Fresh Shakshouka

This version of shakshouka makes a great topper for crusty bread, uses a good blend of fresh + pantry ingredients – and makes a bonus second meal if you swirl some of your leftover sauce in with noodles.

It’s also DH approved, and he’s not a fan of skin-on tomatoes. He could live without the spinach, but we had greens and needed chlorophyll.

This would also be great with chickpeas for added protein and either scrambled or poached eggs/substitute cooked in the sauce. I wanted to keep my eggs separate to maximize leftovers. Scrambled soft tofu would be fantastic.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, halal

Fresh Shakshouka

1 small jar fire roasted peppers in oil

2 hands cherry tomatoes

1 large onion

4 Tbsp. zaatar

1 Tbsp. smoked paprika

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1/2 c. tinned tomatoes (I used crushed but use what you have)

2 tsp. sambal olek (this is my favorite)

1/2 c. parsley

Baby spinach


Crusty bread

3 – 4 cloves garlic – 2-3 minced and 1 or 2 whole with the end sliced off

Thinly slice the onion and sauté on medium in 1 Tbsp. of the oil that comes from the jar of peppers until soft and lightly brown in spots.

Add the sambal and 2 – 3 cloves minced garlic. Sauté a minute or two more to meld together.

While that is working, remove the peppers from the oil and roughly chop.

Add the tomatoes and peppers and sauté until the tomatoes burst.

While the tomatoes are doing their thing, roughly chop the parsley, slice the bread into thick slices and drizzle with some of the pepper oil.

Broil the bread until your desired toast level has been reached. Remove from the oven and rub with the cut end of the reserved garlic clove. Set aside.

When the tomatoes have burst (with or without a little help), add the Zaatar, smoked paprika, salt & pepper. Stir to combine and let sauté a minute or so to meld.

Add the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and half a cup of water. Bring up to a boil, reduce the heat, add the spinach + half the parsley on top, and simmer 7 – 8 minutes. As soon as that spinach wilts and can be thoroughly mixed in is the time to add eggs if you are cooking them like a traditional Shakshouka.

If you are not, fry your eggs separately in a little of the pepper oil to your desired doneness.

Serves 2 for a light dinner + makes enough sauce to be used for another night’s pasta

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

Winter Salad with Haloumi Croutons

This salad was inspired by this French cafe I love to grab coffee and lunch at, makes a great standalone lunch or dinner, and was well-received at a holiday potluck.

Glad to see my salad potluck touch didn’t disappear with the hemisphere jump. 🙂

If you’ve never had it before, Haloumi Cheese is a neat one. It’s firm, kinda salty, and doesn’t melt all the way down when you heat it – making it perfect to make crunchy little croutons out of. If you can’t find it, Parmesan crisps would be great or even that salty softer white cheese (gradana padano?).

Vegetarian, primal, almost keto

Winter Salad with Haloumi Croutons

4 cups mixed lettuce (I used baby chard and red leaf)

4 clementines

1/4 – 1/3 cup pomegranate arils

200g Haloumi Cheese

1/4 cup pistachio dust

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp. zaatar

2 tsp. Pomegranate molasses

1 Tbsp. Lemon juice

1 Tbsp. Grainy mustard (I always use Maille)

Salt & pepper

First, make your Croutons by cutting the Haloumi into thin slices and frying over medium/medium-high in a Tablespoon or two of ghee or other fat of your choice until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Your cheese will melt a bit, but won’t melt enough to stick to the pan even if your pan is crappy like mine. I ended up flipping mine with chopsticks and a spatula and then cutting the bits that had fused together back into chunks.

To make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the oil, zaatar, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, mustard, salt & pepper. Set aside until it is time to serve.

To assemble the salad: combine the lettuce and pomegranate arils in a large bowl. Peel and segment the clementines and add (you may want to cut the segments in half and de-seed first). Toss to combine. Top with the croutons and pistachio dust.

Drizzle the dressing over top and serve.

Serves 6-8 as a potluck side

Keto Macadamia Goat Cheese Pizza

I stumbled across a version of this keto macros pizza on YouTube – I forget which keto channel I was watching, but I was super curious and started off making a version of my own. It’s a calorie and fat bomb, and man it’s delicious.

High fat low carb F-T-W.

Gluten-free, primal, keto

Keto Macadamia Goat Cheese Pizza 

1/2 head cauliflower (about 1.5 cups riced)
2 eggs
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
3 Tbsp. coconut flour
1 Tbsp. almond flour
Pink salt & pepper
Lactose free cheddar (either lacto free cow or almond milk cheese)
Goat cheese
Pesto (watch your labels!)
Macadamia nuts
Salami or pepperoni slices

Preheat your oven to 200C. Yes, I said C – I live in metric land now. 

First, make your crust by processing the cauliflower into rice and microwaving in a covered bowl with a Tablespoon or two of water 8 minutes. Drain, pile onto a clean tea towel or cheesecloth and squeeze the water out.

Add the now dry cauliflower rice to a large bowl. Add the eggs (beaten), basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, coconut flour, almond flour, salt & pepper. Mix. Add more coconut flour if the mixture is too wet.

Split in half and form into two thin pizza shapes on a baking sheet that has been covered by parchment paper.

Bake 15 – 25 minutes or until browned.

Add the pizza toppings – about 2 Tbsp. lacto cheddar (grated) per pie, 1.5 – 2 ounces goat cheese, 4 macadamias (halved), 2 Tbsp. pesto and 7 or 8 pork chips.

Bake at 200C for 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

Serves 2

Rough macros per serving: 595 calories, 51.6 grams fat, 6.1 net carbs, 27.4 grams protein

Low Carb Strawberry Parfaits

This dessert is delicious, low carb and light – aaaand it also tastes fancy because of the fresh fruit and different textures.

It’s also, as it turns out, dead simple to make and quick to set up.

Gluten-free, primal, keto

Low Carb Strawberry Parfaits

1 package sugar free strawberry jello
1 cup boiling water
8 ounces softened cream cheese
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup almond flour, almond meal or ground almonds
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/4 cup almond slivers or shaved almonds
12 fresh strawberries

First, make your jello by whisking the jello powder into the hot water until fully dissolved. Let sit 2 minutes. Full disclosure: I screwed this part up and had lumpy jello, so I slapped the whole mixing cup I was using back into the microwave for another minute or so, whisked the crap out of the mixture and crushed all the lumps I could with the back of a spoon. The result was mostly not-lumpy jello. 

When your jello has rested, add to the cream cheese and beat with electric beaters – or do things the hard way. I was already looking at grating my own cheese and wasn’t trying to exhaust myself by 8:30 am on Thanksgiving morning. #delicateflowerproblems

Spread into a metal or glass pan kinda evenly and let chill for an hour or two.

While the fluff is chilling, toast your almond slivers and make a simple buttery almond crumble by combining the butter and almond flour and baking (I think I baked at roughly 220C which is what I seem to bake everything at because I think it’s like 375F) for 5 – 10 minutes or until the mixture is golden and kinda looks like a cookie.

To serve, put a little crumble into the bottom of a teacup or glass, top with a sliced strawberry, a scoop of fluff, almonds, more fluff and more almonds – garnish with a second strawberry.

Makes 6 teacup sized portions

Personal Pistachio Goat Cheese Balls

Ok, so an apparent theme of this Thanksgiving has arisen and it’s personal-sized appetizers and desserts. I made these balls, the mini apple tarts I shared last week, and the strawberry parfaits I’m sharing next week. Mini is in?

These little mini balls are just the right size to pop into your mouth, and since they’re covered in pistachio they don’t even need crackers. Whoo. Taking one of my favorite appetizers – a cheese ball – and making it less messy FTW!

Gluten-free, vegetarian, primal, keto

Personal Pistachio Goat Cheese Balls

4 – 6 ounces goat cheese
2 – 3 Tbsp. snipped fresh chives
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. granulated onion powder
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 – 1/3 cup pistachios

First, make your pistachio dust by processing the nuts in a food processor or blender until tiny.

In a medium bowl, combine all the other ingredients and mix with your hands to combine.

Form into small balls – mine were about 1 ounce each – and roll in the pistachio dust to coat.

Chill a few hours to set up.

Serves 8 as an appetizer in a spread of a few appetizers comfortably

Brown Butter Zoodles with Walnut Crumb

This low-carb pasta is rich, velvety and delicious – so good, you won’t miss the meat.

gluten-free, vegetarian, primal, keto

Brown Butter Zoodles with Walnut Crumb

1 zucchini
1-1/2 Tbsp. salted butter
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. walnut halves
2 handfulls rocket (arugula)
6 – 8 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper
1 ounce spreadable cheese (like Laughing Cow) or goat cheese (optional)

Whiz your walnuts until they’re dust. Zoodle your zucchini. Set both aside.

In a large pan, heat the butter over medium-high. Slice and add the garlic when it’s ready. Add the thyme sprigs and cook until browned.

When the butter is browned, pull the thyme and add the zoodles, lemon juice and walnut dust. Toss well to combine. Add a hit of salt and pepper.

When the zucchini is cooked through and the mixture is less wet, add the arugula. Toss to combine. Cook until the arugula is wilted.

Plate and top with crumbles of cheese if desired.

Serves 1 for dinner

Turkilada Bake

This is not the keto enchilada I set out to make – this right here is a teachable expat moment.

I swear I saw enchilada sauce – at least a case worth – in my local grocery last week. It was right there in a whole section of (American) Mexican foods.

Well, serves me right for not grabbing it there and then – it’s no longer in stock and there is zero evidence that it ever existed in the first place. Neither is salsa. Or green chilis. Or Choula. Plenty of queso, though.

So … we improvise.

Instead of Philadelphia cream cheese (which they have, but I don’t trust my stomach to not revolt at), I grabbed a spreadable cheese from Turkey (basically the same thing). Instead of the enchilada sauce I was craving, I grabbed something called Biber Domates (also from Turkey) – a pepper/tomato paste that comes in a variety of spice levels. Instead of the green chiles I was hoping for, I used frozen spinach (mostly because I needed a green vegetable to make this a meal and was in a snit because of the tiny size of all bags of frozen broccoli on offer here).

This meal wasn’t Mexican, but it was good and still goes great with my hoard of Choula. Seriously, I shipped myself two magnums of the stuff knowing DH would go through at least a quarter of one before I arrived.

Gluten-free, primal, keto

Turkilada Bake

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 bag frozen spinach
Onion powder (or granulated onion)
Garlic powder
Cumin powder
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup some form of cream cheese
1/4 cup Biber Domates (tomato/pepper paste)

Preheat your oven to roughly 375 F.

In a baking dish, spread a layer of frozen spinach. Top with the chicken thighs. Note: My spinach was frozen and chicken was mostly frozen). Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle really liberally with garlic and onion. Sprinkle less liberally with cumin.

In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese and paste together.

Spread on the dusty chicken. Top with the rest of the spinach.

Bake 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serves 4 as a light main – you may want to grab a heartier side if you’re not keto

Chipotle Lime Slaw

I made this side as one of two salads to accompany a big batch of our favorite pulled pork for the DH’s going away party.

Gluten-free, primal, vegetarian

Chipotle Lime Slaw

1 cup chopped red cabbage
1/3 cup crema
2 teaspoons adobo sauce (the sauce canned chipotles come in)
The juice of 2 limes
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 scallions, chopped
2 Tablespoons lime basil, chopped
3 cups coleslaw mix
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt & pepper

Whisk together the crema, adobo, lime juice, cumin, a big pinch sea salt and a few grinds black pepper in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss.

Taste. Add more acid or more salt as needed.

Serves a bunch – makes a great potluck side as part of a make-your-own taco bar

Chicken Paillard with Caesar Green Beans

This recipe is exactly the kind of thing I want in the summer – light, edible at room temperature, and perfectly pairable with some nice chilled wine. It is also a dish I had at a local restaurant and got so obsessed with I had to run home and re-create it for friends. Luckily, they (highly) approved.

Gluten-free, Paleo, primal

Chicken Paillard with Caesar Green Beans 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Fat of choice 
1 lb. green beans
Kosher salt & black pepper

Caesar Dressing
3 cloves garlic
2 eggs
3 glugs olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Parmesan (optional)
Couple dashes Worcestershire sauce (check your label!)

First, prep your chicken by sandwiching between waxed paper or Saran Wrap and pounding until a single thickness – the bowl of a mortar and pestle works great for this.

Liberally salt and pepper on each side.

Bring your largest pan up to medium-high heat, add a tablespoon or so of fat, and pan fry until browned on both sides and cooked through. I did this in batches, cooking each pounded breast separately. Set each cooked chicken breast aside.

While your chicken cooks, wash and de-tip the green beans. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with fat, salt & pepper and broil on high 5 – 8 minutes or until fairly blistered. Remove from oven.

On to the dressing. Place the eggs in a small pan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a small boil (tiny bubbles) and cook 1 minute. Drain immediately and place in an ice bath to arrest the cooking. You do *not* want cooked eggs here. Add the eggs to a large bowl, along with the lemon juice, olive oil, Worcestershire, a couple big pinches salt and quite a few cracks black pepper. Take the garlic and turn into a paste (I used a mortar and pestle but you could also use the back of your knife). Add to the dressing. Whisk vigorously to combine. 

When all is complete and your chicken has rested a good 5 minutes, slice chicken into strips and arrange on a platter. Add the green beans to the dressing, toss, and put on top of the chicken, drizzling any leftover dressing over the plate. Sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.

Serves 4 -5 for dinner