Main Dishes

Whole30 Chipotle Bowl 

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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.

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I love adding citrus to my chicken marinades.

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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!

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Kofta in Curry Sauce

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Serves 6-8

Ingredients

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)

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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

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Directions

  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.

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Salmon with Mango Avocado Salsa

Serves 2

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Ingredients

  • 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

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Directions 

  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

Serious East Chili Con Carne

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Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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.

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Thai Pumpkin Curry

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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.

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    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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Savory Citrus-Herb Chicken

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

Ingredients

  • 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. 

Directions

  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.

Slow Cooker Chicken

This recipe requires a slow cooker, or an Instant Pot. If you use the instant pot, you can use the pressure cooker function (and it will be done in under 20 minutes) or you can use the slow cooker function.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Place the chicken in slow cooker along with remaining ingredients and cook on low for about 6-8 hours. If using Instant Pot, follow the pot’s instructions for cooking chicken.
  2. When done cooking, remove the lid and let steam escape. 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).  

Macadamia Nut-Crusted Salmon

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 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

Sauce

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

Directions

  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).

Cod in Coconut-Lime-Ginger Sauce

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Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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

Tropical Sardines Salad

Serves 1

Ingredients 

Salad

  • 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

Directions

  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.

Nom Nom Paleo Thai Chicken and Veggie Curry

Original recipe here
Serves 12
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs*
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper, optional
  • 2-3 TBSP coconut oil or ghee
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 5 TBSP Thai curry paste**
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 32 oz frozen veggies***
  • 4-5 cups roasted winter squash****
  • Basil leaves, chiffonaded, for serving
*Trader Joe’s has very affordable free-range, organic chicken thighs and breasts.
**I use this curry paste, which is tasty, has no sugar, and is Whole30-compliant.
***I used a 16 oz package of frozen grilled cauliflower and a 16 oz package of broccoli.
****I roasted a combination of Trader Joe’s pre-cut butternut and acorn squash in coconut oil, salt and pepper.
Roasted kabocha squash
Directions
  1. Cut the chicken into medium-sized chunks and season with salt and pepper and cayenne pepper if using.
  2. Heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven.
  3. When the oil is shimmering, brown the chicken. Make sure you wait enough time for the pan to get really hot and don’t overcrowd your chicken. Otherwise, you’ll get white chicken instead of browned chicken. Which is fine, but it’s not as tasty.
  4. Transfer browned chicken to a plate.
  5. Add the onions to the saucepan and sauté until translucent
  6. Return the chicken and juices to the pot, and add the curry paste to taste.
  7. Stir-fry until you can smell the rich aroma of toasted spices.
  8. Pour in the coconut milk, toss in the frozen veggies, and squash.
  9. Raise the heat to high and bring the contents of the pot to a boil. Then, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer the curry for 10-20 minutes or until the veggies are warmed through and the flavors meld. When I’ve made this recipe for 4 servings, 10 minutes has been enough time, but you’ll need closer to 20 minutes for a large batch.
  10. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. I usually add more cayenne pepper at this point because I am brown and I like it spicy.
  11. Add the basil chiffonade when ready to eat.

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