I was thumbing through a cooking magazine called “Cook Fresh” and came across an interesting salad recipe that I knew I wanted to try. But as I read through the ingredients, I realized I needed to change a few things to make it healthier and of course, more delicious. The result was fabulous.
1/2 lb baby spinach, washed and dried (8 loosely packed cups)
1 t. granulated sugar
2 lb. boneless pork chops trimmed of excess fat and sliced crosswise, 1/4 in thick
dry sherry (not sherry vinegar)
coconut oil (for frying up pork and veggies)
2 t. Asian sesame oil
I bunch scallions, cut into 2 in pieces
6 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 bag sugar snap peas
1–2 cloves pressed garlic
2 T. minced fresh ginger
In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons rice vinegar with 1 1/2 T. coconut aminos, sugar and 2 T. water and set aside.
Put the pork in a medium bowl and season with 1 t. salt. Toss with 2 T. coconut aminos and 2 T. sherry. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
Heat 1.5 T coconut oil in a heavy, 12 in skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add the pork in 3 batches and cook, stirring, until it loses its raw color and is just firm, about 2 minutes. Transfer cooked pork to a clean, medium bowl and continue cooking cooking the rest of the pork in batches. (You don’t want to crowd your pan.) Each time you add a new batch of pork to cook up, you may need to add a little more coconut oil.
When finished, add 1 1/2 T coconut oil and the sesame oil, scallions, mushrooms, bell pepper and sugar snap peas to the skillet. Cook, stirring until the mushrooms and scallions soften and brown in places, about 3 minutes. Add about 1 T. of the minced ginger along with 1-2 cloves of pressed garlic, 1 more tablespoon of coconut aminos, 1/2 T. rice vinegar and 1/2 T cooking sherry to the veggies and cook a few more minutes more being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the pork back into the skillet along with any juices and gently toss to blend with veggies. Take off heat and set aside.
In a small skillet, over medium high heat, add 1 T. olive oil and the remaining tablespoon of ginger and cook, stirring until very fragrant about 30 seconds. Remove the skillet from the heat and add ginger and olive oil to the vinegar-coconut amino mixture from earlier. Stir well with a whisk. Mixture will be largely separated at this point. Slowly add 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil to the mixture, whisking to emulsify. Add cracked pepper and/or red pepper flakes to taste. You can also add salt to taste, but the coconut aminos are already very salty.
Toss the spinach with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Portion among 4 plates and top with the pork and vegetables. Drizzle the top with some of remaining vinaigrette. Serve immediately. You will probably have leftover meat and veggies as I doubled the meat from the recipe I modified. I like to have leftovers for the next day.
What is coconut aminos? In the paleo world, we use this seasoning instead of soy sauce because it is soy and gluten free. From the coconut secret website,
“Coconut Aminos is a soy-free seasoning sauce made from coconut tree sap, which comes right out of the tree so vital, active and alive with nutrients, that it is only blended with Coconut Secret’s own sun dried mineral-rich sea salt and aged, without the need for a fermentation booster or added water. As well, the majority of conventional soy sauces on the market are made with non-organic, genetically modified (GMO) soybeans. Long term use of unfermented soy-related products has led to an increase in soy allergies, a disruption in proper thyroid function, and an overload of estrogens in the body.
When the coconut tree is tapped, it produces a highly nutrient-rich “sap” that exudes from the coconut blossoms. This sap is very low glycemic (GI of only 35), is an abundant source of amino acids, minerals, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B vitamins, and has a nearly neutral PH.
Use Coconut Aminos like soy sauce in dressings, marinades, sautes, and with sushi.”