one pot cabbage rolls (keto unstuffed lazy version)

I’m all about easy one pot meals, and I love cabbage rolls. So when I stepped upon this unstuffed lazy version I knew i have to make it. You know these days when you absolutely cannot be bothered spending more time in the kitchen than it’s absolutely necessary. Or you simply don’t have enough time to properly cook, but you still like to eat something homemade?

This lazy one pot unstuffed cabbage roll are perfect for these kind of days. What’s even better – it’s low carb, because we swap rice with cauliflower. All preparations will take you less than 30 minutes, than you just leave it on a small heat stirring it occasionally. Or you can pop all ingredients to a slow cooker (although it’s nice to fry the onion and meat first) and let it cook slowly without your attention.

This one pot unstuffed cabbage roll is full of flavour, aromatic, if you like it more on a spicy side, you can add some cayenne pepper or couple splashes of sriracha – Thai sauce made of mashed chilli peppers with garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt. Warm and hearty meal you can make even on a busy day and have for your lunch or dinner.

one pot cabbage rolls

(keto unstuffed lazy version)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small white cabbage
  • 500 g pork (or beef) mince
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • about 500 ml tomato passata
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 1-2 chopped garlic cloves
  • dried or fresh parsley for garnish
  • 1 tbsp butter

DIRECTIONS

Finely chop onion, heat a large frying pan adding 1 tablespoon of butter. Fry onion until gold, than add minced meat, salt pepper and sweet paprika powder. Fry on a medium to high heat until meat becomes greyish – brown and won’t be raw any more.

In the meantime, chop your cabbage, it doesn’t need to be chopped in any particular way – should be quick and easy though. Also finely chop a cauliflower, you can also use a food processor if you have it on hand. I just chopped it in small pieces using a large knife.

When meat is ready add chopped garlic, cabbage and cauliflower. I used a large non stick pot to fry meat and onion, so I just added veggies to it. If you don’t have a pot like that transfer fried meat to a regular pot and add veggies. You need to be able to cover it with lid, to simmer gently. Also add passata, give it a good stir and cover the pot with lid lowering the heat so it will simmer slowly. Stir every now and then, keeping an eye it not burning on the bottom of the pot.

Cook until cabbage will become as tender as you like it. You can make it almost overcooked, or firm and crunchy. Add some more salt and pepper if needed, at the end garnish with parsley.

You can easily prepare this meal also using a slow cooker.

SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS

Finely chop onion, heat a large frying pan adding 1 tablespoon of butter. Fry onion until gold, than add minced meat, salt pepper and sweet paprika powder. Fry on a medium to high heat until meat becomes greyish – brown and won’t be raw any more.

In the meantime, chop your cabbage, it doesn’t need to be chopped in any particular way – should be quick and easy though. Also finely chop a cauliflower, you can also use a food processor if you have it on hand. I just chopped it in small pieces using a large knife.

When meat is ready, transfer it to a slow cooker, add chopped garlic, cauliflower and cabbage sprinkle with some more salt and pepper, pour over tomato passata and about 100ml of water. Give it a good stir and set up your slow cooker on “low” for about 4 hours. After 2 hours give it a good stir and check if it needs any additional seasoning.

Serve hot garnished with some parsley.

Enjoy!

hearty & warming lamb stew (with a slow cooking option)

January and February period I would say it’s the coldest in Scotland. Temperature doesn’t get very low in the city, but on the days when it’s very windy or wet, temperature around 0℃ might feel like good -6℃. It’s still not extremely cold, comparing to other European countries, but if you get used to milder Winters, even humid and windy 5℃ feels like freezing. On the days like this your body needs a hearty meal, full of warming spices and colourful veggies that will cheer you up – both your body and your soul.

According to my old book about Five Elements Theory in Traditional Chinese Medicine lamb belongs to the element of Fire. It has a warming effect, enhance energy, warms up internally and strengthens the body. It is often used in case of severe weakness or hypothermia. It is recommended for kidney failure causing back pain, impotence, cold, deficiency states, postpartum blood loss, lack of milk (especially lamb broth). If you have problems with bones, spine, knees or tendons, you should be reaching for lamb when preparing your meat meals.

I have to say that lamb is still not the meat I often reach for. I’m not a fan of the taste, but my partner really likes it , so when I prepare lamb it’s usually just for him. That’s a shame, because here in Scotland lamb is very popular and widely available. Maybe someday I’ll convince myself to eat lamb. Meat, thanks to its specific nature, prepared in the right way, is not only a source of protein and B vitamins, it also provides a lot of energy.

In cold climates, meat consumption appeared to be necessary. People living in temperate and cold climate have always had access to meat, which was the basis of their food. Once upon a time, the kitchen was much simpler, based on seasonal products found in a given climate. The staple of the diet in regions where it is cold most of the year, there were warm and cooked dishes. Sweets were a luxury, and the fruit was available only in season. Nowadays, we have access to all fruits and vegetables, regardless of the season and climate. Is that okay? Certainly very convenient – in the middle of winter, we can eat tropical fruits that are not available in our region or those that grow out of season in specially prepared tents.

Is it healthy?

I will leave this question open, you can try to answer it yourself. However, I recommend you to do a test, and if you live in a cold climate like me and you are in the middle of winter, do a little experiment. On a cold winter morning, just after getting up from under the warm and fluffy duvet, eat a large juicy orange or a few tangerines (or drink a glass of orange juice straight from the fridge). Try to perceive how your body feels, feel your throat, stomach – how has it reacted? Do you feel nice and warm inside? Or you feel like you want to come back to your bed straight away?

I know that a lot of vegetarians and vegans will be in a huff over eating meat, and I had my time of not eating meat as well. I would like not to eat meat, for sure it would be better for animals and my wallet. But as long as I live in a cold climate I can’t imagine myself eating only veggies or being on raw vegan diet, that is very popular right now. As long as you live in warmer climate, with hot and dry Summer and warm and mild Winter, go ahead! I would be happy to join you. But if I would eat only vegan or raw I would literally freeze. As I keep repeating – each body is different and has different needs, that’s why it’s so important to listen to your gut and find what’s best for you. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine each body has it’s own nature, and like five elements there’s five body types;

Yang: hot body type – if you often feel hot, have a dry mouth and love drinking cold drinks, you’re also sensitive to high temperatures.

Yin: cold body type – if you tend to feel cold very often, you prefer warm food and drinks and you feel better in warmer temperatures.

Phlegm: damp body type – if you have a sweet-tooth, tend to easily overweight and have water retention.

Dry body type – you often experience dry eyes, dry throat, lips and all over skin. You feel like you need to hydrate yourself constantly.

Neutral body type – lucky you – if you don’t experience any of these and you feel fine in any weather conditions.

So based on that, plant based and raw diet will be the best for people who has a hot body type. Especially if you live in a hot climate that affects you. I’m definitely a cold body type, so all the tropical fruits and veggies (eating raw) that has a cooling nature makes me feel even more cold. And if a person with Yin body type choose to follow a vegan or raw vegan diet, their body isn’t able to absorb the enzymes properly – their organs don’t work as powerfully. Their body is left depleted of nutrients and energy from being overworked. So eating a raw vegan diet might not be beneficial to their health or even makes it worse. If I would like to follow vegan or raw vegan diet I would definitely add plenty spices to my meals, such as ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, garlic and cumin. It would be best for to slightly cook or steam all of their vegetables rather than eat them raw. This would allow the body to properly digest the “cold” food.

I really encourage you to go deeper in this topic – you’ll find a lot of interesting informations about nature of food and even more about your body. By that time have a look at this delicious hearty lamb stew recipe.

If you follow low carb diet choose from veggies that have a lower carbohydrates content like: carrots, turnip, celeriac (all about 7g of carbs in 100g) or celery sticks (about 3g of carbs), also skip the flour in the recipe. For the rest of you who doest mind the carb intake, parsnips, potatoes or other root veggies will be a great addition to this stew.

hearty & warming lamb stew

INGREDIENTS (for about 2 quite big portions):

  • about 500g lamb (I had 3 chump chops)
  • 2 brown onions
  • handful of green pea
  • vegetables of your choice: for more low carb option choose – carrots, turnip (rutabaga), celeriac or celery sticks; for non keto: potatoes, parsnips will be also great. I used 3 carrots and 1 parsnip
  • 1 tbsp fat (goose, lard, duck)
  • about 200ml tomato passata (I used organic one)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • natural rock salt
  • pinch of coarse pepper
  • optionally: some plain flour
  • for garnish: fresh coriander or mint

DIRECTIONS (FOR SLOW COOKER OPTION ALSO)

Start preparing all the ingredients. Roughly chop two onions, peel, wash and chop your veggies in bits just a little bit less than 1 inch (2.5cm). We want nice chinks of veggies that wont be lost in the stew. Finley chop garlic cloves.

Chop lamb in about 1 inch (2.5cm) chunks. Sprinkle them with good pinch of salt and coarse pepper. If you’re making non keto stew toss them into plain flour, give it a good stir so the meat chunks cover in flour on every side. Remove the excess flour. We want only a little bit flour to thicken up the sauce.

Heat large frying pan with 1 tablespoon of fat of your choice. When it’s hot toss lamb pieces coated in flour and fry until golden on a large heat. Then add chopped onion and fry for another 3-4 minutes. Add all of the spices: garlic, bay leaves, paprika powder, chilli flakes, cinnamon, thyme. Fry for about a minute and add water to cover the meat.

SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS

At this stage transfer everything from the pan to a slow cooker. Add all of your veggies and tomato passata, sprinkle with additional pinch of salt and cook for about 7-8 hours on “low” or about 4 hours on “high” setting.

OR CONTINUE COOKING ON THE STOVE

When you add water just to cover the meat, cover your pan with a lid and simmer on a low heat for about an hour. Keep an eye on it adding some more water if needed. After an hour add veggies. Simmer for about 20 minutes – veggies should be tender but still nice and firm. Also meat should be tender at this point. Add tomato passata, give it a good stir, check if it needs some more salt or chilli flakes, if you like it on the spicy side, and simmer for additional 10 minutes. If you added the flour you should get nice and thick sauce. If you’re on ketogenic or gluten free diet, your sauce will be more watery, but I think you’ve already got used to 😉

When you decide your stew is ready to eat garnish it with finely chopped coriander or mint and enjoy!

cottage pie (keto and regular)

Cottage pie is native to Great Britain and Ireland and was a long time ago a way to use excess or scraps of meat. Very often such a casserole was prepared by poorer families living in rural settlements. A meat stew with vegetables, baked under a layer of mashed potatoes, was a nutritious and filling dinner for the whole family. Over time, cottage pie has become known all over the world.


It’s not a surprise. The casserole is quite simple and quick to prepare, it does not require hard-to-reach ingredients, it’s filling, nutritious and, above all, very tasty. I guarantee that if you try it once, it will stay on your menu for good.


For keto option, use cauliflower mash instead of potatoes (you can sprinkle some cheese on top) and gluten free soya sauce. Worcestershire sauce has has 21g of carbohydrates per 100ml, but we only use 1 tbsp, so about 15ml, that’s 3.15g of carbs. Soya sauce is about 14g of carbs per 100ml, using 1 tsp (5ml) is less than 1 g. Also if you’d rather like not to use carrots, you can swap it with other low carb veg like celery or Brussels sprouts for example.

To make the sauce, you can use beef stock or beef bones broth – it’s perfect for thickening the sauce. Contains plenty of collagen that thickens the sauce, also cooking collagen turns it to gelatin, which provides the body with amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. It seals the intestines, which is the basis for the treatment of autoimmune or cancerous diseases. It warms up the spleen, which begins the entire energy flow in our body. It adds energy, strength and will also make sure that you do not freeze in winter like most of the population. As bone broth simmers, collagen from the animal parts leaches into the broth and absorbs easily to help restore cartilage. One of the most valuable components of bone broth stock is gelatin. Gelatin acts like a soft cushion between bones that helps them “glide” without friction. Studies show that gelatin is beneficial for restoring strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities.

I really recommend using bone broth instead of popular (and full of chemicals) gravy granules or other similar type flavour enhancers.

cottage pie

INGREDIENTS:

  • 750 g good quality minced beef
  • 2-3 carrots – sliced
  • 1 handful of fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • beef stock (or beef bones broth)
  • 1 tsp dark soya sauce (gluten free for keto option)
  • good pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • natural rock salt if needed
  • optionally: 1 tsp plain flour to thicken the sauce (skip for keto option)
  • about 1kg potatoes or for keto option: the same amount of cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter
  • optionally: some cheddar cheese for topping

DIRECTIONS

Boil potatoes until soft, drain and mash with butter for a smooth puree. If you use cauliflower, the best is to steam it, so it doesn’t get soggy during traditional cooking. Mash it with butter and set aside.

In a pot with a non-stick coating or a large skillet with a lid, fry the meat first. When it is browned (more you brown it, you get the darker sauce), add the diced onion and finely chopped garlic. Fry for a while and add the remaining ingredients: carrots, peas, Worchestershire sauce, soya sauce, pepper, beef broth (not to much, just enough to make some sauce), tomato paste. If you’re going to use flour to thicken the sauce, mix a teaspoon of flour with couple teaspoons of water and pour it over the meat. Stir thoroughly and simmer for about 20 minutes, covered. A dark, not too thin, but not too thick sauce should be produced. If necessary, add salt.

Pour hot meat stew into a casserole dish, and spread it in an even layer. It’s time for potatoes or cauliflower. This is not the easiest job, but try to spread mashed potatoes/cauliflower as evenly as possible, trying not to mixing it with the meat. You can simplify the task, by waiting for the meat to cool down completely, then it will be easier to spread potatoes/cauliflower. But you’ll need more time in the oven to heat it up.
Optionally you can sprinkle the top with some cheddar cheese.

Now all we have to do is bake our cottage pie. Put the oven on the upper heater or grill function and temperature 180°C. Bake until potatoes are golden brown (if the meat is cold use both heaters and extent the time).

After baking leave it to slightly cool down for about 5 minutes. Serve it while it is hot and fresh.

keto chicken and prawn one pot gumbo

I found this recipe at the beginning of our keto journey. We liked this dish so much, that it stayed in our menu for good. Mix of chicken, prawns and chorizo with warming and aromatic spices – that’s something we like a lot.

Easy and quick one pot meal, full of good stuff – that’s something I like. Great idea on these days when you don’t have time or you just don’t want to spend it in the kitchen. One pot meal that will make you feel full for hours. It’s something you can also prepare in a slow cooker the day before and just heat it up and eat after coming back from work.

I’ve used chicken thighs to make this meal but you can also use chicken breasts, although they seem to be more dry and bland. Also imagine that I have chorizo in this gumbo. Because of lockdown, many of items are unavailable and my groceries delivery came without chorizo, so I had to skip it this time. But I always add chorizo to gumbo -it adds a lot of flavour to it. I always use cooked and peeld prawns because I’m not the best with seafood and this prawns I can just defrost and use straight away. Prawns are great source of protein – 100g of prawns contains about 25g of protein – almost the same as chicken or beef. Even though prawns contains large amouts of fats, they don’t rise your cholesterol levels, because they contain almost three times more Omega 3 Fatty Acid than they do Omega 6 Fatty Acid.

How nutritious are prawns? (source)

  • Proteins – essential components of muscles, skin, bones and the body as a whole.
  • Vitamin B12 – important for the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system and plays a key role in the formation of red blood cells.
  • Selenium – plays a key role in the human body’s antioxidant defence system, preventing damage to cells and tissues
  • Vitamin E – helps protect cell membranes by acting as an antioxidant. Vitamin E deficiency has been related to cystic fibrosis, chronic liver disease, short-bowel syndrome, and other malabsorption diseases
  • Phosphorous helps to build strong bones and teeth, and to release the energy from the food we eat. All shellfish are a source of phosphorous
  • Omega-3 – they can help protect the heart and are believed to reduce the risks of developing some forms of cancers. 100g of prawns willprovide you with 13% of your recommended weekly intake of Omega-3.

So if you like prawns it’s a good option to include them to your menu more often. Although in my opinion it’s better to buy something better quality (for example from a fishmonger) or at least not the cheapest one in the shop. It’s like with fish and meat – bigger price usually means better quality and taste. Also the cheapest frozen prawns tends to have a lot of ice, so very often you loose 1/3 of weight after defrosting them.

OK, so let’s get into this delicious recipe.

keto chicken and prawn one pot gumbo

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g chicken thighs (or chicken breasts)
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 450g celery
  • 1 large onion
  • 100g chorizo
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 400ml (1 can) coconut milk
  • 100g mushrooms
  • 250g prawns (I used cooked and peeled ones)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • natural rock salt
  • pinch of coarse pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic granules or 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 300-400ml tomato passata

DIRECTIONS

Cut chicken in smaller pieces. Wash and chop celery sticks and bell pepper. Slice chorizo. Rinse or peel the mushrooms and slice them.

If you use frozen prawns, defrost them first (you can do it quickly by rinsing them with warm water and leaving on the colander to drain).

Heat coconut oil in a large pot and add chicken pieces and some salt. Fry couple minutes on a high heat, then add chorizo and onion and fry for another couple minutes. Add all spices and stir thoroughly. Then add mushrooms, celery and bell pepper and some more salt. At the and add defrosted prawns.

Pour over can of coconut milk and tomato passata. Stir until combine, cover with lid and simmer on a small heat for about 15 minutes. Veggies should be soft but still firm. Check if it’s salty enough, add some more if needed. If you like it more spicy you can add some chilli flakes.

I sprinkled mine with some coriander leaves I had in the freezer, parsley will be good as well.

DIRECTIONS FOR SLOW COOKER

Cut chicken in smaller pieces. Wash and chop celery sticks and bell pepper. Slice chorizo. Rinse or peel the mushrooms and slice them.

If you use frozen prawns, defrost them first (you can do it quickly by rinsing them with warm water and leaving on the colander to drain). Never add frozen food to a slow cooker, it will extend the time of cooking and can cause that food won’t be able to cook properly.

Heat some coconut oil in a frying pan and add chicken pieces and some salt. Fry couple minutes on a high heat, then add chorizo and onion and fry for another couple minutes. Place it all in a slow cooker add spices, veggies, some more salt, coconut milk and tomato passata. If you use uncooked prawns add them with the rest of ingredients at the beginning. If you use cooked prawns as I do, add them in the last hour of slow cooking. Cook for about 4-5 hours on “low”.

keto lamb sloppy giuseppe

I have to admit, that I’m not a fan of lamb meat, but this lamb sloppy Giuseppe is fantastic! Tomato flavour covers this sheep-run aftertaste I do not enjoy, soft mozzarella cheese goes extremely well with delicate lamb. This dish has strong shakshuka vibe which I love! My partner loves lamb, so that’s why I decided to incorporate it to this dish instead of beef, and it was a great idea. I’ve garnished it with fresh coriander and parmesan for some extra flovour.

You can make it in two ways – on the skillet or in the oven. I’ve made it on the skillet, because my oven was occupied by flourless chocolate cake (which you will see soon). But if you like slightly toasted mozzarella cheese, put it to the oven for couple of minutes. However making it all on the skillet requires less time and is more cost effective.

It’s keto friendly and gluten free, you can serve it with bunch of rocket, like I did, or some other stuff depending of your preferences. I think it would go great with some quinoa or bulgur or naan bread dipped in tomato sauce. The choice is yours.

Instead of minced lamb you can use beef or pork, but lamb goes with is really well.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine lamb has a warming nature can help to treat back pain caused by a kidney weakness, bolster strength, and to treat impotence. It promotes appetite, aids lactation. Lamb is also: “rich in zinc, the mineral that is famous for maintaining immune function, and which also helps stabilize your body’s metabolic rate and blood sugar levels. Lamb’s content of vitamin B12, found only in meat products, is critical for blood production, helping prevent anemia, and also enables nerve cells to develop properly. Niacin-rich lamb also may defend against Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.” (Dr Mao)

I really recommend you to try this dish, seems so simple but you will be surprised how good it actually is!

keto sloppy giuseppe

 

keto lamb sloppy giuseppe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 yellow or green bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 500ml tomato passata (I like organic one)
  • 200g mozzarella (in a block, mozzarella balls will be fine as well)
  • couple of cherry tomatoes
  • good pinch salt and coarse pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or other fat)
  • fresh coriander for garnish
  • 1 tbsp parmesan shavings (optionally)

DIRECTIONS

Mix lamb mince with some salt and coarse pepper and set aside. Chop the onion and pepper, cut mozzarella in quite big chunks.

Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil, or other fat, in a large skillet. Take minced lamb and start forming small balls – a bit smaller than a walnut – perfect for one bite. Fry them on each side until golden-brown.

Next add onion and bell pepper, sprinkle with oregano and fry for another 5 minutes on a medium heat. Then add passata, sprinkle with a bit of salt and stir.

If you want to bake it move it from the pan to a baking dish, place mozzarella all over it and couple of cherry tomatoes, then put to the oven preheated to 180ºC. Bake until mozzarella gets nicely toasted.

If you want to make it without baking, keep all the ingredients on the skillet, place your mozzarella chunks and tomatoes and simmer for couple of minutes on a small heat (be careful, because passata likes to splash everywhere when the heat is too big), until mozzarella gets melted.

When sloppy Giuseppe is ready, garnish it with some fresh chopped coriander and some parmesan cheese.

Serve with addition of your choice – bunch of salad leaves, rice or barley or some naan bread.

keto lamb sloppy giuseppe

lamb sloppy giuseppe