Plantain Carnitas Nachos (Paleo, AIP, Whole 30)

When it comes to comfort food, I’ve always been much more of a pizza person rather than nachos and tacos. I always thought nachos were salty, greasy, and not “bread-y” enough (because your girl loved some bread). I never really ate them or had them around too much. That is, until I met my husband, Daniel. Daniel was born and raised in Rockwall, TX and does basically all of the Texas things that I wasn’t too keen on at first. He say’s “y’all” without hesitation, he’s fine with his ignorance in what a good bagel is, and his go-to food is nachos. Never have bought so many nacho ingredients in my life until I married him. There is tons of grass-fed cheese, non-GMO corn chips, and various nacho fixins in our kitchen at any given time. So I got curious. I wanted to experiment, but most of the ingredients were already out for me. I had to get creative, so I went from these Plantain Carnitas Nachos!

 

Why I Love These Plantain Carnitas Nachos

 

They’re grain free.

No chips, no problem. Even though I get my husband the non-GMO corn tortillas fried in coconut oil, I still can’t have those. Corn is a big time “no” for me, and I’m not willing to really splurge on something that makes me feel so bad. 

 

They’re made with green plantains, or tostones, rather than chips!

I spent my life so caught up in grains that I never had plantains. Clearly, I was missing out! Plantains are essentially a starchy fruit, that can be used similarly to a potato when they’re green, or used as a sweet treat when they ripen. They’re used often in Latin American cooking and are a safer starch for those who are avoiding grains. 

Tostones, or fried green plantains, are sooo good. Everyone can appreciate them, and they’re the perfect crispy chip substitute for this nacho dish.

 

They’re paleo, Whole 30, and AIP friendly!

That’s a tall order… especially with something that’s traditionally full of grains, cheese, and nightshades. But they are! 

 

They’re nightshade free, so that mean they’re not spicy.

Those of us who are AIP and have an autoimmune disease know that I know I have a fair amount of Paleo-ish/ Whole 30 folks who read my blog that still eat nightshades. If you can tolerate nightshades, go for it. Throw on the spices, tomatoes and jalapeños and go to town. But rest assured that if you are AIP and nightshade free, the recipe is AIP as is. 

 

They may not be traditional nachos that you can get at a restaurant, but you guys… everyone will love them. Even the non-real food lovers can still appreciate these crispy, creamy, salty, savory nachos!

When I make them, I split them up to just have a full meal between my husband and I, as they serve about two for a full meal. But, you can also portion them out into single tostones topped with the fixin’s and serve them one by one as a party appetizer or snack at a game day event. Like I said… everyone will love them. 

 

Plantain Carnitas Nachos (Paleo, AIP, Whole 30)

Ingredients

  • 2 large green plantains, sliced
  • 2 servings (give or take) of pork carnitas
  • 2 servings avocado lime sauce
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Juice of 1/2 small lime

Instructions

  1. Heat a skillet on medium heat and begin to melt the coconut oil
  2. Once melted, add the green plantain slices
  3. Cook until the slices become softened and slightly browned
  4. Remove from the heat and smash them down with the bottom of a glass cup, flattening them
  5. Add back to the oil, adding more if needed and finish crisping
  6. Remove the tostones and add to a large plate or two separate plates
  7. Begin layering on the carnitas, red onion, cilantro, and avocado lime sauce
  8. Top with extra lime if desired
  9. Serve and enjoy!
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Paleo Baked Veggie Nuggets (Gluten Free, Dairy Free & AIP)

 

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I don’t have kids yet. However, I very much want them soon, and on some days I very much want to be one of them again. I loved kid food when I was a kid. Chicken nuggets, fruit snacks, and mac and cheese were most of my diet, and it showed as I got older and sicker. Though I’m not a parent myself, and can’t imagine how hard it must be to keep your kids away from these foods 100% of the time, I believe that there are was to make real food based kid friendly swaps to make everyone happy, including your inner child 😉 Because let’s be real, sometimes I really want to eat like a kid again! After some really long hard days, I’d rather just have comfort food than roasted veggies. So, I decided to marry real food with comfort food with these baked veggie nuggets that are paleo, gluten free, grain free, dairy free and autoimmune paleo friendly!

Paleo Baked Veggie Nuggets

Paleo Baked Veggie Nuggets (AIP, gluten free, dairy free)

My favorite thing about these veggie nuggets is that they’re egg free! Not only do we all need egg free recipes on the AIP, but I know tons of kiddos who are egg free these days. It’s one of the most common allergies with little alternatives when we look at processed foods. When I was just gluten free and not AIP yet, almost every store-bought gluten free processed food had eggs in it. As I realized how much egg whites were harming my gut and my health, I needed alternatives fast. These nuggets have a gelatin egg in place of a real egg, and the tapioca starch also really helps bind them!

Aside from being egg free, they’re veggie packed with tons of veggies that I know I don’t always get every day! They feature…

  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Caulifower
  • Green onion

When I was a kid, I wouldn’t come within 10 feet of zucchini. Even as an adult, it takes a lot of work to separately prep all of these veggies. So, I love that these nuggets are packed full of all of these nutrient dense veggies! It’s recommended that we consume 8-9 cups of veggies a day, and these nuggets have 2.5 cups in total! Not bad for a nugget, huh?

As for dipping, I ate these nuggets with an easy AIP guacamole, and couldn’t stop! However, they’d also taste amazing with a compliant ketchup or ranch dressing. I’m drooling just thinking of having these with either! My husband actually eats them with mustard. It sounded weird to me at first, but he swears by it! He says it makes it taste like a corndog 😛 Honestly, a bit of a stretch in my opinion, but it makes him eat more veggies!

Paleo Baked Veggie Nuggets (Gluten Free, Dairy Free & AIP)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup zucchini (shredded and squeezed to remove excess liquid)
  • 1 cup cauliflower, riced (squeeze to remove excess liquid)
  • 1/2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp finely sliced green onion
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • For the gelatin egg (or sub 1 regular egg):
  • 1 tbsp gelatin ( like this )
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly grease a parchment lined baking sheet with coconut oil
  2. Add the shredded veggies, coconut flour, and tapioca starch to a mixing bowl and thoroughly combine
  3. Next, add in the coconut oil and seasonings, and combine
  4. For the gelatin egg, add the water to a small sauce pot and slowly pour over the gelatin
  5. Allow it to bloom over 2-3 minutes
  6. Place the pot on the stove and turn in on low heat
  7. Slowly melt the the gelatin (this will take just a few minutes) and remove from heat
  8. Vigorously whisk the gelatin egg until it becomes frothy
  9. Add the gelatin egg to the mixture immediately and combine
  10. Start forming patties and place them onto the baking sheet (you should have about a dozen)
  11. Bake for 25 minutes
  12. Very carefully flip them over and bake for another 5-10 minutes (depending on how crispy you like them)
  13. OPTIONAL: To crisp further, put until the broiler for 1-2 minutes
  14. Remove from the oven and allow to cool
  15. Serve with guacamole, compliant ranch dressing, compliant ketchup , or mustard (not AIP but very good combination)
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Paleo Baked Veggie Nuggets (Gluten Free, Dairy Free & AIP)

 

Paleo Baked Veggie Nuggets (AIP, gluten free, dairy free)

They’re best fresh out the oven, and I don’t love putting them in the microwave. If you choose to reheat them, I recommend going for the broiler. It’ll help them crisp up without drying them out!

I hope you love these little nuggets just as much as my husband and I do! And that they make the less enthusiast veggie eaters in your family eat more veggies 😉

If you love these veggie nuggets… you’ll also love these fun nuggets! Asian Chicken PoppersBreakfast Sausage Poppers and the Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers!

Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers (Paleo, AIP & Whole 30)

 

 

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 (Paleo, AIP)

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!

Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers (Paleo, AIP)

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)

Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers (Paleo & AIP)

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Optional : 1 tsp paprika or chili powder (not AIP but adds a kick!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly grease a lined baking sheet with coconut oil
  2. Take the raw sweet potato and squeeze it with a paper towel or cheese cloth to remove any excess liquid
  3. Then, combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and thoroughly combine
  4. 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
  5. Place in the oven for 25-28 minutes, flipping half way through
  6. Crisp further in a pan or place under the broiler if desired for 1-2 minutes to crisp further
  7. Remove from the oven when thoroughly cooked through
  8. Allow to cool and serve with your favorite sauce! These are made for dipping so pair them with guacamole, ketchup, mustard, etc!
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I hope you absolutely love these poppers are much as we do here at the Hoover household!

Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers (Paleo, AIP & Whole 30)

 

If you love the sweet potato chicken poppers… you’ll also love these fun variations! Asian Chicken Poppers, Breakfast Sausage Poppers and the Bacon Ranch Chicken Poppers