Holiday Butternut & Apple Stuffed Pork

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Perfect for a special occasion, I made this thinking about a new dish for Christmas dinner. I used pork loin, which is larger and cheaper than pork tenderloin so easily serves more people without breaking the budget. However, bear in mind it is usually pretty lean so if you can get a pork loin with a fat cap on top, that really helps. I picked one up from a local farm, or discuss with your local butcher to see if they can cut you one and keep the fat cap on. Alternatively I would suggest wrapping some bacon slices over the top of the roast while it cooks to help add moisture and protect from dryness – plus, YUM!

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Holiday Butternut & Apple Stuffed Pork
 
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A paleo and Whole30 friendly roast perfect for a special occasion like CHristmas. Who needs ham when you can make this!
Author:
Serves: 5-6
Ingredients
  • 1 lb butternut squash
  • 1 apple (about 5 oz)
  • 2 ¼ lb pork loin (with fat cap)
  • ½ tsp dry sage
  • 1 tsp dry thyme (divided)
  • 2 Tbl avocado oil (divided)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped sage
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Special equipment: kitchen twine and kitchen thermometer.
  3. Dice butternut and apples into 1-inch pieces, then spread on separate sheet pans. Toss squash with 1 tsp oil, ¼ tsp salt and the dry sage.
  4. Toss apple with ½ tsp oil, pinch salt and ¼ tsp dry thyme.
  5. Roast until both are fork tender but not overly soft.
  6. While those roast, prepare the pork:
  7. Butterfly the pork loin by making a horizontal cut mid-way through the pork so it opens like a book. You want to make the cut width-wise, not length-wise (again, so it opens like a book). Be careful not to cut all the way through – stop about 1 inch before cutting all the way through.
  8. Open the loin up like a book, then rub it all over with the remaining salt, dry thyme, black pepper and remaining oil (rub all sides). It should feel generously seasoned.
  9. For the filling: layer the butternut, apple and fresh chopped sage on the bottom part of the loin, then close it up. Use the kitchen twine to tie the pork closed in 4 places – a simple loop and a knot will do.
  10. Place pork in a roasting dish – if any filling slips out, just stuff it back in around the edges.
  11. This is the best point to let the roast marinate for about 30 minutes or place in fridge overnight and roast the next day.
  12. When ready to roast:
  13. Roast 20 minutes then baste with any juices that have collected in the pan. Rotate dish, roast for another 20 minutes, baste again. Roast until internal temperature reads 140, about 45 minutes.
  14. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

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Apple & Sweet Potato ‘Bread Pudding’

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I had the idea for this recipe circulating in my head for a while and I am SO glad I finally made it. Yum. Slightly sweet with custard-like egg filling, this has become my go-to breakfast for the week. It’s also paleo, Whole30 compliant and gluten free as always  – but if you’re feeding a crowd all that matters is it’s good! The recipe makes a large baking dish worth (about 8-10 servings) so you can prep it ahead and enjoy it for days. I’d also argue this makes a great afternoon snack – a kick of protein and carbs with some healthy fats to power you through until dinner.  In addition, if you want to get creative, bake this in muffin cups for an even easier way to take it on the go. Enjoy!

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Apple & Sweet Potato 'Bread Pudding'
 
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Healthy and paleo version of bread pudding that is also Whole30 compliant
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1½ lb apples (3 apples)
  • 1½ lb sweet potato (1 large sweet potato)
  • 3 Tbl coconut oil
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp dry thyme (dry)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 12 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (canned)
  • 1½ Tbl arrowroot flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease a large baking dish very well with 1 Tbl coconut oil (about 10x10 size.)
  3. Chop apples and sweets into 1 inch pieces.
  4. Roast apples with 1 Tbl coconut oil, pinch salt and half the cinnamon until "al dente" in texture, about 15 minutes.
  5. Roast sweets with 1 Tbl coconut oil, pinch salt, half cinnamon and the thyme, until "al dente" in texture, about 25-30 minutes.
  6. While those roast, prep your filling:
  7. In a large bowl whisk a small amount of eggs with the arrowroot to form a paste, then slowly whisk in all the eggs, then coconut milk and salt.
  8. Add the roasted apple and sweet to the filling, then pour gently into greased baking dish.
  9. Sprinkle a pinch of extra cinnamon over the top.
  10. Bake until puffed and the center is firm to the touch, about 30 minutes.
  11. Baking time will vary slightly based on the size of your baking dish.

Cran-Apple & Pear Crisp (nut free)

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I made this recipe on a whim and oh brother let me tell you it’s yummy! Sometimes, our best creations come when we’re just throwing stuff together for fun. I had 3 really ripe pears that needed to be used up, and in the fall there’s no flavor combination I love better than apple, pear and cranberry. I also specifically wanted to make it nut-free and with no added sugar to keep it a.) healthy and b.) friendly for the nut allergy people in my life. I know baked goods, especially in the paleo – blogging – sphere, tend to be made with almond flour because it’s so easy to work with. That can be frustrating if you’re looking for a dessert recipe that’s gluten-free or paleo but also nut-free – so here ya go!

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A comment on the topping: because it gets browned really fast in the oven, I cook the fruit filling first on the stove (it cooks really fast) and then assemble the whole dish and only bake it until the fruit bubbles through and the topping is browned. 

 

Cran-Apple & Pear Crisp (nut free)
 
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A heathy, gluten-free, paleo version of apple crisp that is also nut-free and has no added sugars.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 5-6
Ingredients
  • FILLING:
  • 2 Apples (such as Gala or Honeycrisp)
  • 3 Pears
  • 1 cup Cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Juice of ½ Lemon
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 tsp Ghee
  • 1 Tbl Arrowroot or Tapioca Flour
  • CRISP TOPPING:
  • 6 each Turkish Figs
  • 6 each medjool dates (pitted)
  • ⅓ cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 2 Tbl Coconut Flour
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 Tbl Ghee (room temp.)
Instructions
  1. For the Filling:
  2. Chop apples and pears into 1-inch pieces and place into a medium size pot along with all the other filling ingredients EXCEPT the arrowroot/tapioca flour. Heat over medium, covered, until starts to steam, then reduce to low and stir occasionally just until apples start to get soft. Stir in the arrowroot or tapioca flour and remove from heat.
  3. While the filling cooks, preheat oven to 350 (325 for convection ovens).
  4. Quarter the figs and halve the dates, then place into a food processor with the sunflower seeds.
  5. Pulse the processor until the fruit starts to break down and combine with the seeds. Then add the coconut flour, cinnamon and salt. Pulse to combine again, then add the ghee and pulse to combine.
  6. The mixture should be a bit sticky but crumbly looking. If you over-process it will get more like a LaraBar consistency (paste-like).
  7. To Assemble:
  8. Pour apple filling into a 9-inch pie dish. Using your fingers, crumble the topping over the top of the filling - don't pack it down, just crumble it gently and let it fall wherever it falls.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes just until the fruit can be seen starting to bubble through the topping and the topping is a little browned but not burnt. If you want it to bake longer but the top looks too brown, cover with foil.
  10. Allow to cool before serving.

 

Pecan Pie With Nut Crust

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Pecan pie is something I have strong memories of making at the first bakery I worked as a pastry chef. Thanksgiving was insane there, because we made pies. In all the years since then, I haven’t made pean pie again because it’s so sweet – even “healthy” versions are pretty sweet for me. But this year, I got some requests for a “healthified” version, so I thought, why not play around!

This recipe is still sweet to me because I don’t personally put sweetener in much of anything I eat these days. I just feel better without sugars in my life. BUT IT’S THE HOLIDAYS so let’s have some fun! I would say, if you are used to really sweet, traditional pecan pie, this won’t taste too sweet to you, and if you’re like me and don’t need much sugar, maybe take out 1 Tbl of the sweetener. Your choice.

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Let’s talk about the crust quickly – as per my usual approach to cooking, I rather not use sugars, so I used dates. Dates still have a lot of natural sugar, so this is still a sweetened crust, just no added sugar. This is a simple crust and you could use it for pumpkin pie too – or any type of pie for that matter! 

 

Paleo Pecan Pie
 
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A Paleo, gluten free, grain free and low sugar version of traditional pecan pie. Enjoy the holidays without all the corn syrup!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 Pie
Ingredients
  • CRUST:
  • 1 ½ cups pecan pieces
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbl ground flax
  • 3 Tbl water
  • Ghee, for greasing pie pan
  • FILLING:
  • 5 Tbl ghee, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut nectar (or just sub maple syrup)
  • 3 Tbl coconut sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbl coconut milk
  • 2 ¼ cups pecan halves
  • 2 tsp coconut flour
Instructions
  1. Crust:
  2. Preheat oven to 325.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flax and water, stir and set aside.
  4. Pulse the pecans and chopped dates in a food processor until resemble course meal.
  5. Add the salt, cinnamon and flax mixture, pulse again, to evenly combine.
  6. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl to make sure the mixture is getting evenly mixed. Pulse again.
  7. Grease a 9 inch pie pan with some ghee just to coat the surface.
  8. Press the mixture into the greased pie dish, using your fingers and palm to press and shape the crust. I have a video on Instagram that shows me doing this step!
  9. Bake off the crust just for 5 minutes to help it set.
  10. Filling:
  11. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk to combine the eggs, vanilla, sweeteners, salt, coconut milk. Add the ghee, whisk, then add the pecans and coconut flour, whisk to evenly combine.
  12. Pour filling into crust. Use your fingers to gently arrange the pecans so they are mostly all flat.
  13. Bake until filling is mostly set and not jiggly, but still has a slight give in the center. Like a gentle ‘bounce’ when you press lightly with you finger. About 30 minutes.
  14. If your crust starts to get brown on the edges while filling is cooking, tent the pie with some foil so it’s covered.

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Fennel & Sausage Hash

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I originally made this to be a breakfast dish, but it honestly works for any meal if you’re in the mood for flavors like fennel and butternut squash. This recipe is also simple and comes together pretty quickly. I recommend doubling the recipe so you have extra for the week! I’ve been eating leftovers in the morning with a couple eggs on top and a little sprinkle of cinnamon.

Bonus, this recipe is Whole30 compliant as well!

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Fennel & Sausage Hash
 
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A gluten-free, paleo and Whole30 compliant healthy breakfast recipe designed to be easy to make.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 lb butternut squash
  • 4 Tbl coconut oil
  • 1 lb pasture-raised ground pork
  • 5 oz onion (about half a large onion)
  • 6 oz celery (about 3 ribs)
  • 8 oz fennel bulb (about half a fennel bulb)
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup butternut puree
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Peel butternut squash, remove seeds and dice into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Spread squash on baking sheet pan, drizzle with 2 Tbl coconut oil, ¼ tsp salt then roast until soft, about 20-30 minutes.
  4. While squash roasts, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tbl coconut oil, then brown the ground pork, adding ¾ tsp salt, pepper, and breaking up any large chunks with spatula. Once no longer pink set aside on a plate.
  5. In the same skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbl oil, then saute onion for 5 minutes until soft, then add celery, fennel bulb and fennel seeds. Saute for 5 minutes, then add broth, puree, and pork back into the skillet and stir to combine.
  6. Serve the pork saute with the roasted butternut squash - you can toss them all together or serve the butternut as a side dish.

 

Bangers N Mash with Gravy

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This recipe is simple yet oh so satisfying. You can’t beat mashed potatoes and gravy, can you? I am really excited to share this gravy recipe since it is not only gluten and dairy free, but it is made without using any type of paleo flour at all. My digestive system doesn’t agree with almond flour and I try to avoid using almonds in general. Why’s that? Their sustainability is not so great and they are being so overused these days (if you haven’t looked into more information on the California almond industry, I recommend it if you like to learn). I also tend to not feel great from coconut flour either, but I know some people are fine with it. For the sake of this recipe, I wanted a gravy that was strictly based on veggies and broth. Voila! I recommend making extra gravy and keeping it around to  add to meals during the week or freeze it for future use. 

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Bangers N Mash
 
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A simple healthy recipe that is gluten free, paleo and Whole30 compliant
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
  • Gravy:
  • ¼ tsp coconut oil
  • 1 ½ cup yellow onion
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 3 each garlic
  • 2 cups potatoes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 ½ Tbl fresh sage
  • ½ tsp dry sage
  • ¾ tsp dry thyme
  • 18 oz broth
  • 1 Tbl coconut aminos
  • 2 Tbl coconut milk
  • Mash:
  • 2 lb white sweet potatoes or white potatoes
  • 1 cup broth, warmed
  • 2 -3 Tbl ghee
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup coconut milk, optional
  • Bangers:
  • 8 sausages of choice (make sure compliant if doing a Whle30)
  • 1 tsp ghee
Instructions
  1. Gravy:
  2. In a medium pot, heat coconut oil pver medium heat.
  3. Add the onion and sweat until softened, then add the celery and garlic, sauté 5 minutes.
  4. Add the potato, salt, pepper, herbs and stir together, then add the broth.
  5. Cover and simmer until potatoes are soft.
  6. Remove from heat, add the aminos and coconut milk.
  7. Use an immersion blender to puree, or transfer carefully to a blender and puree.
  8. Mash:
  9. Chop potatoes into 2 inch chunks, put in a pot and cover with water (peeled or unpeeled, your choice).
  10. Bring to a boil and simmer until soft. Strain, then place in mixing bowl. Whisk in broth slowly, then add ghee and salt. Add coconut milk if using for extra creaminess. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  11. Bangers:
  12. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add the ghee.
  13. When pan is hot, add the sausages. Sear until nice and brown on one side, then flip and sear second side. Reduce heat, cover pan with a lid and finish cooking sausages to an internal temp of 165.

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower & Butternut Pilaf

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I’ve been making different versions of this dish for years but I finally buckled down and took pictures so I could post it. My original plan was to make it with root veggies instead of cauliflower (it’s great with riced parsnips and/or white sweet potatoes) but then today I went with a slightly lower carb version using cauliflower. Feel free to try it with about 2 lbs of root veggies instead of cauliflower and serve it as a side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s festive, seasonal and has all the flavors you expect at this time of year: sage, thyme, celery, cranberry and butternut. I’m so obsessed with these ingredients right now I’ve been eating this for breakfast with eggs or sausage. Yum!

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Cauliflower & Butternut Pilaf
 
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A healthy side dish great for Thanksgiving, Christmas or anytime during the fall and winter! Paleo, gluten free and low carb.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4-5 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb butternut squash
  • ¾ cup frozen cranberries
  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 apple (such as Gala or Honeycrisp)
  • 3 Tbl ghee or coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tbl balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dry sage
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Set out two baking sheet pans.
  3. Peel butternut squash, scoop out seeds, then chop squash into 1-inch pieces. Set on one sheet pan, drizzle with 1 Tbl oil and 1 Tbl balsamic, plus half the salt and pepper.
  4. Roast squash for 20 minutes until starting to get soft, then add in the cranberries, stir so they are coated with oil, and continue roasting until squash is soft and cranberries are shriveled.
  5. While squash roasts:
  6. Trim leaves and stem from cauliflower, then pulse the florets in food processor until forms "rice". Transfer rice onto other sheet pan.
  7. Dice the half onion, celery and apple into small pieces and place on sheet pan with cauliflower rice.
  8. Sprinkle herbs, remaining salt and pepper over top, drizzle with 2 Tbl oil, then toss together using your fingers or a spatula and spread evenly across sheet pan.
  9. Roast cauliflower rice mixture until veggies are just soft, about 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
  10. Combine squash, cranberries and cauliflower mixture in a bowl and serve.

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Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

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I may or may not get overly excited about fall which results in pumpkin everything around my house. I can’t help it. If I still dressed up for Halloween I would be a pumpkin. Actually, I was a pumpkin when I was little and I was stuffed with newspapers to make my costume all puffy. I wish my family used cameras back then because it would be so fun to see a picture of that.

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This recipe hits all the spots for a fall baking treat, and BONUS, you can easily make these into muffins too. As muffins, they will bake a little faster but other than that you don’t need to change a thing. 

Hope you enjoy!

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
 
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Fall inspired pumpkin cranberry quick bread
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbl ground flax
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbl cassava flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbl coconut flour
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 2½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbl pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs plus 3 yolks, beaten
  • 5 Tbl water
  • ¼ cup plus 3 Tbl maple syrup
  • 3 Tbl ghee, melted (or sub coconut oil)
  • 1 cup cranberries (fresh or dried)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan with ghee.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl: flours, salt, baking soda and powder, spices.
  4. Combine all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl: pumpkin, eggs, water, maple syrup and ghee.
  5. In 3 parts, slowly sprinkle the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, whisking as you do so.
  6. Add cranberries, then pour into loaf pan and smooth the top.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, spin pan front to back for even baking.
  8. Bake another 15 minutes, then start checking for doneness every 5 minutes- the top should not be jiggly and a knife inserted into the center should come out with barely any crumbs.
  9. Allow to fully cool before slicing.

Sausage & Vegetable Stuffing

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If you’re looking to maintain your healthier eating habits over the holidays, or perhaps you’d like to stay as Whole30 compliant as you can, this is a recipe that can sub in for the traditional bread stuffing we all probably grew up eating. I LOVE stuffing. It took up 1/2 my plate in years past before I had to stop eating bread.

This dish also happens to make a yummy one-pan meal at any time of year. I’m serving it as a side dish for Thanksgiving and can’t wait to have it as leftovers too. 

Note: I am also working on a stuffing made with grain free / paleo bread –  it will even more closely replicate traditional stuffing, however it is not Whole30 compliant (nor am I really one to eat lots of grain-free bread, but heck it’s the holidays so if you want to try it, stay tuned!)

 

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Sausage & Vegetable Stuffing
 
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An easy gluten free, grain free, paleo and Whole30 compliant stuffing option for your holiday table. You can also omit the sausage for a vegetarian option.
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 2 Ttbl ghee (or coconut oil)
  • 1 lb ground sausage meat, optional
  • 5 oz onion ( about 1 heaping cup)
  • 5 oz celery (about 1 heaping cup)
  • 4 oz crimini (about 1 heapung cup)
  • ½ cup chopped chestnuts
  • 1 lb cauliflower, riced
  • ¾ tsp finely minced fresh rosemary
  • ¾ tsp dry thyme (or 1.5 tsp fresh thyme)
  • ¾ tsp dry sage (or 1.5 tsp chopped feesh sage)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup broth
  • 2 Tbl chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. For the sausage meat, choose your favorite sausage and remove it from the casing.
  2. If following Whole30, make sure there is no sugar in your sausages.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and melt 1 Tbl ghee.
  4. If using, brown the sausage meat until no longer pink, then remove from pan and set aside. You can skip this step if you don’t want the meat.
  5. Add remaining 1 Tbl ghee to the same pan.
  6. When pan is hot, add the onion and sauté 5 minutes.
  7. Add celery. Sauté 5 minutes, then add the crimini and chestnuts.
  8. Stir occasionally for another 5 minutes, add the cauliflower, herbs, salt and pepper.
  9. Stir, then add the broth and cover pan with a lid.
  10. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes. Add sausage meat into the pan and stir to combine. Add the parsley.
  11. Remove from heat and serve.

 

 

 

 

Butternut Leek Soup

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This is a soup you can pull together pretty quickly and with minimal ingredients. As you may have started to notice, I’m a fan of simple recipes.  This soup is an example of simplicity that celebrates the ingredients without being overdone. I recommend this dish for a variety of situations, ranging from breakfast if you’re avoiding eggs, to having this soup chilled for lunch, to serving it as an appetizer for dinner. It’s Whole30 compliant, paleo friendly and happens to be a favorite snack of mine.

You can make this is a slow cooker as well –  I suggest sautéing the onion and leek, then placing all the contents into the crockpot. Cook for 8 hours on low, then puree. 

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Butternut & Leek Bisque
 
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A simple, delicious and healthy soup recipe that is dairy free but packed with nutrients
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbl coconut oil
  • 2 butternut squash
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 quart chicken bone broth (homemade ideal)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 - 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
  • Optional Additions:
  • 1 Tbl fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbl fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbl lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Peel, de-seed, and cube the butternut squash.
  2. Remove the roots and dark green ends from the leek, cut in half lengthwise, then thinly slice width-wise. Thoroughly rinse the sliced leeks to remove excess dirt, then strain well.
  3. Heat a 4-5 quart soup pot over medium heat and add the coconut oil.
  4. Once heated, add the onion and saute 5 minutes.
  5. Add the leek and saute another 5 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and butternut squash, saute 2-3 minutes, then add the chicken broth, salt and pepper.
  7. Cover and simmer until the squash is very soft, about 20 minutes.
  8. I suggest pureeing with an immersion blender if you have one, this way you can just blend the soup right in the pot. However, a regular blender will do, but allow soup to cool a bit before blending.
  9. Add coconut milk and any herbs, then puree.
  10. Season to taste, adding more salt or herbs as desired. You can also add a little lemon to brighten up the flavor.
  11. **NOTE: You can also throw this in a slow cooker on low for about 8 hours, then puree!