PALEO & WHOLE30 BUDDHA TURKEY BURGERS
I am a fan of all types of cuisine, including Chinese, Japanese, and Thai. Many of these cultural recipes include soy sauce. Soy sauce is an ingredient that is not PALEO & WHOLE30 compliant.
Those living low sodium and/or gluten-free lifestyle or taking part in a Paleo or Whole30 diet, usually refrain from using soy sauce. Soy sauce typically contains wheat (grain) and is super high in sodium.
We are addicted to soy sauce as it is high in the 5th taste sensation called umami. Umami is the Japanese word for “yummy.” Umami is what we refer to as roundness and depth of flavour. This 5th taste sensation is not a combination of any of the other taste sensations of sweet, sour, bitter, salty. That is often a misconception. Umami is a sensation all its own, providing us with that comfort food feeling. It gives us that feeling of satisfaction after eating spaghetti, Chinese food (with soy sauce), ripe tomatoes, cooked potatoes, and aged cheeses like Parmesan. Umami hits the back of our palate, leaving us with a craving for more. Remember years ago Chinese food always contained MSG? That’s the acronym for Monosodium Glutamate. MSG is a flavour enhancer. The “Monosodium” contains the sodium salt of glutamate acid. The Glutamate (a naturally occurring amino acid found in many foods) is the umami, that savoury experience! When found naturally, the umami is simplistic. If the food is slow-cooked in some form or aged the umami becomes synergistic and many times more flavourful. MSG has for a long time been linked to headaches and other side effects. Now take-out Chinese food is made without MSG.
In North America, we are addicted to Ketchup. Ketchup is slow-roasted tomatoes high in synergistic umami. That’s one of the many reasons we love ketchup so much. It is our “go-to” condiment loaded in synergistic umami.
Asian cuisine also includes an umami-rich condiment called soy sauce. Soy sauce contains large amounts of free glutamic acid, which is the source of that umami taste.
If we are committed to eating in a healthy way, it’s important to watch our sodium intake. Consuming soy sauce freely can blow this commitment you have to a low-sodium diet right out of the bottle!
As I’ve written about in the past, consuming too much sodium can possibly lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and cause calcium loss. We should consume no more than 700 milligrams or less per meal. If we eat three meals per day, that’s 2100 grams of sodium consumed in moderation.
When enjoying dishes and foods containing soy sauce, our sodium intake can dramatically increase if we are not diligent about keeping it low. Did you know that one tablespoon of light soy sauce used in Cantonese cuisine contains 1190 milligrams of sodium? That’s almost half of the recommended daily requirement in one tablespoon! Dark soy sauce used in Chinese and Taiwanese dishes is also high in sodium, over 900 milligrams per tablespoon. Japanese Kikkoman soy sauce contains 920 milligrams of sodium per tablespoon. Kikkoman’s low sodium soy sauce contains 580 milligrams per tablespoon. This means that consuming just two tablespoons of this condiment almost uses up your daily recommended requirement.
When do we ever stick to just one tablespoon of soy sauce when splashing this condiment on Chinese fried rice? Do you keep track of how many tablespoons of soy sauce you actually consume with your sushi?
I discovered a fabulous soy sauce substitute called Coconut Aminos or Coconut Sauce. Coconut Aminos is a salty, savory seasoning sauce made from the fermented sap of coconut palm and sea salt. It is soy-free, wheat-free, and gluten-free, lower in sodium, and loaded with umami. One tablespoon of coconut Aminos is 360 milligrams of sodium.
Coconut Aminos is lighter in colour than Kikkoman soy sauce with a slightly sweeter tone and far less saltiness. I actually prefer this condiment to my once favourite Kikkoman brand.
Use coconut amino is all the same ways you would normally use soy sauce and at the same 1 to 1 ratio. It can be found in bulk food stores, health food stores, and now in many supermarkets.
Ground turkey is an excellent source of niacin and selenium and a decent source of vitamin B6, phosphorus, and zinc. Ground breast meat is 150 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 0 grams of saturated fat. It is also a good source of protein, 100 grams of meat offering 27 grams of protein.
RECIPE TASTE SENSATIONS
The predominant taste sensation of the sauce and slow is saltiness, due to the Coconut Aminos.
DIRTY-BIRDY WINE PARTNER (FOR THOSE MAINTAINING PALEO & WHOLE30 LIFESTYLE)
Ground turkey is white meat, calling for white wine. The predominant taste sensation of the burger sauce and the salad is saltiness due to the Coconut Aminos. So choose a white wine with a zinging backbone of acidity. The acidity will offset the saltiness bringing harmony to your palate. Good examples are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Vinho Verde, dry Riesling.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 35
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: PALEO & WHOLE30
- Method: SAUTING
- Cuisine: DINNER
- Diet: Gluten Free
1 pound ground turkey
½ cup matchstick carrots, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 green onion, chopped
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons almond butter
¼ cup of rice vinegar
2 tablespoon Coconut Aminos
2 cloves fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoon sesame oil
10 oz bag of broccoli coleslaw mix
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
In a bowl combine turkey, shredded carrots, cilantro, green onion, garlic, and ginger. Mix together. Make 4 patties.
Turn on your grill or iron skillet. Add oil. Place patties on the skillet and fry for about 5 minutes per side, until they reach an internal temperature of 165ºF. Remove and set aside.
To make nut sauce, in a small bowl combine all of the ingredients and set aside.
To make the slaw, in another large bowl combine almond butter, rice vinegar, Coconut Aminos, ginger, and sesame oil. Whisk to fully combine. Add slaw, cilantro, mint, and basil. Toss together until well coated. Set in the refrigerator, covered, until needed.
Serve Buddha burgers with slaw.
You can. make these burgers with any ground meat, including beef, chicken, and buffalo.
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PALEO & WHOLE30 MEATBALLS; 7 SECRETS TO PERFECTION
I love to look for ways to please my family and friends at dinner parties while staying within a reasonable budget and maintaining my PALEO & WHOLE30 lifestyle. For cocktail-style events, I always include meatballs. They are super simple, and an excellent choice to get your protein fix on your PALEO & WHOLE30 regime.
Ground meat is so economical, versatile, and flavourful. It can also be healthy if you invest in lean ground versions.
GROUND MEAT NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Ground meat is also included in a Paleo, Keto, Whole30, grain-free, and gluten-free lifestyle. There are so many meatball recipes that meet our culinary and dietary needs and offer a great source of lean protein. For example:
- 100 grams of ground beef and ground veal both offer 14 grams of protein
- 100 grams of ground pork offers 24 grams of protein
- 100 grams of ground lamb offers 17 grams of protein
It’s true; meatballs are one of the most common foods made from a variety of ground meats. Even so, they can be tasty and constructed in such a variety of ways that they will always please guests, whether served as an hors d’oeuvre or in pasta, soups, or sauces.
When we think of ground meat, Italian and Swedish meatballs spring to mind. But other cultures utilize the ball made from flesh, as well. In Afghanistan, meatballs are added to the tomato sauce and served over rice. Chinese meatballs are usually made from pork and are steamed or boiled. I’ve included a deep-fried version below! Asian meatballs can also be made of fish and seafood and are known as fish balls. Frikadeller is the name of the Danish pork fried meatball, usually slightly flattened. Indonesian meatballs are known as ‘bakso’, served in noodle soup with tofu and crispy wontons. As most Indonesians are Muslim, their meatballs are generally produced from beef and sometimes mixed with chicken.
There are secrets to producing and perfecting the meatball. A few years ago I wrote a feature story for our local newspaper about meatballs. I had the pleasure of interviewing one of Canada’s Chef de Cuisines, Chef David Franklin. Chef David (Chef de Cuisine) shared these meatball secrets with me.
Thanks Chef David!
SECRETS TO FABULOUS GRAIN-FREE MEATBALLS
SECRET 1: Incorporate more than one meat into your meatballs to achieve a more unique taste and more depth of flavour.
SECRET 2: The first tip is to be extra careful when working with any ground meat, fish, or seafood. Watch for cross-contamination. Work with one food item at a time – such as the ground meat – then scrub your cutting board with boiling water, strong detergent, and a good brush. I also like to spray my board with a mixture of peroxide and water. Rinse the board again. Then, wash your hands before moving onto another food item. Older cutting boards, especially plastic ones, often have deep and shallow scratches and grooves from past use. These grooves act as a breeding ground for bacteria. If your guests get sick from your meatballs, they are hardly perfect. So, cleanliness and diligence are essential techniques to utilize.
SECRET 3: Another secret to making meatballs that hold together and don’t crumble is to make sure to remove all of the air from the raw flesh. In other words, abuse your meat.
SECRET 4: To ensure that your meatballs cook evenly, use a small ice-cream scoop or melon baller to make them all the same size. Wet your hands with cold water when shaping the meatballs, to help prevent sticking.
SECRET 5: Another secret is to boil the meatballs before baking or grilling them. Boil the balls until they float. Boiling helps to keep the meatballs in one piece and ensure that cook.
SECRET 6: Make your meatballs in different shapes. Different shapes give them a more homemade feel and add variety to the eyes. Try flattening them slightly or making them oblong.
SECRET 7: The most important secret to making a great meatball is to think outside the box and explore all of the various cultural cuisines available to us.
RECIPE TASTE PROFILE
The predominant taste sensation of the meatballs is fattiness due to the beef, veal, and pork.
DIRTY-BIRDY WINE PARTNER (FOR THOSE FOLLOWING DIRTY PALEO & DIRTY WHOLE30)
The combination of proteins with underlying fattiness call for a red wine with enough weight to match. Chances are you will be enjoying these meatballs with FRESH DOH grain-free pasta. If so you’ve also got to consider the density of the fresh pasta noodles. This dish demands a big red wine, such as Amarone, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, or Grenache/Garnacha.
Below is a tasty and easy ‘go-to’ Italian meatball recipe. If you decide to serve these meatballs with spaghetti sauce and grain-free noodles, I’ve also included a recipe and instructional video below on how to make FRESH DOH grain and gluten-free fresh pasta. FRESH DOH Grain and Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta Dough Mix requires water only and a few minutes to roll out the DOH and boil the noodles for 3 minutes. The noodles are thicker than spaghetti, but provide that fresh pasta al dente umph in the tummy! The noodles have their very own taste profile. They are not meant to substitute noodles made from wheat. That’s impossible. There is not a food on the planet that can reproduce real Italian pasta made with semolina wheat! But FRESH DOH fresh noodles will give you that comfort food satisfaction.
MAKING GRAIN-FREE NOODLES FOR THIS DISH
*I have included a recipe and instructional video below on how to make FRESH DOH grain and gluten-free fresh pasta. FRESH DOH Grain and Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta Dough Mix requires water only and a few minutes to roll out the DOH and boil the noodles for 3 minutes. Roll by hand, not with a pasta machine. Remember, the noodles don’t have gluten elasticity! Don’t roll them too thin or narrow. They will break. But if they do, no worries. Broken noodles taste just as delicious. The noodles are thick and chewy and ideal for this Japanese noodle cold salad. The noodles have their very own taste profile. They resemble udon noodles and have that wonderful chewy density.
I hope you enjoy this recipe using the FRESH DOH fresh pasta dough mix, available on Amazon in North America.
Make noodles as per FRESH DOH Grain & Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta Dough Mix package directions. Boil noodles for 3 minutes. When noodles float to the water’s surface, drain and rinse under hot water. Coat with oil. Set aside.
SECRETS TO MAKING PERFECT DOH:
Follow package directions and always measure! When working with FRESH DOH think of yourself as a “baker”, not a cook. If you don’t measure exactly, you won’t get the right DOH results.
Grain and gluten-free dough (in general) is NOT FORGIVING like wheat dough. Why? Because gluten gives dough its elasticity and that’s why pizza makers can fling a pizza crust above their heads and catch it without any dough breakage.
Without gluten, grain-free DOH has little forgiveness. So follow the directions and refrain from rolling the DOH too thin. If the DOH is too thin you’ll have a challenge cutting and picking up the noodles without breaking them.
The noodles expand in boiling water so cut them thinner than usual.
Make the other noodle shapes like rotini smaller than usual. They will also expand in size in boiling water.
Using a food processor or mixer (rather than by hand) makes the process of making the DOH easier, faster, and better incorporated.
Be gentle in working with both raw and boiled noodles as they can easily break.
Even if noodles break, they are JUST as tasty. In fact, some dishes call for broken noodles!
Here is a video to show you how the pasta is made:
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 50
- Yield: 4 to 6 1x
1 lb. ground veal
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef
½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
¼ cup Homemade Paleo & Whole30 Vegan Parmesan*
*Check out this blog for the Paleo & Whole30 Vegan Parmesan recipe:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup almond meal
Place all ingredients into a bowl. Mix well with your hands. Squeeze the air out of the mixture, throwing it back onto the bowl. Refrigerate for one hour, to let the mixture rest and let flavours come together. Make balls, about one ounce of meat, by rolling tightly to remove any air. Line baking tray with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large pot of boiling water, par-cook meatballs until they float, about two minutes. Transfer meatballs to the baking tray. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until brown. Serve with fresh pasta in favourite tomato sauce.
I love to prepare crispy pork balls with pineapple dipping sauce for cocktail-style parties. They are easy to make and offer a sweet flavour and crunchy texture. Add these meatballs to your favourite Italian pasta sauce, served with FRESH DOH pasta noodles.
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