Is it weird that I never had beef jerky before going paleo and AIP? Not only did I have a serious meat aversion because my gut health and digestion was so poor, but let’s be honest… store bought beef jerky can be pretty gross. If it’s not mystery meat sticks, it’s beef jerky with tons of preservatives and flavorings that are just straight up gross. I never wanted to even try it until I realized that I needed portable protein snacks for travel on the autoimmune protocol. Reluctantly, I did tons of research for a good beef jerky recipe of my own that was cheap to make in the oven, and delicious. Eventually, I perfected my own blueberry beef jerky that’s made entirely in the oven with grass-fed ground beef!
Somewhere in between making my first batch of beef jerky and making this version, I discovered Epic Bars, which I love. They’re basically thicker jerky bars that are sweetened with dried fruit and spiced up with things like garlic and onion. I love epic bars and they’re almost always on my travel food list. However, I also love making my own jerky and find it far more cost effective if I’m going to be needing a lot of it. Which is why I love this recipe… yum!
So, the ingredients of this beef jerky/ DIY epic bars are incredibly minimal. You’ll need…
Grass-fed ground beef
Emphasis on grass-fed, as usual! Cows were biologically meant to eat grass rather than grain and whatever junk they’re fed on feed lots. Cows are just like people.. if they eat junk, they become unhealthy. Consuming non-grassfed beef is not as healthful as grass-fed and can be inflammatory.
My first attempt at beef jerky with were with expensive cuts of meat, and had random cooking times in the oven. Not only was it really expensive to use flank steak, but it just wasn’t sustainable if I was going to keep making jerky. That’s why I eventually got the idea to use ground beef from someone at the farmers market. It seemed like a long shot, but it really works! As long as you flatten out the ground beef to be super thin. It’s cheaper, easy to chew, and in my opinion, easier to make!
The bison cranberry epic bar with dried cranberries inspired me to add fruit to my own homemade beef jerky. I started experimenting and loved the addition of blueberries!
I use fresh blueberries rather than dried in this jerky because they have less sugar, and go through a drying out process within this recipe as well. Though they don’t fully dry in this recipe like normal dried blueberries do, they dry just enough.
High quality, unrefined salt
Salt isn’t actually the end of the world. When eaten sparingly, it’s full of minerals and flavor. Refined salt, however, is junk. It strips the minerals out of the salt and makes it a nutrition less product.
So, sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, or redmond real salt with all work in this recipe! Just make sure it’s an unrefined salt and you’re good to go.
Plus, you don’t need a dehydrator and can make it in the oven!
A dehydrator is on my list of kitchen item wish list, but mind you, it’s a long list. Dehydrators are expensive, and not exactly necessary in most recipes. This beef jerky is easily made in the oven.
Setting your oven to a low setting like 170 F makes it perfect for dehydrating jerky, fruit, veggies, and nuts! Yes, it takes up your oven for 12 hours, but doing it overnight or when you’re not using the oven is a great way to do it.
Blueberry Beef Jerky Made in The Oven with Ground Beef
Blueberry Beef Jerky Made in The Oven with Ground Beef (Paleo, AIP, Whole 30)
- 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 2-3 tsp sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 170 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
- Split the ground beef in half, and separate between the two baking sheets
- Flatten the ground beef on the sheets as thin as you can get it, and spread around the sheet. You can use your hands (be sure to wash vigorously afterwards) or a rolling pin between an extra sheet of parchment paper
- Once the beef is flattened, begin adding the blueberries one by one, pushing them into the ground beef and evenly distributing them
- Add 1 tsp of salt
- Either cut the ground beef into slices while uncooked, or wait until it's fully cooked (personal preference, but uncooked is easier)
- Keep in the oven for 12 hours, removing halfway through (give or take a few hours) to flip and add the extra 1-2 tsp of salt
- Remove from the oven after 12 hours and ensure that the jerky is properly dehydrated by ensuring the it's cooked through and no longer pink
- Store in the fridge and enjoy!
I like to still store it in the fridge just to be safe… especially since the blueberries aren’t totally dehydrated. However, you easily use it as a travel food with an ice pack as it’s much easier to take along for travel than say.. a meatball 😛
You can eat this as a snack, have it for an easy lunch, or take it along on a trip as the perfect travel food. Whichever way you eat it, I hope you enjoy this staple recipe as much as my husband and I do!
I was never a big sauce person… unless it was tomato sauce, of course. That is, until I got on the autoimmune protocol and married my husband. My husband loves sauces, and dipping, and I love adding extra flavor to spice up meals! The thing about sauces are they can be pretty hard to make if they don’t feature cheese, milk, heavy cream, tomato, tahini, nightshade spices, flour… you get the point. Or they take tons of time to cook. I was really craving a creamy sauce that required no cooking, which is where this avocado cilantro lime sauce came in!
In my first two years in college (before I switched to a marketing BA route and then studied nutrition at the NTA) I studied to be an RD. Though I hated the non-real food approach that I was learning, I loved the cooking labs. Clearly I love to cook, and I loved being able to cook and call it school. There we learned the basics of making soups and sauces, how to make a roux and a slurry, and so forth. That’s when I realized that sauces tend to take a lot of work. We would spend all of this time cooking the protein, the vegetables, any starches, and then we had to make a sauce too? Yeshh. No, thanks.
With all of the cooing that I do following an autoimmune protocol, and I just don’t want to spend tons of time on a sauce. But I also recognize that my husband loves them, my guests loves them, and heck, I love them too!
So, what’s the base for the perfect creamy AIP sauce? Avocado of course! It’s creamy, delicious, full of healthy fats, and requires zero cooking.
I wanted this sauce to be super thick so I use mostly avocado as the base, and then give it a little bit of flavor and zest with cilantro and lime. This sauce is very guacamole-esque, which is why it tastes so good!
How To Use This Avocado Cilantro Lime Sauce
I created this recipe to top with taco bowls that I always make for guests. At the time, it was really a way to spice up the taco bowls without just throwing avocado slices on there, and it worked so well that I kept working at it to perfect the recipe. Now I use it a ton of different ways…
- On AIP taco bowls (recipe coming soon)
- On AIP chicken fajita bowls
- On compliant tacos or nachos
- As a guacamole type dip with veggies or oven baked plantains
- On top of fish, chicken, or any other fish that would last good with avocado!
Avocado Cilantro Lime Sauce Recipe (AIP, Paleo, Whole 30)
Avocado Cilantro Lime Sauce (Paleo, AIP, Whole 30)
- 3 medium avocados
- 1/4 cup avocado oil (or olive oil)
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
- Juice of one fresh lime
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Slice the avocados and remove the pits
- Scoop the avocado into a high speed blender like a vitamix, or other blender
- Add the remainder of the ingredients and blend on low until thoroughly blended. If using a vitamix, use the wand to stir the sauce.
- Add more oil if desired to make sauce thinner.
- Once the sauce is creamy and blended, remove from the vitamix
- Use within 24-36 hours, and store in the fridge in an airtight jar or tupperware
And that’s all there is to it! Creamy, dreamy sauce that’s easy to make, and a total crowd pleaser for paleo, AIP, and Whole 30 folks, and everyone else in between. Enjoy, friends!
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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
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…
- 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!
Baked Veggie Nuggets (Paleo & Autoimmune Paleo)
- 1 cup zucchini (shredded and squeezed to remove excess liquid)
- 1 cup cauliflower, riced
- 1/2 carrots, shredded
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca starch
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp finely sliced green onion
- 3/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- For the gelatin egg:
- 1 tbsp gelatin ( like this )
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly grease a parchment lined baking sheet with coconut oil
- Add the shredded veggies to a mixing bowl and thoroughly combine
- Add in the coconut flour, coconut oil, tapioca starch and seasonings, and combine
- For the gelatin egg, add the water to a small sauce pot and slowly pour over the gelatin
- Allow it to bloom over 2-3 minutes
- Place the pot on the stove and turn in on low heat
- Slowly melt the the gelatin (this will take just a few minutes) and remove from heat
- Vigorously whisk the gelatin egg until it becomes frothy
- Add the gelatin egg to the mixture immediately and combine
- Start forming patties and place them onto the baking sheet (you should have about a dozen)
- Bake for 25 minutes
- Very carefully flip them over and bake for another 5-10 minutes (depending on how crispy you like them)
- OPTIONAL: To crisp further, put until the broiler for 1-2 minutes
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool
- Serve with guacamole, compliant ranch dressing, or mustard (not AIP but very good combination)
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 😉
Mashed potatoes were always my favorite Thanksgiving side. Actually, potatoes were just my favorite everything. I remember people joking at the table that all I ate were the mashed potatoes and bread, and I was perfectly content with that. Who needs turkey when you have creamy, fluffy, starchy mashed potatoes, right?
That is, until I realized that nightshades like potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers were not my friend at all. So, what’s a carb loving girl to do during the holidays?
Substitute… loaded parsnip mash is the perfect paleo/AIP mashed potato!
First, what’s up with nightshades and why do people with autoimmune disease avoid them?
I had no idea what nightshades were and was confused why potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and all of the red spices lit up on my food allergy testing when I was 20. It was seemingly random, disappointing, and I just didn’t get it.
Little did a know that these vegetables were all nightshades which are highly inflammatory for many, damage our gut, and up regulate the immune system. Thus, someone like me with Hashimoto’s and gut issues just couldn’t tolerate them. They’re off limits on the autoimmune protocol to heal autoimmunity and many have issues reintroducing them.
They’re not harmful to everyone… we’re all bioindividuals, but they’re harmful to many, myself included.
What are some nightshade free potato alternatives?
White potatoes may not be my friend, but that doesn’t mean that I had to swear off of root veggie mashes forever. There’s a whole world beyond just the potato that’s filled with easy swaps for mashed potatoes.
Though parsnips are my favorite, there are tons of other options for potato free mashes such as…
- Sweet potato (white, purple, orange, etc)
But let’s focus on parsnips, here. Perfect for fries, soups, and of course mashed parsnips with tons of yummy loaded toppings! Rich in flavor, and perfect for the holiday season.
The toppings I used to make the whole dish a bit more flavorful were bacon, caramelized white onions, and green onions!
They’re all easy to prepare, but add a ton of flavor. I recommend setting it up as a self serve style to build your own perfect mash. I’ve always been envious of mashed potato bars, and think it would be a great for the holidays to have fun by choosing your own toppings! I know for me personally, I’d be adding a bunch of everything!
Loaded Holiday Parsnip Mash (Paleo/AIP “Mashed Potatoes”)
- 2.5 lb parsnips, peeled and diced
- 1 medium white onion, sliced
- 3-4 pieces of bacon, cooked and diced
- 1/4 cup green onion, diced
- 1/3 cup coconut oil (or ghee) + 1 tbsp
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1. Add the parsnips to a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 20-25 minutes until parsnips are soft and tender.
- 2. Remove the parsnips from the heat, strain the water and allow them to cool.
- 3. In a medium pan, melt 1 tbsp of the cooking fat and add the diced onion and a pinch of salt. Stir until onions are soft and cooked. Remove from heat and set aside in a small serving bowl.
- 4. Once the parsnips are cooled, add them to a high speed blender or food processor along with the cooking fat, salt, garlic, and thyme. Blend until combined.
- 5. Serve the parsnip mash in a large serving both with onions, green onion, and diced bacon on the side for toppings. Salt to taste!
I hope you enjoy this tasty parsnip mash, and have a blessed, safe holiday season! Let me know how your nightshade loving family and friends like this alternative.
Few things say summer like a backyard BBQ, and one is never complete without a cool, rich potato salad. Back in my potato days, I was more of a potato chip gal, than potato salad. But seriously, if something is both creamy, and starchy, sign me up. After figuring out my nightshade intolerance, and realizing what a huge difference it made with my Hashimoto’s, I’ve gone years without having a potato salad. This summer, I’ve decided that wasn’t going to happen anymore and created an AIP Avocado “Potato” Salad.
So, why no Potatoes?
Potatoes seem fairly harmless. They don’t come anywhere close to the list of top 10 most common allergens, and they are a real food. So, what gives? Potatoes are a member of the nightshade family which all contain a compound called solanine which can be highly inflammatory to many people. Common symptoms and risk factors associated with nightshade intolerance include:
- Joint pain
- Joint inflammation
- Autoimmune disease (like RA, hashimoto’s disease and more)
- Prolonged food allergies
So, what are nightshade vegetables? Nightshades include:
- Bell Peppers
- All peppers and red spices
- Goji berries
Nightshades are avoided on the autoimmune protocol, and have been out of my diet for years. Truthfully, eliminating nightshades has been one of the things that I’ve done that has had the biggest impact on my health. Breaking my french fry addiction wasn’t easy, but there are indeed alternatives!
Why I love Parsnips
When it comes to sweet potato substitutions, I’m as much of a sweet potato fan as the next. Even though sweet potato seemed like a fine option for a nightshade free/AIP potato salad, I decided to go with parsnip instead.
Not only do parsnips make amazing fries (I have recipes for both avocado oil parsnip fries, and duck fat fries), but I feel like both the flavor and the consistency of parsnip is much closer to that of an actual potato than a sweet potato. Parsnips just aren’t that mainstream yet for some reason though. I swear, I’ve explained what the heck the “white carrots” are to every cashier in a 6 mile radius, and once had an especially long teaching with highschooler asking if they were Bok-Choy. I’ve even gone as far as to memorize the code at Sprouts as to make the parsnip process easier. So, I guess you can say I’m #teamparsnips and take them pretty seriously. So, I guess this is more of a parsnip salad, but shh, don’t tell and your guests likely won’t even notice.
I also added bacon to this potato salad, because who doesn’t love bacon? It gives the potato salad a savory flavor and that much more crunch. I would add bacon to just about everything if I could… avocado too, really.
AIP Avocado “Potato” Salad
- 1 and a half lb of parsnip, peeled
- 3-4 strips of crispy bacon, chopped
- 1 large stalk of celery, chopped
- 1/2 large avocado (or 1 small avocado)
- 1 tbsp green onion, chopped
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Set a medium pot of water on med/high heat and bring to a low, rolling boil. Add the parsnips and boil for 10 minutes, or until fork tender. Strain and set aside to cool.
- In a separate bowl, add the avocado and ACV and mash until well combined.
- Add the parsnip to the avocado mixture along with the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.
- Cover with plastic wrap or place in a glass tupperware and chill in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours.
- Serve cold and enjoy.
On my ever evolving journey to try to eat more vegetables, cabbage was one of the last things that I tried. Something about the entire head just intimidated me. I have to cut up and eat all of that? Eventually, I realized that if I could do it with a spaghetti squash, I could do it with a cabbage. And I’m so glad I did. Red cabbage has quickly become one of my go-to veggies every week.
So, why red cabbage? I’m sure you’re used to seeing green cabbage more often, but I promise you that it’s not for lack of deliciousness on red cabbages part. I just don’t think it’s as common in American cooking. My Hungarian mother always appreciated red cabbage and I just fell in love with how it looks. It’s so beautiful, that I couldn’t help but eventually try it on my own as an adult and fall in love with it. I’m a huge fan of eating with your eyes, and red cabbage is one of those foods that just delights my eyes!
Cabbage is indeed part of the cruciferous family which makes it high in sulfur and potentially harmful to those with thyroid issues. However, I assure you, cooking your cabbage and sharing it rather than eating tons of it raw way lowers your risks of it harming your thyroid. I have Hashimoto’s and am cognizant of cruciferous veggies, but also accept that sometimes there are ways around it, and cooking your cabbage rather than eating it raw is a much safer bet.
Oven Red Roasted Cabbage (AIP, Paleo)
- 1 medium head of red cabbage
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or ghee if reintroed)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 F
- Slice the cabbage as if you were making cole slaw, shredding it into long strips
- Discard the thick white veins in the center
- Lay the cabbage on a baking sheet and top with cooking fat and sea salt
- Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until just a few pieces are barely crisped
I serve this recipe alongside a bunch of different dishes. Whether it be fish, beef, or just a little veggie snack by itself, I love it. I think it’s so important no matter how you eat to have an arsenal of just good veggies on hand so you can prepare quick, nutrient dense meals by just pairing veggies with protein without all of the hassle.
Hope you enjoy, friend!