Category Archives: Tree nut and Peanut free

Rustic Mediterranean Pork Chops

A healthy main course that you can make in 15 minutes.

A healthy main course that you can make in 15 minutes.

I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump in the kitchen so it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe! That doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking at home (I actually cook almost every night), just that I’ve been feeling uninspired and resorting to a lot of the same old stuff. None worth sharing. Even though I spend much of my day talking about food with clients, I have times when I wish I could delegate the task of feeding myself to someone else. I’m sure you can relate! Anyhow, this was a really fast and easy main course that I came up with based on random ingredients that I had in the fridge and pantry and it was really good. I can’t say it enough – but keeping your pantry & freezer well stocked means you can make tasty stuff with short notice – even when you wish you had a healthy take out fairy godmother. Moving on . . .

These pan cooked boneless pork chops and rustic tapenade will only take about 15 minutes to make. The topping is like a rustic tapenade (only cooked) of capers, spinach, tomatoes, olives and lemon juice. You could easily sub out some of these ingredients for other staples (roasted red peppers or artichokes would work well). These would also be good on the grill though you’d probably want to marinate them a little beforehand (as lean pork can dry out when grilled).

Pork is one of the hardest foods to find organic or humanely raised. We don’t eat a ton of it but if we can’t find something I’m comfortable eating in the local grocery stores or if there isn’t any available at a local farm, as a backup I order online from US Wellness Meats or Tendergrass Farms.  Yes, avoiding factory farmed meat is very expensive. The way I see it is I can spend money now on high quality food that nourishes my body or I can continue buying meat that came from diseased and tortured animals on the cheap (with questionable country of origins) and pay extra at the doctors office. I prefer to avoid the doctors office if I can. When making a switch to higher quality animal products, it’s helpful to plan to eat less of it. You’ll find that a whole pasture raised chicken may only be 3.5 lbs, whereas you can find grocery store ones that are 6 or 7 lbs. Chickens that aren’t force fed or kept in tiny little cages rarely get huge – you’re not going to find a chicken breast that is 13 oz on one of these chickens, more likely that a chicken breast is going to be 5 or 6 oz. which is a heck of a lot closer to how much we should be eating anyhow. It takes some getting used to, but if you’re getting enough fat and eating lots of vegetable variety, you won’t miss it for long.

Hope you have a great 4th of July!

Rustic Mediterranean Pork Chops

Ingredients
For the pork
1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
4 boneless Organic pork chops, fat trimmed and pounded to about 1/2 inch thick
sea salt
black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves minced garlic

For the topping
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
7-9 large green olives, roughly chopped (pit removed if there is one)
2 tsp organic capers
2 – 4 sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions
Heat 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. While it’s heating, sprinkle the pork chops on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder (if using minced garlic, rub it into the chops). When the pan is piping hot, add the chops and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. When you flip the pork, it should flip easily and have a good sear on it. You may need to cook for less or more time depending on how thick or thin you pounded the chops to. When the pork is cooked through (slightly pink is okay) remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add the spinach, green olives, capers, tomatoes and onion to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the lemon juice and scrape up any burnt pork bits while you cook.  When finished cooking, add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to the mixture and then serve on top of the pork. (You won’t need salt for the topping – olives, capers and sun dried tomatoes are usually quite salty!)

Makes 4 servings.
Note:  This would also work great with chicken or fish.

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Spinach, Sunflower Seed and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Pesto is a great shortcut to many healthy and delicious meals.

Pesto is a great shortcut to many healthy and delicious meals.

I’m a big fan of pesto.

I like to top salmon, steak or chicken with it. It’s great on all kinds of noodles. A big dollop in a bowl of soup completely changes the flavor. You can pretty much use it on anything. It freezes well. And it’s usually made up of good for you ingredients. What’s not to like!? One of the reasons I’m so drawn to making pesto is that when you try to eat a mostly whole foods diet, sauces and condiments that are made with good ingredients in the store are hard to come by. Many store bought pestos use soybean oil or other vegetable oils and I prefer not to eat those when I can help it so having a few things in your cooking repertoire that you can make in just a couple of minutes can make all the difference between eating food that makes you feel good and gives you energy or grabbing some take out that will make you feel crappy an hour after you eat it.

Try it on salmon, chicken or steak, as a sauce for pasta, raw zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash or as a dip for fresh vegetables.

Try it on salmon, chicken or steak, as a sauce for pasta, raw zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash or as a dip for fresh vegetables.

Good basil is hard to come by in the middle of winter here in NH so I like to make pestos with whatever else I have on hand – tonight it was spinach, sunflower seeds and sun dried tomatoes. Yum!  You can literally make this in 2 minutes.

Don’t feel like you have to stick to this recipe exactly. Pesto is a very forgiving sauce! For greens, try spinach, basil, arugula, mizuna parsley or cilantro (or a mix of a couple). Blend them with walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds or cashews.  Add lemon or lime juice, olive oil and salt and you have a pesto! You can jazz it up for flavor with garlic, shallots, olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes, pecorino or parmesan.  Avocado can be used in place of some of the greens and oil and you can also add a tbsp of tomato paste for a different flavor. Go crazy!

Ingredients
2.5 oz baby spinach (I used half of a package of Olivia’s 5oz)
a big handful of fresh parsley
1/2 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
6 or 7 sun dried tomatoes in olive oil (dried ones would work too but you’ll need to soak them in hot water first)
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
1 clove garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions
Pour the sunflower seeds in a food processor and blend them until they are pretty well broken down (about the size of bread crumbs).

Pulse the sunflower seeds until they look like breadcrumbs.

Pulse the sunflower seeds until they look like breadcrumbs.

Add in the tomatoes and blend again (sometimes they can be tough) until the mixture is pretty evenly reddish colored. Scrape down the sides with a spatula and add the spinach, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and salt.  Blend again until well blended.  You may need to scrape down the sides again, especially if you used any parsley stems – they love to wrap around the blade! Pour in the olive oil while pulsing until it’s all blended.  Adjust seasoning if needed.

If you eat dairy, feel free to add some fresh parmesan into this like you would with a regular basil pesto. For storing, cover with a fresh layer of olive oil (it will prevent browning) and it will stay fresh in the fridge for a week. You may also freeze it. I recommend freezing in ice cube trays and then wrapping individually so that you can use a small amount at a time.

What’s your favorite type of pesto or homemade sauce?
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Sweet Potato, Turnip & Sausage Collard Rolls with Smoked Paprika Mayo

Collard rolls (with random kimchi and broccoli making an appearance).

Collard rolls (with random kimchi and broccoli making an appearance).

Ah, you caught me again – it’s another meal with sausage! haha! To be honest, I was going to make this with black beans because I was making it on a night when John wasn’t going to be home for dinner (he can’t tolerate beans & lentils) but he cancelled his plans last minute and I had to resort to sausage because I had some defrosted in the fridge.  I have no doubt this would be delicious with black beans – and I WILL make this with them next time.

Apologies for the lack of photos – I wasn’t planning on blogging this one – only took a photo to post in one of my detox groups – but I enjoyed it and thought others would too!

This was really easy to make – the longest part was just boiling the sweet potato & turnip (about 20 minutes).  Rolling them up was took 5 min and baking was just long enough to make sure they were warm!  And of course, I already had homemade mayo in the fridge so I just added the smoked paprika and other seasonings to it and it was ready to serve. This is another example of a meal I pulled out of my ass – came home, didn’t have a plan for dinner, took a quick survey of the fridge and pantry and boom – this is what we have.

I just want to drive home how a healthy and delicious meal doesn’t have to be complicated or require a fancy recipe.  As long as you keep lots of vegetables, high quality protein options and good fats on hand at all times (throw in a whole grain or starchy vegetable if you want) – you can literally throw almost any of it together and it will probably taste good. But you have to know some basic cooking techniques (steaming, sauteing, roasting etc) and be willing to experiment with spices, herbs aromatics and different combinations to learn what you like.  Everyone has different taste and style when it comes to food – some of the things that I love combined together might be weird to you – that’s fine! But take some time to learn what you DO like.  I’m going to drive this point home a zillion more times until every American cooks real food from scratch on a regular basis. So you may get used to hearing it!

Also, don’t feel like you have to use turnip in this if you hate turnips – they’re not my favorite but they blend in pretty unnoticeable here.  You could use more sweet potato, celery root or even regular potato in place of turnip.

Ingredients
1 bunch collard greens, washed, thick ribs removed, then sliced down the center rib (so that each leaf ends up in two equal halves)
1 large sweet potato, peeled, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 gilfeather turnip, peeled, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 tsp olive or coconut oil
1 medium leek, whites and light green parts washed and chopped
1 lb sausage of your choice (or beans!) – pre-cooked or raw, preferably organic
2 tbsps pasture butter
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley or 1 tbsp dried
sea salt and black pepper

For serving
Smoked paprika mayo / aioli 

Directions
Bring a 4 quart pot full of water to a boil.  When boiling, carefully add the sweet potato and turnip and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender enough to mash.  While they are cooking, toss the collard greens on top, in the same pot as the sweet potato and turnips and let boil for just 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Remove carefully with tongs and set in a colander to drain.

After you’ve removed the collard greens, heat another pan over medium heat, add olive or coconut oil and saute your sausage (casing removed if raw) until cooked through.  Add the leeks to the sausage and cook until the leeks are soft.  If using pre-cooked sausage, cook the leeks first and then add the sausage (chopped) and just heat until the sausage is completely warmed through, then remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  When the turnip and sweet potato are tender, drain the water (carefully) and mash until there are no lumps.  Mix in the butter, thyme and parsley, salt and pepper to taste and then mix in the cooked sausage and leeks.

Lay out the collard green halves (steamed and cut right down the center stem – after thick part has been removed) and place a few tablespoons of the sweet potato sausage mixture on one end and roll up like you’re rolling a cigarette (you don’t smoke but the way you envision a cigarette would be rolled) but not too tightly – you don’t want to squeeze out the filling. It should be sticky enough that you don’t need to seal the ends (but you can fold them in if you have enough leaf).  Place the rolls in a small casserole dish and bake for 5 – 10 minutes or until warmed through.

Serve 3 or 4 rolls to each person and top with dollops of the smoked paprika mayo.  Slice with a fork and knife and enjoy!

Makes 10 – 12 collard rolls.

Cranberry, Goji, and Prune Compote – Two Ways

Sweet Cranberry Goji & Prune Compote (on steel cut oats)

Sweet Cranberry Goji & Prune Compote (on steel cut oats)

The majority of my recipes lately come together out of being hungry and wanting to use up something I have in the fridge or pantry.  It’s not always amazing – I have plenty of flops.  But sometimes it’s tasty enough that I can envision multiple uses for it! This is one of those times. Sure, this recipe has a good amount of sugar in it but at least the sugar comes from fruit (the juice I use is pure fruit & water) and there’s a crapload of fiber and antioxidants in it.

This fruit compote can be used two ways, sweet and savory.  I really love the savory version – something about rosemary, ginger, butter and shallots with the tangy sweetness of the fruit is just delicious.

The sweet version can be used as an alternative to canned cranberry sauce (though less sweet), a topping for oatmeal or even as a topping for a pie. I’m thinking it would also be delicious on vanilla ice cream if heated up! The savory version is awesome to top baked/broiled salmon, as a sauce for dipping chicken in (I’d probably puree it for that purpose) or served with pork chops.  I’m sure you can come up with some more delicious options!

Savory compote. Don't mind the overcooked salmon  - girl gets distracted!

Savory compote. Don’t mind the overcooked salmon – girl gets distracted!

The great thing about this is that it takes just about 10 minutes to make the sweet version and then to make the savory version, you just add a few more ingredients and cook for another few minutes.  Easy peasy way to add a ton of flavor (and look fancy) to a meal.

Ingredients
Option 1 (Sweet)
1 cup fresh organic cranberries, washed
7-8 sulfite free prunes, chopped
3 tbsp dried goji berries
4 oz unsweetened organic apple sauce
8 oz organic 100% juice cranberry or pomegranate blend (I used knudson’s blueberry pomegranate blend but I think their cranberry or other red blends can work fine)

Option 2 (Savory)
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 large shallot, minutes
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp unsalted pasture butter
sea salt to taste

Directions
Put all the ingredients for the Sweet version in a small pot and slowly bring a boil.  Simmer, stirring occasionally until the cranberries start to pop and the mixture thickens. This should take about 10 minutes start to finish. Turn down the heat if it seems to be losing liquid too quickly (you can always add a little more juice).  You can use right away for sweet uses but it will be more firm if you refrigerate it for at least an hour.

To make the savory version, remove the sweet version from the pan and place in a small bowl.  Put the pan back on the burner and melt the butter.  When the butter is melted, add the shallots, rosemary and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally until the rosemary is fragrant and the shallots are lightly browned (2-3 minutes).  Stir in the sweet compote and add sea salt to taste.  Stir to distribute the salt and savory ingredients and remove from heat when it is heated through (will take just a couple minutes if you are reheating cold compote from the fridge).  Use for savory uses right away.

Makes 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups of compote.

Chicken Soup with Bok Choy, Celery and Sweet Potato

Simple dinners are sometimes the best ones!

Simple dinners are sometimes the best ones!

This was a really simple soup I put together for John recently when he wasn’t feeling so hot and it was perfect!  It really hit the spot and was a snap to make!  The key was using homemade chicken bone broth that I had made the day before. It’s exactly what you want to eat when you’ve had a busy day of Christmas shopping, errands or have been over indulging a little too much! Good old comfort food!

You can certainly use store bought broth for this, but the final flavor really depends on the quality of your broth.  If you wouldn’t want to drink your store bought broth by itself, it probably won’t be tasty enough to use in a simple soup like this.  Consider making your own if you can, it’s so very good for you and tastes so much better than anything you can buy.  I have a recipe here which is good base.  On this particular day, instead of the carrots and onion in my regular broth, I added the dark green parts from a couple of leeks and the fronds from a fennel bulb (both of which I had saved and put in my freezer for the purpose of making stock). It  came out really good!

Good quality stock and a few simple ingredients and dinner is done.  You can throw almost anything into some good homemade broth and it will taste good. I love adding a huge chunk of fresh turmeric (grated) to it – it adds a ton of rich color and an earthy flavor.

Ingredients
4-6 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
2 split bone in chicken breasts
3 heads baby bok choy or 1 regular sized one, sliced into bite sized chunks
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled
1 2-inch long piece of fresh turmeric, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap peeled sweet potatoes in foil and place on one side of a large cookie sheet. Put the split chicken breasts on the other side of the cookie sheet.  Bake both for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside for a few minutes.  In a large stock pan or dutch oven, bring the chicken broth to a simmer and then add the bok choy, rosemary, celery and turmeric.  Continue simmering for 10 minutes or until the celery is tender.  When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, cut into bite sized pieces and add to the soup.  Open the foil packets and chop the sweet potato into bite sized pieces and add to the soup.  If the sweet potato is still somewhat firm, let the soup continue simmering until it is soft, otherwise just cook until everything is warmed through.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!

Makes 4 light servings

Mushroom Herb Quinoa Patties with Pan Seared Sea Scallops & Spicy Garlic Mayo

Delicious, easy and good for you!

Delicious, easy and good for you!

That title is a mouthful, huh?

Who says eating gluten free or not eating cheese has to be boring?  Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a meal that looks a little fancy even if it isn’t.  This was delicious and came together really quickly even on a weeknight! I had leftover quinoa in the fridge and scallops take less than 6 minutes to cook in a pan.  The worst part is whisking the oil into the mayo (just take a break and stretch your forearm if needed. Just kidding, it’s not that bad). And if you’re grossed out by the idea of eating mayo as a condiment with a meal, well I have news for you, you’ve eaten it before at fancy restaurants – it’s also called aioli or rouille.  Using well flavored mayo’s to flavor seafood, soups or other dishes is a much older tradition than using it on sandwiches. So there. I’m going to go enjoy my homemade mayo now that I’ve gotten that off my chest.  I think I just made mayo hipster? Is that what just happened there?

This is a great way to use up leftover quinoa and any diced veggies you may have in the fridge.  I use mushrooms, celery and onions here but you certain could use other things if you don’t have those. No need to limit yourself!  And if you don’t eat seafood or are vegetarian, the quinoa patties each have about 5 g of protein in them so a couple of those and some veggies and you’ll still have a filling meal!  These are also good when used as sort of a falafel with some tahini sauce, tomatoes, cucumbers and all that deliciousness.

A note on substitutions: If you have a problem with soy, feel free to leave out the tamari – it just adds a little umami flavor.  It won’t be a big deal if you leave it out.  Feel free to use other GF flours that you have on hand or if you eat wheat, you can use breadcrumbs.

I think you’ll love this!  When you eat like this, you won’t miss heavily processed food, cheese, wheat or anything else.  Good stuff!

Ingredients

Patties
1 cup dry quinoa, cooked and cooled
6 – 8 oz mushrooms, chopped in small pieces
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 tbsp unsalted pasture butter
1 clove garlic minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 whole egg or the whites from 2 eggs
2 – 4 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp low sodium tamari
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Sea Scallops
1 tbsp unsalted pasture butter
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
12 sea scallops, trimmed, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
sea salt and black pepper

Spicy Garlic Mayo
2 egg yolks (from pasture raised organic hens – local is best!)
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil (don’t use Extra Virgin for this)
juice from half a lemon
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt
1 tbsp sriracha sauce (I use Ninja Squirrel brand from Whole Foods)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make the patties first.  Heat a medium sized saute pan over medium heat. When it’s hot, add 1 tbsp butter and saute the celery, mushrooms and onion until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have browned. Add the garlic, rosemary and oregano and cook for just 30 seconds or so.  Turn off the heat and stir into the cooled quinoa.  Add the egg whites (I used egg whites only because I used the yolks for the mayo and didn’t want to waste them) tamari, parsley, coconut flour, salt and pepper.  Start with 2 tbsps of coconut flour and stir well.  Add more coconut flour if the mixture is very moist.  Coconut flour will absorb some of the moisture but sometimes too much so! Add a couple tbsp of water if that happens.

Grease a baking sheet with whatever fat you prefer to use and then form the mixture into 10 – 12 patties.  They should be a little smaller than the palm of your hand.  Place on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, then flip and bake for another 5-7 minutes.raw quinoa mushroom patties before going in the oven.

Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.

Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.

While the patties are baking, make the spicy garlic mayo. Put the minced garlic on a firm surface (a cutting board will do) and sprinkle generously with sea salt.  The salt will soften the garlic and help it to release juices. Place the egg yolks* and dijon mustard in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined.  Continue whisking and slowly drizzle the olive oil down the side of the bowl.  The oil and the yolk mixture will start to emulsify. Keep whisking and pour the oil slower than you have to.  If you pour too fast, the emulsion will start to break (stop pouring and whisk until it comes back together).  As it thickens, the bowl may start to slide around – it might help to rest the bowl on a dish towel.  When you finish whisking in the oil, add the garlic with it’s juices and salt, the lemon juice and whisk.  When that is well blended, whisk in the sriracha sauce.  If you don’t like spicy, you can leave out the sriracha – it’ll still be a delicious garlicky mayo!  Add more salt if necessary and set aside while you make the scallops.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  While it is heating, sprinkle your scallops* generously with sea salt and black pepper. When the pan is very hot, add 1/2 tbsp butter and 1/2 tbsp oil to the pan.  When the butter is melted, add half the scallops, placing one of their flat round sides face down in the pan.  (Unless you have a very large skillet to work with, I recommend only making 6 at a time – otherwise they will release too much liquid and you won’t get a good sear).  Cook for 2-3 minutes, flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  They should have a nice browning on the outside but still be tender on the inside. If they stick to the pan, they probably need another minutes on. Remove from heat before they get tough!

Pan seared scallops are super easy to make and make you look fancy!

Pan seared scallops are super easy to make and make you look fancy!

Serve a couple of quinoa patties topped with 4 scallops and a big dollop of the garlicky mayo. I happened to serve this with some raw romaine leaves and some sauteed kale & extra mushrooms – but you can serve it with any vegetable you have on hand.

Serve a couple of quinoa patties topped with scallops & spicy garlic mayo on a bed of vegetables. So good!

Serve a couple of quinoa patties topped with scallops & spicy garlic mayo on a bed of vegetables. So good!

*This recipe contains raw egg yolk and scallops that are not fully cooked.  Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness. 

Gluten Free Tourtiere – French Canadian Meat Pie – with Kale and Celery Root!

French Canadian Meat Pie - Tourtiere (made gluten free and a little less carb heavy).

French Canadian Meat Pie – Tourtiere (made gluten free and a little less carb heavy).

I know we just finished Thanksgiving but bookmark this one for when Christmas rolls around in a few weeks! How many of you ate “meat pie” on Christmas Eve?

Can I just tell you that when I decided to stop eating flour on a regular basis the thing that made me waver on it the most was meat pie???? Not pizza, not cake, not sandwiches, but something I ate only once or twice a year.  I grew up in a household that ate French Canadian Tourtiere (also known as meat pie) every Christmas Eve after we came home from the 7pm Mass (and right before my sisters and I exchanged Christmas presents with each other).  My mother was the cook in our household and she passed away in 2001 so while a lot of our traditions have changed since, I’m always quick to hold on to whatever I can that reminds me of her.  Tourtiere was not one I was willing to give up.  Just the smell of it cooking in the kitchen reminds me of being a kid and all the fond memories that go with holidays around that. It’s kind of funny how hard I’ve held on to that, especially considering I didn’t even eat pork or beef from my early teenage years until just a few years ago – but that reminder of family times is still there.

Looks naked without a top crust, I know, but it tastes so similar to the one I had as a kid - and won't make me feel terrible later!

Looks naked without a top crust, I know, but it tastes so similar to the one I had as a kid – and won’t make me feel terrible later!

Earlier this fall, on a chilly evening, I realized I had all the ingredients on hand to make Tourtiere but I didn’t want to make it with wheat flour – knowing that if I did, I would feel bloated, constipated and have joint pain for the next 4-5 days afterward. I decided I’d make a crust of sorts with coconut flour and I also decided to lighten up the carb load by using celery root instead of potatoes. And being the weirdo I am, I added a few cups of chopped kale to it too.  Believe it or not, the kale blends right in with the strong spice flavors so don’t shy away if you are a meat pie fan and want to make it a little healthier. And the celery root is completely passable as potato!!

I went with just a crust on the bottom of this pie instead of the traditional top and bottom crust because in all honesty, I’m not the best “dough” person.  I’m not super experienced in working with coconut flour or any other gluten free flour (let’s be honest – dough of any flour type fears me) and while I felt confident that I could make a pat in pan type of crust for this, I wasn’t so sure I could roll it out on top of the pie.  I’m sure there is a way to do it but the first night I made it, it wasn’t going to happen.  The second night I made this I tried to roll it out but I don’t think I moistened the flour enough – it might have worked had I added a second egg or some extra liquid.  I’m sure there are bloggers out there who can come up with a much better pastry than me for this particular dish – a couple of google searches will probably take you to them.  BUT, I have to say, the pie holds it’s shape pretty well without the second crust and the flavors all mimic the original pretty well.

No, celery root is not potato, no coconut flour is not wheat flour, and no kale isn’t extra pork or pork fat . . . but with these substitutions this is a dish that tastes like Christmas Eve without making me feel heavy and lethargic afterwards.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Ingredients
filling
1 lb grass fed ground beef or
1/2 lb organic ground pork & 1/2 lb grass fed ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 large celery root / celeriac, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
a pinch of ground allspice (or more)
1 head of kale, chopped finely (steamed if you like it very tender)
sea salt and black pepper

Crust (makes just one layer of crust)
1/4 cup coconut oil or butter
1 egg
1/2 cup coconut flour
generous pinch of salt

Directions
Put beef/pork, onion, celery root, water and bay leaf in a pot and simmer covered, stirring occasionally (to break up the meat and celery root) for 40 minutes, remove cover and let simmer for another 10 or until water is cooked off. Mash gently with potato masher if celery root isn’t completely broken up. While meat mixture is cooking, make your crust (fyi- this is just a one crust pie – different than traditional tourtiere).

That crust looks pretty good huh?

That crust looks pretty good huh?

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt your coconut oil or use softened butter and mix into coconut flour.  Add 1 egg and a pinch of salt and mix until well combined. If it seems very dry you can add a tbsp of water but it should resemble a thick dough. Transfer the dough to a pie plate and press out into the plate using your hands.  You’ll need to press from the center and work out to the sides. Don’t be shy about pressing it firmly and working it up the plate – coconut oil firms up as it cools and the warmth from your hands will help it be more malleable.

Once you have it covering the pie plate, bake the crust for 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking, stir in cinnamon, cloves, allspice and (raw or steamed) kale into the celery root and meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper.  Stir for a minute or two until kale wilts and then pour into the baked pie crust.  Bake the pie at 400 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.  The longer you let it sit, the more firm it will be for serving. Serve with a tomato relish or ketchup (that’s how we ate it growing up!).

Note: Don’t be shy with this – the second time I made this I added mushrooms and dandelion greens instead of kale and it also blended in really well.  What swaps can you make in some of your childhood favorites that might be more nutritious?