Tag Archives: easy

Bacon-ranch cucumbers

quick easy paleo snack: bacon ranch cucumbers

quick easy paleo snack: bacon ranch cucumbers

 

Talk about a quick, easy Paleo snack: Three ingredients, and NO cooking of any kind!

On top of which, two of the ingredients are BACON! and this fabulous, easy, Paleo Ranch dressing. Which — trust me — once you try it, you are gonna wanna keep in your fridge at all times!

If you don’t like Ranch, homemade mayo would work well, too.

Already-cooked, chopped bacon is another thing that — IMHO — should always be on hand in the fridge. Especially since the best, easiest way to cook bacon means cooking a whole big batch up at a time is no more trouble than cooking a few pieces.

So, if you have those two things on hand, and you have a cucumber, you can whip this bad boy up in no time flat! Perfect for a snack, appetizer — or maybe just lunch! You could package the three ingredients separately, and pack them with an ice pack for a work lunch, school lunch, or picnic.

Oh you wanna go a little fancier? Sure, add some finely diced tomato, or some snipped chives or dill. Pump up the protein with a little smoked turkey or chopped hard boiled egg.

But for instant gratification, those three ingredients will do just fine!

————–

Thinking of going Paleo?

Check out my 20-Day Countdown to a New Way of Eating!

————–

Follow me on Instagram for more quick, easy healthy food ideas.

Gyro wrap (gluten-free, mostly Paleo)

quick lunch from leftover hamburger - gyro wrap

Some of my best — and easiest! — lunches are born out of “what do I have in the fridge and freezer today?” This Gyro-inspired wrap is one of them.

I usually have already-cooked sausage or seasoned hamburger in the freezer, crumbled and divided into quarter-pound servings, in individual sandwich baggies. I also try to always keep romaine in the fridge, and now that I’m no longer doing a strict Whole30, I also keep plain Greek yogurt in the fridge. (Use dairy-free yogurt for Whole30 or strict Paleo.) And I always, always keep diced onions at-the-ready. All that’s needed to round out this lunch is tomatoes, cucumber, and a little dill.

No measuring involved; these directions are for one serving: Just put a “plop” of yogurt in a small bowl or ramekin (I’d guesstimate that’s about 2 or 3 tablespoons), add a pinch of dried dill weed, and a generous dash of garlic salt. Stir those together and set aside.

easy lunch: dill yogurt sauce for gyro

 

Defrost and warm up the ground beef or sausage. (Here’s a short video showing how I season the hamburger as I cook it.)

Dice some cucumber, tomato and onion.

Next, lay out three medium-sized heart-of-romaine leaves — or similar sized lettuce leaves, or other gluten-free wrap of your choice. (Have you tried this gluten-free flatbread recipe?)

Then layer them with a smear of the yogurt sauce, one third of the heated meat mixture, and top with the diced vegetables according to your taste. Top with more yogurt sauce, if desired.

quick easy lunch: gyro wrap - paleo, gluten free

 

The reason for putting some sauce on the bottom is that the juices from the meat will mingle with it and create a more complex sauce. The extra yogurt on top stays cold and provides a contrast to the warmer contents below.

Of course, you can tweak this suit your leftovers: use guacamole in place of the yogurt mix and swap out the cucumbers for your pepper of choice for gluten-free taco wraps. Swap mayo (and/or ketchup, if you allow it) for the yogurt mix, and sub pickles and/or mustard for the cukes, and you’ve got an American burger wrap. What else could you come up with?

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your leftovers! It opens up a lot more possibilities for quick, easy lunches!

Follow me on Instagram for more quick, easy healthy food ideas.

Like it? Pin it!

quick easy lunch - gyro wrap, paleo, gluten-free

Very veggie tuna salad

easy lunch; tuna salad with tomato, avocado + peppers

Making healthy food more convenient is the way to kick the convenience food habit! But I can’t deal with the kind of meal prep that requires having 12 different casseroles in the freezer to drop in the slow cooker. What works for me is having a lot of different ingredients and meal components chopped and/or cooked, so they’re ready to be thrown together at a moment’s notice, for quick, easy meals — not just dinner, but also super easy lunches, since I work from home.

Lately, I’ve been on a tuna salad kick. It’s a perfect lunch for summer – no cooking needed! I do sometimes do the super-simple version of throwing a packet of tuna, a bit of homemade mayo, and some lemon pepper together and eating it on romaine hearts. Might even throw in some chopped celery and/or pickle, if I feel like a little something extra. But lately, I’ve been doing variations on a tuna salad dressed with oil and vinegar, rather than mayo. And this is a great way to work in lots of veggies, too!

This would work great for a lunch to pack for work, school, or a picnic, too.

The core recipe is:

1  2-to-3 oz. package of tuna

about 1/2 c. of diced onion (but you can eyeball* it)

1 T. of lemon juice or rice vinegar

2 to 3 T. of olive oil (use 2 if the tuna is packed in oil; 3 if it’s packed in water)

1/4 c. chopped parsley – again; just eyeball* it

1/4 to 1/2 avocado

1/2 t. kosher salt (or 1/4 t. regular salt)

1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper – or more to taste

a pinch or two of dill – optional

*”Eyeball it” = just throw in an amount that looks to you like it would fill a measuring cup of that particular measurement. If you’re not comfortable doing that straight away, measure it out and pay attention to what that looks like, and remember it for next time. This saves you the few seconds of getting out a measuring cup. (And saves some space in the dishwasher.)

This is where my meal prep comes in handy. I always keep a container of already-diced yellow onion in the fridge, and a container of already-chopped parsley in the freezer. I squeeze fresh lemons every few days and keep a bottle of that in the fridge. If you’re cool with the pre-squeezed stuff that comes in a bottle, I won’t judge! I also keep tuna packets in the fridge, so the tuna is already cold when I add it to the other salad stuff. When I buy a bunch of parsley, I chop it all and put it in a baggie in the fridge. It stays a nice green and is super easy to grab what you need and toss it into any dish.

Avocado is something that’s best cut up at the last minute, but thanks to the acid in the dressing, the avocado won’t turn too brown if you need to hold this for a few hours.

Then add the other veggies of your choice, and stir it all together gently. It’s best if you can let it chill for a couple hours or so, but I rarely think ahead that far! Whenever you’re ready to eat it, taste it first and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add more salt if it’s just overall bland; more lemon/vinegar and/or pepper if it needs more zing!

Here are some of my variations…

easy lunch; tuna salad with tomato, avocado + peppers

This has been my standby combo for years: to the basic core recipe, I add some chopped bell pepper — also something I keep ready in the fridge — and some chopped tomato. (Tomatoes should always be kept at room temp for best flavor, so those can’t be stashed in the fridge.) Measurements aren’t important; just add it till it looks like an amount you’ll like.

Lately, I’ve been trying to live without nightshades — a family of plants including potatoes, tomatoes, and all peppers except black pepper. (Not because these veggies are bad for you! But some people have a sensitivity to them, and I’m experimenting to see if they have any impact on how I feel.) So here are a few nightshade-free tuna salad variations.

nightshade-free tuna salad

Here, I used diced cucumber to replace the crispy texture of the bell pepper, and pine nuts to fill the role of the sweetness of the tomatoes. It turned out quite nice!

.

tuna salad with ranch dressing

And here’s another slight variation on that: still with cucumbers, but I’ve also got some diced celery, chopped celery leaves, and homemade paleo Ranch dressing added to the mix. Oh, and half a hard-boiled egg — another thing to keep on hand, if you like them.

.

mayo-free tuna salad variation

Another alternative for those avoiding tomatoes: blueberries! I know, it sounds weird, right? But don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! The blubes have a sweet-slightly-tart flavor that makes an excellent sub for tomatoes.

Pretty easy lunches, huh? I hope this gives you some inspiration: with some of your favorite pre-diced veggies in your fridge and a couple other staples on hand, you can mix up any number of variations of your own favorite salad, and it really just takes a few minutes.

These could serve two people for a light lunch; especially if you serve something else with it. I must confess, though, that most days, I polish it all off on my own!

easy lunch - all gone!

 

———————————————————————————-

Follow me on Instagram! And…

———————————————————————————-

Once a month, I send out tips and recipe links to my subscribers. And when you sign up, you get a couple freebies! One gives you tips for easy ways to cut down on sugar and carbs; the other one is my “meal planning for people who hate to meal plan” plan! Learn more here…

Subscribe to my monthly email,

and get a free gift…

The Meal Plan for People Who Hate to Meal Plan

———————————————————————————-

30-minute marinara: 6 ingredients; sugar-free

paleo sugar-free make-ahead marinara recipe

I found this make-ahead marinara sauce recipe in a Good Housekeeping magazine in 2009, and it’s been my go-to pasta/spaghetti/pizza/whatever sauce ever since!

Do you know what’s in your store-bought marinara sauce? Here’s the ingredient list for Ragu:

Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Vegetable Oil (Contains One Or More Of The Following: Soybean Oil, Corn Oil), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Dried Onions, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Romano Cheese (Cow’s Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Spices, Natural Flavor.

I like making my own, so I know there’s no sugar, corn syrup, or bad oils in it, but I love how easy this recipe is to whip up! I double the original recipe, and keep the extra in the freezer. Because there’s no shortage of what you can pair with marinara…

paleo meatballs, marinara, roasted cauliflower
Paleo meatballs with marinara over zucchini noodles, with a side of Italian cauliflower

Things to do with marinara sauce:

  • Of course, the classic: Serve it with meatballs or browned beef, and pasta or zucchini/squash noodles.
  • Use it as a basic pizza sauce.
  • Dollop some heated marinara over cooked green beans or zucchini. Optional: add a little grated Parm on top. Yum! You might get veggi-phobes to like this one!
  • Delicious on salmon, too.
  • Top a grilled chicken breast with some marinara and a slice of mozzarella cheese, and heat till the cheese melts.
  • Brown some crumbled sausage, then add marinara and heat through. Toss with some cooked store-bought tortillini. Optional: add chopped spinach.
  • Add it to a soup of broth and vegetables — adding meatballs, sausage, or chicken is optional — and you’ve got something close to minestrone.
  • Italian tomato butter: Blend 1 stick softened butter and 1/4 cup marinara sauce; refrigerate till solid, and let it melt over hot vegetables, fish, or grilled chicken.
  • Pasta alla vodka: just add cream and vodka for this classic Italian sauce. Simmer 1/2 cup heavy cream and 3 cups marinara sauce in a skillet for 3 – 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons vodka. Optional: cook a few minutes to burn off some of the alcohol. Toss with cooked pasta. Shrimp or lobster is a nice add-in, too.
  • PALEO pasta alla vodka: Yep! No cream, no vodka, no pasta — still tastes great! Recipe here.

This sauce tastes best if you can get fresh basil, but if you can’t, just substitute two or three tablespoons of basil pesto.

And if you make it without pesto (because of the cheese), this is Paleo friendly and Whole30 compliant! And perfect for anyone who’s trying to go sugar-free.

(Oh, by the way… I’m not including the salt and pepper in the “6-ingredient” count, because: 1) everybody’s got S & P, 2) they take no effort, and 3) they go in everything, right?!)


 

Make-ahead marinara sauce recipe

2 T. olive oil

2 small or 1 large onion(s), chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1  5.5 or 6 oz. can tomato paste

2  28-oz. cans tomatoes: crushed or sauce, depending on desired texture

2/3 c. loosely-packed fresh basil, chopped

1/2 to 1 t. salt

1/2 t. black pepper – freshly ground, if possible

 

  1. In a 4-1/2 quart sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and saute the onions till soft and just starting to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  2. Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook one minute; add tomatoes. If you want a really smooth sauce, use tomato sauce. If you want a sauce with a little more body, use crushed. If you want a chunky sauce, use whole tomatoes and break them up with a spoon as they cook. Or use a combination. (See my comparison of two brands of organic crushed tomatoes at the end of this post.)
  3. Turn up the heat and cook till the mixture boils, then turn the heat back down to medium/medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the basil and minimum salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

That’s it! How easy is that?!


 Tips for freezing marinara

If not using immediately, transfer to container(s) and refrigerate or freeze. Here are some tips on the freezing process…

I like to divide the batch into one-cup units, but that’s for a household of two. For a bigger family, you might want to go with two-cup or larger containers. I pour it into individual plastic containers then put those on a cookie sheet and get it as level as possible in the freezer, so the frozen sauce will be an even thickness.

makeahead-marinara-tray-600x320

Then once they’re frozen, I pop them out of the plastic containers and into sandwich-size baggies, then seal those and put them in a gallon baggies. This takes up less space than the hard containers. Putting it in the larger baggie makes it easier to keep them all together in the freezer (easier to find and make sure no one is left behind), plus it’s an extra layer of protection in the freezer. I label the large bag so I don’t end up wondering later if that’s marinara or chili.

makeahead-marinara-bagged-600X270

 

Another tip: I’ve found that 17.6 oz. Fage yogurt containers create frozen disks that fit perfectly into these 2-cup glass storage bowls when it comes time to thaw the sauce. (link goes to my Amazon store)

freezing marinara sauce: the containers

It keeps well in the freezer and reheats beautifully! It may separate while thawing, but just stir it together and it’ll be good as fresh.

To thaw, you can use the microwave, or set it in the fridge for several hours, or just heat it slowly at first in a sauce pan, then break it up and turn up the heat as it begins to thaw.

You are gonna love this sauce! It tastes really fresh and light, and knowing it’s completely free of sugar, corn syrup — better yet!


Comparison of Simple Truth Organic and Muir Glen Organic crushed tomatoes

I used a combination of two brands of crushed tomatoes, so I could test them against one another, at least before they went in the sauce.

canned-tomato-brands-compared-600x400

On the left, Dillons/Kroger organic store brand; on the right, Muir Glen organic. You can see the second has a little chunkier texture and a slightly redder color, both of which I like. It tasted a little better, but that wasn’t really a fair fight: the store brand was plain and no salt added; the Muir Glen had salt and other seasonings. I would use either one again.

Don’t lose this recipe: Pin it!

paleo sugar-free make-ahead marinara recipe

Sugar-free, dairy-free coffee ice cream

sugar-free ice cream - coffee ice cream

One of my husband’s favorite desserts is coffee ice cream. And for two back-to-back rounds of Whole30, he went without desserts completely. Afterwards, he decided to stick with Paleo permanently — which means there’s room for the occasional, nature-sweetened dessert. So I wondered, could I make a sugar-free ice cream recipe that was also dairy-free, — and stacked up to his favorite brand?

Yes, I can!

I tried one version that included egg yolks, with the whole simmering-and-tempering thing, (and if you want to add some protein, healthy fats, and vitamins to your ice cream, you could certainly go that route). He liked it just fine. But my second time around, I decided to see if I could simplify the process — no cooking required! — and still keep the yum factor.

The verdict: He liked the second version better. Even said, “This beats Marble Slab!” WIN!

This is the brand of coconut milk I like to use. (Link to my Amazon store, but you can get this locally.) And no, you don’t taste coconut in the finished recipe.

Dairy-free sugar-free coffee ice cream recipe

1 c. steaming hot water

2 T. ground coffee; mild or mellow flavor (decaf, if you like)

16 pitted deglet noor dates

1 can coconut milk (read below on how to prepare it*)

1 t. vanilla

Optional: additional sweetener of your choice (I like maple syrup)

sugar free ice cream instructions

Steep the coffee in the hot water for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, check the dates and trim off any stems still attached. Cut each date in half, the short way. Remove any pits you find. Place the chopped dates in a bowl or measuring cup large enough to hold two cups.

Once the coffee is steeped, pour it through a fine sieve over the dates. Leave the fine grounds behind; don’t even try to pour them through.

sugar free ice cream instructions

Let this sit at room temp for one or two hours.

Add the coffee and dates to a blender or food processor and blend till smooth; then add the coconut milk and vanilla and blend again. There will still be some “freckles” of dates in the mixture, but there shouldn’t be any large bits.

sugar free coffee ice cream in the blender

Taste, and add more vanilla or other sweetening if necessary. If your sweet tooth is adjusted to a sugar-free life, it should be plenty sweet as is. Other people may want it sweeter. Feel free to make it your way!

Refrigerate till completely cold – at least a couple hours – then freeze according to your ice cream freezer instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream freezer, you can pour it into a shallow dish or pan and place it in the freezer of your fridge, scraping and stirring it every 20 – 30 minutes till you get the desired texture.

sugar free coffee ice cream in the freezer

The hubs likes it straight-up; I like a few pecans sprinkled on top. I love the contrasting texture, and the slight buttery flavor they add.

sugar free ice cream - coffee with pecans

 

I’m pretty confident this recipe would fool most people: you’d never guess it was sugar free ice cream!

*If you’ve never used canned coconut milk, here’s how to make it as lump-free as possible: Have the can at room temp, not chilled, when you open it. Shake the can well, and open from the bottom. Pour the contents out, then use a spatula to scrape the last bit of coconut cream from the unopened end of the can. There will still be a few lumps, but the blender should get the rest of them.

Want more recipes like this? or looking for Paleo recipes? Check out my cookbook…

 sugar-free dessert cookbook now available

Strawberry poppy seed dressing (sugar-free)

poppy-seed-dressing-salad-cu-600x330

 

I’ve always loved poppy seed dressing, but once I went sugar free, it had to be a very occasional treat. It takes a lot of sugar to balance the onion, and I tried making sugar-free poppy seed dressing, but I found that substituting Splenda ruined the dressing’s ability to cling to the greens. (Back when I ate Splenda.)

Then a few weeks ago, I saw a photo of strawberry poppy seed dressing and it hit me: use the sweetness of strawberries, and you won’t need sugar at all!

sugar-free poppy seed dressing - strawberries make it sweet! #paleo #whole30

This dressing is so easy to make, it’s no trouble for everyday. And it’s so pretty, it can be a star player on a brunch or luncheon table. Especially perfect for a bridal shower, Mother’s Day — or any spring or summer party, really.

I left the onions out of the dressing; with onions in the salad, and with the strawberries bringing the flavor and body to the dressing, they’re not so needed in the dressing.

And yes, this salad is Paleo and Whole30 compliant! Let’s just talk about all the healthiness packed into the salad: spinach, strawberries, olive oil, oranges, pecans – super foods, all! If I weren’t avoiding dairy, I would totally throw some feta cheese in there, too. (Or goat cheese, if you like. Which I don’t.)

sugar-free strawberry poppy seed dressing on spinach salad #paleo #whole30

Sugar-free poppy seed dressing and spinach salad

makes enough for 4 – 6 salads

 

1/2 c. chopped strawberries

2 T. light olive oil, or other light-flavored oil

1 T. mayo (homemade, if ya got it)

1 to 2 T. white balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)

pinch salt

1 t. poppy seeds

 

Strawberries may be fresh or frozen. If using frozen, chop and measure while still partially frozen, but allow to thaw before blending.

sugar-free poppy seed dressing; paleo, whole30Combine all ingredients except for poppy seeds in a blender container, using only 1 T. of vinegar to start with. Blend till smooth. Taste, and add 1 t. of vinegar at a time until it’s as tangy as you want it. (Remember, being spread out on the spinach will make it a bit milder.)

Pour into a jar for storage, then add poppy seeds and stir.

Chill till ready to use. Can be served immediately, but tastes best the next day.

for four salads:
6 – 8 oz. baby spinach
1/4 small red onion
2 navel oranges or cara cara oranges
chopped pecans, to taste

Tear the spinach into bite-size pieces, and cut the onion into thin, short slices.

Cut the tops and bottoms off the oranges, then slice the peel and pith off of them. (To see what I mean, watch 0:20 – 1:30 of this video: how to peel an orange.) Then tear the sections apart, and cut into pieces that will fit neatly on a fork.

Aren’t they pretty in the sunlight?

orange segments for spinach salad

Assemble the salads ahead of time, or let guests build their own. If making ahead of time, the spinach and onions may be stored together in the same bowl. The acid from the oranges and the salt in the dressing would begin to break the spinach down, so don’t store them together. Pecans might get soggy, so keep them separate as well.

spinach salad with sugar free poppy seed dressing #paleo #whole30

 

Pin that purty thang!

sugar-free poppy seed dressing, sweetened with strawberries, on spinach salad. Paleo, whole30

————–

New to eating gluten-free? Or thinking of going Paleo?

Check out my 20-Day Countdown to a New Way of Eating!

————–

Make-ahead roasted sweet potato

Whole30 Paleo breakfast: easy with make-ahead prep!

One of the biggest challenges in eating clean and healthy is putting together meals. And one of the most important tips/tricks for making healthy meals super easy is to have some food “building blocks” ready in your fridge and freezer at all times. I plan to do a complete post on this soon, but for now, here is one of my favorites: sweet potatoes. They’re easy to prep, keep well in the fridge, and very versatile at playing well with other foods.

Plus, when you’re looking for nutrient-dense foods, sweet potato is a super-hero source of Vitamin A! This chart shows amounts for a whole 5″ potato, but even half this is good! (nutrition data source)

sweet potato nutrition chart

I learned this prep method from the ladies at Layers of Happiness, but their recipe was for a complete dish. I’ve just borrowed the method, and adapted it for the ready-t0-go-ingredients tray in my Whole30 compliant fridge. (A post for another day.)

I start with a medium-sized sweet potato. What I’m calling “medium”  is about 5 or 6″ long and roughly 3″ wide at the widest point. Give it a good scrubbing with a vegetable brush under running water, then pat dry. Poke several holes in it with a fork. I usually make three or four pokes on one side, then turn it over and repeat.

Then I put it in the microwave on high for one minute and 45 seconds; turn it over and repeat. (Please note that all microwaves are different and you will probably need to experiment to find the timing that works with yours.)

If you learn better by watching, here’s a short video:

Next, I take it out and cut it in half. It should be somewhat soft all the way through. It doesn’t need to be thoroughly soft, and you really don’t want it to be. But if it’s still hard in the middle, you can put the halves cut-side-down on a microwave safe plate and zap it for another 30 – 45 seconds.

Then, using a sharp paring or steak knife, cut the flesh of the sweet potato into cubes of about 1/2″ — but don’t cut all the way through to the skin. You may go ahead and cut all the way through the middle, if you like. (Note/update: I used to leave them semi-cut, like this, but I found that I usually use them diced, so now I just cut all the way through the skin and store them diced.)

cubed roasted sweet potato - whole30, paleo

Just stash this in an airtight container in the fridge, ready to deploy for all kinds of easy Whole30/Paleo meals. Such as…

A breakfast stir-fry with eggs, sausage, spinach, and sweet potato.

whole30 paleo breakfast eggs sausage sweet potato spinach

.

Another breakfast option — and one reason you don’t cut all the way through the skin. Scramble your favorite eggs and meat combo, and serve it on top of a reheated sweet potato half or quarter. Add snipped chives, if you have ’em, for color and flavor:

whole30 paleo easy meal: egg + bacon scramble on sweet potato

.

A super-easy side dish: Spread some bacon fat (or other healthy fat of your choice), salt, and pepper on top, and reheat. Sweet potato and pork were made for each other:

whole30 paleo dinner: pork, sweet potato + cauliflower

.

Mashing your prepped sweet potatoes is another option. One of my very favorite easy meals is to top a prepped, reheated sweet potato with some pulled pork or carnitas. Optional: top it all off with some caramelized onions. I haven’t shot a photo of that exact dish, but here’s a similar combo from Free the Animal:

carnitas on sweet potato, by freetheanimal.com
image by freetheanimal.com

 

One of my favorite easy lunches is to throw some leftover pork or sausage in some bone broth — either chicken or ham — and some veggies from my make-ahead tray; here, I used sweet potato, onion, and zucchini:

sausage, sweet potato, zucchini soup - make ahead paleo whole30

 

This soup is thickened with an egg yolk. On this particular day, I was lucky enough to have some local eggs from a friend. The yolks were almost orange, and it gave the broth a lovely golden color!

The healthy breakfast and soup options are really endless — even within Whole30 restrictions! Once you have some mostly-cooked, mostly-diced sweet potato in the fridge, you’ll find all kinds of new ways to use this flavorful, healthful, versatile veggie!

Like this post? Please pin it!

whole30 paleo sweet potato tips

————–

New to eating gluten-free? Or thinking of going Paleo?

Check out my 20-Day Countdown to a New Way of Eating!

————–

Easy-peasy appetizer: salami & mango

paleo or whole30 appetizer: salami & mango

This is a super-easy appetizer, perfect for any casual get-together. And you don’t have to be doing Paleo or Whole30 to love it!

We have some great friends we’ve known for ages, and we have a collective birthday dinner every April. We’ve done this every year, starting before we all had kids — more than 24 years ago!

Usually we go out, but sometimes we pull together a collective gourmet meal, and with the hubs and I doing Whole30 this month, eating at home is always easier than eating out, so we invited everyone over.

We all chipped in on some pricey but oh-so-amazing steaks from Whole Foods, which my hubs grilled up to absolute perfection. I made a spinach salad with strawberry poppy seed dressing. Joni brought a dish of baked asparagus with tomatoes and sundried tomatoes — sprinkled with Parmesan for the rest of them, served without for us Whole30-ers. And I didn’t miss the cheese at all; it was delish! Cindy brought a tasty selection of fresh fruit for dessert; I made some banana ice cream to go with it. (The Kitchn has a recipe that just uses bananas, but I added some coconut milk and a splash of vanilla. Toasted pecans were a nice topper, too.)

For the appetizer, I threw together this incredibly simple dish. It sounds like a weird combo, I know — I got a skeptical look from at least one person when I described them — but the combination of the salty salami and the sweet mango just works! 

Here’s how you do it.

First, cut the cheeks off a mango. I find the kind with yellow skin is usually smoother than the red/green skinned kind. They’re sometimes called “champagne mangos.” Whatever.

This video shows how to cut a mango; you just need to watch from 0:39 to 1:14 –

Then, leaving the skin on, cut very thin slices diagonally, not cutting through the skin, as shown in the video. He used a spoon to scoop them out; I use a knife.

paleo appetizer: slicing the mango

You want your slices really thin; about 1/16″ of an inch. 1/8″ will be too thick, because it’ll be harder to get the salami to stay folded.

Then taking one salami slice at a time, add a couple slices of mango, put a small smear of guacamole or smashed avocado next to it — this is the glue the holds it together — then fold it over.

paleo appetizer: salami assembly

Repeat with the remaining slices. You should be able to get about a dozen pieces out of one mango, maybe more.

Alternatively, you can just lay out slices of salami and mango and let people assemble their own, skipping the guacamole, if you want. Easier yet!

To make sure this is Whole30 compliant, look for sugar-free salami if possible, with minimal processing and chemicals.

It makes a beautiful plate, and the contrast of flavors is quite happy! It would also be at home on a brunch or luncheon table. And it’s so super-simple, I sometimes have it for an afternoon snack. Try it; I think you’ll be hooked, too!

paleo or whole30 appetizer: salami & mango