Garlic-Tahini Rainbow Trout (Whole30)

It doesn’t get much better than a rich, creamy garlic sauce – and this one is dairy-free! The recipe is also gluten-free, Paleo, and Whole30 compliant. The sauce comes together with a few simple, wholesome ingredients, and is spread on a fillet of rainbow trout before baking. I love to pair this dish with roasted veggies, but it would also taste great with some pasta or zucchini noodles on the side!

Well my friends, exam season is here and that means I’m craving warm, hearty comfort food. I had my first two exams today, and I still have two more before I head home for the holidays. The good news is, I’m finished the Whole30 tomorrow, so I can stuff my face with pasta to numb the pain of studying! Just kidding. Today is the last day of the elimination portion of the Whole30, so I’m starting the reintroduction phase tomorrow. I’m planning to reintroduce gluten-free grains first, so tomorrow I’ll have oatmeal for breakfast, some quinoa on my salad at lunch, and gluten-free pasta with turkey meatballs for dinner. Then I’ll be back to the full elimination diet for a few days to see if the newly-introduced foods have any effect on my body.

This rainbow trout recipe has been one of my favourite dinners over the past 30 days. It’s so easy to whip up and so delicious! Also, I’m a huge garlic lover so the creamy sauce is PERFECT. All you need to make the sauce is tahini, a clove of garlic, lemon, onion powder, and salt – then you simply mix it all together, spread on your fish, bake, and enjoy! This recipe makes enough sauce for two fillets of trout, so if I’m just cooking for myself, I’ll cover the leftover sauce and save it to make more fish the next day.

Tahini

If you haven’t used tahini before in your cooking, it’s a creamy condiment made of ground sesame seeds that has a nutty taste. I use it as a base for a lot of my salad dressings and lately I’ve been using it in stir fries too. It’s a great ingredient to have on hand, as it’s incredibly versatile, and a good source of protein, healthy fats, and B vitamins. Lately I’ve been experimenting with energy ball recipes using my food processor, and tahini has appeared in a few of them. I’m still trying to get the ingredient ratios just right, but if you buy some tahini now, hopefully I’ll have another recipe posted soon that uses it!

Side Dishes

In the pictures for this post, I paired the recipe with some roasted carrots and boiled broccoli. If you haven’t tried roasting your carrots before, I highly recommend it. I never used to be a big fan of carrots until I started tossing them in a little olive oil and garlic salt and roasting them. I find them much more flavourful when they’re cooked this way, rather than boiled. When I’m not following the Whole30, I’ll likely have this recipe with gluten-free pasta and tomato sauce, or some rice. If you’re looking to get more greens in your diet, try serving the rainbow trout on a bed of spinach, or adding the fish to the top of a salad!

 

Print Recipe
Garlic-Tahini Rainbow Trout (Whole30)
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat a conventional oven (or toaster oven) to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, tahini, garlic, onion powder, and sea salt. Mix thoroughly until a smooth sauce forms.
  3. Place the fillets of rainbow trout onto the baking sheet. Spoon a generous portion of the sauce onto each fillet.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce is golden brown and the fish is flaky.

Turkey and Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce

This hearty pasta sauce is packed full of veggies, and will keep you full well past dinner time, with turkey for protein and sweet potato for some extra carbs and nutrients. It’s a perfect addition to spiralized zucchini, and it’s gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo. 

 This sauce is one of my favourite recipes I’ve created so far. Not only is it an amazing way to add more veggies into my diet, but I can make it at the start of the week and usually get 4 or more meals from it. It’s fairly easy to throw together – just chop all the veggies first, then everything except the spices and tomatoes go in a pot to stir fry until the turkey has browned, and then you add the tomatoes and spices and simmer until the sweet potato is soft.

My favourite ways to enjoy this sauce:

  1. On top of spiralized zucchini (zucchini noodles or “zoodles” as I like to refer to them). I used to be a bit of a pasta addict. It was my go-to meal during second year, and although it was delicious, eating it in large quantities was not doing great things to my body. After I decided to stop eating gluten because it was contributing to a lot of inflammation, I replaced my usual spaghetti with zoodles and was surprised to find that I was equally satisfied! Maybe I’m just a sucker for something you have to twirl up before you eat. Zoodles are great because you can add a lot of bulk to your meal without a ton of extra calories. This sauce is perfect for zoodles because the sweet potato provides a source of carbs, which you don’t get as much of when using zoodles instead of pasta. I use the OXO Good Grip Hand Held Spiralizer to make my zoodles, which I’ve found works well for zucchini – I haven’t tried it using other veggies.

  2. On top of gluten-free pasta. This is a more traditional use for pasta sauce, and it is definitely delicious! Catelli makes excellent gluten-free noodles. Pictured below is my sauce on top of Catelli’s gluten-free fusilli.

One thing that’s great about this sauce is that it tastes delicious cold (at least I think so) so I can take it to campus for lunch, and don’t have to worry about finding a microwave to heat it up.

Monday Eats

Zoodles and this pasta sauce were the way I ended my day today, but my other two meals were also very delicious.

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with yellow pepper, onion, and homemade salsa; roasted potatoes; tomato slices.

I made some salsa at the start of the week in my food processor from a recipe I found online, and although it was edible, it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for.  So next week I’m going to experiment more to try and develop my own salsa recipe! I like making my own salsa because salsas from stores often contain a lot of salt. My skin is really sensitive to the amount of salt I put in my body, so I like to reduce sodium whenever possible.

Lunch

Salad with roasted chicken, chopped Granny Smith apple, cucumber, celery, and lettuce. Topped with apple cider vinegar for dressing.

Before I left campus after my last class, I went to the gym and did a full-body circuit workout. I’ve been experimenting with Tabata-style workouts lately; today’s workout consisted of three circuits made up of 4 exercises in each circuit. Each circuit had a specific focus (lower body, upper body, abs), and combined a variety of bodyweight, cardio, and free weight moves. I’ll be posting some of my favourite circuit workouts soon!

I definitely had a large helping of sauce on top of my zoodles to refuel after my challenging workout!

Print Recipe
Turkey and Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes on medium heat.
  2. Add celery, carrot, sweet potato, and ground turkey. Stir with a spatula to combine the vegetables and break up the turkey. Continue stir-frying until the turkey has browned (about 15 minutes).
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and basil. Stir to combine.
  4. Bring the sauce to a simmer and turn the heat down to low. Continue to simmer the sauce until the sweet potato has softened (approximately 30-45 minutes).

No-Bake Carrot Cake Bars

These Carrot Cake bars are sweet, filling, and have  a delicious texture. They’re also vegan, free of refined sugar, and can be made gluten-free by using certified gluten-free oats. They’re perfect as a healthier dessert option or an energizing pre-workout snack.There’s nothing like a slice of sweet, moist carrot cake, loaded with add-ins like raisins, walnuts and coconut, and topped with cream cheese icing. But if you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet, traditional carrot cake can’t make it onto your menu all the time. Luckily, these No-Bake Carrot Cake Bars can satisfy your carrot cake craving, without loading your body with less-healthy ingredients. Unfortunately cream cheese icing isn’t part of this treat, since I usually eat these bars as a pre- or post-workout snack rather than a dessert, but I’m sure they would taste excellent with a little icing spread on top if you’re serving them for dessert.

Ingredient Benefits

Another reason these bars are great is that they let you get a few extra veggies into your diet. Now, I’m not talking about huge servings of vegetables here, but every little bit counts! Carrots provide you with vitamin A, which has immune benefits, and promotes skin and eye health.

Besides the carrots, these bars contain some other super food ingredients as well:

Dates have a multitude of nutritional benefits, and you can generally buy them in bulk for a fairly low price. They’re useful for many “no-bake” recipes because they provide the stickiness necessary to create a dough, and they add sweetness. Dates are high in fibre, so they help promote digestive health. They also contain magnesium, which studies have found helps reduce inflammation (source). Magnesium also promotes heart health and can help you feel more energetic (more energy is definitely something I need as a university student).

Walnuts are another nutrient powerhouse – they contain protein and healthy fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids. The benefits of omega-3s are extensive – check out this webpage by the University of Maryland for more information about the benefits of omega-3s! Walnuts also contain vitamin E, which promotes skin health.

One thing I love about these bars, and homemade energy bars in general, is that they’re easy to take on the go. A lot of energy bars and protein bars on the market (particularly those that are available to purchase on my campus) are high in sugar and have an extensive ingredient list. Making my own bars is easy, and I know every ingredient I’m putting into my body, so I often opt to make them at home. Plus, bring these to the gym, and your workout buddies will be very jealous of your delicious post-workout snack! Not that I cook because I want people to think my food looks awesome. Of course not. Never.

One other note – I know many university students living in a student house may not have a food processor in their kitchen. So, if your parents have one at their house, capitalize on the opportunity and make these delicious treats while you’re at home. Alternatively, you may be able to find a food processor on a website like Kijiji for a less expensive price than buying one in-store. They’re a very versatile tool, and I use mine weekly to make snacks/treats like this one, sauces, and puréed soups.

Print Recipe
No-Bake Carrot Cake Bars
Course Dessert, Snack
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Course Dessert, Snack
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Add oats and walnuts to food processor and pulse a few times to break down slightly.
  2. Add coconut, dates, shredded carrot, vanilla, salt, and spices. Turn processor on to high and blend until a dough forms.
  3. Scoop dough from food processor into a bowl and fold in the raisins until they are dispersed evenly.
  4. Press dough into an 8”x 8” pan, ensuring even thickness throughout pan.
  5. Put in freezer for two hours or overnight. Then, cut into 12 bars. Bars can be enjoyed straight from the freezer, or they can be placed in the fridge if you like them a little softer.


Almond Butter and “Jelly” Oatmeal

This quick breakfast requires only a few ingredients and is perfect for busy school mornings. Your basic oatmeal is supplemented with almond butter, which adds protein and healthy fats to keep you full until lunch. The addition of mixed berries makes breakfast time a little sweeter!I have a mild peanut allergy, so I never got to experience the traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But this peanut-free oatmeal version of the classic childhood sandwich is so satisfying that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on much. Instead of jelly, which adds a lot of refined sugar to your meal, frozen mixed berries and honey provide some sweetness.

Almond butter and mixed berries pack a micronutrient punch:

  • Almond butter – contains calcium, iron, vitamin E, magnesium, and copper (source). It is also high in fibre, which aids in digestion and lowers cholesterol. But consume in moderation – it is very calorically dense.
  • Berries – berries contain a number of antioxidants, and micronutrients that help to reduce inflammation. They also have a positive impact on cardiovascular health (source) and have been found to have cancer-preventing properties (source).

Today I enjoyed this delicious bowl of oatmeal before I headed to class. See the bottom of the post for the recipe for Almond Butter and “Jelly” Oatmeal.

For lunch I had this delicious salad (recipe to follow in the next post):For snack I enjoyed some celery and chipotle hummus. I always find I need a snack around 3pm to get me through until dinner, so I try to wash and cut vegetables beforehand. That way, when I feel like nibbling on something, I have convenient access to something healthy.I finished off my day with a chicken taco bowl. This is another recipe I will post in the future, once I’ve perfected it! “Bowls” of any variety are one of my favourite meals – it’s so easy to mix them up with different combinations of ingredients and dressings. These recipes will definitely be appearing on the blog as I create them.I had class and meetings until 9:30 today, and I didn’t have time in the morning, so I stopped by the gym briefly in the afternoon (and was a little sweaty for my last meeting of the day). I spent 20 minutes on the Stairmaster, followed a quick circuit that had a focus on upper body and core, in order to exercise my whole body. Then, after a couple hours of school work, I went back to the gym for my intramural basketball game!

Here is the recipe for Almond Butter and “Jelly” oatmeal, which provided a hearty start to my busy day.

 

Print Recipe
Almond Butter and "Jelly" Oatmeal
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Optional:
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Optional:
Instructions
  1. Place oats in a small bowl and add boiling water (enough to submerge the oats). Stir and wait for oats to absorb water, adding more boiling water to achieve the desired consistency.
  2. In another small bowl, microwave the frozen berries until just defrosted (30 seconds - 1 minute depending on the power of your microwave).
  3. Add honey to berries, and stir to coat.
  4. Spoon the berries and honey mixture on top of oatmeal.
  5. Drizzle almond butter over top of oatmeal.
  6. Optional: Add a pinch of salt on top of the almond butter (I like to do this to achieve a mild sweet-and-salty flavour). If you want a little extra sweetness, you can always add a bit more honey on top of the oatmeal.