat and serve.

To bump this out to be a more substantial meal, add some chopped leftover shrimp like I did, or add some pearl couscous cooked in stock to the bruschetta mix.

Serves 2 for a light dinner