Author: Amanda

Kale Chips Two Ways: Healthy Snacking Made Delicious

Kale Chips Two Ways: Healthy Snacking Made Delicious

Kale with a Crunch Kale chips are delicious. Trust me on this one. If you’ve been scared to eat a chip made out of a vegetable, or scared of vegetables in general, stop whatever you’re doing and make these. They’re crispy, crunchy, light, and oh […]

Warm Kale Squash Fall Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette Plus Benefits of Rosemary

Warm Kale Squash Fall Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette Plus Benefits of Rosemary

Rosemary for the win When it comes to fall and winter cooking, rosemary is one of my favorite go-to’s. Its warming flavors capture the cozy weather vibes so well. I feel like kale and butternut squash with a generous sprinkle of rosemary is an ideal […]

Sugar-Free Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Sugar-Free Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Keepin it Real Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a holiday table staple. But I’ve always been slightly weirded out by the jello-y mush that comes from a can. And which initially retains the shape of said can. Weird.

And they usually contain corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. That’s beyond weird. That’s just plain bad in my book. Fortunately my mom has always made her special cranberry ‘chutney’ for the holidays, which is made of all real cranberries, plus some other unexpected goodies.

Because in case you haven’t gotten the memo, real food is real good for you. And that goes for cranberries too: they’re packed with anti-cancer and immunity-boosting benefits. So the goal is to maximize both the flavor and the nutritional benefits of all the delicious eats.

My mom’s recipe does call for some sugar to sweeten it up a bit, so I asked if I could get the recipe this year and see if I could clean it up just a bit more.

sugar-free fresh cranberry sauce

So Fresh n So Clean

So here we go! The recipe already called for fresh cranberries, so we’re obviously keepin it fresh. It also calls for a real orange, an apple, plus some celery, onions, walnuts and ginger – and you guessed it, all fresh.

When my mom first served this chutney I was a little weirded out by the celery and onion. But the flavors all blend together and balance each other so well, the vegetables really just add dimension to the recipe. Plus they’re obviously healthy. So they stay.

I nixed the sugar and dried fruit and added a little unsweetened apple sauce plus some raw honey. I also added a small dash of monk fruit just to balance it out. It all came together really well, and I wound up with a super-clean, nutritious version of cranberry sauce.

Skip the honey to keep it vegan, or add more to taste if not using monk fruit.

Check out a few of my other paleo and vegan friendly thanksgiving and holiday recipes:

sugar-free fresh cranberry sauce

sugar-free fresh cranberry sauce
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Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Sugar-free paleo, vegan fresh cranberry sauce with some unexpected guests that bring the gift of nutrition: fresh fruit, nuts, and vegetables

Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 12oz bag fresh cranberries may use frozen
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup diced orange with rind
  • 1/3 small sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp raw honey may add more to taste, or replace with monk fruit
  • 0-1 tsp monk fruit sweetener start low and add slowly

Instructions

  1. Add cranberries, applesauce, water, and orange to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

  2. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  3. Add onion, apple, celery, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, and honey and simmer for another 5 minutes. 

  4. Allow to cool and serve. 

Paleo Mushroom Gravy: Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Recipe

Paleo Mushroom Gravy: Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Recipe

It’s Gravy Baby Turkey or not, no Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without gravy. Traditional gravies are obviously made with the turkey pan drippings, cutter, cream, and regular all-purpose white flour. None of which are suitable for a vegan and or paleo-friendly recipe. So here ya […]

Paleo Stuffing Stuffed Baked Delicata Squash: A Vegan Thanksgiving Solution

Paleo Stuffing Stuffed Baked Delicata Squash: A Vegan Thanksgiving Solution

The Main Attraction: Vegan Feast Alternative Nothing truly replaces a traditional turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. But these days there are plenty of options that deliver all the fall feels for vegans and people trying to adopt a more plant-based. But for a lot of us […]

Sweet Potato Mash: Nailing the Breakfast Game

Sweet Potato Mash: Nailing the Breakfast Game

Sweet Potatoes for Breakfast

For those skeptics our there, just hear me out for a second. Sweet potato may not jump to mind as a traditional breakfast food option. But really, it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Sweet potatoes basically taste like dessert, but they are quite versatile and pair with both sweet and savory. 

When going paleo, low-carb, or gluten-free or giving up grains altogether, breakfast beyond smoothies can be tricky to navigate. Fortunately, sweet potato bread, muffins, pancakes, and even savory loaded sweet potatoes and patties are all a thing. 

sweet potato mash gluten-free grain-free paleo breakfast

Paleo ‘Oats’

But what about a nice warm bowl of oatmeal? Can anything really stand in for that breakfast stand-by? Maybe not entirely. But we can get pretty close: enter sweet potato mash.

While sweet potatoes clearly are not a direct substitute taste-wise, they do provide a similar consistency and the same warming comfort a hot bowl of oatmeal serves up on a cold winter morning. And if you throw them in the food processor for just a few seconds with the skins on, you’ll wind up with a smooth yet slightly chunky consistency similar to oats with the bits of skins mixed in. 

They’re sweet but not overly sweet, provide a solid dose of real food nutrition to start the day, and can take a variety of toppings and add-ins just as well as the best bowl of oatmeal. I like to top mine with blueberries, chopped pecans, a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, and a bit of unsweetened coconut. But really, as with oatmeal, the sky’s the limit.

Sweet potato mash also works perfectly as a side dish, with or without the toppings. And of course it can stand in for a healthy dessert alternative!

sweet potato mash gluten-free grain-free paleo breakfast

Sweet potato health benefits

But first, the benefits. Sweet potatoes are chock full of carotenoids, which are full of potent health benefits due to their rich phytochemical concentrations. My favorite: cancer risk reduction. Increased intake of carotenoids has been associated with reduced risk of multiple types of cancer. Interestingly, they might also help protect us from harmful UV sun rays. Research has found that supplementing sunblock with daily intake of carotenoids before (and during) sun exposure can help reduce the rate of sunburn and sun damage, likely because it slows the absorption of UV rays. 

Sweet potatoes have also got you covered on the Vitamin A front: one cup provides over 200% of the recommended daily intake, as well as 50% of your Vitamin C and Manganese, making them an excellent immunity-boosting staple. They also provide a substantial amount of the B vitamins and biotin, plus copper, pantothenic acid, potassium, phosphorous, and fiber.

Not only are they high in antioxidants, but they are contain anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies show a reduction in inflammation in nerve and brain tissue following sweet potato consumption. The phytonutrients prevent demyelination caused by excess fibrinogen, which has implications for diseases like multiple sclerosis. The research so far backs it up – I won’t argue with that!

In spite of their relatively high GI rating, sweet potatoes have been show to actually improve blood sugar regulation, even in people with Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, another class of nutrients found in sweet potatoes called glycosides have been shown to contain antibacterial and anti fungal properties.

sweet potato mash gluten-free grain-free paleo breakfast

The Upshot: Nailing the Breakfast Game

While research into all of these potential health benefits is ongoing, the upshot is clear: eat your sweet potatoes!

In order to maximize the bioavailability of the nutrients (aka how efficiently your body absorbs the nutrients), adding a little fat to your meal is a good idea. Sweet potato and avocado is one of my favorite combos.

But you can easily add just a little olive oil to a dish, or to keep it sweet, I like to add coconut oil. For those who aren’t fans of the coconut flavor, unrefined coconut oil has no coconut flavor.

sweet potato mash gluten-free grain-free paleo breakfast
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Sweet Potato Mash

A paleo, grain-free, gluten-free alternative to breakfast oats.

Course Breakfast, Dessert, Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2-4 sweet potatoes depending on size
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil refined or unrefined
  • Toppings of choice. My favorites include: pecans, walnuts, unsweetened shredded coconut, cacao nibs, blueberries, dried fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, warming spices, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for a touch of added sweetness if desired.

Instructions

  1. Pierce the sweet potatoes a few times with a nice and bake at 400F for 35-50 minutes (depending on size; they should be soft when fully cooked).

  2. Place the sweet potatoes in a food processor, add the coconut oil, and blend until thoroughly mashed. Option: scoop the insides from the skin and mash with a fork.

  3. Scoop into a bowl, add toppings as desired, and eat up!

Naked Baked Apple Slices

Naked Baked Apple Slices

Have your Pie and Eat it Too… For Breakfast Literally there was frost on the ground this morning when I woke up, and I don’t think yesterday was any warmer. In the cold weather, my breakfast smoothies aren’t quite as appealing. I crave warm food, […]

Quick Paleo Pumpkin Pie Dip: Vegan, Sugar-Free Recipe

Quick Paleo Pumpkin Pie Dip: Vegan, Sugar-Free Recipe

Healthy Paleo Pumpkin Pie Dip Pumpkin season is officially upon us. We have pumpkin and squash and sweet potato versions of everything. But pumpkin pie-inspired delicacies are in a category of their own. With the holidays coming up I wanted to make a healthy version […]

Cauliflower Mash, 3 Ways: Vegan, Paleo, and Keto

Cauliflower Mash, 3 Ways: Vegan, Paleo, and Keto

Cauli Mash: The Best Thing to Happen to the Modern Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’ve been compiling, planning and creating delicious, healthy, diet-specific alternatives to the classic dishes. These days there are so many people with specific dietary restrictions, it can be hard to find dishes that please the masses.

Enter cauliflower mash – the perfect substitute for heavy, high-carb mashed potatoes. Pure, flavorful, creamy deliciousness that taste so good your guests likely won’t even guess they’re not potatoes.

But wait. Thanksgiving dinner without potatoes!? That can’t be a thing. Yes, yes it totally can be a thing. And a thing you might want to consider, because it helps save room for more turkey and pie.

cauliflower mash vegan keto dairy-free paleo

Low on Carbs, Full on Creamy Flavor

With so many people doing low-carb diets these days and avoiding white starches, cauliflower mash is the ultimate solution for your Thanksgiving feast. The most discerning palettes might notice a slight difference, but many people happily devour the cauliflower without even realizing it’s not potatoes.

I’ve made this numerous times in the past and fooled a number of people. It’s so easy and tasty, it’s actually a regular on my cool-weather food rotation.

While many versions of cauliflower mash still call for the traditional cream, cheese, and butter – which is suitable for the keto diet – I created some non-dairy versions for the dairy-free, vegan, and paleo crowds. And yes, they’re still totally creamy and savory.

cauliflower mash vegan keto paleo dairy-free

Garlic Cauliflower Mash: Vegan, Paleo, Dairy-Free

This version calls for just three ingredients: cauliflower, garlic, and olive oil, plus some sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. While I prefer roasting the garlic, this can totally be made with raw garlic to speed it up or up the garlic flavor for the garlic-lovers out there.

So many things are going in the oven for a Thanksgiving dinner, it’s pretty easy to just throw a few cloves of garlic in while you’re prepping the cauliflower or other dishes. But either raw or roasted works just fine. And this version is especially easy because it requires no specialty ingredients.

What goes in:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, chopped
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic, roasted or raw*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

*Depending on the size of your cloves and how much you love garlic, you may wish to adjust the number of cloves. It might be easier to throw a couple extra in the oven, just in case! Experiment and adjust according to your taste buds. 

How to make:

  1. Steam the cauliflower until thoroughly tender.
  2. If you’re roasting the garlic, keep the skins on, chop off the heads and drizzle a couple drops of olive oil over each. Wrap in foil and roast for about 30 minutes, or until thoroughly tender.
  3. Transfer the steamed cauliflower and garlic to a food processor, add the olive oil, salt, and a couple shakes of black pepper.
  4. Blend on high until there are no chunks.
  5. Serve and tell your guests they’re better mashed potatoes.*
  6. Watch their faces when you tell them the truth. 😉

*…or be a good host, skip the deceit, and still watch when they taste the mash 🙂

 

cauliflower mash vegan keto paleo dairy-free

Avocado Cauliflower Mash: Vegan, Dairy-Free, Paleo

I’ll be straight with you: this version does come out a pale green-ish color, because of the avocado of course. So it might get some funny looks. And it’s the reason why I also make the garlic version.

Color oddities aside, though, this version is worth considering for it’s bonus nutritional benefits from the avocado and nutritional yeast. And yes, it’s obviously still very creamy.

What goes in:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/2 medium avocado
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2-1 tsp sea salt

How to Make:

  1. Steam the cauliflower until thoroughly tender.
  2. Transfer the steamed cauliflower to a food processor, add the avocado, olive oil, nutritional yeast, and salt.
  3. Blend on high until there are no chunks.
  4. Serve and tell your guests they’re just like green eggs and ham, without the ham or the eggs. Just green mashed potatoes.

 

cauliflower mash keto low-carb

Cheesy Cauliflower Mash: Keto, Low-Carb

This version of cauliflower mash is low on carbs but high in fats and cheesy, creamy, deliciousness. So if you’re trying to avoid carbs but love your cheese, this version is for you.

To keep it as clean as possible, I recommend using only organic dairy products and using ghee in place of traditional butter. If you do not have ghee on hand, go for organic, pasture-raised varieties that have just one or two ingredients: cream, or cream and salt.

What goes in:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 2 oz hard, sharp cheese like cheddar, aged gouda, or Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2-1 tsp sea salt

How to Make:

  1. Steam the cauliflower until thoroughly tender.
  2. Transfer the steamed cauliflower to a food processor, add the ghee, cheese, heavy cream, and salt.
  3. Blend on high until there are no chunks.
  4. Season with fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
  5. Serve and tell your guests they’re better mashed potatoes.
Creamy Ginger Turmeric Squash Soup

Creamy Ginger Turmeric Squash Soup

Best Soup Ever Pumpkins and squash are everywhere, and squash soup has been high on the to-do list. I’ve made several versions in the past, but this time I wanted to spice things up a bit and thought I’d add some ginger and turmeric. No […]