Well, we’ve passed the halfway mark on this Whole30 thing and one thing I have been eating a lot of this month is salads.
So many salads. Like, all the salads.
This day in particular I wanted tacos. But, since I can’t eat tortillas, cheese, rice, or sour cream, I made a salad instead.
It’s basically the same thing (not really).
However, this recipe passed a very important test. The FH test. You see, at some point during this ordeal FH decided he was going to support me, stand by my side, and eat only what I could eat (at least, while I was around).
I mean, he saw the cruelty in pigging out on chips and cookies while I was chewing on lettuce on apples… If that’s not love then I don’t know what is.
This is probably one of our favorite Whole 30-compliant recipes that I’ve made so far (along with that delicious cauliflower soup).
As an added bonus, it’s super easy to make. Don’t let the mile-long recipe throw you off – You throw all the meat stuff together in a slow cooker and cook it on low for a bajillion hours until it’s fall-apart-tender.
While that’s cooking, you chop up some veggies ( I chose onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and roasted sweet potatoes), and then when you’re ready to eat just cook up some cilantro-lime cauliflower “rice” alongside so you can pretend like you’re eating rice.
As for the Whole 30?
17 days down, 13 more to go!
I haven’t gained any super powers yet (unless wanting to fall asleep while walking up a flight of stairs or being able to quickly find “sugar” in any of its numerous forms on an ingredient label count as super powers).
HOWEVER, my skin has cleared up significantly and is softer than a baby’s behind, my belly feels less gross and bloaty (generally speaking), I’m sleeping better than I have in ages, and I have the added benefit of just knowing that I”m doing something good for my body. That counts for something, right?
You can see what else I’ve been cooking up on Instagram.
- 1 small (3 pound) chuck roast (or other cut of meat that is good for cooking low and slow)
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 cups chicken or beef broth ( Imagine broth is whole 30 approved :) )
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon chipotle paste (or 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced)
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 or 2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 large head cauliflower (about 1 pound)
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Lettuce of your choice; washed,dried, and chopped (I used romaine)
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Pat steak dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Brown steak on both sides (don't cook it through, just get some good color on it). Then transfer to slow cooker.
- In same pan, add sliced onions and cook until softened but not browned. Add to slow cooker.
- Pour chicken or beef broth into pan and scrape off any browned bits remaining in the pan. Add remaining ingredients to broth and stir to combine. Pour over steak in slow cooker.
- Set slow cooker to "low" - Cook on low until meat is tender about 8 to 10 hours.
- When meat is finished cooking, shred and let sit in juices. Skim and remove fat, if necessary.
- Heat oven to 400F. Line a sheet pan with foil and toss sweet potato chunks with melted coconut oil, salt, and spices.
- Roast 30 to 40 minutes until browned, tossing halfway through.
- Process cauliflower in food processor until pieces are about the size of grains of rice. Be sure not to over-process.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add coconut oil until melted. Add cauliflower rice and a healthy dash of salt and pepper. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover pan and allow cauliflower to "steam" for about 5 to 7 minutes.**
- Remove cover and stir cauliflower - I like to get my cauliflower nice and browned so it takes another 5 to 7 minutes or so, but you don't have to cook it that far.
- Add the lime juice and cilantro and stir to combine. Transfer cauliflower to another dish until ready to serve.
- (***See notes below for oven-method)
- Heat oil in saute pan until shimmering. Add peppers and onions and saute until softened. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble salad with lettuce, peppers, onions, etc and enjoy! Top with salsa or a simple dressing, if desired. (Try a vinaigrette with lime, olive oil, and paprika)
* I usually make my beef the day before and store it in the fridge until I'm ready to use it. When I start cooking everything else, I reheat the meat in a saucepan over low heat.
**Alternatively, you can give your rice a head-start in the microwave. Place cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high 2 to 3 minutes, covered with a microwave-safe plastic wrap. Continue with the rest of the steps as directed.
*** You can make your cauliflower rice more "hands off" by roasting it in the oven on a separate sheet pan while you roast your sweet potatoes, stirring occasionally. Add lime and cilantro before serving. (Thanks Shannon for turning me on to this method!)
Beef recipe adapted from Ezra Pound Cake
(OK I guess that’s four words)
Doesn’t matter, only one word really matters: “chipotle”….
I don’t know if it was feeling bad about holiday binges, maybe that mixed with low iron or something…. I have been really into two things lately: steak and salad. I know, they seem kinda like opposites, right? Either I’m ruining a perfectly healthy salad with a giant chunk of steak, or ruining a giant chunk of juicy steak with a rabbit salad.
Guess what? Don’t care. It’s delicious. Besides, flank steak is actually one of the leaner cuts of meat, and what good is having the ability to grill all year long if I don’t actually use the grill all year?
This salad was muy excelente.
We even used the leftover steak for tacos later in the week. Flippin delicious.
The “dressing” is just my usual chipotle spread that I thinned out a little bit to make it salad-worthy. You can make extra and keep it on hand to dip your fries in, put on sandwiches, etc etc… it’s basically like chipotle gold. Yes, we all know my deep love for chipotle, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely biased (BF loves it too).
Chipotle Steak Salad
[ Printable Recipe ]
For the steak:
- 1 whole Flank Steak
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- 1 Tablespoon adobo (from can)
- Salt & Pepper
For the dressing and salad:
- ¼ cup mayo
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 1-2 chipotle peppers (in adobo)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Milk (if necessary to thin – this will shorten the shelf life, though)
- Salt and pepper (bit of each)
- Salad greens & veggies
1. Mix the oil, Worcestershire, garlic, adobo, cumin, oregano, and honey. Marinate in mixture for 1 hour (or up to overnight). Remove from fridge 30 minutes before grilling. Right before grilling, pat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Either use a food processor (or just finely mince ingredients, if you can) to mix the mayo, oil, chipotles, and garlic. Add a few grinds of salt and pepper. If you’re doing this by hand, your mixture will look clotted when you first add the oil, just keep mixing until smooth.
If it’s still thicker than you want it, you can thin it out with more oil or with milk (or buttermilk) and keep mixing. Mine was still a little thick, but I just used a Ziploc with the corner cut off to drizzle it over my salad. Once you have the consistency you want, refrigerate until it’s time to use (best to do it at least an hour ahead of time to give the flavors time to mingle).
3. Set steak out to come to room temp about 30 minutes before grilling. 15 minutes before grilling, preheat your grill. You will want to cook over high heat for just a few minutes each side. Grills and steaks vary, I grill mine for about 3 to 6 minutes per side, depending on if I want it more rare or well-done.
So, despite my last post being insanely delicious, I’m told that it is the start of a “new year” and that some people have things called “resolutions” and that in these “resolutions” some people, so I’m told, are trying to be more healthful. Silly me. Ruining your diets before you even start them. How dare I.
So, in your honor, those of you who have what’s called “self control” and are trying to be more healthful, I give you a (relatively) “light” meal. All the benefits of salad – being full of healthy veggies and having lots of greens to fill you up, with the added taste of a nice (LEAN) juicy steak right on top.
Now, please do not make the same error I made. Do not walk away from the grill with no concept of what time it is and allow your steak to just cook and cook away. Is it a big deal? Not really, but this steak really should have been medium-rare to medium. So be a good girl (or boy) and cook your steak over high heat for about 5 – 6 minutes per side, then tent it with foil and let it rest about 10 minutes afterward. Slice against the grain and lay atop your bed of greens.
Asian Steak Salad
For the meat:
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons oil (olive oil or vegetable will do)
- 1 Tablespoon red wine
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspsoons brown sugar
- 1 1-pound flank steak
For the dressing:
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon ginger
- 1 scallion, finely diced
For the salad:
- Salad greens
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- ½ medium red onion, sliced
1. Marinate your meat by mixing together the soy sauce, oil, brown sugar, wine, and garlic. Pour over meat and let marinate at least 30 minutes. (I do this while it’s coming to room temperature)
2. While the meat is marinating, make your dressing by combining all of the dressing ingredients, including the scallion, mixing well. Taste and adjust, if it tastes flat try a dash of vinegar.
3. About 10 minutes before you’re ready to get cookin’, turn on your grill. Heat to high heat (about 550 degrees F). Cook the flank steak to medium-rare (about 5-6 minutes each side). Once done, transfer steak to plate and tent with foil for ten minutes while it rests.
4. Once the steak is done resting, cut against the grain into thin slices. For more even distribution, you can toss your salad with some of the dressing before plating, then place the steak over your salad veggies and drizzle with additional dressing if necessary.
Eat & enjoy… maybe think about using the left over steak for stir fry tomorrow… now that you think about it, that marinade would probably make a pretty good stir fry sauce… Let’s use brown rice instead of white, in the interest of being “healthful”. 😉
Side dishes are something I always struggle with. I don’t know why, I just find them unnecessary about 98% of the time. I don’t need rice and beans with my tacos, nor do I need bread with my pasta. I’m happy to j just eat my entrée and be on my way, maybe a small salad. No real ‘side dish’ necessary.
BF on the other hand, well, he needs his side dishes. “Where’s the side?”, “No salad?” he’ll ask. I usually reply with a sheepish shrug or some half-baked excuse- “Well, since there’s veggies in the taco, and the tortilla is bread…”
One of BF’s favorite sides is pasta salad. Poor guy probably didn’t eat a bite of it the whole first year we were together, not in my presence at least. I was never one for mayo (since then it’s grown on me, which isn’t necessarily a good thing). I tend to like things a bit more on the “fresh” side, as in not cold and drowning in mayo.
So, as is necessary in all relationships, we compromised- I created a fresh, healthy alternative to your typical pasta salad using orzo, and he agreed to eat it and pretend it was pasta salad. On second thought, maybe that wasn’t such a great job of compromising…
Tonight’s supporting cast was charred red onions, roasted bell peppers, feta, arugula (because I had some left over), and basil (because I love it so much).
You can use any mix-ins you like, and even serve it warm or cold (usually I chill it, but tonight there was no time). This makes it a great candidate for potlucks and busy weeknight dinners alike. I also make the same dish with israeli couscous, or I’m sure you could sub in any pasta shape you like!
Orzo “Pasta Salad”
- Salted boiling water (or chicken stock for extra flavor)
- ½ package orzo
- ½ small red onion, sliced
- 1 – 2 red peppers, sliced
- Feta cheese to taste (couple tablespoons)
- Couple tablespoons each arugula & fresh basil, sliced
- Salt, Pepper, Olive oil
1. Cook & drain orzo according to package directions. Spread out onto a baking sheet covered with foil or plastic wrap; drizzle with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool (if you want to serve it cooled).
2. We cooked our red pepper and onion on the grill, as they were leftover from fajitas the other night. You could use the pre-roasted ones that come in the jar, saute fresh peppers on the stove, or use raw (if that’s what you’re into).
3. Toss orzo with chopped veggies, herbs, and cheese; mix and put into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until needed or serve immediately.
The great thing about using orzo is that it’s neutral in flavor, so you can make combos to suit your taste.
- Green onions
- White onions
- Red onion
- Shallots (milder than red onions)
- Cherry tomatoes, sliced or quartered
- Red peppers –from a jar, sautéed, grilled, or fresh
*If adding raw onion, I recommend soaking them in cool water for several minutes to take the edge off
Leafies (arugula, basil, cilantro, parsley)
Cheese (feta, parmesan, pecorino)
Dried fruit, chopped (cherries, cranberries, apricots)
Toasted nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios)
*Try adding a tsp or two of any acid to brighten the dish – lemon juice, lime juice, or a vinegar (red wine, balsamic, rice wine, or sherry vinegars- depending on what your mix-ins are)