Category Archives: Veggies

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Honey & Pepper Roasted Carrots

Roasted Carrots

Paleo + Life|Honey & Pepper Roasted Carrots

Oh, what a long, strange trip it’s been. Suddenly, it is the first day of fall. Looking back, summer flew by, though I can clearly recall individual days that seemed to last forever.

While I feel like I still need time to really settle in to the rhythm of fall, the thing I am most glad of is the cooler weather and the ability to cook in my kitchen again. I have missed it terribly, but so much of the summer was just too hot to live. Fall, now, this is my time. There’s just so much good food to be had.

Like these carrots, for example. I am a complete sucker for rainbow carrots. They cost a bunch more than regular carrots, but I don’t even care. Colors! Yellow ones, purple ones, even the usual orange ones are pretty spiffy when arranged prettily on a plate.

You may be surprised to learn which variety is your favorite — I love the orange varieties of carrots, but the yellow ones are my favorite, as they are milder and sweeter. The purple are a bit intense: they seem almost beet-like in their musky overtones.

A couple of notes: Go easy on the pepper (and a little heavier on the honey) if you are making this for little ones, unless yours are like my oldest, who loves spicy things about as much as she loves us. Sensitive palates may balk. Also, if your honey is a really thick variety, try zapping it in the microwave to get the right consistency for drizzling. You don’t want to use immense gobs of honey; the idea is to gently enhance the natural sweetness of the carrots, not overwhelm it.

 

Honey & Pepper Roasted Carrots

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds rainbow carrots
  • 3 tablespoons oil (melted coconut oil is my favorite)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (if yours is quite thick, warm it up in the microwave)
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Wash, gently scrub and pat dry the carrots. Lay them flat on a cookie sheet.
  3. Drizzle the carrots with the oil, rotating them to ensure that all sides are coated. Repeat with the honey.
  4. Sprinkle the carrots with pepper and salt. Place them in the oven, roasting until they are carmelized and "give" when poked with a fork (approximately 25 minutes).
  5. Remove from the oven and serve.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/honey-pepper-roasted-carrots/

Delicata Squash Sous Vide

Delicata Squash Sous Vide | Paleo + Life

My friend C., one of my favorite people in the world, has something of a squash obsession.
I have known this woman to buy multiple pounds of winter squashes — even when she was only cooking for herself.
Because she loves food like I love food, I took her squash addiction seriously. However, I didn’t share it until two things happened:
One: I discovered that the skin on delicata squashes is edible. Blew. My. Mind. I have been cooking for far more years than I can recall, and yet this was news to me. Incredibly exciting news, too: anything that makes these vitamin-filled veggies even easier to cook and eat is brilliant in my book.

Two: I spent some time with my new favorite book,The Flavor Bible. Reading over the “Squash” entry, I noticed how close it was to the entry for “Turmeric”, and an idea was born…

Delicata Squash Sous Vide | Paleo + Life

This recipe was pretty much perfect right out of the gate. I attribute that to the generous use of fresh turmeric, which I had never tried before. The flavor is bright — a little peppery, a little earthy, with a menthol-like freshness that is nothing like the dried stuff. Inspired by 101 Cookbooks’ Turmeric Tea, I added a splash of lemon to really punch up that flavor, and a sprinkle of black pepper to enhance turmeric’s natural bite. With some onion, a dab of olive oil, and a little time in the sous vide, the squash becomes even creamier and more delicious.

Delicata Squash Sous Vide

Ingredients

  • 2 delicata squash, scooped out and sliced into rings
  • 1/4 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2" x 1" piece fresh turmeric, peeled

Instructions

  1. Preheat the sous vide to 185F.
  2. While the oven heats, combine squash and onions in a large pouch. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Grate turmeric over the mixture. Holding the pouch closed, swish the contents around so that the seasonings are spread equally over the squash. Seal the pouch.
  3. When the sous vide reaches the correct temperature, place the sealed pouch in the sous vide and cook for 1-1/2 - 2 hours. Remove the vegetables from oven; set aside until ready to serve.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/delicata-squash-sous-vide/

Grilled Eggplant

Grilled Eggplant | Paleo + LifeBecause we have a very busy family, I have a deep and abiding passion for speedy side dishes. Those days when we’re caught in traffic, or need to hustle off somewhere after dinner, demand fast dishes. They get bonus points if they look and taste much more impressive than the twenty minutes I usually have to put them together. Happily, grilled eggplant meets those requirements.

Now I happen to love eggplant, which probably makes me a weirdo. I’m okay with that, though, since it means that it is generally not too expensive and there is plenty of it in stock when I’m at the store. Cooking it like this makes it useful the next day, too: when I grill it this way, eggplant makes a wonderful wrap for sandwiches (thank you, Diana Rodgers,* for that inspiration).

Cooking notes: If you’ve made a flavored oil, use that here. It adds even more oomph to the flavor. Eggplant is quite neutral, so whatever flavoring you add works wonderfully. If you don’t have herbes de Provence, try mixing equal parts parsley, thyme, rosemary, and oregano.  It’s not an exact match, but it is close enough to give you a similar flavor.

Grilled Eggplant

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or other fat of choice, divided
  • 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1 eggplant, sliced vertically, about 1/4" thick

Instructions

  1. Lay out the slices of eggplant on a cutting board; sprinkle with salt and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, pre-heat a griddle pan over high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil to pan.
  3. In a small bowl, combine oil, herbs, salt and pepper, stirring thoroughly.
  4. Using a paper towel, gently wipe the salt and moisture from the eggplant, then coat front and back of each slice with the oil mixture.
  5. Lay the eggplant slices on the griddle at a diagonal. Sear for 2 minutes. (If crosshatching is desired, you will need to pick up the slice and replace it on the griddle at the opposite angle after the first minute of cooking.) Repeat for the second side.
  6. Remove slices from heat; serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/grilled-eggplant/

* = Affiliate link.

Delicata Squash Za’atar

Delicata Squash Za'ataar | Paleo + LifeOne of the things I did not expect from going paleo is the change in my taste buds. While I wasn’t eating a ton of packaged foods previously, switching to a largely paleo diet has made my palate more sensitive to quieter flavors, like those of delicata squash.

As the name implies, delicatas really are a more delicate sort of winter squash. The rind is not as firm and they cook much faster than harder varieties. Their flavor reminds me of a sweet potato, and I think they would be similarly delicious in a pie or quick bread.

This easy side dish is a good companion for a more flavorful dish like roast chicken or pork; I am also happy to just eat it with crackers.
If you are using it as a side, you can even roast the squash in the oven along with the chicken, though delicatas will cook much more quickly and need to be taken out of the oven first. However you do it, I highly recommend roasting the squash whole. Winter squashes are often extremely hard and slippery, and I like having all my fingers, so roasting them intact makes most sense to me. Then it’s just peel, take out the seeds and stringy bits, season, smash and eat.

Za’atar* is a spice blend common in Middle Eastern food. There are different blends, of course, but the heart of it is sesame, thyme and sumac (which gives it an earthy, citrusy tang). If you’ve ever gone to a Lebanese restaurant, there is likely to be za’atar on the table.
Dried parsley adds a bit more of that grassy, herbal flavor. It’s subtle, but worth adding. Finish it off with a swish of olive oil, and enjoy.

Delicata Squash Za’atar

Ingredients

  • 2 delicata squash
  • 1 tablespoon za'atar
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Olive oil for serving

Instructions

  1. Roast squash in a 350 oven for 30 minutes, or until skin is slightly charred and the flesh gives when poked with a fork. Remove from oven; set aside until cool enough to handle.
  2. When cool, peel squash and cut in half. Using a spoon or small rubber spatula, scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh around them; discard.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cleaned squash, za'ataar, salt and parsley. Stir vigorously to combine.
  4. Add a swirl of olive oil and serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/delicata-squash-zaatar/

* = Affiliate link.

Lime & Rosemary Roasted Broccoli

Lime & Rosemary Roasted Broccoli | Paleo + Life

Once in a very great while, going to the grocery store while hungry is a good idea.

If I hadn’t been hungry, I would not have noticed these broccoli crowns. They were just sitting there, in unassuming mounds of bristly green, looking for all the world as if a giant hand had scooped out a patch of earth from one of the tree-covered hills that surround us here in the Willamette Valley. But the contrast of the bright orange sale sticker and the robust green of the broccoli caught my hungry eye, and I thought, “Why not?”

Why not indeed? I am always looking for something my youngest girl will reliably eat; getting vegetables into her is always a challenge. When I saw the broccoli, I remembered how much she liked the roasted broccoli I made from this recipe. I decided I’d make it again.

Despite my plan to remake the dish, there is something just slightly fickle in me that refuses to ever make a dish the exact same way. Since I was just cooking to be cooking, rather than cooking for the blog (ha, I’m certain every food blogger has said this at one point), I figured I’d just tinker, leave my version in my memory, and go on my merry way.

But.

Lime & Rosemary Roasted Broccoli | Paleo + Life

You see that crust on the edges of the broccoli? Those caramel-colored crusty tips? That, my friends, is the intersection of health and heaven. When I pull the trays of broccoli out of the oven, that crust is what I look for first. That bit that always makes me snatch the tiniest florets right off the hot-hot-HOT pan, heat be damned, because I cannot wait: I’ve just got to eat it. right. this. second.

Sigh. Just thinking about it makes me want more.

Roasted vegetables, as I mentioned the other day, are perfect with a light dressing of infused oil. Since I had just made rosemary oil, that was what I used: the contrast of tangy lime with the deep piney flavor of rosemary is sublime. A generous sprinkling of nutritional yeast adds a cheesy tang, making this dish perfect for vegans and the dairy-intolerant. If you do eat dairy, try this with a grated hard cheese like Grana Padano.

Lime & Rosemary Roasted Broccoli

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds broccoli crowns
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons herb oil
  • 1 lime, sliced in half

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Break apart broccoli florets; lay them on two cookie sheets. Sprinkle each tray with salt, pepper, and olive oil; massage the oil onto the florets to coat.
  3. Place the cookie sheets into the oven, roast the broccoli until it is fork-tender and the tips are brown and crusty (about 30 minutes). Remove from oven.
  4. When cool enough to handle, scootch broccoli into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, then toss. Add herb oil and toss, then squeeze the juice of one-half lime over the broccoli; toss again. (If desired, use the other half as well.)
  5. Serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/lime-rosemary-roasted-broccoli/

Food Lovers’ Fridays: Duxelles (Sauteed Mushrooms)

Mushroom Duxelles | Paleo + Life

Food Lovers’ Fridays: I’m a big fan of bringing classical cooking methods and recipes into the home kitchen. Today’s post is the start of a series meant to highlight those traditional techniques and recipes that can be used or adapted to paleo cooking.

Have y’all ever read Fancy Nancy*? If you know any little girls under the age of eight or so, I’m sure the answer is yes.
If not, I’ll just tell you briefly that it’s a pretty adorable series of books about a girl who enjoys being fancy. I especially love the way the author gives definitions of ‘fancy’ words to her readers: fuschia is fancy for purple; plume is fancy for feather, and so on.

Why is fancy relevant today? Because this dish has a lovely name that sounds fancier than it is. Just think of “duxelles” as fancy for “sauteed mushrooms with shallots, garlic, and herbs.”

Mushroom Duxelles | Paleo + LifeDuxelles really is as simple as fancy cooking gets. The dicing is the hardest part, and that’s only because it takes time to do. When I am making this, I tend to do a less precise cut — more of a rough chop than a proper dice. In a hurry? Chop the mushrooms and alliums (fancy for onions, shallots, garlic, leeks and other related plants) in a good processor. Any way you slice it (ha ha), it is just as delicious.

Note that mushrooms are full of liquid, and will release their moisture as they cook; be sure to let all of this liquid cook off. The end result is concentrated, deep, ‘shroomy goodness that is excellent in omelets or scrambles, as filling in a casserole, stuffing for roasted poultry, or just as a fabulous side dish all on its own.

Variations abound: use a variety of mushrooms, instead of just one; substitute sweet onions for shallots; use thyme or sage instead of parsley — make it as plain or fancy as you please.

Duxelles (Sauteed Mushrooms)

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds white button mushrooms
  • 2 shallots (for this batch, I substituted 1/2 large sweet onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fat (ghee, butter or olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley (1-1/2 tablespoons fresh, minced)

Instructions

  1. Wash mushrooms; pat dry. Dice and set aside.
  2. Peel shallots and garlic. Dice these -- mince, if you want to be extra fancy -- and set aside.
  3. In large skillet, warm the fat. When melted, add shallots and garlic to the pot. Saute until shallots are just tender (6-8 minutes; if subbing onions, note that they tend to take a minute or two longer).
  4. Add mushrooms to the skillet. Saute until mushrooms have given up their liquid and it has cooked off (8-10 minutes); the mixture should be dry.
  5. Remove skillet from the heat. To serve, season with salt, pepper and parsley.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/duxelles-sauteed-mushrooms/

* = Affiliate link.

Salt-Roasted Beets

Salt Roasted Beets | Paleo + LifeSalt. Roasted. Beets.

Now, I know there are those out there who hate beets. For years, I was one of them. One of my earliest memories, in fact, is eating beets at pre-school. In my opinion, the flavor was musty, nasty, and just slightly better than dirt — if pressed, I was far more likely to eat the dirt. There was no love for the beet in my heart.

(Hee. See what I did there? Ahem. Nevermind.)

But one year, I decided to grown golden beets in our garden. Why would a beet hater do such a thing? I wanted the greens, which are quite delicious. As for the actual beets, I figured I would just pawn them off on a neighbor.

However, my curiosity — and a beet-loving husband — got the better of me. I steamed a few of them, and it was a revelation. These beautiful golden orbs had a deep, earthy, lingering sweetness that was positively addictive. We ate them greedily, and mourned when we had no more.

Salt-Roasted Beets | Paleo + LifeA recent trip to the farmers’ market brought golden beets back into my thoughts, and then quickly into my kitchen. I knew I wanted to do something special with them, but could not think what. Then I fell down some rabbit hole of research — does that happen to other people? Surely I’m not the only one — and re-discovered salt roasting. Immediately, I thought this would be a perfect technique for beets.

This roasting method infuses the beets with salty flavor and tempers their sweetness. My oldest says (and I agree) the flavor resembles sweet corn — a welcome treat for anyone, especially paleo eaters, who can’t eat the real deal. If you like, add herbs like rosemary or thyme to the salt. I prefer to add ghee and herbs after roasting, but either way is delicious.

Salt-Roasted Beets

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Pour a thin layer of salt into the bottom of a medium ovenproof skillet (approximately 1/4" deep). The bottom of the skillet should be completely covered.
  3. Nestle the beets into the salt, making sure they do not touch. Add enough salt to cover the tops of the beets.
  4. Roast for approximately 35 minutes, or until beets are soft and salt has become stiff and crusty. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. When cool enough to handle, scrape salt from beets. To serve, split the beets' skins, rub the flesh with ghee or coconut oil, and sprinkle with parsley.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/salt-roasted-beets/

Cinnamon Pepper Plantains (Maduros)

Cinnamon Pepper Plantains | Paleo + Life

Calendar coincidences amuse me. Today, for example, is Labor Day, which is always the first Monday of September. It is also the first day of the September. Somehow, it seems as if that makes today more meaningful and important. Is that weird? Probably. Still, it seems like an extra-auspicious day to make a fresh start.

With fresh starts in mind, today is a great time to start a Whole30, like my friend J. is doing.
My husband and I did one in February, and even though I thought we had a pretty healthy diet before, we discovered that we were eating a surprising amount of junk. Doing the Whole30 was a great way to reacquaint ourselves with the way we really wanted to eat and to feed our family.

So while I am focusing on tasty, kid-friendly dishes this month, I will also be sure to include things that are Whole30 appropriate.  Like these cinnamon pepper plantains.

Cinnamon Pepper Plantains | Paleo + Life

Plantains are a strange and wonderful food, useful in all their stages of ripeness. When green, they are bland and starchy — great for taking the place of grains, as in this excellent (not Whole30) pancake recipe from The Paleo Mom. As plantains ripen, turning from green to yellow to black, their natural starches convert to sugar and they become sweeter and sweeter; the flavor is something like a cross between an apple and a banana. Because of this, it is important to get plantains at the proper stage of ripeness so your dish turns out correctly.

For this recipe, my take on a traditional preparation called maduros, I recommend using plantains that are on the riper side, anywhere from spotty yellow to completely black. Again, the darker the plantain, the sweeter they will be.  Note that plantain skins are much tougher than those of bananas, so you’ll need to cut them off rather than peeling them.
The seasoning is simple — just three ingredients — but the sharpness of freshly ground black pepper and the sweetness of cinnamon heightens and intensifies the taste. As a bonus, true cinnamon*happens to be incredibly good for you.
All in all, it’s a great start to a Whole30, a new month, or just to enjoy something a little different.

Cinnamon Pepper Plantains (Maduros)

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe plantains
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, preferably Ceylon

Instructions

  1. Cut plantains in half. Gently wedge the knife just below the skins and remove. Slice the flesh in half.
  2. Season plantains with salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Warm a medium skillet over medium heat. When warm, add 2 tablespoons coconut oil.
  4. Add seasoned plantain slices to the oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until plantain is caramelized and brown. Add more oil if needed. Flip; cook for another 2 minutes on the second side. Remove from pan and serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/cinnamon-pepper-plantains/

* = Afifliate link

Butter Braised Radishes

Butter Braised Radishes | Paleo + Life

A couple of summers ago, my neighbor and I were discussing radishes. At the time, I was not a fan — too peppery and bitey for me — but she mentioned that she’d found a recipe for radishes in butter in one of the fancy food magazines, and that they were actually delicious. A week or so later, she brought me some to try.

Instantly, I was hooked. Cooking the radishes in butter not only tamed their bite, but transformed it into tender, luscious bites of heaven. I was in awe. I was determined to make them. I made it once, and loved it,

Of course, as one does, I got busy. I forgot where I found the recipe. But I never forgot that tenderness, or that scrumptious flavor. So when I found bunches of radish at the farmer’s market, I knew I had to try to make something like it.

There is so much that is right and delicious in this dish. Butter. Pepper. Shallot. The magic of braising turns radishes — wild-tasting spice bombs — into mellow vessels for the deep flavor of fresh sage and browned butter. These are so, so good.

If you are strict paleo, use a good brand of ghee instead of the butter. Vegans and lactose-intolerant folks, of course, can substitute an oil such as coconut, avocado or olive. If you do, I’d recommend a dash of curry powder to add some savory depth. Save the radish greens for another dish; they are delicious as well.

Butter Braised Radishes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons ghee, butter or coconut oil
  • 4 bunches radishes, quartered (about 3-1/2 cups)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, cut in a chiffonade
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add in the shallot and sage leaves; stirring occasionally, heat them until the sage is limp and the butter has begun to brown.
  2. Add the radishes to the pan, stirring to coat. Saute the mixture for about five minutes, or until the radishes start to turn a little bit pink. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 10-15 minutes more; the radishes will be completely pink and soft when done.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/butter-braised-radishes/

Perfectly Paleo Peppers and Onions

Perfectly Paleo Peppers and Onions | Paleo + LifeOne of the best things about eating paleo is that you need to plan ahead. That might sound counter-intuitive, but hear me out. Giving up bread and most grains eliminates the quick and easy staples we depend on. Toast, frozen waffles, fries…all of those easy things are out. Instead, we make time on the weekends or in the evenings to do a big cook up of staples for the coming week.

I enjoy this cook up process because it allows me to be more thoughtful about what we’re putting in our bodies. Rather than the “Oh-shoot-what’s-for-dinner-I-have-no-idea-ARRGH-go-get-a-grocery-store-roasted-chicken!” freak out, spending a few weekend hours doing some prep work means that tasty, healthy meals can happen quickly, before anyone ends up with the hunger-fueled tantrums we call “the hangries.”

One of my favorite things to prep for the week is peppers and onions. It doesn’t take much time to make, it’s a great side dish on its own and a fabulous building block for complex dishes. I put this under fried eggs for a fast breakfast, add it to salads at lunch, mix it with Carrots and Nigella for a heartier dinner…its versatility means I make this almost every week. More adventurous eaters can substitute hot peppers for some of the sweet ones. Anchos or poblanos provide gentle heat; jalapenos or serranos add more intense fire.

Perfectly Paleo Peppers and Onions

Ingredients

  • 6 sweet bell peppers: 2 each red, yellow and orange
  • 1 large onion
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash and core the peppers, discarding the seeds and pith. Slice the peppers into thin strips.
  2. Peel the onion. With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice thinly.
  3. Peel and dice garlic.
  4. Warm a saute pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add onions, garlic and peppers.
  5. Saute until the vegetables are starting to soften (about 5 minutes); add parsley. Cook until onions are translucent and the peppers are limp (5-6 minutes more). Add salt and pepper to taste.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/perfectly-paleo-peppers-onions/

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