Truffle & Beetroot Cultured Barbecue Sauce (nightshade-free, keto, paleo, vegan)

This recipe is an adaptation of my cultured barbecue sauce. As I said in that post, among the first ferments I attempted was barbecue sauce. Since my Hashimoto’s Diagnosis I have been honing what I can and cannot consume… so this barbecue sauce is sans nightshades, soy and refined sugars. The sugars in it are fermented out so the end product still allows me to stay in ketosis. This may not seem important for some but ketones in the body are hugely anti-inflammatory and for me this allows me to continue to function as a human, wife, mother and homemaker. Any time I run into an allergy no matter what my macros are that day I am kicked out of ketosis and in pain. My neck, shoulders and back become so inflamed that sometimes it is difficult to breathe and certainly to move. So there you go. Because of this I avoid allergens at all costs and stay in keto for the better part of the month. I have been experimenting with carb ups weekly and have found it is too much, but monthly my body seems to handle fairly well. I still get to have my sweet potato truffle fries once a month… surrounded by a few days of raspberries without severe consequences. So for today I am posting a gorgeous beetroot based barbecue sauce with truffle salt to initiate the ferment. It is fantastic with those sweet potato truffle fries. 😂

This recipe is still in process, but it is both savory and (keto/paleo) sweet with a subtle umami flavor.

So Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope it is restful, joyful and full of family, spiritual and physical peace.

Give it a go and let me know how you like it!

Ingredients:

Method:

Roast beetroot/beets, onions, garlic and apple at 425° for 45 minutes or until blackened. Set aside to cool.

Sanitize your 1 liter or quart jar and lids if using. I place them in the oven at its lowest temperature for a few minutes. 170° Fahrenheit in an American oven. My British ovens were usually 75° Celsius.

Place all ingredients in a food processor, blender or Vitamix. Chop first if you’re using a normal blender and place wet ingredients first and dry next (wet in the bottom, dry on top) but reserve the olive oil. Puree, then transfer to a 1.5 Liter fermenting jar with air lock or a swing/clip top 1.5 Liter Jar.  Leave 2″ of room at the top. Cover the top with extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil and seal.

Leave to ferment for 2-7 days, depending on taste. The longer you leave it the less sugar you will have in the final ferment so taste it as needed but be mindful to use sterile spoons.

Store in swing top or glass bottles. You may have to dilute with a bit of water, apple cider vinegar or onion brine after fermentation. Enjoy on pizza, barbecue or with my personal favorite: sweet potato fries!

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Fermented Red Sauce (Nightshade-Free Ketchup)

Since my diagnosis with Hashimoto’s I’ve had to avoid a lot of things I love. I can’t say ketchup is up there at the top but I do like it once in a while with truffle salted sweet potato fries. As nightshades are no longer on the menu ketchup is out. Which would be no great loss but for those fries! I did a bit of fiddling with my fermented tomato sauce recipe and came up with this. I think you’ll like it. There are some options… and yes. I went for the truffle salt in this ferment and it is truly delish. But let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 beetroot (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 1 Small or 1/2 Medium Organic Onion
  • 1 small green apple
  • 1 Tbsp unsulphured raisins or 1 fresh plum or 1 rip fig (I used a fig)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves or 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 cup fermented onion brine
  • 1/4 cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/8 cup pure maple syrup, raw honey or ¼ cup date paste (I used date paste)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp pink salt or truffle salt
  • 1/2 tsp organic allspice
  • 1/2 tsp organic cloves
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Method:

  1. Dice the beetroot and roast in the oven at 350°F for 30 minutes.
  2. Sanitize your jar & lid in the oven at 180°F for five minutes.
  3. Place all ingredients in a food processor, blender or Vitamix (chop first if you’re using a normal blender) and puree, then transfer to a 1.5 Liter fermenting jar with air lock or a swing/clip top 1.5 Liter Jar. Leave for 2-4 days on the counter to ferment.

Chocolate Espresso Super Muffins, No Foolin’ (Paleo, No Sugar)

No Sugar, Paleo, Chocolate, Espresso, Nut-free, Keto-Cycling Protein Muffins

This is a recipe I have been working on for months, trying to come up with a guilt-free antioxidant and protein rich breakfast muffin.  It came out of the time of year when the greens do not last long and so my go-to make ahead summer smoothie gagged me with the unmistakable aftertaste of rotting veg.  Yep.  Sorry for the disturbing imagery.  Talk about April foolery. It was more disturbing to take a gulp and have to pull over to spew out the car door with the background sounds of bewildered and concerned little voices crying “mommy are you okay!?”  At this point I should probably tell you that I am one of those queens of TMI and it is all or nothing with me.

I love beetroot, coffee and dark chocolate so this is a win for me. If you’re not a fan of beets you can sub with butternut squash or zucchini… but it won’t have that red velvety pop.

A note on sweetness if you haven’t figured it out already. I DO NOT HAVE A SWEET TOOTH. I prefer things less sweet and tend to gag if anything is overly sweet. So if you are a sweetie, I recommend adding a 1/4 cup of sukrin fiber gold syrup or more allulose. And if you wonder why I use so many different natural sweeteners; it is because each one comes with it’s own aftertaste when used in excess. I have taken to creating blends to have on hand for simplicity as each one brings up the sweetness in it’s own way, so together they culminate into an “all purpose” sugar of sorts.

Beetroot (beets) are chockers with phytonutrients and trimethylglycine (TMG) which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties as well as fight cancer and detoxify the body. They are also high in lutein, which promotes eye health. This in concert with raw cacao and espresso makes for a great morning (or mid morning) pick me up. In essence, these muffins are jacked up.

So here is a healthy and completely justifiable chocolate muffin. You’re welcome.

Yields 12 Standard or 6 Jumbo Muffins

Ingredients:

*You can sub 3/4 cup maple syrup if you don’t care about the sugar content… I will sometimes partially sub when I’m making them for other people.

**I use Lily’s stevia sweetened chocolate chips mostly because they are sugar free but at times I have used Enjoy Life dark chocolate chipssemi-sweet chips or Pascha 85% dark chocolate chips if I am making them for non-keto people.

Method:

Roast beetroot in a cast iron or sheet pan at 400ºF/200°C for 40 to 60 minutes, depending on size. Let cool a bit and then peel and discard the skins. Set aside the peeled beetroot for the blender. If you don’t have a blender, you can try grating it but the texture will be different.

Preheat oven to 350ºF/175°C

In a high powered blender add the beetroot and wet ingredients and blend until smooth.

Follow with dry ingredients and mix.  Scrape down the sides and mix again.

I do this in a Vitamix but you can do it in a mixer or bowl if you reverse the order of ingredients: Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix.  Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl and mix.  Pour the wet into the dry and fold until combined.

I like to spray the muffin cups with a bit of coconut oil before I pour the batter in.  Leave about a 1/4” or half a centimeter at the top to allow them to puff up.

Bake for 20 +/- minutes, depending on your oven. They are done when you can just tap one with a finger without making a depression.

Take out immediately and let cool.


Green Giant Kale & Broccoli Fermented Hummus (Vegan, Paleo Hacked)

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Above: the jolly green giant hummus topped with organic hempseed for protein and fancy pants presentation.

Green Giant Kale & Broccoli Fermented Hummus

Sooo…. Thanksgiving happened.  Sandwiched between having a wicked flu myself and dealing with a full night and day of helicopter vomit with my poor dear [the name of child has been removed for his or her emotional protection].  Needless to say with sickness and the marathon that Thanksgiving, I haven’t been posting anything.  Not that I haven’t been fooding… I have.  Just not blogging.  So we may or may not be seeing some of those recipes in the next few days.

I’ve already given my spiel about the benefits of fermenting beans and legumes but it never hurts to re-cap.  Because who doesn’t love a frugal paleo hack.  So!  Beans contain a high level of phytates and lectins, which does some bad stuff (read this post) and is not so paleo.  But! Cooking and then fermenting legumes can reduce these phytates and lectins by up to 85%, essentially “hacking” those beans into a stable veg the likes of other paleo friendly veg.  So… not really paleo but for all intents and purposes just as healthy or more so.  And cheap.  Did I mention dried beans are cheap?  Having home made fermented hummus to snack on takes my family’s grocery budget down nearly $200 a month as opposed to not having it.  Something to consider.

This is sort of like a green goddess hummus but as I was totally unprepared for my husband to love it (which he did) I thought I’d give it a more masculine name.  Enter the jolly green giant.  Not that I buy green giant kale and broccoli but I did grow up on frozen veg to supplement mum’s garden, so hey.

I basically cooked up a vat of dried chickpeas prior to Thanksgiving, in preparation for having near nothing healthy around to get us through all the prep.  I actually made four hummus varieties: Fermented Hummus, Roasted Beetroot Hummus, Pumpkin Pie Hummus (FAIL. But I added more spices and pressed it onto a silicone mat into tiny cookies and then the family inhaled them) and this… the green variety.  The spinach was looking sad so for fear of it ruining the ferment I left it out and went for the heartier winter veg: kale & raw broccoli.

Ingredients

125-150g dried chick peas, soaked overnight and cooked, drained and rinsed (makes about 2 cups) or one can.

2 cups packed kale

2 cups broccoli florets

garlic cloves

½ cup whey from a batch of live yogurt or milk kefir, cultured vegetable juice from a previous ferment (I used the juices from a batch of fermented carrots)

1/4 cup tahini or 3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds or toasted sunflower seeds

juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

handful fresh sage leaves from the garden

1 tablespoon sea salt, celtic sea salt or pink salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ – ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (poured over top to seal out bacteria)

Method

I like to use dried chickpeas, so I measure out 125 grams (a little over 4oz) and soak them overnight.  Pour into a bowl or container, fill with water and cover.  In the morning, strain and rinse the chickpeas.  Bring a pot of water to boil, pour in the chickpeas and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Strain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse.

While your chickpeas are cooking, wash, trim and chop kale & broccoli, 2 cups each

Add the chickpeas and all other ingredients to your food processor (hold out the olive oil) and process until smooth.

If serving immediately, leave out the culturing 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 days.  Once finished, stir the olive oil in and store in a 1 liter glass jar or BPA free container in the fridge.

Pro Tip: Make sure your jar is double the capacity of your hummus so you don’t wake up to the Blob invading your kitchen.  It’ll be tasty but a sad sad waste… unless you’re the type to lick it off the counter.


Cultured Roasted Beetroot Hummus

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Above: the gorgeous hot pink hummus topped with organic hempseed for a kick of protein and contrast.

Cultured Roasted Beetroot Hummus

Okay, so a quick word about fermenting beans and legumes.  Generally beans are not beloved by paleo or keto folks because they contain a high level of phytates and lectins, which are believed to slow the absorption of dietary minerals including iron, zinc, manganese and calcium.  So in essence they can be an “anti-nutrient”.  Cooking and then fermenting legumes can reduce these phytates and lectins by up to 85%, essentially making the issue a non-issue.  It is similar to why people who are lactose intolerant can often drink milk kefir… because the kefir granules “eat” the lactose and produce the super-probiotic yogurt that is so good for our guts.  This is a process we are much more familiar with in the production of wine, beer and spirits but in these forms produces a significant amount of probiotics, which benefits our gut and therefore all those beautiful neuro-transmitters that effect our brains and body as a whole.  Also, as a lovely side note, the beans become a little less the “musical fruit” we all so lovingly sang about as children.  Or was that just my family??

Moving swiftly on!  This lovely pink stuff is a remake of the famed hummus, which my neighbor savored for months… yes, months.  I love beetroot, which is something I only discovered upon visiting Australia for first time.  B.A. (Before Australia) I had always despised it.  There are certain things that seem to be a part of a country’s identity… sometimes that covers the preparation of certain foods.  Well this is one area where they beat the U.S. all to heck.  In addition to the gorgeous sweet pickled beetroot I found on many a table when visiting… my now Australian family introduced me to beetroot hummus.  One day my bro and sis in law came in after church with some amazing smelling Turkish food… Ekmek (BIG pita style bread) alongside a spread of tzaziki, olives, shawarma, standard hummus and this pot of hot pink beetroot hummus.  I fell.  The following recipe is one I developed when my little family and I were living in Northern Ireland.  It’s fun, budget friendly and sooooo yum.

I have done this with roasted beetroot or cultured beetroot… both are good options and have slightly different flavors.  Keep your roasted root to a cup for this one as too much caramel is not a good taste in savory hummus.  Believe me, I’ve tried.

Above Left: Day 1 with olive oil sitting on top and protecting from outside bacteria.

Above Right: Day 2 of ferment; hummus has expanded with gas and is ready to eat or store in fridge to slow ferment.

Ingredients

200g dried chick peas, soaked overnight and cooked, drained and rinsed (makes about 3 cups)

1 cup roasted beetroot

4-6 garlic cloves

½ cup whey from a batch of live yogurt or milk kefir, cultured vegetable juice from a previous ferment (I used the juices from my fermented red onions)

1/4 cup tahini or 3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds or toasted sunflower seeds

juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon sea salt, celtic sea salt or pink salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ – ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (poured over top to seal out bacteria)

Method

I like to use dried chickpeas, so I measure out 250 grams (a little over a 1/2 pound/8oz) and soak them overnight in.  Pour into a bowl or container, fill with water and cover.  In the morning, strain and rinse the chickpeas.  Bring a pot of water to boil, pour in the chickpeas and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  I’m totally lazy and ADD so I prefer to stick them in the crockpot and forget about them until I have time to get to them.  Once cooked, strain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse.

While your chickpeas are cooking, wash, trim and dice 2 – 3 red beetroot (one bunch usually suffices if they come in a group of 3)

Lay parchment paper or foil on a cookie sheet and spray with a little coconut oil to prevent the extreme sticking that happens when beetroot caramelizes.

Toss the beetroot on and roast on medium to low heat for 30-60 minutes.  (I did 275 degrees F for 1 hour.

When you can stab your beetroot easily with a fork and they are soft, move them to your food processor.

Add the chickpeas and all other ingredients (hold out the olive oil) and process until smooth.

If serving immediately, leave out the whey.  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 days.  Once finished, stir the olive oil in and store in a 1 liter glass jar or BPA free container in the fridge.

Pro Tip: Make sure your jar is double the capacity of your hummus or you’ll find a really gross ooze all over your counter in a couple days… or sooner.


Cultured Beetroot

Fermented Beetroot (Beets) for salads, mezza style platters and… fermented beetroot hummus!

Okay, so I try not to talk to much about non-food stuff but I promise this is related.  One of the first Aussie food things I learned to do was to make homemade canned beetroot.  I grew up hating the stuff… when I moved to Scotland it was likewise awful.  But then I went to Australia to meet Steve’s family and I’m fairly certain there was a big tub of it sitting on nearly every table at friends and family’s houses.  It was a side to nearly every meal… and the reason was because it tasted awesome with all the Aussie platters and pretty much all summer food.  So… I found an Australian recipe and learned to can it myself.  We enjoyed it for years on grilled cheese sandwiches and in salads but when life got a bit more stressful my already high sugar sensitivity went through the roof and I needed to find a new way to prepare my favorite things.  In came Nourishing Traditions and a whole wide world of cultured foods was opened to me.  Once I got through the extreme language I saw the value in the foods and way of preparation used.  I’m sure it helped that from the very first experiment I fell in love with the flavors of ferment.  I started on milk kefir, and found a budget friendly friend in fermenting hummus.  Began making my own Ginger Beer (Ginger Whiskey as my husband calls it) and found for myself that the probiotics themselves also helped with my genetic predisposition for anxiety.  (Thank you, Scottish roots).  So I’ll shut up now, but all that to say I was pleasantly surprised to find a way of preparing one of my favorite vegetables that brought it to life rather than just baked the life out of it, though I still like that as well.

I did this recipe in a 2 Liter Kilner swing top canning jar but you can adjust proportions to your liking.

Fermenting lids and weights are helpful but you can do this with stainless steel or plastic lids… or swing top like this one. In place of a weight you will need a sanitized jar small enough to insert on top of the veg. Another trick is to fill a clean ziplock back with water and stuff it in. I have done this when using a bigger jar like with Kimchi.

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Make sure all your tools are clean and washed with hot soapy water and rinsed.
  2. You can sanitize your jars in the dishwasher but I tend to put mine in the oven.  I set it to 170 degrees Fahrenheit (the lowest temp) and place my jars and weights on a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat to prevent slipping.  I leave them in at that temperature for 2-5 minutes while I’m prepping the veg.
  3. Remove beetroot leaves and “tail” with a clean knife.
  4. You can use a mandolin or a sharp chef’s knife and slice the beetroot thinly and evenly. About 1/4″ or slimmer if you can as it makes for awesome texture and layering.
  5. Fill your sanitized jar with washed, unpeeled and sliced beetroot.
  6. Leave 2-3″ room at the top for placing the fermenting weight… and you’ll still want 1-2″ room to prevent explosions.
  7. Dissolve 1 tablespoon pink salt or sea salt per 2 cups warm non-chlorinated water and pour over the top, repeating until all your veg is covered. Insert sanitized jar or weight to keep vegetables submerged. Close lid.
  8. If you do not have fermenting or swing lids, set the lid loosely and cover with a towel to keep bacteria out. Wait 3-7 days, depending on your taste.

I love this in salads and paleo wraps and mezze platters. I’ve done this with Golden and Chiogga Beetroot as well but the red is still my favorite for fermenting.

The colors are gorgeous and the healthy bacteria are a boon! 🙌🏼