Cravings and DIY Chipotle on Whole30

The last week of Whole30 was the hardest period for me. I started craving everything carbalicious and I began counting down the days until freedom.

The point of Whole30 is to reset your body and mind so that you no longer crave these sugary, carb-heavy, processed foods, but 30 days is nearly not long enough to permanently transform your diet and lifestyle and to kick your cravings for good. I suspect I would need a full year to do that. And while I continue to enjoy the foods that I am cooking and sharing with you, my cravings went from 0 to 60 in the last 10 days.

Since writing down your feelings is supposed to be cathartic, here are all of the foods I started craving and will attempt to shovel into my piehole on Day 31 (today!)

  1. Doughnuts from Dough
  2. Doughnuts from Doughnut Plant (yes, there’s a difference between this and #1)
  3. An entire New York style pizza pie to myself
  4. Tacos from Tacombi
  5. This grown-up grilled cheese with pesto and fancy cheeses
  6. Chocolate almond croissant from Maison Kayser
  7. Chocolate croissant from Bien Cuit (yes, there’s a difference between this and #5)
  8. A loaf of Miche bread from Bien Cuit slathered in butter, honey, and sea salt
  9. Boomwich’s incredible meatball sandwich on pretzel bread with parmesan cheese, sauteed broccoli rabe, and tomato sauce
  10. A massive ice cream sundae from the best ice creamery, Ample Hills Creamery (8 scoops of my ice cream flavors of choice, hot fudge, caramel, whipped cream, cookie dough, salty-sweet snack topping and sprinkles).
  11. A New York-style Everything Bagel slathered with cream cheese
  12. A slice of Salty Honey Pie and Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie from the most decadent pie shop, Four and Twenty Blackbirds
  13. A burrito from Chipotle (sometimes I’m simple)
  14. This awesome breakfast sandwich from the Saltie
  15. Vosges dark chocolate black salt caramel bar 
  16. A cheese quesadilla with guacamole and sour cream
  17. Challah French Toast with real maple syrup
  18. Sweet potato fries with garlic aioli
  19. Pizza knots with marinara sauce from Parm
  20. The combination brownie-cookie Brookster from Baked
  21. Indian chaat (savory snack/carb salad)
  22. A sea salt caramel macaron from Ladurée (and a raspberry one too)
  23. Hand-pulled noodles with some sort of spicy meat.
  24. A jar of Nutella (sometimes I’m lazy)
  25. A falafel sandwich drowned in tahini from Taim
  26. Pumpkin ravioli in sage brown butter sauce (an oddly specific fall-season craving)
  27. A chocolate chip cookie from Levain Bakery

Are you drooling yet? My keyboard and screen are covered in my saliva.

To satisfy one of my 27 cravings, Chipotle, I decided to make my own Chipotle burrito bowls for the last few days of Whole30.

Chipotle is actually a superstar when it comes to nutritious fast food. It serves responsibly raised meats, organic and local produce where possible, pasture-raised cheese and sour cream, and no longer uses any genetically modified foods. Unfortunately, most of the meats at Chipotle are not Whole30 approved because they are cooked in prohibited oils, like rice bran oil. Other items on the menu, such as sofritas (tofu), beans, and corn salsa are foods not permitted on Whole30.

But there is one Whole30-approved option at Chipotle, and I have definitely treated myself to it at least once a week. Carnitas! Chipotle’s carnitas is cooked in sunflower oil, which is not an ideal cooking oil but it is permitted in limited quantities with the understanding that you would never be able to dine out if you were 100% limited to olive oil, coconut oil, and ghee. So if you’re observing Whole30 and craving Chipotle, fill up a bowl with salad, top it with the delicious carnitas (double the meat if you’re double hungry), add any or all of the three salsas (I get all three plus extra tomato salsa) and add guacamole. This meal is surprisingly filling and delicious, and I only miss the rice, cheese, and sour cream a little bit.

Since Chipotle + guac can get pricy, I decided to make my own burrito bowls at home.

Whole30 Chipotle Bowl 


Base: Cauliflower Rice

First, I made a copycat version of Chipotle’s cilantro-lime rice using cauliflower rice. You can find my basic cauliflower rice recipe here. To give it some Mexican flavor, I add a healthy sprinkling of cumin, along with a generous addition of salt and pepper, to the cauliflower rice while it’s cooking on the stove. When the rice is off the stove, I mix in minced cilantro (1/4 cup), lime zest (half of a large lime), and lime juice (half of a large lime).


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Meats: Slow Cooker Chicken

Next up, the meats. I considered trying this copycat Chipotle carnitas recipe, but I couldn’t find a high-quality cut of pork at my butcher. So, I went with good ol’ chicken. I used my slow cooker chicken recipe here which is full of citrus and herbs/spices, but this time I used only chicken thighs, and I added a teaspoon of paprika to the spice mix to complement the dish’s Mexican-ish flavors.

I love adding citrus to my chicken marinades.


This slow cooker chicken comes out so tender that it almost falls apart.
This slow cooker chicken comes out so tender that it almost falls apart.

What Goes Inside: Onions and Peppers

I also threw together some spicy sauteed onions and peppers to mimic Chipotle’s peppers and onions.  I heated some olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet, then added sliced red onions and sliced red and green bell peppers. I added salt, pepper, and dried oregano, and cooked until the vegetables were starting to char.  Then, I added in some minced garlic and a diced Serrano chili pepper, lowered the heat to medium-low, and cooked until the vegetables were tender and browned.

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Toppings: Guacamole and Salsas

Finally, I made my favorite part: guacamole.  Mash together in a bowl 3 ripe avocados along with 1/2 tsp salt, 1 minced garlic clove, the juice of 1 lime, 3-4 TBSP of minced cilantro, 1/4 cup diced red onion, 1 small jalapeño diced, and Aleppo pepper to taste. Blend evenly, taste, and adjust seasonings accordingly.


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At this point, I did not have the energy to make my own salsas, so I used some roasted tomato salsa that I already had in the fridge and bought this green Hatch chile salsa from Trader Joe’s.

Once you have all of your fixings prepared, make yourself a bowl and enjoy!




Make-Ahead Whole30 Breakfasts

I am what some people call a “morning person.” I am that annoying friend who meets you for Sunday brunch and informs you that I’ve already gone to the gym, done my laundry, bought groceries, and saved the world before noon. I am that irritating person you overhear on your morning commute who says, “I don’t even need coffee in the morning” or “I have so much energy at dawn.”

Accordingly, on weekdays, I’m typically up by 6:15 a.m., which gives me plenty of time to prepare and enjoy a nice, hearty breakfast before heading to work around 8:45 a.m.. But, occasionally, I am running late for some other reason, and it’s nice to be able to rely on a pre-made breakfast or leftovers.

Here are some of my favorite Whole30-approved breakfast items to prepare in advance so that my weekday breakfast prep takes all but 5 minutes in the morning.

Hard-boild/Soft-boiled eggs

Have you ever gotten hard boiled eggs from a salad bar? Were you grossed out when you sliced into the egg and the yolk was greenish-gray and wildly overcooked?

Stick to the guide below and you’ll be able to enjoy perfectly cooked eggs that retain a softish, yellow yolk that’s 0% gray and 100% delicious.

For best results, use pasture-raised eggs. Pasture-raised eggs come from hens that spend their time outside on fresh pastures, not in tiny cages or in enormous, crowded barns. Buying eggs at the grocery store can be confusing with all of the different labels like “all natural” and “cage free,” so check out this guide to find out what these labels actually mean and how to best balance your dietary goals with your budget.


  • Eggs (use as many that will comfortably fit in your steamer basket)
  • Water
  • Ice water bath
  • Large sauce pan
  • Steamer basket
  • Colander


  1. Boil a few inches of water in a large sauce pan.
  2. Place eggs in steamer basket.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add the steamer basket full of eggs. The basket should not be submerged in water. Cover the sauce pan with a lid and steam the eggs for 8 1/2 minutes.
  4. While the eggs are cooking, fill up a large bowl with ice water.
  5. After 8 1/2 minutes, remove the steamer basket and place the eggs in the ice water for 15 minutes. This stops the eggs from continuing to cook.
  6. Finally, start peeling the eggs under cold running water. 

Breakfast Hash

Breakfast hash is easily customizable and a great way to use leftovers. All you need is a starchy vegetable (potatoes and sweet potatoes are most common, but get creative and try carrots, beets, or butternut squash), plus whatever leftovers you have – meat, vegetables, greens. Cook everything in a large skillet and serve as a side dish, or fry a couple off eggs directly on top of the hash for a complete meal.

My go-to ingredients for Whole30 breakfast hash are sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, jalapeños or any other chili pepper, and garlic. Sometimes I get fancy and add some chicken sausage in there. You can find my recipe for Sweet Potato Hash on my breakfast recipe page.



When I was in college, I over-enthusiastically bit down on a chocolate chip cookie and lost part of a tooth. Most people pair cookies with milk or coffee, but I prefer to pair mine with bloody teeth. As Thanksgiving was just around the corner, I scheduled myself for an emergency root canal to take care of my horrific snaggle tooth. Upon arriving at the dentist office, my dentist mistook me for an eight-year old child and offered to play Disney’s Ratatouille on a tiny TV screen in order to keep me distracted from the immense discomfort that is a root canal. This was a cruel and unusual movie choice because even cartoon food looks incredibly tasty when you’re on a liquid diet for the next 24 hours.

For quite a while, ratatouille was off limits for me because I invariably associated it with teeth cleaning and reconstruction. But when we were in the south of France last year, I had an incredible, authentic ratatouille served over a crunchy, buttery baguette, and it was so delicious that I thought about my dentist only once at dinner that night.

Ratatouille is a vegetable stew from the Provence region of France, and typically it contains eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and seasonings. It’s very easy to make and is a tasty way to get in your vegetables for the day. It goes particularly well with eggs, which is why it’s one of my favorite make-ahead breakfasts.

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  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplants, diced
  • 1 small-medium zucchini, chopped thinly
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 chili pepper such as a Serrano chili, diced
  • 1 14 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp each of dried thyme and oregano
  • 1/4 tsp each of cumin and coriander
  • 1/2-1 tsp of salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 cup each of basil leaves, chiffonaded, and parsley, finely chopped


  1. Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions and lower the heat to medium-low. Add garlic. Stir occasionally until onion is softened and slightly caramelized.
  2. Add additional olive oil to pan and increase heat to medium-high. Add eggplant and stir occasionally until eggplant is somewhat cooked, approximately 5-7 minutes.
  3. Then, add bell pepper, zucchini, and chili pepper and and cook for approximately 10 minutes until all vegetables are tender. DSC_0020DSC_0023
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cumin, coriander, and salt and pepper. Cook for a final 5-7 minutes.DSC_0026DSC_0027
  5. Remove from heat and add basil and parsley. Stir well to blend.

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Saucy Sausage

You can always rely on sausage for breakfast (but be sure to check your labels if you’re on Whole30 and to avoid sausages made with artificial ingredients and sugar). But to make breakfast sausage a little more interesting, I like to turn it into a meaty marinara sauce.

You can use pre-cooked sausage, as I did in this recipe, or you can cook sausages and then add those to the cooked onions/peppers and marinara sauce and mix to heat through.


  • 12-16 oz pre-cooked breakfast sausage (Applegate organic sausage is made with real ingredients and is free of gluten, dairy, sugar and casein)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small jalapeño, diced
  • olive oil for cooking
  • 1 heaping cup of marinara sauce (many products from Rao’s are Whole30-approved and made only with tomatoes, onions, olive oil, salt and herbs).
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme, oregano, and basil


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onions and saute until beginning to soften. Add peppers and cook for a few more minutes. Lower heat to medium-low and add in garlic and jalapeño, and cook until vegetables are softened.
  2. While veggies are cooking, dice the breakfast sausage into bite-sized pieces. Once veggies are done cooking, add in pre-cooked breakfast sausage and heat through for a few minutes.
  3. Add marinara sauce and herbs, and stir to heat through for a few minutes.
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    Saucy sausage, hard-boiled eggs, sweet potato hash, and avocado, a.k.a. HungryGirl Breakfast

Breakfast Casserole

My next make-ahead breakfast suggestion is the customizable breakfast casserole that I posted from Week 1 of Whole 30. You can find the recipe here or in the Recipes/Breakfast page. As with the breakfast hash, use whatever starchy vegetables, meats, and greens that you have on hand.

Best served with avocado and hot sauce

Pumpkin Nut Porridge


This recipe is very similar to the nut porridge I posted here, but it’s jazzed up for the fall pumpkin season. You can make the porridge ahead, store in the fridge, and then reheat it on the stove or even the microwave when you’re ready to eat.


  • 1 1/4 cups of mixed nuts of your choice (I used hazelnuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts)
  • bottled or filtered water for soaking nuts
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 13.5 can of full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • Toppings: shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, berries, sliced bananas or apples, diced mango, goji berries, chopped nuts, raw cacao nibs, dried unsweetened cherries, or whatever else you have on hand.




  1. Place nuts in a bowl and cover with water so that nuts are submerged. Add 1/4-1/2 TBSP sea salt. Cover bowl and let sit at room temperature overnight. Soaking the nuts makes them softer and yields a smoother consistency for the porridge.DSC_0090
  2. In the morning, rinse and drain the nuts in a colander several times to remove the salt.
  3. Place nuts in a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix or a food processor. Blend until nuts start to break up.
  4. Add remaining ingredients–-pumpkin pie spice, banana, pumpkin, and coconut milk. Blend until you achieve a smooth consistency that is similar to a thick smoothie. DSC_0100
  5. Add the porridge to a sauce pan, along with a cinnamon stick if using. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes until it thickens and is warmed through. DSC_0111
  6. Top with desired toppings.
Pumpkin nut porridge topped with coconut flakes, blackberries, goji berries, and raw cacao nibs
Pumpkin nut porridge topped with mango, shredded coconut flakes, raw cacao nibs, and goji berries

Do you have any go-to make-ahead breakfast ideas? I’d love to hear from you!


Indian Food on Whole30

Did you read the title of this post and think, “Ooh, I bet Nisha posted some authentic Indian recipes handed down by her grandmother in India?”

Welp, sorry if I got your hopes up.

Ever since I developed an interest in cooking, I have noticed one thing in particular about Indian food, particularly the food that my mother cooked. Traditional, home-cooked Indian food is very time- and labor-intensive.

I would sit in the kitchen and prepare my 30-minute grilled chicken and pasta while my mother worked on a six-course, ten-hour vegetarian delight made from scratch. And when I say from scratch, I mean everything is from scratch. From flour and water, she kneads the dough for roti (traditional unleavened Indian flat bread made from stoneground wholemeal flour, similar to a tortilla) and then rolls it out into perfect circles using just a rolling pin and years of experience. She sorts through jars of dried lentils and beans by hand, picking out individual pieces that are deformed; then she soaks the legumes overnight to prepare dals and curries. She dices up pounds and pounds of fresh garlic, ginger, and chilies, and makes her own pastes.

She even makes her own ghee and yogurt from scratch. For homemade ghee, she heats unsalted butter on the stove on low heat, watches the fat separates from the milk solids, and heats until the milk solids are deep brown in color; then, she strains it until she’s left only with the clear liquid, which is pure ghee. For homemade yogurt, she boils milk, and when it’s cooled to a lukewarm temperature, she adds bacterial cultures and mixes well and lets it rest for 5-6 hours or overnight. 

I love to cook but I certainly do not have the same patience that my mother has. My mother is, by the way, the most patient person you will ever meet. I, on the other hand, develop homicidal thoughts when I have to wait in a line more than two people deep. So I assumed that I would never cook Indian food because I simply didn’t have the patience to make everything from scratch.

I may never make my own roti or yogurt like my mother, but I’m happy to say that I’ve finally embraced the tantalizing world of Indian cuisine. The aromas of the spices, the vibrancy of colors, the warmth of flavors. There’s something magical about Indian cooking.

A lot of traditional Indian food can be very heavy and carbalicious, but I found some ways to make a Whole30 approved meal: Kofta in Curry Sauce.

Kofta is a type of meatball that can be found not only in Indian cuisine, but also in Afghani, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Lebanese, Turkish, and other similar cuisines. Indian kofta comes in the vegetarian variety as well, as at least 30% of people in India are vegetarians, but you can make it with beef, lamb, or chicken.

My local butcher shop had grass-fed beef on sale, so I went with beef. I bought 2 pounds of ground beef but used only 1 1/2 pounds, freezing the extra half pound for delicious burgers post-Whole30. I served the kofta with Tandoori-spiced roasted cauliflower.

The key to Indian food is adding layers of flavors – chilies, aromatics, spices. You’ll notice that in both of the recipes below.  These recipes use a lot of fresh garlic and ginger, so if you want to save on prep time, buy pre-peeled garlic cloves or bottles of fresh pre-minced garlic and ginger.

Kofta in Curry Sauce


Serves 6-8


Kofta (meatballs)

  • 1 1/2 pounds of grass-fed ground beef (or lamb or chicken)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 large serrano chile, minced
  • 1 TBSP minced ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 TBSP of fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 1/2 TBSP of fresh mint, mint
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 sweet potato, grated (use a cheese grater)
  • heaping 1/2 tsp garam masala (make your own, or buy in the spice aisle of your grocery store)


Curry Sauce

  • Coconut oil for cooking
  • 1 1/2 cups of onions, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 small Serrano chile, minced
  • 1 TBSP ground coriander
  • 1/2 TBSP ground cumin
  • 1/2 heaping tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 heaping tsp chili powder
  • 1 14 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes, with liquid (or use crushed tomatoes)
  • 3 bay leaves, torn
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces (or use 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon)
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 8 ounces of water
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 3 TBSP of fresh lime juice to finish
  • 3 TBSP cilantro, minced, to finish




  1. Make the meatballs: in a large bowl, add ground beef, beaten eggs, chilies, garlic, ginger, cilantro, mint, onion, sweet potato, and garam masala. Mix well until combined (with your hands or wooden spoon) but don’t overmix  or the meat will get tough.DSC_0002DSC_0005DSC_0009
  2. Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture and roll into meatballs. Place on a parchment-paper or aluminum-foil lined baking sheet or tray while you prepare the curry.DSC_0020
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until it’s nearly smoking. Add the onions, and after a few minutes, add the bell pepper. Once onion is almost translucent, add the garlic, Serrano chile, and ginger. Cook until golden brown.DSC_0029
  4. Then, add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili powder. Stir and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. It will be very fragrant!
  5. Add the canned tomatoes and liquid, cook for approximately 5 minutes until the mixture begins to evaporate.
  6. Add the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom, coconut milk, water, and salt. Bring mixture to a boil.DSC_0042
  7. Turn down the heat to a simmer, and add the meatballs. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, approximately 15-20 minutes.DSC_0047
  8. To finish, add lime juice and cilantro.


Tandoori-Spice Roasted Cauliflower



Tandoori Spice Blend 

Notes: this makes a bit more spice blend than the recipe calls for; save the rest for another dish. You can also purchase a pre-made Tandoori spice blend at a grocery store or specialty market.


  • 1 TBSP ground ginger
  • 1 TBSP ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2/3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


  • 2 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP of fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 TBSP of Tandoori spice blend
  • Juice of 2 small lemons
  • 1-2 TBSP coconut oil



  1. For Tandoori spice blend, mix together all ingredients until well incorporated.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 °F.
  3. In a large bowl, add the garlic, ginger, Tandoori spice blend, lemon juice, and coconut oil. Mix together until a paste forms
  4. Add cauliflower to bowl and toss evenly to make sure all florets are coated in spice blend. Spread out on a baking sheet or two (use parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup). DSC_0060
  5. Roast cauliflower in oven at 425 for 20-25 minutes, tossing once, until golden brown and cooked through.


Do you like spicy Indian food? Would you like your entire home to smell of rich aromas and spices? Are you looking for a perfectly hearty fall dinner? Then, you should try out these recipes and let me know what you think!


Week 3 Meal Roundup

I went into this challenge thinking that it would be the most difficult month of my life. I envisioned myself having to be dragged out of bakeries with my claws dipped in chocolate and sugar. I considered taking tranquilizers so that I could sleep through my cravings. I assumed that I would be so frustrated that I would yell obscenities at innocent strangers eating pizza on the street.

But, in reality, Whole30 has been kind of easy.

Okay, easy isn’t the right word. Whole30 has required A LOT of planning. And cooking. As much as I love to cook, it gets tiresome to spend six hours on the weekend meal prepping. Yes, I could get around that by eating very simple meals like plain meat with plain veggies for three meals a day, like this blogger. But I like food and flavor way too much to do that. I would rather starve than succumb to including raw baby carrots as a centerpiece in my lunch.

Also, I am not superhuman. I indeed have had cravings for pastries and bread. But typically, that has happened only when I walk into a bakery to buy a coffee.  Which is totally my fault. That’s like an alcoholic walking into a bar to order a soda water. Don’t test yourself too much, kids.

But it’s Day 20 now and I feel pretty in control of my cravings. The richness of my meals (i.e., hearty meats and fatty fish, eggs, coconut milk, sweet potatoes, avocados, nuts) generally leaves me extremely satisfied. Yes, I still want something sweet after dinner, but an apple or frozen banana with almond butter and cinnamon has generally been sufficient to curb my sweet tooth/teeth.

Speaking of hearty meals, here’s a look at some of the meals I whipped up during Week 3 of Whole30.

First, I cooked a Thai Pumpkin Curry that made about 12 glorious servings (feel free to halve if you’re not feeding a herd). It was one of the tastiest meals I’ve ever made, and I highly recommend you try it. Whole30 or not, it’s dericious, creamy and rich. Chock full of aromatics, chilies, and spices, this curry is representative of my favorite way to cook meals that are bursting with flavor. If you’re curious about other ways in which I add flavor to my meals, check out my earlier posts on maximizing flavor here and here.

I ate this curry on its own, but it would be even better served over cauliflower mash or cauliflower rice (recipes for both can be found here).

Thai Pumpkin Curry

Serves 12


  • 2 pounds of organic, free-range chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1.5 TBSP coconut oil or ghee
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TBSP freshly grated ginger
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 Thai bird’s eyes chilies, slit but kept intact
  • 4 TBSP red or yellow curry paste
  • 1.5 cups canned, full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 TBSP Red Boat fish sauce
  • Leftover roasted butternut squash
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 36 ounces of frozen vegetables (I used frozen broccoli)
  • 2 TBSP of unsweetened 100% apple juice
  • Lime juice to serve
  • Cilantro, minced, to serve


  1. Gather your ingredients. DSC_0095 DSC_0098
  2. Cut chicken thighs into medium chunks and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil or ghee in a Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil is shiny, add the chicken. Brown the chicken on both sides. Remove chicken from pan.
  4. Add onions to Dutch oven. Once the onions begin to soften, add the garlic, ginger, and chilies. Saute until the onion is translucent. DSC_0099DSC_0107
  5. Return the chicken to pan. Add the curry paste, coconut milk, pumpkin puree, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and cinnamon. Stir fry until aromatic. DSC_0111
  6. Add the frozen veggies, fish sauce and apple juice.

    Once you’ve added all of the ingredients, you will have a beautiful, vibrant orange curry.
  7. Increase the heat to high. Bring contents of pan to a boil. Then, turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the veggies are warmed through and the flavors have combined.
  8. Serve with a few squeezes of lime juice and cilantro.

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Our next hearty meal for Week 3 was a pressure-cooker chili con carne that we found on This dish takes just an hour in your pressure cooker and it couldn’t be easier. It’s rich, hearty, and dare I say…decadent?

Though most chili recipes you’ll find call for beans, an authentic Texas chile is simply meat, chiles, and more meat. With that in mind, be sure to use a grass-fed or organic cut of beef if you’re following Whole30.

We made a few alterations to the SeriousEats recipe, so I’ve included what I used below. For the future, I would definitely add a bit of raw cacao powder or cocoa powder. The sweetness of the cocoa balances out the spiciness of the chili and gives it an even richer, more luxurious taste.

Serious East Chili Con Carne


Serves 8


  • 3 whole sweet fresh dried chilies like Costeño, New Mexico, or Choricero, stems and seeds removed (we used New Mexico)
  • 2 small hot dried chilies like Arbol or Cascabel, stems and seeds removed (we used Arbol)
  • 3 whole rich fruity dried chilies like Ancho, Mulatto, Negro, or Pasilla, stems and seeds removed (we used Ancho)
  • 1 1/2 quarts chicken stock or broth
  • 2 whole Chipotle dried chilies canned in adobo sauce, plus 2 tablespoons sauce, stems and seeds removed
  • 4 pounds whole beef chuck, trimmed of excess gristle and fat, cut into 1.5 inch cubes (we used a combination of grass-fed beef brisket and beef chuck, but you could also use stew meat)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 TBSP Red Boat fish sauce, plus more to taste
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened 100% apple juice
  • Hot sauce, to taste


  1. Get your medical gloves or kitchen gloves out. Put them on. If you fail to follow this step, you will get hot chilies in your eyes and die. Cut the chilies open and remove the stems and seeds.

    Beautiful New Mexico chilies
  2. Place the dried chilies on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high power in 15-second increments until pliable and toasted-smelling, about 30 seconds total. Transfer to a 2-quart microwave-safe liquid measuring cup or bowl. Add chicken broth and chipotle chilies, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high power until gently simmering, about 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and set aside.
  3. Season cubes of meat generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in the base of an electric or stovetop pressure cooker over high heat until just starting to smoke. Add half of beef in a single layer and cook without moving until deeply browned. Flip meat and brown second side.
  4. Add onion and pepper to pressure cooker and cook, stirring frequently until onion is translucent and vegetables are softened. Add garlic, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, nutmeg, and oregano, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the soaked chilies and the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Transfer mixture to the jar of a blender. Blend, starting on the lowest possible setting and gradually increasing speed to high (make sure to hold the lid down with a clean kitchen towel or a potholder to prevent it from blowing out). Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Return purée to the pressure cooker.

  5. Add the chunks of beef to the pressure cooker. Bring to a simmer, season gently with salt and pepper, seal pressure cooker, and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.
  6. Release pressure using quick release valve on an electric cooker or running under cold water for a stovetop cooker. Remove lid. Stir in fish sauce, apple juice, and vinegar. Add hot sauce to taste. Simmer until thickened to desired consistency, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. For best results, allow chili to cool and store in the refrigerator at least overnight and up to five days. Reheat the next day to serve and top with avocado and cilantro.


After eating rich, hearty curries and stews this week, I was ready for something a bit lighter. Enter fish. Salmon and mango avocado salsa is one of the best combinations around and is an easy meal that you could even prepare on a weeknight.

I served mine with broccolini in a tahini sauce. A perfect and complete meal.

Salmon with Mango Avocado Salsa

Serves 2



  • 1 cup diced mango
  • 1/2 large avocado, diced
  • large handful of cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 of a red onion, diced
  • 2 TBSP chopped cilantro
  • 1 small jalapeño, diced
  • juice of 1 large lime, separated
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 wild salmon fillets, 4-6 oz. each
  • ground cumin to taste
  • ghee or coconut oil



  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease the bottom of a pie dish or baking pan with ghee or coconut oil.
  2. Add salmon fillets to dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cumin to taste. Squeeze lime juice on salmon and drizzle with ghee or coconut oil.
  3. Bake salmon in oven for approximately 10 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork. You may need to cook 3-5 minutes longer if your fillets are thick.
  4. Make salsa while salmon is cooking. Toss mango, avocado, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeño in a bowl. Add juice from 1/2 of the lime, salt and pepper to taste, and red pepper flakes. Toss until well combined.DSC_0019 DSC_0024CSC_0031
  5. Serve salmon fillets with generous serving of mango avocado salsa.DSC_0070

Broccolini with Ginger-Garlic Tahini Sauce


Serves 2 as a large side dish, 4 as a small side dish


  • 8 ounces baby broccoli or broccolini
  • 2 TBSP tahini paste (the only ingredient should be tahini, or ground sesame seeds)
  • 1 tsp fresh minced ginger,
  • 1 very small garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/4 tsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce if you’re not on Whole30)
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened 100% apple juice
  • 1/2 TBSP apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP warm water, or more to achieve desired consistency
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Blanch the broccolini: Bring a pot of unsalted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath (a large bowl of cold water with ice).
  2. If the broccolini stems are thick, slice the spear vertically in half.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add the broccolini. Blanch for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain in a colander. Immediately transfer broccolini to the ice bath to stop cooking and retain the vibrant green color.
  4. To prepare tahini sauce, add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk with a fork until thoroughly combined. Add more warm water if tahini sauce is too thick.
  5. To serve, place broccolini on serving plate. Drizzle with tahini sauce and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.


Are you hungry yet? Get to cooking!


Flavor Flav, Part 2

Hope you enjoyed Part I of Flavor Flav, and how to enhance the flavors of your Whole30 cooking. Welcome to Part 2, where I’ll share another five of my favorite ways to spice up my cooking.

6) Fresh Herbs 

Most home cooks have a spice rack with at least a few common spices and herbs, but you can really up the flavor of your food by using fresh herbs in your cooking. I love using fresh herbs as the centerpiece in a salad instead of relying entirely on baby spinach, kale, mesclun, etc. It gives the salad so much more variety and bite.

If you’re new to fresh herbs, start out easy with some basics. Add thyme to almost any meat, fish, pasta, or veggie and enjoy the lemony freshness. Chop up some parsley and use it as the universal garnisher. 

For other ideas, try adding chiffonade basil leaves to salad vinaigrettes for a sweet flair, use mint in Middle Eastern dishes especially lamb, add dill to seafood dishes for a bright pop of flavor, and don’t forget to add cilantro to Mexican, Thai and Indian dishes (unless you’re one of the unfortunate souls who are genetically inclined to think cilantro tastes like soap).

Below I’ve included a recipe for my favorite herb salad.

7) Coconut Aminos

In the Paleo and Whole30 world, coconut aminos are a must in Asian cooking. Coconut aminos is a sauce made from coconut sap and is most commonly used as a soy-free, gluten-free soy sauce or tamari substitute. Aside from being convenient, it’s also packed with vitamin C, B vitamins, minerals, and, as the name suggests, amino acids.

Use coconut aminos like you would soy sauce and/or tamari, and add it to marinades, stir-fries, soups, dipping sauces, and even salad vinaigrettes. Find more uses for coconut aminos here.

Below you’ll find one of my favorite vinaigrette recipes that uses coconut aminos.

8) Salsa

Everyone loves salsa (and chips!), but most people don’t think of salsa as a health food. But salsa made with fresh vegetables and/or fruit, herbs, spices and peppers definitely qualifies as a health food. There are even tons of store-bought brands that fit the bill and are Whole30 compliant, but fresh salsa always tastes better in my opinion.

Salsa is a great replacement for high-sugar ketchup, tastes great on virtually any meat, fish, or egg dish, and can be dressed up in a variety of different ways. I love a good mango salsa over fish, but your options are limitless.

Salsa on eggs makes for a great combo
Get creative with your taco toppings.

9) Harissa

Harissa is an aromatic chili paste commonly used in Middle Eastern and North African cooking. Like pesto, harissa is pretty easy to make at home, but you can find a Whole30 compliant brand at specialty markets or the ethnic section of your grocery store.

Harissa is traditionally made with hot chile peppers (often smoked), olive oil, garlic, cumin, coriander and other spices. It’s great as a marinade for meat or as a nice smoky condiment for eggs. You can also mix harissa with other ingredients to amplify the flavors of your condiments. For instance, mix harissa with extra virgin olive oil for a tasty dip for raw crudités (or bread, if you are not on Whole30). Or, add it to mayonnaise and spread it on your burger buns instead of ketchup. And my favorite non-Whole30 combination – mix harissa with hummus and serve with pita bread.

Typical weekday breakfast: eggs with harissa and homemade tomato sauce, avocado, sweet potato, and fruit.
Typical weekday breakfast: eggs served with harissa and homemade tomato sauce, avocado, sweet potato, and fruit.

10) Flavored Olive Oils and Vinegars

One of the easiest ways to spruce up a salad or lightly cooked dish is to use flavored olive oils and vinegars. Luckily, I found a local olive oil bar that sells delectable and reasonably priced flavored olive oils and vinegars. Once you finish a bottle, you can refill the same bottle at a discount and pick from any of the original or flavored olive oils and vinegars. So far, my favorites are the blood orange balsamic vinegar (tastes like dessert and is mind blowingly good with chocolate) and the jalapeño olive oil (shocker).

Use flavored olive oils and vinegars just as you would traditional olive oils and vinegars. Certain flavors pair particularly nice together, but feel free to experiment.

You can also get creative and infuse your own olive oils with herbs, spices, aromatics, citrus, and even nuts. Stick to good-quality oils and fresh ingredients for the best results. You can read more about infusing your own oils here and vinegars here.

Simple Herb and Seed Salad

Serves 2


  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (remove stems)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (remove stems)
  • 3/4 cups fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 3/4 cup fresh dill leaves, broken up into small pieces
  • 2 TBSP slivered almonds
  • 2 TBSP cashews
  • 2 TBSP hemp seeds (or substitute sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP fresh orange juice
  • 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Toast the almonds and cashews. You can do this in a preheated oven at 350 °- spread the nuts on a baking pan and toast for approximately 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden. Or, you can do toast the nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until nuts are golden brown. Let the nuts cool.
  2. Gather the herbs and mix with the nuts, orange zest and chili flakes in a bowl.
  3. Whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over herb and nut mixture. Toss and serve.

Mustard Vinaigrette


  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 TBSP coconut aminos
  • 1-2 TBSP raw honey
  • 1 TBSP coarse grain mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 (or more) cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Whisk together all ingredients except for olive oil until combined. Slowly whisk in olive oil until desired texture and taste is achieved.
  2. Alternatively, add all ingredients to a mason jar. Screw on lid tightly and shake until combined.

Flavor Flav: Part I

Eating only whole, unprocessed foods really highlights the importance of imparting flavor to your food. Without recourse to limitless cheese and butter, creamy sauces, all forms of added sugar, and delicious additives like soy lecithin and MSG, you have to put in some old-fashioned work to embolden the flavors on your plate. I find myself cooking with fresh and dried herbs, spices, chiles, aromatics and other Whole30-approved condiments more than ever, and the results are incredibly delicious and bursting with flavor.

Here is Part I of my Top 10 Whole30 flavor bombs that will liven up your clean eats. Ditch with your bland chicken breast and steamed vegetables and say hello to a whole new way of eating.

1) Aleppo Pepper

Aleppo Pepper is a variety of Capsicum annuum originally from southern Turkey near the Syrian town of Aleppo that is used frequently in Middle Eastern cuisine. Bright burgundy in color, it adds a bit of heat but not too much, and boasts complex flavors ranging from salty to acidic, from fruity to tart.

I use Aleppo Pepper as an all-purpose spice, sometimes substituting it for fresh cracked black pepper. It makes a beautiful garnish and makes everything on your plate pop with a beautiful hue of red.

Don’t those little red flakes make this meal look even more delicious?

2) Fresh and Dried Chiles

Growing up, I was ostracized from my family because I did not eat spicy food. For Indian parents, this is a cardinal and unforgivable sin. Especially for my dad, who prides himself on being able to snack on habanero peppers like candy.  Somewhere at a Mexican restaurant in the Bay Area, his face is framed on the wall for having achieved the rare feat of eating not just one meal made at Maximum Spicy Level 10, but two meals made at Maximum Spicy Level 10.


As a kid, I was called “gora,” a term Indians use for white people. I was made fun of at the communal dinner tables. I was asked why I was an Oreo, i.e., brown on the outside but white on the inside. It was all very traumatic, thank you for asking.

Sometime in the last two years, however, I came around to spicy food in a big way. Now, I pride myself on eating spicier food than my mother. I’m probably somewhere at Spicy Level 8.

From left to right: Serrano pepper, Red Fresno Pepper, Baby Habanero peppers, Bird’s Eye chili peppers, Long Finger Hot Red peppers, and Jalapeño pepper.

Cooking with fresh and dried chiles has dramatically enhanced the flavors in my cooking in indescribable ways.  For beginners, start with the most widely available chile, the jalapeñoYou can find this pepper in any grocery store.

First things first, buy yourself some disposable medical gloves, the ones that make you look like a methodical serial killer and make you smell like a skunk. I made the mistake of chopping some beautiful red jalapeño peppers sans glove. Later in the day, I carelessly rubbed my eye.  For the next hour, it felt like a circus clown was juggling fire torches inside of my eyeballs. And this was after I had washed my hands with soap at least 10 times.

Spice up a breakfast hash with jalapeños. Recipe can be found on the Side Dishes recipe page. 

If you like your food very spicy, keep the membrane and seeds of the pepper and include along with the body of the pepper.  Otherwise, omit the membrane and seeds, or at least most of them, for a milder heat. Add to all kinds of food, from sauteed meats and fresh salsa, to stews and soups, to eggs and potato hash.


Once you’ve become comfortable cooking with jalapeños, start branching out to Thai chiles, poblano peppers, serrano peppers, and habanero peppers if you like things really spicy.

Thai chiles straight from Thailand
Thai chiles straight from Thailand
Not Whole30 approved, but can't you just feel the spice leaping out of the photo?
Not Whole30 approved, but can’t you just feel the spice leaping out of the photo? One of the many delicious and extremely spicy meals we ate in Thailand. 

3) Red Boat Fish Sauce

Have you been to Southeast Asia? Did you fall in love with all of the food? Fish sauce is the secret ingredient. Its depth and complexity of flavor imparts sweet, savory, and umami flavors to dishes in a way that no spice or other sauce can.

But not all fish sauce is created equally. Trust me, I’ve tried. Red Boat Fish Sauce is definitely the best of the best, and while it’s a bit pricey, it’s an irreplaceable asset in the kitchen and a little goes a long way.

Fish sauce is used most commonly in Asian cooking but it shines in all kinds of cuisine. I’ve even added a splash to my eggs to amp up the umami flavor. For beginners, start slowly, as fish sauce is very salty and pungent. Add a splash or three to a dish, give it a taste, and add more as necessary.

Below I’ve included one of my favorite chicken recipes that uses fish sauce in the marinade.

4) Pesto

Everyone loves a good pesto. Unfortunately, most commercially prepared pestos are made with ingredients that aren’t Whole30 approved. Luckily, however, it takes 10 minutes to whip up a delicious batch of homemade pesto. Traditional pesto is made with pine nuts, but I typically use cashews because they are cheaper and I always have them on hand.  Plus, Whole30 rules limit pine nuts. Basil is the traditional choice of herb for Italian pesto, but get creative and experiment with cilantro and parsley or add spinach, arugula or kale for a nutrition boost. Top on meats or even use as a marinade, toss with vegetable noodles, or use as a condiment on eggs. You can find my Mediterranean Pesto recipe on the Side Dishes/Snacks recipe page.

5) Nom Nom Paleo Magic Mushroom Powder

Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo is a genius and has found a way to make salt even better. Her salt spice blend made of ground dried mushrooms, kosher salt, red pepper flakes, dried thyme, and black pepper is easy and quick to make, and a small serving of ingredients will leave you with a salt replacement for months (maybe years, depending on how salty you like your food).


Here’s a link to her recipe, though I made a few substitutions. My local specialty market was sold out of porcini mushrooms, so I used a combination of oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms, and it came out great. I also added dried oregano in the same proportions as the dried thyme. I finished it with a healthy dose of some glorious Aleppo pepper.


Her recipe makes an enormous amount of this spice blend, so I used only 1/3 of the ingredients the recipe calls for. I was left with enough spice blend to fill a 11 oz. jar.


Use this blend as a substitute for salt in virtually any dish you cook. I particularly like it in meat and egg dishes, and when I’m roasting vegetables in the oven.

Processed with VSCOcam with a2 preset
Mushrooms once they’ve been pulverized.

Savory Citrus-Herb Chicken

Uses Red Boat Fish Sauce 

Makes enough marinade for 2-2.5 pounds of chicken breasts or thighs.


  • 7-8 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro (leaves and thin stems only
  • 10-15 basil leaves
  • 1 full teaspoon each of orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (approx. 1 orange)
  • 1 full teaspoon each of lime zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (approx. 3 limes)
  • 2 TBSP Red Boat fish sauce
  • kosher salt to taste*
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup (omit or use naturally sweetened fruit juice for Whole30)
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2- 2.5 pounds chicken breasts or thighs

*Since this is a marinade, I used more salt than usual. Taste the marinade when it’s done. It should taste very salty due to the fish sauce and salt. Don’t worry, though, your finished chicken won’t taste that salty. 


  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until a puree forms.
  2. Place chicken in a large Ziploc bag. Dump in marinade and mix around to evenly coat chicken. Marinate in fridge for 1 hour. Don’t marinate too long, as the citrus can start to toughen the chicken, especially for thin cuts of meats like breast tenders.
  3. Cook marinated chicken on grill. If you don’t have a grill, you can pan fry in a large skillet coated with desired cooking oil on medium-high heat until cooked through or bake in a preheated oven.

What are some of your favorite ways to add flavor to your cooking?


Brunch at Nisha’s

Bobby Flay has a show on the Cooking Channel called Brunch at Bobby’s. Ever since I saw him for the first time on that show, brunch cocktail in one hand, flipping eggs with the other hand (wrist), I thought, How do I get this dream job?  

I love to cook, I love to drink, I love to entertain, and I love making brunch at home. So, Bobby, if you’re looking to retire and need a replacement, I’m your girl. Btw, Bobby, do you like my blog? Please reply y/n. Thx.

As you may know from the very authentic, very realistic t.v. show Sex and the City, brunch is a staple in the lives of most New York City residents. You can go to any neighborhood on a weekend and find at least one restaurant that’s offering a bottomless mimosa/bellini/bloody mary brunch special. Unfortunately, there is typically an inverse relationship between (a) availability of bottomless booze and (b) quality of food. Which is why I often opt to skip out on brunch. I can usually cook up something way more delicious at home. Also, I’m cheap, so there’s that.

On Sundays, I often make a big frittata filled with vegetables and cheese and serve it alongside a salad, fruit, or roasted potatoes. But, I had to be a little more creative on Whole30 because cheese–the universal “make everything taste better” food–is unfortunately not permitted.

This first dish was probably one of the best brunch dishes I’ve ever made. It highlights the way in which Whole30 forces you to be creative in your cooking and to rely heavily on spices, herbs and aromatics–as opposed to cheese and butter–to create bold flavors. 

For the sweet potato hash, I used a spiralizer to make curly ribbons out of the sweet potato. A spiralizer will run you about $30-40 and is a great investment if you want to cook healthy yet fun meals at home. As this perky lady will tell you, though, you don’t need a spiralizer to make vegetable ribbons: you can use a vegetable julienne peeler or a mandoline.

Mexican Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs and Avocado

Sweet potato hash topped with sauteed onions, fried pasture-raised eggs, avocado, salsa, jalapenos, cilantro, and hot sauce.

Serves 2


  • 2 sweet potatoes, spiralized into noodles
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 TBSP ghee (or coconut oil)
  • Extra ghee or coconut oil for frying onions
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 TBSP lime juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 avocado
  • Cilantro, chopped, for garnishing
  • Salsa, for topping
  • Hot sauce, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place sweet potato noodles in a 9 inch pie dish or cake pan. Toss noodles with ghee and salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to add other spices if you wish.
  3. Bake noodles for approx. 45 minutes until crispy and brown. Use a spatula to remove the potatoes from the pan and place on serving plate. 
  4. While potatoes are cooking, heat ghee or coconut oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add onions and season with salt and pepper.  After a few minutes, add jalapeno, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Saute until onion is soft. When done, drizzle with lime juice.
  5. When potatoes are almost done, start to fry eggs. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated, crack eggs into pan and lower the heat to medium-low. Fry until egg whites are set; cook a bit longer for over-medium eggs.
  6. Slice the avocado.
  7. To serve, divide potatoes into two plates. Top with onion mixture. Then, top each with two eggs and sliced avocado. Add salsa and hot sauce. Garnish with cilantro.

This next brunch dish was so good I cried the tears of baby Jesus. Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern dish of poached eggs in a sauce of tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, and spices. I’ve had it a few times in restaurants but decided to try it at home for Whole30.

This dish embodied umami perfectly. Every bite was bursting with a rich, deep flavor. Normally, I think you should experiment when cooking and use recipes merely as guidelines, but this dish came out so tasty that I wouldn’t tinker with the ingredients. I used four eggs for two people, but there was plenty of leftover sauce, so you could easily add six eggs for three people or two extra-hungry people. Serve over a bed of roasted or skillet-cooked potatoes! I topped mine with a Mediterranean-style pesto, but a dollop of harissa would also go well on top of this dish.

Shakshuka with Mediterranean Pesto     

Serves 2


  • Olive oil for cooking
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 fresh chili peppers, seeds and membrane removed, diced (I used a Serrano pepper and a long-finger hot red pepper)
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/8 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp each of cumin, paprika, and chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper or aleppo pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • Parsley and/or cilantro, minced, for garnish
  • Mediterranean Pesto, for finishing (see recipe below)


  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large cast iron pan or deep nonstick skillet.
  2. When pan is hot, add onions. Saute a few minutes until onion begins to soften. Then add bell pepper, garlic, chili peppers, and bay leaves. Sauté 6-8 minutes until vegetables are softened.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, salt and pepper, and vinegar to pan. Stir thoroughly to combine.DSC_0024
  4. Allow mixture to heat over medium heat for 6-8 minutes until the sauce begins to reduce. Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings accordingly.
  5. Crack one egg at a time into the skillet, spacing them evenly. Then, cover pan with a lid and let simmer on medium-low for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Remove pan from heat and garnish with parsley and/or cilantro. Top with Mediterranean Pesto.

Mediterranean Pesto

This will yield about a half cup of pesto. Serve on meat, eggs, or veggies!


  • 3/4 – 1 cup fresh parsley (omit thick stems)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (omit thick stems)
  • 1/8 cup cashews
  • 3 TBSP lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp each of salt, cumin, and paprika
  • freshly cracked black pepper or Aleppo pepper
  • large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3-4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil


  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until ingredients are finely minced. 
  2. Add olive oil and process until a pesto-like sauce forms. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. 
  3. Serve leftovers in airtight container or mason jar in fridge.

A perfect brunch spread includes both a savory and sweet dish. Typically, for me, that means a stuffed french toast or pancakes (I’ve been without a waffle maker for several years now, sadly). But it’s Whole30 time. And that means that not only are grains and traditional sweets prohibited, but so are Paleo-ified or clean versions of baked goods (think pancakes made with almond flour, coconut milk, banana, and raw honey). Unfair, right?

Enter this fruit and nut breakfast “porridge.” This porridge gets sweet notes from the fresh fruit and coconut milk, which is slightly sweet in taste. But if you’re not on Whole30, I would definitely add a drizzle of honey. Because, duh. I would also top it with dark chocolate chips and shredded coconut for dessert.

This recipe might not look like it serves 4, but it’s very rich and luxurious so the serving size should be small. The porridge coats your belly nicely and stays there for hours.

Fruit and Nut Breakfast Porridge

Serves 3-4


  • 1 1/4 cups of mixed nuts of your choice (I used hazelnuts, cashews, and almonds)
  • bottled or filtered water for soaking nuts
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • Large handful of fresh mango, approximately 3 oz. (if using frozen, defrost and drain extra water/ice)
  • 1 13.5 can of full-fat canned coconut milk
  • Toppings: shredded coconut, berries, diced mango or sliced bananas, goji berries, chopped nuts, raw cacao nibs, dried unsweetened cherries, or whatever else you have on hand.


  1. Place nuts in a bowl and cover with water so that nuts are submerged. Add 1/4-1/2 TBSP sea salt. Cover bowl and let sit at room temperature overnight. Soaking the nuts makes them softer and yields a smoother consistency for the porridge. 
  2. In the morning, rinse and drain the nuts in a colander several times to remove the salt.
  3. Place nuts in a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix or a food processor. Blend until nuts start to break up.
  4. Add remaining ingredients–cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, banana, mango, and coconut milk. Blend until you achieve a smooth consistency that is similar to a thick smoothie. 
  5. At this stage, you can either serve as is for a cold porridge, or heat it in a saucepan on the stove for 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. 
  6. Pour porridge into bowls and serve with desired toppings.

Happy brunching!


Slow Food

Does the title of this post make your skin crawl? Does it sound like the name of a cookbook that Gwyneth Paltrow would write? Good, that’s what I intended.

To be honest, I’m not even sure what “slow food” means. Is it the opposite of fast food? Is it food that takes a long time to grow? To cook? Is it food that’s intended to be eaten slowly, like soup so that you don’t burn your tongue? I suppose I could easily google this question online.

In any event, I have found that since I started Whole30, I’ve been eating more slowly and taking time to savor my meals. Less shoveling food into my piehole at lightning speed, and more long, drawn-out bites interspersed with audible mmm’s and ooohhh’s.

Eating slowly not only makes your food taste better, but it also makes you more mindful of what you’re eating and how much you’re eating. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’ve started leaving a little bit of food on my plate after a meal instead of finishing it all. It’s just that now I’m fully self-aware that I’m going to eat my entire meal. There’s a difference in there, trust me.

In addition to eating more slowly, another way to embrace “slow food” is to pull out your slow cooker and make some healthy and easy meals that require very little actual work. Or, pull out your pressure cooker. But “Pressure Food” doesn’t give off the same hippie, eco-friendly vibes as “Slow Food.”

To start off week 2 of Whole30, I broke out my combination Pressure Cooker/Slow Cooker, The Instant Pot, gifted to me by my most generous sister.  You can do so many things with the Instant Pot. It acts as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and it also sautés, warms, and steams food. You can even cook hard- or soft-boiled eggs in this magical pot.


The first item we cooked in the Instant Pot this week was slow-cooked chicken thighs and breasts. You can make this recipe in an ordinary slow cooker, no need to have an Instant Pot. If you do have an Instant Pot, however, you can also make this recipe using the pressure cooker setting instead of slow cooker setting. Dump everything in the pot, leave the kitchen, and check back after several hours to find fully cooked chicken that is super tender and extremely easy to shred.

This recipe has a bit of a Mexican flavor to it, but is versatile and can be used in any number of ways. Serve with your favorite roasted root veggies for a nice fall dinner, or along with a side of cauliflower mash for some comfort food. Or have taco night, Whole30 style! Pile lettuce cups with shredded chicken, add some sauteed onions and peppers, avocado or guacamole, salsa, and whatever else that your heart desires.

Whole30 “tacos”: lettuce cups stuffed with shredded chicken, caramelized onions and peppers, salsa, diced avocado and mango, cilantro, and lime juice.

Slow Cooker Chicken 


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, diced (include seeds and membranes if you like it spicy)
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2-3 oranges)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes)
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Place the chicken in the slow cooker along with remaining ingredients and cook on low for about 6-8 hours.
  2. Shred the chicken in the pot. It will be very tender and will shred very easily.
  3. Serve as desired!

Mexican Beef

We also used our Instant Pot to try out Nom Nom Paleo’s recipe for Mexican Beef. This dish was out of this world. And it was so, so easy. The pressure cooker does all of the work for you. I mostly stuck to the recipe, so I won’t re-paste it here, but you should keep a few things in mind.

  1. For the bone broth, if you’re observing Whole30 but not able to make homemade broth, you can buy freshly made bone broth from a high-quality butcher or grocery store, or search for a compliant boxed broth, such as this one. You’d be surprised how many chicken broths contain sugar in them. I know this because I’ve become that crazy lady in the grocery store who reads every god damn label.
  2. For the meat, we used a 2.5 lb. cut of grass-fed beef chuck shoulder roast that I purchased at Whole Foods. We cut off some excess fat but otherwise the preparation was very easy and simple. This cut turned out extremely tender and had that melt-in-your-mouth quality.
  3. I already had regular tomato salsa at home, so I did not bother buying or making roasted tomato salsa, and it came out just fine.
  4. This dish was AMAZING but it could’ve been a bit spicier. If you’re the kind of person who likes to drop beads of sweat when you eat, I’d throw in some diced chile peppers or cayenne pepper after you’ve cooked the onions for a few minutes.
  5. You could eat this dish on its own, but it tastes incredible served on top of cauliflower mash (recipe below).  

If you’ve been paying attention, this is my second recipe using the ever-so-versatile cauliflower to recreate a type of food that’s forbidden on Whole30.

Last week, I made cauliflower “rice.” This week it’s faux-mashed potatoes using cauliflower instead of potatoes. Potatoes of all kind are actually permitted on Whole30, but I decided to use cauliflower because it’s a nutrition superstar and still tastes great.

This mash is a great, fluffy base for all kinds of food. It was incredible served with the Mexican Beef, and I also recommend serving fried or poached eggs on top of this stuff.  The mash was also great as a bed for my homemade burrito bowl. Chipotle meets mashed potatoes. Is it weird? Yes. But is it delicious? Also, yes.

Cauliflower Mash

Serves approximately 10 1/2 cup servings


  • 2 medium-large heads of cauliflower
  • 10-12 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup ghee (or grass-fed butter if you’re not on Whole30)
  •  1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • other dried herbs to taste (I used oregano)


  • Cut up cauliflower heads into florets.
  • Fill up a large saucepan or stockpot with a few inches of water. Add a steamer basket. Turn the heat on high.

  • Once water is boiling, add cauliflower florets and garlic cloves to steam basket. Cover pot with lid. Steam for approximately 10-12 minutes until florets are soft and very tender.
  • Drain cauliflower florets and then add to a large mixing bowl. Using an immersion blender or electric hand mixer, break up the cauliflower. Once it’s starting to come together, add the ghee, coconut milk, salt, pepper, and seasonings.


  • Mix until you’ve achieved a smooth consistency.


  • Alternatively, you can dump all of the ingredients in a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix or a food processor.
  • Dig in.

In addition to the cauliflower mash, we cooked up a second side dish this week that was a perfect complement to our soft-boiled eggs: sweet potato and caramelized onion hash. Caramelizing the onions and roasting the sweet potato brings out the natural sugars in these foods, making the end product extra tasty and reminiscent of the forbidden temple of sugar.

Whole30 Breakfast of Champions

Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Hash


  • 6 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 3 TBSP coconut oil or ghee, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced (include membranes and seeds for spiciness)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Dice potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Slice onions, dice jalapeño, and mince garlic cloves.
  3. Toss sweet potato with ghee or coconut oil, salt and pepper, and fresh thyme sprigs. 
  4. Line baking sheets with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and spread out potatoes. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until browned and tender, flipping halfway through.
  5. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, cook the onions on the stove. Heat a large nonstick skillet or cast iron pan over medium heat. When hot, add onions and sprinkle with salt. Turn heat to low and cook for 35-45 minutes until dark brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally.
  6. When you notice the onions starting to brown, add the diced jalapeño. DSC01441
  7. When the onions are near caramelized, add the garlic. 
  8. Take off the heat when onions are caramelized and browned.
  9. In a large mixing bowl, combine the roasted sweet potatoes and onion mixture and toss until well incorporated.

Have you tried one of my recipes? I would love to hear from you!

The Temptations

On Day 4, I arrive to work in the morning and head straight to the kitchen to store my trusty tupperware full of Whole30 goodness in the communal fridge. As I open the refrigerator door, I am greeted by a half-eaten, three-tier, 12-inch carrot cake complete with cream cheese frosting. There is no cake cover or plastic wrap separating the cake and my chubby fingers. Instinctively, like a wild cat who spots a baby antelope led astray from the herd, I lunge forward towards my prey. Fortunately, I am saved by the bell. The bell is the voice of a nosy coworker who has just entered the kitchen.

Why are you leaning your head into the fridge like that? Is there something wrong with the fridge?

I politely extract my body from the fridge and quietly excuse myself out of the kitchen. I return to my desk and proceed to think about carrot cake for the next 45 minutes. I get zero work done. I don’t even like carrot cake. Carrot Cake – 1, Nisha – 0.

This is me eating cake out of the fridge, except I’m a white girl now.

Fast forward several hours, and it’s lunch time. I make my way to the kitchen, taking the shortcut through the conference room, where attorneys occasionally eat their lunch together. Today, one of my coworkers is sitting at the table by herself, and sprawled in front of her is a quesadilla the size of my ass. Melty cheese is bubbling out of the corners of a perfectly pressed tortilla and the whole contraption is topped with a mountain of guacamole and sour cream. My coworker wants to chat, but I can’t comprehend anything she says because I’m transfixed by the scent of sweet Mexican delight wafting into my nostrils. I exit the conversation as quickly as possible and head straight for my own lunch. This time, carrot cake is still present in the fridge, but she’s been shaken down since this morning and all that’s left is one little slice. Baby slice speaks to me and says,

It sure is lonely being the only slice left. I wish I could join my brothers and sisters and lay to rest in the warm bellies of chubby Americans. Eat me. Eat me. EAT ME.

I tell myself that I’m too good for such a small, needy piece of cake and walk away nonchalantly. Carrot cake – 1, Nisha – 100. Because it took 100% of my willpower to not eat a slice of cake that I don’t even like.

I think that the temptations are done for the day, but alas, I am wrong. I have a particularly stressful afternoon at work. By way of background, I work at a non-profit as an attorney for low-income tenants, and today I was seeing tenants who have been illegally locked out of their apartments by their landlords. One of my clients is blind and is forced to sleep on the streets. The next client starts crying in my office about her ex-husband and her 17-year old daughter’s promiscuity. I turn to offer her a Kleenex but I’m freshly out of tissues. Another client informs me that he is going to sue every god damn person in the city, including all of the judges and lawyers in New York City.

Following these client meetings, I have an incredibly ridiculous call with Time Warner Cable customer service in connection with one of my cases. I am told by a whiny-voice customer service representative several times that “I am not a real lawyer” because if I was a real lawyer, “I would already have all of the answers.” I tell him that he is the stupidest person on earth and hang up in the middle of our conversation.

I am cranky and overwhelmed and it’s barely 6 pm. All I can think about is curling up on my couch with a bottle of the forbidden nectar of the gods, i.e., red wine. As I head to the communal kitchen to make myself a soothing cup of chamomile tea, my eyes are drawn to the fridge. The pathetic carrot cake is finally gone, but directly on top of the fridge are FOUR bottles of wine. Apparently there was an office party yesterday and no one thought to clean up these bottles of liquid gold.

The temptation is all too much for me, so I throw my hands in the air, let out a muffled scream, and leave the office.

I hit up Trader Joe’s on my way home, as it’s conveniently located a block from my office and I want to pick up a few items for dinner. Products that I have never even seen before start popping out at me. Cookie butter cream cheese, falafel chips, chocolate covered gummy bears, and other weird combination items that would ordinarily make me want to vomit. To distract myself while shopping, I pull out my headphones, turn on the hard-core rap station, and listen to Eminem tell me that I have only one opportunity to seize everything that I’ve ever wanted. And just like that, I say good-bye to the carrot cake, greasy quesadillas, and cookie butter cream cheese.

To see what I’ve actually been eating for the last week for Whole30, you can check out my new Instagram page. 


Fish, Three Ways

Whole30 is all about eating high-quality proteins, but as someone who only started eating red meat and pork last year, there are only so many meat sticks I can handle. Enter seafood.

The health benefits of fish are very well documented so I’ll just give you a brief summary. A diet rich in fish can improve your life in many ways, from help warding off heart disease to easing depression to enriching your hair and skin.  It’s also one of the only great dietary sources of Vitamin D. Fatty fish like salmon (wild), mackerel, albacore tuna (canned), sardines, anchovies, mussels, rainbow trout, and a few others are particularly high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are notoriously lacking in the typical American diet. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to heart health, regulate triglyceride levels, and can aid in preventing or easing many health conditions including osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and certain cancers.

To up my fish intake while ensuring that I picked high-quality fish and seafood, I took a trip to Whole Foods, which abides by pretty good standards for sourcing responsibly-raised and sustainable seafood. You don’t have to have access to a Whole Foods or a world-class fish market though.  Just familiarize yourself with the best and worst types of fish to buy.  You can learn a lot about seafood sustainability and which types of fish/seafood to avoid from the Food and Water Watch, a consumer-rights NGO that focuses on corporate and government accountability in the food industry. Or you can check out a list of the Best Fish— fish that are both rich Omega-3s and environment-friendly.

While at Whole Foods, I picked three types of fish from three different departments.  First, I went to the fresh seafood and fish department. I always check what’s on sale at Whole Foods and buy accordingly because high-quality fresh fish can be very pricy. I found wild-caught cod for $11.99/pound, which is pretty inexpensive for wild-caught fish in New York City. Then, I took a trip to the frozen fish section. This is where you can find great deals because frozen fish is always cheaper than freshly caught. For instance, while fresh wild salmon can cost over $20/pound, I found frozen wild salmon for $11.50/pound at Whole Foods (a 2 pound bag with about 6-8 salmon fillets cost $22.99). Finally, I took a trip to the canned fish section. I picked up a couple of tins of wild-caught sardines.

I know not everyone is a fan of sardines, but I encourage you to give them a try. They taste like a meatier version of tuna and they’re a nutrition powerhouse — sardines are one of the highest sources of Omega-3s and are packed with protein and tons of vitamins. Plus, they’re most frequently purchased in a can, so it’s a perfect option for a lazy, no-cook meal.

I came home after a long day at work this week and had zero energy to cook. So, I tossed together a salad with sardines that took 10 minutes to put together. I feel sort of bad listing this as a “recipe” because it involves no cooking, but I’ve also seen “Semi-Homemade” Sandra Lee of the Food Network dump Cool Whip over store-bought Angel Food Cake and call it a “recipe.”

Tropical Sardines Salad

Serves 1



  • 2 cups mixed greens of choice (baby spinach, arugula, kale, etc.)
  • 1/2 grapefruit, sliced into segments
  • 1 carrot, ribboned (use a wide vegetable peeler to create ribbons)
  • 1 tin of wild-caught sardines
  • 2 TBSP macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp hemp seeds
  • 1 TBSP shredded coconut

Grapefruit Vinaigrette

  • 1 TBSP grapefruit juice (use other half of grapefruit)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • pinch of freshly grated ginger (or substitute powdered ginger)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil


  1. Plate salad with greens, top with carrot ribbons, sardines, and grapefruit slices.
  2. Whisk together ingredients for vinaigrette. Pour over salad.
  3. Top salad with macadamia nuts, hemp seeds, and shredded coconut.

I liked how the summer, tropical flavors paired with the fish, so I continued that trend with my next two fish dishes over the weekend.

Cod in Coconut-Lime-Ginger Sauce

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Serves 2


  • 2 cod fillets (5-6 oz each)
  • 2.5 teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, diced (include membranes and seeds if you like some heat)
  • 2.5 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • Several splashes of Red Boat fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 TBSP crushed macadamia nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place cod in a glass baking dish.
  2. Season cod with salt and pepper and brush with 1 1/2 tsp lime juice.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño; sauté 5-10 minutes until onion is translucent.
  4. Add coconut milk and leftover lime juice to pan; boil until mixture is thick, about 4 minutes. Add lime zest and fish sauce.
  5. Spoon sauce over cod fillets. Bake in oven until fish is just opaque in center, about 15 minutes.
  6. Transfer cod fillets to serving plates. Whisk sauce in baking dish. Spoon around cod; top with cilantro and crushed macadamia nuts.
Wild Cod in Coconut-Lime-Ginger Sauce, served with oven-roasted rainbow carrots with cilantro gremolata and a simple baby spinach and arugula salad in grapefruit vinaigrette
Wild Cod in Coconut-Lime-Ginger Sauce, served with oven-roasted rainbow carrots with cilantro gremolata and a simple baby spinach and arugula salad in grapefruit vinaigrette

My third and final fish dish this week was macadamia-nut crusted salmon. You may be noticing a theme here: macadamia nuts. These nuts are pricy, but I figured I should treat myself to these sweet, buttery balls of heaven because I’m spending zero money on booze and very little on dining out for the next 30 days. Macadamia nuts complement fish very well – they add a a buttery bite, a little bit of tropical flare, and a crunchy finish.

I served this salmon dish with oven-roasted sweet potatoes and caramelized onions and broccolini.

Macadamia Nut-Crusted Salmon

Serves 2


  • 2 wild salmon fillets (4-6 oz. each)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter), plus more for greasing baking dish
  • 1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 2 TBSP parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/3 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1/2 TBSP lemon zest
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced


  • 1 TBSP ghee
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP parsley, finely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Drizzle a little coconut oil or ghee onto bottom of glass baking dish. Place salmon fillets in dish and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Brush salmon fillets with coconut oil or ghee.
  4. In a bowl, combine the macadamia nuts, parsley, thyme, lemon juice, lemon zest, and garlic until the mixture forms a paste.
  5. Spread the paste onto the salmon fillets.
  6. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes when tested with a fork. (Our fillets were very thin, so 10 minutes was plenty of time, and we could’ve gotten away with 8 or 9 minutes. Adjust the cooking time according to the thickness of your fillets).