For the past several months our oldest daughter has been experiencing a lot of joint pain. It has affected just about every major joint in her body, and on both sides. Her doctor is stumped, but has referred her to a rheumatologist (her appt isn’t until January though). A few weeks ago she was doing some research and found that cutting out nightshade plants (eggplant, peppers of all types–sweet and hot, potatoes–but not sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, goji berries) it will help with inflammation and joint pain. So she decided to give it a try. She cut out nightshades and her pain has reduced quite a bit….she doesn’t live with an ice pack or taking motrin like it’s candy. The pain that she does have is manageable for the most part, and she is able to be a little more active. Now that she is about 3 weeks into the dietary changes she is getting tired of not being able to have salsa, ketchup, hot sauce and peppers and potatoes in her food. I am trying to accomodate to the very best of my abilities, but there are some things that she just can’t eat and she has to have extra salad or extra veggies or whatever the other dishes is. I have found that celery is a good crunch substitute for the diced peppers that she loves in her favorite pasta salad, and other little tricks like this. But today’s lunch was a little perplexing to me……this summer I had made a bunch of freezer meals and I was using one of those for lunch today….chicken enchilada casserole (I freeze it without sauce so that the tortillas don’t turn to mush), spanish rice (this was already all made and frozen, and had tomatoes and peppers so she couldn’t have any of it), and refried beans (seasoned simply with salt, black pepper and lots of garlic and onion…..thankfully when I made these, I was out of chili powder). I decided that today was a perfect opportunity to experiment with making a nightshade-free salsa verde thinned out and pureed more to make a green enchilada sauce. I have to say, it turned out DELICIOUS! And help up perfectly to baking in the casserole. here’s the recipe (I cut and pasted the email that I sent to a real food email loop that I belong to, sorry for the duplicate information).
If you like green salsa or green enchilada sauce, this is a good nightshade free alternative for you. I had pulled out some things from the freezer to make for lunch today (freezer meal items that I made a couple months ago) and was disappointed that I couldn’t serve them to our oldest daughter because I would need to add enchilada sauce to the enchilada casserole (I freeze my enchiladas and enchilada casserole without sauce so that the tortillas don’t break down and become mushy). I came up with this…….
Nightshade-Free Green Enchilada Sauce or Salsa Verde
1 bunch cilantro, washed well and cut into large pieces
2 small or 1 large onion, large diced
4-5 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt (more to taste)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
enough water to make a smooth, thick puree (I used approx 1/2 cup, but didn’t completely measure it)
1 ripe avocado
Place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. If you want to use it as a salsa use a little less water and leave it a little chunky if you desire.
This had just enough bite from the onion, garlic and black pepper that it satisfied our desire for spiciness.
(THis recipe would also be a good place to “hide” some leafy green veggies like spinach or swiss chard, but you’ll need to adjust it a bit with the seasoning).