Simple & Seasonal: 7 Delicious Recipes for Ramps

by Amanda Paa on April 25, 2015

Seven Delicious Recipes for Ramps | @amandapaaOnce the first 45 degree day shines down on Minnesota, the anticipation of spring can be see all around. People running in shorts, driving with convertible tops down, cleaning up their yards, beaming ear to ear. There’s bound to be a few more snows, (in which we sing “Quit Playing Games With My Heart” by the Backstreet Boys), but the final turning point occurs when ramps, morels and rhubarb start to appear.

I discovered ramps, also known as wild leeks, shortly after I started writing this blog. Skipping down the aisles of the Minneapolis Farmers Market, there seemed to be a hoard of people around what I thought were just spring onions or young garlic. As I listened to what they were saying, I found out that part of what makes them so special is that they are foraged, not grown by man, which makes their exclusivity a draw. I weezled my way to the front of the table, grabbed one of the last bunches, brought them home and discovered what all the fuss was about.

  • Their leaves were shaped much like that of tulips, soft and delicate to the touch.
  • Their bulb (which grows from the root) was a gorgeous light pink, turning to white as they stretched to the leaves, a natural ombre effect.
  • And the aromatics…. like sweet, pungent garlic that you just began to sauté in a hot pan, tempting you to bite into one raw.

I spent the next two weeks cooking with them in the simplest of ways to appreciate their brilliance. They have a fresh perfume that lingers when you cut into them, a gentle garlic/onion flavor when softly cooked. And they bring a grassy freshness to any dish, subtly sweeter than their spring onion and leek cousins.

So without further ado, here are SEVEN DELICIOUS RECIPES FOR RAMPS, all begging to make their way onto your table this spring:

Simple Asparagus & Ramp Soup {recipe}1. Simple Asparagus and Ramp Soup: The return of foods so brightly colored just lifts my spirit, a departure from all the things roasted that we embrace during winter. Laura combines two perennial favorites in this creamy soup, seemingly perfect for a rainy day and the smell of spring hitting the ground. (recipe & photo by A First Mess)

Quick Pickled Ramps recipe (refined sugar-free, paleo)2. Pickled Ramps: I love pickles, and the quick type that require no canning are great for extending vegetables that have such a short season. This recipe doesn’t use any sweetener, so it’s paleo too. You can add them to salads, charcuterie plates or just snack and savor. (recipe & photo by Local Kitchen)

Grain-Free Risotto with Asparagus Ramp Sauce 3. Riceless Risotto with Ramps (AIP/paleo if cheese is omitted): If there’s anyone who can make magic out of plants, it’s Sarah from My New Roots. Her risotto uses white asparagus “rice” instead of grains, adorned with a smooth blend of ramps and green asparagus. A true spring delight. If you can’t find white asparagus, you can make cauliflower rice instead, and proceed with the recipe. (recipe & photo by My New Roots)

Easy Ramp Butter4. Ramp Butter: If this is your first time trying ramps and you’re stumped on what to do with them, condiments are always a great option. Imagine the flavors of buttery, garlic chive biscuits and that’s what one swipe of this green beauty will bring. I have plans to try this with ghee, which I’ve successfully reintroduced! (recipe & photo from Bon Appetit)

Spiralized Daikon & Zucchini Noodles with Ramp Tahini Sauce | vegan, gluten-free5. Daikon and Zucchini Noodles with Ramp Tahini Sauce (paleo): Plain and simple, I’m obsessed with spiralized vegetable noodles these days. Jodi’s recipe combines daikon & zucchini strands, some mushrooms for umami kick, and completed with ramp infused tahini sauce. Need I say more? I can’t wait to try this one. (recipe & photo by What’s Cooking Good Looking)

Whole Roasted Chicken with Honey, Garlic and Ramps (paleo, AIP)6. Roast Chicken with Ramps, Lemon & Honey (AIP, paleo): There’s nothing better than roasting a whole chicken on a Sunday afternoon, let alone one like this that’s infused with spring. The ramp leaves are mixed into the juices until tender, and as she describes, “ready to be devoured along with big bites of juicy chicken & occasional snap of salty, savory chicken skin.” YES. (recipe & photo by Milk & Mode)

Ramp Chimichurri Recipe7. Ramp Chimichurri (paleo):Few sauces pack the punch of chimichurri, hence why it’s in my fridge 5/7 days of the week. I made this ramp version last year and when the last of it was finished, I swore I’d make more next time and freeze it to use throughout the year. Bracing and bright, a little bit spicy, I’ve deemed it liquid gold. (recipe & photo by A Couple Cooks)

One last thing: When buying ramps, look for bright green leaves and no wilting. Lightly wash them with cold water and dry before wrapping them in a slightly moist paper towel and placing in a plastic bag. Store them in the door of your refrigerator so they don’t get too cold. They’ll last about three days, so if you don’t have to cook them in a meal, use of the condiments above to preserve them.

If you have any recipes for ramps that you love, LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW WITH THE LINK – happy spring eating! xo

0 comments   • • •   as featured in:   AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), Featured Recipes, Main Dish, Recipe Box, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian

 4 Ingredient AIP Flatbread (paleo, vegan) – if you’ve been missing bread, this recipe is for you!

The Best AIP Flatbread, just 4 ingredients (vegan too)

As soon as a package of Butternut Squash flour landed on my doorstep, my love for this vegetable grew even deeper. Another flour that could be used while healing on the Autoimmune Protocol, but beyond that, the silkiest texture of any gluten-free or grain-free flour I’ve used. And after tasting this 4 Ingredient AIP Flatbread, the flavor and depth it adds has me smitten. Again.

I had tackled a baked AIP treat, this yummy Carrot Cake, but my craving for something savory hadn’t been solved yet. I was looking for something versatile that could be used as a flatbread, cracker, or pizza crust.

And I’m telling you, the flour is a game changer, especially for paleo baking because many people can’t tolerate nut based options. It literally has the weight and silky texture of all-purpose flour! I prefer it over tigernut flour, and imagine it working extremely well in cookies and cakes but just haven’t got to that yet.

4 Ingredient AIP/Paleo Flatbread - the best! Soft texture, crisp edge.Simplicity at its best: just Anti-Grain butternut squash flour, tapioca/arrowroot starch, olive oil, water and salt (yes, technically that’s five but recipe gurus tell me that doesn’t count in list of ingredients).

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39 comments   • • •   as featured in:   AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), Fall, Main Dish, Recipe Box, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian, Winter

10 Best AIP Snacks + Giveaway to Win Them!

by Amanda Paa on April 12, 2015

10 Best AIP Snacks (all paleo approved, real food!)It’s no secret that any time you change how you’re eating, it takes planning and commitment. For me, the biggest adjustment following the Autoimmune Protocol has been adding meat to almost all of my meals and completely removing grains, which both I got used to fairly quick. But having things to eat for on-the-go days or traveling has been a different story. Nuts, gluten-free crackers, protein bars, and overnight oats were always my essentials.

Lots of researching, label reading and taste testing resulted in finding the 10 Best AIP snacks you’ll love regardless of how you eat. You’re looking at real food, free of preservatives and made with simple ingredients. And all so delicious that I write my name on them so “someone” else in the house doesn’t eat them. But I am sharing them with YOU by having a GIVEAWAY, which is at the end of the post!

Here’s a little insight into what makes these the best AIP snacks. (Most you can find at Whole Foods or a natural grocery store, but I also added links to Amazon in case you don’t have access.)

1. Bare Simply Cinnamon Organic Apple Chips: the crunch, the cinnamon, the natural sweetness are to die for. They’re baked, not fried and are a good cure for a sweet tooth. I also add them to salads as “croutons”. (purchase)

2. Dang Lightly Salted Toasted Coconut Chips: it’s hard for me to resist a savory sweet combo, and I find myself sneaking a handful of these when I’m craving either. They have no added sugar, and are another crunchy snack I love. (purchase)

3. Citrus! Any and all kinds. They don’t need to be refrigerated and their skin protects them from bruising while you’re traveling. And maybe it’s just me, but their fresh, fruity smell usually brings me a sense of happiness.

4. Epic Cranberry Bacon Bison Bars: It’s not easy to find a “jerky” type product that fits within AIP guidelines because many of them aren’t grassfed & have preservatives. Or they have nightshade spices for flavoring (black pepper, cumin, chili pepper). But these bacon bison bars fit all criteria and so so tasty. No nitrates, and they aren’t dry and tough. (purchase)

5. Organic Gemini Raw Tigernuts: Almonds, pecans, cashews – they really were my favorite snack and I’m hopeful that I can reintroduce them. But for now, I’m happily enjoying raw tigernuts, which is actually a root vegetable. They’re similar in taste to a cashew, slighty sweet and nutty, although they don’t have the creamy texture. (purchase)

6. Nutiva Coconut Manna (a.k.a. Coconut Butter): If you read my post & have made these Coconut Butter Stuffed Dates, you know my love for this creamy, nutrient rich fat source runs deep. Just like a scoop of peanut butter always made any day better, coconut butter does that too. I bring it along in a little mason jar and pack a few dates, and tada – instant AIP dessert. (purchase)

Best AIP Snacks: Traditional Medicinals Tea

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27 comments   • • •   as featured in:   AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), Favorite Things

 Sweet Potato, Ham and Kale Soup with Rosemary | Paleo, AIP, Gluten-Free
 Sweet Potato, Ham and Kale Soup with Rosemary | Paleo, AIP, Gluten-Free

Sweet Potato, Ham and Kale Soup with Rosemary | Paleo, AIP, Gluten-FreeYesterday I got to spend a little time with the crew at Twin Cities Live (scroll to the bottom to see the video) talking about 3 easy ways to use Leftover Ham that move beyond the usual suspects of tossing it into a hash or adding it to a grilled cheese sandwich. Not that those aren’t completely delicious, but it’s always fun to expand our recipe boxes right?

I think when it comes to leftovers, most people are either cheerleaders or they stick their noses up at them. Maybe because they feel like it’s not that different than the original way it was served?

Sweet Potato, Ham & Kale Soup with Rosemary | Paleo, AIP, Gluten-FreeWell, I might be biased, but I think the depth and flavor of this simple Sweet Potato, Ham and Kale Soup will make them believers in repurposing.

I talked a little bit about it on the show, but I think I’ve figured out why you can have a five ingredient soup at a restaurant and it tastes like the most amazing thing you’ve ever eaten. It all comes down to two things:

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16 comments   • • •   as featured in:   AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), Appetizer, Breakfast, Fall, Featured Recipes, Main Dish, Market Talk, Recipe Box, Spring, Summer, Winter

Fish Taco Lettuce Wraps with Mango Kiwi Salsa {AIP, Paleo}

As Brian was vacationing in Belize the last few days, I was happy he was enjoying warmer weather & the waves, but I won’t lie – I was a little jealous. The timing just didn’t work out quite right, as I needed to be in Washington D.C. for a food writing conference, which I’m so glad I went to.

I imagined he was soaking up the sun and eating fresh seafood, along with a few margaritas. So I decided the next best thing I could do was create that scene here with fresh and vibrant Fish Taco Lettuce Wraps. Spring rays were shining into my kitchen, and I was happy with lemon & lime sparkling water instead of a margarita. And with the smell of chopped mangos & kiwi, I was as close to the Caribbean as I could get.

Fish Taco Lettuce Wraps w/ Mango Kiwi Salsa {AIP, Paleo}Growing up I didn’t each much fish/seafood besides the occasional walleye dinner or the winter Fish Fry at the local American legion – both small town Minnesota staples. As I grew older, I certainly started ordering more fish when dining out and came to enjoy salmon, sea bass and scallops.

For some reason I still hesitated to cook it myself though, for fear of not knowing how to cook it without completely ruining it. Wouldn’t it stick to the pan? How do I know when it’s done?

Fish Taco Lettuce Wraps with Mango Kiwi Salsa {AIP, Paleo}Since starting AIP that has changed, and seafood has become an important part of my weekly menu. And honestly, I’m kicking myself. It’s so quick and easy to make – this recipe takes just 20 minutes.

I discovered the key to getting it to not stick to the pan was using a high heat oil, coconut (which also adds great flavor) and not letting the pan get too hot. It only takes about 3 or 4 minutes per side and when it flakes, it’s done. It’s much easier than mastering the art of sautéing a chicken breast without it sticking to the pan, and a breeze compared to cooking a steak to the perfect doneness.

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27 comments   • • •   as featured in:   AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), Fall, Main Dish, Spring, Summer, Winter