Tuna and Grape Salad

I want to create Paleo mayonnaise, but the blender I have is unfortunately not up to the task. I need to get a proper food processor before I can begin that challenge.

In the meantime, I have been creating mayo-free tuna salads. One of my favorites involves chickpeas, but since I’m in the middle of a Whole30, that recipe is off limits! I had a bit of a sweet tooth this morning, so I whipped up this version for lunch. The grapes give a nice, light juiciness, the celery adds crunch, and the dates give it the touch of sweetness I was craving. Dried cranberries would work well in this recipe too, possibly better than the dates, but I can’t eat them these days. Give them a try and let me know how it is!

20130715-200512.jpgTuna and Grape Salad

5-6 romaine leaves, or other lettuce leaves for wrapping

6 oz can of tuna, drained

approximately 12 grapes, halved

1 stalk celery, chopped into small pieces

2 Medjool dates, pitted and minced OR small handful dried cranberries

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 and 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp dried dill

salt and pepper to taste

Separate and wash romaine leaves and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Scoop onto lettuce leaves, fold, and enjoy!

Cilantro Carrot Slaw

As a food blogger and creator of recipes I often struggle with how original a recipe needs to be to truly call it my own. When is an altered recipe merely adapted, and when does it become an entirely new creation?

I found this recipe for Carrot and Cilantro Salad shared by Debbie from Easy Natural Food. She got the recipe from Cuisine Magazine and altered the proportions slightly.

When I made my version, I did a little more than alter. I consider it to be an entirely new recipe, albeit strongly inspired by Debbie’s post.

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Since I’m in the middle of a Whole30, I swapped out the honey for 1/2 a shredded pear. I used a variety that is still rather firm upon ripening in order to avoid it turning to mush when I grated it. I’m a major lover of combining cilantro and lime, so I went with lime juice instead of lemon juice. I also drastically decreased the amount of onion in the recipe. I did this mainly because I have a hard time tolerating large amounts of raw onion, but the tangy flavor from the cilantro and onion was just enough. I wouldn’t add more even if I could!
20130710-213725.jpgThis slaw was unexpectedly delicious. It’s always nice to include an entirely raw dish in your menu plan! Whether you want to follow my recipe, Debbie’s recipe, or make up your own, I highly recommend it! And if you have the option, splurge for some organic carrots. In my experience, the organic variety taste infinitely better – a difference I don’t notice between the organic and regular versions of most produce.

Cilantro Carrot Slaw

Serves 2-3

2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 pear, grated (firmer varieties work best)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tbsp onion, minced
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and toss to coat with lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Pumpkin and Beetroot Salad

One thing that is very important to me during my Whole30 is the inclusion of vegetarian meals. One of the main complaints of those trying out the Paleo diet is that their cholesterol levels go up considerably. While Paleo’s biggest supporters claim this is nothing to worry about, I tend to disagree. Am I okay with my cholesterol going up a little on this diet? Yes. Am I going to actively encourage it to go up? Of course not! I still want to include a fair number of low-cholesterol, vegetarian meals in my Paleo diet, just like I do when I’m on my standard gluten-free, sugar-free diet.

That being said, getting enough calories from a Paleo, vegetarian meal is far from a guarantee. I need to ensure that I’m still getting sufficient energy without beans, grains, and dairy, which I typically use to fill out vegetarian meals and make them more hearty.

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This Pumpkin and Beet Salad is a Paleo version of one of my favorites, and it’s quite filling. I got the original recipe from two friends when they both showed up at a BBQ with similar versions of the dish. I’m not sure which one of them came up with it first, but they had shared it with each other enough times to know it would be a crowd pleaser.

Typically when I make this dish I sauté the pumpkin in butter and sprinkle a liberal amount of crumbled goat cheese over the finished product. I do plan to go back to that version someday, but this one is a wonderful Whole30 compromise! The recipe was already vegetarian, gluten-free, soy-free, and sugar-free, but the changes also make it dairy-free and vegan, which certainly never hurts when cooking for a large crowd. You never know when you’ll be the hero of the potluck for the guest who arrived thinking he would only be able to eat his own dish.

Pumpkin and Beetroot Salad

serves 1

1 and 1/2 cups pumpkin, in 1-2″ cubes
1 large roasted beet
2 cups spinach, washed and drained
large handful raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
balsamic vinegar to taste (optional)

Coat pumpkin in coconut oil and roast for 15 minutes at 400F. For last 3-4 minutes, sprinkle sunflower seeds over pumpkin.

While pumpkin cooks, chop beet into 1″ cubes. Combine in serving bowl with spinach, and mix in warm pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Serve with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Add vinegar if desired.

This recipe is shared on this week’s Wellness Weekend.

Whole30 Beef Stew

Once a week, I get to leave work in the early afternoon. I usually head into the city for yoga, but every now and then I come home and have a lazy afternoon reading, watching TV or movies, and relaxing. On those days, I love making beef stew. Hanging out at home while the aroma of slowly cooking meat and veggies fills the room is such a blissful escape from the usual routine.

I started my first Whole30 this week, so I’ve been spending a lot of time planning meals that will be hearty and filling even though they don’t contain any grains,legumes, or dairy. I tend to get a lot of my calories from those sources, and since weight loss is not one of my Whole30 goals, I have to make sure to plan substantial meals! Beef stew seemed like a great place to start.

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Typically, I make my beef stew with carrots and celery as the main vegetables and have a piece of gluten free bread or some rice on the side. Since that’s off limits during my Whole30, I decided to add pumpkin to fill out the stew a little more.

If you are making this stew while doing a Whole30 and decide to use store-bought broth, make sure it doesn’t contain added sugar!

Whole30 Beef Stew

Serves 2

.75 lb stew beef (I recommend chuck roast)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 cup water, divided
1 cup beef broth, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large celery rib, chopped
1 cup cubed pumpkin

Brown beef in hot olive oil in medium-large saucepan. Once beef is browned on all sides, add 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup beef broth, onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and paprika and bring to a boil. Cover and lower to a simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours.

Add additional 1/2 cup water,1/2 cup broth, carrots, and celery. Return to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes.

Add pumpkin, cover, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.