Appetizers

Pineapple Shrimp Salsa

pineapple shrimp salsa in a white bowl with chips

 

The weather in Ohio gets a little bit warmer (and when I say warmer, I actually just mean the sun came out), and my mind immediately goes to…SALSA.  Fresh raw veggies, light flavor, and a healthy, munchy snack!  Which makes me proud to announce…its time for us to say bye to seasonal depression, and hello to good-vibe salsa season!

The best thing about making salsa, is that you can make it different every single time.  For me, it depends entirely on whats in my fridge.  While rummaging through my inventory this time, I had a couple of thoughts…

  1. I have a heck of a lot of colorful bell peppers
  2. I have a beautiful whole, ripe pineapple 
  3. I have some shrimp in the freezer

Alas, my inspiration for this PINEAPPLE SHRIMP SALSA!

 

colorful pineapple shrimp salsa in a white bowl

 

This recipe turned out so-so delicious…and also super colorful (which I’m always a huge fan of)!  What I love about this salsa though, is that you can eat it with chips, OR use as a topping on baked chicken, or fish!

I ended up bringing this salsa to my friends house the other night, when she hosted us for a fish taco dinner!  I’m telling you…the sun comes out once in Ohio and everyone defaults to Mexican cuisine lol

How to make this recipe?

The most time-efficient way to make this recipe is to cook your shrimp first, so you can chop veggies during the cook time.  Cook the shrimp on stovetop over medium heat, with oil, and garlic.  Once the shrimp is finished cooking, remove from heat, mix in lemon juice, and let cool.

Take all of your chopped ingredients (peppers, onion, cilantro, pineapple, shrimp) and add to a large mixing bowl.  Whisk together oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and then mix into salsa before serving.

 

pineapple shrimp salsa in white bowl with chips surrounding bowl

 

Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room…how the heck do I cut up a whole pineapple?

First things first, don’t let it scare you!  There is truly nothing more delicious, then a fresh whole pineapple!  I think it tastes SO much better, than precut pineapple you’d find in the grocery store.  So lets take it step by step…

  1. Using a large, serrated knife, chop the top off the pineapple.
  2. Stand it up straight (exposed flesh facing up) and begin to cut the skin off.  Start your knife at the top end, where there is open flesh.  Cut a thin layer all the way down, to remove the tough exterior skin.  Repeat this until all exterior skin is removed.
  3. Similar to an apple, pineapples have a tough core.  You’ll want quarter the pineapple (from top to bottom), by slicing off a large chunk on all four sides around the core.  
    1. Sometimes you can see where the core is, or you’ll know because it will be harder to run your knife down the length of the pineapple.  Ripe pineapple flesh is very easy to cut through.
  4. Take your four large chunks of pineapple meat (they will be different sizes) and cut into smaller chunks for serving.  Or for the purpose of this recipe, cut small pieces that are similar sized to your chopped peppers.  

How can I tell if a pineapple is ripe?

There are two indicators of a ripe pineapple.  First, look out for yellow skin.  A yellowish colored skin indicates ripeness, vs green indicates it isn’t ready yet (similar to bananas).  

Second, it smells sweet.  Seriously!  If you smell your pineapple skin and it smells sweet, it means its ready to eat!  How cool is that?!

I know cutting up a whole pineapple can be intimidating, but it is hands down worth it!  It’s so juicy and flavorful, you’ll likely never go back to pre-cut pineapple.  I like to store mine in the fridge and eat throughout the week, or add to salsas or smoothies!

 

pineapple shrimp salsa in white bowl with chips in background

 

Pineapple Shrimp Salsa

Healthy and flavorful salsa made with ripe pineapple, lemon garlic shrimp, and bright, chopped veggies! Garnish with cilantro and serve with chips, or use as topping to your favorite fish or chicken!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: healthy, pineapple, salsa, shrimp
Servings: 6 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 bell peppers chopped
  • 1 cup shrimp chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tbsp EVOO or avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper each

Instructions

  • In a small to medium saucepan, add 1 tbsp oil and minced garlic to medium heat.  Sauté for 2-3 min, then add shrimp.  
  • Cook shrimp until pink all the way through, approx 7-9 min. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and mix around.
  • While shrimp cools, chop bell peppers, pineapple, onion, and cilantro.  Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
  • Prepare dressing by adding all dressing ingredients into a small mixing bowl, and whisking together until combined.
  • When shrimp have cooled, chop into small pieces and add to large mixing bowl with veggies.
  • Drizzle on dressing, mix together, and serve.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Appetizers

BBQ Sweet Potato Hummus

bbq sweet potato hummus with plate of veggies

 

This weekend was our first true forecasted snow storm of the year.  One of those, “batten down the hatches” type storms, so get where you need to go cause you’re staying there for the weekend.  WELL…my dearly beloved had already gone wheels up on his flight out to Puerto Rico for a bachelor party, leaving Tito and myself to fend for ourselves in the icy abyss of Ohio.

So that was right around the time I called my super wonderful, yet autoimmune-food-restricted BFF, and made plans to get snowed in at her place!  We had this grandiose plan to stay in with our pooches and wait out “the storm to end all storms” by way of food and Netflix.  And you know what happened?

The storm never exactly came.  (Although, 24 hours after its predicted arrival, it came in the form of ice.)  Sick, right?

So we sat around all day Saturday, seeing as though we’re not quitters, and stuck to our “snow day” plan.  Four documentaries, and the start of a new Netflix original series later, we started to dabble in some culinary experimentation. 

 

bbq sweet potato hummus with plate of veggies

 

I will admit, we had the odds stacked against us.  With loads of sleep in our system, lethargy due to extended length of immobilization, limited cognitive function as a result of “Netflix and chill”, and a finite supply of ingredients due to my BFF’s autoimmune protocol diet…the odds of yielding an edible substance were looking bleak.  

In short, here were our options…a handful of sweet potatoes, lemons, garlic, and one can of chickpeas that was going to waste ever since my BFF started her AIP diet.  So in the spirit of not being wasteful, I set out on an adventure to make HUMMUS!

 

bbq sweet potato hummus with plate of veggies

 

This hummus ultimately combines two ingredients I hold very near and dear to my heart…chickpeas and sweet potatoes.  All in all, a simple recipe, it does require 60 min of baking time to get the sweet potato spectacularly mushy 🙂

Once the sweet potato is finished softening, all thats left is to throw all ingredients into a blender and give it a go!  I found that my original idea of just a plain sweet potato hummus, actually came out rather bland.  I was stewing over what I could use to spruce it up a little bit, and thats when I saw it (in the pantry)!

It was as if Moses himself had parted the sea of autoimmune protocol ingredients, showing me a clear path to…the BBQ SAUCE.  I added a 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce to give it some TANG, and oh what wonderful TANG it was!

 

BBQ sweet potato hummus with plate of veggies

 

Alas, the creation of BBQ Sweet Potato Hummus!  Which, by definition means: a snack entirely suitable for munching during ones Netflix binge sesh.  

Before serving, I added a little extra BBQ drizzle to the top, with some scallions and that was about the extent of my productivity on Saturday…and Sunday (I blame the new Netflix series for that though).    

And in case anyone is wondering…Tito survived the storm too, 

 

bernese mountain dog sitting on a couch

 

but just barely…    

 

bernese mountain dog holding a donut toy

 

BBQ Sweet Potato Hummus

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: bbq, gluten free, hummus, sweet potato

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato cut in half, long ways
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas rinsed
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 cup EVOO or avocado oil
  • 2 lemons juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 tbsp bbq sauce
  • scallion garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Take sweet potato and cut in half long ways and place over foil.  Drizzle avocado oil over front and back of each half.  Wrap tightly in foil and place on baking pan.  Bake for 60 min.
  • Remove potato from oven and let steam in the foil for 10 min before unwrapping.
  • While the sweet potato is steaming, take all ingredients and add to blender or food processor.
  • After sweet potato is finished steaming, scoop out the inside flesh (leaving skin) and add to blender with rest of ingredients.  You can either use a spoon to remove flesh, or take a sharp knife and cut around the inside edge of the potato.  Proceed cutting down the length, then across the width of the potato to create cubes.  Pull out cubes with a fork.
  • Add sweet potato to blender and blend all ingredients together until smooth.  Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with extra BBQ sauce and scallions.  Serve with fresh veggies or pita chips!
Appetizers, Vegetarian Meals

Greek Mini Bell Pepper Boats

multi color baby bell pepper boats filled with greek filling

 

To keep this mediterranean vibe going, here is a little somethin somethin for you to serve up as a healthy and fun appetizer!  These mini bell pepper boats are so fun, colorful, and of course…hella YUMMY.  But be careful, because from what I experienced they go fast, so don’t be afraid to make extra!

As you can see, these little lovelies are beautiful to look at, and make your spread look like something out of a magazine, but they are totally healthy for you too!  Gluten free, vegetarian, heart healthy, and filled with greek goodness…and if you aren’t already sold, there is no cooking required!  These little boats are easy to make and take very little time.  All ingredients are raw, which means just some chopping and mixing are in order.

 

tray of baby bell peppers filled with greek salad mixture

 

This recipe includes olive tapenade and olive oil, a component of the mediterranean diet that makes it so good for you!  Oil from olives has shown to reduce risk of periphery artery disease, decrease blood pressure and inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease.  Making this appetizer heart healthy!

For preparation of this appetizer, you will need a large bag of mini bell peppers rinsed, and cut down the middle long ways.  For this recipe I used 25 peppers.  The best way to do this is to dump the peppers on a table to see where they lay naturally.  Take the side of the pepper facing up and cut above the stem all the way down to the bottom (this will help them lay better when they are filled with veggie mixture). 

 

orange mini bell pepper cut long ways to create a boat

 

Once you remove the top, set aside for later use, and proceed by scooping out the seeds and insides of your “boat” under running water.  Do this to all of you pepper boats and then set aside.

 

red, orange, and yellow baby bell peppers cut into boats laying on a white table

 

Take the tops from your pepper boats and chop into small pieces, before throwing into a large mixing bowl.

 

tops of baby bell pepper boats chopped and in a mixing bowl

 

Add the rest of your finely chopped veggies, EVOO, tapenade and cheese.  Mix together, add some spices, then scoop into your boats before serving!

 

chopped bell peppers, onion, cucumber, basil, feta, and tapenade in mixing bowl

 

I eat mine like sushi…all in one bite, but my husband is more civilized than I am and will eat over a few bites.  Whichever level of sophistication you are, I’m sure you will very much enjoy!

 

greek baby bell pepper boats with empty bell pepper boats in background on white table

 

Baby Bell Pepper Boats

Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: appetizer, bell pepper, gluten free, mediterranean, vegetarian
Servings: 5 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 25 mini bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup cucumber chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive tapenade
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper each

Instructions

  • Take 25 mini bell peppers and slice in half, starting above one end of the stem, and slicing all the way down to the bottom, creating a "boat". 
  • Spoon out seeds and interior of bell pepper, and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  • Take leftover tops of bell peppers, dice them and throw into a mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Spoon filling from mixing bowl into bell pepper boats, plate and serve!