Zucchini Pasta with Sundried Tomato & Mushroom Cream Sauce

I am obesessed with my new spiralizer. photo 5OBSESSED.  The combo of TJ’s organic zucchini at a great price, my general love of sauces, and my fancy new sub-twenty-dollars gadget is just too good to be true. One of my favorite people came over to cook dinner with me the other night and I was craving sundried tomatoes (weird, I know) so we threw a bunch of yummy things in a skillet and ended up with a recipe that is going to be a staple in my kitchen.

BONUS: This dish comes three ways! What?! I’m out of control.

  1. MEATLY: The first time around I roasted a chicken, carved it (ok, Sam carved it cause it still freaks me out), and added the chopped meat to the sauce. We also used chicken broth from the roast.
  2. VEGGIE: The second time I used veggie broth and no meat. It was still incredibly savory, and Sam actually preferred it this way. Or maybe he just wanted to eat the chicken on its own 🙂
  3. VEGAN: I haven’t vetted this version yet, but when I do I’ll update. In general I’ve had amazing success with cashew cream in lieu of heavy cream, and I think this would be another great recipe to use it. I’d substitute nutritional yeast for the parm, but would probably just sprinkle some over the top of each serving for that extra flavor in lieu of mixing it in to the sauce. The parm isn’t necessary for thickening – the tapioca flour is pretty effective in that department!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil, divided
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 c. sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 c. chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 2 Tsbp. fresh chopped basil
  • 1/2 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. tapicoa flour
  • fresh ground salt & pepper
  • 3 to 4 organic zucchini, spiralized

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Directions

  1. Spiralize your zucchini! So fun!!
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add and heat 1 Tbsp. oil/butter.
  3. Sauté shallots until soft, then add garlic and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms begin to release their juices.
  4. Stir in the sundried tomatoes, cook for 1 min.
  5. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
  6. Whisk in the cream, basil, salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer.
  7. Whisk in the grated parmesan. Keep whisking until it is completely melted into the sauce.
  8. Don’t toss that whisk in the sink yet! Add 1 tsp. of the tapioca flour and whisk until it is mixed in so that it doesn’t clump. If you’d like the sauce to be thicker, add more. Two teaspoons was perfect for me. If you find that you are an overzealous thickener-er, stir in some milk or water 🙂 This may or may not have happened the first time.
  9. Heat another large skillet or pot, add and heat 1 Tbsp. oil, and throw in the zucchini pasta. I cooked it until it was just warmed through so it had an al dente quality – didn’t want it to get too mushy!
  10. Plate a serving of noodles and smother with creamy, savory perfection. Grate a little fresh parm over the top if you’re feeling fancy. Serves 4!

Additional Spiralizer Hints

  • After spiralizing zucchini, put it in a colander and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. This will sweat the zucchini, pulling out a lot of the juice so the final “pasta” isn’t as watery. Let it sit and drain for about 30 minutes, then pat dry between clean kitchen towels.photo 1
  • Don’t cook the zucchini and the sauce together – the zucchini releases a lot of water and your perfectly thickened sauce is all of a sudden a sad watery puddle 😦
  • Here’s a link to the spiralizer I bought off of Amazon. A lot of the negative reviews for various models were from customers who attempted to spiralize really hard foods like carrots. Sounds like it is safest to stick with the softer stuff like zucchini and summer squash as the blades are not super heavy duty.
  • Use a mix of zucchini pasta with spaghetti squash or summer squash for some variety in texture and “noodle” size.
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Asian Peanut Dressing

My homemade version of peanut dressing! It is free of corn starch, corn syrup, and refined oils. Delicious on Lolo’s Kale Salad or other salads and a great apple or carrot dip. This would be really good with a cabbage & apple slaw – on my short list of recipes to try!

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp natural peanut butter (I strongly recommend Krema or fresh ground PB!)
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce <– spelled correctly on the first try, YEAH! (Disclaimer: Worcestershire is NOT vegetarian as it does have anchovies in it. I don’t know that there is a great alternative since it is pretty complex, so maybe just omit it if you don’t eat fish.)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar (or 1 1/2 Tbsp agave nectar)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender or into an immersion blender-safe container.
  2. Blend until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Chill in refrigerator in an airtight container.

Cashew Cream

01323f5a9dd11d51966f9287ea3ac1082679b9d218A versatile and handy cream substitute – great for vegans, lactose allergies, and just for switching things up once in a while! I love that I can scale this recipe to make exactly enough cream for a recipe. It’s a great way to avoid opening a can of coconut milk, using a couple tablespoons of it, and letting the rest go to waste.

I always use cashew cream in my Chocolate Chili Macaroons, and I’ve also used it in quinoa risotto in lieu of heavy cream. Store in a sealed container and it will keep in the fridge for a few days!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups raw unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • juice from 1/2 of a lemon (about 2 Tbsp)

Directions

  1. Add cashews, water, and lemon juice to a food processor or blender.
  2. Blend until a thick puree forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one time to catch any small cashew pieces trying to jump out of the way!
  3. Store in the fridge in a sealed container.

Chocolate Chili Macaroons

This vegan macaroon recipe has been a huge hit with our friends and family! I found this recipe while my parents were visiting us in Phoenix. I wanted to make a natural vegan dessert for my dad and these turned out good enough that we had to make them again the next day! The original recipe called for just a pinch of chili powder and Sam thought that was sub-par, so when I asked him to make a second batch he loaded up on the spice. The rich chocolately honey flavor combined with the perfect spicy afterburn makes for a decadent dessert that can be thrown together in under ten minutes. Certainly doesn’t hurt that they are so perfectly bite-sized! Mmm.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp of chili powder (if sweet and spicy isn’t your thing, just throw in a pinch!)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk or Cashew Cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until JUST mixed. If you are using finely shredded coconut then you can just mix by hand, too.
  3. Grease a rounded tablespoon with a little coconut oil, then scoop up some of the mixture and press flat against the side of the bowl to pack it tightly.01d65bc12978f575a894b0d986554d5a6a1fb9604e
  4. Tap the spoon on the pan, letting the cookie fall on to the cookie sheet. If necessary, use your fingers to fix the shape so that it is a nicely formed mound that holds together. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. You might need to clean off the tablespoon a couple times and re-grease.
  5. Bake for 10-11 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before moving from the pan so they don’t break apart. I slide the parchment paper off the hot pan onto the counter for expedited cooling/eating.

Source: againstallgrain.com

Sweet Potato Jalapeño Biscuits & Coconut Sausage Gravy

Our half-of-a-pig delivery came with some delicious breakfast sausage and Sam found a recipe for biscuits and gravy immediately. He has made this a couple times now and it is our new go-to breakfast recipe for when we have guests. Rave reviews so far! The combination is just decadent, it is hard to believe that it is so healthy. The kick of the fresh jalapeño is the perfect compliment to the sweet biscuits and gravy.

This was another amazing find from PaleOMG.com. Now that we are eating pork and beef, our Google searches always include the keywords “paleo” or “paleomg.” We have yet to not absolutely love one of her recipes.

Biscuit Ingredients

  • 1-2 sweet potatoes (about 2 cups mashed)01c8b0d378e2c72d7fce376d3f4f053763026b9472
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 4-5 shrimp, cooked, diced small (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp bacon fat or butter, melted
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly diced
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

Biscuit Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Pork holes in your sweet potato with a fork and wrap in a damp paper towl. Microwave for 8 minutes, turn over, and microwave for 4 minutes or until completely cooked.
  3. Peel sweet potato, place in a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher.
  4. Add the eggs and mix well with the mashed sweet potato. Then add in the bacon fat or butter and mix well.
  5. Add your dry ingredients: coconut flour, baking powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. I sift in the coconut flour as it tends to clump. Mix well.
  6. Finally add your diced cooked shrimp (optional) and jalapeños. Mix well.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop biscuits on the sheet. Use an ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Try to make them all equal in size so they cook the same.
  8. Place in oven and bake for 22-27 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let rest for five minutes.

While those bad boys are baking, whip up your delicious gravy!

Gravy Ingredients
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  • 1 (14 ounce) can of coconut milk
  • 1 pound pork breakfast sausage
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flour (or arrowroot powder)
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp dried sage
  • ⅛ tsp smoke paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Gravy Directions

  1. Preheat a cast iron pan. Add the breakfast sausage to the pan and cook until you no longer see any pink, breaking up the sausage as it cooks.
  2. Once meat is cooked through, remove with slotted spoon and set to the side.
  3. Pour the coconut milk into the pan and whisk for a minute while it heats up.
  4. Slowly add in the coconut powder, whisking constantly to break up lumps, until the gravy has your desired consistency.
  5. Whisk in the parsley, garlic powder, sage, smoked paprika and salt and pepper. Mix well.
  6. Add breakfast sausage back in. Taste and salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Plate two biscuits and smother in a generous scoop of gravy. Grind a little fresh pepper over the top and sprinkle with parsley for a splash of color!

For my vegan/vegetarian friends, I’ve made the gravy with Morningstar breakfast sausage and it turned out great! And also for my vegan friends, obviously the gravy can be used with any vegan biscuits, and I also found this recipe for Vegan Sweet Potato Biscuits that looks pretty promising. If you try it (or a different one), let me know how they turn out!

Recipe credit: PaleOMG.com

Lolo’s Kale Salad

Yes, I am naming this after myself. As I sat at my desk five minutes ago, inhaling an entire batch and licking the plate clean, I thought to myself, “Yes…yes, this is the one. It shall proudly bear the name Lolo, and all will know the wonders of kale bathed in peanut buttery goodness…” Anyway, it was inspired by the kale peanut slaw at a restaurant here in Phoenix called Hillstone, and I’ve created my own even-more-peanuty version that is tried, tested, and ready to share! Oh man, just look at it. Rrnnghhghh, so good.

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The wide world of kale is varied and delicious. I’ve done this salad with only green curly kale, with green and red (really pretty!), and with green and Tuscan. I’d go with whatever you can find at your grocery store, and extra mom points if you make it colorful! I’ve also mixed green kale with green and red cabbage, and I find that the strong flavor of raw cabbage gets to be a bit much for me when I am eating this salad in such absurd quantities. But if you are in to that sort of thing then I would recommend giving it a shot.

KALE TIPS & TRICKS:

  • When ripping the leaves off the stems, hold stalk right-side-up, grasping the top of the stalk firmly between two fingers, then wrap your other hand loosely around the stalk and rip the leaves off from top to bottom in one swoop. You want to be ripping in the opposite direction that the veins are pointing.
  • If you’ve left your kale in the fridge for too long and it is all sad and droopy, do not despair! Cut off the bottoms of the stems (just like fresh flowers) and put in a vase of water. The kale will quickly perk right back up!
  • Tuscan kale is the same thing as lacinato kale and often marketed as dinosaur kale. Whatever the name, it is a nice dark green with a thick, smoother texture than regular green kale.
  • Green curly kale makes a great side dish just sauteed up with some butter, salt, and pepper. We have it for breakfast fairly often with fried eggs or even mixed in with scrambled eggs and a little feta cheese.
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Tuscan and red kale

 Salad Ingredients

  • 1 bunch green kale
  • 1 bunch other kale of choice (green, red, dinosaur, Tuscan, etc. I feel like it looks like I’m just typing random words) or 1/2 head cabbage (red, green, whatever you like)
  • 3-6 green onions
  • 1 batch Asian Peanut Dressing
  • 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Wash and dry the kale. Rip the leaves off of the stalks. Chop in half-inch intervals from left to right and then from top to bottom, so you are left with many adorable kale squares. If you are using cabbage, chop similarly. Make sure you have more kale than cabbage – shoot for a 2:1 ratio.
  2. Finely chop your green onions. Three is perfect for a smaller batch (one bunch of kale), 5-6 is great for a large batch.
  3. Chop your peanuts! I don’t have an actual nut chopper, but when I chop them with a kitchen knife I actually like how the different pieces vary in size.
  4. Toss salad with Asian Peanut Dressing, green onions, and a good handful of the peanuts. Start with about 2/3 of the dressing, get it mixed, and see how you like the coverage. I prefer more dressing, some prefer less. If you have any dressing left over, it is really delicious as a carrot dip, or also totally acceptable to eat by the spoonful.
  5. Refrigerate for AT LEAST one hour! This salad does not reach its final form until thoroughly chilled!
  6. Serve with extra peanuts sprinkled over the top.

Voilà! Delicious.

Jamie sure likes to help me do the dishes when I make this dressing! Mmm, peanut butter. This was the day I discovered that Jamie crosses his eyes when eating something extra delicious 🙂

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Summer Veggie Ceviche

Oh man, this is a good one. The perfect summer recipe – fresh, flavorful, and bursting with color. Ceviche is typically a seafood dish featuring things like shrimp or raw ahi, so this is really more like a salad, but delicious nonetheless!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen lima beansVeggie Ceviche
  • 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about three limes)
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels (frozen, fresh, or canned)
  • 2 nectarines, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 avocado, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, finely julienned
  • 1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the lima beans until tender, about 10 minutes. If they are already cooked, just boil long enough to heat through, about five minutes. Drain the beans and rinse under cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the lime zest and juice with the olive oil, scallion, shallot, and jalapeño; season the dressing with sea salt if desired. Gently fold in lima beans, corn, nectarines, avocado, orange pepper, and tomatoes (I didn’t make it to Trader Joes this time to get heirloom tomatoes so just settled on some nice ripe grape tomatoes). Refrigerate the ceviche for at least 2 hours. Fold in the cilantro just before serving and serve the ceviche chilled, preferably in adorable individual glasses with lime wedge 😉

Serves 8. The salad can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours according to the recipe. I’ve had it in the fridge overnight and it is still REAL delicious. Leaving the cilantro on the side works well as it is easy to sprinkle over each individual serving…just in case you are cooking for any of the unfortunately genetically mutated non-cilantro eaters!

Recipe Credit: August 2013 issue of Food & Wine Magazine.