I am always on the hunt for interesting recipes. My social media feeds are littered with delicious looking meals, I read cookbooks for fun and I’m that annoying person who tears the recipes out of the magazine at the dentist’s office.
The idea that you can take a bunch of simple, naked ingredients and turn them into something delicious, satisfying and nutritious still delights me now as much as it did when I first started cooking.
This is one of the reasons I did a program at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition last fall. It was a 14-week training that took me deeper into my understanding of the nutritional and healing properties of food and how to help people incorporate practical and simple cooking skills into their lives to positively impact their health. I learned everything from how to develop recipes and healing meal plans to teaching nutritional workshops and helping clients adjust to new ways of cooking and eating. It was so much fun! Now I have lots of new tools to help me share my continued love cooking and the myriad of ways we can use food in the pursuit of good health.
Reading a good recipe gets my mind whirring about all kind of possibilities and life should always feel full of possibilities, right? What especially thrills me are recipes that center around using fresh vegetables. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in the 1970’s in a home where processed foods were in heavy rotation and the only vegetables I ever saw were carrots, celery sticks and green beans from a can. To be fair that was not uncommon in those days but I still can’t quite believe that I never encountered fresh broccoli or asparagus until my early twenties. Maybe that’s why cooking with vegetables and simply cooking in general still feels so revelatory sometimes
Because of my ongoing vegetable-related wonderment, it’s no wonder that my local farmers market is quite literally one of my favorite places. I’m lucky enough to live in a city that has great farmer’s markets all year round. Even in the winter they are chock full of gorgeous, locally grown produce. Occasionally I can get a little carried away by my enthusiasm and I end up with extra veggies that need to get eaten up quick. That’s when I turn to one of my favorite meals: skillet hash.
Skillet hash is exactly what it sounds like: a combo of ingredients chopped into small pieces and cooked in a skillet (with the option of an egg or two cracked on top). This has become the ultimate comfort food for me and it’s a great way to use up all manner of produce and/or leftovers you have that need to get eaten ASAP. Plus it’s a one-pot dish which is nice for clean up. You can work with pretty much any combination of vegetables and protein here and it will turn out deliciously. My go-to skillet hash almost always includes pantry staples like sweet potatoes and onions but beyond that pretty much anything goes. Chopped up Brussels sprouts and rainbow chard (stems and all!) are a frequent combo but you can use whatever you have. Things like kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots and celery all work as do butternut squash or regular potatoes in place of the sweet potatoes. The key really is chopping the veggies small so that they cook quickly and evenly and having a good skillet with a tight fitting lid.
You can also add things like sausage, bacon or even leftover protein from the night before to make it a heartier meal. When you use sausage or bacon it’s a good idea to cook those first and then cook your veggies in the rendered fat for extra flavor. If you are using protein, please make sure you use pastured meat. Your body and the planet will thank you! If you’re using something like leftover chicken breast that has less fat then add that after your veggies have sautéed for a bit and before you put the lid on. For an additional flavor boost you can add a sprinkle of chopped parsley, basil or a dollop of pesto.
Skillet Hash (Whole30 and Paleo compliant)
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Serves 2-4
- 1 -2 Tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced small (usually around 1 -2 cups)
- 1 medium onion (Red or yellow is fine)
- 1 small bunch (or 1/2 large bunch) of red or rainbow chard, stems removed and diced, leaves chopped and set aside (*see note below)
- About 8-10 medium Brussels sprouts, chopped or shredded
- As many organic, pastured eggs as you like
- Avocado slices
- Optional flavor booster: a big dollop of pesto, or a sprinkle of fresh herbs, stirred in right before you add the eggs.
*Note: if you don’t have chard you can use a different leafy green like kale or collards. If you use one of those then discard the stems and add the leaves in according to recipe instructions.
- In a large skillet, preferably cast-iron and with a lid, melt the oil over medium heat.
- Add the onions, a few pinches of salt, and stir to coat. Cook the onions for about 5 minutes, until translucent.
- Add the sweet potatoes, chard stems (if using) and Brussels sprouts and toss to mix with the onions. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes and then stir in the greens in batches, until well combined. Turn heat down to low, cover skillet with a lid and let the veggies steam for 5 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked through. When cooked through, add in optional flavor boosters.
- To cook the eggs, make a few holes in the hash and crack eggs into them. Put the lid back on and allow the eggs to cook for about 3-5 minutes depending on how soft you'd like them to be.. Alternatively you can put the skillet (without the lid) under the broiler. You want the egg whites to set, but the yolks to be runny or semi-runny depending on your taste.
- Just before eating, sprinkle with fresh ground salt and pepper.
- Add avocado slices and you’re ready to go!