I’d never heard of the Whole30 program until Penguin Random House Canada gave me the opportunity to review the Whole 30 Cookbook by Melissa Hartwig. I love the idea – get rid of all the crap food in your life, reset yourself, and slowly re-introduce foods so you can figure out what, if anything, is bringing you down. I’m not quite at the point where I’m willing to jump into the program 100%, but I am definitely willing to eat cleaner and healthier. I prefer homemade food over pre-packaged food any day, even if it means more work.
The Whole30 Cookbook is a nice hard cover book, with lots of photos, red recipe titles, and easy to read text. Even if one doesn’t follow the Whole30 program, this recipe book includes a lot of delicious recipes for even the pickiest eater. If you’re not on the program you can adjust the recipes accordingly. My boyfriend is a meat eater and he doesn’t like it when I go on quinoa kicks; there are plenty of recipes in this cookbook that will be Jay approved. I mean, you can cook with pancetta and bacon on the Whole30 diet!? Woot!
The first recipe I tried was Slow-Cooker Italian Beef Roast, Pg 43. I love that this recipe cooks up a fair chunk of meat and veggies and provides links to other recipes to use up those leftovers. It’s very thoughtful – make lots today so future meals are easier – this is a page off my book (if I may say so myself!). I wasn’t able to find a bone in roast that wasn’t prime rib so I just used a cross rib pot roast, and it was 3.5 lbs instead of 5 lbs. I threw in more potatoes than the recipe called for (because I wanted more leftovers) and didn’t use fennel bulb since I couldn’t find it at Sobey’s. The rest of the recipe I pretty much followed, although I added an extra couple tablespoons of water because I didn’t think 2/3 cup of liquid would quite be enough. The recipe turned out awesome. I cooked it in the slow-cooker on low for about 9 hours. We both really liked the rub and Jay asked me to remember it and use it for roast again. It had a depth to it that I wouldn’t have thought to pull together on my own. The fennel seeds were a really nice touch! The potatoes were braised nicely and the carrots were delicious. I served it with spiralized zucchini sautéed in coconut oil. The leftovers would be perfect for the ‘recipe remix’ recipes designed to use the leftovers (i.e. potato patties with shredded beef and poached eggs with salsa verde (this one sounds delicious!); easy beef, mushroom, and rosemary ragout; or beef and broccoli slaw lettuce wraps).
Next I tried the Chicken and Green Olive Meatballs with Smoked Paprika Tomato Sauce, Pg. 126. I quite like spaghetti squash but am often scared about mixing it with other flavours because I find it to be quite sweet. Butter and S&P is good enough for me! I made this recipe when I was on my own, freezing the extra meatballs for another dinner.
The sauce was very smoky with the fire roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika. I was happy to finally find the tomatoes at Sobeys … I’ve been looking for them every time I go! Anyways, the sauce was great with the spaghetti squash – way better than any pasta sauce I’ve ever had with the squash before. I think it’s because this sauce has deep layers of flavour – it’s not just sweet tomato sauce. I didn’t love the chicken meatballs – way too much fennel. Interestingly, the roast I made from this cookbook was also loaded with fennel. In short, I like the sauce with the spaghetti squash, but I think it would also be great with bison meatballs. Oh, and since I’m not actually on the program, a glass of chilled Chardonnay was delicious with this dish!
The last recipe I tried when the Whole30 Cookbook was featured in my Eat With Me Cookbook Club group on Facebook, was the Thai Red Beef Curry with Green Beans on Pg. 77. Although my photo of it isn’t beautiful, this was my favourite recipe of the three. I think it should be called Thai Red Curry Beef with Green Beans, but, whatever. This recipe was easy and delicious. Another slow cooker recipe, you have to sear the meat before putting it into the slow cooker so there is a bit of prep work. I used cheap stewing beef cubes rather than charcoal steak since I’ve never seen it here in Canada and I wanted to use up what was in my freezer. My package was about 1.2 kg, so I did use more meat than the recipe called for. It still turned out fine, with just a bit less sauce to go around. I also purchased a small bag of pre-cleaned, pre-trimmed green beans and dumped the whole thing in. I think the bag was close to a pound but I honestly didn’t even check. Since I’m not actually on the Whole30 program I served the curry beef with basmati rice I made in the rice cooker with coconut oil. All together, this was a delicious dinner and I even put a few containers in the freezer for future lunches. I highly recommend this recipe!
*I was provided a copy of the cookbook to review, but all thoughts on the book and the recipes are my own*