Summer “Grain” Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

summer grain saladI’m back from NYC as of last Friday night and apparently, brought the warm weather back with me. I was gone for 10 days and the whole time I was away, the weather was cold, rainy, and crummy here in Portland. It was the exact opposite in NYC, so thankfully, I missed out! Now, our nice summer weather has returned, so more salads are called upon.

This salad makes for an awesome summertime dinner. I like making it ahead of time, so we can eat it cold after it’s chilled in the fridge, but it can be eaten warm as well. It is so delicious and the simple lemon tahini dressing is perfect. I think I could eat this salad, or a variation of it, everyday!

Meanwhile, you can catch me making this recipe next Wednesday, June 28 on KATU Afternoon Live. I’ll be sure to share the replay link once it’s available.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups golden beets, diced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 cups asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 Tbsp coconut or avocado oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 5 oz clamshell baby kale
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large lemon, juiced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place beets and asparagus on a large baking sheet, and drizzle with coconut or avocado oil. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once done, set aside.
  2. *Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the ground chicken and season with sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Continue to cook chicken, but don’t break up the chunks of meat as you normally would. Cook until chicken is browned and no longer pink, about 6-7 minutes, but do not overcook. *Note, if your ground chicken is really lean, you may need to add a little oil to the pan. Set aside once done.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water, and garlic. Add sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  4. Next, add the cooked ground chicken to the food processor bowl with the pan drippings. Pulse about 4-5 times until chicken forms smaller crumbles and resembles grains. Be careful not to over-process.
  5. Pour the chicken into a large mixing bowl. Add the parsley, roasted vegetables, green onions, and baby kale (you may have to work the baby kale in bit-by-bit). Pour dressing over top and stir well. Continue to add the baby kale (if you didn’t add it all at once), until it’s all worked in. Taste, and add more sea salt and/or black pepper, if desired.
  6. Serve right away or let chill in the fridge and serve cold.

Pepperoni “Pasta” Salad

pepperoni noodle salad 2

The warmer days are becoming more and more abundant and we’re getting closer to actual summer, which means more salads and other cold foods. I love the change in eating that each season brings and look forward to the variety that each season offers.

This cold “noodle” salad is reminiscent of pizza and tastes incredible. It’s fresh, light, and full of Italian flavor. The “Rawmesan” really brings the salad together and adds a wonderful cheesy flavor minus the actual cheese. If you don’t want to buy it, you can also make your own by following this recipe. It’s very easy. Alternatively, you can opt for some high-quality Parmesan if you tolerate it. I personally do okay with small amounts of aged cheese, like Parmesan, but find that I feel better without cheese completely and prefer to mostly avoid it. So, I opted for the Rawmesan. Do what’s best for you.

I recommend eating this within a couple days, as the zucchini starts to soften slightly and more water is drawn out (of course, it still tastes good though). If you do have leftovers, it works well to add a little more zucchini and fresh basil the next day.

Meanwhile, I’m off to NYC bright and early this morning for an intense 3-day kettlebell training and then some fun. I can’t wait, as I love NYC!

Cheers and enjoy!

pepperoni salad 3

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 medium zucchini, spiralized
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 4 oz package Applegate Farms mini turkey pepperoni, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • About 1/3 cup Rawmesan or high-quality Parmesan cheese, if tolerated

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini noodles, cherry tomatoes, basil, red onion, and pepperoni.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, garlic granules, sea salt, and black pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and mix well with tongs. Lastly, mix in the Rawmesan or Parmesan cheese. Serve.

 

Dairy-Free Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Our sunny, warm weather is finally here and for a consistent period of time too. I am so happy! And, with that said, I’m thinking even more about summery foods like salads and barbecue. This dressing is perfect to have on hand for those warmer days and I’ve actually been using it everyday on my salads for lunch. Speaking of that, there’s nothing I love more than a huge ass salad for lunch. I throw in whatever’s in my fridge — mixed greens, turkey burger, chicken or smoked salmon, sauerkraut, carrots, cucumber, fresh herbs, sunflower seeds, etc. —  it’s all fair game. Normally, I just use olive oil or guacamole as my dressing, but this lemon poppyseed dressing has been a nice and refreshing way to mix things up. It’s definitely lemony, but that’s kinda the point.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp homemade avocado oil mayo or a high-quality brand like this one
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2.5 Tbsp sweet onion, finely minced
  • 1.5 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp poppyseeds
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients, except the poppyseeds in a blender. Blend about 30-60 seconds, until frothy. Add the poppyseeds and blend for another 20-30 seconds.
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  3. Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Smoky Sweet Potato, Kale & Pineapple Salad

This salad is a mix of sweet, smoky and spicy, and just the thing to share at an upcoming Memorial Day barbecue or other gathering this summer. I recommend making it ahead of time, so that it can sit in the fridge for a few hours before eating. The salad becomes much more flavorful, although it’s still good if you don’t have time for that…or aren’t patient. I really enjoy this side dish with chicken, but think it would pair well with nearly any protein.

Meanwhile, you can catch me making this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live on Friday, May 26! Watch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large white sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium orange sweet potato (I used a jewel), peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt-free mesquite seasoning blend, separated (I used this one, which is unsweetened)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups loosely packed curly green kale leaves, de-stemmed & chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spread sweet potatoes onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with melted coconut oil. Mix in the minced garlic, 1 Tbsp of the mesquite seasoning, and sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
  3. Place in preheated oven and roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once done, set aside to cool completely.
  4. Add the kale to a large bowl and generously season with sea salt. Massage the sea salt into the kale with your hands for 1-2 minutes (this helps the kale soften and makes it more flavorful). Then, add the olive oil, red onion, pineapple, and remaining 1 tsp of mesquite seasoning. Stir well.
  5. Once sweet potatoes have cooled, add to the kale mixture and gently stir. Taste and add more mesquite seasoning, sea salt, black pepper or olive oil, if desired.
  6. If possible, allow flavors to marinate in the fridge for at least a couple hours before serving. When ready to serve, I recommend sprinkling on a dash more mesquite seasoning, but this is optional.

Grain-Free Strawberry Upside-Down Cake

strawberry cake

Mother’s Day is upon us and this strawberry upside-down cake is perfect for a celebratory brunch or dinner. It’s not too sweet, incredibly moist, and full of flavor. It’s got that rustic, yet pretty thing going on too.

Traditional upside-down cakes have a lot of sugar, especially in the “top” glaze layer, but I scaled it way back (no refined sugar either) without sacrificing any of the flavor. The strawberries are a nice change-of-pace and pair so well with the cardamom too. This cake can be served warm, room temperature, or cold (keep leftovers in the fridge). I recommend serving it with a generous dollop of  homemade coconut milk whipped cream or if tolerated, dairy-based whipped cream.

Hope you enjoy it. Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 8 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp melted grass-fed butter, separated
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • About 1 cup strawberries, hulled (if need be) and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand, which has no gums)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pour 2 Tbsp of melted butter into a 9-inch cake pan, coating the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the coconut sugar on top of the butter. Then, arrange the strawberry slices on top of the coconut sugar in an even layer.
  3. With a stand or hand mixer, mix the remaining 8 Tbsp melted butter with the raw honey, vanilla, eggs, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Mix until fully blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, baking soda, sea salt, and cardamom.
  5. Carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix again, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
  6. Spread batter evenly over the strawberry layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, run a knife around the edge of the pan and place a serving dish on top. Invert the cake onto the serving dish and let sit for a few minutes before fully removing the cake pan.
  8. If desired, serve with homemade coconut milk whipped cream or if tolerated, dairy-based whipped cream. Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator.

Yields: 6-8 servings

 

Dairy-Free Tropical Turmeric Ice Cream

tropical ice cream 4

We finally had a break in the crummy weather here in Portland, and were blessed with not one, but two 80-degree days in a row! It’s been a rough spring (and winter) here with record amounts of precipitation and we’ve all been starving for the sun. Kinda weird to feel 80-degrees though when we haven’t even hit 70 yet this year, and have been consistently experiencing weather in the 40s and 50s. But man, it feels good and I’m actually sitting outside as I work on this post!

Anyway, I think the sun inspired me to whip up this tropical treat (that, and fresh champagne mangos were on special at New Seasons). It even seems like you’re eating sunshine with this one, and that makes me feel happy. I added turmeric for a dose of antioxidants and grass-fed collagen for some gut-boosting nutrients. This recipe would also be lovely with frozen pineapple (as an addition or instead of the mango).

Cheers and enjoy!

tropical ice cream bite

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh mangos, peeled, chopped and frozen for at least 24 hours (or buy already frozen)
  • 1 medium just-ripe banana, peeled, sliced and frozen for at least 24 hours
  • 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (I like this brand, which has no gums)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed collagen powder (I used this brand, but like this one too)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp ground turmeric (I liked it with 3/4 tsp, but use 1/2 if you’re not sure)
  • 3-4 Tbsp sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Add frozen fruit to the food processor with the coconut milk and vanilla. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides and re-blending, as needed.
  2. Next, add the sea salt, collagen, and turmeric. Blend until well mixed.
  3. Scoop mixture into a large bowl and mix in the sliced almonds. Freeze for a couple hours if you want it to firm up a bit more or enjoy right away

Yields: 2-3 servings

Dairy-Free Creamy Mexican Dip

We’re only a few days away from May and I am so hoping it brings some consistent sun here in Portland. We’ve had a record number of rainy days and the sun has been few-and-far between. April showers bring May flowers though, right?

Anyway, with the approach of May is also Cinco de Mayo and this healthy dip is a great way to celebrate! It’s creamy, spicy and festive! I enjoyed it with veggie slices, plantain chips, and mixed into a taco bowl too (ground meat of choice with taco spices, veggies of choice, and this dip mixed in). There is no dairy in the dip, but the creamy aspect comes from pureed white sweet potato, olive oil, and avocado. It’s wonderful served warm, room temperature or cold. This recipe yields a lot too!

Also, I’ll be making this dip on KATU Afternoon Live next Wednesday, May 3. I’ll be sure to share the replay of the segment once it’s available. UPDATE: watch the replay of my segment HERE!

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-large white sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 large avocado, sliced into quarters
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 14 oz container fresh salsa (mild, medium or hot)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • Pinch of cayenne, optional

Directions:

  1. Cook sweet potato cubes in a steamer basket over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until tender.
  2. Add the cooked sweet potato to a food processor with the garlic, avocado, lime juice, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed.
  3. Next, add the salsa and cilantro, and pulse several times to incorporate it into the sweet potato mixture. Taste and add pinch of cayenne (or more) if you want it a bit spicier.
  4. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold with sliced veggies, plantain chips, grain-free tortillas (this variation is also gum-free), or grain-free tortilla chips. It also makes for a tasty topping on tacos, salads, etc.