high protein

Easy Grilled Tuna and Vegan Grapefruit-Fennel Salad (gluten-free, ACD)

Easy Grilled Tuna and Vegan Grapefruit-Fennel Salad (gluten-free, ACD)

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I grew up in the heart of Wisconsin and now live in Minnesota, both unique places where people grill outside all year long. Even in the coldest temperatures, a true upper Midwesterner shovels a path through the snow to their grill, throws on a hat and a flannel shirt, and drinks a beer or brandy to stay warm while flipping burgers and tending racks of ribs.  

But for the fair-weather grillers of the world (people most everywhere else, I think), the warmer temperatures finally gracing the Northern Hemisphere officially kicks off grilling season. 

My dad has been known to stand outside in a blizzard for the perfect grilled shrimp, but thankfully, the whether on my trip back home over Mother's Day weekend was far from blizzardlike. It was in the mid-60s, sunny and lovely. Perfect for grilling! We found beautiful wild-caught sashimi-grade tuna steaks at Festival Foods for only $9.99/pound. The meat was bright pink and dense, and each steak was nearly 2 inches thick! We seasoned them simply and grilled them over pecan wood for a sweet, lightly smoky flavor. 

The tuna was perfect. We served it with baked sweet potatoes, pan-seared asparagus, and a light and crunchy salad of grapefruit, fennel, and onion.. The meal was so easy to prepare and so delicious, I knew I wanted to share some of it with you. And thus, here are two recipes: Easy Grilled Tuna and Grapefruit-Fennel Salad.

Whip out that grill, and get cooking!

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Baked White Beans with Garlic, Lemon, and Herbs (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

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I've always been a baked bean lover. Instead of making sweet and smoky Boston-style baked beans, lately I've been making baked beans inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean. A few days ago I made this tasty version of baked white beans, chock full of garlic, fresh herbs, olive oil and fresh lemon. I baked the beans in a beautiful red Le Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven, and the finished dish looked gorgeous and tasted just as good. The flavor is really fresh, fragrant herbs with the bite of black pepper and brightness of lemon.  The beans on the top were tender and but still intact (the way I like 'em), and the beans on the bottom and edges had a golden, crisp crust.  Hot olive oil and a good hot cast iron pan create pure magic!  Serve as an affordable and satisfying main course or a side dish, along with sauteed greens or salad and other seasonal vegetables. 

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Baked White Beans with Garlic, Lemon, and Herbs

serves 6-8

  • 1 pound dried cannelini beans (or other white bean like great northern or navy)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 10 fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh marjoram leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • broth or water
  • 1 spring fresh rosemary
  • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced in rounds
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • dried chili flakes or aleppo pepper flakes

Soak the beans for 24-36 hours in a large bowl or pot filled with water. You want the beans covered by about 6 inches of water. Drain, rinse, and refill every 12 hours while soaking (save the used soaking water and use for plants, it is full of plant-healthy nitrogen!). Once they are fully soaked, drain and rinse well, and set aside.

Heat oven to 350º F and lightly oil a large dutch oven or dish. Place rinsed & soaked beans in dish with onions and garlic, and pour on 4 Tbsp olive oil. Stir to coat, then add sage, thyme, and marjoram, and stir to mix. Add enough water or broth to be just below the top surface of the beans. Nestle the rosemary on the beans, then cover the surface with lemon slices and sprinkle with pepper and chili flakes/aleppo pepper flakes.

Cover dish with foil and puncture a few times to let steam escape. Bake for about 2 hours. Baking time will depend on how long you soak your beans, how old your beans are, and the general humidity level in your house - your beans may take more or less time. Be sure to check on them after 1 1/2 hours - if all the liquid has cooked off and they seem dry, add a little more liquid and continue to bake.  If there is still liquid, just put back in the oven and keep baking until they are tender to your liking.

Remove from oven, drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with unrefined salt. Serve.  

Make it a meal by serving with sauteed greens or a leafy green salad, cooked baby beets with fresh thyme (or other seasonal veg), and crusty homemade bread.


*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!

Slow-Cooked Pork Shoulder with Sauerkraut, Sweet Potato, and Apple (gluten-free, ACD)

Slow-Cooked Pork Shoulder with Sauerkraut, Sweet Potato, and Apple (gluten-free, ACD)

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Large cuts of meat intimidate me a little. Throw a pound of hamburger, a whole chicken, a filet of salmon, or a chicken breast at me, and I'm a champ. But place a rack of ribs, a leg of lamb, or a brisket in front of me and I'll have to pause and think for a minute. Or, more like twenty. And I'll have to look up recipes and look at cookbooks and give myself a pep talk. Then I'll begin. 

In my quest to conquer my fear of preparing anything weighing more than one pound, I'm reading books about meat and experimenting a lot in my kitchen with different cuts. I'm on a major pig kick lately and decided to explore the world of slow-cooked pork shoulder. I found a beautiful pork shoulder at the food co-op, vibrant pink meat well-marbled with pure white fat. I'm not afraid of animal fat. Quite the opposite, really. I'm learning that when a well-marbled cut of meat is cooked low and slow, the fat will melt and keep the meat tender and infuse it with yummy rich flavor. Who can argue with that? Bring on the fat.

Lemon & Herb Chicken Liver Paté (gluten-free, grain-free, ACD)

Lemon & Herb Chicken Liver Paté (gluten-free, grain-free, ACD)

Lemon & Herb Chicken Liver Paté

Liver tends to be a rather polarizing food - either you love it or you find the idea of eating it absolutely appalling. Back in my veg*n days, I would go on and on about how "nasty" liver is, stunned that people would even consider eating it (although I'd never tried it, of course). Once I started eating meat again, I vowed to appreciate the whole animal from snout to tail. After getting comfortable with the basic cuts, I started by buying more unsual cuts of meat and using bones and skin to make stock. Thanks to a trip to France a few years ago, I saw the glory of liver. Not long ago I had my first run-in with tripe and tendon (not bad!). And I've been eyeing up bison blood sausage, duck fat, and leaf lard at the co-op.  My journey is slow, but I'm trying, and enjoying every delicious minute.  Culinary curiosity beats out hesitancy every time. 

Hey, if that animal is dying for me, I want to do what I can to ensure that nothing is wasted. To guide me along the way, I am reading The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Thomas Keller. I read cookbooks like novels, and these books are genius. I am finding the subject matter absolutely fascinating, and love learning about where each cut of meat comes from and how the organs and other animal parts can be used.  Somehow, this book has made me excited about the prospect of making gluten-free kidney pie and finding an opportunity to butcher a chicken myself.  As Anthony Bourdain would say, bring on the "nasty bits"!  

Where did that veg*n girl go? Whoa.

Corned Beef & Sweet Potato Hash (gluten-free)

Corned Beef & Sweet Potato Hash (gluten-free)

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When I was a kid, sometimes my dad would buy those cans of Hormel® Mary Kitchen® corned beef hash. I remember being fascinated by the way the unappetizing pasty, fatty, white hash would turn lovely, golden, and crisp once heated in a pan. As a child, I loved it.  Loved it, that is, until about age 13, when I denounced meat and lived a not-so-balanced veg*n lifestyle for 10 years. Moving on. Hand me a steak.

Dad would fry up the hash on Sunday mornings, or a can would get packed in the food bag to take to the cabin Up North (the proverbial cabin location for any Midwestener). Although canned corned beef hash was by no means a staple in our house, I think a thorough investigation of my parents' pantry would most likely reveal a can of hash hidden in the back corners, way up out-of-reach, saved for my father's solo trips to the cabin....  A guy needs his salty, fatty, meaty fix every now and then. 

This hash is much better than the canned hash of my childhood, a kicked-up modern twist on an old favorite. I used homemade corned beef, sweet potatoes, and onions, seasoned with fresh thyme leaves and a jalapeño pepper. Simple? You bet. Flavorful? Absolutely. Homemade corned beef is a flavor powerhouse. This stuff tastes better than the canned hash any day, has way more nutritional value, and probably only a small fraction of the sodium.  And it looks beautiful, perfectly suited for any meal of the day. I served mine with a sauté of kale, onions, garlic, and roasted red peppers, and a scoop of raw sauerkraut. It would be wonderful with homemade gluten-free toast, or scrambled eggs. Or, just eat a scoop all on its own. I hope you enjoy it, whether for St. Patrick's Day celebrations or any other day of the year.

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