Happy 4th of July, everyone!
How are you spending your holiday?
We've made the trek down to Benson, a small town about 45 minutes east of Tucson, where Jorge spent the first 18 years of his life. Picture a population of 5,000, a couple of stop lights, and a tumbleweed or two rolling by. Not really my scene but more importantly, they have sliiiightly cooler temperatures, actual monsoon weather, and a day away from life. Plus a small-town parade, water fight, picnic lunch, and a very warm welcome from his family.
Follow me on Instagram for some fun shots of the parade and other goofiness we'll be participating in on our little trip. Not to mention all the FOOD I'll be consuming, including this Mexican 6-Layer Dip! :-)
If you're looking for a paleo, or just plain healthy, chip alternative, look no further. These plantain chips are not only healthy but smokey, salty, and fully satisfying. Using the green plantains (rather than the yellow for another traditional plantain preparation of sweet sautéed), ensures a very low sugar content. Which is always good news when it comes to a snack-y food, in my opinion. I prepped this dip before our trip down so we dug in for dinner last night and didn't need more than a couple of handfuls of chips and a scoop or two of the dip to curb our hunger and feel as though we were eating not just a regular meal.
This is probably the longest recipe I've typed up for the blog but it's not complex at all to make. It's a great dish for entertaining that will feed 8-12 people, depending on what other foods are on the table. So prep time will average 1-2 hours (much less if you chop it in half for a weeknight dinner or smallish get together) but will for sure, most definitely be worth it for a special occasion like a 4th of July picnic. ;-) And all prep time will be forgotten when you have a big bite of paleo goodness in your mouth.
I highly recommend using homemade beef bone marrow broth in Layer #2 of this recipe. It adds an amazing depth of flavor to the whole dish, not to mention some great health benefits. I recently started experimenting with bone marrow broths and I cannot stress enough just how amazing they are! They've been a great help in my journey to healing my gut, in particular the issue of leaky gut that I'm still dealing with. This link from Nourished Kitchen gives a pretty comprehensive look at why broths are so good for you and this link has more great info and easy recipe from Balanced Bites.
Have you tried making your own bone marrow broth?
A recommendation for the order of prep: start with Layer #5 by getting the corn in the oven while you prep the plantains. Follow with the plantain chips (if making), as the oven will be preheated. Once the plantains are cooking, work on Layer #2 by cooking the bacon & ground beef. While the meat is cooking, blend up your salsa (Layer #1) and mash up your avos (Layer #3). While the bacon & beef is cooling and your corn has already cooled, prep Layer #5. Chop your greens (Layer #4) and any garnish (Lay #6) and assemble your dip!
Want this to be a little less paleo? See the recipe below for ways to add healthy layers that fall outside the traditional paleo diet.
Paleo Mexican 6-Layer Dip
Layer #1: Easy Blender Salsa
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 can organic tomato sauce
1 bunch cilantro
1 small sweet onion
juice of 3 key limes (or 1 regular lime)
1 garlic clove
1/2 raw jalapeño (with or without seeds, depending on how hot you like your salsa)
1-2 t. sea salt
1/2-1 t. pepper
Place all ingredients into a blender (in the order shown above, liquids first), and blend on high for about 30 seconds. Blend longer for a runnier salsa. Taste and adjust ingredients to your particular taste.
Layer #2: Beef & Bacon
1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
4 slices bacon, sliced thin
1/2 c. homemade beef bone marrow broth
In a large sauté pan, brown bacon on medium heat until crispy and fat is rendered. Add ground beef to the pan and mash into small pieces. Sauté on medium-high until slightly browned, about 10-15 minutes. Add taco seasoning and bone marrow broth and simmer on medium until liquid has evaporated, about 5 more minutes. Set aside to cool.
Layer #3: Mashed Avocados with Lime
8 ripe avocados
juice of 4 limes
sea salt & pepper, to taste
Mash together avocados, lime, salt, and pepper until well combined. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Layer #4: Baked Corn with Radishes & Cilantro
3 ears organic sweet corn (optional; sub diced tomatoes, zucchini, or bell peppers for a stricter paleo approach)
4 radishes, diced small
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
sea salt & pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375F. Shuck the corn and coat well with avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until corn kernels are tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside corn to cool. Once cooled to the touch, stand the corn on end and trim the kernels off using a sharp knife. Do this over a big bowl to catch any rogue kernels from flying off.
Add radishes, cilantro, and a pinch of sea salt and pepper to the corn kernels and mix together well.
Layer #5: Greens
16 oz. of your favorite greens, chopped (I used a spring mix because that's what I had on hand)
Layer #6: Choose a Garnish
1 can naturally cured green olives, sliced
handful diced jalapeños
1/2 c. diced green onions
etc. etc. etc.
Dice up your favorite garnish to make the top of the dip pretty!
Use a large trifle dish (mine is 9 inches) to arrange the dip. Follow the layers as ordered, adding additional salsa to your liking.
Want to make this less Paleo?
Add a layer of drained & rinsed black beans. Or mix together an organic ranch packet with a 16 oz. tub of full-fat organic greek yogurt and add instead of sour cream. Look for a raw cow or sheep's cheese at your local market, shred, and add to the top.
Smokey Baked Plantain Chips
3-4 green plantains, depending on the size
1 t. smoked paprika
sea salt & pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Peel the plantains (you'll need to use a knife with the really green ones). Cut the flesh in half or thirds (depending on how long you want your chips to be) and use a mandoline with a guard to cut long, thin slices. OR you can cut them along the fruit like you would a banana if you want small, bite-size chips. If you don't use a mandoline, slice them as thin as possible. Thicker slices won't crisp up as well as thinner ones.
Arrange the slices on the baking sheets, spaced evenly apart. Using a pastry brush, coat both sides of each plantain slice with avocado oil. Then sprinkle just one side with the smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
If cooking both pans at once, bake for 40 minutes, removing the pans halfway through to flip the plantains and rotate your pans when putting them back in. If cooking separately, cook each pan for 30 minutes, still removing halfway to flip the plantains and rotate the pans.
Watch them closely the last 5-10 minutes, as they can turn dark very quickly. Remove the finished chips and place them on a cooling rack to cool off before serving.
Last Year: Pineapple & Cucumber Green Smoothie