I recently received a copy of a new Paleo cookbook called Gather by Hayley Mason and Bill Staley. It is a gorgeous coffee table book (large size format with beautiful photos), though it will not spend much time on your coffee table –it will be in your kitchen where you can use it.
After my younger son and I spent the evening reading through the book, we decided to make the vegan (yes vegan) Spinach and Artichoke Dip. I’ve wanted to eat spinach artichoke dip for quite some time, though have been thwarted by all of the recipes I’ve come across. You see, every recipe for spinach artichoke dip that I’ve encountered has copious amounts of sour cream in it. So I was thrilled to see Bill and Hayley’s dairy-free spinach artichoke dip that uses cashew cream for its base. The dip is rich and creamy, just like you’d expect. And entirely delicious.
2 cups cashews
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon coconut oil
28 ounces artichoke hearts (2 cans)
3 cloves minced garlic
5 cups fresh raw spinach chopped
In a medium-size mixing bowl, cover the cashews with filtered water, and soak them in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, drain the cashews, and place them in a food processor or high-speed blender. Pour in enough filtered water to just cover the cashews. Blend them until smooth. At this point you will have “cashew cream.”
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the cashew cream, nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
In a large heavy skillet, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the artichoke hearts to the skillet, and saute them for one minute. Add the minced garlic and spinach, and continue to saute them for 5-7 minutes. Mash and chop the artichoke hearts with a silicone scraper or spoon as you saute them. Let the mixture cool. Then, stir it together with the cashew cream. Refrigerate until serving.
Hayley and Bill also have a lovely cracker recipe to accompany this gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free dip.
The batch of dip that I made came from Gather came out looking exactly like the photo in their cookbook. After I faithfully followed their recipe, I added a bit more spinach and artichokes, as I was in the mood for more vegetables. Theirs however, was exactly like the spinach artichoke dip of my childhood. Creamy perfection.
Gather is organized into 16 creative occasions for gathering and acts as your guide to planning any type of menu year round. You can use it for special meals, or simply to make a wonderful Paleo breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. With 100 delicious, gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo recipes (about 2/3 of the recipes are dairy-free too), you’ll find yourself with a plethora of choices that will fool your glutenoid guests into thinking they’re eating regular old food –they’ll love the taste and probably never know about the amazing health benefits.
Word is that Gather is bound for the New York Times bestseller list. I have little doubt that this will occur.
Are graham crackers gluten-free? In general, the kind you buy at the store are not, however, these homemade Paleo Graham Crackers are not only gluten-free, they are grain-free as well. And with a mere four ingredients this Graham Cracker recipe is quick and easy to make.
These Graham Crackers will satisfy your urge for a gluten-free, grain-free crunch, and go very well with a cup of Joe (which in our house consists of Dandelion Root Coffee with a dash of homemade Almond Milk).
- In a food processor combine almond flour, arrowroot, salt, and yacon
- Process until dough forms
- Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper to ¼ inch thick
- Cut dough into 6 (5 x 2.5 inch) rectangles
- Score rectangles into 4 equal parts and poke holes in the surface
- Bake at 350° for 6-9 minutes
- Cool for 1 hour, then serve
Makes 6 (5 x 2.5 inch) crackers (24 small crackers)
My book, Paleo Cooking from Elanas Pantry, hits stores in less than two months, on June 18th. I will be doing an array of book signings in Boulder at The Boulder Bookstore, Alfalfa’s, and Barnes & Noble. I will also be teaching a class at Sur La Table at the 29th Street Mall in Boulder. I’m looking forward to meeting you at these fun events!
Here are grain-free Graham Cracker recipes from other bloggers:
These dark chocolate brownies are lightly-sweetened with dates and packed with other Paleo perks such as coconut oil.
These Paleo brownies are simply unbelievable- moist, chocolatey, and full of gluten-free goodness. They will knock the socks off of even the most die-hard gluten-full brownie lover. All of my taste testers said they could not believe these Paleo Brownies were not only gluten-free, but grain-free as well.
Sweetened with a mere seven dates in the entire batch of brownies, and a bit of stevia, these Paleo Brownies are also full of rich coconut oil and dark chocolate. And when I say “dark chocolate” I mean super dark chocolate –as in 100% cacao with no added sugar.
I tested this fudgey dairy-free dessert with two different brands of 100% chocolate, using Ghirardelli in some batches and Life Opening Chocolate in others; both worked equally well. Ghirardelli is cheaper, and Life Opening is organic.
- In a food processor, pulse together almond flour, salt and baking soda
- Pulse in squares of dark chocolate until the texture of coarse sand
- Pulse in dates until the texture of coarse sand
- Pulse in eggs
- Pulse in coconut oil and stevia until mixture is smooth
- Transfer mixture to a greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish
- Mixture will be very thick, smooth with a spatula
- Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes
- Cool for 2 hours, then serve
Makes 16 brownies
Note: If you do not use recommended brand of stevia, brownies will have a bitter aftertaste.
When you make these brownies be sure that your dates are not hard and too dry or you will end up with a crumbly mess. Mine were beautifully moist which helped the batter come out perfectly. Don’t use dates that have been sitting around for months.
Brownies are one of my husband’s favorite desserts, so I make them quite often. He loves a chocolatey treat, and I love that he’s getting something sweet that isn’t processed junk food. You can check out all of the gluten-free, grain-free brownie recipes that I make for my hubby here. Some are even nut-free and vegan.
Here are some of my other favorite Paleo dessert recipes:
This is not your typical Date Walnut Bread, this is Paleo Date Walnut Bread. This bread is purely fruit sweetened, and has no honey, maple syrup, agave or other processed sweeteners. Because of this, the bread is not as sweet, or dessert-like as other breads of mine such as Cranberry Walnut Bread.
During the last year, I’ve worked on lowering the amount of sweeteners in my recipes, and this bread is a prime example of that.
This gluten-free, grain-free bread is heavier and more bread-like than my dessert breads which are light, fluffy, and cake-like. It’s perfect for breakfast with a shmear of coconut oil.
Paleo Date Walnut Bread
- In a food processor, pulse together almond flour and coconut flour
- Pulse in salt and baking soda
- Pulse in dates until mixture is the texture of coarse sand
- Pulse in eggs and apple cider vinegar
- Very briefly pulse in walnuts
- Transfer batter to a mini loaf pan
- Bake at 350° for 28-32 minutes
- Cool bread in pan for 2 hours before removing
Makes 1 mini-loaf
Here are my other favorite bread recipes that fall into the Paleo category:
According to Wikipedia, curry is a generic term used in Western culture that refers to a wide variety of dishes whose origins are from India and other East Asian countries. In traditional cuisines, the precise spice blend of a curry can be determined by everything from regional preferences to family customs. The spices in curries can be both whole and ground.
Wikipedia also states that curry powder, a commercially prepared mixture of spices, is a Western concoction, dating back to the 18th century. During my Ayurvedic training in the 1990′s we were taught to prepare our own curries for the health and taste benefits. Spices that are purchased pre-ground lose their nutrients (and flavor) quickly, while freshly ground spices retain their nutritional benefit. This is what makes homemade curry blends so special.
While I enjoy preparing a variety of curries, I think this one goes best with almonds. This quick and easy snack is great for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, or some protein on the run. The following outlines the benefits of the various spices in the curry below:
Tumeric: Derived from an orange root that looks similar to ginger root, tumeric is a potent, yet safe anti-inflammatory. It can be used in the treatment of IBD, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, and can also be used in the prevention of cancer. Tumeric is also thought to lower cholesterol, and provide protection to the cardiovascular system, and also aids in liver function.
Coriander: This spice is useful in controlling of blood sugar, as well as cholesterol. Further, coriander contains an antibacterial compound that may prove to be a wonderfully natural means of fighting salmonella and other bacteria.
Cumin: Useful in the production of iron, as well as effective in boosting immune function, cumin is also known to be of great benefit to the digestive system. This spice may also protect against certain types of cancer.
- Place olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat
- Add almonds to skillet
- Stir in salt, tumeric, pepper, cumin and coriander
- Continue toasting the almonds in the skillet until they are fragrant, about 5 minutes
- Remove from heat and allow the nuts to cool in the pan
Here are some healthy snack recipes: