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Gretchen’s Green Goddess and Carrot Ginger Dressings {Gluten-free, Low-carb}

Gretchen’s Green Goddess and Carrot Ginger Dressings {Gluten-free, Low-carb}
Green Goddess and Fresh Cucumbers

Green Goddess and Fresh Cucumbers

Making your own dressings is a much simpler endeavor than many people realize.You not only have absolute control over your ingredients which assures that there won’t be any allergens or unwanted additives, it’s also 100% better tasting and you can tweak it to your own personal tastes! Most will last a week in the fridge, and if you eat as many salads and veggies as we do, you’ll get through it in plenty of time!

GREEN GODDESS: Traditional Green Goddess dressing is actually not made with avocados, but when you have something as green, creamy and full of nutritional goodness as an avocado is, why not include it! This dressing is pretty zingy from the green onion and garlic, so if you prefer something a little calmer, just use less. My son is a huge fan of ranch dressing, and he LOVES this one. I used fresh parsley as the herb because that’s what I had on hand, but when my herb garden is flourishing this summer, I would also add tarragon, chives, or perhaps even make a version with Basil, as the Barefoot Contessa has done here, though I would still add my beloved avocado 😉 And speaking of ingredients, I’ve discovered that not all sour cream is created equally (or healthfully!) Many have a long list of ingredients which include additives. The commercial brand I buy is Daisy, which contains only Grade A cultured cream. Yay, Daisy!! They get an A+ from me, and they get my business!!

Gretchen’s Green Goddess Dressing

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 C chopped green onions (white and light green parts)
  • 1/2 C chopped fresh parsley (or blend of herbs such as tarragon, basil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 C half and half if needed for consistency

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and process until smooth. Store in refrigerator in airtight container up to one week. Makes about 2 cups. (10g net carb per batch, 1.25g net carb per 1/4C)

Green Goddess, Carrot Ginger and Simple Salad

Green Goddess, Carrot Ginger and Simple Salad

CARROT GINGER: Most of us who have been to sushi or hibachi restaurants have tried their simple iceberg salad with a Carrot Ginger dressing (most likely eaten with chopsticks!). I’ve always enjoyed the color and spirited flavors, and decided to give this one a try as well. I did steam the carrots slightly to make them easier to blend in my Ninja, but if your machine is powerful enough, you could just use them raw. I don’t think this is an exact replica of the dressing, but we sure enjoyed it last night on a simple salad to accompany a Broccoli Beef stir fry! I use light olive oil in this recipe because extra virgin olive oil has a much stronger taste that I do not prefer with the other flavors. Of course, use whichever olive oil you like. I prefer to get the flavor from a little bit of sesame oil… just be aware, sesame oil has a very strong flavor, and a little goes a long ways!

Carrot Ginger Dressing

  • 3/4 C chopped carrot, lightly steamed
  • 1/2 C onion, diced
  • 2 Tb fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1/2 light olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 5Tb rice vinegar
  • 1Tb tamari
  • 1/2 tsp sweetener (optional, I used Truvia)
  • 2Tb lemon juice

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to one week. Makes about 1.5 cups. (22g net carb for batch, about 1g net carb per Tb.) 

Carrot Ginger Dressing

Carrot Ginger Dressing

 

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Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Shirataki Noodle Salad

 

Either you like crispy chicken skin, or you don’t… we DO! Mmmmm! It’s such a wonderful combination of texture and taste, and a good source of healthy fats. So, for the crispy-skin-lovers out there, I hope you enjoy this simple chicken recipe!

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Salad

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Salad

Most of the recipes I post here are for foods that traditionally contain wheat or high carbohydrate content, and that have been modified to fit into a grain-free, low-carb way of eating. This tends to include lots of baked goods… not because we eat lots of goodies (we don’t) but because that seems to be the hardest thing for people to convert within a new lifestyle.

This is a recipe that is just plain yummy, and it’s something I would have made in the pre-wheat-free days as well. If you enjoy a crispy skin on tender chicken, this recipe is a great base which can modified in numerous ways to fit the seasonings that you prefer or have on hand.

In this case, I was using Tamari, which is the gluten-free version of soy sauce, and it inspired me to season further with ginger, garlic powder, some fresh tarragon (because I had it on hand) and my homemade Gomasio. (If I’d had some green onion, I would have used it in place of the tarragon, but the tarragon was great!) Take note in the recipe that I pulled the skin back on the chicken to get the herbs and seasonings underneath. This helps to infuse the meat with wonderful flavor, and the skin to become nice and crispy, mmm. Don’t be afraid to mix up the flavors if you prefer lemon/garlic, blackened/cajun or any other combination you enjoy!

Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki Noodles

To accompany the chicken, I made a simple chopped salad of romaine lettuce, fresh avocado, cubed cucumber, shirataki noodles, slivered almonds and Gomasio, topped with a dressing I threw together that my husband ended up being crazy about. It’s very fresh tasting and was also an experiment in using the shirataki noodles in this way. Shirataki noodles are still a new ingredient to me, though I have been hearing about them for quite some time. They are in the refrigerated specialty section in some larger groceries, though they don’t carry them in my small town, so I picked some up when I was in a neighboring Kroger the other day. They are gluten-free and grain-free, and made of tofu, though I wouldn’t say that they have a tofu taste or texture. I quite liked them in this salad, and I also added some to a nice hot bowl of miso soup the other day, and enjoyed that as well!

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken quarters (thigh/leg)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup tamari
  • 2Tb each fresh tarragon and parsley, finely chopped
  • garlic powder to taste
  • powdered ginger to taste
  • gomasio to taste
Seasoning under the skin

Seasoning under the skin

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Gently separate the chicken skin from the meat (leaving it attached at the sides) and brush under the skin with the tamari, season with the herbs and spices as desired (except gomasio). Pull the skin back into place and brush the chicken on both sides with tamari, season with herbs, spices and tamari. Bake for 45 minutes at 375, rotating the pan partway through cooking. Raise temp to 425 degrees and cook for another 10 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165. Serves 4.

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Asian Inspired Salad with Shirataki Noodles

Chopped Salad

Chopped Salad

Ingredients for Salad:

  • 2 cups chopped romaine hearts
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 C slivered almonds
  • 1 bag shirataki noodles, rinsed and drained
  • gomasio to taste

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 2-3 TB tamari
  • juice of one lime
  • 2TB honey/ginger balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 TB sour cream
  • 1 tsp honey or sweetener to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1TB fresh tarragon, finely chopped

Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl, set aside. Combine all dressing ingredients, and use as desired on salad.

 

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My Favorite Guacamole!

My Favorite Guacamole

My Favorite Guacamole! Avocados are an abundant source of Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, potassium, and folate, along with vitamins A, C, E, K and B6. The many different anti-oxidants found in avocados help prevent inflammation.

Guacamole burgers with Muenster cheese and Low-carb buns

Baby Guacamole burgers with Muenster cheese and Low-carb buns

This is a guacamole recipe that I tweaked years ago, and I am often asked for the recipe when I take it to parties to share with friends. It’s naturally grain-free, gluten-free, Wheat Belly and primal friendly.

Tonight I’ve made a 1/2 batch to serve on grilled burgers with melted muenster cheese and grain-free, low-carb buns. Mmmmmm! It’s also great as a dip for veggies, low-carb cheese crackers and even pork rinds 😉 Low-Carb and lovin’ it!

The Low-carb bun recipe isn’t mine; it was posted by a fellow WB cook on the Wheat Belly Recipe Central page if you’d like to have a look! Check the “posts by others.”

My Favorite Guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 medium vidalia or white onion, chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 vine-ripe tomato, diced
  • 1 canned roasted chipotle pepper, seeded and diced (or use fresh hot pepper to taste)
  • 1 big handful fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Halve and pit the avocados; scoop out the flesh with a tablespoon into a mixing bowl. Mash the avocados with a fork, leaving them still a bit chunky. Add the remaining ingredients, and fold everything together to gently mix.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap right on the surface of the guacamole so it doesn’t brown and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

 

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FIBER: Movement, Beyond the Grain

It’s interesting how following a low carbohydrate, gluten free diet brings up questions from people who are cautious, and who still cannot believe that people can live a healthy life without wheat and grains. The food industry has been so repetitive in the “pushing” of grains that people in general, don’t even think to question the wisdom of whether or not those recommendations are accurate and healthful.

One of the hot topics seems to be fiber; skeptics ask HOW we get enough fiber. Seriously? The food industry has actually convinced people that we need grains and bread in order to have enough fiber in our diets, and the USDA says that we need a large amount of fiber in order for our systems to run smoothly.  They recommend that women have 25 grams of fiber in their diet, and that men have 38 grams based on a 2,000-2,500 calorie diet. In contrast, the British recommendation is 12 to 24 grams a day (which seems more reasonable, especially for those who aren’t eating such a large amount of food!) It seems nearly impossible to get “enough”  fiber (by USDA standards), even from fiber-rich foods, without taking in far too much food for a typical person, especially if you are no longer suffering from food cravings due to wheat!

(Here is what Dr. Davis, author of “Wheat Belly” has to say about getting enough fiber, as well as some questions and answers in the replies for specific issues.)

So how do we low-carbers get our fiber? First off, vegetables and fruits are full of fiber! Fiber is plant tissue, some of it dissolves in water and expands into a gel-like substance (soluble) and some of it does not dissolve and instead scours our insides, pushing food through digestion (insoluble).  Both types are important, and we need some of each to keep our systems running smoothly. Luckily, if we are getting enough fruits and veggies, we should have no problem getting enough fiber. Even without 9-grain or 12-grain bread. It’s true. Really.

There are plenty of sources for natural fiber in a healthy diet. Also, without processed foods, there is very little “paste” as I like to call it, to move through our system. Everything we eat is serving a purpose, not just sludging through and raising blood sugar along the way.

Probiotics (healthy bacteria) also play a crucial role in gut health, which can help balance both constipation and loose stools. The intestinal flora is as important as fiber in the diet. When we make major dietary changes, it can take some time for things to settle into balance again, and probiotics can help with that transition.

Non-Grain Sources of Dietary Fiber

To those who think that whole grain bread is crucial to your fiber intake, one slice has an average of 2g of dietary fiber. While 2g is OK, there are many other nutrient-rich foods that contain that amount or more, without the grain!

Avocados top the chart with 10g of fiber per cup!

Eat More Veggies!

If you are concerned about getting enough fiber, one thing you can do is to be sure to eat plenty of vegetables and some fruit (especially raw.) Salad is a great way to mix them up and create different flavors for different cravings!

My formula for a great salad is:

  • 2 types of greens (spinach, romaine, turnip greens, Swiss chard, bok choy, napa, kale)
  • A little of some type of fruit (granny smith apple, sliced berries, plums, be creative!)
  • More veggies (tomato, cucumber, sweet onion, celery, radishes, avocado, beets, olives, peppers, fresh peas, mushrooms, bean sprouts, asparagus, Brussels sprouts)
  • Nuts (chopped almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, whatever you like)
  • Cheese (blue cheese, cheddar, Swiss, feta, Parmesan)
  • Protein (hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken breast, canned chicken, seared tuna, canned tuna, steak, shrimp)
  • Gluten free salad dressing, oil and vinegar, or simple fresh-squeezed lemon (our fave dressing is homemade blue cheese, but use whatever you enjoy!)
  • For more added fiber, sprinkle with ground flax seed or add chia seeds

Having variety in your salads will make them so much more interesting and you may even look forward to creating them and eating your beautiful bowl of ingredients, instead of dreading another plain garden salad (NOT that there is anything wrong with garden salads, love those too!)

An example using my formula would be a “Michigan Salad”:

  • Romaine and spinach
  • Thinly sliced granny smith apple and a few pitted cherries
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Pine nuts or walnuts
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Grilled chicken
  • Raspberry balsamic vinegar and olive oil for dressing
  • Ground flax seeds

 

Or maybe an Asian inspired Tuna Salad:

  • Napa and bok choy
  • Orange sections
  • Avocado, green onions, bamboo shoots, fresh peas
  • Sliced almonds
  • Swiss cheese (or omit cheese as there are good fats and protein in the tuna)
  • Seared tuna steak, sliced
  • Ginger sesame dressing
  • Ground flax seeds

Get creative and enjoy the process of eating for improved health!

 

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