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Cleansing Spring Vegetable Soup

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Spring is here and tis the season for cleansing! As holistic nutritionists, one of the things Mo and I focus on in educating clients is eating seasonally and the importance of that for the body!

If you think about it intuitively – as the seasons change, you likely crave different things. For example: when it’s cold outside you want a big bowl of chili or a hearty plate of creamy cauliflower rice risotto… Okay, okay, or maybe just good ‘ol risotto! 😉 And when the warmer months come around, a shake or smoothie might start sounding really good for Breakfast or perhaps a chilled soup or more vegetables and/or fish than heavy meats.

Now, think about it ancestrally – “back in the day” so to speak, there were no year-round-fully-stocked produce sections or butchers that carried any kind of meat any time of year, like we have access to now. The food people ate was because it was available per the season.

I’m not saying that in the colder months you should never have something that might not have been available to our ancestors. But what I am saying is that you should at least consider it. And know that when something is not in season, you will get very little of the nutritional value out of said thing but when it is in season, that is when it is chalked full of it’s nutrients!

Alllll of that to say: I came up with this Spring Vegetable Soup recipe while I was doing a spring detox – nothing major – only 4 days – just with the goal of resetting a bit and cleansing my liver from toxins, etc. I honestly haven’t been feeling right hormonally, emotionally, etc. for the last few months and with spring upon us it seemed like a welcome invitation to do some bodily spring cleaning, if you will! And no, before anyone asks – I’m not pregnant! Ha! 😉

This soup comes together very simply and make wonderful leftovers! It is just as good chilled as it is warm! But the best part? It is FULL of anti-inflammatory, cleansing foods! The mung beans in particular are chalked full of fiber and they taste amazing on their own too! My recipe calls for bone broth – which, I’ve gotta say, if I had to pick one food that I thought would nourish me more than any other food – it would be bone broth. If you’re unfamiliar with it’s benefits – check out this article from Cognitune.

So while you may not be inclined to a liver detox of sorts, I hope you will make this and incorporate some cleansing foods into your spring!

We hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Cleansing Spring Vegetable Soup

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mung beans, soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1-2 strips kombu dashi (optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots, unpeeled and thinly sliced into coins
  • 2 yellow squash, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 small zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
  • Real Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 pinches dried oregano
  • 1 pinch dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 can low sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart beef or chicken bone broth or vegetable broth
  • 1-2 cups filtered water
  • 1 small container pre-washed baby spinach

Directions:

  • Place mung beans and kombu into a medium pot with 3 cups filtered water and a good pinch of salt, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer – continue to simmer, uncovered until beans are softened – approx. 25 minutes. Set aside.
  • While beans are cooking, chop all vegetables.
  • Warm olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Place all vegetables (this can be done one by one as you finish chopping them…) into the pot with a pinch of salt. Let the vegetables cook down a bit, until softened – approx. 10 minutes + another 5 minutes once all vegetables are added to the pot, if adding as you chop.
  • Add in remaining seasonings and stir well to combine.
  • Then add diced tomatoes, broth and water. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  • Drain mung beans and stir into the soup and let continue to simmer for 5 more minutes.
  • Turn heat off and add in spinach – stir to combine and wilt spinach.
  • Serve in big bowls as is or with a crusty piece of good sourdough bread or my 5-minute Grain Free Bread!

 

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Instructions
  1. Place mung beans and kombu into a medium pot with 3 cups filtered water and a good pinch of salt, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer – continue to simmer, uncovered until beans are softened - approx. 25 minutes. Set aside.
  2. While beans are cooking, chop all vegetables.
  3. Warm olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Place all vegetables (this can be done one by one as you finish chopping them…) into the pot with a pinch of salt. Let the vegetables cook down a bit, until softened – approx. 10 minutes + another 5 minutes once all vegetables are added to the pot, if adding as you chop.
  4. Add in remaining seasonings and stir well to combine.
  5. Then add diced tomatoes, broth and water. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  6. Drain mung beans and stir into the soup and let continue to simmer for 5 more minutes.
  7. Turn heat off and add in spinach – stir to combine and wilt spinach.
  8. Serve in big bowls as is or with a crusty piece of good sourdough bread or my 5-minute Grain Free Bread!
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Meatless Mushroom Meatballs

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Ahhhhh Meatless Monday’s. I really enjoy them! Sometimes it turns into a “Meatless Thursday” – nevertheless, while protein is obviously an incredibly important macronutrient, it is so wonderful on the body’s digestive system to take a break from animal protein sometimes – specifically meats – as these are toughest on the bloodstream and gut to break down. This is not a bad thing. Hear me: I am NOT advocating a meatless LIFE. but it is a great thing to offer the body a chance to break from it on occasion.

Mo and I spent the last 8 days in Maui, Hawaii. It was AMAZING. I will spare you the details so as to not rub it in 🙂 but suffice to say, we lived on fresh fruit smoothies and wild caught fish every day! It was fabulous!

Given that, we came back feeling pretty good… Sometimes travel can really take it out of you – especially when you don’t stick to your typical routine of clean-eating or perhaps drink alcohol more than normal, etc. Plus, travel in and of itself can be tough on the body… Plus, we’ve had a TON going on with LINK Endurance over the past month. So many WONDERFUL things that we are thrilled to share with all of you (are you signed up for our weekly newsletters!?!?) but nonetheless, I feel like we’ve been go-go-go for weeks now, even in Maui.

When we got back to Dallas we both decided it would be a good idea to give our bodies a little break and an easy way to do that would be going meatless at dinner for 5 days.

One of the greatest things I took away from practicing plant-based a few years ago is just because meat is available doesn’t mean I actually need it or want it. It’s just the American way right? We have a protein at every meal. I think it is SO important (and you know this if you follow us!) to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Before you order at a restaurant or decide what to cook for dinner – really think about it: do you WANT meat? Are you actually hungry for it? If so, YES! By all means! Have it! But if not, consider going meatless. Our bodies are so wise… If we listen consistently enough and actually adhere to, we will balance ourselves out so naturally. Okay now I’m getting on one of my favorite tangents! Back to the recipe!

These meatballs were absolutely delicious! All the texture and meatiness of the typical meatball but – no meat. And if you want to make them vegan, omit the optional cheese (perhaps use nutritional yeast instead…) and omit the 2 eggs and replace with 2 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 6 tbsp filtered water, set aside to “set” for 5 minutes and then mix into the “meatball batter” as you would whole eggs.

Last weeks recipe: Spinach and Egg Stuffed Sweet Potatoes started us off on our 5 days of meatless dinners! Follow along for next weeks recipe! Perhaps you use these for at least one meatless meal each week!? I served ours with a simple salad, but you could also serve with Zucchini Noodles or Cauliflower Rice or perhaps your favorite Pasta or White Rice!

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Meatless Mushroom Meatballs

Makes 16-18 small meatballs, Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • approx. 20oz baby portabella mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup gluten free instant oats
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cage free eggs*
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1, 24oz jar marinara sauce*
  • parsley to garnish, leaves only
  • 1/3 cup grated raw/unpasteurized parmesan, pecorino or manchego cheese

Directions:

  • In a large skillet, sauté the onion in olive oil and a pinch of sea salt on medium-low heat for about 7 minutes, until completely softened.
  • Add mushrooms and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for 10-15 minutes until completely cooked down – you’ll need to wait until the water evaporates and then keep cooking the mushrooms until they brown nicely.
  • To the mushrooms, add garlic, stir, and transfer the mushrooms into a large mixing bowl. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, excluding marinara, to the mushrooms. Stir the mixture to combine and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to overnight for the flavors (and texture!) to develop.
  • When ready to cook, using a tablespoon as a measure, form small balls from the mixture. Fry the balls in a small amount of olive oil until they turn brown or bake them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Add marinara sauce to a medium saucepan. Place the meatballs on top and cook the meatballs in the sauce on low heat for about 15 more minutes after either cooking method.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and/or grated cheese of choice. Serve with Zucchini Noodles, Cauliflower Rice, White Jasmine Rice or your favorite pasta!

Notes:

  • My favorite marinara is The Vine. They are the cleanest and best-tasting I have found! You can purchase in the LINK Endurance Shop or at Central Market.
  • If you want to make this entirely plant-based, omit the 2 eggs and replace with 2 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 6 tbsp filtered water, set aside to “set” for 5 minutes and then mix into the “meatball batter” as you would whole eggs.

Recipe adapted from Tania at cooktoria.com

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Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, sauté the onion in olive oil and a pinch of sea salt on medium-low heat for about 7 minutes, until completely softened.
  2. Add mushrooms and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for 10-15 minutes until completely cooked down - you'll need to wait until the water evaporates and then keep cooking the mushrooms until they brown nicely.
  3. To the mushrooms, add garlic, stir, and transfer the mushrooms into a large mixing bowl. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, excluding marinara, to the mushrooms. Stir the mixture to combine and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to overnight for the flavors (and texture!) to develop.
  5. When ready to cook, using a tablespoon as a measure, form small balls from the mixture. Fry the balls in a small amount of olive oil until they turn brown or bake them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Add marinara sauce to a medium saucepan. Place the meatballs on top and cook the meatballs in the sauce on low heat for about 15 more minutes after either cooking method.
  7. Garnish with fresh parsley and/or grated cheese of choice. Garnish with fresh parsley and/or grated cheese of choice. Serve with Zucchini Noodles, Cauliflower Rice, White Jasmine Rice or your favorite pasta!
Recipe Notes

My favorite marinara is The Vine. They are the cleanest and best-tasting I have found! You can purchase in the LINK Endurance Shop or at Central Market.

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Primal Vegetable Curry

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Mmmmm curry! It’s so warming and comforting and it is SO good for you! Talk about anti-inflammatory! But to get a really good curry, it takes a loooong time to make. It just needs lots of love for all of the flavors to really develop.

This is my version of a quick and easy curry – I’ve added a can of diced tomatoes to help give more depth of flavor in a shorter amount of time. And always feel free to add a bit more curry powder as that will enhance the flavor as well! I always double whatever a recipe calls for! I went light on this one for my readers – as some like curry, but don’t LOVE curry like Mo and I do! So if you like curry – keep the measurements per my recipe below. If you love curry, up the ante a bit and double it!

If you don’t already know – what gives curry powder it’s yellow color is the turmeric that is in it. Turmeric is “all the rage” and super trendy right now. I’m halfway rolling my eyes. Ha! It’s been around for FOREVER but is really making it’s big debut in the last 2 or 3 years due to it’s anti-inflammatory benefits. It is truly a wonderful spice to use – I sprinkle it on my avocado toast, I use it in chili’s, soups, stews, stir-fry’s – anywhere I can sneak it in, I do! It is really wonderful for you in terms of keeping inflammation down and helping with aches and pains.

I made this recipe so that we would have lots of leftovers for lunches for the next couple of days… But, it was so good, I “accidentally” didn’t leave any leftovers! Ha! Oops! 🙂

I served ours with Coconut Cauliflower Rice, but it would be terrific with My Heart Beets 3 Ingredient Paleo Naan or my Coconut White Rice!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!!

Primal Vegetable Curry

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ tsp ghee butter
  • 1 ¼lbs ground chicken
  • 1 cup sweet potato, butternut squash or kabocha pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium heads broccoli, chopped into florets
  • ½ small yellow onion, julienned
  • 2 tsp yellow curry powder
  • ½ cup chicken bone broth or low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (light or full fat)
  • 1, 15oz can diced tomatoes, low sodium and undrained
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ bunch fresh cilantro, leaves only

Directions:

  • Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Place the chicken into the pan with a couple of pinches of sea salt and brown until chicken is almost cooked through. Pour the chicken into a bowl and set aside.
  • Add sweet potato/butternut/kabocha to the same pan with a little more salt and sauté 7-10 minutes, until potatoes just begin to soften/can be pierced with a fork. Decrease heat to medium.
  • Add broccoli, onion, and curry powder and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add broth, coconut milk, tomatoes and sea salt and bring to a boil.
  • Add chicken back in and stir to combine.
  • Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for at least 10 minutes, but up to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The longer this simmers, the more time the flavors will have to develop.
  • Top with cilantro and serve on it’s own or with My Heart Beets 3 Ingredient Naan or my Coconut Rice.

Notes:

  • Feel free to omit the chicken and simply omit cooking the chicken (first step) and start by adding the sweet potato/butternut/kabocha to the pan with the ghee butter. Follow remainder of the recipe as written.
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Primal Vegetable Curry
Mmmmm curry! It's so warming and comforting and it is SO good for you! Talk about anti-inflammatory! But to get a really good curry, it takes a loooong time to make. It just needs lots of love for all of the flavors to really develop.
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Instructions
  1. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Place the chicken into the pan with a couple of pinches of sea salt and brown until chicken is almost cooked through. Pour the chicken into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add sweet potato/butternut/kabocha to the same pan with a little more salt and sauté 7-10 minutes, until potatoes just begin to soften/can be pierced with a fork. Decrease heat to medium.
  4. Add broccoli, onion, and curry powder and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Add broth, coconut milk, tomatoes and sea salt and bring to a boil.
  6. Add chicken back in and stir to combine.
  7. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for at least 10 minutes, but up to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The longer this simmers, the more time the flavors will have to develop.
  8. Top with cilantro and serve on it’s own or with My Heart Beets 3 Ingredient Naan or my Coconut Rice.
Recipe Notes

Feel free to omit the chicken and simply omit cooking the chicken (first step) and start by adding the sweet potato/butternut/kabocha to the pan with the ghee butter. Follow remainder of the recipe as written.

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Primal Broccoli Chicken Casserole

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Do you have those foods or meals that your family used to make – maybe your mom or dad or your grandmother – that when you smell that food or meal today it literally transports you back to when you were little?

This casserole is that for me. To this day, it is what my mom makes for me when we get to celebrate my birthday together. It is my request EVERY time I go home! It is creamy and luscious and warm and bubbly and honestly? Really clean, as far as casseroles go.

When most people think of casseroles I would bet that they think of those heavy, canned soup-based, super cheesy (but like, Velveeta cheese – you know what I’m sayin?), carb-loaded, slop it on a plate, mom didn’t have time for anything else tonight kind of meal. Not this one. It has been re-invented my friends and you will feel ALL the love when you eat it!

I hope you make this just so you can taste a little of my childhood. I’ve re-done it, in that it is made completely from scratch – no canned soup; and instead of packaged, processed cheese, I used a raw goat cheddar.  If you omit the cheese and use almond flour instead of sourdough, it is completely Paleo and Whole30.

It’s hard to re-do something your mom made. But man, this came out of the oven and I took that first bite and literally would’ve believed you if you told me my mom had made it and she was sitting right there with me – I could SMELL the house I grew up in. It will be so much fun to make this for her next time we ARE together.

I hope you enjoy this little piece of my childhood!

Primal Broccoli Chicken Casserole

Makes a 9×13 casserole…

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ – 3lbs free range, boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • approx. 1 tsp paprika
  • 4 medium heads broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1 cup finely chopped baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Kerrygold grass fed butter or coconut oil, divided
  • ¼ cup arrowroot flour
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (light or full fat)
  • ½ – ¾ cup low sodium vegetable or free-range chicken broth or chicken bone broth
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup Primal Kitchen avocado oil mayonnaise
  • zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 cup grated raw goat cheddar cheese, Kerrygold grass fed cheddar or Grafton raw cheddar
  • ¾ cup almond flour or sourdough breadcrumbs
  • Optional: fresh chives, cilantro or parsley for garnish

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Cover a medium sheet pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place chicken breasts on the pan and season with sea salt, black pepper and a dash of paprika over each chicken breast. Place on the middle rack of your oven to roast – approx. 20-30 minutes – until a meat thermometer inserted at the thickest part reads 155-160 degrees (the chicken will continue cooking as it rests and again when you finish the casserole in the oven…). Pull out of the oven and set aside.
  • While the chicken is roasting, cover a large sheet pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place broccoli onto pan, toss with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and place on the top rack of your oven to roast until slightly browned – approx. 15-18 minutes, until slightly roasted and softened. Pull out of the oven and set aside. *Okay to add this to the oven while the chicken is roasting.
  • Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp butter or coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook until softened, about 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer mushrooms to the pan with the broccoli.
  • In the same saucepan, melt the other tbsp of butter or coconut oil over medium heat. Whisk in the coconut milk and broth – start by adding ½ cup broth, if you need to add more to thin out the sauce per your liking, feel free. Once combined, whisk in the arrowroot flour, whisking constantly for 30 seconds until smooth. Bring to a low simmer and continue to whisk constantly until thickened – 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, curry, mayo, lemon zest and juice. Set aside.
  • Now, shred the chicken and place into a large bowl. Add the broccoli, mushrooms and onions.
  • Pour the sauce into the bowl with the broccoli mixture and add ½ cup almond flour or sourdough breadcrumbs and ½ of the cheese. Toss well to combine. I suggest using your hands for this! Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  • Top with remaining almond flour/sourdough and cheese.
  • Bake for approx. 30 minutes, until filling is hot and bubbly. Check after 20 minutes and cover with foil if topping is browning too quickly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with fresh chives, cilantro or parsley, if using and serve on it’s own or with roasted cauliflower rice (pictured above).

 

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Primal Broccoli Chicken Casserole
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Cover a medium sheet pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place chicken breasts on the pan and season with sea salt, black pepper and a dash of paprika over each chicken breast. Place on the middle rack of your oven to roast – approx. 20-30 minutes – until a meat thermometer inserted at the thickest part reads 155-160 degrees (the chicken will continue cooking as it rests and again when you finish the casserole in the oven...). Pull out of the oven and set aside.
  3. While the chicken is roasting, cover a large sheet pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place broccoli onto pan, toss with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and place on the top rack of your oven to roast until slightly browned – approx. 15-18 minutes, until slightly roasted and softened. Pull out of the oven and set aside. *Okay to add this to the oven while the chicken is roasting.
  4. Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp butter or coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook until softened, about 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer mushrooms to the pan with the broccoli.
  5. In the same saucepan, melt the other tbsp of butter or coconut oil over medium heat. Whisk in the coconut milk and broth – start by adding ½ cup broth, if you need to add more to thin out the sauce per your liking, feel free. Once combined, whisk in the arrowroot flour, whisking constantly for 30 seconds until smooth. Bring to a low simmer and continue to whisk constantly until thickened – 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, curry, mayo, lemon zest and juice. Set aside.
  6. Now, shred the chicken and place into a large bowl. Add the broccoli, mushrooms and onions.
  7. Pour the sauce into the bowl with the broccoli mixture and add ½ cup almond flour or sourdough breadcrumbs and ½ of the cheese. Toss well to combine. I suggest using your hands for this! Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  8. Top with remaining almond flour/sourdough and cheese.
  9. Bake for approx. 30 minutes, until filling is hot and bubbly. Check after 20 minutes and cover with foil if topping is browning too quickly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Garnish with fresh chives, cilantro or parsley, if using and serve on it's own or with roasted cauliflower rice (pictured above).
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Zucchini Goat Cheese Lasagna

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Prior to making this, please be sure to read the notes under the recipe for variations and substitutions.

***

It’s October and in Texas that means it’s either going to continue on in 90 degree weather or, we just might have one of those special years where we get some chilly weather for Halloween. Always a toss up. We woke up this October morning to 57 degrees and rain! For Texas, this is essentially Christmas morning. It was glorious! Now all I want is a Pumpkin Spice Latte!

I’ve been on a casserole kick for the last month or so – such an easy thing to throw together and make ahead and great fall recipes for the cooler weather I am crossing my fingers for!

Mo and I do not have children – just the sweetest, cutest, most loving French Bulldog in the whole world! But majority of our clients do have children, so on some level we understand how CRAZY life gets when school starts back up in the fall. We find that clients always struggle this time of year to maintain clean eating habits simply for the fact that time suddenly feels it is not their own anymore. One kid needs to be at football practice at 6am, another at school at 8am, a little one at Mothers Day Out at 9:30am and then pick up starts at 2pm and so on… Add to it games, dance lessons, etc. that happen in the evenings and I honestly don’t know how people do it day-in-day-out with frankly, more than one kiddo.

These casserole recipes were meant for YOU! For those who feel like they have no time to make themselves, much less overall health, a priority because of so many things going on and getting thrown at them. I hope you’ve found these to make life a little easier and a way to keep you and your family eating clean in spite of the chaos. It’s always interesting to me – when I eat poorly (i.e. fast food, packaged products, etc.) on a regular basis, sometimes out of what seems like pure necessity – my energy to do ALL of the things that I NEED to do – all of the things that have caused me to believe that fast food is the only option – is completely zapped. I don’t HAVE energy to do those things. And then I’m cranky and tired and that’s not good for anyone. 🙂

So, while I don’t have children, I do understand what it is to be incredibly busy with back-to-back “to-do’s” each day and I just want to encourage you to take good care of the body and mind that has to perform those tasks. I hope these recipes have helped make eating clean more feasible and flavorful in the midst of the chaos.

See? Isn’t Franklin the cutest EVER???

I made this lasagna recipe for the first time a couple of years ago. One of our clients brought us some ground venison and I was using it in everything! We love venison! I think we ate half of the lasagna the first night. 🙂 The leftovers were awesome and made life so easy for the next few days. It has SO much flavor! If you prefer, you can absolutely omit the meat in this recipe altogether and replace with additional mushrooms (see my notes below the recipe) and it will be just as yummy!

This recipe can easily be doubled and you could make two pans or several small – single or double servings sizes – to store in the freezer and heat up in the oven when needed for a quick dinner. It will freeze beautifully! Just skip the last step in the directions and cover in saran wrap and foil, place in the freezer for up to 6 months.

I hope this makes life a little easier for you and eating clean more feasible in the crazy times!

Zucchini Goat Cheese Lasagna

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1lb ground venison, bison, beef, turkey, etc.***
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 medium portabella mushrooms, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1, 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1, 16oz can low sodium tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup red wine***
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cage free egg
  • 1, 6oz container spreadable goat cheese, brought to room temperature
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1, 6oz container goat cheese crumbles

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a deep 9×13” casserole dish with cooking spray or rub well with olive oil and set aside.
  • Slice zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices or use a mandolin to do so. Lay all of the slices onto a paper towel (somewhere in the kitchen that it won’t take up prep space) in one layer and sprinkle lightly with sea salt; leave them be while you prep the sauce.
  • To start the sauce, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once warm, place the ground meat into the skillet and break up. Cook for approx. 7 minutes – until almost cooked through. Set aside.
  • In a separate sauté pan, add the green pepper and onion; cook until softened – approx. 5 minutes; add in mushrooms, garlic and a pinch of sea salt. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  • Add the vegetable mixture to the meat and stir in tomato paste, tomato sauce, wine, basil, and oregano. Add a small amount of hot water or broth if sauce gets too thick. Bring to a light boil; reduce the heat and simmer sauce for approximately 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  • While the sauce is cooking, whisk (or use a hand mixer) the egg, goat cheese, and parsley together in a bowl until completely combined. It should have the texture of a thick sauce.
  • To assemble the lasagna, spread ½ of the meat sauce into the bottom of casserole dish; then layer ½ of the zucchini slices, all of the goat cheese mixture, and then repeat with zucchini and then sauce again. Cover with foil.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the top with the goat cheese crumbles. Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F and bake an additional 5-10 minutes. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes:

  • You can make this vegetarian by omitting the ground meat and replacing with 3 more portabella mushrooms or 1 medium eggplant. You will simply have one pan for your sauce vs. starting with two.
  • You can replace the wine with either a beef stock or if keeping vegetarian, a vegetable stock.
  • If you are super pressed for time and need a pre-made sauce – I suggest The Vine – it is my very favorite! Super clean ingredients and very low in sodium! You will simply omit garlic through oregano in the list of above ingredients. Cook the vegetables and meat per above directions and add 1 jar of the sauce directly to the meat/vegetable mixture. Bring to a low boil, add sea salt and black pepper to taste and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes. Follow remaining steps per above directions.
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Zucchini Goat Cheese Lasagna
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a deep 9x13” casserole dish with cooking spray or rub well with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Slice zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices or use a mandolin to do so. Lay all of the slices onto a paper towel (somewhere in the kitchen that it won’t take up prep space) in one layer and sprinkle lightly with sea salt; leave them be while you prep the sauce.
  3. To start the sauce, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once warm, place the ground meat into the skillet and break up. Cook for approx. 7 minutes – until almost cooked through. Set aside.
  4. In a separate sauté pan, add the green pepper and onion; cook until softened – approx. 5 minutes; add in mushrooms, garlic and a pinch of sea salt. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  5. Add the vegetable mixture to the meat and stir in tomato paste, tomato sauce, wine, basil, and oregano. Add a small amount of hot water or broth if sauce gets too thick. Bring to a light boil; reduce the heat and simmer sauce for approximately 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  6. While the sauce is cooking, whisk (or use a hand mixer) the egg, goat cheese, and parsley together in a bowl until completely combined. It should have the texture of a thick sauce.
  7. To assemble the lasagna, spread ½ of the meat sauce into the bottom of casserole dish; then layer ½ of the zucchini slices, all of the goat cheese mixture, and then repeat with zucchini and then sauce again. Cover with foil.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the top with the goat cheese crumbles. Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F and bake an additional 5-10 minutes. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes

You can make this vegetarian by omitting the ground meat and replacing with 3 more portabella mushrooms or 1 medium eggplant. You will simply have one pan for your sauce vs. starting with two.

You can replace the wine with either a beef stock or if keeping vegetarian, a vegetable stock.

If you are super pressed for time and need a pre-made sauce – I suggest The Vine – it is my very favorite! Super clean ingredients and very low in sodium! You will simply omit garlic through oregano in the list of above ingredients. Cook the vegetables and meat per above directions and add 1 jar of the sauce directly to the meat/vegetable mixture. Bring to a low boil, add sea salt and black pepper to taste and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes. Follow remaining steps per above directions.

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Bison & Greens Bowl with Crispy Plantains and Chipotle Lime Aioli

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Anyone who knows me — and I mean, REALLY knows me, knows that I have an absolute hatred for all things banana. I don’t want to smell one, be around one, look at one, be in the same room or vicinity as someone eating one and I for SURE don’t want to eat one. I’ve been this way since birth. Or at least, that’s what my parents tell me. I’ve NEVER liked bananas. And not just not liked them – hated them. No clue where this comes from. I actually put this in my portion of the wedding vows Mo and I exchanged at our wedding. I told him I would always be willing to compromise on anything, EXCEPT BANANAS.

Nevertheless, suffice to say – when Mo walked in the door to find a couple of banana-looking items on our kitchen counter, he looked at me like I had three heads. I said, “What? They’re PLANTAINS!!!!” Ha! Yeah, he wasn’t buying it. He said,”But they’re IN the banana family… I’m confused! Who are you?” LOL! To which I shared with him that I was thinking about it the other day — I really like plantain chips – go figure, right? Put anything in chip-form and I’ll eat it! But seriously – we used to go to this mexican food restaurant here in Dallas when Mo and I first met – we would always get an order of plantain chips and I loved them! So I thought I’d try making my own.

It’s SO easy to make these delicious little things! I could eat a whole pan of them! If it were up to me, I would’ve had the plantains and aioli AS my dinner! But alas, I live with a man who “must have meat!” 😉 Hence the recipe for this bowl! It is SO easy to make and aside from the plantains, comes together in one pan!

Below is a recipe for two, but feel free to double or triple it and make it for your family or have it for leftovers the next day or two! I just suggest you keep the plantains stored in a plastic baggie or tupperware in your pantry and the remaining ingredients in the fridge. I served this with my Sriracha and Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts! It was the perfect side dish to this, if you’d like one!

Hope you enjoy! And while this was certainly a breakthrough for me, in case you’re wondering – NO! I will NOT be trying bananas anytime in the near or distant future!

Bison & Greens Bowl with Crispy Plantains and Chipotle Lime Aioli

Serves 2

Ingredients:

…for the aioli:

  • 1/3 cup Primal Kitchen Foods Chipotle Lime Mayo
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp ancho chili powder or smoked paprika
  • sea salt

…for the plantains:

  • 2 plantains
  • 1-2 tsp smoked paprika
  • sea salt
  • olive or avocado oil

…for the bison:

  • ¾ – 1lb ground bison
  • 1 small yellow onion, julienned
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), julienned
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder (any variety)
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • sea salt
  • 2-3 large handfuls fresh, baby spinach or arugula
  • optional garnishes: crumbled goat cheese, cilantro, thinly sliced jalapeno or fresno pepper or scallion…

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a medium baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Spray with a little cooking spray.
  • Then, make the aioli by combining the mayo, apple cider vinegar, ancho chili powder and pinch of sea salt in a bowl. Whisk well to combine and set aside.
  • Peel the plantains and cut them into rounds about a ¼ inch thick and place on baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with a little olive or avocado oil and season with a few pinches of sea salt and half of the smoked paprika. Place in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and flip them over and season with more salt and rest of the paprika. Place back in the oven and bake for another 6-8 minutes, or until the tops have slightly browned.
  • While the plantains are baking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  • Push the onion and bell pepper to the sides of the skillet and add in the ground bison to the center of the pan. Break the bison up and cook, stirring occasionally, until bison is browned and cooked through. Season mixture with cumin, chili powder, cinnamon and sea salt.
  • Add spinach to the skillet and mix to combine. Cook until the spinach has just wilted, approx. 2-3 minutes.
  • To serve, start with some of the bison mixture in a bowl and top with crispy plantains and aioli. Garnish with options above, if you’d like. Enjoy!

 

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Bison & Greens Bowl with Crispy Plantains and Chipotle Lime Aioli
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Bison
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Bison
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a medium baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Spray with a little cooking spray.
  2. Then, make the aioli by combining the mayo, apple cider vinegar, ancho chili powder and pinch of sea salt in a bowl. Whisk well to combine and set aside.
  3. Peel the plantains and cut them into rounds about a ¼ inch thick and place on baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with a little olive or avocado oil and season with a few pinches of sea salt and half of the smoked paprika. Place in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and flip them over and season with more salt and rest of the paprika. Place back in the oven and bake for another 6-8 minutes, or until the tops have slightly browned.
  4. While the plantains are baking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  5. Push the onion and bell pepper to the sides of the skillet and add in the ground bison to the center of the pan. Break the bison up and cook, stirring occasionally, until bison is browned and cooked through. Season mixture with cumin, chili powder, cinnamon and sea salt.
  6. Add spinach to the skillet and mix to combine. Cook until the spinach has just wilted, approx. 2-3 minutes.
  7. To serve, start with some of the bison mixture in a bowl and top with crispy plantains and aioli. Garnish with options above, if you’d like. Enjoy!
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