Paleo Tuna Salad in Avocado Cups

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One of the first things I really learned to “make” on my own was my dad’s tuna salad. I distinctly remember living in my own apartment with my own kitchen for the first time and thinking that I could make anything, ANYTHING! So I made tuna salad. Anti-climatic, huh? Still, sometimes these baby steps are the sort of affirmation you need to feel confident doing more complicated things (see: pasta. What? It was college after all).  I remember calling my dad up and asking him what he put in it. His answer was simple: sweet relish, tuna, mayonnaise, hard boiled eggs, and seasonings.  Sometimes, he said, he’ll serve it  inside half an avocado. You know, because avocado makes everything taste better.

Easy enough and delicious in its simplicity, I made a lot of tuna salad over my college years, and sometimes, when I’m feeling nostalgic, I still pull out dad’s old recipe. I even bought sugar-free sweet relish one time (do not recommend), before foregoing the relish altogether, just to try to “healthify” the recipe some more. I also, over time, started to add some veggies into the mix so that it would be a more complete meal of protein and carbs. Sometimes I add the hard-boiled egg, but most times I can’t be bothered to wait long enough to make it. To me, tuna salad had always been and should always be one of those standing over the counter and throwing things together kind of meals. Hard-boiling an egg? You gotta plan that, brah.

Which brings me to my Whole30. This week for some strange reason has turned out to be a week of throwing random things together at the last-minute recipes. Once I was in this mindset, dad’s tuna salad jumped up from the well of my memory and was like, hi! I’m perfect for this! So, I set out to make a Whole30 compliant tuna salad with a homemade mayonnaise. Mostly because I wanted something in an avocado cup.

Paleo Tuna Salad in Avocado Cup
Paleo mayonnaise inspired by The Paleo Kitchen
Serves 6

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Ingredients:

1 large pastured egg
3/4 cup olive oil or other oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp kosher salt
2 7-oz cans albacore tuna
3 celery stalks, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise and diced small
1/3 cup red onion, diced small
3 tbsps fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 avocados, cut in half around the seed and pitted

Directions:

1. Add the egg, olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and 1/8 tsp salt to a medium container (I used the container that came with my immersion blender). Place the blender in the bottom of the cup, then turn it on high-speed and blend until the bottom begins to turn white and frothy. Then, slowly lift the immersion blender blade up through the rest of the mixture so that the oil mixes in well. Once everything is mixed in, which should take no longer than 30 seconds, turn off the blender. Pour the mayonnaise into a mason jar or other airtight container for storage, but reserve 1/3 cup for the tuna salad.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, use a fork to break the tuna up into small pieces. Once small, add the celery, the onion, the parsley, the reserved 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, the garlic powder, and salt and pepper.

3. Mix until everything is well-distributed and the mayonnaise coats the fish. Feel free to add more mayo if you like a creamier tuna salad.
IMG_86204. On a small plate, put down one half of the avocado and then use a spoon to top with the tuna salad. . Garnish with extra parsley and serve!
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Workday Halibut Ceviche

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Growing up in a place where I was 20 minutes away from the beach at all times, ceviche has pretty much always been around in my life. I remember going home during college one time and going to our favorite place for ceviche and being eager to down a whole ceviche appetizer by myself. I couldn’t do it, but getting to eat that wonderfully fresh, light, and simple dish was worth the effort.

It’s a pretty versatile dish. When we took a trip to Fiji about a year ago, one of my favorite dishes there was, unsurprisingly,  kokoda, which is essentially just ceviche with coconut milk. The recipe below makes enough for 2 servings, so when I wanted to spice up the second serving a little, I just added some coconut milk to completely change the flavor profile (and take me back to paradise!).  Also, while it’s traditionally eaten with tortilla chips, a Colombian restaurant we went to last week (which we went to solely because I was craving ceviche!), served theirs with fried green plantains, otherwise known as tostones, and I really, really liked the pairing.

The best part of making this is seeing how the lime juice literally cooks the fish. It’s almost unbelievable that it cooks right before your eyes, all while doing nothing more than sitting in some fluids. I remember taking this to a lunch with friends once and them remarking how “fancy” it was. I had to convince them that this is the easiest thing in the world!

In fact, the version I give you below is made so that it cooks while you’re at work! How’s that for a fancy workday lunch? Essentially, you prep all of the ingredients the night before, pour the lime juice over the fish in the morning, and then let it cook in your work refrigerator while you do, I dunno, work things (or watch the World Cup and dream wistfully of being in Brazil, anybody?). Come lunch time, which I imagine is about 3-4 hours later for most of you, you mix it with the baggie of pre-cut veggies and–voila–ceviche at your desk. Perfect for summer! Enjoy!

Workday Halibut Ceviche
Serves 2

 

Ingredients:

10-oz of halibut filet, skinned and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2-3 large lemons)
1/4 cup fresh limit juice (from about 2-3 large limes)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
3 green onions, diced
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small jalapeno, finely diced
2 tbsps chopped cilantro
1/2 cup red cabbage, sliced

Directions:

The night before:

1. Divide the halibut cubes evenly between two medium-sized glass tupperware bowls, like the ones below (mine are Pyrex). Cover the dishes and place in the refrigerator.
IMG_70602. In another small dish with a lid or in a small jar, mix together the lemon juice, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate.
3. Gather together two small plastic sandwich bags and evenly distribute the cabbage, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, and green onion. Keep the avocado in its skin with the seed in (after dicing) a small glass container with a lid or wrapped in saran wrap (unless you don’t mind it getting brown, then add it to the baggy!).
IMG_7062The morning of:

4. Pour half of the lime and lemon juice mixture in each bowl (do this if you are planning on eating ceviche for both lunch and dinner, or two of you will be eating it for lunch. If, however, you plan on eating ceviche for lunch the next day as well, don’t pour the juice in one of the bowls. Keep the remaining half of juice covered in the fridge, and put both it  and the halibut back in the fridge. Repeat all these steps the next morning).
IMG_70633. Distribute the diced avocado in both bowls (so each bowl has half an avocado). Since lime juice prevents browning, you are safe to put the avocado in there. Mix well, cover the dishes, and take one to work with you, along with one of the prepared veggies baggies. Refrigerate until lunch time (about 3 hours), making sure to stir about halfway so that the marinade is evenly distributed. You’ll know the fish is done when it’s opaque and flaky, like in the picture above.
IMG_70744. When you are ready to eat, pour the veggies into the glass bowls, mix well, and then enjoy with crackers, plantains, or tortilla chips (I didn’t have my camera at work, but just imagine that the wine glass is the pyrex bowl!)!
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Workday Halibut Ceviche
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Light
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 10-oz of halibut filet, skinned and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2-3 large lemons)
  • ¼ cup fresh limit juice (from about 2-3 large limes)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, seeded and diced into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 large avocado, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 small jalapeno, finely diced
  • 2 tbsps chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup red cabbage, sliced
Directions
  1. The night before:
  2. Divide the halibut cubes evenly between two medium-sized glass tupperware bowls (I use Pyrex). Cover the dishes and place in the refrigerator.
  3. In another small dish with a lid or in a small jar, mix together the lemon juice, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate.
  4. Gather together two small plastic sandwich bags and evenly distribute the cabbage, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, and green onion. Keep the avocado in its skin with the seed in (after dicing) a small glass container with a lid or wrapped in seran wrap (unless you don't mind it getting brown, then add it to the baggy!).
  5. The morning of:
  6. Pour half of the lime and lemon juice mixture in each bowl (do this if you are planning on eating ceviche for both lunch and dinner, or two of you will be eating it for lunch. If, however, you plan on eating ceviche for lunch the
  7. next
  8. day as well, don't pour the juice in one of the bowls. Keep the remaining half of juice covered in the fridge, and put both it  and the halibut back in the fridge. Repeat all these steps the next morning).
  9. Distribute the diced avocado in both bowls (so each bowl has half an avocado). Since lime juice prevents browning, you are safe to put the avocado in there. Mix well, cover the dishes, and take one to work along with one of the prepared veggies baggies. Refrigerate until lunch time (about 3 hours), making sure to stir about halfway so that the marinade is evenly distributed.
  10. When you are ready to eat, pour the veggies into the glass bowls, mix well, and then enjoy with crackers, plantains, or tortilla chips!

After a few days of thinking about breakfast from a more global and philosophical perspective, the assignments for Days 4 & 5 were to put your ideas into practice–choose one recipe from the five you chose on Day 3, do your grocery shopping for it, and then actually make it!

I typically go grocery shopping 2-4 times a week, because that helps me manage waste better, so I had already been planning on going yesterday.  Since Fridays are my days off, I decided to be slightly ambitious and make TWO of the five recipes I chose: the avocado pudding and the pumpkin granola.  I did this mostly because I knew the granola would be a big batch and could be one of the “staples” I generally keep around the house, and I also knew that the avocado pudding recipe called for something crunchy on top, so birds, meet stone.

The upside to cooking so often is that I pretty much know exactly what I have on hand in my kitchen.   Every time I get a new recipe, I go down the ingredients list and mentally check off what I already have, including any substitutions I could make, and then add whatever I still need to the Out of Milk app that Mr. Little Fish and I share.  For the avocado recipe, all I needed was avocado, as I decided I would use my homemade almond milk instead of dairy milk, and for the granola, all I need to buy was sunflower seeds!  It’s one of my small pleasures in life when I already have most of the things on the list!

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Because I knew that I would have time this morning, I decided not to prep anything ahead of time, but if this had been a normal weeknight, I would have made the granola before bed.  The things I changed in the recipe were that I only used 1 tbsp of honey instead of 2 tbsp maple syrup, because a) I didn’t want to buy maple syrup and b) the pumpkin seeds I used were these praline ones from my Naturebox and so were already sweetened.  I also only had unsweetened coconut flakes, as opposed to shredded coconut, so I threw them into the food processor with the other ingredients to pulse.  Lastly, I didn’t have pumpkin pie spice so I used 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp ginger.

IMG_6970I would make this granola again just for the smell of pumpkin pie wafting through my house!  Luckily, it tasted as good as it smelled, so I packaged it up in a glass container and now have homemade granola on hand!  Also the best part? It’s grain free and nut free (and could be vegan if you used the maple syrup as originally called for!)!

IMG_6976Of course, I did manage to throw some on my avocado pudding before putting it away, and I have to say that this was a very satisfying breakfast!  The avocado pudding is apparently a Brazilian-inspired dish, and it does indeed remind me of warm sand and palm trees.  The honey added just the right amount of sweet without overwhelming the avocado flavor.  Also, I always enjoy a recipe that allows me to use my immersion blender!  I am looking forward to making this breakfast again next week (or maybe even this weekend, as I feel like this is sort of thing I could find myself craving!).

Light yet filling!

Light yet filling!

How has your breakfast planning been going?  Will you be trying anything new this weekend?

Confession: I can never pick a good avocado. As much as I like making guacamole, I am often deterred because, no matter how much time I spent manhandling them at the grocery store, I tend to end up with the brown streaky mess. (For some inexplicable reason, Mr. Little Fish has no such problems. I told him once that I was gonna force him to go to the store with me so we can pick good avocados, but he was less than thrilled.) If by some chance I end up getting a decent avocado and making some guacamole, it’s always disappointing when it starts to turn brown.  So when I stumbled across these avocado-saving tips, I thought they were worth sharing!

How to pick a perfect avocado
How to keep a cut avocado from going brown
How to keep your guacamole from turning brown

What do you think? Have you tried any of these or have any you rely on?