With the desire to reduce carbs this month I have found myself searching for new and different recipes. While I have never relied exclusively on carbs, a lot of my standby recipes, as well as things that I find interesting, involve pasta or rice or something of that nature. Fortunately there is a huge blogosphere out there with tons of ideas. However, many low-carb sites and recipes are based on a South Beach approach, which unfortunately involves a lot of skim milk and artificial sweeteners. I wanted recipes using real food and traditional methods of preparation.
In my searching I stumbled across Mark’s Daily Apple, the blog of Mark Sisson, who is an author and champion of the “Primal” diet. Primal eaters believe that humans should still eat a mainly hunter-gatherer type of diet, consisting of meat, fish, vegetables, some fruits, nuts, seeds, and perhaps dairy (a further subset, Paleo eaters, also eschew dairy since it involves animal husbandry). They avoid grains and most legumes, as these are foods of the agricultural revolution, and there is scientific evidence to show that eating these foods, especially if not properly prepared, can actually harm you by blocking nutrient absorption and causing inflammation.
Mark and other Primal folks also have interesting ideas about not wearing shoes (my husband with his plantar fasciitis would balk at that) and theories on how to exercise. It’s fascinating stuff, but I am not wholly convinced that jumping in to the paleo diet will be the most sustainable lifestyle for us. Balance is a good thing, and by earning how to moderate our intake of grains and make sure they are soaked or fermented first, I think we will protect ourselves and be able to enjoy all the many wonders of God’s creation.
But, I was able to find some good recipes ideas from Mark and a follower of his, The Son of Grok. He has a recipe for enchiladas that didn’t use any tortillas or chips. I tried it out last night and it was the tastiest thing ever. And the best part: almost everything I used was fresh, organic, and/or local. I think the most processed thing we had was the cheese and sour cream, which comes from Tillamook in Oregon, and they don’t use any hormones (although it would be better if it was raw cheese from pastured cows).
Low Carb Enchiladas
adapted from Son of Grok
1 zucchini, shredded
Beat egg and mix with zucchini. Line bottom of 8×8 baking dish with batter and bake 10 min @ 350. Remove from heat and add fillings:
1 lb ground beef, preferably grass-fed
1 small onion, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 pasilla pepper or bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
1-2 cups chopped tomatoes (yeah, I removed the seeds from those too. It was a bad day for seeds)
1 c shredded cheese
Brown ground beef in a saute pan, then add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add diced peppers and cook until they start to soften and are fragrant, another 4-5 minutes. If you would like to drain off excess grease, you can. Pour mixture into pan on top of zucchini crust. Then layer tomatoes and cheese over the top. Bake 35-40 minutes until top is bubbly and golden.
Serve on a bed of lettuce, topped with avocado, sour cream, and salsa.
Maybe it was due to our mutual hunger, but Jer and I found this to be an extremely satisfying meal. When eaten with a big salad and additional veggies like sweet bell peppers or avocados on the side, it is just a wonderful combination of meat, veggies, and cultured dairy that makes our tummies and our immune systems very happy. And an 8×8 pan was enough for both us to eat a full dinner and have leftovers for lunch today (which were again, the tastiest thing ever).
Verdict: I could get used to this low carb thing.