Category Archives: low carb

Kale & Butternut Squash Salad w/ Lemon-Tahini Dressing

kale and butternut squash salad via Chosen Bites

Over the last few years I have added a number of foods back into my diet that previously my system was not able to handle, like dairy, oats, and kale.

Kale is a great source of antioxidants, calcium, vitamin A, C, and a powerhouse source of vitamin K. It’s also chock full of minerals like potassium and iron, and a good source of natural fiber. Kale has become a bit of a fad in the last few years, and it’s been in the news a lot recently both for its health benefits and potential health pitfalls. While kale is a powerhouse source for vitamin K, which is important for calcium absorption, it also contains compounds that, ironically, can interfere with calcium absorption.

All of this is to say, I’m happy to be able to add kale back into my diet, but as with every food, my philosophy is “everything in moderation.” So, eat kale because it’s good for you, but don’t eat too much.

kale and butternut squash salad via Chosen Bites

One of may favorite ways to eat kale is raw in a salad, but wilted first with a dressing of acid (like lemon juice or balsamic vinegar), oil, and salt. There are a lot of recipes that say you need to massage the kale for a while, but I just sort of squeeze it with my hands while I’m tossing it the first time, and then just toss the rest of the time with tongs.

This salad includes one of my favorite vegetables, roasted butternut squash. I used to hate squash with inedible peel (don’t like the texture) but I have since discovered that I actually hate all squash but butternut squash. If you don’t like butternut squash, sweet potatoes would be excellent in this salad too.

Kale & Butternut Squash Salad w/ Lemon Tahini Dressing

Ingredients

1 small butternut squash
1 garlic clove
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 head of kale
3 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
3 Tbsp prepared tahini
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup dried blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel and cut butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes. Smash and peel garlic cloves. Toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil, spread evenly on a baking sheet, and roast at 400 for 25-30 minutes until squash is fork tender but not mushy. Remove garlic clove to a small bowl and mash with a fork. Set squash aside to cool.
  3. While squash is roasting, de-stem and slice kale into ribbons (I roll several leaves up and slice). Place kale in a large bowl. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt, pepper and mashed roasted garlic, and pour over kale. Using your hands, toss to evenly coat the kale, squeezing handfuls of kale as you do this. Allow kale to sit for 30-45 minutes, tossing again every 10-15 minutes or so.
  4. When squash is cool to the touch, add to kale and toss to coat in dressing. Add dried blueberries and additional salt to taste. Serve at room temperature.
http://chosenbites.com/2014/03/kale-butternut-squash-salad-w-tahini-dressing/

Sesame Caraway Crackers {Healthy Snacking}

Sesame Caraway Crackers via Chosen Bites

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, I am a big-time snacker–I eat smaller meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and enjoy (mostly) healthy snacks in between. I find that this “grazing” method cuts down on major hunger pangs, the 3pm snooze, and planning in advance for healthy snacks helps me to, well, eat healthy snacks.

These crackers are really versatile. You could make them sweet, savory, or both. I use sesame and caraway in this version, but you could easily make a cinnamon-sugar cracker if you prefer a sweet-salty snack. You could use fennel or cumin in place of the caraway, and throw in some black sesame seeds for some extra color. As long as you keep the proportions relatively the same, you should be find.

You could use almond meal for this recipe, but I find that a finely ground blanched almond flour works the best (I use this one from Nuts.com).

One important thing about these crackers–try to cut the crackers into equal sized pieces because otherwise they bake a little unevenly. With my first batch, I had to put the larger crackers back in for a few extra minutes because they weren’t quite done, but the outer crackers nicely browned and crispy. You also want to bake the crackers until they really are browned around the edges because otherwise they will be stale in texture the next day.

Sesame Caraway Crackers via Chosen Bites

Sesame Caraway Crackers {Healthy Snacking}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 40-50 crackers

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 cup ground brown flax seed (flax meal)
1/4 ground golden flax seed (flax meal)
3 Tbsp sesame seeds (black or white or a combination)
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg white
4 Tbsp water, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. On a low speed, combine almond flour, flax meal, seeds, and salt.
  3. Add egg white and mix until well incorporated. Add 2 Tbsp water, then add remaining water 1 tsp at a time until the mixture comes together into a stiff dough (you may need more or less water than the recipe calls for).
  4. Turn dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. Cover with another piece of parchment paper and roll out with a rolling pin until it's about 1/8 inch thick (it will take up most of a 12x16 piece of parchment paper).
  5. Remove top piece of parchment paper and slide onto a baking sheet.
  6. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, slice the dough into 1x1 inch squares (try to keep them mostly the same size so they bake evenly).
  7. Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes until the edges are browned. If the crackers toward the edge of the pan are browning but the inner crackers are not, remove the outer crackers to a cooling rack and return the inner crackers to the oven for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  8. Remove parchment paper to a cooling rack and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
http://chosenbites.com/2014/01/sesame-caraway-crackers-healthy-snacking/

Cheesy Spinach Kugel

cheesy spinach kugel

This was the most popular dish I made over the first days of Pesach (Passover). Other than draining the spinach, which can be a bit time consuming, it’s really simple to throw together and into the oven. This recipe easily doubles if you are having a very large crowd, and it also freezes well.Continue Reading

Eggplant Lasagna (Passover Friendly)

eggplant lasagna

I love lasagna, but gluten-free pasta has not been agreeing with me lately, so I’m been experimenting with variations on lasagna, sans noodles. I’ve done polenta lasagna and a vegetable assortment lasagna (eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash), both with mixed success–delicious, but not quick lasagna.

I definitely think this is my best noodle-free version yet, and right in time for Passover! I basically substitute the noodles for lengthwise slices of eggplant that I have partially pre-baked, and layer sauce and cheese like usual. I throw in sauted onions, green peppers, and baby bella mushrooms for a little extra volume and voila! Eggplant lasagna.

 Eggplant Lasagna (Gluten Free)

Eggplant Lasagna

Ingredients:

2 medium eggplant
1 tsp salt, divided
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 eggs
15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (omit for Passover-friendly recipe)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease 2 baking sheets. Slice eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick strips (about 8 per eggplant). Lay on greased baking sheet (try not to overlap), sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, and bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes until eggplant is pliable enough to bend without breaking.
  2. In the meantime, heat olive oil over medium flame in a skillet or large saucepan. Saute onions for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add green peppers and mushrooms with 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are soft and mushrooms have released their juices.
  3. Beat eggs in a bowl and stir in ricotta cheese, garlic powder, remaining 1/2 tsp of salt, and pepper. When the eggplant is ready, stir onion mixture into ricotta mixture.
  4. Grease a 8×10 or 10 inch square baking dish and spread 1 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom. Lay 1/3 of eggplant slices on the bottom to cover, overlapping slightly, then spread half of ricotta mixture over eggplant. Repeat for another layer of eggplant and ricotta, then finish with eggplant. Spread remaining 1 cup of marinara over eggplant, and sprinkle mozzarella to cover. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over top (optional).
  5. Turn oven down to 350 and bake uncovered for 45 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has browned.

Serves: 6