Cultured Fennel, Avocado & Roasted Brussels Salad: Two Ways (paleo, keto, vegan)

A simple more summery version, sans seeds. Would have been fantastic with chevre!

I came up with this recipe in an attempt to veer from my standard potluck fare of chips and salsa. I took it to my first potluck at our new church. I got a bit of the mick taken out of me by our pastor when he caught me snapping a photo of it. “You going to post it?” he asked, with a good deal of cheek in his voice. Of course I was. Ha! Caught red handed despite it being a very green dish. It had so many complements I had to make it again with my other fennel variation… and the second time my husband had three helpings, which to me is always a win. It’s very simple once you have the cultures on hand.

Caught taking this photo… but it was so pretty…

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs brussels sprouts, washed and halved
  • 2 tsp Kirkland organic no salt seasoning OR 1/2 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp granulated onion, 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • extra-virgin olive oil for roasting sprouts
  • 2 large avocados
  • 1 english cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into 3/4″ slices OR roasted zucchini cut the same way
  • 1 quart/liter fermented fennel or apple, ginger & lemon fermented fennel
  • 1/4 cup soaked and dried or sprouted pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
  • 2-3 Tbsp hulled hempseeds (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. In a large cast iron pan or a baking sheet with a silicone mat, place halved brussels sprouts cut side up
  3. Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning or with a mix of: 1/2 tsp granulated garlic, 1/2 tsp kosher or pink salt, 1/2 tsp granulated onion, 1/2 tsp black pepper.
  4. Spray or drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and roast for 30-45 minutes. If you are using zucchini instead of cucumber, roast them together with the sprouts.
  5. When the brussels have begun to blacken to your taste, remove them and toss with prepared cucumber or zucchini, seeds, 1/2-1 quart of fermented fennel of choice.
  6. Halve your avocados and divide each half into 6 parts (three cuts: 1 lengthwise and then sideways in thirds)
  7. Toss the avocado with the rest of the salad and serve. The fermentation liquid from the fennel culture will prevent the avocado from going brown too quickly.

Let me know what you think!


Apple, Ginger, Lemon & Fennel Cultured Salad (vegan, paleo, keto)

Who loves fennel?! I do (obviously) and so does my husband and a handful of other folks I’ve met but for the most part when I explain that the key vegetable that goes into one of my favorite salads is a licorice tasting bulb I sometimes get funny looks. One must taste to believe. This is a very light & summery fennel recipe and complements both fresh and roasted dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 3 fennel bulbs (with stalks) rinsed, bulbs quartered and cut into chunks, stalks chopped in 1/2′ – 1″ sections or sliced in a food processor
  • 2 apples, diced or finely sliced
  • 1-2″ piece of pureed or shredded ginger, according to taste
  • 1/4 cup fermented onion juice from a previous batch (optional)
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 3% salt (I ended up using 3 3/4 Tbsp kosher salt)
  • avocado oil for the top
  • Fermenting weight or small jar, sanitized
  • 68oz mason or big pickle jar

Method:

  • Wash all vegetables and sanitize jar, fermenting weight and lid in the oven at 175 degrees for 5 minutes.
  • Wash hands and prepare vegetables. With this type of ferment I like to toss them together in a large bowl before I stuff them into the jar. Weigh the empty jar if you are adding salt by percentage. Note the weight. Add non-chlorinated water or fermenting liquid if needed.
  • Calculate salt percentage by weight and add to the jar.
  • Cover with avocado oil to keep the bacteria out.
  • Set in the fermenting weight, close the lid and leave to ferment for 2 weeks or longer.

I very much enjoy these slightly odd tasting vegetables, especially after fermentation. Culturing always bends the flavors a bit and brings out a unique bite that is wondrously void of bitterness. Not that fennel is really bitter but I find that it comes out almost smoother in flavor. The finished cultured liquid is fantastic in place of vinegar in dressings as well. I hope you enjoy this one!


Cultured Cilantro Lime Tahini Dressing (keto, paleo, vegan)

Happy Cinco De Mayo Folks! This is a wicked addictive dressing (or dip, if you make it thicker) and perfectly quick and tasty to whip up today for your celebrations. Give it a go… you won’t regret it.

Ingredients:

Method:

Combine all ingredients for the dressing in high powered blender and pulse until smooth or mix with an immersion blender. I like to use these Oxo Chef Squeeze Bottles for all my homemade condiments. But in all reality you might stand there with a spatula scraping every last drop out of the blender and it may never make it into the bottle. So enjoy. I did.


Fermented Roasted Tomato Salsa (vegan, paleo, keto)

I love fresh salsa… and all the more when it is both smoky and fermented. This is achieved by first blackening the tomatoes with the onions, jalapenos and garlic and then blending it together with the rest of the ingredients. It’s relatively quick to make and disappears just as fast. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 14-15 Roma tomatoes halved
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2-4 jalapeños
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1 large handful cilantro
  • Juice of 1-2 limes according to taste (I used 6 key limes)
  • 1/4 cup fermented onion juice from a previous batch (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes or chipotle flakes
  • 2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • avocado oil for the top
  • 68oz mason or big pickle jar

Method:

  • Wash all vegetables and sanitize jar, fermenting weight and lid in the oven at 175 degrees for 5 minutes.
  • Wash hands and prepare vegetables.
  • Lay tomatoes cut side up in cast iron pan along with onions, garlic and jalapeños
  • ROAST @ 350 for 45m – 1 hr or BROIL on High for 30 minutes until tops are blackened
  • Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times to roughly “chop”
  • Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking and then pour into sanitized jar
  • Cover with avocado oil to keep the bacteria out.
  • Leave to ferment for 2-3 days.

Get this prepared a few days ahead and refrigerate for Cinco de Mayo!


Pickled Spicy Carrots for Cinco De Mayo (Vegan, Paleo, Keto)

Cinco De Mayo is nearly upon us and what better to prepare than to ferment a batch of cultured spicy carrots! These are a great side to any Mexican meal… or any meal in my opinion! I’ll be quick with this one as it really only takes a few minutes to prepare anyway!

Fermenting carrots & jalapeños is crazy easy and crazy quick. They are commonly known as pickled spicy carrots and are common in authentic Mexican cuisine.

For this recipe I used a sanitized 68 oz pickle jar and a fermenting weight but you can use quart masons as well. I tend to do very large batches because I’m a busy mom and well… they keep really well so why not?

Ingredients:

  • Enough carrots to fill a 2 liter sanitized jar or whatever jar you are using. I used about half of a 5 lb bag. Scrubbed and sliced to thickness.
  • 1/2 – 1 white onion, sliced
  • 2-5 jalapeños, sliced
  • 3-6 garlic cloves according to taste
  • peppercorns (optional)
  • 3 1/2 – 4 Tbsp course kosher saltsea salt or pink salt (about 2 Tablespoons per quart/liter)
  • Glass jar, sanitized
  • Fermenting weight or small jar, sanitized
  • non-chlorinated water
  • avocado oil for sealing out bacteria (optional)

Method:

  1. Place jar of choice, fermenting weight & lid on a  cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat in the oven at 175 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 – 5 minutes to sanitize them.
  2. Slice jalapeños to desired thickness.  (Some people use gloves.  I don’t.  I just don’t touch my eyes)
  3. Fill sanitized jar with prepared vegetables, leaving 2″ room at the top
  4. Put the salt directly on top of the veg and then fill with the water.
  5. Pour a little avocado oil over the top to seal out bacteria. This is totally optional, but I will do it when I am in a hurry to cover any mistakes I might have made.
  6. Set your sanitized fermenting weight on top and press down until the liquid almost reaches the top of the weight.  Place the lid and set aside for 4 – 14 days. 
  7. Refrigerate after it is finished to slow fermentation.

I’ll be doing a couple more posts this week in preparation for the 5th of May but as this one takes at least a few days I thought I should get it out there! Enjoy!


Secret Ingredient Keto Flaxseed Wraps!

Makes about 4 wraps

Everyone has a keto flax wrap recipe it seems. Probably because they are so easy and quick to make and have less than 1 carb per wrap. If you can handle the omega-3 fatty acid smell (some people find it fishy) then these are a real boon. They also help regulate hormones, are helpful for digestion and lowering blood sugars and blood pressure and are high in antioxidants (lignans). Yay, yay and triple yay. I add spices to mine and my secret B vitamin ingredient: Vegemite! I often make these for our date nights as they’re easy to fill and we can eat on the go. They keep well in the fridge so I tend to make a double batch. If you have a high powered blender or food processor you can use whole flaxseeds but if you don’t I have a trick, so don’t fret. These are great for any type of wrap… as well as a great mock tortilla for quesadillas and soft tacos. I love them with cultured jalapenos and casero cheese! As Cinco De Mayo is coming up it’s a great substitute!

Ingredients for single batch:

*If you add 2-3 tsp konjac root powder to ground flaxseed you will get the same result as with re-blending with a bit more kneading. If you are not vegan or vegetarian, 1-2 scoops collagen peptides will do the trick as well.

**a couple of my favorite combinations are: 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or thyme OR 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or chipotle or ancho chili powder

Method:

  • Blend your flaxseeds or flaxseed meal in a blender until fine. You can either add your spices and other dry ingredients (konjac/collagen) to this grind and re-pulse to blend or add them to your pot of boiling water and whisk to combine.
  • Bring your water to a boil and if you haven’t already, add your salt and spices.
  • Turn off the heat, pour your ground flaxseed and konjac/collagen into the boiling water and begin stirring immediately with a wooden spoon or heat safe silicone spatula/paddle until it forms a ball. Add flaxseed meal as needed or a tiny bit more konjac root if it has not formed a ball after 2 minutes.
  • You can roll these out with parchment paper but I find it easier with silicone mats and a rolling pin.
  • Divide your tortilla dough into 4 parts and roll each one out between the parchment or silicone mats until you have about a 10″-12″ tortilla. Carefully peel away the top mat/parchment sheet by pulling it back parallel to the top.
  • Take a circular pan lid of 10″-12″ and place it on the tortilla. Gently cut around the lid but be careful not to cut the parchment or silicone mat. Peel away the outside of the ring and set aside.
  • Carefully place the wrap (still stick to the parchment) flax side down on a hot cast iron griddle or large non-stick frying pan. Carefully peel away the parchment as above.
  • Let cook for 1-2 minutes and then flip (I can usually roll out the next one in this time)
  • Repeat until you have cooked all the wraps

Above: From forming the ball to the finished tortilla, left to right and top to bottom.

Fill them with whatever you like and roll them up or make quesadillas!

I have found they keep quite well in the fridge (3-7 days).


Cultured Yellow Squash Hummus (vegan, paleo, keto)

Finished Ferment, day 3.

Fermented Yellow Squash Hummus

I love hummus.  I know that’s a strong word but it really is one of my favorite foods.  Lately though I have been dealing with some inflammation issues and have gone a mostly plant based keto to help manage it.  I’ve tried making keto hummus before but wasn’t particularly impressed with the recipes or results.  For this, I chose yellow summer squash.  I diced it and dry roasted it in a cast iron pan at 350°F for an hour.

I leave out the chili flakes when making this for kids, but it is awesome with.  I used cultured onion juice for fermenting this hummus. The flavor is smooth, full of that mediterranean tahini taste and roasted notes and has a nice depth to it.

Enjoy!

Photo above: 24 hours into fermentation.  It’s alive!

Ingredients:

Method:

Wash, remove the tops and halve the yellow squash lengthwise and then cut into 1″ sections. Dry roast at 350°F for 1 hour. Put all ingredients in a food processor (hold out the olive oil) and process until smooth.

If serving immediately, leave out the fermenting liquid.  Spoon into a bowl and stir in 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then drizzle a bit more on the top. Serve with crudite platter or chips.

If fermenting, hold out the olive oil until the very end. Transfer hummus to a 2 litre clip top jar, cover with the olive oil and clamp closed.  Slowly rotate the jar until the olive oil seals the entire empty surface.  Leave to ferment for 2-3 days depending on your preference.  It will be cultured after 24 hours but you will have a stronger bite and more gut healthy bacteria after 2 or 3 days.  It is an acquired taste so if you’re new start with 1-2 days.  Once finished, stir the olive oil in and store in a 1 liter glass jar in the fridge.

Pro Tip: Make sure your jar is at minimum 1 1/2 times the capacity of your culture.  Double is best.  If your jar is too small it will grow right out of the jar and all over your kitchen counter.

Yellow Squash Hummus, day 1.