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

Eggs

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

A Nice Herbed Hash Base

Yes, another hash. Don’t @ me; I’ve got a deep and abiding love for hash.

This version takes a “safer” route than I usually take to cook the potatoes to unburnt perfection. I also upped the fat content because I was working with a cast iron skillet, and I have not yet gotten the full hang of using it without stickage.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, Whole30 (sub the oil for W30 or strict paleo)

A Nice Herbed Hash Base

1 lb. small potatoes (I used a mix of purple, white and red)

1/2 lb. green beans

Sun dried tomato oil (or roasted red pepper oil – or, regular oil with a bit of either mixed in would also be great)

Citrus salt (I made mine and used this recipe as a starting point. Unfortunately, I didn’t post the recipe here. Mine has cracked peppercorns, rosemary and oregano mixed in and I believe the citrus mix is lemon + orange)

2 -3 cloves garlic

4 Tbsp. mixed fresh rosemary and dill – more if you want it even herbier

Some nice finishing salt (I used Maldon flake salt)

Maybe a splash of red wine vinegar at the end to punch up the flavors and cut through the richness (I added a dash upon reheating leftovers and it was fantastic)

Chop your potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Parboil in a large pot of salted water about 5 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Drain.

While the potatoes are working, tip and chop the green beans into bite sized pieces.

Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large pan over medium-high until shimmering.

Add the potatoes, sprinkle with your citrus seasoning, and sauté 2-3 minutes or until just beginning to get some color.

Add the green beans & some pepper and sauté an additional 3 – 5 minutes or until nicely browned.

While the hash is working, mince the garlic and chop the herbs.

Add the garlic & herbs to the pan and stir to combine. Let cook a few minutes to meld. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.

Finish with a sprinkle of good salt and/or a splash of vinegar.

I served with some vegan cashew curry sausages for dinner the first night and with a sausage, a little leftover seared red pepper + a fried egg the second. Both ways were yum.

Serves 2 for dinner & 1 for lunch if your portions are small (at least small to me; if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know I love a healthy portion)

Indian Spiced Burgers

Our little Monday night burger night needed a little kick in the pants. We’ve been doing whatever fake meats our local market has on hand (our favorites so far have been the Beyond Burgers and the Quorn Southern Fried “chicken” patties)j, and it’s been going really well. This week they happened to be out of good (non-lentil, non-bean) options, so I went for something a little different.

It was a big hit with me; with DH, not so much. He’s much more of a traditionalist when it comes to “staple” kid-friendly foods and has to be in the right mood for anything too far off the beaten path.

gluten-free, paleo

Indian Spiced Burgers

500g ground beef

1 Tbsp. ginger garlic paste (I used prepared)

3/4 small bunch cilantro

2 small green chilis

2 tsp. ground coriander

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 Tbsp. curry powder (your favorite mix)

Juice & zest of 1 lime

1 tsp. red chili powder (I used cayenne)

Mince your cilantro and chili. Add with the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Mix until combined well, but not gluey.

Divvy into 4 burger patties and fry until your desired done ness has been reached.

I served mine with Kewpie mayonnaise and a generous dollop of Bombay Sandwich Chutney on a soft bun. DH added cheese to his.

Serves 4

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Dilled Curry Potatoes

This sounds like a weird combination, but it works really well. Bonus: this side dish makes a great little flavor punch for pretty much any main component. I served mine with next week’s Indian Spiced Burgers the first night and leftovers with plain chicken in the next day’s lunch and both were flavorful and delicious.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Dilled Curry Potatoes

500g baby potatoes

Neutral oil

1 Tbsp. curry powder (your favorite mix will do, and some fresh curry leaves would also be great here)

1 small green chili pepper

1 Tbsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. red chili powder (I used cayenne)

4 – 5 cloves fresh garlic (3 Tbsp. when minced)

2 Tbsp. fresh dill (or more if you have more – I would have actually liked a little extra)

Salt & pepper

Fill your largest high-sided sauté pan with water to 3/4 of the way up the sides, nestle the potatoes in, add a bunch of salt and bring to a shallow boil for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain carefully and cut into halves.

While the potatoes are cooking: mince the garlic, chop the chili pepper, assemble the dried spices, and chop the dill. Set the dill aside.

Add enough oil to your pan to cover the bottom, and heat over high/medium-high until the oil starts to shimmer. Add the potatoes, liberally salt and pepper, and give a good stir for a couple minutes until they start to color.

Add the spices and garlic and stir-fry until the potatoes are as browned as you want them to be and the garlic goes nice and crispy.

Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the dill to complete.

Serves 3 – 4

Za’atar Eggplant

This is a dead simple way to explore a sometimes under-utilized and misunderstood vegetable: the simple Italian style eggplant.

I can’t take credit for this recipe – I was treated to it at a good friend’s house after she raved about it. She wasn’t wrong.

Gluten-free, paleo, Whole30, low carb, vegetarian, vegan

Za’atar Eggplant

1 purple eggplant
Za’atar
Your favorite cooking oil
Salt & pepper

Line a baking sheet with paper or silicone. Preheat your oven to 200C/375F.

Slice your eggplant into thick “steaks” however you like – width or lengthwise.

Lightly score each slice with a knife in a crosshatch pattern, taking care not to slice through the pieces.

Sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper.

Top very generously with za’atar (enough time form a crust).

Sprinkle lightly with your oil of choice to kind of stick the spice down. Alternately, you can mix the spice and oil together in a bowl, then smooth over the eggplant slices – depends on how much oil you want to use.

Bake 25 – 35 mins or until softened and browned – a bit crisp if they’re thin slices.

Serves 2

Harvest Cauliflower Pilaf

Ok, so I’m on a harvest-theme here lately, and all the dishes that have been making me happy speak of (North American) Fall.

This dish is lighter-than-expected, makes a lovely salad for surprise company, and can be bulked up easily to feed a crowd.

It’s also fantastic topped with leftover turkey pancetta and pepitas from last week’s Fall Harvest Soup recipe.

Quick note: if your coconut flakes look like mine (shreds) and you toast your cauliflower as deeply as me (I like some burnt pieces), this dish may look like it has croutons in it. Which was giving my brain a weird disconnect that was less than pleasant. The coconut in here is actually really pleasant and gives a nice little subtly sweet nuttiness with a bit of texture.

Gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, Whole30

Harvest Cauliflower Pilaf

1 smallish head cauliflower, cut into small bits or riced (I did small bits because with my current kitchen setup I just can’t be bothered to fully rice cauliflower)

1 apple (Granny Smith or Fuji – you want something with a bit of tartness or crispness)

2 cloves garlic, minced

Double hand full flat leaf parsley, chopped

Pomegranate seeds (I’m lazy and buy mine prepared – I used a good amount and keep adding more fresh every time I go for leftovers because they’re delightful and so very pretty. Use however much your eye wants to bring nice color to this otherwise very green dish)

3 Tbsp. coconut milk (optional)

Juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses

Few generous sprays oil (I love a grape seed oil pump I’ve been using lately – it’s really cutting down on the amount of oil I feel I have to use)

Generous sprinkle black pepper

Liberal amount of salt

Generous sprinkle cayenne pepper

Generous sprinkle curry powder

Generous sprinkle cumin powder

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup unsweet shredded or flaked coconut

Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Prep a baking sheet with a liner, process your cauliflower into tiny bits, and spread in a single layer.

Hit with the oil, salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, and curry). Toss and roast for 35-40 minutes or until your desired toastiness is achieved.

In the last 5 minutes (or if you forget, stir the cauliflower, flip the pan around and put back in the oven), chuck the almonds & coconut on the pan. Roast to toast 3-5 minutes, being careful to watch and make sure these delicate additions don’t burn.

When done, add to a large bowl.

Chop and toss in the apple, garlic and parsley. Add the coconut milk, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. Toss to combine. Add enough pomegranate arils to make yourself happy.

Serve room temp or cold – either way is fantastic.

Serves 4 as a meal or a party as part of a larger spread

Fall Harvest Soup

This soup feels like a hearty, warm hug but gives a nice light dinner that doesn’t weigh one down.

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

Fall Harvest Soup

1 medium carrot, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cups kale, chopped
2 Tbsp. stock powder (I used a vegan chicken stock)
48 ounces water
1/2 can coconut milk
Generous sprinkle oregano
Generous sprinkle cumin
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Liberal sprinkle black pepper
Liberal salt
1.5 Tbsp. butter or vegan equivalent
Big hand full pepitas toasted in 1/2 tsp. coconut aminos
Optional: 4 ounces turkey bresaola, crisped until browned in a dry pan

Prep all veggies and add to a slow or multi cooker with spices and liquids (everything but the butter, pepitas and bresaola).

Press the stew/soup setting.

When complete, open the lid and add the butter/butter substitute. Let cool a bit and blend all but 1/4 until smooth. Add the reserved 1/4 back in for texture.

Serve topped with the pepitas and bresaola if desired.

Serves 6

Shredded Salad with Sunflower Spinach Dressing

I know, I know – another weird-sounding recipe that turns out surprisingly good despite sounding wrong.

This is a great way to sneak in a liiiiiiiitle extra nutrition (not that this already packed salad needed more greens) on weeks when you feel like you haven’t seen a real vegetable (helloooo, adulting).

This salad also keeps well even dressed and, if you’re like me and enjoy confusing your friends, is easy enough to bulk up enough to serve a crowd.

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

Shredded Salad with Sunflower Spinach Dressing

For the salad, add the following to a large bowl:

1 cup ribboned collards or kale

1.5 cups ribboned red cabbage

1.5 cups ribboned Napa cabbage

1 medium carrot, shredded

1 large red pepper, julienned

1 hand full mint, chopped

2 Tablespoons pickled jalapeños, chopped

1 big hand raw pumpkin seeds

For the dressing, add the following to a blender:

1 big hand hulled sunflower seeds

1/4 cups frozen spinach

Juice of 1 lemon

1 Tablespoon your favorite grainy mustard (y’all know my affinity for Maille)

1 Tablespoon Apple cider vinegar (I accidentally added 1.5 and it would have been too pungent on day 1 – I didn’t get around to eating a big bowl of this until day 2, so the flavor had mellowed)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

10 grinds salt

Generous sprinkle black pepper

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

50 pumps sprayable oil (or a few glugs)

A little water if needed to get things moving in the blender

Combine the dressing with the salad and either toss well or massage in.

Serves 3-4 as written; easily scaled up for more

Grapefruit Salsa Salmon

This is a quick, light meal perfect for the heat of Summer or when you’ve had enough of feeling locked in a dark Winter and need a little sunshine on your plate.

Gluten-free, Paleo, pescatarian, Whole30

Grapefruit Salsa Salmon

4 salmon filets
1/4 c. coconut aminos or soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sriracha (check your labels)
1 inch ginger, grated
4 squirts garlic oil
2 Tbsp. pineapple juice

First, prep the ingredients above to form a marinade. Marinate the fish for 3 – 6 hours.

When it’s time to cook, pull the fish, pat dry and sautée over medium-high with a little oil until your desired doneness is reached.

To make the salsa, combine:

1 grapefruit, supremed
1 orange, supremed
1.5 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
Juice of 2 small limes
1 inch ginger, grated
Generous sprinkle cumin
Salt & pepper

Serve with slices of avocado, roasted mixed potatoes and a squeeze of lime.

Serves 4

Spicy Lime Vinaigrette Meal Base Two Ways

This past week, all I could fathom making were things involving lime juice and chili flakes. A weird craving, I know, but my brain was in search of something simple I could use to dress up a couple different meal variations while requiring the least effort possible. I think this was a success – I felt like my diet was fairly varied, I got the lime punch and heat I was missing, and because I batch cooked, meal time while hangry didn’t beckon me to easily overeat.

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

Spicy Lime Vinaigrette

1/2 cup fresh lime + orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos depending on your diet

Mix all ingredients together and give a good whisk or shake. Dole out through the week like liquid gold.

Now, what to pair with this bounty? I went two routes: a simple cold salad and a warm veggie bowl.

Summer Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette

1.5 cups chopped cucumber
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1.5 Tbsp. minced or grated ginger
4 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
About 1/4 cup of the Spicy Lime Vinaigrette above

Optional toppers: shredded rotisserie chicken, rice/quinoa blend. This is also great as a stand-alone salad.

Mix all ingredients and let marinate a few hours or overnight. When serving, make sure to salt & pepper to taste and add more red pepper if you want more heat.

Spicy Lime Vinaigrette Summer Veggie Bowls

3 cups chopped zucchini and carrots in whatever mix makes you happy
Garlic oil
1/4 – 1/2 cup FODMAP-friendly stock
Salt, pepper and ground cumin to taste

Heat a large sautee pan over medium-high heat. Spray with a little garlic oil (or drizzle). Add the veggies, salt, pepper and cumin. Sautee, stirring occasionally, until they are on their way to browning nicely. Add 1/4 cup of the stock, cook until the liquid is evaporated. Repeat for another round if your carrots still aren’t soft. Taste for seasoning this second time and adjust if necessary.

Makes 3 – 4 servings as part of a larger bowl. I served mine most days with a blend of long grain rice + quinoa, a couple Tablespoons of the vinaigrette, and a hand full of rotisserie chicken. One day, I switched it up and went with chili tuna + brown rice pasta.