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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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Category: Sides

Gyro Taco Salad & Tzatziki Guacamole

This is a recipe from the brand new Primal Blueprint Publishing book Primal Cravings: Your Favorite Foods Made Paleo. Order your copy today and claim a bunch of free gifts while the limited-time offer lasts. See all the details here.

A theme we like to play with a lot is taking flavors you know and love and adding a twist…we want our food to be familiar yet interesting. Gyro Taco Salad is a good example of just that. We took the components of a traditional taco salad, but flavored it like a traditional gyro. Gyro spiced ground lamb (or any ground meat) over lettuce (plus any of your favorite veggies) and topped off with a fresh mint and cucumber guacamole AKA Tzatziki Guacamole. Wouldn’t that just be a real Mediterranean fiesta?

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Mushroom and Bacon “Risotto”

The rich flavors of bacon and mushrooms dominate this dish, turning riced cauliflower into a super-flavorful side. Cauliflower risotto is fantastic served with a main course of roasted chicken, salmon, or thick, juicy pork chops.

The recipe below is great without any additional ingredients, but if you’re really craving comfort food then fatten the risotto up a bit. Generous amounts of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or butter (or both) will do the trick. A garnish of fresh herbs like basil, parsley and chives add color and flavor.

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Edible Veggie Tops

It can be easy to forget that the green tops of many vegetables are not only edible, but truly delicious. Beets, carrots, radishes and turnips often show up in supermarkets with no greens attached at all, and that’s a shame. When cooked and served with their greens, these veggies become side dishes with an amazing array of earthy, sweet, pleasantly bitter and peppery flavors.

Beet greens are probably the most familiar within this bunch. Turnip greens are a little more delicate but have a similar flavor. Radish greens are milder than the radish itself but still a bit peppery. Carrot tops are slightly pungent and herbal. All of these greens can be cooked in a variety of ways: sautéed or stir-fried with oil or animal fat (bacon is always delicious with greens), thrown into soups, chopped up raw and served in salads or thrown into smoothies.

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Bacon Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Brown-butter vinaigrette and a generous garnish of bacon make this veggie side dish almost as satisfying as a main course. Even so, the overall flavor is surprisingly light refreshing, thanks to the crisp, tender texture of the Brussels sprouts and a generous squirt of lemon.

This recipe uses a quick and efficient cooking method that browns the outside of the sprouts while gently steaming the inside. The trick is leaving the Brussels sprouts undisturbed in a lidded pot on the stove for not much more than five minutes. It’s so much faster than roasting Brussels sprouts in the oven and also prevents the wet-sponge texture that makes overcooked Brussels sprouts so unappealing.

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Raw Butternut Squash Slaw

Raw Butternut Squash Slaw is a refreshing and bold slaw with a nod to autumn. Raw squash is mild and slightly sweet with a heavier texture that mixes well with light, crunchy cabbage and a blend of spicy, tangy flavors.

Instead of having to wait for it to slowly roast in an oven, this recipe lets you enjoy butternut squash in no time at all. The texture is different than cooked squash – it’s similar to raw carrots – and the flavor isn’t as sweet. If you don’t typically like squash, you may still love this slaw.

Serve this flavorful slaw for dinner tonight and don’t forget about it when the holidays roll around. The clean, fresh flavor is a nice contrast when served with heavy main dishes like beef and pork roasts or turkey.

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Tomato-Garlic Butter

Tomato. Garlic. Butter. Three simple ingredients, all good on their own, but when blended together they meld into something magical.

Tomato-Garlic Butter is a simple spread that adds unique flavor to meat, seafood and vegetables. The combination of the roasted tomatoes and butter is sweet and deliciously rich. The garlic and sea salt lend a savory kick that makes this butter a little, okay, really addictive. You can take the flavor completely over the top by also adding fresh herbs, chopped olives, red pepper flakes or smoked paprika.

This stuff is good enough to eat with a spoon. But you can also grill a steak, bake a fillet of salmon or sauté scallops and then top all three with a generous pat of Tomato-Garlic Butter. Once you start using tomato-flavored butter, you’re not going to want to stop there. Put it on vegetables, shrimp, eggs…pretty much anything.

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