Smoky Roasted Tomato Soup

This is a good one – smoky, satisfying, and just the thing when you’re craving some veggie goodness – or when you’ve found a cache of almost-bagels and need something to dunk them in.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo

Smoky Roasted Tomato Soup

28 ounce can whole tomatoes

1 yellow onion

4 cloves garlic

1 Tablespoon olive oil

3 Tablespoons tomato paste

1 can coconut milk

1/2 cup vegetable broth

Salt & pepper

1 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)

1 Tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons curry powder

Preheat oven to 400F/220C. Pull the tomatoes out of the sauce and place on a prepared baking sheet with the garlic cloves and the onions (chopped roughly). Bake 30 – 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are a bit blackened on the top. My onions were a bit burnt on the outside layer, but I think that added to the flavor. I chucked about half the burnt outer layer parts.

Cool and add to a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Whiz until smooth.

Add to a saucepan and simmer 20 minutes or so, stirring semi-frequently, and tasting to add salt & pepper.

Serves 4

Lamb Meatballs with Sticky Tamarind Sauce

Yes, more meatballs. I’m on a kick. This recipe also reminded me why I no longer cook meat on the stovetop. I’ll bake these instead of pan frying next time, basting the meatballs halfway through cooking.

gluten-free, paleo

Lamb Meatballs with Sticky Tamarind Sauce

1 lb. ground lamb

2 Tbsp. curry powder

1 Tbsp. turmeric powder

1/2 small onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

2 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water

Salt & pepper

Set a large frying pan over medium-high heat with a Tablespoon or so of your favorite neutral oil.

Combine all ingredients by hand and form into meatballs, dropping into the pan as you go.

Let fry until the first side has released from the pan and is browned. Flip.

While those are working, prep the sauce.

Combine:

3 Tbsp. tamarind paste

2 Tbsp. brown sugar (or honey or date syrup)

2 Tbsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. neutral oil

2 tsp. ground ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. red chili flakes

When the meatballs are about 3/4 done, scootch over to the sides of the pan and dump all the sauce ingredients in the center. Stir, coating the meatballs, and finish cooking over medium heat.

Serves 4

An optional side (pictured)

500g microwave bag small potatoes

1/2 c. frozen peas

1 tsp. mustard seeds

1 Tbsp. mustard oil

2 Tbsp. curry powder

1 Tbsp. butter

Salt & pepper

Cook the potatoes through and then chop. In a large pan over medium-high, warm the mustard seeds in the oil until they start to pop.

Add the curry powder to bloom.

Add the potatoes and peas and hit with generous salt & pepper. Stir well to combine.

When your meatballs are 3/4 of the way done and your potatoes & peas are getting a little browned, add the butter and stir again to combine.

Pull at the same time as the meatballs.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

I love it when a recipe turns out exactly how I pictured in my minds’ eye. I was craving buffalo chicken dip and wanted to give my Ranch powder a whirl – and I’m glad I did. This dish held up really well as leftovers.

gluten-free, paleo (if you use paleo ranch seasoning), low carb

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

1 lb. ground chicken

3 Tbsp. ranch seasoning powder

1 rib minced celery

An equal amount grated carrot

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

1 Tbsp. onion powder

4 Tbsp. buffalo hot sauce

2 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water

2 tsp. butter, softened

Generous pinch salt and generous dusting pepper

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

Mix all ingredients by hand, form into golf ball sized meatballs, and place on the baking sheet.

Bake 15 minutes.

I served these with Ranch sweet potato fries (pictured).

To make, peel 2 small sweet potatoes and cut into fry-shaped sticks. Toss with a little oil or ghee, salt & pepper and 2 Tbsp. ranch powder. Arrange in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet and bake 20 minutes.

Flip, scootch over to the side, add the meatballs and bake another 15 minutes with the meatballs.

Serves 3 – 4 for dinner/lunch

Pomegranate Beef Meatballs

Another Middle Eastern-inspired meatball recipe, this time with beef. Do you see a trend here? I’ve got a lamb version coming soon (hopefully – if my idea works out).

gluten-free, paleo

Pomegranate Beef Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef

1/3 c. slivered almonds

3 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses

3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp. pomegranate arils

3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

1/2 small onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. turmeric

2 Tbsp. fish sauce or Worcestershire (check labels if paleo or gf)

Salt & pepper

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

Combine all ingredients with your hands, mixing well.

Form into meatballs – mine were roughly golf ball shaped.

Bake about 15 minutes.

Great alongside last week’s recipe for Pomegranate & Fig Salad.

Makes enough to serve 4

Pomegranate & Fig Salad

I made this as an accompaniment to some killer meatballs (recipe coming next week), but this dish as it is would be great as a holiday side or studded with any protein of choice for a rounded out meal.

Note: I completely forgot to do so when making this recipe, but chucking a couple big hands of baby spinach was a fantastic way to dress up the leftovers and add a nutrient punch.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Pomegranate & Fig Salad

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into inch-ish chunks

6 figs, sliced (I had dried on hand but fresh would be even better)

1/4 c. pecans, chopped

1/3 c. pomegranate arils

Tahini & pomegranate molasses to drizzle

Salt & pepper

Your favorite seasoning – I used a spicy creole mix

Oil

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

Chop the sweet potato into inch-ish chunks, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper & seasoning, spread out onto a baking sheet and bake until your desired level of doneness is achieved. I let mine go until the pieces were almost crispy.

Toss with the rest of the ingredients and drizzle with the sauces.

As noted in the head notes, a good couple hands of baby spinach and your protein of choice would round this out to a great meal.

Serves 2- 3

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

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

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

Cucumber Salad with Zhoug Sauce

This is a great riff on a classic Middle Eastern sauce (kinda like the ME version of chimichurri) with a nice, light salad.

This sauce can also be used as a meat marinade, as a topper for crispy potatoes, as a sauce in a sandwich, mixed with zucchini, avocado & peas in pasta, and as a mix-in for rice. I’m sure there are 999999 other ways to use it, but I ran out before I could try more. Which I will. I suspect this would be bomb with a Kewpie mayo egg salad sandwich.

I think next time I make this sauce, I’ll use a mortar & pestle instead of a blender – my favorite version from a local restaurant has a thicker mince and even punchier garlic.

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

Cucumber Salad with Zhoug Sauce

Zhoug

6 cloves garlic

3 jalapeños (or a mix of jalapeños and other peppers – seed if you need to)

1 cup flat leaf parsley

1 cup cilantro

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

Pinch cayenne

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

Pinch sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. lime juice

1/2 c. olive oil

Blend to combine in your food processor or blender until your desired consistency is reached.

Salad

2-3 small cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber, sliced thinly or diced

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1/4 c. fresh dill, chopped

1 small red onion, sliced wafer thin

Generous amount flake salt & black pepper

1/2 c. zhoug sauce

Combine and let sit 1/2 an hour or more to let the flavors meld.

Serves a few as a simple side with a protein. Would also make a fantastic bbq side in place of a Southern-style cucumber salad.