Mark’s Big-Ass Keto Salad
For years now, all those who know me (including readers of the blog) have heard me talk about my daily “big-ass salad.” It’s been my lunch of choice for a couple of decades at least, and I don’t see that ever changing. Over the years I’ve adapted it to my personal tastes, nutritional experiments, and—lately—my keto practice.
Some people minimize vegetable intake when they’re eating keto. I’ve never found that necessary or beneficial. In fact, I highly recommend plenty of above-ground vegetables and even berries for an optimally varied, nutrient-dense keto diet. That’s my Primal take because personally I practice keto with an eye toward strategy, not restriction.
So, what about the fat? With fat comprising up to 75% of keto energy sourcing, you can bet we’re talking about more than lettuce. This salad is no side dish for sure. I get a large portion of my fat intake from it every day—keto weeks included. With a whole avocado, a generous chunk of Emmental cheese (my favorite cheese when I’m in ketosis), and a hefty (i.e. jaw-dropping) dose of my own PRIMAL KITCHEN® Caesar Dressing with all the rich goodness of avocado oil, I literally call this my fat bomb salad. See if it won’t make you a keto salad believer.
- Lettuce (I prefer a mix of romaine and dark leafy greens.)
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Chopped Avocado
- Shaved Emmental Cheese
- PRIMAL KITCHEN® Caesar Dressing
Toss together the cut vegetables with mixed greens. Shave my favorite cheese, Emmental, over the entire salad. Smother with PRIMAL KITCHEN® Caesar Dressing (no skimping allowed). Then enjoy.
This Primal recipe for wonton soup will save you time and unnecessary carbs. Just skip the wonton wrappers—it’s as simple as that. Instead, roll the ground pork filling into tiny meatballs and drop them directly into a pot of simmering broth. In a few minutes, the juicy little meatballs flavored with tamari, ginger and sesame oil are done. Ladle the gluten-free won ton soup into a bowl, garnish with scallions, and dinner is served.
The broth for this wonton soup is easy to make and deeply flavorful. Just take chicken stock and simmer briefly with ginger, green onions, and kombu. Kombu is a type of seaweed sold in dried strips. It adds minerals (like iodine, magnesium, manganese and iron) to broth. It also adds very subtle umami flavor. Kombu is a great supplemental food to keep in your panty. It keeps almost indefinitely and can be added to any type of soup without noticeably affecting the flavor. It’s a really easy way to get some of the health benefits of seaweed, without actually eating seaweed.
Time in the Kitchen: 35 minutes
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 strip kombu
- 2 green onions, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 2-inch piece of ginger, sliced into thin coins, plus 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 teaspoons tamari, soy sauce or coconut aminos
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 small handfuls baby spinach or baby bok choy leaves
In a large, wide pot, gently simmer the chicken stock with the strip of kombu, green onions, and the sliced ginger. Simmer for 20 minutes while you prepare the ground pork.
In a medium bowl, combine the ground pork, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, garlic cloves, tamari (or soy sauce, or coconut aminos), salt and sesame oil. Form the meat into small, walnut-sized meatballs, about 22 meatballs.
Drop the meatballs into the pot of simmering broth. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, until meat is no longer pink in the center.
Put a handful of baby spinach or baby bok choy into each serving bowl. Pour the hot broth and meatballs over the greens in each bowl. (The strip of kombu can be removed from the broth and discarded or chopped up and added back to the broth.)
Serve soup with sesame oil, chopped green onions and chili oil, if desired.
Mini Smoked Salmon Hand Rolls
Sushi hand rolls might sound like an extravagant treat, but this recipe turns hand rolls into a super-easy snack. Kids love these salmon hand rolls after school (maybe omit the hot chiles?), and adults love them pretty much any time of day or night.
The switch is subbing out raw sashimi grade tuna and using smoked salmon instead. This avoids the issue of mercury from tuna, and makes it easier to pack hand rolls for an afternoon snack at school or work without worrying about spoilage. Plus, the omega-3s from fatty salmon and the monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acids from Primal Kitchen Mayo® mean these hand rolls are both a nutritious and delicious snack.
Let’s get started. Mix up hot chiles, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar and a dollop of Primal Kitchen Mayo. Spoon the spicy salmon onto a square of nori, garnish with thinly sliced cucumber and avocado, fold and eat. It’s so good, and so easy.
Servings: 8 to 10 mini hand rolls
Time in the Kitchen: 10 minutes
- 8 ounces smoked salmon, shredded into small pieces (230 g)
- 1 Thai chile pepper or other hot pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger (5 ml)
- 1 small garlic clove, pressed or finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (10 ml)
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (10 ml)
- 2 tablespoons Primal Kitchen Mayo (30 ml)
- Seaweed Snacks, or Nori cut into 4 squares
- Cucumber, thinly sliced
- Avocado, cut into thin wedges
- Black sesame seeds, for garnish
Whisk together chile pepper, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar and mayo.
Mix in the salmon.
Spoon about a tablespoon of salmon onto a small square of dried seaweed. Add a strip of cucumber and avocado. Fold the seaweed around the salmon so it’s in the shape of an ice-cream cone. Garnish with black sesame seeds.
Shrimp Pad Thai
Pad Thai is a favorite take-out dish for many, but when it arrives tasting too sweet, oily, and starchy it’s not worth the splurge. When ordering Pad Thai, you can ask restaurants to hold the peanuts, but you’ll have less luck asking them to leave out sugar, vegetable oil, or rice noodles. Especially rice noodles, since they make up most of the dish.
Although rice noodles aren’t the worst noodles out there, it’s possible to enjoy the sweet, funky flavor of Pad Thai without them. Made without noodles, refined oil, or too much sugar, this Pad Thai salad is a winner. Crunchy purple cabbage and bean sprouts are tossed with egg and shrimp and a bold dressing inspired by the flavors of traditional Pad Thai.
Time in the Kitchen: 25 minutes
- 1 small purple cabbage, thinly shredded
- 2 cups bean sprouts (155 g)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (30 ml)
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (30 ml)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (15 ml)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (15 ml)
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (1.2 ml)
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil (45 ml)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger (10 ml)
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1 egg, whisked
- 12 to 16 ounces raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (340 g to 455 g)
- Optional: fresh mint and cilantro for garnish
In a large bowl, toss together cabbage and bean sprouts. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk fish sauce, coconut aminos, maple syrup, lime juice and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
Heat avocado oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger and shallot. Sauté for two minutes.
Push the garlic, ginger and shallot to the side and pour the egg into the skillet. Stir just until the egg begins to set (about 30 seconds). Add shrimp, continuing to stir and break up the egg, until the shrimp are just turning pink (about 3 minutes).
Pour the fish sauce mixture into the skillet. Rapidly simmer 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through. Pour everything in the skillet over the cabbage and bean sprouts. Toss well, and serve. Add fresh herbs if desired.
Turmeric and Kale Soup with Ground Lamb
You definitely don’t need a head cold or respiratory infection to enjoy this soup, but if you do have the sniffles (or feel them coming on), turmeric soup is a delicious alternative to chicken soup.
This soup is loaded with ingredients that can potentially ease the symptoms of the common cold, or give your immune system a little boost during cold and flu season. Failing that, this soup is just plain delicious. So you really can’t go wrong.
Turmeric, ginger, garlic, lemon and bone broth together make a soothing but lively soup broth. All have various healing powers. Turmeric, especially, boasts an array of potential pharmacological effects, including anti-inflammatory powers, cancer prevention and more. Plus, it just might relieve your cough and clear up excess mucus.
This turmeric soup also has kale for vitamin C and ground lamb for protein, essential amino acids, as well as vitamins and minerals. This is a soup bowl filled with everything you need.
Time in the Kitchen: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (30 ml)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger (15 ml)
- 6 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon powdered (ground) turmeric (3.7 ml)
- 2-inch/5 cm piece fresh turmeric, peeled and grated (use a microplane zester/grater)
- 3/4 pound ground lamb (340 g)
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander (2.5 ml)
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (a pinch)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (5 ml)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (a pinch) (1.2 ml)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (60 ml)
- 6 cups chicken or beef bone broth (1.4 L)
- 4 kale leaves, ribs/stems removed, leaves cut into thin ribbons
- Lemon slices, for garnish
- Optional: ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1 sliced hot pepper
In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute onion in coconut oil over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the ginger and garlic. Sauté 1 to 2 minutes.
Add both types of turmeric. Cook 1 minute more.
Add ground meat, and season with coriander, cinnamon, salt, pepper and fresh cilantro. Break the meat up as it cooks. When it’s browned and mostly cooked through, add bone broth.
Bring to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes.
Add kale right before serving. Add lemon slices, and cayenne/hot peppers as well, if desired.
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