Technically, my 12 week keto experiment is now over. Well, it has been as of last Wednesday, that is. So I did it. YAY ME!
Honestly, it was the toughest challenge I’ve ever taken since I started my journey to health, and I never thought that I would be able to pull it off. I came *this* close to giving up. But I’m not a quitter…
Despite having had such a hard time around week 8, things got better soon after and it turns out I’m not hating it so much after all, especially since I seem to have finally adapted and am now doing much better on it… So I decided to keep at it at least until the end of the month. I dunno: stopping now would sort of feel like it was an incomplete challenge. I like to do things one month at a time. Like when I do a round of Whole30, for instance. I always start on the first of the month and if the month happens to have 31 days, well then I make it a Whole31. Hey, what’s another day, right?
That said, doing the Whole30 wouldn’t even feel like much of a challenge for me anymore. I’m basically on a perpetual Whole30, with the few little exceptions of an indulgence here and there, mostly in the form of things that would fall under the “Sex With Your Pants On” category.
And sometimes, I like to treat myself to a little bit of dairy…
What I always found the hardest about the keto diet is the extremely minimal amount of veggies that one gets to eat while on it. And the fact that so many are plain off limits because they are way too high in carbs. But I think I adapted… See how despite being keto friendly, this recipe still calls for PLENTY of vegetables, and even CARROTS?
Oh yeah! Seriously, I’m starting to get the hang of it. I haven’t even felt the need to add fat bombs to my daily feeds in well over 6 weeks now.
I must admit that adding dairy to keto dishes helps tremendously in upping the fat content and if I did do dairy on a regular basis, I’d probably like the diet even more. But unfortunately, dairy is only a “once in a blue moon” thing for me, at least until I can get access to raw milk more consistently…
So believe it or not, to make this recipe, you’ll need a whole head of cauliflower, a whole rutabaga, a whole bunch of green beans (I know, I know, paleo gray zone…) and a whole carrot, too!
The rutabaga, carrots and green beans need to go in a microwave safe bowl with about a quarter of a cup of water and a generous pinch of salt. Cover this loosely and cook in the microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, until just slightly softened. You really only want to blanch the vegetables, here, not cook them all the way through.
The cauliflower goes in a steam basket set over salted boiling water and needs to cook until really tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Put about half the beef tongue meat at the bottom of a large casserole dish.
If you don’t have Pickled Beef Tongue, or if there’s no way you could even bring yourself (or your family members) to eat it, you could always use smoked ham instead.
But seriously, if you’ve never had Beef Tongue before and feel ready to give it a try, this is an awesome place to start. I swear, you will convinced the whole time that it’s in fact ham you’re eating.
Top your meat with about half the veggies and one third of the cheese. Repeat with rest of the meat, veggies and another third of the cheese.
To make this casserole, I used the delicious Fresh Farmer’s Cheese that I’d just made, but if you didn’t have access to that, you could use a good quality, well-sourced firm Ricotta Cheese. Feta Cheese or Unripened Goat Cheese would also make for fantastic substitutions.
Or even Swiss, Emmenthal of Sharp Cheddar… why not?
Now we need to make a lusciously thick and creamy sauce to bind all of these good things together…
Transfer the cooked cauliflower to your blender; add chicken stock, ghee, Dijon mustard, thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg and process on high speed until super smooth and silky in consistency.
Pour that cauliflower Béchamel right over the casserole.
Spread it nice and evenly across the dish with a spatula or wooden spoon…
… and then sprinkle the remainder of the cheese all over the top.
Bake your casserole in a 375F oven for about 30 minutes or until the béchamel starts to bubble and the cheese turns a beautiful shade of golden brown.
Take the casserole out of the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Garnish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and fresh thyme if desired. (really… you should totally do that!)
Honestly, of all the keto friendly recipes that I came up with over the last 12 weeks, this Creamy Cheesy Beef Tongue Casserole is by far my favorite.
It’s like comfort food at its best, except it exceptionally good for you! It’s so creamy and cheesy and crazy comforting, I could’ve eaten it for hours, had it not been for the fact that it filled my belly so rapidly. For yeah… it’s VERY satisfying, so it’ll fill you up in no time.
But hey, you’ll most probably have leftovers that you’ll get to enjoy the next day and the good news is, they’ll probably taste even better!
- 550g pickled beef tongue (or smoked ham),_ cut into chunks
- 400g fresh farmers cheese (or fresh ricotta),_ crumbled
- 1 medium rutabaga, peeled and diced (350g)
- 250g green beans, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- Preheat your oven to 375F.
- Place the cauliflower in a steam basket, set it over salted boiling water and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the rutabaga, carrots and green beans in a microwave safe bowl. Add about a quarter of a cup of water and a generous pinch of salt, cover loosely and cook in the microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, until just slightly softened (you only want to blanch the vegetables, not cook them all the way through)
- Transfer the cooked cauliflower into your blender; add chicken stock, ghee, Dijon mustard, thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg and process on high speed until super smooth and silky in consistency. Set aside.
- Put about half the beef tongue meat at the bottom of a large casserole dish. Top with about half the veggies and one third of the cheese. Repeat with rest of the meat, veggies and another third of the cheese then pour the cauliflower béchamel right over the casserole. Spread it evenly across the dish and sprinkle the remainder of the cheese all over the top.
- Bake in a 375F oven for about 30 minutes or until the béchamel starts to bubble and the cheese turns golden brown.
- Take the casserole out of the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and fresh thyme if desired.