Chimichurri Sweet Potato Stuffed Mushrooms | AIP, Paleo, VeganWhew, home sweet home. I just got back from an inspiring trip to the IACP Conference in Washington DC, my first trip to our nation’s capital. When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t help but think about Easter weekend upon us, excited to spend some time with my family. And then my brain quickly jumped to the menu, because if you like food, you often wake up thinking about it, right?

We’ll start with these one-bite Sweet Potato Stuffed Mushrooms, with a bright green chimichurri swirled in, one of my all time favorite sauces. No ham this year, as I didn’t get a chance to reserve one that was pasture raised, but Foodie Crush’s Lemon Chicken skewers will be happening on the grill, along with these crispy roasted radishes. And for a sweet finish, I’m gladly baking another AIP Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting.

Chimichurri Sweet Potato Stuffed Mushrooms | Paleo, VeganI’ve always made chimichurri (kind of like a pesto, but with no nuts) a little different than most people, adding fresh basil to the usual parsley & cilantro. But I gave it one more twist this time to compensate for not being able to use jalapenos or chili flakes (since they are nightshades, and therefore avoided on the Autoimmune Protocol).

Kale! It worked perfectly with the garlic to give it just the right amount of heat. It’s the perfect contrast for the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.

Kale Chimichurri! (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)I actually didn’t even have any fresh greens on hand, but you know that corner of your freezer where you have half gone bags of random vegetables? That’s where I found some organic Cascadian Farm kale. I love when I’m able to find a use for things that might otherwise go to waste. I know I’ve let way too many peas and carrots get coated in freezer burn.

Food waste was actually a huge topic of discussion with National Geographic at the conference – 30% of the food we grown is never eaten. That equals out to 2.8 trillion pounds of waste, and $162 billion. And with the population growth expected over the next 35 years, we really really need to make a concerted effort in our kitchens.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Chimichurri Sweet Potato Filling | Paleo, AIP, Vegan Even though I’m pretty careful about food waste, I know I can still do a better job. I’ll keep working on more tasty idea like this to help us, and hopefully we can make a difference.

This recipe is really simple, and you can roast the sweet potato and make the chimichurri two days ahead. Then all you have to do is fill your mushrooms and stick them in the oven for ten minutes to bake.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Chimichurri Sweet Potato Puree |Paleo, AIP, veganHope you have a sunny Easter weekend, and if you have any great recipes that you’ll be making, leave them in the comments below!

Many thanks to Cascadian Organic Farm for sponsoring this post. I’m so grateful they provide all of us with accessible, organic fruits and vegetables. And thank you for understanding that I carefully choose the brands I work with that help make this site possible. All opinions are 100% my own.

Chimichurri Sweet Potato Stuffed Mushrooms (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

makes 24 mushrooms

3/4 cup frozen kale (if using fresh, remove it from stems & chop. then increase water to 1/4 cup)
3/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/3 cup basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
24 mushrooms, stems removed and inside hollow out
1 cup roasted & mashed sweet potato, mixed with 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add kale, cilantro, basil, garlic and chopped onions to a food processor or blender. Pulse several times until well chopped. Add olive oil, water, salt and apple cider. Puree until mostly smooth. It should be spoonable/stirable so add a little water if needed.

Place sweet potato mash in a bowl and lightly fold in about 1/3 cup chimichurri. (You will have some leftover, this is a good thing!) Be careful not to overmix so the puree stays orange.

Add puree to a ziploc bag and cut a small hole in one of the corners so you can pipe it in or use a frosting gun, which is what I did. You can also just spoon it in, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Line a baking sheet with foil or coat lightly with coconut oil. Place mushrooms facing down so that hollowed out side touches the surface. Bake for 8 minutes, then remove and turn right side up. Fill each with sweet potato mixture and bake for 5 more minutes. Remove and serve warm or at room temperature.

2 comments   • • •   as featured in:   AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), Appetizer, Fall, Recipe Box, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian, Winter

AIP/Paleo Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting
AIP Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting (paleo & vegan too)

AIP/Paleo Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut FrostingWhen I discovered my gluten intolerance four years ago, baking was a big, foreign challenge. All the new to me flours, getting things to rise, not crumble into pieces or be dense and gummy, and most importantly – to taste identical to their glutenful partners.

But whoa. Nothing could prepare me for what I was going to experience while trying to make an AIP carrot cake, not even my dabbles in paleo baking because that relies heavily on eggs. No flours from grains/seeds/nuts, dairy, eggs (which also means flax or chia eggs were out), gums for binding or refined sugar.

AIP/Paleo Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting ~ so delicious, moist & full of flavor.Although I don’t find myself craving sweets, I have missed the pleasure of a special treat. I wanted to change that, for myself and you, especially with Easter coming up.

So six fails and a few choice words later, the Carrot Cake that I had envisioned finally came out of the oven. I hate the word moist, but truly it is. And just sweet enough from maple syrup, spring carrots and plump golden raisins. The smell of cinnamon, ginger and cloves float through the air while it bakes, and bring classic flavors to each forkful.

AIP/Paleo Carrot Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting (vegan too)Topped with airy Whipped Coconut Milk Frosting and toasted coconut flakes, it was the best bite I’ve taken in a long time. For a combination of reasons, as healing through the autoimmune protocol is more emotional than I expected, and because I haven’t had anything dessert-like other than these little coconut gems in a month. [click to continue…]

22 comments   • • •   as featured in:   AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), Recipe Box, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Sweets

5 Ingredient Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi

by Amanda Paa on March 25, 2015

5 Ingredient Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi recipe

5 Ingredient Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi (vegan too!)Over a month ago I posted this image while I was making this Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi to celebrate Brian and I’s 5 year anniversary. There were many requests for the recipe, and although I’m not able to have it while on my healing journey, it was such a special meal that we shared together. And I really couldn’t keep it from you because it’s what homemade pasta dreams are made of.

I’m not lying when I say anybody can make this. Just 5 ingredients, a little rolling and you’re 2o minutes away from soft, pillowy gnocchi. It’s vegan too, the sweet potatoes not only adding flavor, but mimicking the binding of eggs.

5 Ingredient Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi (no eggs, vegan too) [click to continue…]

27 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Fall, Main Dish, Recipe Box, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian, Winter

Rich and Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Sauce

by Amanda Paa on March 25, 2015

Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Pasta Sauce ~ made with roasted garlic & cashewsEven as I was growing up, I never liked alfredo sauce. All of my friends would order the heaping bowls of fettucine alfredo, and when I’d try I bite I always thought it was so bland. Too much like a plain roux of butter, salt and flour. Plus it was always such a weird texture, either too runny or so thick it too over the soft pasta.

I knew there had to a better way to make a flavorful white sauce and a more nutrient dense one at that. Which is how I landed on this Rich and Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Sauce, which became the perfect addition to my Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi.

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Sauce

Smooth and velvety as could be, most people would never know this alfredo sauce doesn’t have lots of cheese and butter like they’re used to. In this recipe, it’s the magic of nutrient dense cauliflower and cashews. I’m always amazed at the power of these two ingredients when you combine them, just like in my Cashew Cauliflower Soup with Herb Popcorn.

Rich & Creamy Cauliflower Sauce (vegan, gluten-free)You’ll simmer the two in vegetable broth, softening them so that they’re ready for a spin in the Blendtec (high speed blender) after the garlic has been roasted, giving it a mellow sweetness. And then the cashews – they’re the secret thickener, no dairy in sight even thought the sauce is a snowy, silky white. Definitely good for you, but more importantly it tastes amazing.

Roasted Garlic Caulflower Sauce - made with cashews, vegan pasta saucYou can make this recipe a day ahead and it will last four days in the refrigerator. For a paleo meal you could serve it drizzled over roasted chicken and butternut squash. And the mister of the house loves it as a auce for an Udi’s Gluten-Free pizza crust, topped with spinach, olives and tomatoes.

You can find the recipe HERE on the Blendtec blog, and huge thanks to them for supplying me with my blender, which makes this recipe a total breeze.

10 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Fall, Recipe Box, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian, Winter

 Coconut Butter Stuffed Dates ~ best 2 ingredient treat | AIP, Paleo
 What Really Happens When You Stop Eating Sugar ~ part of the Autoimmune Protocol healing process

Coconut Butter Stuffed Dates: best 2 ingredient AIP/Paleo treat ever.Whether you’re looking for an AIP treat or something easy to satisfy your sweet tooth, Coconut Butter Stuffed Dates are THE answer. They are truly “real food” decadence. Imagine a chewy coconut caramel that melts in your mouth, yet its made from just two ingredients that are literally the salt of the earth.

These little gems have been my saving grace, along with avocados, squash, garlic and sweet potatoes during my Autoimmune Protocol healing journey.

Coconut Butter Stuffed Dates - best 2 ingredient Paleo/AIP treat everHave you tried coconut butter? It’s kind of like nut butter, and you can buy it at Whole Foods/natural grocery stores or make your own. It’s made from 1 thing: dried coconut flesh that’s pureed until silky smooth, so you’re getting the meat and healthy fats (whereas coconut oil is just the fat). Coconut is an extremely power healing ingredient, boosting the immune system and acting as an antibiotic, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial.

As I was enjoying dates stuffed with coconut butter for dessert, it reminded me that it’s been 21 days since I had my last bite of refined sugar. (I can have honey & maple syrup, which are unrefined, but in small amounts because any type of sugar will feed bacteria. It also needs to be metabolized by my liver, which isn’t working correctly right now.) It was a piece of Dove dark chocolate, and I nearly cried throwing the wrapper away, but I swore instead.

Coconut Butter Stuffed Dates - Paleo treat!If you would have told me that I was going to be able to survive without chocolate (and coffee), I would have said there’s no way. Plus, baking and sharing my best GF Chocolate Chip Cookies with others is one of my nurturing traits.

But I’m okay you guys, really. And this isn’t a “sugar is evil” talk like those you’re seeing in the media – our bodies need it to live. I’m also not saying that I will never eat refined sugar again. (Paleo Mom does a great job explaining that all sugars/sweeteners are basically half fructose and half glucose, so they have nearly identical effects on your body chemistry.)

It’s given me such incredible insight to the effect sugar has on our brain – our thoughts, emotions and sense of taste.

For the first few days of AIP, my brain was totally preoccupied fighting the horrible sickness of the bad bacteria dying off, no longer being fed by sugar and starches. That was fascinating in itself. I couldn’t even think about a sugar craving.

Coconut Butter Stuffed Dates ~ just 2 ingredients, tastes like a chewy coconut caramel.After I recovered, my brain knew something was off. I walked through the skyway and all I could think about were the smells of what I wanted — caramel popcorn, fresh baked cookies, donuts, you name it. Things I eat so seldom, yet my brain was telling me I needed them more than anything. But maybe if I just snuck a bit of chocolate everything would be better….  And in that moment I realized the incredible psychological power that sugar has. I also realized that our brains love the sugar in things that are whole foods too, like gluten-free grains or other sources of carbohydrates.

The crazy thing was that only lasted about two days, thank god. Another lesson there – our body listens and reacts faster than I imagined. The cravings decreased, and I fell in love with my stuffed dates. And something else happened – I started to taste the natural sweetness in all foods, not just the ones that we traditionally think of like sweet potatoes, parsnips and oats.

I’ll never forget standing in the kitchen, hungry as all get out and taking a bite of plain celery. It tasted sweet and grassy. The same thing happened when I ate a piece of butter lettuce. Or the richness of homemade chicken bone broth. Those are characteristics I had totally missed, mostly because our palates have become muted.

Coconut Butter Stuffed Dates - Paleo (coconut butter is also known as coconut manna)
Talk about another blessing in disguise from this journey to heal my gut. That, along with discovering new foods and ways to achieve delicious flavor are giving me so much enjoyment. They’re what cheer me on when I have a sick day and I want to let go.

Thanks for listening, and if you have any thoughts on your experiences, I’d love to hear them.

Coconut Butter Stuffed Dates

Know that coconut butter is like coconut oil in that it will solidify at cooler temperatures. You can warm it up so it’s more spreadable and pour it into the cavity of the dates, or just scoop some of it out and press into the dates. I like both. Make sure you use fresh dates, and at room temperature I think their texture is best.

My favorite brand of cocnut butter is Nutiva, which you can buy at Whole Foods or any coop/natural foods store. Or you can make your own with Charlotte’s recipe!

Thank you for making Heartbeet Kitchen possible! To help me pay for my domain, hosting, and enormous grocery bill, this blog is supported through the use of affiliate links. This means that I will earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Another reason I include them is because I get a lot of questions about the exact brand, etc. of what I’m using in my kitchen. 

This post is linked to the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable.

30 comments   • • •   as featured in:   AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), Fall, Recipe Box, Spring, Summer, Sweets, Winter