Since I changed my eating and lifestyle, the holidays(or any special occasion) have a particular rhythm. I plan and dream about the treats I’m going to make. They are(usually) just as delicious as I’d hoped. By the third or fourth big meal or day of eating desserts, I’m planning and dreaming about getting back to normal. It’s the old “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” We’re all on our own personal journey to food freedom. I am thankful for mine. I’m also thankful for an everyday routine that keeps my body feeling great and my cravings in check. I’m going to be talking soon about treats, holidays, and cravings. Email me or shout out on Instagram with your questions or things you’d like to see!
This week my brain has been happily spinning with all of the great recipes I want to make and share with you. I am feeling fabulous and strong getting back into my routines, and reinvigorated to make THM/AIP life delicious and joyful. I really do love cooking and I’m so thankful for the chance to make great food that is good for my body.
Edit added later: for those of you who haven’t caught this yet, part of my personal healing journey was to do an intensive anti-inflammatory protocol prescribed by my doctor. I fit that into THM and joyfully ate from the foods available to me. Now, praise the Lord I’ve moved beyond that but I hope these recipes help those still needing to avoid some of those foods for health reasons.
Caribbean beef/ vaca frita
This recipe, like so many good things, is a mash-up of ideas from a few different inspirations. I’ll tell you this- so many things went right with this recipe it’s kind of amazing. It’s easy and fast to prep with your Instant Pot too. I’ll add slow cooker instructions for those of you so inclined.
The Caribbean spiced beef is inspired by some delicious pork I ate awhile back that was fragrant with cinnamon and ginger. I combined that with the method for vaca frita , which means “fried cow” and originated in Cuba. Everything just sounds more romantic in Spanish, huh?
What you really need to know about vaca frita is that it’s very easy to crisp up your beef this way and SO delicious. It’s the crispy yumminess your life has been missing. The method is also a great treatment for carnitas, kalua pork, or leftover shredded brisket. If you’re really in a hurry, just shred the meat and make rice bowls or tacos. It’s full of flavor right out of the pot. There are so many easy ways to adapt this recipe and you can certainly add hot pepper of some variety if you’re not banished from nightshades like yours truly.
A Few Recipe Notes
As I said earlier, if you need to make this beef and shred it straight out of the pot without crisping, it will still be delicious. Do yourself a favor though and get your crisp on. The ingredients for the beef are likely all things you have in your pantry. The only possible exception is mace, which you can replace with a small amount of cayenne if you’re not following the AIP, or simply leave it out.
The slaw is far from an afterthought here and is delicious in its own right. I may publish it separately soon so that it gets the love it deserves. I like to cut the cabbage into wedges and run it through the slicing disk on my food processor to get more substantial shreds. You can do it how you like. I’m not big on prechopped anything due to cost, but I have a good source of matchstick carrots and radishes. Feel free to shred/cut them yourself or sub your favorite veggies.
I used a spoonful of a granulated stevia blend this time. It also works well with liquid stevia as written or some form of *real* sugar like honey or maple syrup. Whatever floats your boat.
The secret ingredient is vanilla, something I would have never thought to put in a slaw like this. Try it! A few months ago my husband threw me a surprise birthday party(that was truly a surprise) and served a slaw like this. It was a hit. The citrus, turmeric and vanilla are a perfect combination.
Tips to Up Your Leftover Game
One of my biggest time-saving techniques is to make big batches of things like this beef and then put it in other meals later in the week. The day after we had this for dinner, I made a stuffed sweet potato for lunch by putting it on top of a leftover Japanese sweet potato. My son can eat it in tacos, it can be put on a salad, made into a hash or put in your omelet. When you learn to be creative with leftovers and strategic in cooking, you cut your time in the kitchen in half. As much as I love to cook, I do love saving time and effort when I can. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!
If you make the slaw as written you will have slaw for days, which is exactly the way I like it. I make bigger batches of things that refrigerate well to use later in the week. Put some shredded chicken on it and lunch is served. If you’d like to cut the recipe in half, use one lemon and one lime, then cut the other ingredients in half.
It’s hard to nail down how many servings a recipe makes since every family is different, but the beef itself is 4-6 servings depending on your appetites. I often make two roasts, cut it into large chunks(quarter the roasts), double the seasonings and water, and increase the cooking time to 80-90 minutes. That way I have a full second batch to use in another meal later in the week.
Instant Pot Crispy Caribbean Beef Caulirice Bowls with Citrus-Turmeric Slaw THM S (AIP, paleo, low carb)
This delicious meal of perfectly spiced and crisped beef with tangy slaw over cauliflower rice is a flavor party that you’re going to love!
- 1 3-pound beef chuck roast
- 2 tsp sea salt or himalayan salt
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground mace
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 large onion, quartered and sliced
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- coconut oil, for frying
- 1 small head red cabbage shredded
- 1 10-ounce bag matchstick carrots
- 1 8-ounce bag matchstick radishes
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 5-10 drops liquid stevia or a drizzle of honey or sweetener of choice
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, alcohol-free vanilla, or vanilla powder AIP- omit if you are avoiding vanilla beans
- 1/2 tsp salt
For Caulirice Bowls
- 1 package frozen cauliflower rice, heated according to package directions
- lime wedges
For the beef
Combine the dry spices(from sea salt to turmeric) in a small bowl. Rub well on both sides of the meat. Place the meat in the Instant Pot and pour the water in around it.
Press [manual] and set the cooking time for 75 minutes. Allow to natural release, or quick release after 7 minutes if desired. Remove beef to a bowl, discarding liquid.
To prepare the beef in a slow cooker, place the seasoned meat and water in your slow cooker. Cook on high 5-6 hours or on low 8-10 hours. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.
Shred the beef into very thin strings. They will have more surface area to get crispy this way.
Heat a large cast iron skillet or other large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add one tablespoon coconut oil and melt. Add the onions and cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the onions to a large bowl. Do not clean the pan.
Add about one third of the beef to the pan in a single layer and cook without stirring for 4-5 minutes until crisp on the bottom. Flip and cook another 4 minutes. Remove to the bowl with the onions.
Repeat with the remaining beef until it is all crisp. Add the cilantro and toss with the onions and beef.
Serve in the caulirice bowls as written or anytime you want amazing crispy beef. To reheat, simply heat in a skillet for 5-10 minutes until crispy again.
For the slaw
Add the vegetables and parsley to a large bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup. Pour the dressing over the veg and toss to coat.
For the Caulirice Bowls
To assemble, place some heated cauliflower rice in a bowl. Top with the beef and slaw, and garnish with avocado, cilantro, and lime wedges.