You guys. They’re back. When I first made my sweet potato chicken popper recipe, I fell in love fast. I was so excited to share them with the world and knew that they an amazing game day or party food that all guests would love. I shared them as a super bowl food and thought they’d run their course after football season. What I didn’t realize was that people would love them so much that they would keep making them as the perfect food for kiddos, picky eaters, mid week dinners, freezer meals, or even salad toppers! I’ve seen so many folks share how much they love the sweet potato chicken popper that I wanted to make a variation that’s even more flavorful and delicious… Bacon Ranch Chicken Poppers. Still paleo, still Whole 30, still AIP, and even more flavor. Heck yeah.
So now, you’ve got veggies, healthy fat, protein, and that amazing ranch flavor all in one little nugget. I mean really… what more can you want?
Why These Bacon Ranch Chicken Poppers Are Amazing
1.They’re a new and improved version of the popular sweet potato chicken popper.
After releasing the sweet potato chicken popper, I heard lots of folks say that they wanted a more savory chicken popper. What’s the best way to make something savory? Bacon and ranch… duh 😉 These are made with shredded bacon and an AIP ranch seasoning that’s dairy free, and still tastes like the real deal.
2. They’re made with 2 cups of carrots, making them veggie dense!
The sweet potato chicken poppers were made with, yes, sweet potato. And these still can be, but I wanted to mix it up and use a less starchy veggie for lower starch folks and use carrots! Carrots are full of nutrients, lower in starch, and pair perfectly with the ranch flavor.
3. They’re full of healthy fat and protein
Not only are they veggie dense, but there’s a good serving of both healthy fat and protein in there. Veggies are incredibly important, of course, but the presence of fat and protein here makes them satiating, and rounds it out as a full meal.
4. They’re easy to make
No complicated ingredients or instructions here. I throw all of the ingredients into the food processor and just give it a whirl, then mix in the chicken in bowl, roll it out, and you’re good to go!
Bacon Ranch Chicken Poppers Are Perfect For…
Like I said with the sweet potato chicken poppers, these bacon ranch poppers don’t just have to be game day food!
Here’s just a few of the many ways can use them as…
- They’re basically healthy chicken nuggets for kiddos & picky eaters
- They’re great to stash in the freezer for emergency dinners
- Perfect to bring along for a work lunch
- Amazing for a creative breakfast
- Great to serve along side some compliant ranch and sliced veggies for a party or movie night snack
So, let’s make them!
Bacon Ranch Chicken Poppers
Bacon Ranch Chicken Poppers (Paleo, Whole 30, AIP)
- 1 lb raw pastured chicken (or turkey)
- 2 cups raw shredded carrots (shredded in a food processor or bought pre-shredded)
- 3 slices raw sugar free bacon
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 2 tbsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp dried chives
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp dried dill
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 F
- Add the shredded carrots to a food processor along with the bacon and blend on high. You want both the carrots and the bacon to be very finely shredded
- Remove the carrots and bacon from the food processor and add to a mixing bowl
- Stir in the raw meat, seasoning, coconut oil and flour and thoroughly combine
- Line 2 baking sheets (or one large baking sheet) with parchment paper
- Roll out the poppers and slightly flatten them (you'll have 25-30)
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping them half way through
- OPTIONAL- Place them under the broiler for 5 minutes to crisp before serving
- Serve warm with compliant ranch dressing and enjoy!
I’m so in love with this recipe, and wish I would have had it a few years ago when I was transitioning to a real food diet. It’s almost hard to believe these are totally real food, but they truly are! Not a grain, unhealthy fat, or dried buttermilk seasoning in sight. Enjoy them, friends!
I was never really a big Mexican or Tex Mex food fan growing up. I grew up in an Italian family with Jewish roots in New York, so bagels and lox were my tacos, and marinara sauce (or if you’re really legit, gravy) ran through my veins. Little did I know I’d eventually move to San Antonio, and then to Dallas, TX and marry a self proclaimed nacho and taco monster. Needless to say, I warmed up to Mexican food. But by the time I started liking it, it was already too late. I discovered my nightshade issues and it was all out the window from there. Like I said, my husband loves Mexican food, so I had to learn how to make my own versions. That started with a base of an amazing protein made nightshade free… Slow Cooker AIP Carnitas!
I’ve probably only had traditional carnitas at a restaurant maybe once in my life. But that was enough to want to recreate them in an allergy friendly version that I can actually have. Don’t get me wrong, I love simple ground beef on nachos or tacos as well, but carnitas just has so much flavor! And when you’re limited in the fact that you can’t add tons of spice or sugar, to a recipe, ya want some flavor. And these have serious flavor perfect for adding to any taco, nacho, or hash recipe!
What’s Different About These Slow Cooker AIP Carnitas?
It’s made from pasture raised pork shoulder.
Even if I could eat nightshade spices, I’d be way too weirded out to eat conventional pork from a restaurant anymore. Pigs raised in CAFO feed lots have awful, awful lives and are fed absolute junk. I don’t eat a ton of pork, but I hate eating it when I don’t know where it comes from.
Pasture raised pork means that the pigs were fed their natural diet, and had the chance to roam on grass. It’s not always easy to find, but I get pastured pork shoulder from the farmers market when I can, and enjoy every bit of it when I do!
It’s nightshade free and seed spice free… which means it’s not spicy!
For all of you paleo or Whole 30 folks that still eat nightshades, nightshade spices are problematic for lots of folks with autoimmune disease, including myself. I love spicy food too, don’t get me wrong, I just really can’t have it without having a crippling headache and fatigue. I’ve included modifications if needed, but rest assured that this recipe is totally AIP.
Yup, there’s also bone broth.
Because, it’s me. Of course there’s going to be bone broth! Truthfully, you can basically get away without any broth when you’re doing a pork shoulder, because it’s so fatty. But, you could always use a little broth!
Slow Cooker Carnitas (AIP, Paleo & Whole 30)
- 3 lb pastured pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed
- 1/2 cup bone broth
- 1 medium onion
- 1 large orange
- 2 limes
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp dried cilantro
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1.5 tsp salt
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- (OPTIONAL FOR NON-AIP: 2 tsp black peppers, 1 tsp crushed red pepper)
- Combine the cilantro, oregano, and salt (plus other seasoning if using ) to create a dry rub
- Rub the seasoning into the pork shoulder, coating it evenly
- Push the three garlic cloves into the pork shoulder
- Place the shoulder into the slower cooker set to low
- Pour the juice of the orange, the juice of the two limes, and the bone broth over the pork shoulder
- Add in the two bay leaves
- Cover the roast and cook on low for 8 hours
- Remove from the crockpot and shred with two forks
- OPTIONAL: Place under the broiler for 5 minutes to crisp before serving
I hope you love this recipe as much as my husband and I do! Throw it in a breakfast hash, top off some nachos, or add it to some tacos, and you’re good to go 🙂
Happy almost Mother’s Day! Soup in general always reminds me of my mom… she loves soup. My mom grew up in Budapest, Hungary where she apparently ate a lot of it, and I always felt pressured to like it. I never really wanted soup as a kid or a teen, and she was always eating it, even in the hot Texas summers when I couldn’t think about anything but ice cream. I never thought I’d warm up to the whole soup thing until I started down this AIP, paleo, gut healing journey. Today? I’m hooked.
Though soup is traditionally more of a winter food, spring is still a great time to enjoy a veggie soup! So in honor of Mother’s Day, and my everyday gut healing spirit, I wanted to share this recipe for Carrot, Leek & Turmeric Spring Soup. It’s light, nourishing, nutrient dense, seasonal, and perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch.
Why Bone Broth & Veggie Soups Are Great For Gut Healing
If you follow me on Instagram and see my daily meals, you’ll know I’m not exaggerating when I say I eat soup all of the time. This may be too obscure, I recently made a joke referencing the movie Juno where Michael Cera’s character says he doesn’t want to date fellow classmate Katrina Devore because “her house smells like soup”. I always thought that was a stupid line… how does anyones house smell like soup? Well, mine does. I eat so much soup that my house totally smells like soup.
Some of the reasons that I eat so much soup like this one is because they’re easy, I crave them, and they are amazing for gut healing! You’ll find more soups just like this one in my 30 Day Gut Healing Guide… here’s why…
1.Bone broth is filled with gut healing properties.
Bone broth is well known for being an amazing gut healing food, and for good reason. It’s full of healthy fats, and proteins to make it a balanced base for a soup, and is rich in gelatin and minerals that promote gut health. Bone broth is slowly prepared over 24-48 hours which helps break down the minerals to make it easier to digest and absorb.
2. It’s a great way to consume broth rather than just drinking it straight.
The best way to consume bone broth is the way that you’ll actually eat it. Tons of people hate drinking it straight from a mug, and that’s totally fine. You don’t have to sip broth from a mug to get the benefits! Enjoying it as a base for a soup is a perfect way to get in a healthy dose of broth.
3. Soups like this are super easy on the digestive system, which is crucial for gut healing!
We all know that veggies and fiber are good for us, right? There’s no way that could be wrong. However, many with severely compromised gut health still have issues digesting raw vegetables and meat cooked at high heat. It seems counter intuitive that veggies can be bad for your gut, but in many cases, lots of raw vegetables can be tough on the gut.
Does that mean avoid them altogether? Of course not! Fully cooking vegetables and broth like in this soup and then blending them makes them much easier on the gut and helps to avoid further damage.
4. Because they’re easy on your digestion, it’s easier to absorb the nutrients.
As mentioned previously, soups like this are more easily digested, which means it’s easier to absorb the nutrients! We all too often look at a carrot and think all carrots are created equal regardless of preparation. When in reality, a cooked carrot is very different than a raw carrot. Cooked veggies and traditionally prepared bone broth have much more bioavailable vitamins and minerals, making this a super nutrient dense meal.
I made this particular soup in the Instant Pot, because I’m obsessed. BUT if you don’t have one, just follow the notes for how to modify 🙂
Carrot Leek Turmeric Spring Soup in the Instant Pot (Paleo, AIP, Whole 30)
*If not using the instant pot, follow the instructions to sauté veggies on the stove in a medium stock pot, then bring the broth to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes with the lid on (or until softened)
- 3 cups of bone broth (beef or chicken)
- 5 cups carrots, chopped
- 2 large leeks, chopped
- 5 spring onions, chopped
- 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 3/4 tsp ground sage
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Edible flowers for garnish (optional)
- Set the instant pot to sauté and add the coconut oil to melt
- Pour in the carrots and sauté in the oil for 5-6 minutes or until lightly softened
- Add the leeks and spring onions and lightly sauté for 1-2 minutes
- Turn off the sauté function on the instant pot
- Pour in the bone broth, herbs and spices and stir to combine
- Put the lid of the instant pot and set to manual, 12 minutes (* see notes for stove top modification)
- After the time is up, use the valve to quick release the pressure
- Remove the lid and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes
- Either use an immersion blender, or high speed blender to blend the soup
- Serve topped with edible flowers (optional) and additional green onion
One of the most common questions I get is how I eat breakfast without eggs, milk, coffee and grains. What does one eat for breakfast if not oatmeal, cereal, or scrambled eggs? A few years ago, I would’ve had the exact same question! I was an oatmeal and egg white fiend
(my husband jokes about how much I bring up oatmeal in my childhood stories) and often had cereal as a meal replacement. Society makes us believe that there are acceptable and non-acceptable breakfast foods, and eggs and grains are about all you can logically have for breakfast. News flash… they’re wrong.
Though it’s both tempting and comforting to go for traditional breakfast foods, it’s not necessary. Breakfast can be anything. And in reality, breakfast should be balanced and nutrient dense to set the tone for a balanced day. Grain heavy breakfasts with fat free milks and caffeine hits spike our blood sugar and get us started the wrong foot for the day.
That’s why I’m sharing an easy, healthy, balanced breakfast bowl that’s paleo, AIP, and whole 30 compliant, made with pasture raised chicken, asparagus, greens, plantains, and avocado sauce! Plus, this week is my birthday, and I love birthday breakfast 😉 So for me, I’m having it as a birthday breakfast bowl this year!
So let’s break down what a grain free, egg free, AIP breakfast needs…
Keep in mind that this varies from person to person. I don’t always have starch at breakfast, and sometimes I have lighter or bigger breakfasts depending on my food and what I’m doing that day. But generally, here are some guidelines…
When it comes to animal protein always, always, always go pasture raised and grass-fed. Organic, cage free and free range are not enough. Animals need to be fed their natural diet and be raised pasture and grass to be healthful. I get pasture raised chicken and grass-fed beef from local farmers markets, co-ops, and I also recommend retailers like US Wellness meats.
Green or Non-starchy Veggies
Green and non-starchy veggies are always a must! They’re packed with vitamins and nutrients that we need for a healthy diet and starting our day with them is always a good idea!
That may mean having a leafy green like kale, arugula, or romaine lettuce, or a veggie like asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc. Whatever it is, make sure the bulk of your plate is veggie based.
Starchy Veggies or Fruit (potentially)
This may or may not be applicable to most people depending on whether or not they’re battling gut issues or blood sugar regulation, but generally speaking a little bit of starch is a good way to bulk up breakfast and add healthy carbs.
In this particular breakfast bowl, the starch of choice are plantains. However, you can also use sweet potatoes, winter squash, carrots, beets, or other starchy veggies of choice, as well as some fruit.
Healthy fat is an important part of every meal! Healthy fats help feed our brain cells, and satiate us longer than simple sugars. Plus, it makes everything taste better 😉
I recommend adding some sort of healthy fat to every meal as a way to balance blood sugar, and keep you fuller longer. In this bowl, the fat is from the avocado sauce. You can also use grass-fed butter or ghee, olive oil, avocado oil, nuts (if tolerated), and coconut products like coconut yogurt, butter, or oil.
How To Serve & Store This Breakfast Bowl
I know it’s not always feasible to have a sit down breakfast made from scratch. Most days, I’m meeting with clients early, running off to an office, or already deep in writing by 8 am. That’s where freezing comes in!
Here’s how you assemble & store this bowl…
Freeze the following:
- Cooked chicken
- Cooked plantains
- Cooked asparagus
Then defrost in the fridge overnight and serve the following fresh ingredients:
- Avoado sauce (or fresh avocado)
That way, this doesn’t have to be a fresh made breakfast bowl every single day. Of course, it’s always best fresh, but having the option to throw it in the freezer, defrost over night, and top with the fresh ingredients is a great way to have a nourishing breakfast fast!
Chicken, Asparagus & Plantain Breakfast Balance Bowl (AIP, Paleo, Whole 30)
- 1 pastured chicken breast (or thigh)
- 1 medium green plantain, sliced
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- 3-4 tbsp coconut oil or avocado oil
- 1-2 tsp salt
- 2 serving avocado cilantro lime sauce
- Preheat your oven to 375 F
- Add the chicken breast to a sheet of parchment paper with 1 tbsp of coconut oil and salt
- Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 F
- While the chicken is cooking, add the asparagus to an other baking sheet lined with parchment paper and seasoned with salt and coconut oil
- Cook for 20-25 minutes or until crispy
- During the last 10 minutes or so, heat a pan with coconut oil and add the green plantain slices
- Cook until the slices become softer and browned
- Remove from the heat and smash them down with the bottom of a glass cup, flattening them
- Add back to the oil, adding more if needed and finish crisping
- After all of the components are cooked, serve over a bed of fresh arugula and top with avocado cilantro lime sauce
- Serve immediately or use freezing instructions listed above
I hope you guys love this bowl as much as I do! It’s the perfect birthday treat to myself, and a great way to start the day <3
It’s not always easy to be confident about making your old favorites AIP friendly. I’ve often asked myself, “Can I really make a pizza without cheese?”, “How can I make oatmeal without oats?” My most recent question was, “How can I make fajitas without peppers and nightshades?” Well, challenge accepted and conquered with these AIP Chicken Fajita Bowls!
Fajitas were a staple meal in my family growing up. It wasn’t always my favorite (I was more of a pasta and pizza gal;) ) but fajita night was mostly fine by me. As I got older and realized that nightshade vegetables like bell peppers were seriously flaring my Hashimoto’s and completely cut them out, I grew to hate fajita night. Not because I couldn’t eat them, but because of the smell! A few minutes of being in the same house or building as cooking bell peppers and I get a full on migraine. Not fun! I can’t even go into a Mexican restaurant without getting a headache these days. Consequently, my Texas raised husband loves Mexican food, and it’s always a favorite here in Dallas. So that’s why I decided to make these fajita bowls!
But what can swap out for a bell pepper? Zucchini, squash and onion make a perfect fajita bowl swap! Throw on some avocado or AIP guac, green onion, cilantro, and some fresh lettuce, and you’ve got one heck of an AIP dish!
Chicken Fajita Bowls (AIP, Paleo, Whole 30)
- 2 lbs pastured chicken breast, sliced thin
- 2 medium zucchinis, sliced into vertical slices
- 1 medium yellow squash, sliced the same
- 1/2 white onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp dried cilantro
- 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
- 1/8 cup (more or less as needed) avocado oil or coconut oil
- 1-2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1/4 red onion, diced
- 1-2 avocados
- Fresh cilantro to garnish
- Add 2 tbsp of oil to a pan on medium heat.
- Season the chicken with garlic, and half of the oregano, turmeric, cilantro and salt
- Add the chicken to the pan, adding more oil as needed
- Cook for 8-10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 F
- Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside
- Add 2 tbsp of oil to the pan on medium heat
- Season the white onion, zucchini and squash with the remainder of the ingredients
- Cook until vegetables soften for about 5-6 minutes, reheating the chicken in the pan for the last minute or so if needed
- Add the chicken and vegetables to bowls (about 4 bowls) with chopped lettuce
- Top with avocado, red onion, fresh cilantro and more salt to taste
Taco bowls and fajita bowls just like this one are what I always serve when we have company over! Not only is it delicious all on its own for anyone, but it’s the perfect base to modify for non AIP friends. You can easily add white rice, salsa, hot sauce or a good quality tortilla chip to those who want to spice it up a bit.
Regardless of how you modify, it’s a low effort, easy to make meal that family and friends will both love!
Are you a snack food fan? SAME. I’m not a football fan, but I am definitely a snack day fan. Super bowl Sunday is pretty synonymous with both, so it’s always a perfect time to pull out the game day snacks. All too often that can mean processed junk, soda, and delivery pizza, so I decided to turn game day snacking on it’s head with these squeaky clean Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers!
These chicken poppers are gluten free, paleo, AIP, and egg free, while still being delicious enough to fool anyone who regularly eats otherwise!
Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers Are the Healthy Comfort Food You’ve Been Looking For…
Let me tell you a little story… This is a story about a girl named, Lucky (Brittney, anyone 😉 ) who literally ate zero animal protein until she was about 20 that wasn’t in chicken nugget form. She was so unhealthy and out of touch with her bodies innate intelligence to eat real food that she would gag at any protein that wasn’t a nugget. She did not discriminate when it came to nuggets… dinosaur shaped, fast food, frozen, they were all gucci. Until she grew up, was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and leaky gut, and actually got a grip and realized that those nuggets were not the best choice. So… clearly I’m talking about myself here. Maybe dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets weren’t my friend then or now, but these chicken poppers are the real food, adult version of the chicken nuggets that I loved for years!
When I first made these and got a whiff of them cooking in the oven, it seriously smelled like any game day snack that you’d find in a sports bar or at any party. My mouth was water the second they came out of the oven! The smell, the texture, and the nostalgic feel that I was eating chicken nuggets makes these little dudes the perfect healthy comfort food.
Here’s why they’re good for you…
- They’re veggie packed with green onion and sweet potato which provide vitamins, nutrients, and flavor
- These guys feature coconut flour which is a grain free, healthy flour, and coconut oil which is an amazing healthy fat
- I suggest using pasture raised chicken (no, not just organic, pasture raised) as these chickens were raised humanely and ate a natural diet making the chicken packed with healthy protein and nutrients! Organic chicken was not necessarily fed a proper diet and can be harmful than good for you!
- They’re paleo and Whole 30 friendly, and even strict autoimmune protocol friendly for all of my fellow autoimmune healers out there!
Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers Are Perfect For…
Seriously, it makes these a great dish to bring along to your upcoming party, or super bowl Sunday gathering to ensure that you have something healthy to eat for yourself, while still having something delicious to share. Don’t be that guy that brings kale chips… be the guy that brings sweet potato chicken poppers 😉 These guys are perfect for…
- Party appetizers
- Super Bowl or game day snacks
- Finger food for picky eater kiddos
- Fun weeknight dinner
Plus, they are the perfect food for dipping! I may or may not have already nicknamed this “dippy chicken” (because I’m mature), but really… it’s the perfect size for finger food and tastes great dipped in a big bowl of AIP guacamole!
Feel free to use a different sauce that is compliant to you own needs, like maybe a clean buffalo sauce, or even a ranch dip. But rest assured that they go great with this guac!
I also have to shout out a similar recipe, chicken and zucchini poppers from One Lovely Life! These are another great option if you’re looking for something lower in starch.
Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers (Paleo & AIP)
- 1 lb ground chicken (uncooked, preferably pastured)
- 2 cups raw (not cooked) sweet potato, finely grated (I used a wide cheese grated like this or you can use your food processor)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil + 1 tsp for greasing the baking sheet
- 2 tbsp coconut flour (I recommend this brand )
- 2-3 sprigs green onion, chopped fine
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Optional : 1 tsp paprika or chili powder (not AIP but adds a kick!)
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly grease a lined baking sheet with coconut oil
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and thoroughly combine
- Begin rolling the mixture into small, slightly flattened poppers about one inch in diameter (you'll have about 20-22 poppers) and place them on the cooking sheet
- Place in the oven for 25-28 minutes, flipping half way through
- Crisp further in a pan or place under the broiler if desired for 1-2 minutes to crisp further
- Remove from the oven when thoroughly cooked through
- Allow to cool and serve with your favorite sauce
I hope you absolutely love these poppers are much as we do here at the Hoover household!
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