Turmeric Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Harissa

This recipe emerged from a recipe for a Roasted Carrot Soup on the What’s Cooking Good Looking blog, but I like to chew my food and am a somewhat lazy cook anyway, so I opted out of turning the ingredients into a blended soup and created a side dish of them instead.
MY, OH MY, this did not disappoint!

Enough harissa was made to be used on grilled chicken, salmon, and other proteins throughout the week. Carrot tops are often thrown out before they get to market, but if you find a batch of carrots with tops attached, grab them and get crackin’ on this recipe!

Carrot tops are rich in vitamin A, and are rumored to have decent amounts of calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin C, iron and zinc. Carrots are a member of the same family as parsley and cilantro, and these two herbs are nutrition powerhouses so it stands to reason carrot tops may also provide a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals. 

Make this recipe on a chilly night or any time you feel your meals are lacking a little excitement. This will reset our palate and remind you how delightful vegetables can be!

Turmeric Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Harissa

Ingredients:

for the turmeric spiced carrots:
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
a pinch of cayenne
2 tbsp. of olive oil

for the carrot top harissa: 
1 cup of green carrot tops, chopped
1/2 cup of cilantro
5 mint leaves
2 small garlic clove, sliced
the juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of salt
about 2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil

Make the spice rub, and roast the carrots:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400º. 
  • Make the turmeric spice rub by placing all of the ingredient for the rub into a food processor and pulse until you have a consistent mixture. 
  • Place the onions and carrots onto a parchment lined baking sheet and rub them with the spice mixture. Roast for about 30 minutes, until the carrots are very soft/fork tender. 

While the carrots are roasting, make the carrot top harissa:

  • Place all of the ingredients for the carrot top harissa into a food processor (except for the oil). Pulse a few times, and then drizzle in the oil in a slow stream while the food processor is running, until you have a consistent mixture. Set aside until you’re ready to serve. 

Remove the carrots from the oven and lay them out of a platter. Serve with Harissa and extra lemon wedges, if desired. 

Instant Pot Detox Mashed Fauxtatoes

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I’m so excited about these mashed fauxtatoes! The CSA box delivered Jerusalem artichokes (also known as sunchokes) and a cauliflower that was wasting away without purpose finally found a home. The result? MAGIC.

Winter’s sunchokes and cauliflower pair together for a subtlety sweet, satisfying replacement for mashed potatoes…PERFECT for when winter has you craving all the carbs.

Sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes) are a root vegetable, similar to yams, sweet potatoes and carrots. At first glance, they look a lot like ginger, as they are much smaller than most root veggies and knobby, just like ginger is. Sunchokes are filled with a special fiber called inulin which feeds beneficial bacteria in the gut (like Lactobacillus species) and contributes to production of short chain fatty acids like butyrate, which also improve the quality and integrity of the gut walls while also providing food for the cells that line the intestinal wall. Increasing your prebiotics can even help you absorb more minerals from the food you eat by supporting a healthy bacterial milieu.  Did you know that the gut is the second most prolific detox organ?? By supporting gut health,  your liver has an easier go of it.
Speaking of detoxification, cauliflower is one of the wonder foods in this area. Like its other cruciferous cousins, it’s rich in sulfurophane which helps the body render toxins like xenoestrogens and BPA harmless enough to leave the body and also breaks down bile acids and some hormones and neurotransmitters.

This excellent side dish supports gut and liver health and is a great addition to any winter detox or post-holiday cleansing diet. I added a little ghee for richness, but olive oil, coconut oil, or flax oil could be incorporated here if you prefer.

Ingredients

1 pound sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes)
1 small head cauliflower
1 cup water
1 steamer basket
sea salt and pepper, to taste
(optional: 1-2 tbsp. ghee, butter, or non-dairy substitute)

Directions:

  1. Scrub sunchokes with a stiff brush under water to remove any soil. Leave the skins on, as they contain fiber and beneficial antioxidants.
    Cut the cauliflower into large chunks.
  2. Pour water into the bottom of the instant pot. Add the steamer basket and then layer the sunchokes in the basket. Add the cauliflower on top.
  3. Turn on the Instant Pot and set to Manual for 8 minutes. Let the InstantPot release pressure naturally.
  4. Remove sunchokes and cauliflower and place in a Vitamix or food processor. Pulse on low to mix, adding hot water if needed to thin the mix. If using butter (or a substitute) add it here, as the solid fat will melt quickly and incorporate into the fautatoes well. Add salt and pepper and pulse once more, then remove and pour into a bowl.

No Instant pot?

Steam sunchokes on the stove for about 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower florets and continue steaming until cauliflower is very tender. Proceed with Step 4.

Serves 4-6.

 

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Resources:

Abrams S. Griffin I. Abstract number 821:Calcium absorption is increased in adolescent girls receiving enriched inulin. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2000; 31: s210.

De Preter, V., Joossens, M., Ballet, V., Shkedy, Z., Rutgeerts, P., Vermeire, S., & Verbeke, K. (2013). Metabolic profiling of the impact of oligofructose-enriched inulin in Crohn’s disease patients: a double-blinded randomized controlled trial. Clinical and translational gastroenterology, 4(1), e30.

Van den Heuvel EG; et al.: Nondigestible oligosaccharides do not interfere with calcium and nonheme-iron absorption in young, healthy men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1998 Mar, 67:3, 445-51.

Lacto-fermented Chard Stems

I really must thank my friend and colleague, Abra Pappa of Abra’s Kitchen for the idea of pickling chard stems. This recipe is inspired by her, and modified by my desire for fun flavors in my pickled veg.

Save your chard stems and give this a try – given that 2 large bunches of collards cooks down to about 6 cups of greens, this can be a great use for leftover stems after Sunday batch cooking.

  • 16 oz. canning jar, leftover pickle jar or fermentation vessel
  • Stems from 2 bunches of Chard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns
  • 1-2 shakes of red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 grape leaf (optional – the tannins in the grape leaf keep the stems crunchy)
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp. sea salt
  1. Trim off the tips of the stems and cut stems 3-5 inches long, so that they can be stacked in the jar yet are short enough to be covered with the brine.
  2. Crush the garlic to allow the juices to ooze out. Place peppercorns, bay leaf, and red pepper in the jar. Stack chard stems upright into the jar and then wedge the garlic in between the stems. If using a grape leaf, lay it atop the chard.
    Fill the jar with brine until the chard and grape leaf are fully submerged.
  3. Leftover brine can be stored in the fridge for 7-10 days – if you are unable to use it to pickle another vegetable (radish, cabbage, carrots, green beans) incorporate it into a brine for chicken or pork.
  4. Close the jar tightly, and set aside on a plate in a cool, dark place to ferment for 5-9 days. If you are using a canning or pickle jar, you’ll need to check on it daily to release mounting pressure as it ferments. Top off the jar with brine, if needed.
  5. When ready, these can be stored in the fridge for up to a year. Top them off with brine before storing to ensure freshness.

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Paleo Vegan Gobi Manchurian

Oh, cauliflower! Is there anything you can’t do?

 

My first taste of Gobi Manchurian was a handful of years ago from Indian Food takeout in Portland. I was blown away by the complexity of taste and texture in these little nuggets of fried cauliflower and knew I had to make it myself. Upon exploration, I discovered it was breaded and fried, so I wanted to create a recipe that was more aligned with my eating style. I took to Pinterest, grabbed a couple recipes, and sat on the idea over the next four years but never forgot that dish.

Fast forward to last month, when I found myself overloaded with cauliflower due to a shopping snafu. I had already made Buffalo Cauliflower and Cauliflower rice, so decided this was going to be the moment that I put my procrastination abilities to fine use; I was going to avoid studying by trying to recreate Gobi Manchurian!

Gobi Manchurian is the result of the Chinese influence on Indian food (yeah, I didn’t know that happened either, although it is rumored to be in only one small area of India) and it is definitely the case of two great tastes tasting great together. Traditionally, cauliflower is dipped into a spiced batter and then deep fried, but I opted to bake it instead.

Here’s the recipe I came up with:

Paleo Gobi Manchurian

 

Cauliflower Nuggets

  • 1 cup cassava flour (can sub GF flour blend if not paleo)
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered garlic
  • 1.5 cups water*
  • 1 tbsp. coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized florets

Sauce:

  • 2-3 tbsp. sesame oil (let your taste guide you)
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 tbsp. hot sauce (I used sriracha)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. coconut aminos
  • 1 -2 tsp. honey
  • 1 jalapeño or thai chile, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

*less water may be needed if using an alternate flour

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F/ 200 degrees C.

In a medium mixing bowl, add cassava flour, pepper, garlic and ginger. Mix to combine well. Drizzle coconut aminos and oil over mix, then add water slowly, mixing it in until the consistency is like thick pancake batter. Coat the cauliflower with the batter, and set the cauliflower on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a well-oiled baking sheet.

Roast cauliflower for 20 minutes, turning once to brown on all sides.

While roasting, make sauce.

Mix sesame oil, ginger, garlic, hot sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, honey, and coconut aminos in a blender and blend to combine thoroughly and more finely dice the garlic and ginger. Saute the onion and chili over medium high heat with a dash of oil and about 2-4 tbsp. water to ‘steam saute’ until the onion is translucent. Add the sauce and remove from heat.

When browned, remove cauliflower nuggets from oven and let cool slightly. Toss in the sauce until well coated, and then fold in diced scallions and cilantro.
Serves 4.

 

 

Paleo Buffalo Cauliflower (Gluten-free, Dairy-free)

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower, torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup cassava flour
~ 1 cup water
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup hot sauce

Preheat oven to 450F.

In a medium-sized bowl, gently whisk together cassava flour, water, garlic powder and salt. You may need to add more water to get a dippable consistency; aim for something resembling thick pancake batter.

Roll cauliflower into the batter a few pieces at a time, making sure to coat each piece completely. I use my hands for this to ensure a nice, even coat is applied to each piece. Place the battered cauliflower on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, or use a silicon mat for a non-stick surface. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, tossing halfway through.

In the meantime, add the hot sauce in a large bowl. When cauliflower is done, remove it from the oven and gently toss it in the hot sauce mixture until all pieces are well coated. Return the cauliflower to the baking sheet and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until slightly crispy.
Resist temptation and let the cauliflower cool for 15 minutes before serving, lest you burn your tongue and expose your raw tongue flesh to scalding capsaicin. Serve with your favorite dairy-free creamy dip or dressing (Tessame’s Creamy Ranch is delightful!)

Spiced Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Sweet Potato Hash Browns are a lovely alternative to traditional hashbrowns with eggs at breakfast or can be pulled out for the evening and paired with a vegetable and poultry, as shown here. They play well with yolks and are delicious in the evening as well. These would also taste fabulous with a cream fraiche if you tolerate dairy!
A thank you to My Sequined Life for the backbone of this recipe, which I played with because I have a hard time following any recipe precisely!

  • 1 large sweet potato (or 2 small/medium), peeled and grated
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried onion flakes (or use onion powder)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1 extra large chicken or duck egg *optional*
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, to grease the cookie sheet
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Peel and grate sweet potato(es) using a box grater. Add the grated sweet potato to a colander and thoroughly rinse to get rid of the excess starch. The water will be cloudy and slightly orange at first; rinse until the water is clear.
  3. Dry the shreds at much as possible. The quickest way is to add the shredded sweet potato to a salad spinner. Alternatively (or additionally), place the shreds between two layers of paper towels and squeezed out any excess moisture.
  4. Add shreds to a bowl and sprinkle salt, onion flakes, black pepper, paprika, and curry powder. Add egg, which will help bind the patties you’ll form. Mix well to combine.
  5. Generously grease a baking sheet with coconut oil. Form rough “patties” with the potato shreds and place them evenly spaced on the baking sheet.
  6. Cook in the 450 degree oven for about  7-10 minutes, and then remove. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  7. Flip sweet potato patties over, pressing gently down on each to flatten.
  8. Place patties back in the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the hash browns have browned nicely around the edges. Let cool on the baking sheet.

Zoodles with Peanut Lime Vinaigrette (Vegan and Paleo Options)

This peanut lime vinaigrette is an adaptation from a recipe recommended to me by a member of the VIBRANCE Village of Health on Facebook. The lime lightens up the sauce a lot and, unlike a traditional peanut sauce, this one does not feel heavy and comforting for winter, but rather light and refreshing and best enjoyed on hot summer evenings or days when you are pining for hot summer evenings. Having discovered it in dreary, grey January, it’s been a culinary reminder of days to come.

If you’ve not spiralized I highly recommend it! It’s a fun way to get extra veggies in (think carrots, zucchinis, yams, and more) and kids enjoy being part of the spiralizing process, which then has them more invested in eating the outcome. I have a Paderno I picked up 5 years ago that is still going strong but would now totally choose this Spiralizer on Amazon because it comes with extra blades and recipe ebooks.

If you’re like 87% of Americans and struggling to get enough veggies in, our totally free challenge, 30 Days of Glorious Greens is the perfect challenge for you. Offered only once year in March, this program dives into best practices to get greens in, delicious recipes, and fascinating science behind the glory that that is the humble green. You can sign up below the recipe!

Zoodles with Peanut Lime Vinaigrette

 

Makes 1 cup of sauce and 4-6 servings of zoodles.

Ingredients:

3 zucchini

1/2 cup shredded carrot

1/4 cup chopped scallions

For Sauce:

3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. tightly packed cilantro
2 tbsp. peanut butter (use sunbutter or almond butter for paleo adaptation)
3 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp coconut aminos

1/4 tsp. fish sauce (omit for vegans)
1 tbsp.rice vinegar
1 tbsp. ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sriracha, or more to taste
1/4 cup avocado or mild olive oil

Options:

  • Add chopped nuts, sprouts and extra cilantro on top before digging in.
  • Add 1.5 cups diced chicken, shrimp or tofu to make it a meal

 

  1. Spiralize zucchini (I use the leftover ‘core’ as a dip for hummus)
  2. In a blender, puree all sauce ingredients except the oil.
    While the blender is running, add oil in a thin stream until dressing is emulsified.
  3. Mix zucchini with carrots and scallions. Add the dressing and toss well to mix thoroughly. Best enjoyed within 24 hours, but will last 2-3 days (note that over time the zucchini will lose moisture and become more dense, but still delicious).

 

Recipes like this, and much more, are part of the 30 Days of Glorious Greens Challenge. Sign up now to reserve your seat and receive my best, most delicious tips and practices to keep vegetable intake high. Registration is open now and we begin March 4th!

Lacto-Fermented Limey Onions

If you’ve ever had legit Mexican food these will taste familiar. It’s common to soak onions in lime and water to reduce the pungency of them before adding them to tostadas, tacos, and other South of the Border street food. I took the traditional method a step further by adding salt and letting the onions ferment on the countertop for 5 days. The result is nothing short of marvelous, and adds a bright dash of flavor to chicken soup, pozole, tacos, guacamole, sandwiches, and anything else you enjoy onions on while delivering billions of happy probiotic bacteria. 

 

2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced into half moons

Juice and zest of 1 lime

1/2 lime, thinly sliced into rounds

4 cups water

2 tbsp. salt

 

Dissolve salt into water. Layer the bottom of a quart canning jar with lime rounds. Mix lemon juice and zest with onions. Add onions to the quart jar, making sure all juices are included. Top with salt water. Layer an additional layer of lime slices on top of the jar, so they stick out just above the lip of the jar.
Seal the jar. It’s okay (and good) if the water sills out over; this ensures there is less oxygen in the jar.

Let sit in a warm dark place for 3-5 days, breaking the seal every 48 hours to release pressure.
Once the onions are to your liking, refrigerate them to prevent further fermentation.

Sautéed Beet Greens with Balsamic and Feta

1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 bunch of beet greens
1small sweet onion, diced
2 shakes of red pepper flakes (or two pinches)
aged balsamic vinegar, to taste
1 tbsp feta

Heat oil in skillet until just warmed. Remove stems from greens and set aside. Dice stems and place them in the pan with the diced onion. Cook until onion becomes translucent, stirring occasionally. Coarsely chop the beet greens and add them to the mix, stirring to mix. Cover greens and let them steam until wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove lid, add red pepper flakes and stir well.
Remove from heat. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and crumble feta over greens. Mix to incorporate and serve.

Serves 2-3

 

Bacon wrapped, Machego Stuffed Gypsy Peppers; when you just need to feel naughty.

I’ll admit, these are not what I would call healthy.
These are a super fun, tasty indulgence to make for guests, enjoy every now and then, and are made to share with friends. Consuming a batch yourself is sure to give you a bellyache at the very least!

 

  • 6 gypsy peppers (these are a mild pepper; mini sweet peppers can be used instead)
  • 8 oz. manchego cheese (Spanish sheep milk cheese)
  • 12 pieces of your favorite sulfite-free bacon
  • 1 cast iron skillet
  • 1 heavy smaller skillet, or brick, or small pot with water to press the peppers.

 

Turn on oven to warm (or 200 degrees). Slice gypsy peppers in half from stem to tip. Clean out seeds and white inner pith, keeping the top and stem attached. Slice chunks of manchego off the block, stuffing each pepper half. Wrap a slice of bacon around each pepper half, securing the cheese inside.raw bacon wrapped peppers

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add peppers two at a time, placing the smaller skillet (and perhaps a saucepan of water or brick atop that) on top of the peppers to press them into the skillet. Let cook for 2 minutes, or until crispy, then flip and repeat. See photo below for the jerry-rigged weight we used: a small saucepan filled with water placed inside a small cast iron skillet which pressed the peppers against the larger cast iron skillet.

There are peppers under there!
There are peppers under there!

As peppers are completely cooked, place them on an oven-safe dish in the warmed oven while you finish the remaining peppers.

 

bacon wrapped peppers

Enjoy these with a hearty green salad with pepitas and lime dressing for a satisfying summer meal!