A Paleo Feast: Almond Crusted Pork Chops, Homemade Applesauce, and Fig and Arugula Salad

I wanted to make an extra-special dinner for Nick last night. I’ve had a bit of a chip on my shoulder during my Whole30, feeling that I need to prove to everyone that Paleo food can be delicious and, in fact, better than the food everyone else is eating. Nick hasn’t given me any reason to think I need to prove this to him, but it’s important to me nonetheless. To prove my point, I put together a Paleo feast for two! Anytime there are more dishes on the table than diners, I figure it can be considered a feast. 🙂

Our meal consisted of three dishes: Fig and Arugula Salad, Almond Crusted Pork Chops, and Homemade Applesauce. It’s fairly easy to put together, requires minimal ingredients for a meal of its caliber, and can be ready in about 30 minutes!

The applesauce has the longest cook time, so that’s where I started. I chopped four medium apples (Royal Gala is a great choice for this) into chunks, about 8-10 pieces per apple. I put the apple chunks in a saucepan with about 3/4 cup of water and a generous amount of cinnamon. You can customize your applesauce to be a cinnamon-y as you want! I brought it to a boil, reduced the heat to medium, and covered the pot.

While that cooked, I started to heat some coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. I scrambled an egg in a small bowl and poured a large heap of almond meal seasoned with a little garlic powder on a plate. I salted and peppered my pork chops, dipped them in the egg, coated them in almond meal, and put them in the skillet!

20130719-110638.jpg The key to this dish is buying high quality pork. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it should have the dewy pink color and plumpness that makes pork look super fresh. If your pork chop manages to look appetizing while it’s still raw, you’re probably in good shape.

I let the pork cook for about six minutes on the first side before I flipped it.

20130719-111351.jpg While the pork was cooking, I put together the salad. I skillet-toasted some pine nuts in coconut oil and combined them with quartered figs and an arugula blend. Olive oil and balsamic work great as a dressing, but for those not on a Whole30 you can add a little extra pizazz with a honey balsamic vinaigrette.

20130719-111746.jpgOnce the pork has cooked for about six minutes on both sides, everything is done! Just use a fork to mash up the apples and you’re good to go.

20130719-111837.jpgThe pork was the juiciest I’ve ever had. It was so good that even an iPhone picture was able to capture it’s perfection!

20130719-112053.jpg

Fig and Arugula Salad

4 cups arugula or arugula blend
4 fresh figs, quartered
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste

Heat coconut oil in skillet and toast pine nuts in oil. In serving bowl, combine arugula, figs, and toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with olive oil and vinegar.

Almond Crusted Pork Chops

2 pork chops, about 1/3 lb. each and 1 and 1/4 inches thick
1 egg
3/4 cup almond meal
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Heat coconut oil in large skillet. Crack egg into small bowl and scramble, and mix almond meal and garlic on a small plate. Salt and pepper the lamb chops and dip them in the raw egg. Coat them in almond mixture. Cook in the skillet for about six minutes on each side.

Homemade Whole30 Applesauce

4 sweet apples (Royal Gala is a great choice)
3/4 cup water, plus 1/4 cup
cinnamon to taste

Core apples and cut into large chunks, approximately 10 pieces per apple. Combine with 3/4 cup water and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer. When water is fully absorbed, add additional 1/4 cup. After a total of 20-25 minutes, remove apples from stove and mash using a potato masher or fork.

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