Probiotic Grain Free Granola (vegan, paleo and keto options)

Okay, before I begin my post I want to give a shout out to my wonderful husband, Steve, who moved to America (He is Australian) and has worked his bum off every way he can to support this post missionary life family. He started his degree when we were pregnant with our oldest and had to put it on hold several times for long periods over the years in order to support us. Yesterday he Graduated with a B.A. in Leadership with Honors from Faith International University. I am so proud of him. University is difficult enough and when you throw a job, a wife and three children into that mix it becomes even more difficult. So Steve, here’s to you! The most amazing man I know and the love of my life, well done.

The last couple years I have been struggling with severe inflammation so have slowly been getting to the bottom of it. Probiotics have helped immensely, namely kefir. I still prepare breads for my my family using einkorn on occasion but I am altogether grain free and sugar free these days and have found that a dairy free keto diet keeps my inflammation under wraps fairly well.

I have taken to soaking and drying nuts, fermenting seeds and generally working on making everything in my pantry a little less inflammatory as I mentioned in my previous post for probiotic granola.

The Nourishing Traditions cookbook suggests fermenting small seeds before eating them rather than soaking and drying or sprouting. Hempseed, Flax and Chia great with this method because they’re too small to soak and dry.

My personal preference for culturing this is coconut kefir but for the hubs I have used ginger beer as well. If I know I will be eating it I keep the sugars to 1-2 Tbsp of pure maple syrup, blackstrap molasses or raw honey for the fermentation process. I do not love things overly sweet and neither does my body so this works for me. You can try any non-salty culturing liquid you like! I have used ginger beer, milk kefir and coconut kefir with varying but equally nice results.) Water kefir, kombucha and whey will work as well but I personally do not use whey or ginger beer any longer because I find them highly inflammatory. Whey because it is naturally inflammatory and ginger because I have recently discovered I am allergic to it!! Sad 😕

Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

For Pre-Ferment:
  • 1 cup hulled hempseeds/hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup golden flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp- 1/4 cup maple syrup, blackstrap molasses or raw honey
  • 1/2-1 cup culturing liquid
  • 2-4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pink or kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds or other nuts (optional, I have a mild allergy to nuts so I don’t add them to mine)
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit like unsulphered goji berries, raisins, blueberries or for keto, fresh or dried cranberries
  • Diced fruit: apple, pear etc (optional)

For Post Ferment:
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut chips
  • 5-10 drops Stevia or monk fruit drops to taste (optional)

Method:

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a medium size bowl
  2. Add fermenting liquid, maple syrup or blackstrap, salt and cinnamon or other spices.
  3. Stir several times in the first 1-2 hours to keep it from clumping.
  4. Leave covered for 12 hours or overnight. If you are using chia seeds you may need to add more fermenting liquid or water.
  5. After the ferment is finished, add the coconut oil and any back sweetener you like. I use monk and stevia. Much of the sugars will have been consumed by the culture but it will still be sweet. Raw honey is also a good choice here because of its antifungal properties.
  6. Lay out on a large parchment in a perforated baking sheet (you can use a normal baking sheet but it will take mug longer to dry). I use the fryer basket for my Breville Air Oven.
  7. If you want it for bars you will need to pre-cut it while it is still soft or it will get too crispy and crumble. A few hours into drying is a key time.
  8. Dehydrate at 150° – 160°F for 8-12 hours. If it doesn’t breathe as in a standard baking sheet it can take up to 24 hours and you’ll need to break it up and flip or “toss” it like a salad.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. I like to use a dehydrator to keep the probiotics alive. But if you don’t care about that you can just bake it in the oven at low temperature.

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Cultured Daikon Radish (vegan, paleo, keto, probiotic)

I first read about daikon radish as a condiment in Nourishing Traditions. It commonly eaten in Japan so I like to think of it as an easier, less stinky, don’t have to gas bomb my whole house version of sauerkraut. It has much of the favorable flavor of the German favorite without the wait. Whether you take it alongside sausage and hot mustard or a field roast dog, it’s a win.

Originally I did this in a 68oz jar but as I only have a quart left this recipe will be for 1 quart.

Ingredients:

  • 6-8″ daikon radish
  • 1 Tbsp kosher or pink salt
  • Non-chlorinated water

Method:

  1. Sanitize jars and fermenting weights in the oven at 180°F for 3-4 minutes
  2. Grate or shred your daikon radish in a food processor until you have about 4 cups.  Leave about 1-2″ room at the top.
  3. Pack into sanitized jar, add salt and fill with non-chlorinated water.
  4. Set fermenting weight on top and pour a little avocado oil around the edge to seal out bacteria.  You’ll want an inch of room to spare.  Seal the jar and leave for 4-7 days before opening, or longer.  I left mine for two weeks.

Cultured Fir Tip Hummus (Vegan, Paleo Hacked, keto cycling)

If you saw my post on collecting fir tips back in May you might have wondered what I do with it other than just put them in goats brie grilled cheese… and this is the big one! I’ve been doing keto for a while now to help keep my inflammation down but I’m in a new stage that is called by a few names: “carb cycling”, “keto cycling”, “carb up”, etc. Call it what you like… but because even Dr. Berg approves of real home made hummus (and he doesn’t even ferment his!) I am so very happy to have my beloved chickpeas back in my diet guilt free. Lately I’ve been following Leanne Vogel and I love her take on women’s hormonal cycle and keto. This doesn’t mean going out of ketosis, but it means I can stretch it a bit further on these days and stay in ketosis. I am fully embracing having a higher carb day in a week, and certainly having a higher carb time of the month! By the way those are the 10th – 15th days of your cycle; the ones leading up to ovulation. Here come the raspberries, sweet potatoes and you guessed it! Home cultured hummus!

Ingredients:

Method

I like to use dried chickpeas, so I measure them out 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 your parsley and sage.

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

If serving immediately, 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 a third larger or double the capacity of your hummus so you don’t wake up to wasted work all over the counter.


Black Pepper Nightshade-Free Kimchi (vegan, paleo, keto)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Napa Cabbage, quartered and chopped
  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2-3″ piece of ginger
  • 3 Tbsp Himalayan Pink Salt, divided
  • 3-4 purple carrots, peeled and rinsed
  • 1 3-4″ portion daikon radish (about 1 cup sliced)
  • 1 large green apple, diced
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
  • 1/4 cup water (to puree apple, ginger & onion)
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp sichuan/sechuan peppercorns
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional: looks gross until the purple carrots bleed into the rest of the jar)
  • Gallon jar with or without airlock or a 2 quart jar (I use a giant pickle jar for this)
  • fermenting weight(s)
A couple days into fermentation. Not so hot looking thanks to that turmeric… but just wait.

Method:

  1. Sanitize a large 68oz jar or two roughly 2 liter jars and fermenting weights in the oven at 180ºF for 5 minutes.
  2. Wash and quarter cabbage lengthwise, then chop to desired length.  Thicker is more authentic (about 1 inch), but I chopped mine to about a half inch.  Place in a large bowl, toss with 2 Tablespoons kosher salt and set aside for at least 30 minutes to an hour for it to begin to ferment.
  3. Slice the radish in sticks and set aside.
  4. Peel and slice the carrots in rounds or sticks and set aside.
  5. Halve the onion and quarter it, reserving for the blender.
  6. Chop the tops off the green onions/scallions and cut off the whites. Reserve the whites for the paste and chop the greens in one inch sections.
  7. Quarter or dice the apple so the blender can handle it.
  8. Chop the Ginger a bit and combine with the apple, onion scallion whites, sichuan peppercorns, black peppercorns, 1 Tbsp pink salt and optional turmeric in the blender with the water and coconut aminos.  Blend until smooth.  
  9. Rinse the cabbage, drain and then add all the ingredients to the large bowl and toss together.
  10. Carefully scoop the mixture into the sanitized jars and beat down with a wooden spoon or french rolling pin until you have at least 2″ space at the top.  There is an actual tool for this but as I try my best to be minimalist I use what I have.  Now don’t freak out!  You don’t need brine for this one as it ferments better in its own juices and the salt.  Really.  Set the fermenting weights or a ziplock full of water (sealed) and close the lid.  
  11. Leave for a week or so to culture fully. 
Post cultured: still a little weird but those purple carrots did their job!
Final Ferment. That big jar actually made 4 of these. 🙂

Fermented Jicama with Lime & Pepper (vegan, paleo, keto)

This is one of those typical situations for me when I really need to do something with that vegetable I bought that has been sitting on the counter for too long. I usually make jicama fries and have even tried my hand at jicama & spelt bread, jicama chips and jicama tortillas. I had been dreaming about all the ways I could ferment it and decided to go with simple. I save everything so I pulled some lime rinds out of the freezer and stuffed them in with some ground pepper over the jicama.

Finished, it went beautifully in a summer romaine salad with cucumbers, pickled carrots and pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Jicama, peeled and sliced into “fries”
  • 4 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 lime
  • A few peppercorns or a 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • Non-chlorinated water
  • avocado oil to top.
  • 4 liter glass jar (or 4 quart size jars)
  • Fermenting weight

Method:

  1. Sanitize jar, weight and lid on the oven at 180°F for 2-3 min
  2. Peel and slice the jicama into sticks
  3. Halve a lime
  4. Stuff jicama, lime and pepper into the jar
  5. Pour the salt over the top and cover with water.
  6. Pour a little avocado oil on top to seal out bacteria
  7. Set in the fermenting weight, leaving an inch or two of space.
  8. Cover and leave for at least a week.

These are fantastic tossed into a pickled veg medley salad using the brine as dressing. I did this for a potluck recently and the main ask was what the dressing was… and that’s it! Love it.


Cultured Baba Ganoush (paleo, keto, vegan)

Cultured Baba Ganoush: post-fermentation method

This is my second post on the popular aubergine hummus otherwise known as baba ganoush. Most Americans will know it as an eggplant, but I first had it in France and found the rest of the world also calls it by its french name: aubergine. Frankly it sounds much more appetizing than eggplant so I’ll stick with it. I love how it roasts and grills to smoky excellence and comes alive with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. I have been making smokey baba ganoush for years and it is one of my favorites with crudités or a mezze platter. I have been known to eat it straight with a spoon as well. The last time I posted this was with the pre-fermentation or “classical” method. You can read that post here. Personally I find this method easier as it is exactly like making any other fermented hummus.

Consuming fermented foods aids your microbiome (the life in your gut) and helps your neurotransmitters send positive signals to your brain. This can help manage things like anxiety and inflammation and also helps your body process other vitamins more effectively.

Now, I have had a bit of a nightshade issue but the fermentation does deal with that issue to some extent. But that being said, I have had this post in my drafts for some time and am getting it out there while at the same time possibly saying goodbye to my beloved baba for who knows how long. We shall see! This is a much easer method than the pre-fermentation method and also allows you to remove the skins and seeds if needs be in order to lessen the source of nightshade related inflammation. So please enjoy. This is made with love. 🙂

Ingredients:

*If you want more authentic baba ganoush, put these optional ingredients in. If you want the more Romanian version, leave them out. For this recipe I put in the cilantro but left out the lemon. It made for a lovely smooth and smoky hummus.

Method:

  1. When picking your aubergines consider that the insides will shrink when roasting. The longer you roast, the less final product you will have. so when eyeballing them imagine the total product for each one to be about 1/2 – 2/3 the size.
  2. Roast your aubergines in a preheated oven at  350ºF/175°C until just blackened, turning over in between. This should take about an hour but keep an eye on them as it can vary according to size.
  3. When ready you should be able to poke the tops and feel a small pocket of air. Remove and let cool.
  4. While the aubergine is cooling, sanitize your jars and lids at 175 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven for 5 minutes.
  5. When they are cool enough to pick up, pull the tops off and scrape the insides into a colander to let any juices drain out. Often they are dry enough that I can skip this step. Set aside the juices.
  6. Place the strained aubergine in your food processor with roasted & diced or fermented onion (if using diced you will need to add a 1/2 cup culturing juice) or whey) and all other ingredients except for the olive oil. If you need more liquid, add in some of the strained juices. Process until smooth.
  7. Scoop the contents carefully into your jar. I used a 1.5 liter swing top kilner jar for this.
  8. Pour the olive oil over the top, close the lid and carefully turn the jar until the gap of air is coated in olive oil up to the rim of the lid. This will keep any bad bacteria out and allow the air bubbles to escape as the hungry wild yeasts do their magic. You always want a jar that has at least 1/3-1/2 empty after your ferment is inside when it comes to hummus, mash, sauces etc as they can get a little over excited… believe me. I have come downstairs to the hummus blob and olive oil all over my kitchen counter. No fun.
  9. Leave to ferment for 1-3 days depending on taste.  Once finished, stir the olive oil in and store in a 1 liter glass container in the fridge.

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. I sometimes just save some out, culturing liquid and all and serve with olive oil.


Cultured Vegan Mole Sauce. (Not authentic, but keto hacked, paleo and tasty)

I was rummaging through my pantry a couple weeks back and found an unfinished but open bag of cacao nibs. Sadly they had over-fermented and had the distinct aftertaste of sourdough starter. I do not like to throw things out unless they are actually “off” so I left them on the counter to remind me to think on it. And so I did… and eventually came to the idea of a marriage between mole sauce and my favorites: tahini and kefir. So I chucked the remaining nibs (about a cup) into a cup of slightly watered down coconut kefir I had made and let it sit out for a couple days to further culture. I blended it with an array of chilis and chili powder and left it again.

Fermenting sauces that contain added and natural sugars is a way of keto “hacking”. The sugars are consumed by the natural bacteria after a few days. It is a condiment though so I would not recommend eating it with a spoon if you want to stay under your carb count.

Authentic mole contains bread, tortilla chips (both which I cannot currently eat) as well as chicken broth, which I decided to avoid for this recipe and go the way of the French: “let the vegetables speak for themselves.” I hope you enjoy it. It’s a surprisingly versatile sauce. It goes well with eggs, cheese, in wraps and will perform as well as standard mole in the classic chicken enchiladas or even cauliflower and tempeh enchiladas for a vegetarian or vegan option. Give it a shot and tell me what you think!

Mole & kefir guacamole on a keto flax wrap. Nom nom.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cacao nibs or 100g bar of 100% baking chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup cacao powder will work here as well but you may need to add liquid)
  • 1 cup coconut kefir
  • 1 jalapeno, roasted
  • 2 roma tomatoes, roasted
  • 1 head garlic, roasted
  • 1 ample cup fermented onions with brine + 1/4 cup additional brine
  • 1 Large slice of Cultured Sourdough Keto Bread, toasted
  • 1/2 cup stirred tahini
  • 2 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • handful unsulphered raisins

Method:

You can do this one of two ways. Put all the ingredients in a jar and let them ferment for a few days and then blend, or blend together in a high powered blender and then put in a jar to ferment. I recommend the latter.

  1. Sanitize a couple of wide mouth pint jars or a 1 liter glass mason in the oven at 180 degrees for a few minutes.
  2. Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Transfer to your sanitized glass jar and leave for 1-5 days for it to ferment. You will see little bubbles when it is fermenting. It is ready to eat or you can leave it until the bubbles stop.
  4. Refrigerate after the ferment is finished.