Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Avocado Pesto and Spicy Coconut Salmon

Ever since starting Freckled Foodie and continuously photographing my meals, I’ve noticed one stand out consistent meal: zucchini noodles and salmon. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bowl of pasta. In no way am I going to tease you to believe that this will replace the hearty, comforting, nap induced bliss you feel after a bowl of hot pasta. However, what I can tell you, is that there are many of nights I actually prefer to have this meal instead (I know, blasphemy). I was always skeptical of “zoodles” for this exact reason. Refusing to accept them as a form of pasta, I changed my mindset to view them as simply another delicious option for a meal, which is exactly what they are. This meal’s pulling force that continues to suck me in on a weekly basis is the place it lands on the taste / effort scale. This meal is exceptionally easy to make, especially if you follow some of my prepping tips below, and requires minimal effort in the kitchen. It also is a refreshing, light, and delicious dinner or lunch option while seemingly impressive to dinner guests. Plus, these zoodles are simply aesthetically pleasing when they so perfectly resemble long ribbons.

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Taco Bar with Gluten & Grain Free Cauliflower Taco Shells / Tostadas

Cinco de Mayo gave me the perfect excuse to try new recipes, throw a “build your own taco bar” dinner party, and chug kombucha filled margaritas. In an effort to maintain this gluten and grain free lifestyle, I have been a huge fan of the Siete tortillas and tortilla chips. Combining that love with my recent use of a Cauliflower Foods pizza crust, and curiosity, I set out on the goal to create my own cauliflower based taco shells. After setting an extremely low bar for myself, prepared to either be impressed or laugh at this epic fail, and a cabinet filled with back up options, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. These shells were a lot easier to make than one would think and, I can guarantee from my experience, you will without a doubt impress your guests. Trust me, my bragging ability of these bad boys only got louder and stronger with every margarita I had. Note: while they can fold to form a true “taco shell” and maintain their shape, I actually enjoyed eating them as tostadas.

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Zoodles with Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs, Fennel Frond Pesto, and Turmeric Curry Coconut Yogurt Sauce

This (delicious) meal was inspired by two questions I found myself wondering this past week. One, what exactly makes a pesto a “pesto”. Is it the basil? Is it just a leaf blended with some type of nut and an oil? Is it simply something green that is a spreadable sauce? Two, why the heck is half of the fennel I just purchased all stems and fronds and what am I supposed to do with them (because I am mentally unable to throw away any type of food). Along with these questions, I found myself at my favorite local butcher shop looking through the glass case the same way I have a thousand times before but all of a sudden gravitating towards a different type of meat: lamb. Following my stomach (because how else should you live life), these thoughts, questions, and epiphanies, I was led me to one thing: fennel frond fucking pesto. Sorry, I know I have an extremely bad cursing habit and use the F word as an adjective too often, but it just rolled off the tongue so perfectly. So anyway, this triple F pesto sauce became the connection between all of my wondering thoughts and the base of a deliciously adventurous, and very different than my usual, weeknight dinner.

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One Pot Whole 30 Chicken Coconut Curry Stew w/ Sweet Potatoes and Cashews

There is something so comforting about a warm delicious stew on a cold winter day. While I mainly steer towards tomato based and meat filled versions, lately I have had a serious craving for all spices Indian. While trying to follow Whole 30 and also omit garlic & onion, Indian food is a cuisine that is nearly impossible to eat if not making it yourself. Indian takeout may be in my (very minimal) takeout rotation, but there is 0 chance I am going to be able to find a dish without so many ingredients. So instead of even attempting to explain everything over the phone to a delivery guy to then only be turned down, I decided to create my own version. Packed with flavor, protein, and some starch, this dish knocks Whole 30 Indian food out of the park.

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One Pot Whole 30 Meat Chili

While (almost) everyone loves chili, people seem to seriously disagree regarding on if its main ingredients: should it, or should it not, include beans. In my world, chili will not only include beans, but it will have 3 different varieties. That being said, I was mind blown to hear that people felt differently. What the heck is chili without beans!? Evidently, it is Whole 30 approved chili. Since chili is a continuing staple in my cooking rotation, I decided to give this counterargument some thought and try this whole sans-bean- chili thing. The worst (or best) part of it all? I hate to say it, but I actually really enjoy this meal. So while I am still “team chili with beans”, I will gladly enjoy this version for the next month.

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Fall Roasted Vegetable Farro Bowl

Is it starting to get cold outside? Are you realizing that flip-flops and jean shorts are far away from your reality? I’m truly sorry. However, with cold temperatures come great vegetables. I absolutely love the produce, flavors, and dishes served in the fall and winter. For some reason, it brings joy to my cold bones. This bowl combines all of my favorite things fall in a healthy and easily transportable way. Your shivering colleagues will be jealous.

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Crab Cakes with Roasted Asparagus and Sautéed Spinach

This may sound odd, but one of my favorite things to do when visiting another city or town is finding a way to see firsthand what a person’s day to day life is like and what it would feel like to live there. Since my life revolves so much around food, these adventures usually involve a ton of research to find the local restaurants and hit as many as possible. But to really cure my curiosity, I need to find some type of market. Walk around with all the locals enjoying their Sunday grocery haul, watch the interactions with the stand owners and the customers, take inventory of all the options, and purchase some things to truly test what it’s all about. So before hopping on my train back to NYC the other weekend, I made my ay to the local Ardmore market and went all chameleon style trying my best to blend in. Within 3 seconds I fell in love and regretfully realized that, with a train ride ahead, I couldn’t buy everything my eyes wanted. Instead, I decided on the first thing I saw when I walked in: jumbo lump crab meat. This meal further strengthened my love for this market and guaranteed another trip in the near future.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Pan Seared Pork Chop and Crisped Kale

This recipe came about as a kitchen clean out but is now a staple in my dinner rotation during the colder months. For some reason, as much as I love both soup and pork chops, I rarely find myself eating either of them. Not only is this meal a healthy version of comfort food for when its too cold outside that you need something to warm your bones, but it is incredibly easy to prepare and something that will seriously impress anyone you have over for a dinner party. Plus, make a huge vat of this soup and you can freeze portions to last you the rest of winter.

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Bunless Salmon Burger w/ Toasted Sesame Cabbage and Mango Avocado Salsa

Something I never thought I’d say: add the salmon to your food processor. After trying these collard green wraps for the first time recently for my Whole 30 approved burger night, I quickly fell in love and set my mind on creating all different ways to use them as a bun replacement vehicle. Similarly, I recently toasted purple cabbage in sesame oil and questioned what the hell I’ve been doing for the past 25 years without this staple vegetable side in my kitchen. Falling head over heels for both, I decided to do the only thing logical and create a recipe that combined them. Alas, this salmon burger was where my mind steered. Unclear how to make this idea a reality, I found myself hesitantly reaching for my food processor and dropping in the salmon filet while questioning my logic and also wondering what the F I was doing. To my pleasant surprise, I did not end up with raw salmon soup but instead finely diced salmon that, when mixed with some almond flour and bell pepper, formed perfect burger patties. And while I was tossing all my random closet hidden ideas together I figured, why not add in some mango avocado salsa. Bring all the freaks to the table.

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Brown Rice Noodles in a Creamy Nut Sauce with Vegetables and Coconut Salmon

As a peanut butter addict, I always have at least one, but most of the time multiple, jars of different nut butters on my desk at work. While I’m surprised anyone would ever question this obsession, it recently stated a conversation with a colleague where to explain my obsession, I made the bold statement that nut butters go well with just about anything. “Seriously”, I question, “what is one thing you wouldn’t put peanut butter on?” The response I got was a simple statement: “pasta”. So here is my counter argument to my colleague, who I will without a doubt make this meal for to further prove my point. Brown rice spaghetti with a creamy almond cashew butter sauce topped with zucchini and carrot ribbons, toasted sesame cabbage, grape tomatoes, and coconut baked salmon. See? Nut butter goes well on EVERYTHING.

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