Make it vegetarian

Grilled Paleo Muffuletta Sliders

Grilled Paleo Mufuletta Sliders

It’s getting warm here in Virginia. Because of this I’m staying away from the oven. I like the idea of using my grill anyways. I came up with these delicious sliders because I wanted something with olives in it. Of course, traditional muffulettas are filled with non-paleo/Whole 30 ingredients. This version is safe for all- unless you can’t handle nightshades! Because I am doing whole 30- I’m being more careful about what I add into my meals and there aren’t any compliant salami or ham options out there as far as I can tell. I used Applegate roasted turkey breast (the one from the deli counter at Whole Foods) and compliant prosciutto as a base for the meat. But if you are just going paleo then maybe you can find some ham or salami to add here. The choice is yours. I included the directions to make your own roasted red peppers. You can make these a day or two ahead of time.

Here is what you will need:
Olive tapenade- make your own or buy pre-made. (see below for ingredients and how to make your own)
1-2 large eggplants-depending on how many people you are feeding
lunch meat of choice-ham salami, prosciutto, turkey, etc.
Roasted red peppers- either canned or make them yourself (see below for method)
Fresh spinach leaves
Kosher salt
Olive oil for drizzling

Make the roasted red peppers-I make 2-3 at a time:
1. Rinse the peppers well and pat dry
2. Grill them over medium high heat for 10-15 minutes turning occasionally until skins are blackened and peppers are softer.
3. Wrap the peppers in aluminum foil and let cool until you can handle them.
4. Peel peppers by rubbing away the blackened skin with your hands and remove the stem and seeds. Cut each pepper into 4-5 strips.

Make the grilled eggplant:
1. Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds.
2. Sprinkle the slices with some kosher salt and place in a colander in the sink or over a bowl to drain for 15 minutes.
3. Rinse the slices of eggplant well then pat them dry.
4. Drizzle or brush each side of the eggplant with olive oil.
5. Grill slices over low heat until browned and cooked thoroughly.

While the eggplant is cooking, make the tapenade:
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1 1/2 teaspoons capers- drained
3-4 sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil- chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 clove garlic- roughly chopped
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until you get a chunky spread. If you want a smoother paste just keep pulsing until you get the consistency you want.

Assemble your sliders:
1. Place one slice of eggplant at the bottom then add meat, roasted red peppers, spinach leaves, tapenade and another slice of grilled eggplant.

I think these taste great warm, room temperature, or even cold.

*Want to make it vegetarian? Make some additional grilled veggies to replace the meat. I like grilled portabella mushrooms and zucchini.

Grilled Artichokes

Grilled Artichokes with Roasted Garlic and Bacon Aioli



I absolutely love artichokes. In the past I’ve simply steamed the artichokes whole and then removed the undesired parts as I ate it. Since we are coming up on summer I wanted to play around with grilling artichokes.I didn’t want to grill them whole because I’m sure it would take forever.  I found this great video from Gourmet Magazine on how to trim artichokes.

Here is what you will need:
1/2 to 1 artichoke per person.
1 recipe of Roasted Garlic and Bacon Aioli
To make it vegetarian serve it with Roasted Garlic Aioli instead


1. Simply trim the artichokes as shown on the video (linked above) then cut them in half.

2. Steam the artichokes for 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process then pat them dry.

3. Drizzle the artichokes with olive oil, salt, & pepper.

4. Grill the artichokes on heated grill for 3-5 minutes each side to char slightly.

5. Serve them with aioli.


Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad

Mediterranean food is awesome to me because there is so much flavor and usually a fair amount of sauces that go with it. I have been making more salads recently and have already made this three times since making the sauces. I hope you like this salad as much as I do.

*If you want to make it vegetarian- make some spiced chickpeas instead. I’m not eating chickpeas right now but I have made similar recipes to this one from bon appetit. Instead of making them spicy (since the harissa is spicy enough) you can saute the chickpeas like in the Bon Appetit recipe but use the same marinate ingredients I used on the chicken as listed below. So basically saute rinsed chickpeas in 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, Salt and pepper to taste over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until warmed and chickpeas start to blister.


Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad

Chicken breast- 1 per person
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste


Mixed greens- I used baby kale, spinach, baby arugula, and shredded collard greens
Grated carrots
Thin slices of raw, red cabbage
Cucumber- sliced
Grape tomatoes
Olives- I used a mixture of Kalamata and Greek green olives.
Harissa- recipe below
Herb tahini dressing- recipe below
Marinated red onions- recipe below


  1. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt & pepper together and pour over the chicken. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. While chicken is marinating, prepare the harissa, herb tahini dressing and the marinated red onions.
  3. Prepare the salad greens, carrots, red cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes and olives and plate on individual dishes or in a large serving bowl.
  4. Grill the chicken breasts on a preheated grill for 3-5 minutes each side- depending on the thickness of the breasts. Cook until the chicken is cooked thoroughly or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  5. Cool the chicken slightly then cut into cubes and serve with the salad and a side of harissa and herb tahini dressing.





4 sundried tomatoes packed in oil
3 mini red bell peppers or ½ red bell pepper- seeds removed and roasted
4 ounces dried chilies- see notes below
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried mint
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 ½ teaspoons coriander
1 clove of garlic peeled
½ teaspoon lemon zest
Lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling

Kitchen equipment needed:
Food processor

  1. Start by roasting the red pepper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle the pepper with a little olive oil and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until softened and browned on the outside skin. Once cooled- peel and seed the pepper and place in the food processor.
  2. Place the dried chilies on a bowl. Add boiling water to cover and let peppers rehydrate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes- drain and remove the stem and seeds from the chilies and place in a food processor.
  3. Meanwhile, measure out the caraway, cumin and coriander. Dry roast the spices in a sauce pan over medium heat until slightly toasted and fragrant. Once slightly cooled- grind the spices with a mortar and pestle.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor- tomatoes, spices, garlic, parsley, mint, lemon, olive oil- and blend until you get a thick, smooth paste. You may have to stop the food processor a couple of times to scrape down the sides.
  5. Store in an airtight jar or container and top the sauce with a thin layer of olive oil.



Herb tahini dressing

Herb Tahini dressing

3 Tablespoons tahini
3 Tablespoons water
Juice of ½ lemon
1 clove of garlic- crushed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Paste of 1 date
4 fresh mint leaves
A small handful of parsley- chopped
Olive oil for drizzling

  1. Soak the date in a little hot water to soften. Once softened, drain the excess water and place in a cup for blending with a stick blender or into a blender or food processor.
  2. Add the tahini, water, lemon juice, date, garlic, salt, mint and parsley into a cup for blending with a stick blender or into a blender or food processor. Blend until you get a smooth dressing.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil in and blend once more to incorporate.


Marinated Red Onion

Quick Marinated Red Onions

Date paste of 1 date
½ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup water
1 red onion thinly sliced into rings
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Soak the date in a little hot water to soften. Once softened, drain the excess water. Blend with a stick blender or in blender to get a smooth paste.

As a note: I usually blend a batch of dates, usually 8-10 per time and store the finished paste in an airtight container in my refrigerator. When I have a recipe that needs date paste I usually measure about a Tablespoon per date needed in the recipe. Of course you can adjust the sweetness of any recipe by either adding more or leaving a little out.

  1. Combine the date paste, vinegar, water, salt, & pepper. Mix well to incorporate the dates into the liquid.
  2. Add the onions and make sure to coat well with the vinegar.
  3. Place into the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

As you can see if you compare the color of the onions shown on the salad versus the picture of the onions by themselves- the longer the onions marinate the more the color changes from purplish on the outside and white on the inside to a uniform pink color. The picture with just the onions had been marinating about 2-3 days before I took the picture. The onions on the salad were only marinating about 45 minutes before I took the picture. They taste great either way.



Whole 30/Paleo Moussaka

Paleo/ Whole 30 Moussaka

Moussaka is quite a dish! It’s a delicious layered casserole that contains layers of eggplant, a hearty meat sauce, and a cheesy white sauce topping the whole thing off. I’ve made a vegan recipe in the past from the Veganomicon cookbook. Unfortunately, there were plenty of non-compliant ingredients including tofu and bread crumbs. Of course I had to adjust the recipe to fit Whole 30 guidelines. So, I took parts of the beloved Veganomicon recipe and combined it with this traditional Moussaka recipe I found at This recipe is definitely a labor of love but in my opinion it’s worth the effort. I wanted to start Whole 30 with a hearty dish made with love so this was the first recipe I made for day 1 of my Whole 100.

Whole 30 Moussaka

2-3 pounds of eggplant (two large or 3 medium eggplants)
Kosher salt
Olive oil for drizzling

Meat sauce:
1.5 pounds of ground meat- I used lamb but any combination of ground beef, ground pork or ground turkey will work
1- 28ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 shallots peeled and sliced thinly
3 cloves of garlic finely minced
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground all-spice
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Whole 30 Béchamel:
1 package of frozen cauliflower
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup pine nuts plus a few more for sprinkling.
1 clove garlic
Pinch of nutmeg
6 Tablespoon coconut milk
1 large egg

Kitchen equipment needed:
Large colander
Paper towels
9″ x 13″ Glass casserole dish- I have this Pyrex
Baking sheet
Parchment paper
1 large skillet
1 medium saucepan
Cheese cloth
Food processor or blender- I have this Kitchen Aid food processor and love it.
Rubber spatula

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Wash and trim off the stem end of the eggplants. Slice the eggplant into ¼ inch round slices. Rub the slices in some salt and place in the colander in the sink or on top of large bowl to drain. Allow the eggplant to drain for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes rinse the eggplant with cold water and pat the slices dry with a paper towel or two.
  1. While the eggplants are draining, make the meat sauce. Heat the skillet on the stove over medium-high heat and add a small amount of olive oil. Start by sautéing the shallots for 1-2 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the minced garlic and sauté for an additional. Add the ground meat and cook until browned until the center is no longer pink. Drain the grease from the pan. Add in the crushed tomatoes. Cinnamon, oregano, allspice, bay leaf, and vinegar. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the eggplant rounds on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Rub the olive oil into each slice to make sure they are coated evenly. It’s okay if the slices overlap a bit. You may have to roast the eggplant in 2-3 batches. Place sheet into the preheated oven and roast the eggplant for 15 minutes.
  1. While the eggplants are roasting prepare the Béchamel. Start by boiling some salted water on the stove over high heat. Once boiling add in the frozen cauliflower and simmer 5-7 minutes. Drain the cauliflower well and cool. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze as much access water out of the cauliflower as you are able to. In the meantime, blend the pine nuts and lemon juice in the food processor scraping down the sides every minute or so until a creamy paste forms. Add in the cauliflower, garlic clove, salt, nutmeg, and coconut milk to the food processor until sauce is smooth and even. Add in the egg and blend quickly until the sauce comes together.
  1. Brush the 9” x 13” baking dish with a little olive oil. Layer the eggplant on the bottom of the dish, trying to get a nice flat, even base layer. Top the eggplant with the meat sauce then top the meat sauce layer with the Béchamel sauce. Spread the Béchamel evenly over the top while trying not to disturb the meat sauce. Sprinkle the top of the Moussaka with a few pine nuts.
  1. Place the casserole in the 400 degree F oven and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes until the top is slightly browned. Let the Moussaka cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing it.

 Paleo /Whole 30 Moussaka

I know that pine nuts are one of the “limit” types of nuts/seeds according to Whole 30, but since they aren’t forbidden I used them in the Béchamel sauce. I love the taste of the pine nuts. There might be another type of nut which you can substitute- maybe macadamia nuts- but you will have to experiment with that on your own. If you have any other suggestions for other nuts to substitute comment below. I’d love to hear what you come up with.

* Make it vegetarian: Omit the step where you add the meat from the red sauce but add all other ingredients as listed. If you want the Moussaka to be a bit more hearty you can additionally roast some thinly sliced russet potatoes like in the Veganomicon recipe.

Slice the potato, lengthwise, into approximately 1/4 inch thick slices. Toss to coat the potato with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, making sure each piece is completely coated with oil. Spread vegetables out with minimal overlapping. Roast the potatoes for about 22 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool. Then layer them on the bottom of the casserole dish and layer the eggplant and sauces as listed in the directions above in step 5.