Cauliflower-Kale “Rice”

Cauliflower makes a great rice substitute, but being white, it can look a bit bland.  I like to add some extra colour and nutrition by adding greens.

Kale pairs really well with cauliflower, and is one of my favourites.

This recipe is not only paleo, it is gluten and grain-free and also AIP-friendly.

Cauliflower-Kale “Rice”

serves 4

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  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp fat of choice (lard, tallow, bacon-fat or coconut oil are all good choices)
  • ¼ cup of bone-broth – preferably homemade from grass-fed/pastured bones
  • sea salt to taste

The first thing you need to do is to turn your cauliflower into “rice”.  The easiest (and least messy) way to do this is to use a food processor.  Cut the cauliflower into florets and place these in your food processor.  Pulse it until it resembles grains of rice.  You may need to do this in batches.

If you do not have a food processor, you can still make cauliflower “rice”, but it is a messy process – take a box grater and grate the cauliflower florets.

Take the tough stems out of the kale, and shred the green parts finely.

Peel and chop the onion.  Peel and crush the garlic and chop finely.

Melt the fat you are using in a large skillet or a wok (I actually use a wok for this as it is bigger than my skillet).

Add the onion and cook over a medium heat until softened.  Do not let the onion brown or burn.  Toss in the garlic and add the kale.  Now add the bone broth, and steam-saute the kale until it is tender.

Add the cauliflower and season well with salt.

Cook, tossing constantly until the cauliflower is heated through and is tender – about 5 minutes.

Serve at once.

This is a wonderful side dish that goes with pretty much anything.

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Oven Baked Rutabaga Fries

Rutabaga fries are my latest obsession.  When roasted in the oven, they crisp up and take on a wonderful caramelized flavour.

They are very easy to make as well.

Oven Roasted Rutabaga Fries

serves 6

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  • 1 large rutabaga
  • 2-3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F.

Peel the rutabaga and cut into fries – I find chunky ones work best.

Toss the fries in the melted coconut oil and then spread out in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet.  Keeping them to a single layer means that they crisp up rather than being soggy.

Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes.

Check them frequently towards the end of the cooking time as they can go from perfectly browned and crisp to burned and charcoal very quickly.

Serve at once.

Oxtail Stew

In winter I crave rich meaty stews, and one of my favourite meats is to use oxtails to make a stew.  The meat is rich and tasty and the bones add their goodness to this long-simmering stew.

When you eat it, you just know it is doing you good.

This recipe is AIP-friendly.

Oxtail Stew

serves 6

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  • 2 tbsp fat of choice (I used lard)
  • 2 oxtails cut into 1″-2″ pieces
  • 2 onions – sliced
  • 3 large carrots – cut in chunks
  • 3 sticks celery – cut in chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cups bone broth
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch to thicken the broth

Heat a large, heavy based pot over a medium-high heat.  Melt 1 tbsp of the fat and the brown the oxtail pieces on all sides, working in batches.

Remove the meat from the pot and add the remaining fat.  Add the onions, celery and carrots and turn the heat down to medium-low.

Cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables start to soften slightly.  Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves and then pour in the broth.

Add the oxtails back to the pot and bring the whole thing to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for at least 3 hours until the meat is soft and tender and is falling off the bone.

Remove the oxtail pieces from the stew and take the meat off the bones (save the bones for making bone broth).

Remove the bay leaves and add the meat back to the stew.

Mix the tapioca starch with a little cold water and add to the pot.

Reheat and allow to simmer for a few minutes to thicken the broth, then serve.

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Just look at this beautiful chunk of meat!

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This stew reheats beautifully, and gets better and better for a day or two sat in the fridge.

I will often make this for dinner, knowing that the leftovers can be eaten for lunch over the next couple of days.

Shared on Paleo AIP Recipe Roundup #66

Simple Small Batch Sauerkraut

I don’t own a large fermentation crock, so I make my sauerkraut in small batches in mason jars.

It does take a bit more work to do it this way because you have to make and fill several small jars rather than just packing it into one large fermentation crock or jar.

But I have a large number of wide-mouthed mason jars, so this method works well for me.

I posted about my vegetable ferments that I made a while ago, and sauerkraut was part of this batch.

I made a batch with red cabbage and another batch with green/white cabbage.  You could use either or even mix the two.

I don’t add any spices to my kraut, but if you are not AIP and like the flavour, you could add some caraway or fennel seeds to provide a slight aniseed flavour.

Sauerkraut is very good for you – it has been shown that a small amount of sauerkraut will provide you with far more healthy probiotic bacteria than even some of the very high quality probiotic supplements.

This makes it a very valued addition to any diet as far as I am concerned.

But in addition to it’s probiotic content, sauerkraut is a good source of vitamins A and C, and has all the health benefits of the other cruciferous vegetables.

It is also very tasty – tangy and slightly salty.

Simple Small Batch Sauerkraut

makes 1 quart sized mason jar

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  • ½ head of cabbage (you could double up the recipe and use the entire head if you prefer).  Either red cabbage or white, or a mixture of the two – it really does not matter.
  • 2 tbsp sea salt

Take your cabbage and remove the core and some of the outside leaves.  Reserve one or two leaves.

Now shred the cabbage finely – I like to do this in my food processor to save time, but you could use a knife.

Place the shredded cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt evenly over the surface.

Now you need to pound the heck out of the cabbage – I use the end of my rolling pin, but you could use a meat pounder or even your fists.  What you need to do is to break down some of the structure of the cabbage and make it release it’s liquid as this forms the brine that will preserve your kraut.

Pounding the cabbage can take upwards of 10 minutes, and you want it to be really juicy when you squeeze it.

After this, transfer the cabbage to a wide mouthed mason jar, packing it down well with your fists.

If you have pounded it enough, you should see the brine starting to rise up over the surface to cover the cabbage.  If not enough brine rises up, no worries, just mix up a little more brine (2 tbsp salt in 1 quart of water) and pour that over the surface.

Now take the reserved cabbage leaves and lay them on the surface of the cabbage, pushing them underneath the brine.  These will stop lots of little bits of cabbage from rising to the surface, which will help prevent mold forming.

After this, I like to weight the cabbage leaves down – I use the very small jelly-sized mason jars as they fit perfectly inside a wide-mouthed mason jar.  I fill them up with a little brine to help hold them down and prevent them from floating.

And finally, screw the lid on the mason jar.

Leave your sauerkraut to ferment for 2-3 weeks, opening the jar to release any gas every day.  I like to taste it towards the end of the fermentation period at this point as well.

The sauerkraut is ready when it tastes good to you.  In cold weather it may take longer to ferment than it will in the summer.

If you don’t think it is ready, reseal and leave it for a few more days.  Some people like to ferment their kraut for several weeks (6-8), but I prefer it “younger”.

Once you think it is ready, transfer it to the fridge as this will slow down the fermentation process.  Now it will keep for months.

If you make sure that your cabbage is well submerged under the brine, you should have very few problems with spoilage or mold formation – but in the unlikely event that it does mold, throw the whole lot out.  Mold produces toxins that can spread rapidly throughout the entire jar of sauerkraut, and you cannot just scrape it off the surface.

When I make red cabbage sauerkraut, it looks like this:

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And the green cabbage sauerkraut looks like this:

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Because this is a live culture, I don’t really recommend that you cook your sauerkraut – it will be tasty if cooked, but it won’t contain any of the probiotic bacteria as they are killed by high temperatures.

I most often eat my sauerkraut raw – either with sausage patties for breakfast:

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Or with other meats/fish/eggs (this is pulled pork)

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I also sometimes add it to coleslaw to make a lacto-fermented slaw.

Creamy Turmeric Chicken – Paleo/AIP

This delicious recipe consists of chicken breasts cooked in a creamy sauce that is made from a mixture of coconut milk, onion and some AIP-friendly spices.

The creamy sauce prevents the boneless, skinless chicken from drying out in the oven.

I bought some fresh turmeric roots from the farmers market, and decided to use some in this dish.

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Turmeric is the spice that gives curry it’s yellow colour, and it has been used in India as both a spice and a medicinal herb for thousands of years.

Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and it is also an antioxidant, meaning that it is something worth considering including in your diet.

The blend of spices that I used in this recipe give the sauce a comforting warmth, but it is not a spicy sauce.

This recipe is 100% AIP, and suitable for the elimination phase.

I served this over cauliflower kale rice.

Creamy Turmeric Chicken

serves 6

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  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 4 tbsp grated root ginger
  • 15g (½ oz) fresh turmeric root – peeled and chopped.  Use 1 tsp dried turmeric if this is not available
  • sea salt to taste
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 190°/375°F.

Place the onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric in a blender and blend until smooth.

Season well with salt.

Arrange the chicken in a single layer in an ovenproof baking dish.

Pour the coconut milk mixture over the chicken.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

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Serve over cauliflower rice, spooning the sauce over the chicken.

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Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #35

Grilled Pork Chops With Apple, Bacon And Onion

This was such a delicious dinner that A cooked the other night – it was hot, Hot, HOT, and we were dreading turning on the stove to make dinner.

Using the outdoor grill to cook the chops and then serving them with a salad was a no-brainer.

And it worked perfectly.

This recipe is both Paleo and AIP-friendly if you omit the black pepper.

Don’t be put off by the fact that this recipe serves 6 people.  If you need to feed fewer, just use fewer pork chops – one per person is ideal.  The apple bacon and onion mixture is also easy to scale down, but I would not bother – it tastes delicious with all sorts of other meats, or even on its own, and is just as good cold from the fridge as it is hot.

Grilled Pork Chops With Apple, Bacon And Onion

serves 6

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  • 6 pork loin chops (about 6oz each)
  • sea salt to taste
  • a small amount of melted coconut oil to brush the meat
  • 2 large onions – sliced
  • 6 rashers of bacon – sliced
  • 2 large apples – cored and sliced
  • leaves from 1 sprig of fresh rosemary – chopped
  • leaves from 1 sprig of fresh sage – chopped
  • leaves from 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme – chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – crushed

Preheat your grill to a medium high temperature.

While the grill is heating, take the chops and brush them with a little coconut oil.  Season well with salt.

Place the chops on the grill, and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side until the chops have an internal temperature of 77°C/170°F.  If you have got the temperature of the grill just right, you should have some lovely sear marks on the meat.

Remove the chops from the grill and keep warm.

Now you need to place your cast iron skillet directly on the grill and turn the heat up a bit.

Add the bacon to the pan and allow to cook down and release it’s fat.  Add the onions to the bacon fat and saute until starting to brown a little.  Add in the apples, the herbs and the garlic and cook until everything is soft, and gently caramelized.  This should take no more than 5-10 minutes, by which time the chops will have rested.

Serve the apple, onion and bacon mixture along with the grilled pork chops.

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I like to serve this with a brightly coloured salad such as my Lacto-Fermented Beet And Carrot Salad.

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If you do not have an outside grill, you could easily cook these chops on the stove on a grill-pan.

Tostones – Green Plantain Fritters

Tostones are essentially a fritter made from green plantains.

They are a popular side dish and snack in many Latin-American countries, and may sometimes be called Patacones.

Essentially, they are twice-fried green plantains, and they can provide both a tasty starchy side and an appetizing crunch to many dishes.

I love to serve them as a starchy side, but I also serve them as a snack in their own right, sometimes with a dipping sauce, in much the same way as chips would be served.  They are also very good with soup.

To make these, you do need the plantains to be fairly green – if they are turning yellow, they will not be starchy enough, and your tostones would turn out mushy rather than crisp and crunchy.  If you have plantains that are more yellow than green, try making my caramelized sweet plantains instead!

I like The Paleo Mom’s video on green plantains, although I do not peel and cut them in the same way as she does if I am making tostones.

But if you can get your hands on some green plantains (and the greener the better really for these!) consider giving these a go!

In most Latin American countries, they use a special tool called a tostonera to flatten the plantains after their first frying – I have found that 2 cutting boards does the job perfectly well…  all you need is something with a smooth flat surface so that you can press the chunks of plantain into flat discs.

These are both paleo and AIP-friendly.

These Tostones were made by A while I took the photographs of her cooking them.

Don’t be afraid of this recipe serving 4-6, it is easy to make less by simply using fewer plantains.  But I suspect that once yo try these, you will want to make the full amount and keep the leftovers for snacks or other meals as they are so versatile.

Tostones – Green Plantain Fritters

Serves 4-6

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  • 3-4 green plantains (get the greenest ones you can)
  • coconut oil or lard for frying
  • sea salt to season

The first thing you need to do is to peel the plantains – this can be a little tricky sometimes, especially when they are very green.  You do need them to stay in the round, so you cannot peel them in the same way that The Paleo Mom did in the above video.

What I tend to do is to cut the bottom and top off each plantain.  I then cut them in half.

Next I cut a long slit along the entire length of the plantain, and I pries as much of the peel off as I can using my thumb.  This can be tricky, but be patient and eventually you will get most of it off.  If any bits of peel remain, just use a knife to cut them off.

Once all your plantains are peeled, you need to cut them in chunks – We tend to go for somewhere between ½ and ¾ of an inch – the thicker you cut them at this stage, the bigger your tostones will be  when done, so if you want small thin tostones (more like a chip), cut them smaller, if you want thicker, bigger tostones (more like a fritter), cut them bigger.

Heat the coconut oil or lard in a large skillet over a medium high heat.

Once it is hot, working in batches, cook the plantains until golden brown on both sides.  They don’t have to be completely cooked through at this stage -you are just aiming for an attractive brown colour.

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Remove the plantains from the pan and cook the remaining chunks in batches.

Once all the plantain chunks are cooked you need to start reheating the oil back to medium-high.

Place one plantain chunk on a cutting board and put a second cutting board on top.

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Apply pressure to the top board to squish it flat – how much pressure you use is up to you.

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Light pressure results in a thicker tostone that is more like a fritter (better for serving with soups or as a side), more pressure results in a thinner, crisper tostone that will more resemble a chip.

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Of course if you could get your hands on a tostonera you would use that in place of the 2 cutting boards.  I have never tried this with a tortilla press, but I wonder if that might work as well – if you have one and try it, please let me know!

Once all your plantains are flatened you can start cooking the tostones.

Place a few in the heated fat in the skillet, being careful not to over-crowd it – these need to be cooked in batches to achive crispness.

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Cook over a medium-high heat for a few minutes each side until golden brown and crispy.

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Remove, transfer to a plate and sprinkle with a little sea salt.  Continue until all the tostones are cooked.

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These can be served hot or cold as a starchy side, as a snack or even as a chip with some dips.

Shared at Gluten Free Fridays #99

Shared at Real Food Fridays #46

Grilled Shrimp With Mango, Strawberry, Avocado Salsa

It has been so hot here lately that I am not going to apologize for the large number of recipes that I am posting that use an outdoor grill – there is no way I am wanting to turn the stove on right now!

If you don’t have a grill, all the recipes I have been posting  could certainly be cooked in a skillet or under the broiler.  I am sure they would taste just as good.

One of my favourite things to cook on a grill is shrimp.  And shrimp also happens to be a very economical seafood, which is why we eat it quite a lot.

These grilled shrimp were just delicious.  I marinated them for a short time in a mixture of lime juice, honey and garlic which gave them a wonderful flavour, and the honey contributed to the caremelization on the surface.

I served these on top of a mango and strawberry salsa, meaning that the entire recipe is AIP friendly and suitable for the elimination phase of AIP.

If you are not AIP and can handle some chili, a chopped jalapeno chili would be wonderful in the salsa!

Grilled Shrimp with Mang0-Strawberry-Avocado Salsa

Serves 6

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For the grilled shrimp:

  • 2lb large shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated root ginger
  • sea salt to taste

For the mango, strawberry, avocado salsa:

  • 1 cup strawberries – hulled and chopped
  • 1 large ripe mango – peeled, stoned and chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado – peeled, stoned and chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 green onions – chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated root ginger
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime

The first thing you need to do is to take some wooden or bamboo skewers and soak them in cold water for a couple of hours – this will stop them from burning on the grill.

Place the lime juice, honey, fish sauce, olive oil, garlic, ginger and salt in a pan and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes then leave to cool.

Divide the marinade in half, and pour one half over the shrimp.  Cover and refrigerate for half to one hour.  Keep the remaining half of the marinade to one side to use as a glaze.

While the shrimp is marinading, make the salsa.

Chop the mango, strawberries and avocado into evenly sized pieces and place them in a bowl.  Add the cilantro, green onions, lime zest, ginger and garlic, and season well with salt.  Mix well then pour over the olive oil and lime juice.  Give it all one final mix then store in the fridge until needed.

When ready to cook the shrimp, preheat the grill to medium hot.

Thread the shrimp onto the soaked bamboo skewers (I like to use 2 skewers for each as they hold the shrimp securely and makesthem easier to turn).

Grill the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side, brushing well with the reserved marinade.

Remove from the grill once the shrimp is pink and opaque and serve at once with mango, strawberry, avocado salsa.

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I like to put a bed of lettuce on a plate, top this with the salsa and then sit the shrimp skewers on top.

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I served this with some tostones made from green plantains.

Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundup #34

Shared at Gluten Free Fridays #99

Shared at Real Food Fridays #46

Mackerel with a Green Herb Sauce

Mackerel are one of my favourite fish, and they are very economical to buy as well, which helps a lot with our ever-increasing grocery bills.

I can buy 6 whole fish (frozen from an Asian grocery store) for less than $10 which is a very good price for a wild-caught fish.

I am not worried about buying frozen fish as it does not change the nutritional profile, and most of the time they are frozen within minutes of being caught.  In fact, it might even be healthier to buy fish that has been frozen on the boat as opposed to fish that may have taken several days to be shipped to where you live.  Freezing may affect the texture, especially if they have been frozen for long periods or stored improperly.  But it is very difficult to buy fresh wild-caught fish in Alberta – most of the so called “fresh” fish in the stores has been previously frozen and then thawed for sale.

Mackerel are an oily fish, rich in those all-important omega 3 fatty acids, so I try to include them in our diet at least once a week.  They are also a good source of protein, phosphorus, Vitamin D, Niacin, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.

I usually prepare them using this method, but this time round I decided to fillet them using this method.  I didn’t get any photographs as hubby was not at home to take them for me, and my hands were covered in fish which I did not want to get all over the camera.

Next time I will though!

If thawing frozen fish, make sure you do so in the refrigerator or under cold running water.  NEVER thaw them on the countertop as that can lead to the growth of bacteria resulting in food poisoning.

If you can obtain fresh, unfrozen mackerel, you can still use them to make this recipe.

The green herb sauce has an Italian feel to it and really complements the oily fish.

This recipe is not only Paleo, it is also AIP friendly, and is incredibly quick to cook, taking only 10 minutes in the oven.

Mackerel with a Green Herb Sauce

serves 6

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  • 6 mackerel – thawed if frozen and divided into 2 fillets using this method
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

For the green herb sauce:

  • ¼ cup capers – rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 3 green onions – roughly chopped
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • ¼cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼tbsp apple cider vinegar (try to use one with a mother – this is the brand I like)
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.

Fillet your mackerel into 2 neat fillets using the method above, and lay them out on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and then scatter with sea salt..

Bake in the preheated oven for around 10 minutes until the fish is firm and flakes easily.  Do not allow to overcook!

To make the green herb sauce you just put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until the herbs are chopped and it is all evenly mixed.

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Serve the sauce drizzled over your mackerel.

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I served this with oven roasted rutabaga fries and oven roasted broccoli.

AIP Saskatoon Berry and Peach BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce is a hard condiment to substitute for when you are following the Auto Immune Protocol – Tomatoes are out, chilli is out.  What can you eat with your ribs, burgers and wings?

I came up with this fruit based BBQ sauce that I served with ribs for one of the girls birthdays.

It was based on some frozen saskatoon berries and some frozen peaches that I had in the freezer.  If you cannot find saskatoon berries, you could substitute another type of berry – blueberries might make a good substitution.

This sauce does not have quite the same spicy tomato flavour as a traditional BBQ sauce, but it does have a wonderful fruity, slightly acidic flavour.  And it pairs really well with grilled meats.

This is a stage 1 AIP reintroduction recipe that calls for black pepper.  If you have not managed to successfully reintroduce black pepper, or you are still on the strict elimination phase of AIP, you can simply omit the black pepper to make this recipe 100% AIP compliant.

When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

AIP Saskatoon Berry and Peach BBQ Sauce

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  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or other fat of choice
  • 1 onion – finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 3 cups chopped peaches (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup saskatoon berries – thawed if frozen (substitute blueberries if you cannot find saskatoon berries)
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper (Omit the pepper if sensitive or strict AIP)
  • 1 tbsp grated root ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Melt the coconut oil in a pan and add the onion.  Cook gently over a low heat until the onion is softened.  Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer.

Now add the peaches and berries along with the maple syrup, vinegar, salt and pepper, ginger and cinnamon.

Simmer gently for 20 minutes until the peaches are starting to break down and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Blend until smooth and allow to cool.

Serve with your favourite grilled meats.

This sauce will keep for a week or two in a sealed jar in the fridge.  If you are wanting to store it for longer periods, I recommend that you freeze it.

Shared at Tasty Tuesdays #66

Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #33