Nothing makes me smile more than going to the opening weekend of the farmers market and seeing all of the gorgeous spring fruits and vegetables. Fragrant herbs, and beautiful greens have been one of my staples for the last couple of weeks. I’ve loved adding herbs to bone broth and eating tons of fresh salads. And then there’s one of my favorites… strawberries! One of the perfect additions to spring salads, and my inspiration for this arugula and strawberry salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette.
At the end of a long day, sometimes I just don’t want to prep a big meal. This salad has been one of my absolute favorites to just throw together and enjoy a flavorful dish while getting in some veggies. I like adding sardines (because I’m weird, I know), but you can certainly add chicken, or another fish to help add some protein and make it a fuller meal!
One of the main things that I’ve always struggled with when it comes to salad was adding flavor. I always thought that salad was just so watery, bland and boring. That’s because I was eating it with iceberg lettuce which is all of the above and more when it comes to being a completely blah salad base. I’ve heard before that veterinarians don’t even recommend serving iceberg lettuce to hamster because it’s so void of nutrition.
That’s why I love arugula for a salad green base! It’s pepper-y, full of flavor, and isn’t water and bland like iceberg lettuce. At first, it may be a little much to acclimate to if you’ve never had arugula before, but trust me… it’s one of my own favorite ways to help salad actually have amazing flavor without drowning it in creamy dressing and seasoned croutons.
This homemade dressing is another great way to add flavor to any greens. It’s easy to make, it stores in the fridge, and it is so much better for you than store-bought dressing. Even when store-bought dressings say they contain olive oil as the base ingredient, olive oil can often be cut with other low quality oils to make it cheaper to produce. I’ve very rarely had success with store-bought dressing, but I love the flavor of olive oil, so making it at home is the best solution for keeping the cost down and the quality more controlled.
Spring Strawberry Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinagrette (Paleo, AIP, Whole 30)
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- 1/4 cup fresh red onion, chopped
- 1/2 avocado, cubed
- 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
- FOR THE DRESSING
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp raw honey (optional.. remove for Whole 30)
- OPTIONAL : Grilled chicken or fish to add protein
- Place the bed of arugula in a large mixing bowl
- Add the remainder of the ingredients and stir lightly to combine, but not to damage the avocado
- For the dressing, add the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk vigorously
- Portion out the salad and serve with the dressing on the side, and protein if desired
This salad is a perfect way to add some more fresh veggies to your day, or to serve at a spring gathering like Easter Sunday dinner! I hope you enjoy!
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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 😉
Can I be real for a second? Desserts, treats and starches tend to get the most likes on my blog. And for good reason… they’re delicious! We tend to load up on treat recipes and then completely overwhelm ourselves with making creative meals for dinner. I’m guilty of stressing and overcomplicating as well and just focusing on avoiding the bad stuff. However, real food doesn’t have to be complicated. And, when it comes to a healing diet, I believe that what we do eat is just as important if not more than what we do. We need nutrient dense, simple meals and sides, so here I am sharing a tasty pomegranate beet salad!
So, it only took until the first week of November, but it finally feels like fall here in Dallas, TX. 60 degrees, flannels, and all of the feels. Typically, this weather has me craving beef stew or pot roast before anything else, but since I joined a local CSA, I’ve been all about fresh veggies and refreshing salads! Fresh seasonal vegetables that are suitable for salads don’t go away when it gets colder. In fact, fall veggies like arugula, beets, and fruits like pomegranates are some of my absolute favorites for salads! I’ve been spotted eating this pomegranate beet salad with a homemade dressing often on my Instagram, and am so in love with it that I wanted to share it here on the blog.
I’m a huge advocate of eating local, fresh foods that are in season as actual paleo cavemen did. Cavemen didn’t have the opportunity to pop into whole foods whenever they wanted for a bag of plantain chips. I mean, I’m guilty of going for these convenience foods here and there, but it’s important to do the best that we can as often as possible!
This salad features two of my current favorite local veggies… arugula and beets! Arugula is a super peppery leafy green that I was skeptical of at first, but have become a big fan of. I’m also really into beets and love how they taste roasted.
To round out the salad, I also used pomegranate which is a fruit that I’m always loving in the fall, and a homemade salad dressing. Ever since I had to break up with ranch dressing and other creamy mystery dressings, I’ve either just called it quits on salads, or have eaten salads without dressing. Which, lets be honest, if incredibly dry and boring.
Salad dressing is one of those things that I feel like we can overcomplicated, that needs to just be made simple. I learned as a teen helping my mom in the kitchen that dressing really just needs two things.. oil and acid, and the rest can be for flavor. Which is what I’ve done with this super simple dressing.
Pomegranate Beet Fall Salad (AIP, Paleo & Vegan)
- FOR THE SALAD
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or other solid cooking fat (for roasting the beets)
- 1 small/medium beet, peeled and cubed
- 3-4 tbsp of pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- FOR THE DRESSING
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp chives (dried or fresh)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 F
- Add the beets to a baking sheet and top with cooking fat and salt
- Roast for 35-40 minutes or until soft. Allow to cool.
- Assemble the salad, and add the beets
- For the dressing, combine the ingredients and whisk together
- Add the dressing to the salad and enjoy!
- Add protein like chicken, sardines, or salmon if desired, or eat as a side.
I hope you enjoy this simple fall salad, friends!
Remember… keep it simple, don’t overcomplicate, and focus on what you do eat rather than what you don’t.
Fall is finally here! Take that season shamers. I can officially talk about fall without you verbally abusing me. Fall is my favorite season, and October is my favorite month! Really, it’s more than just my favorite month… it’s my favorite everything. I love the weather, I love the attire, I love the food. Yes, I am one of those people. As a foodie and a veggie lover, I love fresh seasonal fall veggies like brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and the lovely purple sweet potato!
In the food blog and cookbook world, it’s easy to fall int the trap of wanting to find super composed recipes for complete dishes… which are great. However, not every night can be a cookbook night. Sometimes you just need protein + veggies + fat. That’s why I love making simple, roasted veggies like this dish! It’s easy, delicious, and super nutrient dense.
Veggies Should be the Base of Your Diet
Regardless of what paleo and autoimmune paleo seems like, meat should not the base of your diet. Rather, it should really be vegetables, and balanced with healthy proteins and fats. Vegetables are full of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals necessary for maintaining your health.
Our paleo ancestors ate meat, yes. However, they also ate tons of vegetables. Meat is what people seem to dwell on, but it should not be the base of your diet.
How Many Servings of Vegetables Should You Eat a Day?
Serving sizes vary and are often argued, but according to one of my favorite protocol, the Wahl’s Protocol, you should aim for at least 9 cups of vegetables a day.
Dr. Terry Wahl’s who healed her MS through eating mounds of veggies recommends 3 cups of sulfur rich (brussels, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), 3 cups of leafy greens, and 3 cups of colorful veggies (purple cabbage, beets, etc.). Mainly, I think it’s important to focus on getting as much greens as you can rather than just leaning on the starchier veggies.
Benefits of Eating Vegetables As the Base of Your Diet
Veggies being the base of your diet shocks a lot of people… however, when I start to help people transition to eating more veggies, the benefits are amazing!
- More energy
- Better nutrient status and absorption
- More mental clarity and lessened brain fog
- Better digestion
- More regular bowel movements
- Less cravings
So really… eat your veggies.
How To Make Easy, Delicious Veggies
You may hear 9 cups of veggies and freak out… I know I would’ve a few years ago. But it’s about seeing the goal and working towards it… not transitioning over night.
Salads are the obvious way to get more vegetables into your diet, and I’m sorry… but, yawn. They’re not always the most exciting. We need something different every now and then.
That’s why I love roasting vegetables to make them fast, easy and delicious! For roasting vegetables, all you need is the following…
- A vegetable of your choice
- A healthy cooking fat of your choice
- Salt, and herbs to taste
It really doesn’t have to be complicated! It can be anything you want it to be, and is incredibly versatile and delicious.
That’s why I love this current combination that I’ve been making every week. It’s fast, easy, and helps me get tons of servings of vegetables at multiple meals.
Butternut squash is the perfect balance of sweet, brussels sprouts are amazing roasted and halved, and purple sweet potatoes are literally my favorite variety of sweet potato. The texture of purple sweet potato is completely different from orange! They’re more dense and crisp up amazingly! And paired with flavorful herbs like sage and rosemary, this veggie side dish is an easy fall favorite.
Easy Roasted Fall Vegetables (AIP, Paleo)
- - 1 lb brussels sprouts, halved
- - 1 medium butternut squash, cubed
- - 1 medium purple sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- - 1 tbsp ghee (or coconut oil for strict AIP)
- - 1/2 tsp sea salt
- - 1 tsp sage
- - 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
- 2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the veggies on the sheet. Add the melted cooking fat onto the veggies along with the herbs and salt and mix to combine.
- 3. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until veggies have softened and crisped.
- 4. Remove from the oven and serve along with chicken, beef, pork, or even fish!
More Seasonal Fall Vegetables
Fall veggies thrill me. It’s super important to try to eat as seasonally as possible as it’s the true natural and paleo way to do it. I’m a member of a CSA (community supported agriculture) that delivers fresh, organic veggies weekly and I am dying over fall. So what’s in season?
There’s so much nutrient rich goodness out there… go enjoy it!
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!
I have a thing for parsnips. I didn’t always, though. I was a hardcore white potato lover through and through for quite sometime until I realized that nightshades were anything but my friend. With nightshade intolerance being common among those with Hashimoto’s thyroid disease and long-term gut issues, the internet gave me my answer for what to replace white potatoes with for potato fries… parsnip fries! And with my recent discovery of the wonders of duck fat, my duck fat parsnip fries are my new favorites for an AIP, nightshade free fry option.
So, why duck fat? I’ve heard of duck fat fries for years and though of them as a terribly unhealthy option. However, I had no idea that they were a much better option than your average fry which is deep fried in some sort of unhealthy oil. Seed oils like canola oil, vegetable oil and soybean oil found in all friers very unstable at high heat, and highly inflammatory. Frying in “oil” is seen as bad, but really, it’s what kind of oil you’re frying in. Seed oils are a highly processed, manmade food, where as duck fat from a good source is stable at high heat, and rich in healthy fats to help nourish our cell membrane and brain.
Not only is duck fat a better option health wise, but the flavor it adds is just incredible. It’s rich, without adding any sort of “weird” flavor. There’s a reason that you find duck fat fries on high priced menus!
Duck fat fries don’t have to be reserved for pricey occasions out though. The popular brand, EPIC sells duck fat and it’s amazing! It also doubles as a great oil fat for cooking vegetables.
If I still haven’t sold you on duck fat, I also have a recipe for herbed parsnip fries cooked in avocado oil… but let’s get onto to the Duck Fat Parsnip Fries!
Duck Fat Parsnip Fries (AIP, Nightshade Free, Paleo)
- 2 large Parsnips, cut into thick fries
- 2 tbsp duck fat
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 F
- Place the parsnip fries onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Evenly coat the fries in the duck fat and top with sea salt
- Bake in the oven for 35 minutes (rotating half way through) or until fries are soft and slightly crisped to your liking
Have your tried duck fat parsnip fries yet?
P.s. If not, what are you waiting for?