15+ healthy and delicious freezer meals to make and freeze before having a baby or surgery! Gluten-free, easy to make, and satisfying too.
IT’S BABY WEEK!!!
So wild to finally be able to say that! On one hand I feel like I’ve been pregnant for-ev-er, on the other hand I keep asking myself – how are we already here? Either way, this family of four is ready to become a party of five. Baby sis’ room is ready (she’ll be sleeping bedside for at least 3 months but Type-A here wanted everything ready anyway,) my hospital bags are packed, and we officially traded our cool card in for a minivan – a swap I’ve never been so excited to make.
Three words: STOW AND GO. Ok three more: POWDER SLIDING DOORS! I’m never going back. Ben is horrified.
In contrast to our large, empty van trunk, my freezer is filled to the brim with meals to thaw and eat post-baby. I didn’t prepare freezer meals prior to having Lincoln and really regretted it. Ben and I survived on so much Chipotle those chaotic weeks post-birth that it wasn’t even funny. Do you know how many Chipotle burrito bowls it takes to be considered unfunny? A lot, because that ish is good.
That said, I learned my lesson with Cameron and stocked our freezer with soups, snacks, and crock pot “freezer kits” prior to having him. Knowing I didn’t have to drag my butt to the store with a toddler + newborn more often then I had to, and more importantly make the decision as to what to whip up for dinner for quite some time, was life saving. I highly recommend that any expecting parent or heck, anyone preparing to be down and out for awhile after having surgery, etc., prep/cook/freeze as many meals as possible in advance.
That said, today I’m sharing 15+ of my favorite freezer meals to make before having a baby, surgery, etc. Not only are these recipes comforting, nourishing, and EASY, but they’re simple to multiply if you choose. For instance, you can make one Crock Pot White Chicken Chili freezer kit just as easily as you can make 10.
A couple years ago I wrote a big, comprehensive post on 50+ Gluten-Free Freezer-Friendly Recipes that you may want to check out as well. Not only does this post contain, yep, 50+ GF/FF recipes, but also freezing tips and what does/doesn’t typically freeze well. My two most important takeaways from that post are:
Do not freeze warm/hot meals – cool them completely in the fridge before freezing.
Thaw meals or freezer kits in the refrigerator 24 hours prior to re-warming/cooking vs cooking frozen or thawing on the counter.
With that, I’m officially signing off until baby girl arrives! One thing I also didn’t do after having Lincoln was take any sort of maternity leave (literally I blogged from the hospital – WHYYYYYYYY??) Taking time off to rest and recuperate after having Cameron was what I needed both mentally and physically at that time, and I plan to do the same with baby girl. Ben, the boys and I appreciate and cherish all of your well wishes, prayers, and excitement, and can’t wait to introduce our DAUGHTER to you! Until then…
Crock Pot White Chicken Chili
Crock Pot White Chicken Chili is my favorite freezer recipe not only because it’s one of my favorite recipes in general, but also because you can freeze the chili after it’s been fully cooked then cooled, or as a “freezer kit” which is what I usually do.
Add everything but the broth, lime, milk and flour into a freezer bag then seal and freeze flat. Thaw overnight in the fridge then dump everything into the crock pot with the broth and lime juice and cook per usual. (Psst: I almost always skip the milk/flour step in this recipe and it’s totally fine.) Serve with tortilla chips and you’re set!
Crock Pot Black Bean and Rice Soup is hearty and healthy – an excellent, nourishing meal to eat post-baby. Again, you can freeze this soup after it’s been cooked/cooled (wait to add the rice until the day you eat,) or make into a freezer kit minus the broth and cook fresh the day of.
An oldie but goodie recipe here on IGE! Frozen Breakfast Burritos are the bomb.com. Use your favorite fillings and tortillas then roll and wrap a bunch of these to stash in the freezer and pull out anytime you need a hot and hearty breakfast that only requires 1 hand to eat. I LOVE this recipe.
The one, the only Signature Spicy Smoky Sweet Chili! This recipe freezes extremely well and it’s not only great for cool nights, but for game day too – just good to have in the freezer! Plus you can serve it in a variety of ways – in a bowl with cheese and tortilla chips of course, or over hot dogs, cooked pasta, cooked spaghetti squash, etc. Such a delicious, comforting treat to have when you’re super, super tired.
File Mini Corn Dog Muffins under: “totally fine for Mom to devour”, but also: “my kids are starving and I need something nearly instant, fun, and filling to serve them”! Bake/cool then freeze these adorable bites on a sheet pan then transfer to a freezer bag. Place as many as you need directly from the freezer onto a plate then cover with a paper towel and microwave on 50% power until warmed through. SO EASY.
Another freezer kit staple of mine! Crock Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is a wildly popular recipe here on IGE year-round as it’s healthy and comforting – just what you need after having a baby. This recipe is actually best made as a freezer kit vs cooking then freezing, so the rice keeps its texture. Add everything but the chicken broth into a freezer bag then freeze flat. Thaw overnight in the fridge then dump into a crock pot with the broth and cook according to instructions.
If you’re not from the Midwest, the concept of a “loose meat” sandwich might sound nuts, but I promise you they’re so, so delicious. Slow cook/cool then freeze the loose meat with a little bit of extra cooking liquid then thaw and scoop onto buns with ketchup or BBQ sauce, sprinkle over baked fries with shredded cheese, or turn into Sloppy Joes. Such a versatile staple to have on hand in the freezer.
Shredded pork freezes extremely well and stays nice and juicy on account of its higher fat content. That said, keep a couple bags of cooked/cooled/frozen Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork on hand for thawing then turning into sandwiches, quesadillas or adding to salads.
Taco Chili is a family favorite. Each spoonful tastes like you’re eating a giant taco except you don’t have to go through all the fuss of toasting shells, chopping up toppings, etc. Add crushed tortilla chips and cheese on top then you’re done. Very low fuss for when you’ve got a fussy baby on your shoulder.
Crock Pot Carnitas is SUCH a winner. Thaw a bag of it in the fridge then crisp up portions in a skillet and top with eggs + avocados for a hearty breakfast, use in tacos, salads, etc. So versatile, and SO delicious!! Heck, I usually just sneak cold bites of it straight out of the fridge when I need a little protein boost.
Not only do Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars keep for 4-5 days in the fridge (if they last that long – I promise they won’t,) but you can also slice them into squares and wrap in plastic wrap to keep in the freezer. Thaw as many as you like in the fridge overnight to thaw, or discard the saran wrap then microwave wrapped in a paper towel at 50% power straight from the freezer to warm back up. Total win for healthy breakfasts or snacks.
Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal Breakfast Bars fall under the same concept as the blueberry bars above but have a slightly different, totally delicious flavor profile. I am obsessed. Also, I don’t know if there’s a specific “formula” or combination of ingredients that qualify a cookie or bar as a lactation-friendly, but I’ve had many women tell me they’ve used my oatmeal bar recipes for that purpose.
No-Bake Cranberry Chocolate Almond Energy Bites: because newborns = tired Mama. Seriously, the jolt of dark chocolate and dried cranberries, mixed with peanut butter, oats, and nuts, make for one DELICIOUS and energy-sustaining snack. Tip: instead of taking the time to roll into balls a lot of times I’ll press the mixture into an 8×8″ baking pan then slice into squares. Again, these keep really well for quite awhile in the fridge but are awesome to have on hand in the freezer for an extended time, too.
Like I said, having a newborn can be stressful but warm and squishy carbs can help. Freeze a batch of Healthier Zucchini Banana Bread Muffins then microwave wrapped in a paper towel on 50% power until soft before stuffing your face whenever ya’ need it. We understand.
Napa Sweet Corn Salad is full of flavor and crunch! Serve as a fresh and healthy side dish with dinner, or take to your next picnic or potluck.
Although the only visual proof Ben and I have of taking a babymoon a couple months back is a picture of my water cheersing his Hendrick’s martini (eye roll), it happened! We did it! 24 hours in Kansas City, Missouri! They never saw us coming. Mostly because our visit was so short that the city could have blinked and missed it, but it was a great time nonetheless. We shopped the plaza, roamed around Westport, and Ben had like 9 bourbons while I sipped Arnold Palmers like tomorrow would never come.
It was on this trip when we realized that while we’ve visited at least a dozen times, we’ve never had KCMO’s legendary BBQ. Blasphemous!! Where should we go the next time we’re in town?
Anyway, after checking into our hotel we bellied up to the bar at Cooper’s Hawk for lunch. There are so many great local restaurants in KC but Coop’s has a GF menu I’ve ordered off of several times in the past and trust, plus it was close and Mama was hangry, so inside we went. I ordered the Napa Chicken Salad which doesn’t sound particularly life changing but it was totally magical. Not because of the chicken or greens, but because everything but the kitchen sink was loaded on top. It’s all about the toppings, man! Napa Sweet Corn Salad is my at-home recreation and it’s so dang good that I PROMISE it’ll become your new go-to summer side dish / potluck salad.
Now, July means it’s sweet corn season here in the state of Iowa. Did you know that less then 1% of all the corn grown in Iowa is sweet corn? Some food for thought, har. Anyway, that 1% actually comes out to a whooooole lotta sweet corn (just ask anyone who grew up in Iowa how many ears they were forced to shuck each summer as a kid,) and we find any and all reasons to enjoy an ear or two, any chance we get. Iowa sweet corn in particular is so candy-sweet and tender that I like to eat it raw like in this salad.
That said, I first tossed together the combination of raw sweet corn kernels, cherry tomatoes, avocados, chopped apples, almonds, green onions, and fresh basil for, uh, myself in an attempt to recreate the salad I so loved in KC, and was so jazzed with the results that I whipped it up again the very next day for a dinner we were hosting for friends.
Not only was it wolfed down by all the adults, but 4 kids under the age of 5 too. You know what we call that? A WIN, people! A freaking win. There is nothing that I don’t like about this salad including the heavenly, 4-ingredient (plus S&P) Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette that’s drizzled on top. Crunchy, crispy, snappy, creamy, fresh, healthy, and delicious. You. Will. Love. IT.
Start by adding all the goodies into a big bowl – that’s: 2 cups raw sweet corn kernels (from about 3 medium-sized ears,) 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes that have been halved or quartered if large, 3 small or 2 large chopped green onions, 1 small chopped avocado, 1 chopped red apple, 1/3 cup sliced or chopped almonds, and 1/4 cup packed fresh basil that’s been chopped.
Next shake or whisk up the Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette to drizzle on top – that’s: 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 Tablespoon each honey and dijon mustard, plus lots of salt and pepper. Taste then add up to an additional 1/2 Tablespoon honey if you like – remember that the sweet corn and apple add sweetness to the salad though.
Drizzle your desired amount of dressing on top then toss everything to combine and serve it on up. Take to a summer picnic or potluck, or serve with dinner (this dish pairs perfectly with grilled meats, if I do say so myself!) No matter how ya eat it, I hope you love this bright and colorful, healthy summer salad! Enjoy!
Napa Sweet Corn Salad is full of flavor and crunch! Serve as a fresh and healthy side dish, or eat all by itself for a fruit and vegetable-filled lunch.
serves 5-6 as a side dish
2 cups sweet corn kernels, raw (~3 ears)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
3 small or 2 large green onions, chopped
1 small avocado, chopped
1 red apple, chopped
1/3 cup sliced or chopped almonds
1/4 cup packed fresh basil, chopped
For the Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
Combine ingredients for the Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette in a jar or bowl then shake or whisk to combine. Taste then add up to an additional 1/2 Tablespoon honey if desired - remember that the sweet corn and apple will add natural sweetness to the salad. Set dressing aside.
Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl then drizzle over desired amount of Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette and stir to combine. Serve immediately.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Serve Parmesan Garlic-Herb Zoodles as an easy, gluten-free, low-carb side dish for any dinner or occasion!
Got an incredibly tasty summer side dish for you today: Parmesan Garlic-Herb Zoodles!
Translation: zoodles (zucchini noodles) sauteed in homemade garlic-herb butter topped with a mountain of freshly grated parmesan cheese. You’re welcome.
This week I’m excited to share two fresh and summery side dish recipes with you (I cannot WAIT for Friday’s!) In the summertime, when it’s too hot to function and the brain cells I have left thanks to pregnancy-brain are nearly all used up by 1pm, thinking of something clever to serve with dinner can be challenging. That’s why I’m such a fan of 1-bowl meals like Sesame Chicken Fried Rice or Crispy Gnocchi Skillets because they contain protein, fats, carbs, and vegetables all in one recipe, eliminating the need for extra side dishes.
Aka Mama can use her one remaining brain cell left at the end of the day to choose between watching Naked and Marooned or The Real Housewives of Wherever after the kids go to bed. It’s a very good thing.
Anyway, one bowl dinners aren’t always in the cards but it’s not a bad thing because Parmesan Garlic-Herb Zoodles are such a cinch to whip up, and so tasty too.
Since being diagnosed with gestational diabetes I’ve been been using my Spiralizer more then ever. I say this every time I share a spiralized recipe, but changing the way you serve healthy foods is a great way to remain/get excited about eating them. Aka, turning plain ol’ zucchini into curly “noodles” is a heck of a lot more fun to eat then soggy sauteed slices served next to grilled chicken.
Speaking of soggified zucchini – in addition to this recipe I’m sharing 5 tips for avoiding watery zoodles, because nothing takes the wind out of my wispy zucchini blossom sails quite like dishing up a plate of zoodles only to find them wading in a pool of their own liquid before I get the chance to dig in. I will say that eliminating extra liquid entirely when making zoodles is pretty much an impossible feat, but follow my 5 tips below for the best possible results.
Lastly, let’s talk ways to use up the extra Garlic-Herb Butter you’ll have after making these zoodles, omgggg…! Here are a few ideas:
Use to saute shrimp or salmon
Slather onto hot and sizzling grilled steak
Melt then toss with air-popped popcorn (<< personal fave)
Spread onto bread / use for grilled cheese
Use to saute fresh vegetables
Freeze to have on hand forever and always
Alright my friends, place a stick of butter on the counter to soften then raid your garden or farmer’s market for super skinny zucchini (see Tip #1 below!) and let’s get to cookin’!
5 Tips for Avoiding Watery Zoodles
Tip 1: Use long, thin zucchini
Fat zucchini have more seeds/guts which means more water. Save those babies for zucchini bread, opting for long, thin zucchini to spiralize instead.
Tip 2: Break up the zoodles
Everybody loves a giant plate of long zoodles to twirl around their fork, but if you leave too many long spirals, the zoodles will steam in the skillet vs saute. That said, trim the zoodles to 3-4″ish after spiralizing.
Tip 3: Salt the zoodles
Place the trimmed zoodles into a colander set atop a bowl then sprinkle with salt and toss with your fingers to make sure all the zucchini is coated with a few salt granules, which will suck out a ton of water. Let the zucchini sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour after salting.
Tip 4: Press the salted zucchini
After letting the salt draw out excess moisture from the zoodles, place them on a kitchen towel or bed of paper towels then firmly press with another kitchen/paper towel to remove the moisture that’s risen to the surface. I would avoid wringing the zucchini out like you would with frozen >> thawed spinach, as the zoodles would break, but pressing is harmless.
Ok, back to the recipe – after spiralizing 3 long, thin zucchini, mix up the Garlic-Herb Butter which gives this side dish all it’s yummy, summery flavor. You can do this several days or even weeks in advance, as the butter freezes really well.
In a bowl mix together 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter that’s been softened to room temperature plus 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1 Tablespoon each finely minced fresh rosemary and thyme, 1 clove garlic that’s been minced or pressed, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, plus a big pinch of steak seasoning. We bring home a jar of homemade steak seasoning from a butcher shop near my in-law’s house every time we visit, which I recreated here, OR you can use whatever blend you love/have on hand.
When it’s time to cook, add 2 Tablespoons Garlic-Herb Butter to a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat then add the zoodles.
Tip 5: Don’t overcook the zoodles
Zoodles will never replace regular pasta noodles so I saute them for just a couple minutes until they’re crisp-tender. Any longer and they get soggy, which not only results in watery zoodles but it also dilutes the flavor of the Garlic-Herb Butter…which you should definitely add more of to the skillet at this point. :)
Once the zoodles are crisp tender, remove the skillet from the heat then grate in as much parmesan cheese as your cheese-loving heart desires (mine usually desires quite a bit. YUM.) Swirl onto plates with the protein of your choice then dig in! I hope you love this simple, seriously delicious little side dish – enjoy!
Serve Parmesan Garlic-Herb Zoodles as an easy, gluten-free, low-carb side dish for any dinner or occasion!
serves 4 as a side dish
3 long, thin zucchini
freshly grated parmesan cheese
For the Garlic-Herb Butter
big pinch steak seasoning (store bought or see notes for recipe)
1 stick salted butter (1/2 cup,) softened to room temperature
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon finely minced fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
squeeze fresh lemon juice
Spiralize zucchini using the fattest noodle blade to create zoodles then add to a colander set atop a bowl. Lightly salt then toss with your fingers to coat and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour to drain excess liquid. Remove zoodles from refrigerator then pat very dry with kitchen or paper towels.
Meanwhile, add ingredients for Garlic-Herb Butter in a small bowl then stir to combine and set aside. Can be done several days ahead of time, or even several weeks as the butter freezes well.
Once zoodles are drained and pressed dry, heat a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tablespoons Garlic-Herb butter then, once melted, add zoodles and saute until crisp tender, 2-3 minutes, adding more Garlic-Herb Butter if desired. Turn off heat then grate in parmesan cheese to taste. Serve immediately.
Hello, and happy post 4th of July! I hope you had a wonderful holiday!
It was SCORCHING hot here but we still managed to have a great time waving at floats and collecting candy at our neighborhood parade (lots of water trickles on heads plus suckers seemed to do the trick) then attending a friend’s BBQ later that night. There was some miscommunication earlier this week when I thought we were hosting dinner, so it was a nice surprise to be able to walk out the door and hang out at someone else’s home for the night!
I spent yesterday recovering from the heat – 9 months pregnant + 100+ heat index = taking several days to fully cool down – and continuing to prep for baby girl. Just a couple weeks left, you guys – insanity!!
These past two weeks I’ve felt like doing nothing yet everything at the same time. Although my energy levels are way down and the amount of appointments, meetings, and last minute projects I’m trying to fit in are taking up a huge amount of time, the urge to nest is a very real thing. That said, I’ve been trying to tackle one major thing each night. While Ben is in charge of putting together furniture/painting baby’s bedroom, I’m tackling the washing/prepping of bottles, laundering gobs of newborn clothes (thank goodness for one of my besties who had twin girls with very good taste last year. So funny to see pink in the dryer lint trap!) cleaning bouncers and swings, etc. I think we’ll be totally ready for her when the time comes – if only by the skin of our teeth.
All this hard work means I can spend the next two weeks focusing on these two sweet, sweet souls.
My boys of summer!
Plus prepping 101 meals for the freezer. Wish me luck.
Anyway, wanted to catch up on all things new food products / musicals / Netflix specials in today’s edition of Currently! I hope you have a WONDERFUL summer weekend – catch you on the other side!
Drizzling:Here Michigan Apple Balsamic Salad Dressing. Since my GD diagnosis I’ve been eating at least one giant salad a day, and my favorite Tessemae’s Creamy Ranch dressing started to get a little heavy. That said, I picked up this bottle of dressing at the store a few weeks ago and it is SOOOO good! Tart, tangy, full of flavor, and I love the ingredient list too. Look for this in the refrigerated salad dressing section vs the aisle.
Attending: Hamilton. Ben and I saw Hamilton last week (it’s in town until mid-July) – we’d been DYING to see what all the fuss was about! Ben’s a mega hip hop enthusiast who also loves musical theater so he was actually bopping in his chair for 3 hours straight. I’m not a public bopper but was tapping my foot the whole time. Needless to say, we loved it and I can’t recall another show we’ve seen where every single song was one to remember. I’m so proud of my city for being able to host the touring crew. If you get the chance – do NOT skip Hamilton!
Watching:Ali Wong. I recently watched Ali Wong’s Baby Cobra special on Netflix at the recommendation of a friend and literally can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. Like, years. Maybe my whole life? Ben thought I was off my rocker but once I started I couldn’t stop! Do not watch if you’re easily offended about, well, anything, but if you dare, I promise you a HIGH-larious show.
Playing. The little boys and I have been heading to the backyard for a dip in the blow up pool a couple afternoons each week and like to finish up with a good 10 minute hose blasting session (my water bill hates me.) I truly don’t know who has more fun – them or me, muwahaha. :)
Devouring: peaches. IT’S OFFICIALLY PEACH SEASON, PEOPLE! Sorry to shout, but the beeline I made to the peach portion of the produce section at the grocery store earlier this week after smelling them from afar was rather impressive, if I do say so myself. Since peaches are pretty high in carbs I’ve been slowly savoring one every afternoon this week. It’s the best part of my day. (Recipe for Peach Caprese Salad is on deck for this weekend. ↓)
Visiting:Iowa Distilling Company. I recently visited the Iowa Distilling Company for a fun project (will fill you in on the details later,) and I cannot WAIT to return when I can actually sample some of the products! Great people distilling uniquely Iowa spirits with a killer drink menu, and the neatest “tap room” vibe (think 1875 general store meets approachable hipster hangout.) If you’re ever in Cumming, IA be sure to stop by and try a few tasty beverages with Kyle (the owner) + his crew. The Lemon Honey Zone is calling my name…
Inhaling:Barnana Plantain Chips. I know I just recently mentioned these Barnana Plantain Chips but they’re worth another shout out – I.am.obsessed! They don’t taste sweet nor like bananas, which is a good thing in my opinion, plus they’re thick, crunchy, and full of flavor. They feel like healthy potato chips (shrugs shoulders.) I find them in my grocery store’s health market for about the same price as Amazon. Highly recommend the Brazilian BBQ flavor.
Craving:Fresh Mint Iced Tea. I know what I’m doing with the fresh mint that’s currently taking over my entire herb garden! How refreshing does this ice cold tea from Love and Olive Oil look? They’d make the best preggo popsicles…
Quitting: The Bachelorette. Mama didn’t raise no quitter except that I’m officially closing the door on this season of The Bachelorette. Snoozeville, horrible guys with even worse real world behavior and, I don’t know, Bachelorette – I just not that into you. Bring on Paradise! Fellow fans: am I alone?
Loving: Coconut oil face wash. Not a coconut oil-based face wash, rather, using coconut oil AS my face wash! I saw this method on a fellow blogger’s Instagram account a few weeks ago and have been loving the process and results ever since. At night I massage a dollop of coconut oil all over my face (I use unrefined organic from the grocery store – use refined for less of coconut smell) then place a steaming hot washcloth on top and let it sit until the cloth is cool before wiping everything away. Takes off ALL my makeup, including waterproof mascara and eyeliner, plus my skin feels so, so soft. I never have breakouts when I’m pregnant (thanks, hormones (for once not being sarcastic about hormones!)) so I’m anxious to see if this is still a good skin solution after baby is born. For now I’m loving the simplicity of washing away the day’s dirt and grime with simply coconut oil and a washcloth. It’s the little things.
Blending: Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies. Since Lincoln is allergic to dairy and super super slim, I’m always looking for ways to fatten and fill him up. A few days ago I made him a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie with this Silk Chocolate Protein Milk I’d recently found at the grocery store, which is high in both fat and protein (and yes, sugar, but seriously this high-fat and protein/no dairy thing is really tough) and he sucked it DOOWWWN. All I did was blend ~3/4 cup of the milk with 1/2 ripe banana and a big spoonful of peanut butter until smooth, then added ~1 cup ice and blended until thick and frosty. He and his brother each thoroughly enjoyed a glass – think we’ll make them into popsicles soon!
All that said, this year we plan to lay low and have a few friends over to celebrate. I’m about ready to pop and, well, making it past 7pm is a pretty epic feat. We’ll light up some sprinklers, enjoy a homemade s’more or 17, then call it a night. Definitely more low-key then 4th of Julys past, but the good thing about staying home is that we can make and serve a proper holiday feast including a ton of the yummy, summery dishes below. I hand-picked these recipes as being super fresh and picnic or potluck-ready so you can either set them out for friends and family, or bring along to wherever the festivities take you.
Tell me, what are you up to this 4th of July? Wherever it is, and whatever you do – I hope you stay safe, have fun, and eat well (and have a couple cocktails for me!)
The Best Grain Free Granola is sweetened with a drizzle of pure maple syrup, and is full of crisp, crunch, healthy fats, and nutrition. Enjoy with milk, sprinkled over yogurt, or by the healthy handful!
Miiiight have found my new favorite recipe of 2018 (sorry, Crispy Pesto Gnocchi Skillet.) The actual best, mind-meltingly-delicious, make-this-NOW, grain free granola. I am obsessed!!!
I pinky promise to not talk about gestational diabetes from now until the baby arrives, but with this pregnancy complication has come a whole new appreciation for nutrient dense, “power foods”. Whole foods that are packed with protein, vitamins, minerals and more importantly, serve a purpose other then tasting good, like nuts and seeds.
We all know that a handful of nuts a day is beneficial for overall heart health, but pecans and almonds especially, which are included in this grain free granola, also help reduce inflammation in the body (something a person with Celiac Disease definitely needs,) aid in weight loss (something I can attest to with experiencing slower weight gain this pregnancy,) and can help lower and/or stabilize blood sugar levels. That said, GIVE ME ALL THE NUTS.
Seriously though, lately I’ve been obsessed with researching different kinds of nuts and their health benefits – it’s mind blowing. Apparently brazil nuts are so good for you that you can pop four or five and think of them as “supplements”. I love it! Of course it doesn’t hurt that nuts are also lower in carbs and make an excellent base for this low sugar, grain free granola that I’ve been trying not to eat by the fistful over the past few of weeks. It is INSANELY yummy, and full of crispy clusters and crunch.
So what does grain free mean, exactly? It means this granola recipe doesn’t call for oats, which most classic granola recipes do. I love gluten-free oats as much as the next gal, but they’re high in carbs which I need to be smart about right now. Trust me, this granola is better without them.
Unsweetened coconut chips, raw pecans and pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, and chia seeds are tossed with a mixture of pure maple syrup (just 3 Tablespoons in this entire recipe) coconut oil, and lots of cinnamon and vanilla. I love sweet granola but have found that the coconut chips plus lots of cinnamon and vanilla trick your tongue into thinking it’s sweeter then it actually is. That said, the addition of mini chocolate chips and/or raisins would be divine in here.
I’ve been sprinkling grain free granola into Greek yogurt or eating a small bowl with almond milk for snacks and/or breakfast almost every single day since my GD diagnosis, and reaping the rewards. I FEEL healthier eating foods like this. Probably because I am! You in too?
This recipe couldn’t be simpler – in a large bowl stir together 1-1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes/chips, 3/4 cup each sliced almonds and raw pecans, 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas), 1 Tablespoon chia seeds, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and a big pinch of salt.
Here are the raw pumpkin seeds I use. I’ve been putting them in/on EVERYTHING lately. Super good sprinkled into salads, oatmeal, in this granola, and I’ll also grab a pinch or two anytime I need something to crunch on. The price tag makes me gag but the bag is enormous, plus these babies are truly a super food. Locals: I get them in HyVee’s Health Market.
Next microwave 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup) plus 1 Tablespoon coconut oil in a small dish until the oil is melted, 25-30 seconds, then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Pour the maple syrup mixture over the nut mixture then stir to evenly coat and spread onto a silpat covered half sheet pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 300 degrees or until the almonds and coconut are light golden brown (any darker and the granola could taste burnt) stirring a couple times.
Let the granola cool completely then store in a Ziplock bag or airtight container for 3-4 days. Like I said, this granola is perfect to enjoy with milk or sprinkled into yogurt – so, SO good!! I hope you love it – enjoy!
The Best Grain Free Granola is sweetened with just 3 Tablespoons of pure maple syrup, and is full of crisp, crunch, healthy fats, and nutrition. Enjoy with milk, sprinkled over yogurt, or by the healthy handful!
makes 3-1/2 cups granola
1-1/2 cups unsweetened coconut chips/flakes
3/4 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cups whole raw pecans
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
big pinch salt
3 Tablespoons real maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 300 degrees then line a half sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside.
Combine first 7 ingredients (coconut chips through salt) in a large bowl then stir to combine. Add maple syrup and coconut oil to a small bowl then microwave for 25-30 seconds to melt the coconut oil. Stir in vanilla.
Pour the maple syrup mixture over the granola mixture then mix well to coat. Spread onto prepared sheet pan then bake for 15-20 minutes or until almond slices and coconut chips are golden brown (don't let them get too dark) stirring twice. Granola will crisp as it cools.
Cool completely on sheet pan before transferring to a Ziplock bag or airtight container. Will stay fresh for four days or so on the counter.
Sour Cream and Chive Dip is perfect for dunking into with chips and vegetables! Tastes just like store-bought but you control the ingredients. There’s only 5 of them!
Thank you so much for your supportive words on my last post (I’m still working my way through comments, FYI!) I had zero hesitations pushing publish not only because I want to help break a stigma and reach women who need someone to say, “I’ve been there too.” but also because I knew you all would be so wonderful about it, which you were. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories – it has helped me and countless other women more than you know. You’re the best…but you already knew that. :)
Switching gears slightly, today I’m sharing a recipe that’s extremely timely as I’ve been eating my weight in raw vegetables every day and need a boost of flavah – homemade, 5 ingredient Sour Cream and Chive Dip!
Something I always get a kick out of is ex-Iowans commenting on a post where I show either a HyVee or AE Dairy product telling me how much they miss them. I guess “kick” isn’t the right word because I feel for them – I really do – but I just so get it. There’s no better grocery store then HyVee (ANYWHERE!) and AE Dairy is known for their legendary sour cream-based dips, including Chive Dip. Think about that – dips so good that even though people leave the state they can’t move on from its dips! Only problem is that the dips aren’t gluten-free (trust me, like a total idiot I tried them after getting diagnosed with Celiac and got sick – the spice blend is made in a bakery.)
Anyway, no gluten in my copycat Sour Cream and Chive Dip! Just 5 ingredients that come together in about 30 seconds to create a cool and creamy, onion-y dip that’s perfect for all your summer get togethers. All I can say is, hide your spoons because this stuff isn’t just good on raw vegetables.
Now, a few notes – first, use a sour cream that you like all on its own. That might sounds like a “duh” thing to say but I tested this dip recipe using a sour cream brand I’m not familiar with and didn’t love the outcome. Surprise, surprise, I liked AE sour cream best with this dip. Second, refrigerate the dip for at least 12 hours before eating as the flavors really do need time to meld. Third, don’t limit your dipping to just vegetables and chips – I added a dollop into Cameron’s taco bowl after getting a little too spice-crazy with my taco seasoning blend and it was delicious! I imagine a spoonful of Sour Cream and Chive Dip added to a bowl of chili or paired with smoked salmon and capers would be DIVINE.
Like I said, just one direction needed to make this recipe: stir stuff together in a bowl then refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Said stuff includes 16oz sour cream (again, be sure to use a sour cream that you like all on its own,) 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives, the green ends of 2 green onions that have been chopped, 2 teaspoons onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Note: I think the real dip has way more salt then my recipe, so if you want more, add more. :)
Stir then refrigerate overnight, or longer, then serve with any and all vegetables or chips. I hope you love this EASY, creamy, totally delectable dip! Enjoy!
No one ever thinks they’re going to develop gestational diabetes, but sometimes it’s out of our control. Here’s how the past month has gone after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes + meal and snack ideas.
↑ What I’ve been eating a lot of over the past month. GREEN STUFF.
Well, the post headline pretty much sums it up – I have gestational diabetes. Apparently the third pregnancy was not the charm for this ol’ gal!
Sooo, YEAH. I have several reasons for writing this post. One, it felt like I was hiding something by not telling you. Lying by omission is still lying in my book and, well, Mama don’t get down like that. Second, my post on Living with Celiac Disease has been one of my most popular posts here on IGE because it’s real and, most importantly, helped people, which I hope to accomplish with this post. Not only by sharing some of the meals and foods I’ve been eating over the past month, but simply to give anyone struggling with gestational diabetes a virtual pat on the shoulder and say you’re not alone. We’ll get through this! Third, the word “diabetes” is a loaded word and I hope to spread some knowledge about what gestational diabetes is and who can develop it.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes affects only pregnant women – 7-9% of woman are said to develop it during pregnancy – and it goes away after delivery of the baby. Hormones from the placenta interfere with the mother’s ability to use insulin, which your body needs to turn glucose (sugar) into energy. Glucose builds up causing high blood sugar, which can have negative effects on both mom and baby. Baby can be born overly large and with low blood sugar, have breathing problems, and face potential issues with obesity and Type 2 diabetes down the road. Mom can develop preeclampsia and has a strong risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.
If you’ve ever been pregnant, you most likely dreaded the gestational diabetes screening test as much as I did. Generally occurring around the 24-26 week mark of pregnancy, in 5 minutes or less you must chug a drink that’s basically corn syrup, artificial flavor, and food dye (read: highly disgusting and extremely unpleasant) then your blood sugar is tested an hour later to see if your body is using the sugar properly. If it’s not then at a later date you drink an even more concentrated sugary beverage and your blood sugar is re-tested at the one, two, and three hour mark after drinking. If you fail any of those tests then you’ve earned yourself a pregnancy complication: gestational diabetes.
Risk factors for gestational diabetes include being older then 25, having a family or personal history of Type 2 or pre-diabetes, a BMI of 30 or higher, or if you are black, Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian (source). As I read in a book on the subject, unless you’re 25 or younger, white, and have no family or personal history of diabetes – there’s a chance you could develop gestational diabetes. I think there’s a stigma surrounding gestational diabetes and I’m here to tell you that it can happen to anyone. The dietitian I’ve met with through this process told me she’s seen marathoners in her office with gestational diabetes!
The risk factor I met was age. As I always tell the whipper snappers who will listen to this crotchety old bag – don’t grow up! Truthfully, the age thing was a tough pill to swallow and it hasn’t been as simple as telling myself, the only reason you got this is because you’re an old(er) mom.
Various thoughts ran through my mind when I got the call – why did I drink so many Chick-fil-A lemonades (to be fair, I didn’t drink that many!)? Why haven’t I been more active? HOW COULD I LET THIS HAPPEN?!
If getting Celiac Disease has taught me anything though, it’s that $@!& happens. Some things in life can’t be prevented, helped, or predicted. This didn’t happen because of the foods I was or wasn’t eating, hormones are to blame. Thankfully in many cases, and so far in my case, gestational diabetes can be managed through diet, which is something I have a ton of experience with.
The “prescription” for gestational diabetes is not only to focus on eating healthy fats, proteins, and vegetables (so many vegetables,) but more importantly watch your total carb intake and spread them out throughout the day. The way I made sense of this for myself is that I need a slow and steady burn of the right amount and type of carbohydrate all day long. I check my blood sugar 4 times a day (finger prick) and log everything I eat in a spreadsheet for my doctor to keep tabs on. Fun!
What’s been hard:
Eating ZERO added/processed sugar and limited fruit and berries. I have a raging sweet tooth when I’m pregnant so going cold turkey has been slightly torturous. Fruit and berries are also my summertime jam and I’ve missed them a lot.
No more pretzels, tortilla chips, crackers – aka empty carbs I used to eat when I needed a little something to crunch on during the day. Not so mad about this as I needed a reason to ditch the junk.
Mega meal planning. Normally I plan 3-4 dinners a week. Now I need to plan a breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks every single day x 7 days a week. There is no winging it when you’re eating to manage gestational diabetes.
Eating for fuel vs fun.
Measuring and tracking everything I eat. It’s as annoying as time tracking at work.
No food-related spontaneity. Celiac Disease pretty much killed this for me already (no “ooo there’s a new restaurant in town – we should go!“) but it’s even harder now that I have to make sure a restaurant has low-carb options in addition to gluten-free ones, and the timing has to be right for a meal or snack. Heck, I can’t even eat an apple past 6pm without it effecting the next day’s blood sugar.
Getting bored of eating a lot of the same foods over and over each day.
Knowing my chances of developing Type 2 diabetes down the road is high.
Playing poor me. I know – it’s childish – but when all I want is to sit down and watch trashy television at night with a glass of wine, pizza and giant brownie (dreaming big here,) the fact that I have gestational diabetes and Celiac Disease can be a bummer.
What’s been good:
Knowing that I’m doing all I can to make sure we have a healthy baby and pregnancy.
I get to eat A LOT. 3 meals + 2 snacks a day. Not mad about that!
Learning about portion control. Let’s just say the amount of sweet potato fries that equals one carb choice is much smaller then I thought.
Slower weight gain. I’ve never been one to care much about weight gain during pregnancy as long as I was in the healthy range and baby was growing at a healthy rate, but this has been a welcomed side effect.
I’ve learned how my body processes carbs – at least during this pregnancy. Through trial, error, and testing, I’ve found my blood sugar hates white sugar, fruit in the morning and at night, super starchy vegetables, and even too many whole grain carbs. Totally changed my outlook on the (fun) foods I’ll be fueling my body with post-baby.
I’ve never eaten healthier. My meals and snacks are filled with tons of vegetables, lean protein, nuts, and dairy – which thankfully my body handles well.
I feel great! I was shocked to find out I had gestational diabetes in the first place because I’d felt the best this pregnancy out of all three prior to being diagnosed. Since changing my diet though, I’ve had more energy and feel better overall.
This is temporary. Gestational diabetes ends when the gestation period ends. Yes, Type 2 diabetes is a very real risk for the future, but gestational diabetes specifically will end in a few weeks.
What I’ve Been Eating
It was a bummer to find out I had to start logging all my meals and snacks to share with my doctors and dietitian at every appointment, but it’s worked out well because now I can share some ideas with you!
NOTE: I am NOT a doctor nor dietitian so please discuss your meal plan with your care team, as I have, to identify what will work for you and your gestational diabetes care plan!
Greek yogurt + sliced almonds or grain-free granola
2 scrambled eggs with shredded cheese, 1 slice toast
2 fried eggs, 2 slices bacon or sausage, big handful sauteed spinach
1 slice avocado toast + goat cheese, fried egg
Small bowl oatmeal – 1/4 cup gluten-free oats cooked with 1/4 banana in 1/4 cup each almond milk and water. Add chia seeds, toasted unsweetened coconut chips, chopped nuts, tiiiiny drizzle maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Big salads with a mix of protein (turkey, chicken, nuts, seeds, cheese, hard-boiled egg, smoked salmon,) vegetables, and carbs like blueberries, diced apples, or dried cranberries + dressing
“You have gestational diabetes” are four words that no mother on earth wants to hear, and this has made a time when I already feel out of control of my body (ie pregnancy) much more difficult. To be crystal clear, I cannot wait for this to go away. That said, I am grateful for this experience. As of 2017, it is said that 29 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes and 8 million of them are undiagnosed. I can say with 100% certainty that had I not been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the thought of getting Type 2 diabetes would have never crossed my mind. I eat a balanced diet – no fast food and limited junk food – exercise moderately, and have no family history of diabetes, so it’s never been on my radar until now.
This experience has been a HUGE eye opener in terms of how I can make small, healthy improvements to my lifestyle moving forward though. Instead of white bread, I’ll choose whole grain. Instead of white rice, I’ll choose brown. Instead of brownies I’ll make a smoothie (ok maybe not every time!) Sit less. Move more.
I can’t pretend I don’t know I’m now at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes down the road but I’m super grateful to know how I can reduce my risk. Also grateful that I have just 5 more weeks of this “diet” left before meeting the sweet little lady who is worth every bite of carrot over cake!
Have you ever been diagnosed with gestational diabetes? What was your experience like?
Crispy Pesto Potato Chip Salmon cooks in 7 minutes flat! Salmon filets are slathered with fresh pesto, topped with crushed potato chips, then baked. This easy, gluten-free dinner is as good as it sounds.
We’ve had a giant open bag of Ruffles (thanks, Costco) sitting in our pantry since Memorial Day, and the contents tempt and taunt me every time I open the door searching for something – anything – other then Ruffles to snack on. Salty, crunchy, and totally addicting, chips are my kryptonite and I can never eat just one. It’s 0 or 500 – eek! Lord knows how I’ve been able to resist them thus far, though I knew my self control would run out eventually.
After Ben rejected the idea of taking the chips to work (an open, slightly old bag of Ruffles? I feel like they’d be a hit at the community food table! Kidding.) I took matters into my own hands and tossed a bunch into the food processor, blitzed them up, then sprinkled the crumbs on top of pesto-slathered, wild-caught salmon and IT. WAS. GOOD.
SO SO GOOD!!!
Crispy Pesto Potato Chip Salmon is buttery salmon filets topped with the simplest homemade pesto (got the perfect-sized recipe for you below,) then topped with potato chip crumbs and baked for 7 minutes. Couldn’t be easier and the fresh/decadent, creamy/crispy combo of pesto and potato chips was made to pair with salmon. I mean, literally I made it to pair with salmon, but they truly do make each fabulous filet that much better.
It’s the start of salmon season which means wild-caught varieties (the kind we save our money for over farmed) are finally readily available and you know, not looking and smelling like zombie fish in the case. This is usually the reality of living in Iowa!
The price of wild-caught, in-season salmon can be shocking for sure, but the quality and flavor is worth the price in my opinion – at least as an occasional treat. Plus when you consider the price per person (4oz filet each) it’s not too bad. I love king salmon, and the sockeye salmon filets I used to make this dish were phenoooomenal. Like I said, super buttery, tender, and melt in your mouth. I usually leave the skin on when cooking salmon, since it’s so easy to peel off after cooking, but the person working behind the seafood counter can remove it, plus any pin bones, if you wish.
By the way, please excuse the dull coloring of these photos – I’m not sure what I was thinking photographing light yellow potato chips in the background of this beautiful, crusted salmon. I can promise you the taste and texture are on point though!
Start by pulsing 3 cups potato chips in a food processor until they resemble panko bread crumbs in texture. Again, I used Ruffles, but plain, non-ridged potato chips should work just fine. You’ll need approximately 1/2 cup potato chip crumbs total.
Wipe out the food processor to make the pesto. The recipe makes just 1/3 cup pesto which you’ll use almost all of. I don’t know about you but even with the best intentions, I never use leftover pesto before it goes bad!
Add 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves that have been slightly torn to the bowl of the food processor with 1 Tablespoon walnuts or really any kind of nut or seed – I used raw pumpkin seeds for this batch! – 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, 1 clove garlic that’s been roughly chopped, and a big pinch salt. Pulse until the ingredients are finely minced then slowly stream in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil while processing, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to taste then process to combine. Pesto = done!
Place 4, 4oz salmon filets onto a nonstick-sprayed, foil-lined half sheet pan then season each filet generously with salt and pepper before slathering with a heaping Tablespoon pesto.
Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons potato chip crumbs on top then bake on the middle rack of your oven for 6 minutes at 400 degrees. Turn the broiler on then place the salmon underneath for 1-2 minutes, or until the potato chips are light golden brown.
Serve with fresh lemon wedges, and you’re set! I hope you love this EASY, totally delicious, Crispy Pesto Potato Chip Salmon recipe – it truly is one of my favorites! Enjoy!
Crispy Pesto Potato Chip Salmon cooks in 7 minutes flat! Salmon filets are slathered with fresh pesto, topped with crushed potato chips, then baked. This easy, gluten-free dinner is as good as it sounds!
4, 4oz salmon filets (I prefer wild-caught King or Sockeye salmon)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup potato chip crumbs (made from ~3 cups ruffled potato chips)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
For the small batch pesto (makes 1/3 cup)
1 packed cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1 Tablespoon walnuts
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
big pinch salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
squeeze fresh lemon juice
Place one oven rack in the middle of the oven then another at the very top, and then preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a half sheet pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray then arrange salmon filets on top and season generously with salt and pepper.
Add potato chips to a food processor then pulse until chips are the consistency of panko bread crumbs. Scoop into a bowl then set aside.
In the same food processor, add first five pesto ingredients (basil through salt). Blend until ingredients are finely chopped then slowly stream in extra virgin olive oil while processing until pesto is smooth, scraping down the bowl when necessary. Add fresh lemon juice to taste (I like mine on the lemony side but at least add enough to make the pesto taste fresh.)
Slather 1 Tablespoon pesto on top of each salmon filet then sprinkle on 2 Tablespoons potato chip crumbs. Bake for 6 minutes in the middle of the oven then turn on the broiler, move sheet pan to the top rack, and broil until potato chips are golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges for drizzling.
If your salmon filets are bigger then 4oz, add 1-2 minutes baking time while sheet pan is in the middle of the oven (vs under the broiler.)
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Easiest Cauliflower Couscous Salad is a raw, fresh, and healthy gluten-free salad and side dish recipe that comes together in minutes. Sponsored by Fisher Nuts.
It’s side dish tiiiiiiiime – said with the same tone and enthusiasm as DJ Pauly D when he announces it’s T-shirt time. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I promise it’s better this way. If you DO know what I’m talking about – judge me. It’s fine. My husband does!
Anyway, I’m sharing a fun little side dish/salad/potluck/picnic option that’s not only outrageously healthy and fresh, but gluten-free, raw, and best of all, takes 10 minutes to make. Definitely enough time to call a cab. HA! Ok I’ll stop.
It’s Easiest Cauliflower Couscous Salad, you guys! I know, I know – cauliflower is facing a little bit of backlash these days because of the crazy ways and places people are using it, but trust me when I tell you that replacing couscous (which is not gluten-free,) with minced cauliflower in this light and summery salad not only WORKS, but is totally delicious, refreshing, and fun to eat too.
First though, Easiest Cauliflower Couscous Salad is sponsored by my friends at Fisher Nuts. I’m on my FIFTH year working with their fabulous, preservative-free nuts, and this light side dish contains a heap of Fisher Naturals Sliced Almonds which not only add crunch and flavor but a boost of protein and magnesium. I’ve had the worst pregnancy-induced RLS starting at 9:15pm on the dot each evening, which can be caused by a lack of magnesium. That said I’ve been trying to eat food high in the mineral any which way I can, including in this salad…and overflowing in my daily cup of Greek yogurt. Yum!
Anyway, look for Fisher Nuts in the baking aisle, vs snack aisle. I buy them at HyVee and Walmart, though you can order them on Amazon, too. Their website also has a ton of fresh and fun recipes to browse through for inspiration!
This couscous-inspired salad is not only super healthy, but named “Easiest” for a reason. Not too many ingredient (5 in the actual salad, to be exact,) comes together in about 10 minutes, and truly you can use or add whatever you have in the fridge and pantry, keeping the cauliflower couscous as the base. Making this in the fall? Add chopped pears or apples. In the season that shall not be named? Citrus segments would be a dynamite addition. For summer, I went with the sweet and savory combination of dried cranberries, apricots, green onions, and the aforementioned sliced almonds, drizzled in a tangy orange, honey, and cider vinegar dressing. BOMB.
Serve alongside grilled chicken or fish as a fresh side dish, or scoop into bowls and enjoy as a crunchy, flavor-packed salad. Ready to rock?
Start by separating 1 small head cauliflower into big chunks then add to the bowl of a food processor – there should be 6-7 cups total. Pulse until the cauliflower is finely chopped but NOT mushy. We want lots of texture in this salad!
By the way, I’ve had my Cuisinart Food Processor for years and years and LOVE IT. Definitely worth the investment – I use it at least 3 times a week.
As you can see, the cauliflower is broken down into really fine pieces that resemble couscous, but still has a lot of texture.
Add the cauliflower couscous to a large bowl then add 1/2 cup Fisher Naturals Sliced Almonds, 1/3 cup each dried cranberries and dried apricots, and 2 sliced green onions.
Next whisk up the dressing. That’s 6 Tablespoons each extra virgin olive oil and fresh squeezed orange juice (1 – 2 oranges), 3 Tablespoons cider vinegar, 1-1/2 Tablespoons honey, salt, and pepper. Whisk with a fork then pour half over the salad and toss to combine.
Taste then add additional dressing if you like, then serve it on up. That’s it – 10 minutes, and this fresh and healthy side dish salad is ready to rock. Perfect for summer, fall or really any time of year. I hope you love it – enjoy!!
Easiest Cauliflower Couscous Salad is a raw, fresh, and healthy gluten-free salad and side dish recipe that comes together in just 10 minutes. Serve alongside chicken or fish for dinner, or take to a potluck or picnic!
serves a crowd
1 small head cauliflower, broken into chunks (6-7 cups)
1/2 cup Fisher Naturals Sliced Almonds
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
2 green onions, chopped
For the dressing:
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 Tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice (1 - 2 oranges)
3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1-1/2 Tablespoons honey
salt and pepper
Add cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Pulse until the cauliflower resembles couscous - that is, small bits but NOT mush. Pour into a large mixing bowl then add almonds, dried cranberries, dried apricots, and green onions.
Add dressing ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid or bowl then shake or whisk to combine. Pour half over the salad then toss to combine. Taste then add additional Tablespoons of dressing until desired coverage is reached (may not need it all.) Serve immediately or refrigerate up to a day ahead of time before serving.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.