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!

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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.

Cooked Spinach and Salmon Salad

Some of the recipes I post on this blog are created with the blog in mind. I’ll know from the get-go that I’m going to write a post about the meal, so I’ll take pictures along the way and generally try to keep my cooking space neat and clean and my ingredients well measured.

This recipe is not one of those! This “salad” happened totally on accident while I was making some curried spinach and salmon for dinner tonight. Instead of putting the spinach and salmon on a plate, I put them in a large bowl, and the idea of a cooked spinach salad took hold. I threw in half an avocado and a big handful of sunflower seeds and all of a sudden I had an awesome new dish.

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This salad reminds me of my Curried Shrimp and Avocado Salad, but the cooked spinach and curry powder throughout gives it a much heartier feel. Even though it’s light, this is the kind of dish that could satisfy me even when I’m having a major urge to stuff my face!

Cooked Spinach and Salmon Salad

Serves 1

1 salmon fillet
2 cups spinach
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp curry powder, divided
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
half an avocado, cubed
handful raw sunflower seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Season skinless side of salmon fillet with salt, pepper, garlic powder and 1/2 tbsp curry powder. Sauté over medium-high heat in 1 tbsp olive oil, skin side down, until mostly cooked through. Flip toward the end to cook the seasoned side.

While the salmon cooks, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat and add garlic. Wash and drain the spinach, but leave some water clinging to the leaves. When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the spinach, 1/2 tbsp curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir frequently, cooking for 3-5 minutes until spinach is considerably wilted.

Put spinach in a bowl, and top with the salmon fillet, chopped into several large chunks. Add avocado and sunflower seeds.

Steak Salad with Beetroot

Nick and I have been working as a team when it comes to dinner lately. The warm summer weather has made grilling a fantastic option, so oftentimes Nick heads to the roof to grill some meat while I prepare the rest of our meal inside.

Aside from the fun of grilling, an added benefit is that this method cuts the prep time for our meals in half! We put together this delicious steak salad in 10 minutes!

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Steak Salad with Beetroot

Serves 2

1/2 lb. lean steak
5 oz arugula
1 medium roasted beet, cut into small cubes
2 slices bacon, cut into small squares
1/4 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 and 1/2 oz crumbled blue cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil and vinegar to taste

Cook bacon in skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is coated with fat from the bacon, add the onion slices and salt and sauté. While the bacon and onions are cooking, combine the arugula, blue cheese, and beet in a serving bowl. Add onions, bacon, salt and pepper and mix again.

Cook your steak as desired on the grill or in a skillet. Slice into strips and serve warm on top of the salad. Serve with olive oil and vinegar of your choice.