Most of my day was spent yesterday cooking for the week. In addition to the turkey, steak and pork, I made four sauces and dips: adobo, ranchera, chimuchurri, and salsa verde. In making these delicious healthy recipes from foods I purchased that day, I realized that the most amazing thing I’ve learned the past thirteen years is that the secret is in the sauce. Making dips, sauces and spreads from scratch doesn’t take that much time and is a delicious and frugal way to feed an allergic family.

Chimichurri Sauce

First, figure out what really excites you. Is it the balsamic and olive oil they bring to your table with the bread at Italian restaurants? Is it the salsa at your local taqueria? Is it the chili garlic dip at the Chinese restaurant?

For my allergic child, it’s Olive Tapenade. She’s always loved olives (kalamata olves are her favorites) and so this olive tapenade was a welcome addition to her food choices. I add the red bell peppers for an extra boost of nutritional value since they are loaded with Vitamin C. Once the olive tapenade is spread and dipped on Edward&Sons Vegetable Rice Crackers, all is well with the world.

Olive Tapenade Recipe

©2011 by Heidi Bayer. All Rights Reserved.

1 8 oz package of Kalmata Olives (pitless)

2 Tbsp Roasted Red Bell Peppers (look for the kind with no preservatives)

1 Tbsp Capers (make sure these are OK for your allergies, they are for us!)

1 – 2 Cloves Garlic mashed and minced

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil (or another kind of oil that is safe for you)

Salt is not necessary because the kalamata olives will have all the salt you need. Use a a really excellent olive oil if you can. If for some reason you’re avoiding olive oil, any other oil can be substituted. Some people like to add parsley but Allergic Kid doesn’t like them, so, we stay away.

Drain olives, getting rid of all the liquid that surrounds them. No need to save it for anything else. Place olives, and the rest of the ingredients in a blender with a tight fitting lid. Blend on low for about 30 seconds or until the mixture is well blended, but not too liquidy. Pour into a festive bowl and serve.

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