A Healthy 4th of July Spread

4th of July, the ultimate day of the year to BBQ, can come with the temptation to completely let go of your diet and healthy lifestyle. Luckily, this spread will satisfy all your holiday cravings without making you get off track! A creamy low-carb appetizer dip, paleo hamburgers on a stick, a low sugar condiment alternative, a makeover for traditional slaw, and a grain-free seasonal dessert – does it get any better? Enjoy this spread and Happy Holiday!

APPETIZER: Cauliflower Hummus

To start, whip up a batch of this low-carb Cauliflower Hummus and serve it with lots of colorful vegetables and some grain-free chips. You won’t even miss the beans in this creamy recipe, and instead will fill your system with the health benefits of a low-carb cruciferous vegetable. This yields 2 cups and can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

1 large head chopped organic cauliflower
1/4 cup Tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus a bit more if needed)
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon avocado oil (for roasting)
Juice of 1 lemon
Season with sea salt and pepper to taste preference

Add 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika for a little spice
Add 1 tablespoon fresh herb of choice (I like to add dill, but any herb works!)

Note: This may need some water to help loosen up the ingredients when blending – start with a small amount and add more if needed.

1. Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place chopped cauliflower and garlic cloves on the sheet and coat with avocado oil.
3. Roast for roughly 20 minutes, tossing once (until soft and slightly brown).
4. Let cool.
5. Place all ingredients (including optional ingredients if you wish to use them) in a food processor or blender.
6. Blend and season until it is the creamy consistency and flavor you desire.

ENTREE: Hamburger Kebob

Hamburger kebobs are a fun way to reinvent a traditional hamburger without the gluten-laden bun. And who doesn’t love meat on a stick? This recipes creates 10 kebobs – bonus, the kids will love them too!

Meatball Ingredients: (This will make 20 golf ball sized meatballs)
4 LBS grass-fed ground beef
4 minced garlic cloves
2 pasture raised eggs
1/2 cup almond flour
Season with sea salt and pepper

10 radicchio trevisano (can also substitute or vary your kebobs with brussels sprouts if you wish)
10 golf ball sized cherry tomatoes
3 large red onions
1 Tablespoon avocado oil
Season with sea salt and pepper

1. Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl, and make 20 golf ball sized meatballs.
2. Cut the head off the radicchio trevisano so it is roughly 3 inches in length. You must keep the butt of the bulb on so it stays in tact and does not fall off the stick. (You can grill the top leaves separately if you wish to enjoy on the side!)
3. To cut the onions, keep the ends on the onion on and slice the sides off. Remove the outer skin and pull apart the onion layers to create little cups for the meatballs to sit in. (This should create little bowls that will be used to cradle the meatballs on the stick)
4. Toss all vegetables in the avocado oil and season with sea salt and pepper.
5. Assemble your hamburger kebobs as so: Onion cup facing up, meatball, onion cup facing down, radicchio trevisano, tomato, onion cup facing up, meatball, onion cup facing down.
6. Turn grill onto low heat and place kebobs on the grill.
7. Keep covered and turn often. They will take roughly 30 minutes to cook through.

NOTE: Instead of trying to rotate the whole kebob, I found it easier to just rotate the ingredients around the stick.

CONDIMENT: Sun-dried tomato “Crema”

Ditch the sugary ketchup and inflammatory cheese for this delicious sun-dried tomato “crema” that has a creamy tomato and cheesy flavor combination to satisfy both tastes. This yields roughly 2 cups.

2 cups soaked raw cashews (soak overnight or for 4 hours – discard the water)
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (make sure no sugar is added to the brand you purchase) or 1
cup roasted tomatoes in olive oil (both work)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (start with 1 TBSP and work your way up until it is the consistency you desire)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Juice of 1 lemon
1 crushed garlic clove
Season with sea salt and pepper to taste

Optional: Can add some red pepper flakes for a spice kick if you wish

1. Soak cashews overnight or for up to 4 hours, and then discard the water the cashews soaked in.
2. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
3. Blend and adjust seasoning to your desired consistency and taste preference.

SIDE DISH: Dairy-free Coleslaw

Spruce up your slaw with a vinegar based dressing (rather than mayonnaise) and the health benefits of fennel – which helps to combat gas and bloating! This yields roughly 10 servings.

1 1/2 large organic cabbage heads chopped finely – roughly 7 cups total (I personally like to use a blend of green and purple cabbage)
1 large fennel bulb (core removed) thinly sliced with fronds
1 large green apple (core removed) thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon monkfruit sweetener (can also use raw honey or stevia – start with a small amount and taste test, as it should just slightly be sweetened)
Season with sea salt and pepper to taste preference

1. Place thinly chopped cabbage, fennel, and apple into a large bow. and sprinkle with fennel and poppy seeds
2. In a separate bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. Adjust sea salt, pepper, and sweetener to your taste preference.
3. Pour dressing onto of the slaw and mix well.
4. Keep in refrigerator for at least 1 hour (the longer the better) before serving.

DESSERT: Seasonal Strawberry Shortcake

Ditch the sugar-loaded desserts for this delectable strawberry shortcake by chef Tricia Williams: https://www.bewell.com/blog/healthy-strawberry-shortcakes-recipe-that-is-firework-worthy/

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