Eat Evolved


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Spiced Ground Beef with Cauliflower Zucchini Puree

April 12th, 2011 at 19:10

Lately, I’ve been perusing the recipe forum over at Mark’s Daily Apple. One of the posters there runs an awesome blog based on Paleo versions of classic Middle Eastern dishes. I kid you not, it seems like every other post is a dish that I absolutely love the non-Paleo version of, so it was only a matter of time before I made one. Tonight was the night to try my first one out.

I moved last August, away from a neighborhood that had a ton of restaurants within walking distance. One of the restaurants I frequented, pre-Paleo, was called Aladdin’s. They served a dish of spiced, browned ground beef on top of hummus, with pine nuts and diced tomatoes. When I saw Paleo Middle Eastern’s version, I was intrigued. I wasn’t sure how the cauliflower and zucchini would work to approximate hummus. I also wasn’t sure what 7 spice was–I had to Google it. Turns out it’s an equal mixture blend of cinnamon, allspice, peppercorns, nutmeg, fenugreek, cloves, and ground ginger. Amazingly enough, I had all spices on hand, so I toasted up everything but the ground ginger, tossed it in the coffee grinder, and added the ginger to the ground spices.

Homemade 7-spice made, I worked on the “hummus” puree. I had two large zucchini on hand, so that’s what I used. I must have had small lemons, because the three I had left only netted me a quarter-cup of juice–I had to run out and get more. I split the difference and used 3/4 cup of tahini. I also used a bag of frozen cauliflower, and since I used frozen, I ended up not adding the 1/2 cup water to the mix. Nobody’s going to be fooled into thinking that this is hummus, but it’s delicious nonetheless. Toddler, who is utterly repulsed by vegetables and by cauliflower especially, went insane for this. She kept begging for it while I was cooking the beef, and probably ate a quarter-cup of it before we even got to the table. And at the table, she ate it with a spoon and completely ignored the beef–generally the opposite of how dinner usually goes down at our house. This alone is enough for me to recommend this recipe.

The beef is awesome too. Nicely spiced and stirred while browning into a fine mince, it’s a perfect accompaniment to the puree. This made me feel like I was at Aladdin’s again. If you are not nightshade-sensitive, garnish it with a few pieces of seeded, diced Roma tomato. A drizzle of olive oil would also be a nice touch.

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