Beet, Apple & Fennel Salad with Creamy Ricotta Dressing

Beet, Apple & Fennel Salad with Creamy Ricotta Dressing

Beet, Apple & Fennel Salad with Creamy Ricotta Dressing

I love a simple, fresh and healthy salad. I try to eat salads every day at work. But if you do the math on my years at the Gap times days of work less days of vacation less cheating with a burger plus days I justify my burger by adding a side salad…well…that would be a lot of salads. And everyone who has losing weight as a New Year’s resolution (like, every woman ever) vows “salads for life” and keeps that vow for about…three days. You know why we can’t hold those resolutions longer? Yes, you know why. Salads can be so boring! Iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, the occasional broccoli floret and as much ranch dressing as you can justify to mask the boring-ness of veggies. So I set out to make a salad that would help me start that New Year resolution early. And stick with it. For at least four days this time.

This salad has a salty, creamy ricotta “dressing” that amps your salad up and makes it crave-worthy. The fennel/apple/beet combo will brighten your winter work day.  And the simpleness of the recipe will help you keep resolutions of making your own lunch. So let’s get salading…

Fennel comes in a “bulb” that looks a little like celery and onion had a baby. The “fawn” or delicate leafy pieces add flair to your presentation

These are apples….you know what they are! Choose a crisp apple such as Fuji, Braeburn, or Honeycrisp

Beet, Apple & Fennel Salad with Creamy Ricotta Dressing

1 1/2c ricotta
3tbs + 1/4c olive oil
1/4c hazelnuts, finely chopped
4 roasted beets*
1/2 crisp fuji apple
1 fennel bulb
2tbs champagne vinegar
cooked chicken breast (optional)
salt & pepper

*Note: To save time, I used store-bought beets, which are pretty darned decent. To roast yourself, heat an oven to 350 degrees. Toss beets in olive oil, salt, pepper and wrap in aluminum foil. Cook for 20 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. Let cool and peel beets.

In a mixer, add ricotta, 3tbs olive oil and salt & pepper to taste. Mix on high until creamy. If desired, increase creaminess by adding more olive oil. This creamy sauce can be made in advanced and stored in an air-tight container in the refridgerator.

Heat a saute’ pan to medium and toast hazelnuts until fragrant, about 5 minutes, staring frequently. Careful – nuts burn quickly! Set aside nuts.

Thinly slice apple. Chop off roots of fennel and reserve the “fawn”, or soft, leafy parts from the top. Cut fennel into fours and cut out the tough core. Thinly slice.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, champagne vinegar, and a pinch salt & pepper to make a light vinaigrette.

Spread ricotta mixture on the bottom of a plate. Lightly dress arugula with vinaigrette and place over ricotta. Top with beets, apples, fennel, toasted hazelnuts, (and chicken, if desired) and finish with a sprig of fennel fawn.

Eat, enjoy, and smile, knowing that you’re starting your New Year’s resolutions early – in a very delicious way.


Super Paleo Bowl Snacks

Happy almost Super Bowl! Super Bowl XLIX will be an epic battle not only between the Pats and the Hawks (go Hawks!) but also between the snacks and your gluten-free diet. Your ability to resist will be “deflated” when you see the sliders, the nachos, the mini pizzas….so what do you do? YOU BRING YOUR OWN AMAZING APPS. Interception! You bring your own gluten free and dairy free snacks that are so delicious that those once-tempting mini pizzas will be passed up for your paleo treats. Today we have some amazing and (mostly) paleo-friendly snacks that will help you BEAST MODE past tempting non Paleo appetizers.


Paleo meatballs with spicy asian sauce. Bowl by Crow Canyon Home

Mom’s Meatballs (Paleo)

These meatballs are a paleo-friendly version of my mother’s amazing crock-pot recipe. Thanks mom, for allowing me to steal the recipe!

16 oz ground beef
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4c onion, small dice
1 tbs parsley
1 egg
1/4c almond flower
1 tsp olive oil
1/2c Heinz chili sauce
2 tsp sambal oelek (found in the Asian section)
1/2c grape jelly

Using your hands, mix beef, salt, pepper, onion, parsley, almond flower together in a bowl. Form into uniform, golfball-sized meatballs. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a salute pan. Brown meatballs on all sides (I turned three times for about 4 minutes each) in batches. Once all meatballs are seared, place all meatballs in a crock-pot or enamel pot over low heat and cover with chili sauce, sambal oelek and grape jelly. Heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes, mixing meatballs and sauce every few minutes. Meatballs are best when cooked in sauce, refrigerated overnight, then re-heated the next day. Can also be frozen for 1 week and re-heated.

Turkey Bacon Asparagus. Eat your veggies!!

Turkey Bacon Asparagus. Eat your veggies!!

Turkey Bacon Asparagus

Need a way to get the kids or yourself to eat greens? And be paleo-friendly? Repeat after me: wrap in bacon. WRAP IN BACON. These delicious little buggers are so easy and can be prepped for party-time beforehand and cooked right before serving. Turkey bacon makes them healthier than traditional bacon and the maple sugar adds sweet to your salty. A super crowd-pleaser!

1 bunch large asparagus
1 package turkey bacon
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap asparagus in bacon and place on a cooking sheet. Mix olive oil, salt and sugar in a small bowl. Brush olive oil mixture over asparagus and bake in oven until browned, about 18 minutes. Serve immediately. Pat yourself on back for easy paleo snack.


Paleo Green Goddess Dip

This dip is creamy, spicy and chock-full of vitamins, healthy fats and minerals without dairy or guilt. This recipe is a version of Green Goddess dressings, but eliminates the need for the traditional ingredient of yogurt.

1 avocado
1 cup spinach
1/4c parsley
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 jalapeno, seeded
1/4 green pepper
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4c water

Blend all ingredients together in a blender or Vitamix (preferred). Serve with veggies for a paleo-friendly snack.

Paleo Lamb Meatballs with sun-dried tomatoes and basil. Plate by Crow Canyon Home.

Paleo Lamb Meatballs with sun-dried tomatoes and basil. Plate by Crow Canyon Home.

Paleo Basil & Sun Dried Tomato Lamb Meatballs

These little gems are so delicious if I do say so myself! Similar to mom’s meatballs, these can be made ahead, frozen and reheated for game day.

1 lb ground lamb
1/4c finely chopped basil
1/4c chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/4c finely chopped onion
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp oil from sun dried tomatoes
1 egg
1/4c almond flour
Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Using your hands, mix all ingredients except BBQ sauce in a bowl. Form into uniform, golfball-sized meatballs. Place on a baking sheet and bake in oven until no longer pink in the middle, about 15 minutes. Serve alone or with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. Can be pre-made and frozen before baking 1 week in advance.

Mom's famous "Pig's Guts"

Mom’s famous “Pig’s Guts”

Pig’s Guts

Alright, so this isn’t Paleo, but it’s gluten-free and just about the easiest, most delicious dip I’ve ever had. This is my mom’s recipe, and famously named “Pig’s Guts” by my sister.

1 8oz package 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/4c Pace Picante Sauce (hot)

Heat up cream cheese in microwave 10 seconds at a time until hot, then mix in hot sauce. Serve with tortilla chips. So easy!

With these simple recipes, you can satisfy your cravings for all the delicious Super Bowl food without compromising your healthy-living gluten free/paleo lifestyle. So whoever you’re cheering for on Super Bowl Sunday (Hawks, right!?), you can enjoy the cheering you’ll receive for showing up with your gluten-free appetizers!