Spiced Meatballs

These are like the falafel of meatballs. And as much as I love falafel, legumes can be challenging for myself and many of my clients to digest. ***In steps the ever versatile and affordable, high quality, pastured, grass-fed or or organic ground meat of your choosing. I love the soft texture of dark meat turkey, but these are honestly a crowd favorite with lamb or beef, as well. for crispier meatballs, brown them on all sides in a non-stick skillet, and shorten the baking time to 6-8 minutes (but I honestly never have time to brown them, and love the all-bake method). Just giving the meatball purists out there the option!

This recipe was adapted to be gluten free and bake-able from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Smokey Quinoa & Black Beans

This is one of those seemingly odd recipes that ends up being totally delicious and super simple. I found the original over at Oh She Glows, a plant-based blog that’s full of super flavorful and playful vegetarian and vegan recipes. I was skeptical of A) Just throwing everything in the pot at the same time and B) of the PINEAPPLE! But I’ve got to tell you—it comes together in a snap, and the pineapple, smokey paprika and coconut aminos totally work. I’ve been making this for clients topped with tons of cilantro and chopped tomatoes, but have also used it as a filling for tacos with handmade tortillas and avocado.

Coconut Turmeric Chicken

Cooking for clients following the Autoimmune Paleo Diet is inspiring me to create dairy and seed free versions of some of my favorite recipes.  (This was my take on the Chicken Tikka from last month.)  Marinating this for several hours is key so that the lime, coconut and spices really penetrate the meat.  Since the marinade takes about 5 minutes to throw together, I like to marinate the chicken in the morning so that it’s ready to grill for dinner. (No props or styling for this photo—this is a real-life meal for a client!)

Seared Tuna with Smashed Cucumbers & Ume Vinaigrette

Bright, crunchy and so ready for a warm Summer night, this AIP recipe is satisfyingly savory and has a real umami hit from the ume vinegar. Ume vinegar is made from umeboshi, cured Japanese plums, and is a great agent in ramping up saliva production (which is an often-forgotten and hugely important part of our digestion!). Clients following an Autoimmune Paleo diet can’t eat any seeds, legumes, grains, dairy or nightshades, so I’ve used deep red sumac* powder in place of any seedy spices to crust the tuna. Sumac is a berry common in Middle Eastern cooking, and even grows right here in New England. *NOTE: If you’re still in the restricted phase of AIP, you may want to skip the sumac altogether.

Grilled Chicken Tikka

My former boss, private chef Emily Su, calls this 5-minute chicken because you could marinate it for as little as 5 minutes. They used to make it for quick staff meals at Chez Panisse, and she taught me how to prepare it for her private clients back in California. It’s been a favorite ever since, and it’s always the first thing I grill each Spring. If you want a little more heat, feel free to add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the marinade.