#WHOLE30 Stuffed Zucchini Two Ways

Several days ago I wrote about a study from HealthGrove identifying the best 30 foods for beautiful skin and hair. The researchers compiled the list by creating an algorithm based upon the top vitamins and minerals to support skin and hair health and calculating which foods were highest in those nutrients and lowest in unhealthy, pro-inflammatory factors. As I explained at the time, all but 3 of the 30 are WHOLE30 foods, the remaining 3 being legumes (i.e. beans). I then issued myself a challenge to create all new Paleo / WHOLE30 recipes with each of the 27 foods.

In case you missed it, my first attempt was based on #20 (broccoli) from the list of beautifying foods. Incidentally, that recipe and this one both use instant potato flakes. It has come to my attention that some brands of instant potato flakes contain various preservatives including sulfites, which are not approved for consumption during WHOLE30 (and which are unhealthy for us to eat at any time). I highly recommend Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flakes. You can purchase this product online through iHerb or Amazon, and it is available in many grocery stores. The moral of the story – it’s always important to check the ingredient lists of any products you purchase, especially when doing WHOLE30.


#29 on Healthgrove’s List of Best Food for Beautiful Skin and Hair

So with all that said, today’s mystery ingredient is (drum roll please) – ZUCCHINI!

I love the green summer squash for it’s mild flavor and versatility. The following recipe offers you two high protein, vegetable-heavy main-dish treatment options for stuffed zucchini. The great thing about this recipe is that you can prepare both options using 5 zucchini and 1 pound of ground turkey breast plus a few pantry staples. Both treatments received rave reviews from my family. None of us could choose a favorite, so I am sharing both. Option #1 is savory with an Italian flavor and seasonings. I served the savory zucchini boats with my Paleo Cheez Sauce along side. The tangy, creaminess of the sauce provided a wonderful compliment to the tomato and turkey stuffing. I also think the Cheez Sauce makes this option a bit more kid-friendly.

Option #2 is savory/sweet with what my mother described as “an almost Persian taste.” I’m not sure about that. I suspect she was referencing the flavor and texture of the figs. If you or your family don’t like figs – or you just don’t happen to have any in the house at present – you can certainly substitute raisins or prunes for that matter. I wouldn’t use dates for this recipe, however. They’re just too sweet. Also, if you’re actively doing WHOLE30,
remember to always be mindful to avoid any dried fruits preserved with sulfites which (as noted above) are off limits during the program. If you’re on the fence about figs and need a reason to give them a try, check out this link to find out why figs are among the world’s healthiest foods and one of the best guardians of health.

One final note, this is not a difficult recipe, nor are the ingredients terribly exotic or tough to come by. It is, however, time-consuming as you may have guessed if you skipped ahead to read the process. This is the type of recipe that is likely to impress guests and is sure to please even those not following special dietary regimens. For those reasons, I would suggest saving this for a weekend meal or some day when you have a little extra time to prepare dinner. Wishing you good health and delicious meals!

• 5 medium-large zucchini
• 2 tsp. iodized sea salt, divided
• 1 lb. extra lean ground turkey breast
• 2 Tbsp. organic coconut oil, divided
• 1 cup walnuts, divided
• Nonstick cooking spray (I used Pam nonstick coconut oil spray)

For Savory Stuffed Zucchini
• 1 can diced tomatoes, well drained (be sure the brand you buy has no added sugar or unapproved additives)
• ¼ tsp. garlic powder (or 2 garlic cloves, minced)
• ¼ tsp. dried oregano
• ½ small sweet onion, diced
• ½ red bell pepper, diced
• ¼ cup instant potato flakes, e.g. Bob’s Red Mill
• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
• ½ tsp. grated lemon peel
• 2 Tbsp. nutrient yeast (optional)



For Sweet-N-Savory Stuffed Zucchini
• 10 dried figs or 1/3 cup raisins (for WHOLE30 be sure to use sulfite-free figs such as these or these raisins)
• 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
• 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
• 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/8 tsp. allspice
• pinch ground cloves
• pinch pure stevia (omit during WHOLE30)



• 2 – 8” Baking Dishes
• 2 – small/medium sized mixing bowls
• Melon Baller or small spoon

A melon baller makes it easy to scoop out the centers of each zucchini half

A melon baller makes it easy to scoop out the centers of each zucchini half

• Lemon zester
• Potato masher
• Chef’s knife
• Cutting board(s)
• Large nonstick frying pan







1. Wash and dry each zucchini. Transfer to cutting board.
2. Remove stems, and cut each zucchini in half length-wise.
3. Using melon-baller or small pointy spoon, scoop out inside pulp from each zucchini half and place into large bowl.
4. Place hollowed zucchini “boats” into a ziplock freezer bag and store in refrigerator. Place pulp in a bowl and sprinkle with salt.
Cover and place in refrigerator for at least an hour.
5. When ready to cook, place the zucchini pulp in a large colander and rinse well under running water. Shake colander to remove excess water. Then gently pat pulp dry.
6. Spray a large frying pan with nonstick spray then place it over MEDIUM-HIGH HEAT.
7. Add 1 Tbsp. coconut oil to the pan and allow oil to melt. Then place ground turkey breast, zucchini pulp and 1 tsp. salt in pan and brown stirring continuously to break up and lumps. You may need to use a potato masher at the end of cooking to ensure the mixture is broken up into even chunks that will fit nicely into the boats. (see pic below)

Mixture should look more or less like this.

Mixture should look more or less like this.


8. Divide this mixture equally into 2 large mixing bowls. Then wash and dry pan to prepare for reuse.
9. For Savory Zucchini Boats:
Drain tomatoes well and add to turkey mixture along with ½ cup walnuts, garlic, oregano and ½ tsp. salt. Place frying pan over MEDIUM heat and add remaining 1 Tbsp. coconut oil. Heat oil until it melts. Then add pepper and onion. Cook veggies over MEDIUM heat until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally to prevent burning (N.B. If you’re lazy, like me, you can save time and cleanup by tossing the peppers, onion and oil into a microwave-safe bowl and nuking on HIGH for 4 minutes. Then proceed as above). Add cooked onions and peppers to turkey/tomato mixture and stir to combine. Next add dry potato flakes, nutrient yeast, lemon peel and juice. Stir to combine and test for seasoning, adjusting to taste.
10. For Sweet –N- Savory Zucchini Boats:
Using clean kitchen sheers, snip figs into fourths and stir into ground turkey and zucchini mixture. If using raisins, simply add to turkey mixture. Next add applesauce, remaining ½ cup walnuts, vinegar and spices (including stevia if using). Stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
11. Preheat oven to 375° and prepare baking dishes by lining both dishes with tin foil (for easier cleanup), then spraying lined dishes with nonstick coconut oil spray. Place 5 zucchini halves in each baking dish.
12. Scoop savory mixture into the 5 “boats” in one baking dish and repeat with sweet/savory mixture in second baking dish. You may need to press mixture down firmly in order to get all mixture into the zucchini. It’s okay if they seem overstuffed. Then cover both dishes with aluminum foil and place in preheated oven.
13. Bake for 45 minutes. Then remove baking dishes from oven and increase temperature to 400°.
14. Meanwhile, remove foil cover from baking dishes. (At this point, I sprinkled the savory zucchini boats with a bit more nutrient yeast, but that’s totally optional. I didn’t notice it made much difference in terms of flavor.) Once oven temp has reached 400° return dishes to oven. Cook for 15 minutes longer.
15. Remove both baking dishes from oven. Allow to rest, very loosely covered, for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Makes 5 servings

Makes 5 servings

N.B. In case you prefer one version over another, you can find the full Savory Stuffed Zucchini Boats recipe here. And I’ve posted the full Sweet-N-Savory Stuffed Zucchini Boats recipe here.

Wisdom of the Day:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Matthew 5:6-8 (NASB)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
Curious as to what exactly constitutes a well-stocked WHOLE30 pantry? Check out the WHOLE30 Pantry Stocking Guide.

Easy Cheezy Chicken & Broccoli Soup with Crispy Potato Croutons (Paleo & WHOLE30 Friendly)

Mmmmmmm soup!

+++This post has been updated including a modification to one of the original ingredients and an added comment below.

Ever since I wrote about the recent Healthgrove study identifying the top 30 foods for beauty, I have been a little annoyed with myself. Here I am writing a blog about beauty, with the goal of helping women feel more beautiful every day through diet, and wise choices for health and home. And, because of the amazing WHOLE30 experience, I’ve been able to share some great recipes (at least I hope they’re great). But I realized that only a few of the recipes I’ve posted thus far included ingredients listed among those top 30 foods for beauty. So I’m challenging myself to create at least 1 new Paleo (and WHOLE30-friendly) recipe for each of the 27 foods in that list (not including the 3 legumes).

I chose to start this challenge with a difficult ingredient right out of the gate – BROCCOLI. If you’ve read any of my recipes previously, you’ve probably noticed my references to Hubs’ utter abhorrence for 3 specific vegetables – namely, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and (you guessed it) broccoli. He calls them “the 3 deadly veggies.” Prior to WHOLE30, he’d positively refused to even taste any of them, claiming even one bite would cause him to “hurl” (his word not mine). That’s why I considered my Oven Fried Sprouts and Paleo Chop Suey such victories – because he not only ate but actually enjoyed Brussels sprouts and cauliflower (respectively). But broccoli still eluded me, until now.

Hubs "deadly" trio of vegetables - cauliflower, brussels sprouts & broccoli

Hubs “deadly” trio of vegetables – cauliflower, brussels sprouts & broccoli

The secret to this recipe is the cheese-like flavor imparted by the combination of nutrient yeast, pumpkin and mustard. The coconut milk contributes extra creaminess and that certain satisfying something that saturated fat always provides. When Hubs pronounced it: “super delicious” and suggested the recipe be posted under the title “heavenly chicken yum fest,” I knew we had a winner! If your family members are also broccoli-phobic, may I humbly suggest this recipe as a means of sneaking this beautifying veggie into their meals without the usual complaints and dramatics. May you enjoy in good health and peaceful dinner times!


• 1-40 oz. (2.5 lb.) bag frozen chicken breast tenderloins, no need to defrost
• ½ sweet onion chopped
• 1 14oz. can coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen Organic)+++
• 16 oz. homemade or organic chicken broth (be sure to use broth without unapproved additives)
• ½ cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix, be sure no added sweeteners)
• ½ cup instant potato flakes (see note below)+++
• 1 tsp. iodized sea salt
• ½ cup nutrient yeast
• 1 Tbsp. spicy mustard+++ (not dijon, be sure that the mustard you use does NOT contain white wine, other unapproved additives if doing #WHOLE30)
• ½ tsp. white pepper
• ½ tsp. garlic powder
• 1 tsp. turmeric
• 1 tsp. hot sauce (optional)
• 12oz. bag frozen broccoli spears or florets, no need to defrost
• 1 Tbsp. Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos Sauce

+++The original version of this recipe listed “dijon mustard” instead of spicy mustard among the ingredients. Upon further review, I discovered that most dijon mustards contain white wine which is off limits during #WHOLE30. Oops! So I’ve updated this recipe to more accurately reflect the #WHOLE30 program rules. This is an example of why it’s so important to read the book It Starts with Food and familiarize yourself with the #WHOLE30 website before beginning your own #WHOLE30 journey, to avoid mistakes like I made. It’s also important to always check the ingredient lists of any products you plan to consume when doing #WHOLE30. Some instant potato flakes contain sulfite preservatives or other additives not approved for consumption during WHOLE30 (and which aren’t healthy for us to consume anyway). I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flakes. Also, be sure to check your coconut milk to be sure it contains no sulfites (a type of preservative commonly used in canned coconut milk which is listed among those additives off limits during the WHOLE30 program). For a complete list of #WHOLE30 program do’s and don’ts as well as answers to just about any #WHOLE30 questions you may have, I highly recommend you check out the program rules here. Don’t miss the other resources available at WHOLE30’s website to educate yourself prior to beginning your own WHOLE30 journey or whenever you have questions or need some support (the Facebook and Twitter feeds are tremendous sources of encouragement and support). And again I encourage you to read the book It Starts with Food. It’s chalked full of useful information and helpful tips to make surviving the whole 30 days a whole lot more tolerable (pun intended).

• Crockpot
• Crockpot Liner Bag (optional)

1. Place liner in crockpot (if using) and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Next add chicken tenderloins, chopped onions, broth, coconut milk, pumpkin and seasoning to pot. Stir to combine and place lid on mixture.
2. Cook on HIGH setting for 2 hours. Then stir in instant mashed potato flakes. Stir well to combine.
3. Cover pot again and continue cooking on HIGH crockpot setting for 1 more hour.
4. Remove lid and add broccoli. Again stir well to combine. Turn heat to LOW.
5. Cover pot and allow mixture to cook 30 minutes more. Then turn heat to WARM. Soup will keep like this for up to 90 minutes but continue stirring occasionally.
6. Just before serving, stir in Coconut Aminos sauce and test for seasoning. Add salt, pepper etc. as desired.
7. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and serve with crispy potatoes sprinkled on top as croutons (recipe follows).
Makes about 5 servings.
N.B. This soup is fairly thick. You may “thin it out” by adding additional broth, water or coconut milk. Be sure to taste and adjust the seasonings if you choose to add more liquid.

Crispy Potato Croutons

• 1.5 lb. Baby Red Potatoes, washed (unpeeled)
• 2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, melted
• 1 tsp. Salt plus additional salt
• 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
• Dash Oregano Flakes

1. Wash and dry potatoes but do not peel. Cut the spuds into more or less uniform size pieces (halves or thirds depending on size of each potato).
2. Place potato pieces along with all remaining ingredients in a bowl. No need to stir just yet. Microwave on HIGH for 5-6 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave.
3. While the potatoes cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees (Fahrenheit), and spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray (I used Pam nonstick coconut oil).
4. Remove potatoes from microwave, add all remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Be sure potatoes are evenly covered with oil and seasonings. Then turn mixture onto prepared cookie sheet, being sure to distribute evenly on sheet. Sprinkle mixture lightly with additional salt.
5. Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until desired crispiness.

Creamy, yummy, tasty goodness!

Creamy, yummy, tasty goodness!

Resource of the Day:
Do you have sensitive eyes that get red, itchy and irritated? My mother suffers with this problem and has avoided wearing mascara as result. Sad because mascara is probably the single most impactful eye makeup product. Check out this list of the best mascaras for sensitive, allergy-prone eyes. Mom and I like Clinique’s High Impact Mascara. For my money, it’s one of the top 3 best mascaras on the market, and I don’t have sensitive eyes!

Wisdom of the Day:
The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
~Psalm 145:15-16 (New American Standard Bible)
Read more here.

WHOLE30 Day #30 – So This Is It….(Paleo) Pie for Everyone!!!

WHOLE30 Day #30 –This is it, the final day of our inaugural WHOLE30 journey. As I discussed in the WHOLE30 Day #25 post, both Hubs and I have achieved some positive results from this 30-day cycle. Over the next few days, I will be writing a couple more posts to summarize our first experience with WHOLE30 – the good, the bad, and the painful. I will also be posting my own list of recommended products for “doing the WHOLE30.” These will be various foods (primarily) and some other items we found along the way that made the experience easier, tastier and generally more tolerable.

This was a challenging final day for us, in part because we had company this weekend. When you have company, of course, you generally have to serve food that is WHOLE30 approved. In this case, our visitors were a family of 5 – including my beautiful cousin, a strict vegetarian, her husband and their 3 boys – all under the age of 7. So at various points this weekend our kitchen was filled with fresh-from-the-bakery cookies (chocolate chip AND peanut butter), tortilla chips, pizza and chicken nuggets. Tempting goodies to be sure. But the joy of hosting family and the pleasure of using one’s home to show hospitality makes it so worthwhile.

To avoid diving face-first into the delicious-looking and even better smelling piping hot cheesy pizza (which was coincidentally the very subject of my food fantasies just a couple weeks ago), I prepared for myself the following go-to recipe. I’ve used this at several points during our WHOLE30 when I’ve felt particularly deprived. I haven’t posted this recipe previously because it comes perilously close to what the WHOLE30 authors refer to as a “paleo pancake,” and which they specifically state is off-limits during the program. However, the primary component here is protein – in this case egg whites – not some flour substitute like tapioca etc. Therefore I believe it deserves the title omelet, even if it does satisfy my sweet cravings!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
Paleo Pumpkin Pie Omelet (AKA “The P3 Omelet”)

• 1/3 medium sweet potato, peeled
• 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
• 2 cups liquid egg whites
• ¼ tsp. iodized sea salt
• ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp. ground ginger
• pinch each: ground cloves, allspice and nutmeg
NOTE: if you happen to have Pumpkin Pie Spice on-hand you can just use 1/2 tsp. of that in place of the cinnamon, ginger etc.
• nonstick spray (I used nonstick coconut oil spray)
• stevia, if desired (other options include cacao nibs, pure maple syrup and melted ghee)

• electric skillet or large (preferably nonstick) heavy frying pan
• high-powered blender (e.g. Nutribullet, Vitamixer, etc.)

1. Place sweet potato in microwave on HIGH for about 2-3 minutes (depending on strength/size of your microwave) until cooked through. Allow to cool slightly.
2. When sweet potato is cool enough to handle, place in canister of blender, then add next 6 ingredients.

Hmm, not so very appetizing at this stage. But stick with me!

3. Cover and blend on LOW-MEDIUM speed until fully blended and no chunks of sweet potato remain.
4. Place a large skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH heat and spray with nonstick spray. If using an electric skillet, preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Pour half the mixture into the prepared pan and cover pan. Turn heat down to MEDIUM (about 350 on electric skillet). Allow omelet to cook until surface appears dry (about 5 minutes). Then carefully flip.
6. Cook about 5 more minutes on the other side. Repeat process with remaining omelet mixture.
7. Serve & Enjoy. NOTE: I like to sprinkle the omelet with a little stevia before serving. It’s also great with a few cacao nibs sprinkled on top and some melted ghee. Heck if you’ve completed WHOLE30 (or are just trying to eat Paleo), you may as well top it with some pure maple syrup. Go crazy!
Makes about 4 servings

Verse of the Day:
Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
~I Peter 4:9 (NKJV)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
Looking to improve your hosting skills? Here’s a magnificent list of 10 totally do-able steps to increase your hospitality IQ.
NOTE: The Art of Simple is also a lovely all-around blog about house, home and family!

Hi I'm Karen.

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