Tag Archives: cucumber

Easy Paleo Lamb Sliders

Photo Jun 29, 5 14 24 PM The other day, I was really craving a Greek salad (score for salad cravings, right?!). I had all the veggie components in the fridge, but I definitely wanted to top it with something meaty, so I came up with a quick batch of lamb burgers. In the end, I wound up making them more like sliders – smaller than a burger – and served them with my salad, some Paleo Tzatziki Sauce, and a squeeze of lemon.

Lamb a bit strong for your palate? Try mixing it with half beef to make the flavor milder. My Greek salad was a combo of tomato, cucumber, sweet onion and olives, drizzled with Kasandrinos olive oil.

Prep time: 5 min     Cook time:  15 min     Makes: 6-8 sliders (1 lb. of meat)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of ground lamb (or half beef, half lamb)
  • 1/2 an onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions: 

  1. Mix the ingredients gently in a large bowl until well combined. Overworking the meat will cause it to be tough. 
  2. Shape the meat into burgers however large you’d like. I made 8 small sliders. Don’t pack the meat in too tightly or the burger will be dense.
  3. Grill or fry in a pan over medium-high heat until cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side. If preparing in a pan, I like to quickly sear both sides then throw the burgers in a 350F oven for ~10 minutes to finish cooking through.
  4. Serve with Tzatziki for dipping!

Paleo Fresh Spring Rolls

DSC_0830 The other day, I wanted fresh spring rolls. Badly. I also happened to be staring at the collard greens in the grocery store and this idea was born. I know you love quick and easy recipes, but I’ll be honest: this one is a bit more labor intensive because there is more cutting / chopping than usual and it depends which sauce(s) you make on the side. I could see these being an awesome weekend treat or something neat to bring to a summer party. All the components can also be prepped ahead of time and refrigerated for a day or two before use.

The really cool part is that the kelp noodles look just like the vermicelli that comes in fresh spring rolls, but if you can’t find them, you could surely leave them out. I served my rolls with Umami Mayo but I think they’d be killer with Melissa Joulwan’s Sunshine Sauce, my Paleo Sweet and Sour Sauce or my Paleo Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce on the side for dipping. Dipping rules.

Prep time: 45 min     Cook time:  10 min    Makes: 6 full rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of collard greens (you need one whole leaf per roll)
  • 6-7 medium-sized raw shrimp (about 1/4 pound)
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a cucumber, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions, dark green tops removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint, basil or cilantro leaves
  • 1 package kelp noodles (you’ll use about half), optional
  • 1/4 cup of Umami Mayo for dipping, optional

Directions:

  1. You’ll need to blanch the collard leaves so they become more pliable and lose some of their bitter flavor (this can be done ahead of time). Set up a large bowl with ice water. Bring a very large pot of water to boiling. Dip the WHOLE collard leaves in the boiling water for 1 minute. Immediately place them in the ice water to cool and stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside. DSC_0810
  2. Peel and devein the shrimp, if needed. Into a small skillet over medium heat, place the raw shrimp and 2-3 tablespoons of water. Cover and steam until the shrimp are pink, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. Slice in half from head to tail.
  3. Rinse and drain the kelp noodles. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the carrot, cucumber and green onion. How thinly you slice them depends on how much chewing you want to be involved. DSC_0808
  5. Now that the collard leaves are cool, remove the tough stem with a sharp knife by cutting upward toward the top of the leaf in an upside-down V shape. The leaves will roll better. DSC_0821
  6. Now assemble a wrap: Lay the collard leaf on a flat surface. Place two halves of shrimp at the top of the leaf. DSC_0813 Next, put a small amount of kelp noodles (a little less than a 1/4 cup worked for me). DSC_0814 On top of that put a few mint leaves, and two or three slices EACH of carrot, cucumber and green onion. DSC_0815 DSC_0816
  7. Now you’re ready to wrap, burrito-style. Gently but with a bit of pressure, roll from the shrimp end toward the stem end. DSC_0817 DSC_0818 Once you’ve rolled over once, fold in the sides and then finish rolling all way down. DSC_0819
  8. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  9. Slice each wrap in half and serve cold with your choice of dipping sauces, if desired. DSC_0832

 

 

Paleo Tzatziki Sauce

Photo Jun 15, 6 50 59 AM (HDR) I’m on a dipping sauce kick lately…probably because they make food more fun. I love sauces for their ability to easily add another dimension of flavor to meals. A few weeks ago, I made a Paleo version of an Indian cucumber mint raita and knew that with a few simple tweaks, it would make a nice Tzatziki. [As an entertaining aside, I looked up how to pronounce this correctly, and The Google points to "cha-cheek-e"...which means I've been butchering it all these years].

Prep time: 10 min     Cook time: 0 min    Makes: ~1.5 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cucumber, seeded and shredded
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk*
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (or 1 Tablespoon fresh dill)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

*put a can of coconut milk in the fridge for about 24 hours prior to making the recipe

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Directions: 

  1. Peel, seed and shred a cucumber until you get enough to fill a 1 cup measure. Squeeze any extra moisture from the shredded cucumber.
  2. Open the can of coconut milk and scoop out 1/2 cup of the cream that’s on top.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cucumber, coconut milk, garlic, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly to combine.
  4. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a bit of the clear coconut water from the bottom of the can to thin it out.
  5. Chill before serving. You can use this a sauce for meat like lamb or be a bit more out of the box and stir it into zucchini noodles.

 

Paleo Cucumber Mint Raita

DSC_0478Dipping food in a sauce makes it way more fun to eat, am I right?! Recently, I made some lamb / beef skewers and thought they’d pair really well with a raita. Traditionally, raita is a meal accompaniment in Indian cuisine and is made of yogurt, vegetables like cucumber and spices. It’s meant to cool the palate, especially during a spicy meal.

I knew yogurt wasn’t going to work for this Paleo version, so I settled on coconut cream and the result was pretty awesome. It’s got a hint of sweetness which is balanced out by the lime and the cucumber and mint are refreshing. Raita is best served chilled and eaten while fresh, but you can store it covered in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

Definitely plan ahead so you can chill the can of coconut in the fridge for a day before making the recipe!

Prep time: 10 min     Cook time: 0 min    Makes: 1.5 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 large English cucumber, finely chopped ( about 1.5 cups)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for 24 hours so the cream will solidify.
  2. Carefully open the can and scoop out the solidified coconut cream into a medium-sized bowl. Save the water to adjust the consistency of the raita.
  3. Peel the cucumber and cut it lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Chop it finely. Also chop the mint. Add the cucumber and mint to the coconut cream.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. If needed, add a bit of the coconut water to thin the consistency of the raita. It should be relatively thick like a dip, not watery like soup.
  5. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to chill and then serve.

Watermelon Mojito Salad

IMG_4131It’s rare that I drink these days…it’s pretty counterproductive to my training and makes me sleep like crap. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think about it sometimes – and occasionally it’s a bit longingly. The other day, I thought of one of my BFF Greg and our Thelma and Louise inspired road trip last summer (well, there wasn’t any Brad Pitt and clearly we didn’t die) but we sipped on lots of wine and sunbathed our way across Palm Springs, LA and Santa Barbara. It was pretty awesome. In any case, whenever I think of Greg, I also think of booze for some reason. Hi Greg! Love you! To make a long story short, I decided to make a mojito-esque – but clearly non-alcoholic – dish that would capture the flavors of this iconic Cuban drink. Plus watermelon. I love watermelon.

Prep time: 15 min     Cook time: 0 min    Makes: 5 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1.5 cups seedless cucumber, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, sliced thin (“chiffonade” if we’re being fancy about it)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • Zest from two limes
  • 1 Tbsp Kasandrinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut the rind off the watermelon and cut into medium-sized cubes (about 1/2-inch).
  2. Peel the cucumber – if you prefer – and cut into similar sized cubes.
  3. Slice the mint leaves thinly. To chiffonade, stack the leaves on top of each other. Roll them up lengthwise into a bundle, then thinly slice.
  4. Combine these ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. In a smaller bowl or a small jar, combine the lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir (or shake) well to combine. Pour over the watermelon and cucumber and stir well.
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Green Juice

IMG_3812Seems like juicing is the new make-your-own-kraut craze in the Paleosphere, huh? While I don’t think juice should replace how you consume all your fruits and vegetables [juices contain no fiber and the act of chewing sends powerful signals to your brain that eating is in progress...logical, right?], as a occasional way to add in variety, I’ve been making this tasty blend. Feel free to experiment with other fruits and veggies – carrots come to mind because they add sweetness. You’ve got to remember that this juice will in no way be “sweet” in the way that you may be used to, however, so don’t run for the honey or maple syrup. Think of it as more of a tonic than a treat.

Tips:

  • Refrigerate the juice prior to drinking for best flavor.
  • If you make your juice in advance, it’s best to consume asap and to store it in a tightly covered container (mason jars work great for this).
  • You can eat the pulp if you’re feeling adventurous.
  • If you don’t have a juicer, a high-powered blender like a Vitamix will do the same job.

Prep time: 5 min     Cook time: 0 min    Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 kale leaves
  • 1/2″ piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1 small English cucumber
  • 1 handful of parsley
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Roughly chop the fruits and veggies so they’ll fit in the blender or juicer.
  2. If using a juicer, run it all through and you’re done.
  3. If using a Vitamix or similar: add the ingredients into the pitcher, cover with about 1/2 cup water (or more depending on how dilute you want the juice to be), and use the tamping tool to push everything down into the blades. Start on low / variable speed then gradually increase, and let it run on high for about 1 minute.
  4. Pour the juice / pulp through a wire strainer or cheesecloth, catching the pulp and allowing the juice to percolate out.
  5. Consume!

Super Bowl Bites: Simple Guacamole

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Milestone alert: this is Stupid Easy Paleo’s 100th post! Looking forward to the next 100 because I seriously love making all these recipes and sharing them.

There are about a million different ways to make guacamole, but I fancy mine plain and simple: avocado with a healthy dose of lime and salt [fun fact: the word "guacamole" comes from an Azetc word that basically means "testicle"]. I like my guacamole really tangy, so start with one lime and go up from there if you want more punch. When I was thinking of what to serve alongside to dip into it, I thought back to a few of the trips I’d taken down to Baja to race my bike several years back – immediately the memory of eating pepino con chile y limon (cucumber with chile and lime) from a vendor’s cart after a race – hit me. Crunchy and tart with a bit of smoky chile flavor, cucumbers with lime and chile make the perfect dipping platform though you can try any other veggies you like. I made my own chile powder by grinding down 3 dried ancho chiles and 3 dried guajillo chiles (seeds removed) in the Vitamix – you could use a spice grinder instead. I happen to live in Southern California where many markets have vast assortments of the dried chile pods, but feel free to use any store-bought chile powder you can find.

Prep time: 10 min     Cook time: 0 min    Makes1.5 cups of guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 3 limes
  • Salt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 Tbsp chile powder

Directions:

  1. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit. Use a spoon to scoop the green yumminess into a glass bowl. 
  2. Roll the limes on the countertop to mobilize the juice inside. Squeeze the juice of two limes into the bowl (save the 3rd lime for the cucumbers). Sprinkle with salt to taste.
  3. Mash the guacamole with your hands or with a fork. Hands are more fun, just be sure to wash them first.
  4. Peel and slice the cucumbers on the bias (diagonal cuts give a longer piece). Squeeze the juice of one lime on top and sprinkle with chile powder and a bit of salt.
  5. Consume.

Cucumber Tomato Bites

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Every once in a while, I miss crackers and it’s most evident when it comes time for parties or get-togethers. It always seems cheese and crackers and different variations of it are more than plentiful on plates and platters, circulating around and tempting me. These tasty bites use cucumber as the crunchy (cracker-like?) component upon which to pile the rest of the ingredients. In any case, I’m not the brain child behind these (that would be Z), but they’ve gone through a bit of an evolution in the past few weeks and have ended up as a virtual salad in one bite. Z really likes his with goat’s cheese, but if that’s not your thing, I used avocado instead. For a variation, try a toothpick through the top to hold it all together with an olive stuck on top. Makes about 16.

Ingredients:

1 English (seedless) cucumber

8 cherry tomatoes

1/4 of a white or purple onion

1/4 of a ripe avocado

1/2 of a lemon

2 oz (~60 g) soft or hard goat’s cheese, optional

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Slice the cucumber into rounds, about 1/8″ thick. You can use a piece as a top and a bottom or just as a base. If using a slice for a top, cut out the middle from those pieces so it will sit on top of the tomato without falling off. Season the cucumber slices with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon juice onto the slices.

2. Next, spread the goat’s cheese on the bottom cucumber slice. If you aren’t using the cheese, add sliced avocado instead.

3. Then, slice thin pieces of onion and add a couple on top of the avocado (or cheese). Raw onion is usually overpowering for me, so I added just a little to give a bit more flavor.

4. Next, slice the tomatoes in half and add it to the stack.

5. Top with another piece of cucumber (or not…after all, it’s your show!). Alternatively, stick a toothpick into the stack and top with an olive.

Pineapple-Avocado Salsa

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Sometimes I get bored of regular salsa, and I’m not one to buy fruit at the market very often – I just don’t fancy it all that much, unless we’re talking about berries in season. Lately, I’ve made a couple of fruit salsas to brighten up some otherwise heavy winter dishes. It’s easy to switch out ingredients, so if you don’t like pineapple then try mango or papaya, for example. This recipe made about 5 cups of salsa and keeps well for 1-2 days.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a fresh pineapple
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, red or green
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper
  • 1/2 of a red onion
  • 1/2 of a cucumber
  • Juice of two limes
  • Large handful of cilantro
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

1. Dice the pineapple, avocado, tomato, bell pepper, onion and cucumber into roughly the same sized pieces. Add to a large mixing bowl.

2. Remove the seeds (or leave them in if you like things spicy) and inner white ribs from the jalapeño pepper. Dice finely. Add to the bowl and then go wash your hands so you don’t get capsacin in your eyes. That would be ouch.

3. Chop the cilantro and add the juice of two limes to the mixture.

4. Add salt and a sprinkle of cinnamon to taste.

5. Let the salsa sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors combine. This goes great with pork, chicken or fish.

Holy Guacamole Salad

guacamole salad

I’ll admit it: I love the Food Network. While I’m more drawn to shows like Chopped! and Iron Chef America, I decided to watch an old episode of Barefoot Contessa yesterday. Normally, Ina’s food isn’t really up my alley but her recipe for Guacamole Salad spoke to me right away. Only bummer…it wasn’t Paleo. A couple of tweaks later, and I had a bowl of amazing flavors and colors sitting in front of me…perfect for a summer cook-out (or just a quiet weeknight at home).

The creaminess of the avocado, tang from the lime and crunch from the Persian cucumbers are the stars of the show! (Persian cucumbers have thinner skin and hardly any seeds…their crunchiness is the reason I used them. If you can’t find them, regular cucumber–peeled and seeded–would be a good replacement).

Prep time: 15 min     Cook time: 0 min    Makes: 4-5 cups

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 3 Persian cucumbers
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 large, ripe avocados (I used 3 small)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (2 if you like spicy)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro

Dressing:

  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

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Directions:

1. Prepare the veggies and add to a large mixing bowl:

  • Halve the grape tomatoes.
  • Chop the cucumbers and bell pepper into medium chunks…we are making salad here, not salsa!
  • Chop the red onion into small dice (big chunks of onion = not so bueno).
  • Cut the avocados in half, and remove the pit. Use a spoon to scoop out the entire flesh. Then chop into medium chunks.
  • Chop the garlic and jalapeño finely. Remove the white inner membrane and seeds to control the spiciness.
  • Run your knife through the cilantro a few times to cut the leaves down a bit.

2. Mix all the veggies together and then prepare the dressing.

3. Zest one lime into the bowl.

4. In a measuring cup, combine the fresh lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Mix and pour over the veggies. Toss to coat.

5. Try not to eat the whole bowl! :)

 

Green Papaya Salad

Green Papaya Salad | stupideasypaleo.com

I fell in love with Green Papaya Salad on my trip to Bali in 2011. We took a side trip to Nusa Lembongan, a tiny island off the coast of Bali and spent a couple days snorkeling and enjoying maximum relaxation time. While there, we dined outside at a Thai restaurant and I had my first taste of this dish…flavors of savory, spicy, sour and a little sweet all duked it out on my tongue.

Ever since then, I’ve wanted to make Green Papaya Salad (or som tam as it’s called in Thai) myself and make it Paleo-friendly. I’ll admit, this recipe may fit under the “special” category because you may have to do a little searching outside a conventional grocery store to find some of the ingredients, but any Asian food market should have these basic ingredients. Our local health food market actually has everything you’d need except the fish sauce and dried shrimp!

Most of the recipes I searched on-line use peanuts, bean sprouts and sugar to develop the complex flavor profile of som tam. With a few swaps, I figured out a couple ingredients that did the trick. I substituted cucumber for the bean sprouts (similar in color and texture) and roasted unsalted cashews for the peanuts.

Ingredients for the Green Papaya Salad:

  • 1 medium-sized green papaya, about 4 cups shredded
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • 2 generous handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 green onions
  • 12 green beans
  • 1 or 2 Thai red chili peppers*
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves, washed and packed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 Tablespoons dried shrimp, optional
  • Cashews and cilantro for garnish

Directions for the Green Papaya Salad:

1. Peel the papaya with a sharp knife. Julienne the flesh using a julienne peeler (as I did) or use a box grater to achieve a similar effect.

2. Prep the remaining veggies:

  • Peel and slice the cucumber lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and slice flesh into match-stick sized pieces.
  • Quarter the cherry tomatoes.
  • Slice the green onion into match-stick sized pieces (discard upper dark green parts).
  • Slice the green beans on the bias (diagonal) into long pieces.
  • *Mince the Thai chilis. CAUTION: Thai chili peppers, though tiny is size, pack a whallop of heat. Take care not to touch your eyes, etc when prepping them. I scooped out all the seeds prior to mincing and it was still a medium-spicy. I recommend starting with ONE and upping to two or three if it’s not hot enough for you.
  • Roughly chop the basil leaves. Add all veggies and papaya to a large mixing bowl.

3. Juice the limes and pour over the veggies. Hint: Roll your limes on the counter prior to squeezing to help release the juice.

4. Add fish sauce, coconut aminos and (optional) a drizzle of honey.

5. If you prefer, add the dried shrimp and then let sit for 30 min for all the flavors to meld. Garnish with chopped cashews and cilantro prior to serving. Serve straight up or as a delicious side dish to grilled chicken or fish.

Enjoy the taste-circus that’s about to happen in your mouth!

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Green Papaya Salad | stupideasypaleo.com