Slow Carb and Paleo Asian Lettuce Wraps

I love Asian food, but going out to eat regularly just isn’t an option when you have no idea what is going into your food and have no control over it.

Sure, some items on the menu are going to be better than others, and they certainly aren’t as bad as downing a loaf of bed, but when you’re trying to be strict with your Slow Carb or Paleo diet, these little sneaky condiments can completely derail all your positive efforts.

Lots of restaurant Asian dishes contain MSG and sugar.  Most contain soy sauce and/or oyster sauce, both of which have wheat/gluten in them.

This is an easy mid-week meal I can prep in about 15 minutes when I’m craving Asian food and don’t want to worry about “mystery ingredients”.  I love this recipe because it is so simple to switch up the flavor combos  with different spices or add whatever veggies you have sitting in the fridge.  It also travels well for work-lunch leftovers and can be eaten hot or cold.

Slow Carb or Paleo Lettuce Cups

Ingredients

  • Lettuce leaves (Boston lettuce or Napa Cabbage works well)
  • 1 Tbs macadamia nut oil
  • 1lb ground meat (works well with ground turkey, chicken or pork mince)
  • Minced garlic 1-5 cloves (I use about 5 cloves, but not everyone likes garlic like I do!)
  • ½ Red Onion or 1-2 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ Tbs ginger, finely minced (I use fresh if I have it, but out of a jar is fine too)
  • 1 Tbs tamari or soy sauce (preferably gluten free!)
  • Cilantro (or coriander as they call it down under) to garnish.  You could also use Thai basil or mint.
  • Chilli Garlic Paste or Sambal Oelek to taste

***Extras and variations***

For some extra protein and crunch, I add chopped nuts at the very end.  Peanuts work well for Slow Carb-ers.  For Paleo-ites, try macadamia nuts.

Diced veggies like zucchini, green beans or mushrooms (or whatever is about to go “off” in your fridge) make great add-ins.  Just toss them in for a few minutes after you’ve added the spices and sauces!

For super crunchy shells, I’ll sometimes use raw cabbage.  It’s sweet and doesn’t fall apart as easily as lettuce.

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large fry pan on medium high.  Add onion  and cook till translucent but not too soft (about 2 minutes).  Add garlic and ginger and cook or another minute being careful not to burn garlic.
  2. Add meat and cook until browned.  Drain any excess grease if you wish.  I usually don’t have much, so I’ll leave it in for flavor.
  3. Add soy sauce/tamari and chilli paste
  4. Add any extras you wish.  I normally add chopped nuts and cilantro.  Sometimes I’ll add some fish sauce or a squeeze of lime.  Zucchini and mushrooms are great too if you’re looking to add more veggies.
  5. Put filling into a serving bowl and serve in lettuce cups.

3 Easy and Delicious Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken Recipes

Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken Recipe

I don’t have a lot of time to shop for food during the week, so I keep a lot of frozen chicken in the freezer that I can pull out in the morning so it’ll defrost while I’m off at work. These are a handful of my go-to recipes

Chicken and Mushrooms

This is a simple two-ingredient recipe (excluding your basic pantry items) where the ingredients really shine through. For such a simple recipe with no spices, the taste is shockingly delicious. No really, it is. It made me come to the realization that I tend to drown a chicken and mushroom dish in wine sauce and am normally tasting my sauce, not the ingredients.

Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken and Mushrooms
Chicken and Mushrooms

Check out the video recipe here and go for it. As simple as it is, I promise you won’t be disappointed

FYI – I used chicken thighs (no skin) instead of his recommended chicken breast (skin on), and it turned out great. I’d recommend using free-range organic chicken and organic grass-fed butter. Not necessary, but it’ll make the dish all the more delicious.

Tarragon Chicken

Mmmmmmmm. Total French-cooking comfort food! This is one of those dishes to make you appreciate that you aren’t watching your calories or fat content.

Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken Recipe
Tarragon Chicken

This Nigella Lawson recipe is great for those who want to simplify this traditional French dish.  For those Slow Carb-ing, you may want to halve the cream to keep it within Tim Ferris’ suggested serving size. I don’t bother, but I also don’t make rich dishes like this more than once a week.

Check out the recipe on Food Network here.

Roast Chicken Two Ways

There are so many different ways to roast a chicken, ranging from simply seasoning the bird and popping it in the oven to a bit more complex methods of messing around with special racks, trussing and basting.  It’s a bit overwhelming knowing where to start if you’re a novice chef.

Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken Recipes
Roasted Chicken

When I learned Thomas Keller does a pretty basic roast chicken (no basting, no buttering), it confirmed to me that there is absolutely no reason to get all fancy with it. If it’s good enough for Thomas Keller, it’s good enough for me…and you.

Check out a video as he walks you through it here

Thomas Keller Perfect Roast Chicken

I love that roasting a chicken is a low-involvement process. Once the bird is in the oven, you can set the timer and don’t have to think about it until it’s done.

Now for the chicken “two ways” :

#1 Classic Roast Chicken – If company is coming over, I follow Keller’s basic roast chicken recipe. And, if it’s just for me, sometimes I can’t even be bothered to truss the chicken. Instead I simply turn it upside down so the breasts are on the bottom (keeps them juicy), season with salt and pepper and roast it. It’s still pretty good.
#2 Curry Roasted Chicken – For those times, when a roast chicken sounds a bit blah, and I’m looking for some kick, I use this equally simple method. Find a jar of curry paste with no added sugar or other fillers (check ingredients and carb counts.) I use Valcom.  Coat the chicken with paste and roast on the bottom rack of your oven for approximately 50 minutes at 425F.

On occassion, I’ll make fresh curry paste, but it’s a bit of an effort so if I do that, I’ll normally use the paste to make an actual curry.  This is really just a quick fix.

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Coriander Lime Salmon

Slow Carb Coriander Lime Salmon Recipe

Normally following a cheat day, I am itching to recharge my body with nutrient-dense superfoods.  For me, this means spinach and salmon.  This could get a little boring after awhile so I try to experiment with various seasonings to keep Sunday dinner interesting.

I’ve tried to take a small tour around the globe to influence  my salmon recipes.  So far I’ve hit:

Indian – Slow Carb Salmon with Garlic and Turmeric

Italian –  Slow Carb Seared Salmon and Capers

Cajun – Slow Carb Blackened Salmon

For this salmon dish, I was looking for a bit of Southeast Asian influence (possibly Thai, though to actually call it Thai and include my Frank’s Red Hot would be a huge stretch!)   In any case, this salmon dish is packed with flavor, yet still light and refreshing.  It’s also quick and easy to make and great served cold if you want to make extra to toss in a salad the next day.

I served mine with some spinach sautéed in a bit of garlic and macadamia nut oil and roasted root vegetables.

Slow Carb Coriander Lime Salmon Recipe
Slow Carb Coriander Lime Salmon

Ingredients

  • 4  salmon fillets (appprox 6 oz)
  • 1/2 t  sea salt
  • 1/8 t  freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 t  ground coriander
  • 2 t olive or macadamia nut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t lime juice
  • ¼  – ½ t hot pepper sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot because there’s no added wheat or sugar)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper and coriander. Sprinkle over salmon.
  2. In a non-stick skillet, add oil.  Once pan and oil are hot, add salmon and cook over medium heat, browning the outside.  This normally takes about 3 minutes on each side but may vary depending on how hot your pan gets. Do not overcook. Salmon does not need to be cooked through at this point as you will continue to cook it.
  3. Add the garlic, lime juice and hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat. Cover and cook 3-4 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Be careful not to overcook or your salmon will be dry.
  4. Serve immediately.

Slow Carb Moroccan Chicken

Slow Carb Chicken Recipe

The past few weeks, I’ve been drastically cutting the beans and legumes from diet.  With not much weight left to lose, I didn’t feel they were serving me well anymore.  This has lead me to seek out recipes that fit well with the Paleo/Primal way of eating.

One of my favorites so far is Moroccan Chicken from Mark’s Daily Apple.  If you’re following Slow Carb and all its tenants, you could easily serve the dish with a side of white beans tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper and a bit of parsley, or you could toss a can of chickpeas into the casserole before cooking.

I followed Mark’s recipe pretty closely with one modification.  I didn’t have the red pepper (capsicum in Australia) so I diced up a zucchini, which tasted great.  The dish made great leftovers for lunch the next day as well.

Slow Carb Chicken Recipe
Slow Carb Moroccan Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2-3 pounds of chicken
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ginger root, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional – the other spices will already add a bit of spiciness to the dish, so only add the cayenne if you want a really spicy dish)
  • 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley or cilantro
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 lemon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

  1. The base of the casserole is cauliflower grated into a rice-like texture. Chop the head of cauliflower into small pieces. Push the pieces through a food processor using the grating blade. Spread the grated cauliflower out in a 9×13 rectangular baking pan.
  2. Salt and pepper the chicken. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a deep pan over high heat. Add the chicken, browning well, about 3-5 minutes a side.
  3. Remove the chicken from the hot pan and set aside. Turn heat down to medium and add onion, ginger, garlic and carrots. Cook until the onions are soft. Add remaining tablespoon of butter and all spices. Stir well
  4. Add red pepper, the can of tomatoes, minced parsley or cilantro and salt. Return the chicken to the pot and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Pour the chicken mixture over the cauliflower and mix really well, so the cauliflower is completely covered by the sauce. Slice a lemon into thin slices and lay on top of the casserole. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and cook for 25 minutes more.
  6. Garnish with more fresh parsley or cilantro before serving.

Slow Carb Blackened Salmon (or chicken)

Slow Carb Blackened Salmon or Chicken Recipe

Cajun-style seasonings are a great way to liven up a salmon fillet.   If you don’t care for fish, this same seasoning can be used on chicken as well.

I like to grill up several pieces and serve over a bed of fresh, uncooked baby spinach.  If that doesn’t appeal to you, serve with cooked greens or a salad.

Slow Carb Blackened Salmon or Chicken Recipe
Blackened salmon on a bed of fresh baby spinach

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • ¼ Tbs cayenne pepper
  • ½ Tbs onion or garlic powder
  • 1 t sea salt
  • ¼ t white ground pepper (black is fine if you don’t have this)
  • ¼ fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ t Italian herbs (basil, thyme, oregano and/or herb blend)
  • 4 boneless, skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 Tbs ghee or macadamia nut oil

Directions

  1. Mix all spices in a small bowl.
  2. Coat salmon fillets evenly with the spices on both sides.
  3. Heat ghee or oil in a large, heavy skillet.   Over high heat, cook salmon until blackened about 2 minutes.  Turn fillets and reduce heat to medium.  Continue cooking until blackened and fish is easily flaked with a fork, about 2-3 minutes.

Slow Carb Greek Pot Roasted Chicken

Slow Carb Chicken

I discovered this (Greek) recipe through an Asian-born, Australian, food-blogger, which I found delightfully amusing because the longer I stay in Melbourne, the more I see the blending of different food cultures.  It originated from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escape cookbook.

This is definitely a “comfort food” sort of meal.  It has all the simplicity of a roast chicken, but the complexity of the tomato sauce with cinnamon and sun-dried tomatoes really makes the dish much more interesting.

Be careful with sundried tomatoes though – some are packed in a liquid that contains sugar!

What do the real foodies call a dish like this? Rustic?  I’m not quite sure, but I will be making it again on cold, drizzly evening.

Slow Carb Chicken
Greek Pot Roasted Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 x 2-kg free-range chicken
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
60 g sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
500 g vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped, or 400-g can chopped tomatoes
7.5-cm piece cinnamon stick
1 tsp dried oregano
A generous pinch of crushed dried chillies
150 ml chicken stock
A small handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Season the inside of the chicken. Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole., add the chicken and brown it on all sides over a medium heat.
  2. Remove the chicken to a plate, add the remaining oil and the onion to the casserole and cook until soft and lightly browned. Add the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh or canned tomatoes, cinnamon, oregano, dried chili flakes, chicken stock, 1 tsp of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer, replace the chicken and cover the casserole with some foil and a tight-fitting lid.
  3. Transfer the casserole to the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours until the chicken is very tender.
  4. When the chicken is cooked, and the juices from the thickest part of the thigh run clear, life it into a carving board, cover it tightly with foil and leave it to rest somewhere warm for 10 minutes. Skim the excess fat from the surface of the sauce, place the casserole over a medium heat and leave to simmer vigorously until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened.
  5. Remove the cinnamon stick from the sauce, stir in the parsley and adjust the seasoning to taste. Carve the chicken. Spoon some of the sauce onto 4 warmed plates and place the chicken on top.

Slow Carb Ground Beef with Cauliflower and Tomatoes

This is a mild but flavorful curry.  It’s great served with lentils or daal or you can add lentils or chickpeas straight into the recipe.

I followed a recipe I found online and have translated it into US measurements – visit the site directly for metric conversions.   The recipe requires quite a few ingredients but is fairly straightforward to prepare.

Ground Beef with Curried Cauliflower and Tomatoes

4-6 Servings

 

Ingredients

  • 1lb of Minced Ground Beef
  • ½  Cauliflower, washed & cut into medium sized florets
  • 2 Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes, blanched & chopped OR 1 can of tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (½” piece) of Ginger Root, crushed
  • 4 Cardamom Pods, crushed
  • 2 Cloves (
  • 1 bunch of Fresh Cilantro Leaves, washed & finely chopped
  • 1 t Coriander Powder
  • 1 t Cumin
  • 1 tsp. of Dried Fenugreek (I didn’t have this and used a bay leaf)
  • 1 tsp. of Garam Masala
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh  Ground Pepper, to tase
  • Chilli Powder, to taste
  • 3 Tbs of ghee or macadamia nut oil

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot and add the cauliflower in batches. Fry gently until it is golden brown. Set aside.
  2. In the same oil, add the cardamoms and cloves and as they start to darken add in the onions and fry well until they turn golden brown. Add in the ginger and garlic paste and fry. Add in the coriander powder, cumin powder, fenugreek leaves (or Bay Leaf), tomatoes, red chilli powder and salt and fry well until the oil starts to separate.
  3. Add in the minced meat, and fry on low heat until the excess water evaporates and the meat turns rich brown. Add as much water as would be needed to just cook the meat and cook in a pressure cooker. As soon as the cooker reaches maximum pressure, reduce the heat and cook for another 7-8 minutes. Let the pressure reduce by itself. Open the cooker and add in the cauliflower. Stir well, add more water if needed, cover and let it cook until the cauliflower is tender and there is no excess water left.
  4. Garnish with garam masala powder and coriander/cilantro leaves before serving.

Slow Carb Peppery Chicken Curry

Slow Carb Chicken Curry Recipe

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a bit obsessed with curries.  I could quite easily eat them 7 days a week and fill the whole blog with them, but I imagine that not everyone else feels the same way.

This curry, in particular, caught my eye because it of the rice wine vinegar and fresh ground black pepper, I thought it’d have a bit of a tangy flavor and didn’t sound like anything I’d ever tried before.

I wasn’t disappointed.  I doubt it’ll become a staple in my house, but I thought it had an interesting flavor and was really easy to prepare.

The recipe is from another blogger who adapted it from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Living section on June 15th, 2010.   Definitely check out her page because my pictures don’t do the food justice… and hers are outstanding!

Slow Carb Chicken Curry Recipe
Slow Carb Peppery Chicken Curry

serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken thigh cutlets, approx 400g, chopped into 2.5cm (1″) pieces
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tblsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • Pinch of saffron  ( I skipped this because I didn’t have it on-hand)
  • 2 tsp ground black peppercorns
  • 2 onions
  • 2 tblsp oil (I use macadamia nut oil but any standard cooking oil should do)

Directions

1.  Mix together the garlic, ginger, salt, vinegar, turmeric, and 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns.  Spread over the chicken in a shallow bowl and leave to marinate.

2.  Peel and chop one onion.  Place the onion in a food processor and blend to a paste.  Slice the remaining onion and set aside

3.  Heat the vegetable oil in a deep saucepan.  Add sliced onion and 1 teaspoon of pepper and cook for 10 minutes, until golden.  Add onion paste and cook over low heat for 10 minutes until golden brown.

4.  Add chicken and marinade and cook, stirring to coat all sides and brown the meat.

5.  Add 150 ml of water, bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, until the chicken is tender.

6.  Serve the chicken with rice, and with extra ground black pepper.

Slow Roasted Puerto Rican “Pernil” Pork Shoulder

Slow Carb Pork Recipe

I found this recipe in a roundup of NY Times “Minimalist” recipes.  I cooked the pork a bit longer than the recommended 3 hours, and it was flavorful and tender, as expected from a cut of meat that cooks for hours over a low heat.

I served the pork over a roasted garlic and butter bean mash and raw cabbage slaw.    The recipe made enough for my boyfriend and I have dinner plus a week’s worth of lunches for me.

The butter bean mash wasn’t much of a hit (hence no recipe), but the pork was a winner.  Next time I’ll be trying a different side dish.

Slow Carb Pork Recipe
Slow Roasted Puerto Rican Pork over Garlic Butter Bean Mash

Ingredients

1 pork shoulder, 4 to 7 pounds (or use fresh ham)

4 or more cloves garlic, peeled

1 large onion, quartered

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ancho or other mild chili powder

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil as needed

1 tablespoon wine or cider vinegar

Lime wedges for serving.

Directions

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Score meat’s skin with a sharp knife, making a cross-hatch pattern. Pulse garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, chili, salt and pepper together in a food processor, adding oil in a drizzle and scraping down sides as necessary, until mixture is pasty. (Alternatively, mash ingredients in a mortar and pestle.) Blend in the vinegar.

2. Rub this mixture well into pork, getting it into every nook and cranny. Put pork in a roasting pan and film bottom with water. Roast pork for several hours (a 4-pound shoulder may be done in 3 hours), turning every hour or so and adding more water as necessary, until meat is very tender. Finish roasting with the skin side up until crisp, raising heat at end of cooking if necessary.

3. Let meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting it up; meat should be so tender that cutting it into uniform slices is almost impossible; rather, whack it up into chunks. Serve with lime.

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Slow Carb Walnut Crusted Pork Chops

Slow Carb Pork REcipe

This recipe was a favorite of mine long before the Slow Carb Diet.   I originally found it in my mom’s Cooking Light magazine.  It has been reposted here at myrecipes.com.

This is one of those  healthy recipes that you actually forget is healthy.  It’s always a crowd pleaser, and quite honestly, it’s so good that when I make it I forget I’m on a diet.

While nuts are considered an occasional treat on the Slow Carb Diet, you can still enjoy this meal guilt-free knowing walnuts are full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, lower cholesterol and tryglyceride levels, lower the risk of heart disease, combat depression and help with weight loss (plus some other benefits as well!)

I’m posting the recipe as is, but there are a few modifications I do that I’ll mention.  I chose to create a Worcestershire substitute because of the high amount of sugar in the sauce, and I am being quite diligent about those little cheats.  The devil is in the details, folks.

A few other notes: The bacon is nice, but totally unnecessary.   If you don’t have it or don’t like it, just add a bit of oil to the pan to keep the chops from sticking.  I often double the amount of walnuts and spices to make sure I have plenty of coating, but that’s just me.  It’s not really necessary either.  Regarding spices, sometimes I don’t even use sage as suggested.  After some experimentation, I’ve discovered I prefer a mixture of half rosemary and half thyme instead of the sage.

Slow Carb Pork REcipe
Slow Carb Walnut Crusted Pork Chops

( 4 servings)

Ingredients

  • Pork:  4  (8-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops, trimmed
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  Worcestershire sauce (*very high in sugar – try this replacement!)
  • 3/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried sage
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3  cup  walnuts, finely ground
  • 1  bacon slice
  • 1/4  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

Preparation

1. To prepare pork, place chops in a shallow dish; drizzle evenly with Worcestershire. Combine salt, sage, and black pepper in a small bowl. Reserve 3/4 teaspoon salt mixture. Add walnuts to remaining salt mixture; toss well. Press walnut mixture onto both sides of pork chops. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

2. Cook bacon slice in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add pork chops to drippings in pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Add 1/4 cup chicken broth to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 6 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pork from pan.