Romesco sauce is a delicious sauce, usually brick read in color, made of red peppers and nuts from Catalonia! I’ve re-created here, nightshade free and totally delicious. My first encounter with romanesco was on the gourmet food truck I worked on in San Diego, Harvest Kitchen.
Marguerite Griftka, the veteran chef who was to replace me as I was about to have a baby created the most epic tacos with this delicious sauce. This rich sauce is perfect on fish, but I think it doubles as a BBQ sauce pretty darn well.
Romesco has a tangy, yet warm flavor. It’s a little toasty and totally delicious. This cacao butter and cashew version, made using fried red onions vs red peppers it finger licking good too!
Other than being the perfect alternative to my avocado, coconut and dairy afflicted friends. This monounsaturated fat is packed with antioxidants. It also thickens when cooled and lends itself to making this sauce rich and creamy!
Cacao Butter Romesco Sauce with Crispy Chicken Thighs
This fun twist on Romesco sauce is somewhere between the traditional earthy and smoky sauce and BBQ sauce. A mix of fried red onions, toasted cashews and warm spices. Get all the antioxidant goodness of cacao in this deliciously savory recipe!
Total Time:50 minutes
½ cup melted Navitas Cacao Butter ½ red onion, sliced ¼ cup raw cashews ½ teaspoon garam masala ½ teaspoon toasted ground cumin ½ teaspoon fine salt ¼ cup coconut aminos 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon date syrup (or preferred sweetener- optional)
2 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons bacon fat
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons black pepper
Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat with the cacao butter. Once hot, add in the onion and cashews. Fry, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until the onions and cashews are golden and toasty. Pour everything into a blender, add in the seasonings, aminos, vinegar and sweetener if you’re using it. Blend until smooth.
To make the chicken:
Pre-heat oven to 425F.
Toss the chicken thighs, bacon fat, salt and pepper together then lay the thighs flat on a sheet pan, so none of them over lap or touch.
Roast for 30 minutes, then flip over and roast another 10. Use a spatula to scrape them up off the sheet pan.
Serve over greens, drizzle the sauce all over them!
Substitutions: Almonds or hemp hearts may be used instead of cashews and in equal amounts.
If you can eat nightshades, try using smoked paprika instead of the garam masala!
Meatballs are my favorite. They’re easy, family-friendly and they store really well! I’ve updated my paleo Belgium Meatballs to be low carb and Whole30 friendly. Dairy Free Swedish Meatballs that the entire family will love!
This was one of the first recipes on my blog, dated June 2015! Whoa! Well, it’s gotten a heck of a makeover. It’s easy, delicious and very much in line with the awesome flavor you’ve come to know from me.
Dairy Free Swedish Meatballs are perfect for game day snacks, just insert toothpicks, or served over your favorite low carb and grain free noodles for a popular weeknight dinner! I know your family will love this recipe, same as mine did!
Cauliflower “Heavy Cream”
Steam 1 cup cauliflower florets with 1 clove garlic, until tender. Drain and gently mash, measure 1/2 cup mashed cauliflower. Blend 1/2 cup mashed cauliflower with 1/2 cup coconut cream, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper. Blend until completely smooth. Chill to thicken.
GET FREE GRASS FED GROUND BEEF FOR LIFE! LEARN HOW, HERE!
Hey parents everywhere, and/or working professionals that like to pack a fun lunch. I hope this post is useful to you. NOTE these lunches are NOT ALL PALEO OR KETO. These are DAIRY AND GLUTEN FREE LUNCH BOX IDEAS.
My child is what we call paleo-ish. Other than a slight aversion to dairy, he can eat anything, but we chose to make whole food choices for him. Food choices low in sugar, that avoid the food coloring, and franken-food ingredients that go into simple everyday lunch foods.
It’s pretty appalling that the products marketed to children are usually the worst. Void of any real fat or fiber pumped full of sugar and then they add “fortified” which means the add synthetic forms of nutrients that would probably be in the food organically if they just left it alone. Okay, off my soapbox.
These weren’t really planned, but I made some protein muffins for Jack and some gluten-free apple spice bread. These went in his lunch usually for snack time. Making homemade treats I could fill with protein, use date syrup or raw honey in…. in other words have quality control over… it makes him feel like he still gets dessert, while I know he’s getting extra protein!
Schedule + Meal Prep
To make things a no-brainer I made a calendar. Much like the lunch ladies in the cafeteria. I picked two lunches and two snacks. Those would alternate each week. The next week he would have a different set of choices to alternate.
When I prepped something (like split pea and butternut soup or protein muffins) I made a big batch and froze half. That way in 2 weeks time, I would already have all the food ready to go! (Genius, I know). Scroll Down for a printable schedule!
My dairy and gluten free lunch box schedule!
Here’s a low carb option… if you have an avocado lover of a kid. I hear if you wrap tightly and face down the avocado does not get super gross. I made a joke about this on my stories… I got a few replies… so.. here you go. Avocado in a lunch box for you super healthy people 😉
Carne Asada is a Mexican preparation of steak, usually flank steak or falda. Marinated in citrus, herbs, cumin, often jalapeño too. Then broiled or grilled. It’s delicious and flavorful. So why did I make Carne Asada MEATBALLS?
Welp, the fact is… I’m not a huge fan of leftover steak. I like my meat rare or medium rare, so re-heating makes it too tough. But I LOVE leftover meatballs.
Before I get into this post, I NEED to tell you. Butcher Box has THE BEST promo going on. If you sign up THIS month, you get 2 POUNDS of their grass-fed ground beef, with each order for the life of your subscription.
The very ground beef I used to make these Carne Asada Meatballs with Arroz Amarillo. I love my Butcher Box!
Latin Inspired Recipes
If you didn’t know, now you know… I’m Cuban! First generation American, born to Cuban immigrants. My first language was Spanish (I’m still fluent). I have spent time in Spain, all over the Caribbean and Mexico. My step-dad is from Argentina and my step-mom from Colombia.
Needless to say, I’m well versed in Latin cooking. However, being away from my family for so long, I haven’t posted too many recipes inspired by my culture on the blog. There are quite a few in my book Made Whole though!
I promise to start posting more… starting with these Carne Asada Meatballs over Arroz Amarillo (yellow rice).
Keto is the latest rage in the health and wellness community. The more people migrate from paleo to keto, or the more people that find how well keto works for them, the more people who find they need to do keto without dairy.
Back when I began keto there were zero dairy free resources. Now, several. But as this has been my personal way to keto. I am happy to share my very own GUIDE TO DAIRY FREE KETO!
First thing’s first… What is this keto?
The ketogenic diet is a diet which promotes the metabolic state of ketosis. When you are in ketosis your liver is producing ketones, which will use dietary and/or stored body fat as fuel. Instead of your body pumping out insulin which shuttles blood sugar into cells for fuel you will now use fat. Think of sugar (glucose) as kindling, fast burning fuel and fat as the logs in a fire, slow burning.
The benefit to slow burning energy is that you don’t have spikes and falls of energy. You stay satisfied much longer, no need to re-fuel every few hours. Beyond that there are many studies that attest to the healing aspects of a ketogenic diet.
Used for over 100 years in clinical settings to treat neurological disorders, a ketogenic diet is very powerful. It also has many faces. Folks keto in many different ways. While the medical ketogenic diet needs to be very high in fat (brain fuel) and very low in carbs (sometimes in efforts to stave tumors!)….. the more casual keto diet is being used my many people to find a healthy body weight, experience better energy, mental clarity and athletic performance.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO ROCK A DAIRY FREE KETO LIFESTYLE!
Some people put a strong emphasis on hitting macronutrient goals to get into ketosis or stay there. The traditional keto macronutrient ratios are:
I track total carbs, not net carbs (carbs – fiber). I also don’t partake in too many keto bread, treats etc… I feel if your carbs are from vegetables, it’s not imperative to restrict them as much. But that’s just me.
Being in ketosis isn’t only about not eating carbs. Many people enjoy a ketogenic state, despite their diet. They practice fasting or do a ton of cardio every day. Once you’re out of glycogen, your body will go into ketosis. There are many ways to get there.
Bonus on a dairy free keto, and usually a more whole food keto… you know, broccoli isn’t going to kick you out of ketosis.
When you first lower your carbs and up your fat your body will go through a transition. It will have to learn to use fat as fuel before glycogen. This may take a few weeks or a few months.
Once you have trained your body to prefer fat as fuel, you’re fat adapted.
Being fat adapted is nice because your cravings will subside, you will have more energy and your meals will be very satisfying. Also, you have a little more wiggle room when it comes to what you eat, and it kicking you out of ketosis.
Again, ketosis is a metabolic state. Some people, like Cross Fitters, can eat 80-100 grams of carbs a day and be in ketosis because of their demanding physical activity. They have metabolic flexibility, going in and out of ketosis without skipping a beat.
Our bodies will always use a measure of glycogen, even making it out of protein if need be, so don’t go hating on glucose, it’s there for a reason. We just don’t need to overeat sugar and carbs all day every day like most of us do on a standard American diet (SAD).
Keto in 1, 2, 3….
Omit all starches + sugar from your diet to include grain, beans, tubers, sweeteners, most fruit, potatoes, oatmeal, sweet peas, pasta, etc.
Replace these foods with healthy fat and above ground vegetables, mostly green ones. Eat plenty of avocado, olives, coconut oil, rendered animal fats.
Make sure you’re getting in enough protein. .5-.8g per pound of your body weight. Strive to source quality proteins not to ingest inflammatory corn and hormones via your animal proteins.
Because you don’t retain water when you eat low carb, you need to make sure you hydrate and get in electrolytes.
Drink water with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt and a squeeze of lemon
Make sure you drink enough water. Make sure you eat enough. Fat can be very satiating, but the fast road to hormone imbalance, hair loss and adrenal fatigue is not eating enough.
What do I eat on Dairy Free Keto
Quality animal proteins, eggs, bacon, coconut, green vegetables will be most of what you eat. No need to eat tons of cheese to get fat into your diet. Chicken thighs, ribeye steaks, pork shoulders all have plenty of protein. Add some good sauces to your plate, sauces made with anti-inflammatory fats like avocado oil mayo, coconut milk curry and Sunshine sauce and you will be cruising on your keto lifestyle.
Because keto with a paleo twist (an emphasis on whole, ingredient foods) is amazing and all. But sometimes we just want the damn dairy free keto cookie.
I like using coconut flour and flax seed meal for baking. Fine ground almond flour is effective, but easy to over consume. Nuts consumed in large amounts can be inflammatory. Proceed with caution.
Dark chocolate is my BFF. I stick to 80% dark or higher. You can also get stevia-sweetened dark chocolate.
Creating meals that stratify cravings is fine, it’s a need, it’s what I do for a living. This is meant to be a lifestyle change. It’s forever. So you bet your ass we’re going to eat delicious foods. It’s all about getting creative with cooking. Some of my most popular recipes are:
Do I use sweeteners? Which ones? Yes. On occasion, I use Stevia Glycerite. Swerve or Lakanto. I recently started using Lakanto. I prefer it over Swerve, by a lot! However, I try to use no sweetener or use Stevia first (to keep things paleo). Lakanto and Swerve are both made with erythritol that is sugar alcohols from fermented corn.
We all need quick and easy sheet pan meals. Especially now that the school year is starting. Sheet pan meals for me are the best, they are hands off and create little to no mess. Very important on a hectic weekday.
This Sheet Pan Meal Looks Fancy, But it’s REALLY AFFORDABLE.
London Broil is a lean, usually pretty tough cut of meat, hence, it’s cheap. However, with a good marinade and quick + high heat cooking method, you still get steak that’s tasty and won’t break your jaw.
Paired with crispy brussel sprouts cooked with crispy bacon, speckled with toasted clumps of coconut butter, I dare you NOT to eat them all up? Seriously. This sheet pan meal pairs the most delicious vegetable combination I have ever made, which bakes up in 30 minutes- with an affordable meat that cooks in 12. It. Can’t. Get. Easier.
Ya’ll already know I strongly prefer Grass Fed Beef. Reason number one being that inflammatory grains (ie GMO corn) that cattle are fed is highly inflammatory. Cows are not meant to eat grains. Much like humans that eat grains, these cows end up fat, unhealthy and with lots of inflammation. They’re given medicine because their sick and pretty much are miserable. So their meat, no surprise there… is also sick. It’s inflammatory and contains CORN. I don’t eat corn, so why would I eat a cow that ate corn.
I get it, grass-fed can be expensive. Which is why I buy form Butcher Box. At about $6 a meal, grass-fed and finished beef, that I trust. It’s delicious. Oh yeah, and you can customize your boxes, so you can get a lot of bang for your buck by choosing the more affordable options.
Bonus they always have killer deals going on! Watch my Instagram or sign up to my newsletter (on the sidebar) to get notifications of those. But you can ALWAYS save $10, get free shipping and free bacon when you sign up using MY LINK!
In a casserole mix all of the marinade ingredients. Add the meat and flip it around in the marinade to get it all over. Cover and set in the fridge overnight, turning over once before cooking (the morning of).
When ready to cook, remove the meat from the fridge, let it rest at room temperature in its marinade for an hour.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 400F.
Add your brussel sprouts to a sheet pan, toss with oil, salt and onion powder.
Arrange bacon pieces all over it and then distribute the coconut butter in little clumps all over everything.
Roast on the middle rack for 30 minutes at 400.
Leaving the brussel sprouts in the oven, set oven to broil at the 30 minute mark, making sure you second oven rack is right under the broiler.
Add your london broil (in the cassrole dish where it marinated- or move it to a sheet pan) and place it under the broiler. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Then use tongs to flip it over and cook it another 4-5 minutes.
Remove everything from the oven. Move the meat over to a cutting board. Let it rest for 8-10 minutes before slicing against the grain.
Transfer the meat to the sheet pan with the brussel sprouts and set that bad boy on the dinner table. Dinner is ready! Dig in.
Anatomy of a Low Carb Power Bowl: We all know that everything tastes better in a bowl. It’s science.
Bowls allow you to combine hot and cold, fresh and cooked, tender and crispy and mix it all together with the sauce.
That’s right, the glue to any power bowl is a good sauce. Sauces are the MVPs of a good ketogenic diet. A fabulous flavor-boosting – nutrient dense vessel for your fat. At the bottom of this post, I’m sharing a recipe for the perfect power bowl sauce. Chimichurri Avocado Cream. Yes!
But first, lets talk shop. How do you create the perfect bowl… that isn’t full of grains??
First, we need a base. A vegetable that will be the bulk of this meal. Something that takes up space in the bowl and that will help fill you up. Something with a texture that can be made in a hands-off manner (ie. Instant pot or oven). Something that has a good texture. Roasted veggies. Noodles, or noodle like foods. So let’s check out our most viable options and how to make them!
Roasted Cauliflower Rice: toss on a sheet pan with avocado oil, salt and garlic powder. Toss and spread out. Roast at 400F. for 20-30 minutes.
Roasted Diced Vegetables: toss on a sheet pan with avocado oil, salt, and garlic powder. Toss and spread out. Roast at 400F. for 35-40 minutes.
Pressure Cooker Pumpkin: quarter an acorn squash or kabocha squash, seed it and put in in the pressure cooker with 1 cup water. Cook on high for 10 minutes. Remove, spoon out tender meat. Drizzle with oil and salt.
Pressure Cooker or Roasted Spaghetti Squash: poke holes in your squash, put the whole squash in the pressure cooker with 1 cup water. Cook on high for 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove. halve, seed and then use forks to pull out the “spaghetti”. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper.
Crispy Cauliflower Pilaf (coming soon)
Crispy Broccoli: cut into florets, toss with avocado oil, garlic powder, salt and massage oil and seasoning into florets. Spread out on a sheet pan, florets facing down. Roast at 400F, 30-40 minutes.
Shredded Cabbage: toss on a sheet pan with avocado oil, salt, and garlic powder. Toss and spread out. Roast at 400F. for 35-40 minutes.
Shirataki Noodles: open bag and drain fluid. Soak the noodles in cool water. Rinse then drain. Saute in coconut oil over high heat. Add a splash of coconut aminos, salt and pepper.
You need something green. It’s a rule. I often like 2-3 green components. For example a green base and a green sauce too… but I’m getting ahead of myself. You want something fresh, crisp, and preferably raw. But some crispy kale works too.
My favorite green for bowls is arugula. It’s spicy, it’s soft. Arugula is the best.
Go with roasted root veggies for a carb up or add diced apples
Add a splash of coconut aminos
I like to go shredded or go crispy. But you know me… I usually go crispy!
Since these bowls have so many components I like to use easy protein or leftovers to cut down on prep. Leftover shredded meats, crisped up in a cast iron are awesome.
Meal prep roasted chicken, ground beef or even canned salmon work. You can add fried or hard-boiled eggs, even a bunch of scrambled eggs.
But my all-time favorite proteins for power bowls… bratwurst or frozen burger patties! I like my brats crispy, I roast them in the oven along with the base and oh- em- gee. 400F, tossed in avocado oil. 35-40 minutes. Get it.
Sauce: like the one below, ranch dressing or your favorite sauce!
These allergen friendly fat bombs are delicious! They’re made with sunflower seed butter, hence the name: Sunshine Fat Bombs. The sun butter is mixed with coconut cream and coconut oil. Lightly sweetened, splash of vanilla. Finished off with a layer of dark chocolate and flaked salt. What’s not to like?
Similar to peanut butter cups, these nut and dairy free fat bombs are creamy and light and like a classy cousin of the peanut butter cup.
Low Carb Sweetener Guide
I use Anthony’s Goods Erythritol for this. Swerve has been giving me cramps, I think it’s the oligosaccharides which are a pre-biotic fiber. These non-digestible fibers tend to be rough on the gut.
Stevia Glycerite is another favorite of mine. It’s not as sweet as the other liquid stevia. The glycerite is thick, like syrup and about 3x as sweet as sugar. I also don’t experience and aftertaste with it.
Monk fruit is picking up popularity, but Pure Monk fruit is sooooo strong it’s hard to use. Lakanto brand markets as a monk fruit sweetener but it’s really a blend of erythritol and monk. Folks seem to really like it though.
If you don’t do low carb sweeteners I would recommend honey for these.
1/4 cup coconut cream (from a chilled, full fat coconut milk can)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 tablespoons erythritol, or preferred sweeter, see substitution guide above
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 squares dark chocolate (about 50 grams)
Flaked salt, optional
Start with room temperature ingredient. If your coconut oil is solid run the jar under warm water to liquefy. Combine the sunflower seed butter, coconut cream, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, fine salt, sweetener, and vanilla until smooth. I use a small whisk.
Distribute the mix into 6-8 slots of a silicone mold, cupcake mold etc. Tap the tray or mold on the counter to settle the mix flat in each slow. If it’s really thick use a small spoon to flatten. Place in the freeze on a flat surface.
Chop up the chocolate and put it in a small bowl with the remaining coconut oil. Microwave for 30 seconds. Then stir until liquid. If it has not fully melted, give it another 10 seconds.
Stir well and let is sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Then take the fat bombs out of the freeze and distribute the melted chocolate between them. For 6 I had about 3 tsp per fat bomb.
Carefully put the fat bombs back in the freezer on a level surface and freeze until hard or overnight. Un-mold, finish with a sprinkle of flake salt. Store in tupper ware in the freezer.
I have not included macros for these because the brand of sunflower seed butter and sweetener used will change that information. I recommend Keto Diet App to track macros.
*this post contains affiliate links that help keep Castaway Kitchen afloat*
When Thrive Market first reached out to me I was really interested in learning more about their company. I had watched my friends and fellow bloggers benefit from their Thrive memberships for so long. Yet living in Hawaii, I was ineligible to order, sorry my island friends, they only deliver in the Continental US. Although that might change soon!
A little insert in the juicy stuff before we get to the details!
Thrive Market is an online retailer for all things natural and healthy. The only stock vetted brands. Brands that not only create quality products but also are mindful of the planet, treat their employees well and have a moral compass.
I find a lot of peace of mind in this. I trust Thrive to sort through the many companies seeking to benefit from the health and wellness space, assuring you that when you shop with them, these brands have your best interest at heart.
Because Thrive market sells these quality goods at 20-50% under retail price, saving you LOADS of money, you also have the option to donate your savings each time your purchase.
Where does the money go?
Directly into the account of a sponsored Thrive member. You are directly purchasing food for a family who cant afford it. Pretty epic, impactful stuff. Optional… but impactful!
How Thrive Market works?
A small, community-funded company. Thrive market was turned away by all major investors. But because of the passion for helping people and making quality products available to all, Thrive Market came to be. That’s right, WE made it happen!
Thrive sells dry goods, pantry staples, snacks and all sorts of paleo, keto, AIP, vegan, gluten free foods. You know those “specialty ingredients” that cost so much at health food stores… yeah…Thrive has them for less.. MUCH LESS. All your favorite health food brands!
Not only food, but they have you covered in cosmetics, home, beauty, and health. A one stop shop for your healthy living needs
There is an annual membership fee of $50 (which you will make back in savings in no time). But remember you can TRY IT FOR FREE (CLICK HERE). There are no shipping charges for orders over $49 and all orders ship promptly. For more FAQ’s, head HERE.
What Kind of Things Can I Buy on Thrive Market?
Anything from pantry staples to toothpaste, a tongue scraper, pet supplies, vitamins, homeopathic remedies and more!
I’ve complied a Made Whole Thrive Shopping List for you! All my favorite Paleo-Keto, AIP friendly pantry staples that I use to make food taste AMAZING!