Octopus Salad with Green Harissa

Octopus salad with pickled pears, shaved vegetables, and green harissa

Octopus salad. Ok maybe not your usual go-to for a quick, week day meal for the family. It isn’t a standard in our house either but the menu-planning-stars sort of aligned this week so I thought, “why not?” But even though it’s not being a regular on our menu at home I absolutely love octopus! When done well, the different textures and flavors work so well in most cuisines. AND it’s surprisingly easy to cook! So actually, it IS a great meal to add to your family’s menu…. You just hafta get the kids on board with the whole tentacle thing.

This octopus salad recipe is quite simple in technique. Most of the prep time revolves around the breakdown of the octopus, which is notoriously chewy and tough unless cooked in one of two ways: a low and slow braise (or if you’re like me and scored a sweet pressure cooker, pressure cooked for 10 min) or on really high heat for a short amount of time…. or I guess you could also thrash your octopus against a Grecian rock (Greek fishermen actually do this!) but I’ve only worked with the first two techniques so I’ll stick with that this time around. Whichever the approach you choose, the goal is breakdown the connective tissue resulting in a soft and tender cephalopod.

octopus

This recipe is a great beginning-of spring dish. I included a bunch of my favorite crunchy vegetables, a nutty farro grain, and finished it with an aromatic and spicy African green harissa sauce. Plus the added char of the octopus adds a subtly complexity. I’m telling ya- if your family was ever on the fence about eating baby octopus, they wont be after a bite of this flavor-packed octopus salad!

Notes: Check out this pressure cooker! Not only does it cut down on cook time but it also has lots of other features to make cooking easy!

Print Recipe
Grilled Baby Octopus and Shaved Vegetable Salad with Pickled Pears and Green Harissa
Set aside some time for prep early in the day and let the ingredients chill until dinner time, making for quick assembly!
Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 2 hours
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Octopus
Salad
Pickled Pears
Green Harissa
Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 2 hours
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Octopus
Salad
Pickled Pears
Green Harissa
Instructions
Octopus
  1. Start by combing the marinade ingredients, dividing into 2 bowls, reserving 1 for later. Add the octopus to 1 bowl of marinade, toss to coat, then add to pressure cooker or stock pot. Add enough water to cover octopus. Cover with lid and cook on low for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove octopus from pot and add to reserved marinade. Toss to coat and place in fridge until just before serving/grilling.
Pickled Pears
  1. Combine all of the pickling ingredients in small saucepan, minus the pears. Turn on high and bring to a boil. Pour pickling liquid over sliced pears (making sure liquid covers all of the pears) and place in fridge to cool.
Harissa
  1. Add harissa ingredients to blender or food processor. Blend until smooth but not completely pureed. Leaving a little texture gives the harissa a nice texture.
Finishing
  1. If grilling, cook octopus until slightly blackened. (You can also saute the octopus or just leave chilled). Toss salad ingredients with (drained) pickled pears and octopus. Finishing with drizzle of olive oil and harissa.

Paleo Shrimp Pad Thai with Zucchini Noodles

Paleo shrimp pad thai with zucchini noodles

Ok so I get that it’s Friday and having a healthy bowl of veggies in your shrimp pad thai is maybe not what your stomach had in mind. But we’re literally days away from Spring (thank goodness!)…. which means lots of spring vegetables….. which also means beach season..? (I dont know, I dont particularly care for the beach…unless a lobster roll is involved- then I’m SO there!) Either way, I’m over the hearty stews and soups of winter and ready for some crisp veg! Annnnd not only that but this shrimp pad thai satisfies my craving for Thai food without slowing me down as I head into this weekend!

cabbage, green onions, carrots, egg, cilantro, garlic, cashews. limes

What I love about pad thai is that its a great “gateway” recipe for people to learn how to cook Thai food. I know it can be an intimidating cuisine to dive into but we’ve all had pad thai at some point. Use that comfort of tasty Thai food to jump right on in to this recipe!

My paleo version takes a few creative (and healthy) liberties but the outcome is 100% pad thai. In fact, I’ll bet ya wont even miss the stuff I altered!

Paleo shrimp pad thai with zucchini noodles

Tips: Check out these items to help prep this meal:

Print Recipe
Paleo Shrimp Pad Thai with Zucchini Noodles
A healthy twist on a crowd favorite! Perfect dish to count down to the warm Spring season.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Thai
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 10 min
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Pad Thai Sauce
  • 1/2 cup` tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos Coconut aminos is a great paleo alternative but can substitute with soy sauce.
  • 2 tbsp honey Traditionally made with palm sugar. Can substitute with sweetener of choice.
  • 1 zucchini thin julienne with spiralizer or peeler
  • 1/4 bunch cilanto rough chop
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup toasted cashews rough chop. Traditionally made with peanuts but I subbed with cashews to make it paleo.
  • 1 lime
  • 18 16/20 shrimp 16/20 is the size of the shrimp. Peel, devein, tail off.
  • 1/4 bunch green onion thin slice
  • 1 cup veggies of choice Traditionally preserved radish and bean sprouts are added but feel free to use any veg you like!
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Thai
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 10 min
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Pad Thai Sauce
  • 1/2 cup` tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos Coconut aminos is a great paleo alternative but can substitute with soy sauce.
  • 2 tbsp honey Traditionally made with palm sugar. Can substitute with sweetener of choice.
  • 1 zucchini thin julienne with spiralizer or peeler
  • 1/4 bunch cilanto rough chop
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup toasted cashews rough chop. Traditionally made with peanuts but I subbed with cashews to make it paleo.
  • 1 lime
  • 18 16/20 shrimp 16/20 is the size of the shrimp. Peel, devein, tail off.
  • 1/4 bunch green onion thin slice
  • 1 cup veggies of choice Traditionally preserved radish and bean sprouts are added but feel free to use any veg you like!
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
Instructions
Sauce
  1. To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat until warm and set aside.
Pad Thai
  1. Start by stir frying the shrimp with 1 tsp oil in hot skillet. Cook on both sides for 30-60 seconds then add 1 tbsp of the sauce. Set shrimp aside. In same skillet, heat 2 tbsp oil on high until smoking. Add the the carrots first then add the additional veggies and garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of the sauce. Add the zucchini noodles, cilantro, green onions, and 1/2 of the juice from the lime. Turn off the heat, add the shrimp back to the pan and mix until coated in sauce. Add more sauce for desired taste. Garnish with cilantro and cashews. Serve with lime wedges!

Shakshuka… Or “Yay, we’re not sick anymore” dinner

shakshuka

The saga of diversifying the munchkin’s palate continues. This week’s chapter unfortunately includes a painfully long family battle with an ugly virus so introducing any new flavors had to be put on the back burner. However, we all seem to be coming out of the dark as of last night (ish) so I jumped at the chance to spice up our dinner (and provide something more satiating than the water, rice, and cold meds diet we’ve been on for the past 9 days). Introducing: my shakshuka.

onion, tomato, berbere

The beauty of my version of this poached egg and tomato dish is its not only super easy and healthy, but quite the fusion food (why introduce one flavor when you can introduce several)!  While the origin of shakshuka is disputed, one thing everyone can agree on is its super tasty. My recipe includes a spice blend from Ethiopia called berbere which includes spices like chilies, cinnamon, fenugreek, and coriander to name just a few. Don’t worry if you can’t find berbere- have fun playing around with different spice blends (curry, harissa, etc.). In fact, this dish is so versatile that you can really do anything with it! Add more veggies, cheese, herbs, or sauces (I topped this one with a chimichurri). Breakfast for dinner? Sure! Warm spices? Yes please! Zesty Argentinean salsa on top? Heck yes! Bread?? Mmmmmm.

Print Recipe
Shakshuka with Chimichurri
A spicy blend of flavors cooked with rich tomatoes that makes the perfect poaching sauce for eggs!
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 30 min
Servings
portions
Ingredients
Shakshuka
Chimichurri
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 30 min
Servings
portions
Ingredients
Shakshuka
Chimichurri
Instructions
  1. 2 hours before serving combine chimichurri ingredients in small bowl and set aside (this sauce tastes better the longer it sits).
  2. In a saucepan with a tall edge, heat oil on medium heat. Saute the onions, jalapeno, and garlic until soft. Add in the spice blend and cook for 1 min, until aromatic. Add in the crushed tomatoes. Lower the heat, cover, and cook until dark and thick (20-30 minutes). Remove lid and carefully added the eggs to the sauce. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes (until whites are set but yolks are still runny). Serve with chimichurri, herbs, and grilled bread!!