What’s not to love about caramelized roasted butternut – one of my favorite fall veggies – drizzled with an infused rosemary balsamic glaze…and only 4 ingredients? Sounds like a mouthful of autumn awesome to me.
The first time I had squash like this, it was grilled (outdoor cooking for the win), but with the weather turning cooler (and with a lack of a grill here in Scotland) I decided to bake it in the oven. It was every bit as tasty. If you want to save time, you can leave the squash unpeeled…yes, the cooked skin softens and is edible. For max flavor, use fresh rosemary if you can.
Change it up: You could use another hard squash like kabocha or acorn!
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled
- 1 Tablespoon melted coconut oil or other fat of choice
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 whole sprigs of rosemary
- Salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (~200°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (aluminum foil works, but the squash has a tendency to stick).
- Peel the squash, if desired. Cut it lengthwise down the middle. Scoop out the seeds (they’re great toasted). Lay the halves flat and cut them into thin half circles (no larger than 1/4″ thick).
- Put half the squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with half the oil / fat. Sprinkle with half the rosemary and a pinch of salt. Toss everything until the squash is well coated. Repeat with the other half of the squash.
- Bake the squash for about 20 minutes or until the edges are browned. Check once during baking, flip the pieces over, and return to the oven.
- While the squash is baking, make the balsamic vinegar reduction. Pour the vinegar into a small pot, and add the rosemary sprigs. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down medium-low. You want to reduce this by at least half so the vinegar thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon but not so much that it completely sticks to the bottom of the pan (or even worse, starts to burn. Try not to walk away from the stove while you’re doing this…I know from experience). Once the vinegar is reduced, discard the rosemary sprigs.
- After the squash is roasted, serve by drizzling with the balsamic vinegar reduction…a little goes a long way.
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.
- 1 medium bunch of kale (lacinato / dino kale works very well here), sliced thin
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1/2 cup golden beets, julienned
- Juice of 1-1.5 lemons
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts (for an extra crunch, I used Cavegirl Confections bacon granola)
- Cut the kale leaves thinly. I cut them down the middle along the vein, then stack them and thinly slice them into ribbons. Place into a large bowl.
- Add the julienned carrot and beets, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, salt and pepper to the kale. Stir thoroughly to combine.
- For best results, allow the salad to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. The veggies will soften just a bit.
- Top with chopped nuts for a bit more crunch (or if you’re feeling adventurous, a sprinkle of a Paleo-friendly granola or dried fruit).
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.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil (I like Kasandrinos)
- 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 very large bunch of greens, rinsed and chopped
- 2 Tablespoons chicken broth or water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 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.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This is a pretty simple side dish that compliments virtually any main. To save cooking time, I sliced the Brussels sprouts thinly, but if you’re crunched you could either buy them pre-sliced (I’ve seen them at Trader Joe’s) or halve and steam them, then throw them in the pan. I don’t recommend putting them in whole because they’ll take forever to cook. Adding a splash of coconut aminos at the end of cooking is a nice compliment, but if you don’t have it, salt will do just fine. Just taste before adding depending on how salty the bacon is.
- 4 pieces of bacon, chopped
- 1 lb. (500 g) Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, cut into ribbons with a veggie peeler
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet over medium heat, render the bacon until it’s crispy.
- Add the thinly sliced Brussels sprouts and carrots. Cook on medium-high heat for about 6-8 minutes or until the sprouts have begun to brown.
- Add the garlic and ginger in the last 1-2 minutes of cooking and stir to combine (adding the garlic at the end reduces the chance it’ll burn and taste bitter).
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Red pepper flakes are also good instead of black pepper.
This rainbow on a plate was inspired by a ratatouille made by my amazing friend Claudette, the owner of Cavegirl Confections (her granola and nut butters are HIGH quality and made with love…and she ships). We got together for dinner last week – with scallops, crab cakes, pork belly and lamb kofta with lemony herb sauce – and she made this as a side dish. It’s light and colorful and perfect for summer. Claudette’s not a big eggplant fan, so she left it out, but you could certainly add it if you’d like.
Like the creative genius that she is, she slices the peppers and tomato thin and uses a regular ol’ peeler to make the squash, zucchini and carrots into wide noodles.
Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 8-10 min Makes: 2-3 side-dish servings
- 2 carrots
- 2 zucchini
- 2 yellow summer squash
- 1 large tomato
- 1 bell pepper, any color
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Large spoonful of ghee (I like Omghee) or your fat of choice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Use a regular vegetable peeler to peel the carrots, zucchini and yellow squash into long slices. Seed and thinly slice the tomato and bell pepper. Roughly chop the basil and parsley.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the ghee. Sauté the veggies (save the herbs for later) until they’re tender but not mushy, about 6-8 minutes. Turn off the heat, sprinkle in the herbs and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
- Easy peasy!
Zucchini noodles are rad. I made this simple cold salad by tossing them with a drizzle of olive oil and white balsamic, then serving them with tomato and olives. With warmer weather upon us, this would be a great side dish for a BBQ or picnic lunch. If you want to be fancy, you could chop up the olives and tomato or add canned artichokes or even a few leaves of fresh basil.
Prep time: 30 min Cook time: 0 min Makes: ~5 cups
- 5 medium zucchini
- ~2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil (I like Kasandrinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- 1 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, whole or chopped
- 1 cup pitted black olives (I like kalamata), whole or chopped
- Peel zucchini with a julienne peeler (like this one), sprinkle evenly with salt (I mix it by hand to make sure it’s evenly distributed), and place in a colander to drain for about 20 min. The salt pulls moisture out of the zucchini, making a more tender noodle. Put the colander in the sink because it’ll leak all over the countertop if you don’t.
- Rinse thoroughly with water to wash away the excess salt and squeeze to remove the extra moisture.
- Drizzle the noodles with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. Toss to combine.
- Add the tomato and olives. Stir in or leave on top…it’s up to you!
I try to eat as many greens as I can, and this is gives a nice smoky flavor to the mustard greens which can have little taste on their own.
Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 15 min Makes: 2 cups
- 1 large bunch of mustard greens
- 4 slices of bacon (sugar free bacon if on Whole30)
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and roughly chop the mustard greens.
- Chop the bacon.
- Heat the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat to render out the fat. Once the bacon is crisp, add the mustard greens in batches, stirring until it’s wilted enough to add more. Continue until all the mustard greens are in the pan.
- Add the chicken stock and balsamic vinegar. Cook for 10 more minutes until the greens are tender.
- Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
Memorial Day Weekend is almost here. That means it’s time for more BBQs and summer fun, and it also means it’s socially acceptable to wear white. I almost never wear white because I’m the world’s biggest klutz. Truly. Just this morning, I was grading lab reports with a shaker bottle of decaf coffee on my desk. Suddenly, a notebook slid off the top of a stack and – you guessed it – coffee. went. all. over. Luckily, I know myself better than to wear white at any time. My brown shorts perfectly camouflaged the fact that I’d just poured coffee all over my lap. Score!
To make a long story short, with parties and Memorial Day gatherings in the near future, this refreshing slaw is a great side dish to bring with. You could also add shredded cabbage for a more traditional take on slaw.
Prep time: 15 min Cook time: 0 min Makes: ~2 cups
- 1 cup carrots, shredded
- 1 cup jicama, shredded
- 2 Tablespoons chipotle mayo
- 3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Use a box grater or a food processor with a shredder blade to shred the carrots and jicama. Bonus tip: buy pre-shredded carrots to save time (though they are usually more expensive).
- Combine the shredded carrots and jicama in a large bowl. Add the chipotle mayo, cilantro, and lime juice.
- Stir until combined well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill for best flavor.
Living in San Diego, you could say that Cinco de Mayo is a pretty big deal around these parts. All over the city – and pretty much the rest of the US – folks will be gladly using this holiday to eat vast quantities of guacamole and drink lots of tequila. I hate tequila. It all stems back to a Jimmy Buffet concert in October 2008, but I digress. Safe to say, no NorCal margaritas for me!
I made a version of this salad the other day, and it was so punchy with flavor that I had to make it again. And then it hit me! The colors are red, white and green and most of the ingredients are common to Mexican cuisine. In celebration of the Fifth of May, the Battle of Puebla and the love of drinking fermented agave, I bring you this festive salad. Substitute any cooked meat you’d like if you don’t like steak. I topped mine with a pan-fried grassfed New York strip steak sliced thin.
Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 10 min Makes: 2-3 cups of salad (plus meat)
- 1 cup spinach leaves
- 1 ripe tomato, cubed
- 1/2 cup jicama, cubed
- 1/2 an avocado, cubed
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- Juice of 1-2 limes
- 1 tsp Kasandrinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the spinach, tomato, jicama, avocado and cilantro in a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice on top and drizzle with olive oil.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper if you like.
- Top with cooked meat of choice. I used steak, but grilled chicken would be a great alternative!
Note: I earn a small commission if you use the links in this post to purchase the products I’ve featured. I personally use and believe in the products I recommend.
It’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
- 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
- Cut the rind off the watermelon and cut into medium-sized cubes (about 1/2-inch).
- Peel the cucumber – if you prefer – and cut into similar sized cubes.
- 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.
- Combine these ingredients in a large bowl.
- 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.
Before we dive into this recipe, let’s learn a little bit about this misunderstood vegetable: broccoli rabe (pronounced like “rob”) isn’t actually broccoli at all! Rather, it’s closely related to mustard greens. It’s also commonly called rapini in Italian cuisine. So confusing, right? I saw broccoli rabe hiding among the other greens in the organic section of the market and couldn’t resist the urge to try something new. My curiosity was rewarded because it was damn tasty!
This unassuming veggie can be bitter but when blanched – boiled quickly and then plunged into icy cold water – the unappealing bitterness is removed. If you can’t find broccoli rabe, or if you’re just too chicken to try something new, you can substitute it with virtually any dark leafy green like swiss chard, mustard greens or spinach (no need to blanch those options).
Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 10 min Makes: 2 cups
- 1 large bunch (about 1 lb. / 500 g) of broccoli rabe (rapini)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp chopped pistachio nuts
- 2 Tbsp dried currants
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock (or water)
- Kasandrinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sea salt, to taste
- Boil a large pot of water. Set up a large bowl filled with ice water.
- While the water comes to a boil, trim the ends off the broccoli rabe and chop into wide strips, mince the garlic and chop the pistachios.
- Blanch the broccoli rabe in boiling water for 2 minutes. Immediately transfer to the ice water and allow to cool for a few minutes. Drain.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add a glug of olive oil. Saute the garlic, pistachios, currants and red pepper flakes for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the drained broccoli rabe and chicken stock, cooking for 3-4 more minutes or until the stems are tender. Adjust the seasoning with sea salt if necessary.
I really, really wanted to make “Paleo Mac n’ Cheese”. Really. Then I went to the market and of course, they were all out of spaghetti squash. Luckily, my brain sprang into problem-solver mode and I thought, “What about shredded sweet potatoes?” I think the end result came out better than spaghetti squash ever would have, though you could surely make the sauce and pair it with pre-roasted squash. The sweet potatoes got crispy on top, while the bottom was creamy and bubbling with yummy sauce. Serious comfort food and it’s dairy-free.
The hardest part about making this dish is getting the consistency of the sauce just right. Too thick and it’ll be gummy or leave the dish too dry. Too thin and it’ll be a runny mess. I used three techniques to thicken my sauce: 1) reduction – slowly simmering the sauce until some of the water was driven off from the coconut milk; 2) arrowroot powder – a similar thickening agent to cornstarch; and 3) cold butter added at the end. If you don’t eat butter, just leave it out.
This dish is definitely a once in a while treat since it’s pretty calorically dense, but it really hit the spot!
Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 45 min Makes: 13″ x 9″ dish
- 1-2 large yellow sweet potatoes (~5 cups shredded)
- 13.5 oz (400 mL) can of full fat coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp minced shallot (or onion)
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp arrowroot powder
- 1 Tbsp butter, optional
- 2-3 Tbsp ground almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Grease the bottom and sides of a 13″ x 9″ baking dish with coconut oil or your fat of choice. Set aside.
- Peel and shred the sweet potatoes using a food processor with shredder blade or a box grater. Set aside.
- Mince the shallot very finely. You can use onion if you cannot find shallots.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium low heat, combine the coconut milk and shallots. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the coconut milk starts to reduce.
- Whisk in the nutritional yeast, mustard powder, salt and paprika. Then add the arrowroot powder and whisk well until combined and slightly more thickened. Finish by whisking in about a tablespoon of cold butter (optional). Remove the sauce from the heat.
- Add the potatoes to the baking dish and pour the sauce on top. Stir to combine. Top with ground almonds.
- Bake for about 35 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is bubbly. Turn on the broiler to high. Broil for about 5 minutes until the very top of the potatoes gets a bit crisp and browned – watch them so they don’t burn though!
This is a light salad chock full of tasty veggies that’s perfect for pairing with chicken or fish. The fennel is crispy, the artichoke hearts are tangy, and the parsley makes it fresh. This is easy to double and take to a party.
Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 0 min Makes: ~3-4 cups
- 14 oz can (400 g) artichoke hearts
- 1 medium bulb of fennel
- 1 large handful flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp high quality olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Red pepper flakes, optional
- Drain the artichoke hearts and quarter them.
- Trim the tops and bottom off the fennel. Cut it in half lengthwise and very thinly slice.
- Chop the parsley.
- Combine the artichoke hearts, fennel, parsley, onion, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a bowl.
- Eat right away or let it sit and marinate for about 30 minutes.
Alright! Now before you click away because this has the word “celery” in it, just stay with me for a minute here. I know so many people who don’t like celery, but rest assured, this is something different. Celery root, also called celeriac, is the subterranean component of celery and looks like other bulbous root veggies such as turnip (swede). When roasted, it takes on a mildly sweet flavor. It’s also very tasty in braised dishes and stews, but tonight I decided to turn this one into a simple – but incredibly flavorful – mash based on a Jaimie Oliver recipe.
Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 20 min Makes: ~3-4 cups
- 1 celery root (celeriac)
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 2 tsp dried sage or 1 tsp dried thyme
- ~1/4 cup stock* or water
- Coconut oil or fat of choice
- 2 Tbsp coconut cream or coconut butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and dice the celery root into equal-sized pieces. They don’t have to be perfect, but evenly-diced cubes will cook more evenly.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the celery root in a spoonful of coconut oil. Season with the sage (or thyme) and salt & pepper.
- Once the pieces are browned, add the garlic and stock (or water). Put a lid on the skillet and steam the celery root on medium-low heat until cooked through, about 15-20 more minutes. Check to make sure the veggies aren’t getting too dried out and add a bit more water if necessary.
- Add the coconut cream and mash the celery root to the desired consistency. I left mine a bit chunky. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.
- *I used part of a gluten-free, Paleo-friendly bullion cube mixed with water.
A couple weeks back, I went to an Oscar party with the wonderful folks from Invictus and had to think of an Oscar-themed dish to bring along. Originally, I was joking around with Tiger Burgers (a nod to Life of Pi and Richard Parker) but then I kept thinking Pi-neapple. The idea for Life of Pi-neapple Indian Rice was born.
I modified a recipe by the amazing Melissa Joulwan of Well Fed, and what I brought is the result. It looks a lot like curry rice…so realistic in fact that when I asked my pal Amy if she’d tried it, she said no because she’d thought it was real rice. The currants and cinnamon give a hint of sweet and spicy while the cilantro adds a nice fresh flavor. The batch easily doubles to serve more hungry bellies or just to have for leftovers. Pairs really well with chicken and shrimp.
Prep time: 10-15 min Cook time: 15 min Makes: 3-4 side dish servings
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1/4 of a fresh pineapple (or 1/2 cup unsweetened canned pineapple)
- 1/2 of an onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1 Tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 large handful of cilantro
- Coconut oil or fat of choice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rice the cauliflower in a food processor. Set aside.
- Dice the pineapple into small pieces (hint: big chunks are fine but cutting it to a smaller size is a bit more appealing visually).
- Dice the onion and garlic finely. Chop the cilantro.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt a large spoonful of coconut oil. Saute the onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, almonds, currants, curry powder and cinnamon. Stir until combined well.
- Increase the heat to medium-high, add another spoonful of coconut oil and dump in the cauliflower. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until it’s softened but not mushy.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the pineapple and cilantro. Check flavor and add salt / pepper to taste.