This may be the most surprised I have ever been at how a recipe turned out. I am pretty sure I spent 32 years of my life hating beets and I just made a chili using beets instead of tomatoes. It was delicious.
Chili is one of my most favorite foods. I don’t even see it as a seasonally appropriate food, we eat it all year round. I used to really love chili (made with lots of beef and 2 or 3 different kinds of beans) topped with cheese, Frito’s corn chips & sour cream. My chili recipe has morphed over time to be bean-free and therefore Paleo. On occasion, I will still throw in a handful of Frito’s. They are still GMO corn and high PUFA corn oil, but they are gluten free. A girl’s gotta live. I can say that over time, it has become a lot easier to enjoy the chili plain without all the garnishes, so I don’t feel deprived at all.
We had not had chili in a while and the hubby was requesting it. Selfishly, I haven’t been making chili and other tomato based dishes lately because I have been trying to follow a nightshade-free diet to see if it would make any further improvements in my health (skin, digestion & otherwise). This is based on recommendations from Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser & Diane Sanfillipo and their respective blog posts and podcasts. The nightshade family includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers & eggplants. For various reasons, they have a tendency to be allergenic and inflammatory to the immune system, not for everyone of course, but enough that they are often listed on restriction & isolation diets. It is hard to make and then watch someone else eat your most favorite dish and not be able to partake.
I debated whether i could just make chili without using tomatoes, but quickly realized that the other huge component in chili is chili powder made of peppers. I figured it was a shot in the dark but through the magic of Google I was able to find a “nightshade-free chili” recipe. I still had my doubts. Keep the beef, onions & cumin. Ditch the tomatoes and chili pepper. Add beets & squash for color and texture. It sounded crazy! The results were delicious!
I simply made a few minor tweaks to this recipe I found from And Love It Too! Gluten and Dairy Free Living I used acorn squash instead of Hubbard. I think any kind of squash would do. I also did not puree it, I cooked it a bit in the microwave first, cut it up and let it simmer in the chili, which broke the squash down quite a bit. I also did not use Dry Basil or Cloves and instead used about 1 tsp of allspice. I was able to start a pot of our regular Chocolate Chili on one burner and pot of this chili on the other burner. Most of the ingredients were the same, so it was easy to saute, season & simmer them at the same time.
Catching up on some old recipes again here. I have made this dish twice, once for a potluck and once for dinner. The hubby doesn’t much like cauliflower, but he really like this one. It seemed to go over pretty well at the potluck, also. You are going to eat A LOT of veggies when you go paleo/primal, so you might as well stock up on recipes that make those same old veggies taste different! It goes a long way in getting your family to jump on board!
Other than the golden raisins and pine nuts, which we didn’t have and I had to search for a little in the grocery store, all the other ingredients were in my pantry. There is no reason you couldn’t omit one of those things. This would still be great just with the sauce.
Cauliflower Caponata (inspired by Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals)
On a baking sheet, spread out cauliflower and toss with oil. Roast at 350 degrees until the edges start to turn a little brown. You may have to toss it a couple of times in the meanwhile. (The recipe calls for sauteeing the cauliflower in a pan, but I like roasting it, do what you like.)
While cauliflower is roasting, saute onion and shallots in some oil for a minute, add all other ingredients (except pine nuts) and simmer with a lid on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir a couple of times.
Throw cauliflower into a big bowl, pour “sauce” over it and toss together. Add pine nuts and salt/pepper to taste.
Double or triple this and take it to a potluck! Made great leftovers.
A friend mentioned brownies today and my kids are ticked because we have a car full of Girl Scout cookies that we are not going to eat. It is hard having a hippie, gluten intolerant Mommy. So, I printed off this recipe I have been meaning to try and I think this will be our brownie Go-To recipe. I had all the stuff (almond butter, eggs, banana, unsweetened baking chocolate, chocolate chips, maple syrup), it was easy and they are delicious. I did follow their advice and since I was putting 1/2 cup of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips in the brownies, I left out the 1/2 cup of palm sugar. They were gooey, sweet and delicious. My little Girl Scout has nearly forgiven me!
Check out this website, the family, the kids, their paleo journey. It is all awesome. They are releasing a kid & family friendly cookbook as we speak.
Flourless Fudgy Brownie Bites by the Paleo Parents
This uses a lot of almond butter (2 cups) which isn’t the cheapest thing ever. It makes 36-40 brownies out of my mini muffin pans which is a lot for us. We ate some, I gave some away & I froze a bunch to get out for treats later. Don’t shy away from it. I am just overjoyed I got some almond butter and banana in my picky eater without her fussing too much. It is the little things that make me happy!