Friday, December 13, 2013

Sweet and Sour Bacon Shrimp with Green Beans and Citrus Ginger Cauli Rice

Craving Chinese? Don't hit the buffet! Make your own at home!

I call myself a mental cook. I rarely ever cook a savory dish more than once before I post it...well, rarely in real life. I cook my meals a million times in my head first. It's a very weird routine I have. You know how some athletes imagine themselves winning before the big game? I do that with new recipes. I'll lay in bed late at night and imagine myself going through the ingredients. I imagine every detail down to which pots, pans and utensils I'll use and how I'll photograph it. I even imagine myself making changes, or adding new seasonings or another layer to the recipe. In fact, many of my ideas come from me imagining myself staring into the fridge with a limited number of ingredients and having to come up with a new recipe. What can I say? It works for me!

That's exactly what I did with this dish. I thought this recipe up about five days ago, and I've been cooking it over and over again in my head since then-- making changes, adding new ingredients and seasonings. Today I actually cooked it, and the results were perfect! To quote my husband, who is always the final word on my recipes, "That is something you'd get in a fancy restaurant." As a man who has travelled all over the world for his job, and eaten on the company dime at some great restaurants, I'll take his word for it!

Now, I want to touch on the topic of green beans because I know many of you have already been thinking, "But I thought green beans weren't Paleo?" It's a valid question, one that I asked myself a long while ago. I can't tell you whether you should, or shouldn't eat green beans, but I can provide you with a little bit of information I've learned in my own research. Paleo is, at it's strictest form, legume free and green beans are a legume. However, many people keep green beans as a part of their regular Paleo diet and here's why...

First of all, the reason legumes are restricted on Paleo is because they high in lectins, phytates and galactans. These are all ingredients that are harmful to our digestive system for multiple reasons that I won't go into detail about here. However, green beans are unique from other legumes in that they are extremely low in lectins, phytates, and galactans. Add to that the fact that they are super high in many vitamins and nutrients, and many people have decided that the benefits outweigh what very little harm they MIGHT even cause. Now, this is not necessarily the case for people who have an issue with FODMAPS; however, even many of those individuals find they have no issue with green beans. What it boils down to is this: Green beans provide many benefits at very VERY little risk to our health. The decision to eat them or not rests with your personal experience. If you find you have issues after eating them, or you simply want to adhere to a very pure version of Paleo, then you may want to stay away.

Okay. Now that we've cleared the air with that one, let's move on to the recipe!

Sweet and Sour Bacon Shrimp with Green Beans and Citrus Ginger Cauli Rice (serves 2 generously)

For the Sweet and Sour Bacon Shrimp and Green Beans...


4 Tbs bacon grease
1/4 yellow onion minced
3 large (4 medium) garlic cloves crushed
1.5 liquid cups vegetable stock
4 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs coconut aminos
Juice of 2 tangerines
3 Tbs raw honey
1/4 tsp sea salt
20-30 medium shrimp cooked & deveined (tail on or off is personal preference)
2 hearty handfuls of fresh green beans (or more if you are a hungry set)
4 pieces of crispy fried bacon (for garnish)
Chopped green onions (for garnish)


Dry shrimp well. In a nonstick pan over medium heat melt bacon grease. Add onions & cook down a bit. After onions have cooked a bit, add garlic. After the garlic has cooked a bit, add the liquid ingredients. Add the honey and salt last. Stir continually until honey is melted and ingredients are well blended. Bring to a bubble. Allow the liquid to bubble until it has reduced to approximately half of its starting amount. Once it has reduced, pour almost all of the sauce out of the pan into a cup or bowl and set aside. Leave just enough in the pan for cooking the beans and shrimp. 

Return pan to heat and add the green beans. Cook until desired doneness. I like mine al dente (still a little firm). Then, add the shrimp to the pan and cook until just warmed through. This does not take long, so watch carefully! Usually, just a few minutes is all you need. Remember, it is already cooked. You are just warming it up. If you need to add more sauce to the pan at all while cooking the beans and shrimp, do so.

For the Ginger Citrus Cauli Rice...


1 head of fresh cauliflower
1 tsp ground ginger (dried)
Zest & Juice of 1 tangerine


Chop the cauliflower. Using a food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it reaches a rice-like shape and size. I like to do mine in two separate batches to ensure a more consistent size throughout. Once done, mix in the dried ginger and tangerine zest and juice. To cook mine, I simply placed it in a covered microwavable dish and microwaved it for 8 minutes. If you do not use a microwave, you can warm it up in the pan you cooked the sauce, beans and shrimp in. Simply sauté the cauli rice until it is just softened.

To plate...

Place a portion of cauli rice on the plate. Top with green beans and shrimp. Drizzle with sweet and sour sauce. Top with crumbled bacon and green onions. Grab some chopsticks and ENJOY!


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