low carb

Recipe: Tuna & Chickpea Salad with Olives and Basil (gluten-free, ACD)

I like to mix tuna with beans for simple salads. The tuna provides pure protein while the beans provide a mix of protein and complex carbohydrates. Add olive oil for healthy fat, and hooray, you have a versatile framework for a satisfying and nutrient dense meal. Build upon this basic framework by adding any variety of herbs, spices, or other ingredients. 

This time around, I combined tuna and chickpeas with green olives, basil, lime juice, olive oil, and pinch of cayenne pepper.  If you can eat cheese, a bit of crumbled feta in this salad would be really fab. I served it over mixed baby greens for light and nourishing meal, but it would be great served in a brown rice tortilla or a collard leaf for an easy wrap, or served as an open-face sandwich on a slice of your favorite gluten-free bread. 

IMG_2381

Tuna & Chickpea Salad with Olives and Basil

Yield: 2-4 servings

This simple salad is a breeze to prepare and very delicious. Serve as a salad on its own, or scoop over greens or use in a wrap. The high protein content balanced with complex carbohydrates and healthy fat makes this a satisfying and nourishing addition to any meal. And it's affordable to boot!

If you have soy allergies, be sure to check the ingredients on your tuna. Many varieties of tuna contain vegetable broth that contains soy. I often buy soy-free water-packed tuna from  the brands Genova, American Tuna (BPA-free can), Wild Planet (BPA-free can), or Natural Value (will be BPA-free soon), or from Trader Joe's (BPA-free can). All of these tunas are packed in water and are dolphin safe. 

  • 1 5-oz. can water-packed tuna (salted or unsalted)
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas (approx. 1 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 10 large fresh sweet Italian basil leaves
  • 8 large green olives (pimiento-stuffed or not, your choice)
  • two glugs of extra virgin olive oil
  • juice from 1 lime
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 pinches of cayenne pepper, to taste

Drain tuna and chickpeas, and rinse chickpeas thoroughly. Place in a medium bowl.

To prepare herb and vegetables, peel the onion and garlic then mince, and add to bowl with chickpeas and tuna. Slice basil in a chiffonade, then thinly slice the green olives cross-wise to create rounds. Add basil and olives to bowl and toss ingredients together lightly with a fork. Add olive oil, lime juice, and seasonings, stir to combine with a fork, and adjust seasoning to taste.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes for flavors to meld, then serve. 

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days. 

HINT: if you want to use this as a sandwich filling or wrap filling, I would recommend lightly mashing the chickpeas before adding the tuna and other ingredients. That way, your chickpeas won't roll right out of your sandwich! A potato masher or a pastry cutter works great for mashing chickpeas, as does a fork. 


*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!

Recipe: Bacon-Spiked Turkey Burgers (gluten-free)

Recipe: Bacon-Spiked Turkey Burgers (gluten-free)

bacon burger 2

While I don't like uneccessary fat hanging off my meat, a fatty cut of bacon, a well-marbled steak, a paper thin slice of speck, or a nice fatty sausage brings nothing but a smile to my face. Fat keeps things moist and juicy, and makes things taste really good. When it comes to meat, I'm of the opinion that a little fat can often be your friend.  

So, when I choose ground turkey for burgers, it has more to do with the fact that I really love the flavor and price of ground turkey than it has to do with a concern about saturated fat. The only problem with turkey is that the low fat content makes it easy to turn that lovely turkey into a dry little hockey puck. This is why I have taken to loading up my lean ground turkey with thick, crunchy, salty, fatty, porky bacon. YES. The bacon makes the turkey taste amazing and helps keep it moist. And when the bacon is in the burger, it doesn't slide off and fall to the side when you try to take a bite. Way easier to enjoy every bacontastic moment. 

Yeah, I'm one of those bacon people. I never thought it would happen, but it has, so I'm rolling with it. 

I used Black Forest Bacon this time around, acquired at my local Whole Foods store. This bacon is sliced extra thick and smoked over cherry wood for a totally porkgasmic experience. If you don't do pig, you could use turkey bacon. Although I'll eat turkey bacon with pleasure, it is no where near as delicious or crispy. It is merely a shadow of true bacon. But, it is better than no bacon at all, and it will get the job done - except there won't be any bacon drippings leftover to fry your burgers in. I know, my newly acquired love for bacon drippings goes against all principles of "good nutrition". But when something tastes this good and my body actually processes it without a hitch, I can't say no!

Recipe: Sugar-Free Mango-Blueberry Crisp (gluten-free, vegan, grain-free)

Recipe: Sugar-Free Mango-Blueberry Crisp (gluten-free, vegan, grain-free)

Sugar-Free Mango-Blueberry Crisp

I am a night baker and a stress baker. As the sun goes down or my stress level rises, my immediate response is to reach for my apron, fire up the oven, and pull out the mixing bowls. 

Take last night, for example. I had a lot to do - laundry, starting the daunting process of packing my possessions for yet another move, answering emails, paying bills, the list goes on. But rather than attending to any number of tasks on my to-do list, I decided to bake. The fresh mangos and blueberries hanging out in my kitchen were calling my name, beckoning me to take part in their juicy sweetness. I heeded their call. Truly, I adore fruit desserts above almost all other desserts. Especially when those fruit desserts are grain-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free.

Really darlings, trust me, it's not hard to make a delicious dessert without grains or sugar. This easy crisp is a great example! I chose a combination of mango, blueberry, and grated fresh ginger for the filling, thickened with bit of arrowroot starch.  For the topping, I diverted from the expected rolled oat topping and chose a mixture of coconut, chopped cashews, and quinoa flakes. Since the fruit is so sweet already, I merely helped it along with a modest amount of stevia extract powder. Throw it in the oven and hooray, a sugar free crisp is born. And it's really good. My housemates both went in for hearty seconds. I somehow refrained to a single serving (?!?!), and relished in each sweet bite. And to top it off, the crisp looks really lovely: bright orange mango contrasting against the deep indigo-hued blueberries, covered in a flaky layer of spicy sweet golden coconut, toasted nuts, and crisp quinoa flakes. It's delicious on the eyes, right?

Recipe: Braised Greens with Black Olives (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

IMG_2277.jpg

The other night when I opened my refrigerator, I was greeted by an eccentric mix of edibles. I had jars of rhubarb pickles, pickled beets, sauerkraut, preserved lemons, diluted coconut milk, and two massive bags of rhubarb crowding the lower shelf. Homemade mayonnaise and mustards, flax oil, hemp oil, cod liver oil, curry pastes, anchovies, and miso crowded the compartments on the door. I had beet kvass, kefir grains, a tiny amount of yogurt, a gnarly nob of fresh horseradish, lots of eggs, two kinds of hummus from the food swap, three (three!!!) varieties of homemade rhubarb sauces, and one package of elk pork sausage on other shelves. In my crisper drawer, I found a stray bulb of kohlrabi, lots of spinach, 1 bunch of kale, 2 stalks green garlic, and the requisite carrots and celery.

Gah!

My generally spastic lack of meal and ingredient planning seemed to be exhibiting itself in full form. Goodness gracious. I looked at that colorful assortment and wondered what in the world I would make for dinner. I had a ton of food, but it was all unusual. A woman can't live on rhubarb or fermented vegetables alone (although the last few weeks, I've been awfully close).

I wasn't terribly hungry, so I defaulted to sauteed greens, dotted with onions, those green garlic stalks, and oily, rich black Moroccan olives. Those olives absolutely win me over, day or night, and I thought they would add a wonderful richness to light spring greens. I added a little broth, a little splash of balsamic vinegar, and - voila - a beautiful dinner was made!

And, as a side note, while the greens cooked, I managed to eat a buckwheat muffin, snack on some cashews, and finished up two of the waning rhubarb sauces. I served them over leftover yogurt on different sides of the bowl. Geez. So much for not feeling "hungry". I felt like a fancy compost pile, absorbing whatever tasty foods needed to be cleaned out of the fridge! Finally settling down with a big bowl of these greens was a delightful end to my rather, uh, scattered dinner. 

IMG_2276.jpg

Braised Greens with Black Olives

Yield: 2-4 servings

You could easily substitute either the spinach or kale with equivalent amounts of another dark leafy green, such as Swiss chard, collards, dandelion greens, or mustard greens. I would recommend getting oil-cured Moroccan black olives, as the recipe calls for, if making this recipe. They have a very rich rich, oily, figgy, salty flavor that sets them apart from their conventional brine-packed black olive cousins. Find them at co-ops, natural foods stores, gourmet markets, or middle Eastern markets. They will not be packed in brine, and are considered a "dry" olive. Sometimes you can find these dry olives packed with thyme, Herbes de Provence, garlic, or red pepper flakes - any of those flavors would also work very well. If you cannot find Moroccan oil-cured olives, you could always substitute kalamata olives, which will have a very different flavor but will be better for this recipe than canned black or green olives.

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 stalks green garlic or 2 small leeks
  • 1/3 cup pitted oil-cured Moroccan black olives
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth, divided
  • 3 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 3 cups packed fresh kale, ribs removed and leaves chopped
  • pinch aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice)

Slice onion. Trim the long, darker green leaves off the garlic stalk, and finely slice the head and light green portions of the stalk. Finely chop the pitted black olives.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add onion and green garlic (or leeks) and saute for 5 minutes. Then add olives and 1/2 cup broth, stir, cover, and braise for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and replacing cover. Onions should be quite tender at this point. Add greens on top of onions, add remaining broth, and cover. Braise for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until greens are tender. Then remove cover and let cool for 3-5 more minutes, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate. Remove from heat and sprinkle with aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes and balsamic or lemon, if using. Serve warm.


*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!

A Farmers Market Demo with Sweet 'n Sour Rhubarb Pickles and Rhubarb-Apple Compote (gluten-free, cane sugar free, vegan options)

Preparing ingredients for Rhubarb Apple Compote

On Saturday, June 11, I gave a rhubarb-themed cooking demonstration at the Minneapolis Farmers Market during their weekly Market Talk segment. This was my third cooking demonstration at the market, and as usual, it was an absolute blast. Market Talk host (and local food blogger) Emily Noble and I walked the crowd through a brief history of rhubarb, shared suggestions for selecting and storing rhubarb, and gave advice on how to care for plants of your own. Then I demonstrated how to prepare Sweet 'n Sour Rhubarb Pickles and Rhubarb-Apple Compote, recipes that I had developed for the event. Despite the rather chilly temperature and high gusts of wind that nearly took away our tent a few times, it was very sunny and the market was hopping. 

As usual, I had a wonderful kitchen setup to work with, complete with large stainless tables, utensils, a gas-powered double burner, and a snazzy microphone headset. Emily shopped the market that morning for the freshest, most beautiful rhubarb, apples, ginger, local honey and maple syrup, and a few other ingredients. I came armed with everything else I needed, including one of my favorite vintage aprons. 

Preparing ingredients for Rhubarb Apple Compote
Stirring the Rhubarb-Apple Compote
Explaining the process for making Sweet and Sour Rhubarb Pickles

The crowd was highly engaged and interested, asking lots of questions and offering up their favorite ways to prepare rhubarb. They even laughed at my jokes! My assistant (yes, I had an assistant!) passed out samples, which were quickly eaten up by the crowd and received enthusiastic smiles and thumbs-ups all around. And the retention rate was excellent, even though the demonstration went well over an hour.  

Curious about the recipes? The pickles are a sweet and sour pickle, heavily flavored with clove, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger in an apple cider vinegar and honey (or maple syrup) brine. They celebrate the natural sourness of rhubarb rather than trying to cover it with lots of sugar. It's like they say, "I'm sour, love me for it!"  The compote was the sweet counterpoint to the pickles, an aromatic and flavorful mix of apples, rhubarb, raisins, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, cooked together with apple juice. The high amount of pectin in apples allows the compote to thicken considerably, creating a luscious fruit mixture that is ideal eaten on its own, over ice cream or yogurt, or with pancakes or waffles. 

I passed out a recipe booklet of some of my favorite rhubarb recipes from my kitchen and my family's kitchen, which included both the pickles and the compote. The recipe booklet was a hit with the crowd and I will share it with you here on the blog. But first, I need to scan my hand-illustrated cover and attach it to the Word document, then set the whole thing up in Google docs so you can have access to it or figure out how to load a PDF into this post. When I do, I'll be sure to let you know!  

In the meantime, I want to share the recipes for the two recipes that I demonstrated that day. I hope you enjoy them. Happy rhubarb season!

Previous Farmers Market demonstration recaps and recipes:

IMG_2266.jpg
IMG_2268.jpg

Kim’s Sweet ‘n Sour Rhubarb Pickles 

By Kim Christensen

These pickles are inspired by cucumber bread and butter pickles. They are sour, sweet, and heavily spiced, and are a bold addition to a relish tray or served with Indian, Middle Eastern, or North African dishes. A fun and unexpected way to preserve the rhubarb harvest! I like this recipe because it celebrates the naturally tart, sour quality of rhubarb, rather than hiding it below lots of sugar. Rhubarb tends to be a bit fibrous and hard to bitd through, so you may opt to cut your stalks into shorter, bite-size pieces. 

Yield: 2 pints or 1 quart

  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar (I suggest using raw and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, such as those by Bragg's or Eden Organic)
  • ¾ cup filtered water
  • 1 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 ¼ - 1 ½ pound rhubarb, thin stalks if possible (about 1/2-inch thick)
  • 1 ½ inches peeled ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp whole allspice berries
  • 1 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 dry chili peppers

Place vinegar, water, and maple syrup/honey in a saucepan over medium heat. While mixture heats, cut rhubarb stalks into lengths that fit inside the jar with approximately 1-inch headspace (about 4-inches long if using a pint jar). If your rhubarb stalks are much thicker, slice them in half or quarters so they are about 1/2-inch x 1/2-inch before cutting into 4-inch lengths. Set rhubarb aside.

Divide cloves, allspice, and fennel between the jars. Then place rhubarb stalks inside, tucking sliced ginger, chili peppers, and cinnamon sticks between the stalks.

Pour boiling vinegar mixture over rhubarb until jars are full, leaving about ½-inch headspace and making sure rhubarb stalks are fully covered. If you have leftover brine, save to use for salad dressings or other pickling projects.  Screw on jar tops and let cool on kitchen counter until approximately room temperature. Then place in the refrigerator. For best flavor, let sit for 1-2 weeks before consuming. 

IMG_2255.jpg

Rhubarb Apple Compote served over organic yogurt is a wonderful breakfast or light dessert.

Rhubarb-Apple Compote 

By Kim Christensen

Sweet and aromatic, this compote is excellent served warm or chilled. For a simple fruit dessert, it can be served alone, or spooned over yogurt (as in photos above) or ice cream. It is also very good served over pancakes or waffles. For a savory twist, serve alongside grilled or roasted pork or chicken. The flavors of this dish are perfect for autumn, so freeze some of your rhubarb to use later on this year when the seasons change!

Yield: approximately 1 quart

  • 3 cups rhubarb, sliced in 1-inch x ½-inch pieces (about 1 pound rhubarb) - use either fresh or frozen (not thawed)
  • 3 apples, quartered, cored, and chopped in 1-inch x ½-inch pieces (about 1 pound apples)
  • ½ cup raisins or currants
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup (or more or less, to taste)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare rhubarb and apples as directed. Place in a saucepan with raisins/currants, apple juice, and spices. Bring to a high simmer over medium-high heat, then turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove cover and stir in honey, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Replace cover and let sit for 3-5 more minutes. Let cool slightly before serving, mixture will thicken as it cools. This is also excellent served chilled. 


*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!