Simply put, I’m always trying to eat more veggies. They’re nutrient-dense and incredibly diverse in flavor and texture. I try to eat a balance between raw and cooked veggies every day for variety – and because raw veggies require almost no prep!
This salad is pretty simple to prepare and is a good one for taking to potlucks or parties because it’s hardy and stands up to a couple hours sitting out without getting soggy. To make prepping julienned veggies easier, I have a very inexpensive peeler like this one here.
Ingredients for Crunch Kale Salad
1 medium bunch of kale (lacinato / dino kale works very well here), sliced thin
This is by far my favorite way to use kale or any other greens because it imparts just a bit more flavor. You can use any dark leafy green and the particularly tough ones like kale, collards, broccoli rabe, dandelion greens, etc work really well. You can do this with spinach as well, but cut down the cooking time so it doesn’t turn to mush.
Add the oil to a large, cold skillet. Add the sliced garlic and cook on low for about 4-6 minutes or just until it starts to brown on the edges. Don’t let it burn though…because burnt garlic isn’t tasty!
Add the chopped greens and chicken broth (or water) and turn up the heat to medium. Stir and cook for anywhere from 4-6 minutes, depending on how tough the greens are. You want them to be tender but not mushy. Greens like collards will take longer because they’re very thick.
Recently, I bought a pretty tasty bag of seasoned kale chips from Whole Paycheck. Whilst I sat munching them down, I thought, “I can make these. Why the heck am I spending $6 for a teeny tiny bag of something I can make myself?!”
Sadly, though, I now cannot eat plain kale chips ever again. This recipe for Baked Nacho Kale Chips has ruined me!
12 ounce jar (350 mL) roasted red bell peppers, drained
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (my preference...the kale will not stick) or foil.
Combine the nut butter, lemon juice, roasted red peppers, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. It will make a paste which should be relatively thick.
Rinse the kale, and pat it very dry. Remove the leaves from the tough stems.
Spread half the kale on a baking sheet, and pour the nut butter mixture on top. You're going to need to use your hands to massage (that sounds a little weird) the nut butter into the leaves. You want them evenly coated. It's important that the kale be spread in one even layer and doesn't overlap. Repeat with the other half of the kale.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Keep an eye on the chips because they can burn quite quickly. I usually rotate the pans at least once while baking. Alternatively, you can use a food dehydrator.
Kale chips are best when eaten fresh from the oven but can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or so before they get too soft.
Seems 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.
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 for Green Juice
2-3 kale leaves
1/2″ piece of ginger, peeled
1 small English cucumber
1 handful of parsley
Directions for Green Juice
Roughly chop the fruits and veggies so they’ll fit in the blender or juicer.
If using a juicer, run it all through and you’re done.
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.
Pour the juice / pulp through a wire strainer or cheesecloth, catching the pulp and allowing the juice to percolate out.
I know what you’re probably thinking: “Really, Steph…blueberries and eggs?! Weird.” Just trust me on this one. The idea of combining fruit with eggs was actually inspired by my longtime pal Allison who has been doing that for quite some time. I finally decided to bite the bullet and make my own variation which was a nice departure from steamed eggs, my usual standby. No kale? Precooked spinach with the moisture drained out of it would make a good substitute. The coconut aminos add a great savory contrast to the sweetness of the berries. The name “omelette” might not be completely accurate here, but I since couldn’t think of what else to call it, that’s what I’m sticking with!
Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 10 min Makes: 1 serving
Add a spoonful of your fat of choice to a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Saute the kale for 2-3 minutes until softened and a bit wilted.
Add the blueberries to the kale and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Pour the egg mixture into the pan and let it cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes. Use a spatula to loosen the bottom of the eggs and then carefully flip them over. Allow the eggs to cook through, another couple of minutes.
Until recently, my kale preparation methods was limited to steaming or roasting in the oven (aka kale chips). While making dinner the other night, I realized there was no room in the oven for a pan of kale chips, so I raided the pantry and made this super-fast creamed kale. The coconut milk gives it a hint of sweetness while the spices / nutmeg adds a bit of warmth.
Ingredients for Creamed Kale
1 bag of pre-washed and cut kale (or 1 bunch of kale)
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Coconut oil or fat of choice (I mixed coconut oil and butter)
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions for Creamed Kale
1. If the kale isn’t pre-washed and cut, do that first. If you bought pre-washed / cut kale, pick through the leaves and discard and hard stems.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a spoonful of your fat of choice.
3. Saute the kale until softened, stirring often…about 5 minutes.
4. Add the coconut milk and nutmeg. Cook until the coconut milk thickens a bit, about 5 more minutes.
The idea for this recipe came from the back of a Trader Joe’s bag of mixed cooking greens…I modified it by cutting back on the amount of olives called for as well as the addition of the shrimp and sun dried tomatoes. This meal has everything I like: it’s fast, can be made in one pot, and has tons of flavor. You could easily double the recipe and have leftovers for a couple of days. If you don’t like shrimp, you could add in your meat of choice after the greens have cooked down.
Ingredients for Shrimp and Greens
3 cloves of garlic
1 lb of chopped greens (kale, mustard greens, collards…mix and match or use what’s on hand)
1/2 can of olives, chopped
1 cup sundried tomatoes (I like them dried instead of packed in oil)
1/2 cup chicken broth
8 oz raw shrimp
Black pepper and salt to taste
Directions for Shrimp and Greens
1. Chop garlic and olives.
2. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add a spoonful of coconut oil and sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds.
3. Add the chopped olives, sun dried tomatoes and black pepper. Saute for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the chopped greens and chicken broth. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low, allowing the greens to soften and cook down, about 15 minutes. Add more broth if the pan starts to dry out.
5. After the greens are cooked, add raw shrimp on top, replace the cover and cook for about 5 more minutes until the shrimp is pink.
6. Serve with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil.
This is a take on a product offered at my local Farmer’s Market, and I save a boat-load by making my own. It’s packed with nutritious greens and is a convenient way to sneak in some extra veggies while on the go or when the fridge is running low on fresh produce. Honestly, I would never even attempt making this without a Vitamix (or similar high-powered blender) because of the need to blend the bejeezus out of it and liquify the tough bits (stems, stalks, etc); other than that, it couldn’t be simpler.
I make a huge batch and freeze it in ice cube trays. Pop the cubes out, and store them in the freezer in a ziploc bag. When I want a drink, I pop a few cubes in a blender bottle and add water. I prefer it on the less sweet side, but you could definitely sweeten it up by adding an apple or banana to the mix.
One bunch of each*:
Red leaf lettuce
1 apple or banana, optional
*Opt for organic when possible. If certain greens are not available, substitute with your choice or double up on something else.
Vitamix (or similar)
Large stock pot
1. Thoroughly wash all greens. There is no need to trim the stems/stalks.
2. Process the greens in small batches, adding enough water to keep the Vitamix moving. You want the greens to liquefy as much as possible. Pour the processed greens into the stock pot for holding.
3. If desired, process the banana or apple in the last batch of greens.
4. Stir the mixture thoroughly. It’s honestly going to look like green soup!
5. Portion into ice cube trays. Freeze and then store cubes in ziploc bags. You will likely need to work in batches. Keep greens mixture in refrigerator until the entire batch is frozen.
cubes ready for freezer storage
As I mentioned, I drink this mixed with extra water but it would be delicious added to a smoothie or blended with coconut water. Enjoy!
straight from the Vitamix, combined with H2O
in the shaker bottle at work…add a couple cubes then fill with water…perfect!
I recently struck up a conversation with @noisecolourlife regarding coconut oil of all things. Turns out, that dialogue morphed into an idea for a Paleo cooking challenge with national pride at stake. She lives in Melbourne, Australia (future travel destination?), and I’m here in Southern California. Iron Chef Transcontinental Paleo Smackdown, anyone?! (this really is a friendly collaboration)
After a bit of idea-swapping, we decided to each create a Paleo recipe (we both happen to also be doing a round of Whole30) using two common ingredients: lamb and cumin (insert mmmmm here). Other than that…free reign. I chose lamb because I’ve never bought/cooked it (say what?!), and let’s just say that being quite Type A, I tend to perform well under pressure. The other stipulations are tracking meal cost and making some other poor soul sample and give comments on our meal.
Enter my wild card…the CSA box. Each Tuesday, I pick up a box of farm fresh, organic, local veggies from Suzie’s Farm at CF Invictus so decided to also integrate something from the box into my meal. Not wanting to copy any recipes, I made something up off the top of my head but with a few considerations: it had to be easy to make with minimal ingredients (stupid-easy, as always).
Pistachio-Crusted Lamb Chop over Kale with Roasted Veggies
**Combination of smoked paprika flakes, garlic, basil, salt
1. Set the oven to 385 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil.
2. Prep the veggies (wash first, of course): halve the carrots and split lengthwise, cut tops off okra, cut cauliflower into florets, slice onions, halve cherry tomatoes, rough-chop the garlic, and slice handful of mint leaves into chiffonade (really thin slices).
3. Place carrots and okra on one baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss.
carrots and okra
4. Place cauliflower on the other sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 tbsp cumin and 2 tbsp cocoa powder. Toss.
cauliflower, cocoa power, cumin
5. Put veggies in the oven to roast while you prep the rest of the meal. Roast ~20 minutes or until caramelized and softened.
6. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 tbsp olive oil. Saute garlic for ~1 minute. Add kale, onion and tomatoes and 1/4 c. water. Place lid on and steam for 5-8 minutes or until fork tender.
kale = superfood
7. While kale is cooking…chop pistachios. I used a food pro (but be inventive…put them in a plastic baggie and pulverize with a rolling pin for example). You want a small enough texture that it will stick to the lamb chops but not too fine that it creates a paste. Mix in 2 tbsp South African Smoke seasoning and 1 tbsp garlic. Dump out onto a large plate. Dredge the lamb chops in the pistachio mixture, applying pressure so that it sticks to all sides of the chops.
pistachio / spice crust
8. Remove kale from heat and place in a serving bowl.
9. Using the same skillet, heat to high and add 1-2 tbsp olive oil. Sear lamb chops on both sides for approx. 3 minutes each. DO NOT OVERCOOK! You are searing the outside to make a crispy crust, not cooking all the way through. Tough lamb = no bueno. Remove to a glass baking dish.
sear but watch so the pistachios don’t burn
10. Remove roasted veggies from the oven. Set oven to broil (on high). Broil lamb for ~2-3 minutes per side to finish. Medium-rare is the farthest you want to cook this.
before the broiler…pistachios are browned
11. Assemble your delicious meal. Sprinkle chopped mint on the carrots and okra. Serve lamb over a bed of the kale.
I volun-told my husband into eating this (of course he would have had some anyway). His take: the cumin was present but not overpowering, and he really liked the roasted veggies. And oh…the tender lamb?? He wasn’t used to lamb being so “soft” but thought it tasted great [Note: Dan grew up on a farm. His family raised sheep. He has eaten tons of lamb…apparently all overcooked…] and was keen on the cripsy pistachio crust.
For being a lamb newbie, I was totally impressed by the quality of the Trader Joe’s grass-fed lamb…rich dark color and so incredibly tender (go Kiwis!). The chops were a little on the expensive side, so I’d likely save them for a special occasion meal. Most of the items were purchased at Trader Joe’s but almost everything could be found in a conventional market, save the South African Smoke blend (but easy to replicate using the aforementioned spices).
Here is the meal total (good for four adult dinner portions):
Lamb loin chops: $11.72
1 lb bag organic carrots: $0.79
4 oz pistachios: $2.49
1 head cauliflower: $0.79
1 package organic mint: $1.79 (used half in the meal s0 really $0.85)
10 oz kale $1.99
South African Smoke seasoning $2.29
(The other veg, spices and oil I had on hand)
Grand total: $21.01 / 4 = $5.25 per serving…pretty good bargain!
I absolutely cannot wait to see what @noisecolourlife is cooking up!!! Australia vs. US Paleo Challenge #1 is what I’m calling this because there will be more! And, this is the perfect way to kick off the new blog…happy cooking y’all!