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

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

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

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.

Veg-Forward Hash Bowl Base

I know, *another* hash. Can you get any more basic?

Nope. Nope you can’t. This girl loves breakfast, and hates eating dinner off of a plate at home. I also had an inexplicably strong desire for shredded zucchini, so hash it was.

I’m glad I listened to my weirdo craving – this was dang good. I’ll be making it again because this base is super versatile.

Some topping options:

  • Like I served it with leftover crumbled sausage, cherry tomatoes & Choula
  • Taco meat, guacamole and salsa
  • Chorizo or breakfast sausage & a fried egg
  • Turkey bacon & a fried egg (had this for breakfast the next day and it was 💯
  • Marinara & shredded protein of your choice with red pepper flakes
  • Salmon burger or crab cake with lemon aioli and capers

Let me know if you make any of these other options, tag me on Instagram @gastography – I’d love to see how they turned out!

On to the actual recipe.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Ignore my poor little abused Ikea bowl. She’s got problems.

Veg-Forward Hash Bowl Base

4 small waxy potatoes (about 2 cups shredded)

1 small red onion, shredded

1 large zucchini, shredded

2 cloves garlic, grated

1/2 cup sautéed minced red pepper & onion

Salt & pepper

Neutral oil

Shred the veggies and add in a pile to a clean tea towel. When all the veggies are in, twist as hard as you can to release as much water as possible. You want your mixture pretty dry so it picks up a bit of color rather than just steaming – if you’re me. You do you, though.

Heat a Tablespoon or so of your favorite fat over medium high heat. Add the squeezed veggies and stir to break up.

Hit with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Stir again.

Let sauté until browned to your liking. Add the pepper & onion mix. Stir to combine.

This process took me about 12 minutes to hit my desired level of brownness (stirring pretty frequently to avoid all-out burning) and for my potatoes to be cooked through.

You could also use frozen hashed browns here and that may take a different cooking time.

Taste for seasoning and hit with more salt, pepper or garlic powder if needed. Smoked paprika would also be nice here – cumin would be good, too. I made mine plain so I had maximum topping options.

Serves 2 for dinner

Non Dairy Greek-Style Frychos

This recipe came about because of a video from one of my favorite kitchen hack channels: RachLovesLife. She’s got a ton of videos testing viral recipes, and they’ve been great fun to watch over this past year & some change of varying levels of lockdown. She did a recipe on fry hacks, and this was something she mentioned wanting to morph one of them into – just with my own non-dairy twist, ‘cause I’m not trying to die.

gluten-free, non-dairy, comfort

Non Dairy Greek-style Frychos

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 bell pepper

1 red onion

2 cloves garlic

1/2 batch this 6-ingredient vegan tzatziki sauce from the Minimalist Baker

1/2 a block of vegan cheese (this is the one I used)

Olive oil

Salt, pepper, oregano

Optional toppers: sundried tomatoes, black olives

1/2 a bag of your favorite fries (I used McCann’s crinkle cut)

Chop the onion and pepper fairly small. Mince the garlic. Add to a pan with a couple teaspoons oil and sautee over medium until soft. If the heat is a little high and the mix looks like it’s going to burn before getting nice and soft, hit with a little water and let that evaporate off as the mixture steams a bit. Make sure to hit with salt, pepper and a couple teaspoons oregano as the mix cooks to season.

While the mix works, add the fries to the oven and bake according to package directions. Salt about halfway through baking.

After the veggies are done, remove from the pan.

Add the chicken, chopped into small bites, with a Tablespoon of oil. Sautée, seasoning with salt, pepper and oregano, until cooked through.

Set aside when fully cooked.

Dice or shred the cheese.

When the fries are browned to your liking, pull from the oven, and sprinkle with the cheese. Pop back into the oven long enough to melt the cheese.

To serve, pile cheesy fries on a plate, top with chicken & veggies, drizzle sauce over top and finish with the optional toppers.

Serves 2 for dinner with enough left over toppings for another couple meals – or a nice pasta the next night

Chai Spiced Baked Oatmeal

This is a great grab-n-go to have in your back pocket any time you’ve got too many bananas and need a quick breakfast.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Chai Spiced Baked Oatmeal

2 cups rolled oats

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1 Tbsp. ground ginger

1 Tbsp. ground cardamom

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 over ripe bananas

1.5 cups your favorite milk (I’ve used both hazelnut and oat milk and they were both great)

1/4 cup tahini

2 Tbsp. date molasses or maple syrup

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

3 Tbsp. pepitas

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Optional topper: a drizzle of nut butter, fresh or frozen berries, more banana

Preheat your oven to 200c/375F.

In a small baking dish, combine the dry ingredients. Mix to incorporate.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and add the wet ingredients. Stir to combine.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix to combine fully. If you still have little chunks of banana, mash them with the back of a spoon while combining. You want to make sure all the oats are wet.

Bake about 25 – 35 minutes, or until the bake is set and nicely browned.

Slice into 6 big squares and serve with your optional toppers.

Garden Orzo

Orzo is an ingredient I under-utilize and I’m always surprised how much I like it each time I remember to make it. I’m imagining it’s because I spent years exclusively eating paleo, and have been into low carb for years upon that – but this is really good.

This recipe tastes fresh and makes a great accompaniment to next weeks recipe – a baked Mediterranean chicken. It’s also great as a standalone dish.

Vegetarian, vegan

Garden Orzo

1/2 cup orzo

1.5 cups liquid – I used 1/2 a cup of good stock & 1 cup of water; you do you, though I’d suggest using some good flavorful broth as well

6 sundried tomatoes

500g baby spinach

2 cloves garlic

2 tsp. your favorite oil

Optional add-ins: pine nuts, a good salty cheese (this one from Violife was what I used for the dish I made to go with and it was fantastic – they also make a “Parmesan” that would probably be great here), a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of Zaatar

Sauté the garlic in the little bit of oil until just beginning to turn tender.

Add the stock & water and bring up to a boil.

Add the orzo and cook, stirring quite frequently to prevent sticking, until just al dente, a minute or so before the cook time is up.

While the orzo is working, chop the sundried tomatoes.

When the orzo is al dente, remove from the heat.

Chuck the sundried tomatoes in, stir, and add the spinach on top.

Let steam a couple minutes, and stir the wilted spinach in.

Top with your optionals and serve.

Serves 2 for dinner