Avocado Caprese Salad (Dairy Free, Paleo, Plant-Based)

Avocado Caprese Salad (Dairy Free, Paleo, Plant-Based)

Caprese Salad with creamy avocado is delicious and so easy to make! This salad is the ultimate way to enjoy fresh, ripe summer tomatoes & basil!

A classic caprese salad is made with very few ingredients–mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and olive oil. I decided to put a spin on this classic dish by removing the dairy (a common food allergen) and replacing it with creamy & nutrient-rich avocado.

Now this fresh Italian salad can be enjoyed by those following a dairy free, paleo or plant-based diet!

How to make a caprese salad

It’s real simple… start by slicing the tomatoes. Feel free to use tomatoes that are different shapes, sizes and colours.

Then slice the avocados, keeping them similar in thickness to the tomatoes. Arrange one slice of tomato then overlap with one slice of avocado around the outside of a plate (or however you choose).

You can incorporate whole fresh basil leaves into the layers or scatter freshly torn basil on top.

Lastly, finish this dish with a good drizzle of high-quality olive oil and sea salt or add even more flavour with a homemade dairy free pesto.

Important tips for making a caprese salad

  • Find the freshest, ripe locally grown tomatoes
  • Use a high-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Use fresh basil
  • Find ripe avocados for more creaminess

Pair this salad with one of my dairy & gluten free Italian main dishes …

Caprese salad with avocado

Avocado Caprese Salad Dairy Free

Avocado Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad with creamy avocado is delicious and so easy to make. This salad is the ultimate way to enjoy fresh, ripe summer tomatoes & basil! I decided to put a spin on this classic dish by removing the dairy (a common food allergen) and replacing it with creamy & nutrient-rich avocado. Now this fresh Italian salad can be enjoyed by those following a dairy free, paleo or plant-based diet!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Dairy Free, Paleo, Plant-Based
Servings: 2

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tomatoes, ripe
  • 1 avocado, ripe
  • 1 handful basil, fresh
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or homemade pesto*
  • Sea salt, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Thickly slice tomatoes and avocado.
  • Arrange one slice of tomato then overlap with one slice of avocado around the outside of a plate (or however you choose).
  • Incorporate whole fresh basil leaves into the layers or scatter freshly torn basil on top.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt or use homemade dairy free pesto.

Notes

Avocado Caprese Salad Dairy Free

Cauliflower Mushroom Rice (Grain Free, AIP, Low-Carb)

Cauliflower Mushroom Rice (Grain Free, AIP, Low-Carb)

Cauliflower Mushroom Rice is a delicious grain free and low-carb side to any dish. The prep is super easy with frozen riced cauliflower (which can be found at most grocery stores) and pre sliced mushrooms!

Mushrooms don’t just add awesome flavour to this dish, but they’re also a great food to boost immune function.

According to a 2005 report published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, mushrooms contain “compounds and complex substances with antimicrobial, antiviral, antitumor, antiallergic, immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory, antiatherogenic, hypoglycemic and hepatoprotective activities.”

To simplify, mushrooms can enhance almost every system in the body and protect you from numerous conditions and diseases since they’re associated with lowered inflammation. Sustaining high levels of inflammation long term has been shown to contribute to chronic conditions, such as heart & autoimmune disease, diabetes and cancer.

Note: Buy and eat organic grown mushrooms whenever possible since they’re very porous and have the tendency to easily absorb chemicals from the soil that they’re grown in.

What you need for this recipe

  • Frozen riced cauliflower
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Parsley
  • Organic chicken stock
  • Avocado oil

 

Cauliflower Mushroom Rice

Cauliflower Mushroom Rice goes great with …

Mushroom “Rice”

Cauliflower Mushroom Rice is a delicious grain free and low-carb side to any dish. The prep is super easy with frozen riced cauliflower (which can be found at most grocery stores) and pre sliced mushrooms!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: AIP, Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo
Servings: 2

Ingredients
 

  • 1 12 oz bag frozen riced cauliflower, I get mine from Costco
  • 1 pack sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 and 1/4 cup organic chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • Sea salt & black pepper , to taste

Instructions
 

  • Saute mushrooms in 1 tbsp avocado oil for 2-minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup chicken stock, cover and let cook for 5-minutes. Remove lid and allow remaining liquid to cook off. Set mushrooms aside in a bowl.
  • Using the same pan, add 1 tbsp avocado oil and saute onion until fragrant over medium heat.
  • Add frozen riced cauliflower and combine until slightly heated. Season with salt.
  • Add 1/4 cup of chicken stock to the pan at a time. Let liquid evaporate before adding more stock. Do this until you get through 1 cup of stock. Continue to stir ingredients as you do this.
  • Add mushrooms and parsley to the pan, combine everything together and let cook for another minute. Remove from heat and serve.

Cauliflower Mushroom Rice

Tiger Nut Energy Bites (Nut Free, AIP, Plant-Based)

Tiger Nut Energy Bites (Nut Free, AIP, Plant-Based)

DID YOU KNOW? Tiger nuts are not actually nuts, but rather tubers, like sweet potato, though much smaller in size. They get their name from the stripes on the tubers’ exterior.

These marble-sized tubers are chewy and taste like a cross between an almond and pecan with a hint of honey–making them a great nut replacement.

They are naturally gluten, grain and dairy free, so they’re perfect for those following a plant-based or paleo diet.

Tigernuts can be consumed in a number of ways. You can eat them raw, roasted, soaked or boiled. You can also find tiger nuts in a variety of forms; tiger nut flour, tiger nut oil, tiger nut butter and tiger nut milk!

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different tiger nut recipes. Not only do I get more variety in my diet with these small tubers, but they are packed with antioxidants, resistant starch fiber & vitamin E.

So, if you’re curious about tiger nuts or maybe you’re looking for nut free paleo recipes, I recommend trying some of my tiger nut creations below …

Tiger Nut Energy Bites (Nut Free, AIP, Plant-Based)

Tiger Nut Energy Bites

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup tiger nuts
1 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
1/8 tsp sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Put tiger nuts in a jar, fill with water and let soak in fridge for 12+ hours. Drain well.

2. Using a food processor, process drained tiger nuts until they break down a bit. Then add pitted dates, cacao/cocoa powder & sea salt. Continue to process until a consistent mixture forms.

3. Roll the mixture into small balls. Place in airtight container and store in the fridge.

Tiger Nut Energy Bites (Nut Free, AIP, Plant-Based)

5 Ways To Boost Your Smoothie

5 Ways To Boost Your Smoothie

Have you heard about different ‘superfoods’ that can be added to smoothies to make them even more healthy?

There’s a long list of them; so many that it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the land of superfoods.

I always recommend to keep things simple, but I can understand the urge to test out something new, especially if there are health benefits attached to it.

To save you the time and energy required to sort through all the superfoods out there, I’ve put together a short list of my favourite smoothie boosters. Check them out and give them a try!

5 Ways to Boost Your Smoothie

1. MACA POWDER

Known for its hormone balancing effects. Maca has been studied to help normalize the symptoms of premenstrual/menstrual symptoms, as well as the symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, night sweats, cramps, fatigue and lethargy. Look for gelatinized maca for easier digestion and absorption. Add 1 tsp.

2. COLLAGEN

The ultimate anti-aging smoothie booster! As we age, our bodies’ natural production of collagen starts to slow. Collagen supplementation has proven to be effective in supporting the strength and flexibility of bones, tendons and cartilage, as well as the appearance of skin and nails, and GI tract health. Incorporating a collagen powder into your smoothie is an easy way to support many areas of your health and stay forever young. Learn more about the benefits of Whole Body Collagen. Add 1-2 scoops.

Whole Body Collagen

A unique blend of THREE collagen peptides supported by clinical research showing their efficacy for supporting collagen production, bone strength, joint & gut health, skin elasticity + more.

3. CACAO NIBS

These little guys are loaded with antioxidants, even more so than tea, wine and blueberries! In addition, cacao nibs are a high source of magnesium, iron and fibre. A great way to add extra nutrition and crunch to your smoothies. Stir in 1 tbsp.

4. SEA SALT

Not only will a high-quality sea salt enhance the flavour of your smoothie, but it will add life-giving nutrients. Sea salt is rich in trace minerals that are hard to obtain from food due to the lack of nutrient-rich soil. Sea salt can help promote vascular health, healthy pH & electrolyte balance, as well as increase energy, regulate sleep and improve symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Look for Pink Himalayan or Celtic. Add a pinch.

5. CINNAMON

Popular for its blood sugar lowering effects, but also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and immunity-boosting abilities. Great way to naturally sweeten your smoothies as well. Opt for Ceylon cinnamon over Cassia (aka “fake”) cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon contains a higher amount of coumarin, a natural plant chemical that can be toxic to the liver and kidneys, and it may also be carcinogenic, in large doses. Add 1/2-1 tsp.

Join my free smoothie Challenge

Get started on your journey back to health by joining my FREE 14-day smoothie challenge. It’s a simple and natural approach to weight loss & better health. 

Sautéed Lemon & Pine Nut Kale (Plant-Based, High-Fiber, Low-Carb)

Sautéed Lemon & Pine Nut Kale (Plant-Based, High-Fiber, Low-Carb)

To be honest, before this recipe I really wasn’t a big fan of kale–and the only way I would incorporate it into my diet was by hiding it in a smoothie.

The BF managed to change my mind about kale in our early dating days …

It was Halloween 2018 and I was heading to his house for the very first time. The plan was to dress-up and hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters in his neighbourhood.

I showed up as Organic Farmer Jen (no surprise there) and he dressed up as Superman (padded abs, biceps, quads and all).

We really didn’t discuss dinner plans before I arrived (I was mentally prepared to eat my stash of organic dark chocolate and SmartSweets for dinner), but to my surprise this man had some dinner ideas up his jacked Superman sleeves.

He busted out a gluten free keto pizza from the freezer and then grabbed a bunch of kale from the fridge. Now, the kale didn’t excite me as much as the pizza did, BUT I was extremely impressed that this bachelor had something green in his fridge and was prepared to do something with it.

I decided not to mention that I wasn’t a big fan of kale, afterall I did show up as Organic Farmer Jen and what organic farmer doesn’t eat kale, right?!

So, after 10-minutes of methodical kale prep and warming up keto pizza, there we were, the organic farmer and jacked Superman enjoying our first at home dinner–that he made!!!

I realized two important things that night:

  1. I actually do like kale, I just needed the right combo of ingredients to make it tickle my palate.
  2. Jacked Superman and his kale recipe might be keepers!

We now make this kale recipe on a regular–and I enjoy it just as much today as I did when I tried it for the very first time.

The combination of lemon, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil makes kale exciting and flavourful. It’s the perfect low-carb, high-fiber side to any fish or meat dish (or gluten free keto pizza!).

Give it a try and leave me a comment below with your thoughts!

Sautéed Lemon & Pine Nut Kale (Plant-Based, High-Fiber, Low-Carb)

Sautéed Lemon & Pine Nut Kale

INGREDIENTS: (serves 3-4)
1 bunch leafy kale, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 lemon, juice only
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 tbsp avocado oil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. In a large stove-top pan saute garlic in avocado oil until fragrant.
2. Add kale to pan. Use tongs to coat kale in oil and garlic. Add sea salt.
3. Once kale has wilted down, add pine nuts and allow them to toast slightly.
4. Add in lemon juice, turn off burner then finish with olive oil. Toss one last time and serve.

Sautéed Lemon & Pine Nut Kale

Sausage & Rapini Pizza (Gluten & Dairy Free, Paleo)

Sausage & Rapini Pizza (Gluten & Dairy Free, Paleo)

DID YOU KNOW? Cassava flour is a good choice for those with gluten intolerance symptoms and sensitive digestive systems or disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Cassava flour is derived from cassava root (also known as yuca or manioc), a starchy, high-carbohydrate tuber – similar to yam, taro, plantains and potato.

Starchy tubers tend to be safer for people with gut issues since they contain more soluble fiber and less insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber can be soothing for the gut, whereas consuming large amounts of insoluble fiber when your gut is inflamed can aggravate IBS symptoms.

Once a month (OK fine, every two weeks ?) the BF and I experiment with different pizza toppings for this cassava flour pizza crust. You can find the original pizza crust recipe created by Otto’s Naturals, here.

We’ve nailed down another great recipe which was inspired by my little Jen days. I could always count on a sausage & rapini pizza from Caruso’s Pizza when I would visit my dad on the weekends. This pizza put all others to shame! Looking back, I’m truly grateful my dad was hopeless in the kitchen or else I wouldn’t have got my weekly dose of this pizza ?

So, if you’re looking for a gut friendly pizza with a whole lot of Italian love, this is the one for you!

Love this recipe?! Then you’ve got to try this Classic Margherita Pizza and Mediterranean Tuna Pizza.

gluten free sausage and rapini pizza

Sausage & Rapini Pizza

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-4)
½ cup warm water (roughly 105-110 F)
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp honey
1 cup cassava flour
1 tbsp coconut flour
5 tbsp arrowroot flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
1 egg
¼ cup avocado oil

TOPPINGS: 
1/2 cup plum tomatoes, drained and crushed
20 whole mushrooms, sautéed
1 bunch rapini, boiled & sautéed
1 cured Italian sausage, sliced
Sea salt to taste (mix into tomatoes)

INSTRUCTIONS: 

1. Prepare yeast mix: In a small bowl, add warm water and honey. Mix to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast in. Mix to dissolve. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to activate. It will get foamy on top.

2. Mix dry: Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl to combine.

3. Mix wet: Lightly whisk eggs and olive oil together in a small bowl.

4. Mix together and form a dough ball: Add egg mixture and activated yeast to the dry ingredients and form a dough ball. Transfer ball to an oiled bowl, cover with dish towel and set aside in a warm place (70-80 F is ideal) to rise for 1 hour. It will not double in size, but it will rise a little.

5. Prep toppings while dough rises: Remove stems from rapini, boil until tender and drain. Grab two stove-top pans and saute 1 sliced garlic clove in 2 tbsp avocado oil, in each pan. Add rapini to one pan and mushrooms to the other. Season each with sea salt and coat in oil and garlic. After a few minutes remove rapini and set aside. Add some red or white wine (other liquids work too) to the mushrooms and cover for a few minutes. Remove when liquid evaporates and mushrooms are cooked. Set aside.

6. Once dough has risen, preheat oven to 550 F. Preheat pizza stone, baking sheet or metal pan.

7. Roll and shape dough: Place the dough on parchment paper. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough (if necessary) and shape dough with your hands by pushing down (on top of parchment, so it doesn’t stick) and roll with rolling pin. Flatten your pizza about 1/8-1/4 inch thin. Roll the crust thick or thin (to your liking) by shaping with your fingers and rolling the edges. Use extra cassava flour if dough is sticking. NOTE: Split the dough in half before rolling it out to make two smaller pizzas. 

8. Add toppings: Add tomatoes, rapini, mushrooms and sausage onto the dough. Lift the whole piece of parchment paper with pizza on top and transfer to the preheated baking sheet.

9. Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes until dough is firm and slightly golden, pulling out halfway and removing parchment paper. For a crispier golden crust, allow a few more minutes. Allow more time if cooking at lower temperature.

Sausage & Rapini Pizza with Cassava Flour Crust