Fermented food for life

Month: November 2018

Totally Inauthentic Smokin' Jalapeño Kimchi: Tasty. Gringa. Paleo & Vegan

Totally Inauthentic Smokin' Jalapeño Kimchi: Tasty. Gringa. Paleo & Vegan

Preface This post has been waiting in the wings for a few weeks now.  I’m sure many of you have faced the dreaded flu of this year… we faced two, back to back, and I am in recovery mode.  Recovering that is, from weeks of […]

Fermented Jalapeños (Vegan, Paleo, Keto of course)

Fermented Jalapeños (Vegan, Paleo, Keto of course)

I very obviously like to ferment things.  This is clear, isn’t it?  Okay.  Now… I love roasted jalapeños on my pizza, burgers, salads, wraps… everything.  For two reasons, fermenting is better.  1) You get a whole different pop in your mouth with these, albeit a […]

Green Giant Kale & Broccoli Fermented Hummus (Vegan, Paleo Hacked)

Green Giant Kale & Broccoli Fermented Hummus (Vegan, Paleo Hacked)

Above: the jolly green giant hummus topped with organic hempseed for protein and fancy pants presentation.

Green Giant Kale & Broccoli Fermented Hummus

Sooo…. Thanksgiving happened.  Sandwiched between having a wicked flu myself and dealing with a full night and day of helicopter vomit with my poor dear [the name of child has been removed for his or her emotional protection].  Needless to say with sickness and the marathon that Thanksgiving, I haven’t been posting anything.  Not that I haven’t been fooding… I have.  Just not blogging.  So we may or may not be seeing some of those recipes in the next few days.

I’ve already given my spiel about the benefits of fermenting beans and legumes but it never hurts to re-cap.  Because who doesn’t love a frugal paleo hack.  So!  Beans contain a high level of phytates and lectins, which does some bad stuff (read this post) and is not so paleo.  But! Cooking and then fermenting legumes can reduce these phytates and lectins by up to 85%, essentially “hacking” those beans into a stable veg the likes of other paleo friendly veg.  So… not really paleo but for all intents and purposes just as healthy or more so.  And cheap.  Did I mention dried beans are cheap?  Having home made fermented hummus to snack on takes my family’s grocery budget down nearly $200 a month as opposed to not having it.  Something to consider.

This is sort of like a green goddess hummus but as I was totally unprepared for my husband to love it (which he did) I thought I’d give it a more masculine name.  Enter the jolly green giant.  Not that I buy green giant kale and broccoli but I did grow up on frozen veg to supplement mum’s garden, so hey.

I basically cooked up a vat of dried chickpeas prior to Thanksgiving, in preparation for having near nothing healthy around to get us through all the prep.  I actually made four hummus varieties: Fermented Hummus, Roasted Beetroot Hummus, Pumpkin Pie Hummus (FAIL. But I added more spices and pressed it onto a silicone mat into tiny cookies and then the family inhaled them) and this… the green variety.  The spinach was looking sad so for fear of it ruining the ferment I left it out and went for the heartier winter veg: kale & raw broccoli.


125-150g dried chick peas, soaked overnight and cooked, drained and rinsed (makes about 2 cups) or one can.

2 cups packed kale

2 cups broccoli florets

garlic cloves

½ cup whey from a batch of live yogurt or milk kefir, cultured vegetable juice from a previous ferment (I used the juices from a batch of fermented carrots)

1/4 cup tahini or 3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds or toasted sunflower seeds

juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

handful fresh sage leaves from the garden

1 tablespoon sea salt, celtic sea salt or pink salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ – ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (poured over top to seal out bacteria)


I like to use dried chickpeas, so I measure out 125 grams (a little over 4oz) and soak them overnight.  Pour into a bowl or container, fill with water and cover.  In the morning, strain and rinse the chickpeas.  Bring a pot of water to boil, pour in the chickpeas and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Strain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse.

While your chickpeas are cooking, wash, trim and chop kale & broccoli, 2 cups each

Add the chickpeas and all other ingredients to your food processor (hold out the olive oil) and process until smooth.

If serving immediately, leave out the culturing liquid.  Spoon into a bowl and stir in 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then drizzle a bit more on the top. Serve with crudite platter or chips.

If fermenting, hold out the olive oil until the very end. Transfer hummus to a 2 litre clip top jar, cover with the olive oil and clamp closed.  Slowly rotate the jar until the olive oil seals the entire empty surface.  Leave to ferment for 2 days.  Once finished, stir the olive oil in and store in a 1 liter glass jar or BPA free container in the fridge.

Pro Tip: Make sure your jar is double the capacity of your hummus so you don’t wake up to the Blob invading your kitchen.  It’ll be tasty but a sad sad waste… unless you’re the type to lick it off the counter.

Tahini, Kale & Cranberry Winter Omega Superfood Salad (Vegan & Paleo)

Tahini, Kale & Cranberry Winter Omega Superfood Salad (Vegan & Paleo)

It’s cranberry season!  I cannot begin to express my love for cranberries.  They are super tart, mildly sweet little fruits that bring bite to savory dishes, chocolate treats and magic to Thanksgiving dinner. These little beauties are chock full of antioxidants, beating out most other […]

Simple & Quick Kale, Tahini & Pine Nut Salad

Simple & Quick Kale, Tahini & Pine Nut Salad

Salad is not my go to in the winter as much as the rest of the year but slight tweaks to the shopping list and pantry can make it both more affordable and sustainable.  My go to for salad greens are spinach and arugula for […]

Instant Pot Tuscan Kale & Butternut Squash Stew (Paleo & Vegan)

Instant Pot Tuscan Kale & Butternut Squash Stew (Paleo & Vegan)


Winter is coming.  With it the prices on a lot of greens have gone up or simply the greens themselves do not last like they do in the summer.  Beside that, soups and stews are much more appealing once the weather turns and we can see our breath in the morning air.  I used to turn to Indian curries and North African stews like Harira and Algerian Chorba in the winter but my family prefers more Western flavors.  Simple food, as he calls it, is utmost in my husband’s book.  In my children’s as well.  As much as I love the hotter spices and exotic flavors the foods they most enjoy are mild but full of richness.

I have further challenges in my wee family in the form of food preferences and as much as I believe in eating the food that is in front of you as a principle; I still prefer that those whom I serve food actually enjoy it.  Waste not, want not.  If people like the food in front of them they tend to clean their plate.  My oldest daughter, though she is a meat eater on occasion, does not enjoy vegetables that taste like meat.  She loves her veggies and will eat them raw or cooked and with gusto, but not if they have a hint of animal protein about them.  I prefer most of my soups meat free as well but being raised on a farm diet of eggs and sausage for most of my life I tend to be happy with my veg in any form.  She seems to take after my mother in law and is an uber veggie aficionado, which I love, and has a distaste for certain meaty flavors so  I try to be sensitive to that.  Frankly, I love vegan food and find it gloriously challenging so if at any point I can add to my recipe repertoire in this area, I will.

This recipe is a warm and comforting one.  It is filling and nutritious and versatile in that it is Paleo and Vegan but can easily be expanded by adding a can of cannellini beans or even sausage, for those who prefer the stew in its classic form: tuscan kale & sausage stew.  It is done entirely in the instant pot, which I’m discovering to be a great help these days as I haven’t much time for dinner prep once I’ve gotten the two older kids through their homework.  They go to a Classical Christian School and the curriculum is rigorous as one would expect.  Our children were in Primary 2 and Nursery (2nd grade and Kindergarten, respectively) in Northern Ireland last year so I love that they still get to attend with their age mates whilst being challenged academically. But that is another topic…

Here is the soup, or stew, in all its warmth and simplicity.


1 medium onion, finely diced (so that little people miss them entirely)

3-4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 Tablespoons coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, or ghee

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)

6-8 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 head cauliflower, broken apart into florets or 1 bag frozen

1 pouch petite diced or crushed tomatoes (or 2-3 fresh ones, diced)

1 bunch curly kale, rinsed and chopped

1 can cannellini or another white bean variety, soaked, cooked, drained and rinsed (optional, NOT paleo)

1 tsp turmeric

1 small handful chopped oregano or 1 Tbsp dried oregano

3-4 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste

2-4 cups water, depending on whether you prefer soup or stew

black pepper to taste (I leave it out as my kids find it spicy)


Spray the bottom of your instant pot with coconut oil (I use Sally’s Organics bottles filled with liquid coconut oil). Alternatively, you can use a tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee.  I tend not to use olive oil when heating to high temperatures but if you have a high quality unrefined extra virgin olive oil it should have a sufficiently high smoke point and be safe for use.

Add the diced onion and garlic and set the Instant Pot to sauté.  If you are using a standard pot just sauté the onions before adding the other ingredients.   If you are using a crock pot or slow cooker you can either do this step first and then add all the ingredients to the crock or you can just chuck it all in together.  I find sautéing caramelizes the onions and makes them more palatable to little people and husbands who are not fond of strong flavors.  Also, this is similar to how french onion soup is made so sautéing first negates the need for vegetable broth.

Here’s where you decide whether you are going for soup or stew.  For the former, add the butternut squash and then cover with water, about 2 cups.  For the latter add the squash and carrots and then cover with water, which will be 3-4 cups.  Don’t worry, you can always add more later.

Add the kale, tomatoes and cauliflower.   If you’re going for the vegan super soup, add the beans but if you are on a Paleo diet, leave them out.

Lock the lid of your instant pot in place and set to “Soup/Stew” for 4 minutes.  It will take longer than this to heat up, but draw the timer down to 3 or 4 minutes so as not to overcook your vegetables.  If I am cooking with sausage I will cook them separately and let people add them individually, but some would prefer to add them in to the pot, in which case I would leave it at the default soup setting.  On this note, if you are on a keto diet the inclusion of butternut squash will depend on your particular carbohydrate restrictions.

While your Instant Pot is doing its thing, you can whip up a batch of grain free “cornbread” made with coconut flour.

I hope you enjoy this!  We certainly did.  It’s a great “clean” meal to offset all the Paleo and Keto treats I’ve been testing and altogether enjoying in abundance.  Your tum and bum will thank you.

Below: Kale & butternut squash stew with cannellini beans variation.


Simple Grain-Free Rustic Coconut "Cornbread" (No Sugar; Paleo & Vegan Variations)

Simple Grain-Free Rustic Coconut "Cornbread" (No Sugar; Paleo & Vegan Variations)

Photo above: a double batch with a cast iron loaf and 6 muffins for kid snacks. I’m not strictly Paleo as you might have noticed.  I’m also not vegan.  I have vegan loved ones and frankly I adore vegan food but I was farm-raised on eggs, […]

Instant Pot Chicken Chorizo Stew (Paleo & Keto Friendly)

Instant Pot Chicken Chorizo Stew (Paleo & Keto Friendly)

Here’s one for the win.  As a foodie and a mother I know first hand the tightrope walk of balancing waste not, want not with the coup d’é·tat that children manifest at dinner time… with new or “exotic” food.  Dinner has become one of the […]