Dry Rubbed Barbecue Pork Ribs – Paleo Style

paleo barbecue pork ribs with sauceEver since the paleo diet unshackled me from the fear of eating animal fat I have been on a mission to indulge in foods previously avoided. Barbecued pork ribs is one of those foods. My goal with this recipe was to create something delicious that would be paleo, which means, among other things, having very little or no sugar. It was also important the dry-rubbed ribs be good enough to be eaten without sauce.  Of course, barbecue sauce is pretty indispensable in the minds of most people and my family is no exception.  So I have also included a spicy barbecue sauce recipe that contains no high fructose corn syrup and only 2 tablespoons of sweetener.   Continue reading

I Have Made Cauliflower! Basic Cauliflower Rice Recipe

This is the first year I have attempted to grow cauliflower. My husband, G, built three raised garden beds and I got very ambitious and started planting all sorts of new things. I knew next to nothing about growing cauliflower and resorted to consulting YouTube for some how-to videos. Some were helpful. Others, like much of what is on YouTube, were downright bizarre. But I digress….

I learned that cauliflower grows in the middle of a large plant with lots of leaves and the ones in the middle sort of flop over the floret to keep it cool and shaded. It was for this reason that one day it seemed as if nothing was there but the very next day I poked a little deeper and discovered a serious cauliflower floret! I used a large knife to cut the floret out of the plant just as the large, nameless man in balloon-fronted shorts on YouTube had instructed. The moment, for me, was very reminiscent of Tom Hanks’ character in the movie “Castaway” when he is finally successful in making a fire. I actually exclaimed out loud,

“I have made CAULIFLOWER!!!”

After exulting in my success in growing this organic gem I pondered my next step. Of course I would need to find a recipe worthy of my first actual homegrown cauliflower floret. Shortly after starting the Paleo Diet I read about “Cauliflower Rice” and was intrigued. I happen to like cauliflower. But my husband and kids definitely do not like it in any form. In fact G tells a story of going home with a college buddy for a weekend and being horrified when the guy’s mom proudly declared that dinner was “Cauliflower Casserole”. Woo hoo! Not. Given the PTSD he suffered as a result of this experience I was not optimistic that G, or our boys, would be remotely interested in eating cauliflower in any form. But I am happy to report they ALL enjoyed the cauliflower rice and even asked for seconds. Given that the recipe is gluten free and low carb it works great for anyone on a Paleo, Primal or low-carb/Atkins type diet. It seems to fill the void that sometimes exists on a grain free and white potato free diet when you long for something starchy. Cauliflower rice fits the bill – without the starch and high carbohydrate count.

Basic Cauliflower Rice:

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the cauliflower into florets and place in a 8×8 microwaveable dish and cover with plastic wrap. There is no need to add water because the cauliflower will cook in its own moisture.
  2. Microwave on high for 4 minutes.paleo cauliflower rice recipe
  3. Use a food processor to pulse the steamed cauliflower until it is the texture of rice. (You may have to do this in a couple of batches.) Place the cauliflower in a medium bowl and set aside.paleo cauliflower rice recipe
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute’ for about 30 seconds being careful not to burn the garlic.
  5. Add the cauliflower into the pan and stir fry for 7-10 minutes, until tender.
  6. Add the parsley, the sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
Serves 4-6
I recommend you start with this basic recipe and change it up as you desire and depending on what you are serving it with. For example the basic recipe calls for flat leaf parsley but I have also used fresh basil with great success. Additionally, sauteing a diced onion in the olive oil prior to adding the garlic and cauliflower would be good as well. I have even seen a recipe that called for a cup of finely chopped celery. The possibilities are endless. I did find that steaming the cauliflower prior to sauteing it made the whole process easier. You can steam it and process it in advance and store, covered, in the refrigerator and saute’ right before serving.
Cauliflower rice goes especially well with the Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic recipe. I added about a half cup of the garlic sauce from that recipe into the cauliflower rice and served them together. It was really delicious, low carb, grain free – Paleo!
For more information on growing cauliflower and its nutritional profile you can check out this post.

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Kale: “The Queen of Greens” + Kale and Avocado Salad Recipe

Kale is one of those really scary vegetables.  There cannot be more than a small percentage of the population that gets excited at the prospect of eating it.  But kale is such a nutritional powerhouse it deserves a second look…or taste.  Kale is a leafy green in the cruciferous vegetable category like broccoli, cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts.  One cup of kale contains 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of Vitamin A, 200% of Vitamin C and 1,020% of Vitamin K.  One cup also gives you 5 grams of fiber, 35 calories and minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. It is an organic gardener’s dream because it is easy to grow, is disease and pest resistant and produces well into the Fall.  And for Paleo adherents, such as myself, or anyone not eating a lot of dairy products, the calcium content is pretty important.

Harvesting Kale

Part of our “Camp Paleo Spirit” summer homeschool experiment involves gardening.  Kale is the only thing in our garden, besides herbs, ready for eating so it was an obvious choice for our Day 1 gardening activity.  Never having grown kale before I had to “google” the harvesting process. What I learned is you want to cut off the outer leaves when they are richly green and firm but not too dark and tough. You can start harvesting when the plant is about 8-10 inches high.  Ideally you should only cut what you will use that day and make sure enough leaves remain in the inner part of the plant so that it continues to produce.

Both boys were VERY down on the idea of eating kale until they participated in the harvesting of it.  It’s amazing how the enthusiasm grew after they got to help out.  We gathered enough to make one large “Kale Avocado Salad” (recipe below) and it turned out REALLY well.  This recipe is strictly Paleo, which means it is grain, legume and dairy free.  It also technically qualifies as “raw” and “vegan” if you are into that sort of thing.  ;-)

Kale Avocado Salad

  • 1 Bunch curly kale – about 10 large leaves
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/2 Vidalia (sweet) onion, diced
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4-6 Campari tomatoes quartered, or a handful of grape tomatoes, halved


Wash the kale and pat dry with a clean towel.  Remove any tough parts of the stems and cut or tear into bite-sized pieces. Place the kale into a large bowl.  Cut the avocado into small cubes and add to the kale along with the Vidalia onions.  Pour on the olive oil, the juice of one lemon and salt and pepper to taste.  Use a spoon to stir the mixture until the leaves are well coated with the oil, lemon juice and avocado.  You can even use your hands to “massage” the salad if you really want the avocado mixed in well and are feeling especially “earthy-crunchy”.  I would recommend massaging the salad before you add the lemon juice to avoid irritating your hands.  The lemon juice seems to almost “cook” the kale so letting it soak in for several minutes adds to the flavor.  The tomatoes can be tossed in just before serving.

I was amazed at the great flavor and the easy prep.  The firmness of the kale leaves, unlike lettuce, stood up to overnight storage and the salad was just as good, if not better, at lunch the next day.  I can envision several versions of this dish so I encourage you to experiment and let me know how it goes.  Cucumber and/or carrots might be great additions.  We ate the salad with some spicy sausages flavored with red pepper and it was a really great complement to the kale.  So adding a pinch of cayenne to the dressing would probably give a nice kick.

Check here for more paleo side dishes and salads.

Kale Avocado Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Bunch curly kale - about 10 large leaves
  • 1 Avocado
  • ½ Vidalia (sweet) onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4-6 Campari tomatoes quartered, or a handful of grape tomatoes, halved
Instructions
  1. Wash the kale and pat dry with a clean towel.
  2. Remove any tough parts of the stems and cut or tear into bite-sized pieces and place into a large bowl.
  3. Cut the avocado into small cubes and use your hands to "massage" the avocado into the kale leaves.
  4. Add the chopped sweet onion to the kale.
  5. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Use a spoon to stir the mixture until the leaves are well coated with the oil, lemon juice and avocado.
  7. Add the tomatoes right before serving.