Though I firmly believe that a real for lifestyle is filled with nourishing, and enjoyable flavors, there’s no denying that you do miss out on some classic, comfort food favorites. It’s easy to miss the rich, heavy creamy sauces if you’re dairy free, or complex flavors if you’re cutting out spices like nightshades. It takes creativity to get these classic elements back into your diet, but it’s not impossible!
After firmly settling into my new found paleo and autoimmune protocol lifestyle which was much different from my former processed food laden diet, I was mostly satisfied with just veggies and proteins at most meals. I didn’t feel the need for making one more thing like a sauce. How would I even make it taste good without butter, flour, and nightshade spices? Eventually, we all need to mix it up… and making a real food sauce was easier than I thought!
This oregano garlic cream sauce satisfied everything I was craving in an Italian style sauce! It’s creamy, flavorful, and pairs so perfectly with an array of different vegetables. Not to mention it’s paleo, AIP, whole 30, dairy free… the works!
The Ingredients You Need For The Oregano Garlic Cream Sauce
Coconut milk & oil
Coconut milk enables the sauce to stay dairy free. You can certainly experiment within what you tolerate, but I haven’t tested any other milk options like almond or cashew milk.
The coconut cream I use in this recipe is essentially the fat that settles at the top of a can of coconut milk… not coconut butter. You can buy this coconut cream, or harden your own in a can overnight.
Cauliflower helps make this sauce thick, while also sneaking in some extra veggies! Without the cauliflower, the sauce would be very thin, and not as creamy.
Onion, garlic and oregano
These all give the sauce it’s flavor. I would not recommend removing any of them from the sauce.
Gelatin is the final piece to give this sauce more body. You can use vital proteins, great lakes, or another grass-fed brand. The gelatin will solidify the sauce is you store it in the fridge, but it will melt once you reheat it.
Oregano Garlic Cream Sauce (Whole 30, Paleo, AIP)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1.5 cups cauliflower, steamed
- 1/2 medium white onion, diced
- 1/3 cup coconut cream
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried oregano (plus optional fresh for garnish)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp gelatin
- Using a medium sauce pot, melt the coconut oil on medium heat
- Add the diced onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes or until translucent
- Incorporate the minced garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes
- Pour in the coconut milk, steamed cauliflower, sea salt, and oregano and lower the heat to a low simmer. Stir the sauce for 1-2 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
- Stir in the gelatin and allow to simmer for another minute.
- Remove from the heat, and add the sauce to a high speed blender, also adding in the coconut cream. Blend on medium speed until thoroughly combined and creamy.
- Serve the sauce warm and garnish with fresh oregano if desired. The gelatin will solidify the sauce, so be sure to reheat after it's cooled!
How To Use The Oregano Garlic Cream Sauce
What I love about this sauce is that it’s really versatile! Here are some ways you can use it…
- Over roasted or steamed vegetables
- As a sauce for spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles
- Over protein like chicken breast
Back in the day, granola was one of my favorite snacks. I love yogurt, and granola and fresh berries are the perfect topping. Right before I went AIP, I used to bring in greek yogurt with chocolate granola and blueberries every single day to work. It was my absolute favorite work snack! Needless to say, granola got a little difficult after I stopped eating grains and practically all nuts and seeds. What’s left?
When I decided to make grain free granola, I didn’t know how well it would turn out or even if anyone would like it! However, after making this grain free blueberry coconut granola, I fell in love all over again!
This grain free granola is the perfect addition to my 2017 Back To School Recipe Series (which also features a free meal plan download)! It’s great to add to breakfast, and bring along as a snack in your backpack. So easy, and so delicious!
What You’ll Need For This Grain Free Granola
Coconut Chips and coconut oil
This is a coconut based recipe and both coconut chips and coconut oil are necessary to make this a grain free and seed free granola. The coconut oil really helps add more healthy fat to this granola, and tons more flavor! For the coconut chips, I like this brand, but you can easily swap out whatever you have available.
Baked Apple Chips
Baked apple chips help give this grain free granola even more crunch and add a bit more sweetness! I like the brand Bare chips, but you can use whatever you have available to you.
My absolute favorite ingredient in the granola! I try not to over do it on dried fruit as it is very high in sugar, but there’s a relatively small amount in this granola relative to the entire yield… a little goes a long way! You’re welcome to scale back the amount if you want less sugar.
Raw almonds help add more texture and crunch to this granola. If you’re nut free, you can easily leave them out and sub more coconut or even sliced tigernuts. It’s really just an extra layer of flavor if you tolerate it.
There’s only 1 tbsp of maple syrup for the entire batch which is much less than most recipes. The syrup helps make it stick and add more flavor, but if you’re trying to scale back on sugar, you can try adding more coconut oil instead.
What To Pair Grain Free Granola With
There are tons of ways you can eat this grain free granola! Here are just a few ideas…
- Use it to top a smoothie bowl
- Add it to a yogurt bowl
- Add it to a grain free oatmeal bowl
- Eat it by itself
- Another special recipe to come!
Now, let’s make it!!
Grain Free Blueberry Coconut Granola (Paleo & AIP)
- 1 1/2 cup coconut chips
- 1/2 cup chopped raw almonds (sub more coconut or sliced tigernuts for AIP)
- 1/3 cup baked apple chips
- 1/3 cup dried blueberries
- 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Pour all of the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine
- Add in the coconut oil and maple syrup and stir to evenly coat
- Spoon the mixture out onto the baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool
- Store in the fridge for up to a week and serve over coconut yogurt, or as a snack by itself
I hope you love this grain free granola as much as I do!! If you make it, but sure to tag me on Instagram and let me know how you like it!
Stay tuned for more Back to School Recipe fun, and another special recipe that features this granola .
If you read any women’s health magazines, you would think that hummus is one of the most essential foods for health. It’s paired with chips as a side with veggies, as a snack, or on a pita wrap at lunch. Seriously, what is it with “diet” food and hummus? But being a diet magazine lover for years, I jumped on the hummus bandwagon and never looked back. I ate in constantly seeing it as the perfect healthy snack. And really, for most folks in moderation, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit properly prepared hummus… it certainly isn’t unhealthy, especially when comparing it to most snacks. However, when I realized I had issues with sesame, and cut legumes out of my diet like so many of us do, hummus went out the window.
Hummus is delicious, you guys. I miss it. I miss dipping crackers in it, I miss eating it with veggies, and I miss having all of these super cute little single serve packs to throw in my lunch box on the go. With more and more folks going Paleo, Whole 30, and AIP, I know I’m not alone in this grievance over the loss of hummus. So, why not make a yummy alternative? This Avocado Cauliflower Hummus was just the thing! It’s Whole 30 compliant, Paleo, AIP, and the perfect substitute for all of my hummus dreams.
Why I Love This Avocado Cauliflower Hummus…
1. It’s Whole 30, Paleo, and AIP
First, why isn’t hummus compliant with these protocols? Legumes are the main one to call out. Chickpeas (which I honestly still really love) are legumes and not compliant on a AIP, Paleo or Whole 30 protocol because of lectins which harm gut health. I tend to stay in favor of legumes for many folks if they’re properly soaked and prepared rather than just taken out of a can. Regardless, this is a good options if legumes are out of your diet right now.
The other limiting factor with traditional hummus is Tahini. Tahini is a sesame paste that’s compliant for a Paleo and Whole 30 diet, but not AIP because sesame is a seed. For me, I do much better without sesame, so this was a necessary recipe for myself, and all of us who have issues with sesame.
2. It’s full of healthy fat
One of the reasons that hummus is so popular in Women’s Health magazines is because it’s a clean, healthy fat. Sesame is a good fat, and if hummus is actually made with olive oil, (and not canola oil) that’s a healthy fat as well.
This recipe is the same in that it still uses olive oil, and swaps out the tahini with avocado, another delicious healthy fat. These fats give the hummus tons of flavor, and help keep it filling.
3. It’s the perfect party side dish or healthy snack
This hummus is great to bring along to a party, or eat on your own as a healthy snack. I like to pair it with…
- Sliced carrots
- Sliced cucumbers
- Simple mills crackers (pictured in this recipe… they’re not AIP or whole 30)
- Plantain chips (not Whole 30)
So good, and such a nice change of pace from the typical compliant snacks!
Avocado Cauliflower Hummus (Whole 30, Paleo, AIP)
- 1 head cauliflower, steamed and cooled
- 1 large avocado
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Fresh cilantro
- Add the cauliflower to a food processor and set to puree
- Add in the avocado, lemon juice, 1/4th cup of olive oil, salt, garlic, and onion
- Puree until creamy
- Remove from the food processor and chill for 25-30 minutes in the fridge
- Top with 1 tbsp of olive oil and fresh cilantro
- Serve with compliant cracker (Simple Mills almond flour crackers pictured... not AIP or Whole 30) or fresh veggies
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!
Paleo Baked Veggie Nuggets (Gluten Free, Dairy Free & AIP)
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly grease a parchment lined baking sheet with coconut oil
- Add the shredded veggies, coconut flour, and tapioca starch to a mixing bowl and thoroughly combine
- Next, add in the coconut oil 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, compliant ketchup , or mustard (not AIP but very good combination)
Paleo Baked Veggie Nuggets (Gluten Free, Dairy Free & AIP)
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 😉