I tried an interesting new recipe today — red pepper spread meat sauce!
Red pepper spread (also called ajvar) is a type of smooth relish that combines red bell peppers, garlic and eggplant. Spicy versions also include crushed red pepper flakes or hot chilis.
Guess what? It is delicious! It is great as a dip or as a secret ingredient to give your soups or sauces an interesting juxtaposition to more common tomato based sauces.
My recommendation: buy some and start experimenting.
Today I picked some up at World Market (it can also be found at Trader Joe’s and other specialty food stores) without a clue how I would use it. When I got home, it was lunch time, and I came up with this recipe.
It is super simple, delicious and healthy. What else do you want?
- 1 pound of ground beef (I used grass-fed sirloin)
- 1 jar of ajvar (red pepper spread)
- fresh basil
- sea salt
Start by browning your ground beef in a large pan.
Then, remove from the pan and give it a fine chop. If you are in a hurry, just break the meat up in the pan with your spoon.
Next add about a cup (8 ounces) of the red pepper spread and let simmer for a couple of minutes until it is warmed throughout.
That is really it for the meat sauce. Give it a taste at this point and make sure to season it to taste with sea salt. Here is the final result, created with love, in the FitnessHQ test kitchen!
There are a couple options for serving.
First, as a Paleo friendly recipe, dress some chopped romaine lettuce or baby salad greens with some olive oil and serve the red pepper meat sauce over the greens as salad. Below, I also sprinkled a bit of parmesan cheese and fresh basil ribbons. Here is dish #2 – a salad with red pepper meat sauce:
Like a traditional Italian (non-Paleo!) dish, you could serve this over some type of whole wheat pasta with some basil ribbons on top. This would work with spaghetti, macaroni or any other pasta. For our strict clean eating and Whole30 friends, you could also substitute pasta with spaghetti squash.
We had some whole wheat fusilli — spiral shaped pasta — on hand that was already cooked, so after warming it up, we had dish #1: Red Pepper Meat Sauce with Pasta!
You could even put a unique twist on lasagna and use this red pepper spread in the sauce.
So if you are tired of the same old same old, give this meat sauce a try.
It is great for a change of pace and honestly may cause you to rethink always making tomato-based meat sauces. Variety is the spice of life right? Enjoy!