Healthy Grain-Free Eggplant Vegetable Lasagna Bake

Confession: I love eggplant. Can’t get enough. It’s always been one of my mom’s favorite vegetables, and though I never ate it much as a kid, apparently that preference still got passed down to me somehow — but I’m not complaining!

Healthy Grain-Free Eggplant Vegetable Lasagna Bake // Naturally Lindsey

Healthy Grain-Free Eggplant Vegetable Lasagna Bake // Naturally Lindsey

I was craving some sort of Italian something, so I decided to take what was in my fridge and throw it together to make what ended up being a gorgeous layered eggplant “lasagna” — no gluten, no dairy, no nuts, seeds, or grains. Just vegetables and a little bit of homemade meat sauce, but you can omit the meat for a vegan/vegetarian option. Serious perfection.

Healthy Grain-Free Eggplant Vegetable Lasagna Bake // Naturally Lindsey

Healthy Grain-Free Eggplant Vegetable Lasagna Bake // Naturally Lindsey

Continue reading

Advertisements

Creamy Dairy-Free Chicken & Winter Squash Soup

Soup. The word itself almost makes time slow down. Standing over the stove, stirring as it simmers… a taste here, a dash there… then curling up on the couch with a big ol’ bowl and a blanket. Sounds like a perfect night to me!

Often times the most comforting soups contain dairy, which is a no-no for my sensitive tum. This recipe uses blended winter squash and white beans to provide a creamy, dairy-free base with a ton of flavor and nutrients. If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can leave the beans and squash whole. It won’t have quite the same effect, but I’m sure it will taste just as delicious.

Creamy Dairy-Free Chicken & Winter Squash Soup // Naturally Lindsey

I used acorn squash for this recipe, which has a sweet yet slightly peppery flavor. I really love it for more savory recipes that use squash, where sweeter squashes like butternut can oftentimes over power the other flavors and become a bit too sweet. That being said, you can certainly substitute butternut, kabocha, Hubbard, or even pumpkin in this recipe!

No matter which squash you choose, your soup will be chock-full of nutrients. Just one cup of winter squash contains 214% of the RDA of Vitamin A which is great for vision, a healthy immune system, and the growth and repair of cells within the body. Conversely, it is thought to slow or prevent the growth and production of DNA within cancerous cells. Winter squash is also a good source of Vitamin C and fiber among a host of other nutrients! Did I mention it also tastes delicious? Seriously, guys, there’s really no downside to eating squash…

Creamy Dairy-Free Chicken & Winter Squash Soup // Naturally Lindsey

And then there are the beans! White beans (aka navy beans or great northern beans) are a wonderful source of low GI fiber, which not only fills you up but stabilizes blood sugar while providing you with a lasting source of energy. They’re also a good source of folate, iron, potassium and magnesium. They also contain 15.2 grams of protein per cup. That is one well-rounded bean!

This recipe is
• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Nut-free
• Soy-free
• Sugar-free

Continue reading

Baked Mustard Apple Pork Loin

Pork is not something I usually buy for dinner meat. Actually, besides bacon, I rarely consume it at all. Personal preference, really. Lately, to try and save money between the two of us, my boyfriend and I have taken to making each other meals during the week with what we have at home. On this particular night, I was challenged with a nearly empty fridge and pantry save for a few condiments and a good sized pork loin he had purchased. I accepted the challenge and put my craftiness to the test.

Baked Mustard Apple Pork Loin // Naturally Lindsey

The sweetness of the apple juice contrasted nicely with the tartness of the mustard, the two pairing well with the mild savory flavor of the pork. Served over rice with broccoli on the side, it made for a satisfying meal made only more satisfying by the fact that we didn’t have to go to the store to get anything to make it ;)

This recipe is:
• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Nut-free
• Refined sugar-free

Baked Mustard Apple Pork Loin // Naturally Lindsey

Baked Mustard Apple Pork Loin
• 3 cups 100% apple juice
• 3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
• 3 tablespoons gluten-free tamari
• 1 tsp dried garlic powder
• 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
• sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
• 1 1/2 lbs pork loin

1. In a medium bowl, combine apple juice, mustard, tamari, garlic and cayenne. Whisk to combine.
2. Place pork loin in a large plastic bag and pour in half of the apple juice mixture. Reserve the other half at room temperature. Seal the bag and let marinade 30-60 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350°. Place pork loin in a 13×9″ roasting pan and pour the marinade from the bag evenly over the meat. Season the pork with salt and pepper and bake for 45-60 minutes, turning the meat over and seasoning the other side halfway through cooking. The center of the pork should be opaque and very slightly pink when finished.
4. While the pork cooks, pour the reserved marinade in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Bring the marinade to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue stirring the mixture and reduce the heat, simmering the mixture until it becomes thick and syrupy. If the it begins to stick add a tablespoon or two of apple juice, stirring to combine.
5. In about ten minutes, the reduction should darken and reach a sauce-like consistency. Remove from heat into a new bowl. Once the pork is done, slice and serve over a bed of rice topped with the sauce. Pair with you choice of vegetable and enjoy!

Paleo Steak Lettuce Wraps with Cucumber Carrot Slaw and a Tangy Cashew Sauce

Lettuce wraps have got to be one of my favorite dishes, like, ever. Juicy marinated meat, some kind of crunchy slaw, and deliciously tangy sauce all wrapped up in crisp, fresh lettuce – sign me up. But foodie, beware! Those tasty little cups they serve in the restaurant are packed with sugar that practically negates any nutritional value and makes the calorie count skyrocket. Luckily, this recipe makes it easy to get the flavor your crave in a clean, healthful way by using a bit of raw local honey.

Paleo Steak Lettuce Wraps

Unlike the blood sugar spike that refined white sugar causes, raw local honey may actually help blood sugar control and insulin resistance as it contains nearly a 1:1 ratio of fructose to glucose, which the body tolerates better than sucrose (white sugar) alone. Plus, honey is naturally sweeter than sugar, so you can use less of it. Pretty nifty, right?

The marinade in this recipe is also the base for the sauce, but you won’t cook the sauce so make sure you divide it before you add it to the meat. I used romaine lettuce hearts as little boats for the wraps, though Bibb lettuce cups work wonderfully if you can get them. My boyfriend and I enjoyed this recipe for dinner one night, and I may or may not have devoured the leftovers alone in the kitchen after I got home from work the next day.

This recipe is:
• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Refined sugar-free
• Paleo

Paleo Steak Lettuce Wraps

Steak Lettuce Wraps and Tangy Cashew Sauce
• 1/3 cup gluten-free tamari
• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon raw local honey
• 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1″ fresh ginger root, peeled and minced (or 2 teaspoons dried ground ginger)
• 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
—-
• 2 tablespoons cashew butter (sub almond butter if needed)
• 1 1/2 lbs steak (inexpensive cut – flank is good here), cubed, or stew meat
• Romaine hearts or Bibb lettuce cups
• 2 tablespoons chopped cashews

1. Combine soy sauce through garlic (all ingredients above the line) in a small bowl. Whisk ingredients until well combined.
2. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade and set aside. This will be your sauce.
3. Pour the remaining marinade over the cubed meat in a flat pan or large plastic bag. Let sit for about 30 minutes (longer is always better if possible!) while you prepare the sauce and slaw.
4. For the sauce, combine the 1/4 cup marinade with 2 tablespoons cashew butter. Whisk until smooth.
5. Once you prepare the slaw, you’re ready to get cookin’. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and marinade, and cook until medium rare, about 5 minutes.
6. Let the meat cool a bit while you wash and dry your lettuce of choice.
7. To assemble your wraps, place the meat inside the lettuce. Top with slaw and sauce. Sprinkle chopped cashews on top if desired.

Cucumber Carrot Slaw
• 1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
• 2 medium carrots, shredded
• 1 small red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
• 1/4 cup rice vinegar
• 2 teaspoons local raw honey (optional – can negate if desired)

1. Prepare your vegetables. For the carrots, you can use a box grater and shred them by hand or use the grater attachment on your food processor. Separate the onion layers with your fingers.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the rice vinegar and honey. If not using honey, skip to the next step.
3. In a large bowl, place the cucumber, carrots, and onions. Add the vinegar mixture and gently stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the meal.
What’s your favorite fresh dinner dish? Let me know in the comments below!

Paleo Bacon Beef

I got the idea for making this recipe from my Fast Paleo app when I stumbled across TGIPaleo’s Boston Baked Beef recipe. A Paleo spin on Boston baked beans (uh, yum), her recipe calls for 2-3 hours of simmer time. In the words of Sweet Brown “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Needless to say, I made a few tweaks of my own.

photo (1)

The recipe gets the basis of its flavor from unsulphured organic blackstrap molasses, a great source of nutrients like potassium, calcium, and iron – which I’m sure all of us could use more of! The kind I use is from Wholesome Sweetners, is fair trade certified, and like all blackstrap molasses ranks low on the glycemic index, giving you even more to feel good about. The addition of whole grain mustard and apple cider vinegar, or ACV, really balances out the flavor and gives the sauce quite a bit of tang. Though many of ACV’s health benefits come from its raw form as heat destroys the “mother,” it’s still a great staple to have in your kitchen to use for both cooking and everyday purposes. I actually take a 50/50 solution of Bragg’s Organic Raw ACV and filtered water in a shot glass every morning to help with digestion and balance pH levels and blood sugar – it also has the wonderful side effect of waking me up before I head out the door. So have a swig before you pour it in ;)

This is hearty take on a classic comfort food can be enjoyed over your choice of vegetable or grain, depending on how you roll. I’m trying to incorporate more glucose back into my diet so white rice, a “safe starch,” along with broccoli and peas seemed like the perfect fit. I ate the leftovers two days in a row, once cold wrapped in lettuce, and once (also cold) on its own. It’s really that good. As my boyfriend said after his first bite: “This one’s a keeper.”

This recipe is:
• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Nut-free
• Soy-free
• Refined sugar-free

Paleo Bacon Beef

• 1 lb ground beef (I used 96/4)
• 8 thick slices uncured bacon, diced (or more as desired)
• 1 large yellow onion, diced
• 2 teaspoons sea salt
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 6 oz tomato paste
• 1/3 cup whole grain mustard
• 2 taplespoons honey
• 1/4 c unsulphered blackstrap molasses
• 1/2 c apple cider vinegar

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat.
2. While the beef cooks, dice your bacon and onion. When the beef is browned, remove from heat. Let cool for five minutes and drain the drippings into a heavy bottomed pot.
3. Cook the bacon in the beef drippings until crisp. Add the onions and stir, cooking for a few minutes more until the onions start to turn translucent.
4. Add the molasses, tomato paste, mustard, honey, salt and pepper, and ACV and stir it all around, working quickly so the molasses doesn’t scorch. Reduce the heat to medium and stir until well-combined.
5. As I stated before, the original recipe says 2-3 hours but after 40 minutes mine was good to go. I think the sauce would have burned had it been much longer. So let simmer for as long as you have, checking occasionally, and serve as you wish!