Food Feature Friday: Broccoli

Happy Friday! Today’s post is about a vegetable I’ve always loved: broccoli. Yes, that’s right, I was never one of those kids who had to be told, “Eat your broccoli!” because I did so happily and willingly every time.

Broccoli

Yet another healthy cruciferous vegetable (the same family as cauliflower), broccoli is high in vitamins K, C, and A, and is a great source of chromium, folate, and fiber. It has many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and benefits your digestion, cardiovascular health, and vision. Broccoli is also a great food to eat while cleansing, as it contains phytonutrients that help the body detox. Better yet, its unique combination of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detox benefits make it the perfect food to include in your diet for cancer prevention . You can find out more about the health benefits of broccoli here.

Now on to the recipes…

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Harvest Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Roasted Turkey

Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year. I love the brisk mornings and the early sunsets that lead into crisp, cool nights – though admittedly the season here in Southern California isn’t nearly as gorgeous as it is elsewhere in the country. I’m looking forward to tights, coats, boots, and scarves, and am burning my favorite “Pumpkin Caramel Latte” and “Leaves” candles as I write this. I’ve even gotten myself a couple decorative pumpkins already! What I also love about fall is the abundance of seasonal squash at the market. Just yesterday I got organic butternut, spaghetti, acorn, and kabocha squash for just 99 cents a pound!

Harvest Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Roasted Turkey // Naturally Lindsey

In honor of the season’s imminent arrival (and to make use of some of my newly acquired squash bounty), I decided to make a salad celebrating the flavors of fall. Yes, I know, salad doesn’t typically scream “fall,” but one bite and you’ll be a believer. The spinach, though cold, wilts slightly when topped with the warm squash and turkey, but you could steam the spinach slightly if desired. I didn’t use any sort of dressing for this salad as I feel the tender squash provides enough moistness and flavor on its own, but tossing the spinach with lemon, ACV and olive oil would be lovely as well. This recipe serves one, but can of course be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled to make more.

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

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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!

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Broccoli, Cucumber, Chickpea, Tomato Salad

I haven’t felt much like cooking lately. With a two-week long heatwave and no air conditioning, it’s very easy for one to become uninspired. However, yesterday it started to cool down… with 87% humidity. No, that’s not a typo. Yes, I too thought I lived in California and NOT Florida. But I digress…

Recently I’ve been try to eat more paleo (not completely – I love a good legume, as you’ll see here!), but I wanted to make my boyfriend a delicious meal that he would enjoy but that I could eat (no gluten, dairy, or soy) while also not spending a ton of money by using things I had on hand. Chicken breasts and bacon in the freezer. A can of chickpeas in the cupboard. A bag of red onions in the pantry. Two cucumbers and a bag of spinach in the fridge. Little did I know where my inspiration would take me.

My FastPaleo app (seriously download it, 99 cents and best recipe filtering I’ve seen on a food app –including a dairy/non-dairy option!) pointed me in the direction of The Civilized Caveman’s B.O.A.R.S. Chicken Breast and then I stumbled across Martha Stewart’s Broccoli, Chickpea, and Cherry Tomato Salad… buuut seeing as I can never seem to be able to leave a recipe alone, I turned them into Bacon, Peach, Spinach Stuffed Chicken and a Broccoli, Cucumber, Chickpea, Cherry Tomato Salad, respectively.

I made the salad first and let it chill while I cooked the chicken. Though more time consuming then my normal dinner, the recipes were really delicious (IF I don’t say so myself) and I would definitely make both of them again!

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Both recipes are

• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Nut-free
• Soy-free

The chicken is • Paleo and the salad is • Vegetarian/vegan (and can be Paleo if you remove the chickpeas)

Bacon, Peach, Spinach Stuffed Chicken

• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 4 slices of bacon
• 2 fresh peaches, diced
• 1 large red onion, diced
• 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
• 1/2 cup lemon juice
• handful of fresh basil leaves (5-7 leaves), torn
• sea salt and freshly ground pepper
• kitchen twine – enough for 4 chicken breasts (ask the deli section of your local grocer – they’ll probably just give it to you for free!)

1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, cook your bacon until almost crispy, then add in the diced onion and cook until soft.
2. Add in your peaches and spinach. Once the spinach wilts, remove from heat and stir in the basil. Set aside.
3. Place a large cast iron skillet (mine’s 12″) or oven-safe sauté pan on the burner. Preheat to medium-high heat.
4. While the pan is heating, butterfly open your chicken breasts and pound them down to 1/4″ thickness with a mallet or other flat heavy object (full disclosure: I was at my boyfriend’s house [read: no kitchen tools] so I placed two layers of saran wrap over the chicken and just used a hammer). Sprinkle salt and pepper inside each breast and spread the B.B.O.P.S. reduction on the inside of the breasts, saving some for a topper if desired.
5. Preheat your oven to 350°. Tightly roll the chicken breasts lengthwise and secure with twine to make sure none of the filling comes out while you cook.
6. The pan should be nice and hot now, so go ahead and place your chicken rolls in the pan. From here, you want to sear every side of the chicken for about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes so there’s a slight char around the outside of each breast and no white spaces in between. When you get to your last side, place the pan in the oven until the chicken is cooked all the way through, another 10-15 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and garnish with the extra B.B.O.P.S. stuffing or basil leaves OR just devour them as is.

Broccoli, Cucumber, Chickpea and Cherry Tomato Salad

• 1 pound broccoli, separated into florets
• 1/2 large cucumber, diced
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 small red onion, finely chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1. In either a sauce pan or pot with a steamer insert, steam the broccoli until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegars, oil, and onion until well-combined. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, cucumber, and broccoli and stir to combine. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve room temperature or chilled.

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Protein Pudding

I normally try to eat a fair amount of protein, following the 30/40/30 macro ratio of fat, carbs, and protein, respectively, though sometimes I find it hard to stomach that much protein without feeling sick. However this week I started CrossFit and boy am I craving it! I’ve felt really weak when I don’t eat enough and it’s definitely been protein that’s kept me going. Tonight after dinner I wanted something sweet for dessert, but still needed to meet my protein allotment for the day. This deliciousness was the outcome:

propud

 

Yum! You can use the plant-based protein powder of your choice, but if you use one that’s chocolate flavored you may want to use half the amount of raw cacao powder or just nix it all together. I used Pure Matters Vanilla Pea Protein, which I was going to link to but apparently the company went out of business at the beginning of this past May. How sad!

This recipe is
• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Nut free*
• Soy-free*
• Vegan*

*Depending on your choice of ingredients

Gluten-free Dairy-free Chocolate Protein Pudding
serves 1

• 1/2 – 1 scoop plant-based protein powder
• 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
• 3 tablespoons coconut, almond, hemp, or other non-dairy milk (I used coconut)
• 1 tablespoon non-dairy plain or vanilla yogurt (you can also use regular yogurt if you can tolerate it!)
• 1/2 tablespoon raw local honey or agave nectar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, mixing well. Add your choice of toppings. I used unsweetened shredded coconut and fresh organic blueberries!

What’s your favorite plant-based protein powder? Let me know in the comments below!