Dairy-Free Pesto

Last month my mom and I started a food and nutrition group, sort of a support group for healthy lifestyles. We have a variety of special diets in the group, and one of the ladies was really missing pizza! So this month’s challenge was to create a gluten-free, dairy-free, nightshade-free pizza! Yes!

So this is the first installment in my pizza experimentation adventures. I made the first trial run pizza last night and it was delicious! Here is the recipe for the pesto. I had made dairy-free pesto before, but didn’t have nutritional yeast. That really adds the finishing touch! You wouldn’t know it’s missing the parmesan.

4 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup cashews, soaked about 4 hours (or additional 1/4 cup walnuts)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste

Place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. Makes enough pesto for about two 12-inch pizzas.

And that’s it!

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Butternut Squash Apple Soup

This recipe is based on a delicious soup I had at Whole Foods. Smooth, creamy, comforting—perfect for a rainy day! 

3 pounds butternut squash
2 apples, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream (coconut cream may also work)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds and pulp. Place squash halves facedown in a 9 x 13 glass pan. Pour 1 inch of water into the pan. Roast at 375° for about 1 hour, until tender.

Mix the apples, onion, garlic, and ginger in a 9 x 13 glass pan with enough olive oil to coat. Bake with the squash in the oven 45-60 minutes, stirring frequently, until apples are tender.

Scoop cooled squash into the blender, add the apple mixture and chicken broth and blend until smooth. Add the cream and blend again, seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.*

When soup is smooth, transfer to a soup pot to warm up on low until ready to serve.

* You may wish to add some of the liquid when you transfer the soup to the pot instead, as the blender will be very full!

Ginger Berry Refresher

Getting your veggies can be difficult! But when you put them in a delicious smoothie, it’s a little easier. This refreshing drink includes one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables, plus the anti-inflammatory power of ginger and probiotic punch of water kefir. Makes you feel clean, alert, and engergized!

1 stalk celery
1/2 apple
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 square inch fresh ginger
Juice of 1/2 small lemon (optional)
1/4 cup blueberry or ginger water kefir*
1/4 cup water

Cut celery and apple into chunks and place in blender. Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

*To purchase water kefir grains and get started with making water kefir, visit Cultures for Health. Also visit yemoos.com for more about water kefir.

If you don’t have water kefir for this recipe, you can substitute coconut water or just plain water plus 1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar.

Sautéed Chard with Mustard Vinaigrette

This dish is a wonderful way to use chard from the garden. Exact proportions depend on the size of your bunch of chard, so adjust ingredients according to your taste!

1 large bunch chard
7 garlic cloves, crushed or sliced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Rinse chard, then slice stems to separate from leaves. Coarsely chop the leaves and set aside. Slice the stems and and sauté in olive oil till slightly tender. Add garlic and sauté a few minutes more. Place chard leaves in pan, pour in chicken broth, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add in mustard and coconut sugar as chard is cooking. When chard is wilted nicely, add apple cider vinegar and turn off heat. Sprinkle in chopped pecans. Serve over simple salmon with roasted potatoes, or with your favorite hearty dish.

Brown Rice Pancakes

Here are the pancakes to go with the previous post, Turkey Apple Breakfast Sausage. These have a tendency to crumble, but are so delicious it’s worth the trouble! Be sure to fry on medium-low, so they will cook through without burning.

Brown Rice Pancakes

2 cups brown rice flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder*
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon coconut oil
Olive oil or butter for frying

Mix all ingredients together, then oil a nonstick skillet and set to medium-low. When skillet is warm, spoon in the batter. Fry the pancakes till they bubble (they will begin to look less wet on top too), then flip them over and cook a few more minutes. When done, move pancakes onto a plate in the oven to keep warm (set at 200°). Repeat the process until batter is used up, oiling the pan between batches. Serve warm.

*If you prefer to avoid cornstarch, you can make your own baking powder using 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda. Mix up small batches, as it tends to clump over time.

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Carrot Salad

Summer is finally coming to Reno! The birds are singing, the California poppies are resplendently orange, and the rabbits are even making it into the yard to sneak fresh green grass when Ranger isn’t looking. 😊 With the warm weather, I find myself craving lighter foods, like this carrot salad. And since I’ve been thinking I really should be eating more vegetables, I was glad to remember this old favorite! Hope you all enjoy it too.

5 large carrots
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 1\2 small lemons or 1 large lemon
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup pecans
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Grate the carrots in a Salad Shooter or food processor. Place in large bowl, mix in other ingredients, and enjoy! Serves 4-6.

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Date-Sweetened Baked Beans

I love baked beans. My husband says that’s a Midwest thing…though technically I’ve never lived in the Midwest! But my parents did, so I guess my taste for sweet beans just might come from my somewhat Midwestern heritage.

Now, some of you may be wondering what baked beans are doing on a Paleo blog. Perhaps beans are more Primal than Paleo…but here’s a good explanation for why beans are a healthy food (as long as your particular digestion can tolerate them):

Are Legumes Paleo? by Chris Kresser

I don’t necessarily believe low carb is the purpose of this diet (or exactly healthy), and as beans are legal on the SCD when soaked 24 hours, I’ve decided to include them here. Why not? They’re nutritious and delicious! 🙂

Date-Sweetened Baked Beans

2 cups dried navy beans
3-4 cups chicken stock
1 cup dates
hot water
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper

The morning before you wish to serve the beans, rinse them and put them to soak in a bowl with 4 cups of water. Soak 24 hours, then drain and rinse.

Sauté onions with olive oil and a dash of salt in a stockpot till translucent. Meanwhile, place dates in a jar with the peeled garlic cloves. Pour in hot water till dates are almost covered, then blend with an immersion blender (could also use a regular blender).

When onions are translucent, add nutmeg and allspice. Sauté a few minutes more, then pour in the date/garlic purée, soaked beans, and 4 cups chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each). Cook on low 6-8 hours, checking now and then to be sure liquid has not boiled off (the beans should not be soupy, but too little liquid will allow them to burn to the bottom of the pan). Beans are done when tender.

Note: If you’re in a hurry, you don’t necessarily have to sauté the onions and spices; you can just throw them in the pot. The sautéing may just give the dish a little extra flavor.