As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been cutting way back on my nut intake lately. I’m doing this for a few reasons, the biggest one being that I think I rely a bit too heavily on them in my diet. There are days where I’ll have nuts in some form at each of my meals, and sometimes as a snack, too. Healthy as they are, nuts are a bit more acidic on the pH scale if they’re not soaked and sprouted (which I don’t have time to do for every nut I consume!).
Eating a diet that’s too high in acidic foods can end up creating an inflamed body. Systemic inflammation leads to a host of problems ranging from skin and digestion issues to autoimmune disorders and chronic disease. Eating a variety of vegetables and fruits, which are very alkalizing, helps to offset the acidic load of the other foods we eat and also provides us with antioxidants to fight against disease formation in the body’s pathways.
Anyways, in all my years of eating free of a boatload of different foods, I’ve never eliminated nuts for more than a day or two. So I’m curious to see what will happen, if anything. It’s very important to eat a diversified diet so that we don’t develop allergies to the foods that are “safe” for us, which is part of the reason why I’m giving nuts a break. Right now is the very best time to do it, I figured, since the markets are overflowing with fresh produce!
That said, it has been harder than I thought to eat nut-free. Breakfast in particular has been a challenge because I’m also limiting my eggs (which bother me from time to time) as well as fruits and sugars, even natural ones. I have seasonal allergies that kick in like clockwork around mid-August. If I really cut back on my sugar intake leading up to the peak of weed season, it helps me manage my allergy symptoms incredibly.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not making room for a few sweet treats now and then. Last week, I came up with these nut-free, egg-free Lemon Strawberry Tarts that made my mouth pucker in the best possible way. Straight from the freezer, they’re a refreshing summertime treat that blends the tart flavor of lemonade with the sweet burst of fruity flavor from the dates and strawberries. I enjoyed them on my birthday over the weekend as a special treat that was worth every gram of natural sugar!
If you leave the tarts out of the freezer for more than 5 minutes, the lemon layer will rapidly begin to melt. So keep them frozen until you’re ready to serve them and let them soften up just for a minute or two before digging in.
If you don’t have strawberries on hand, use blueberries or raspberries instead. Leaving them plain would look a little blah, but they’d still taste wonderful, I know that.
A few notes about the ingredients before you begin:
- You’ll see in the recipe that the lemon layer calls for coconut cream, which is the thick cream on the top of a can of chilled coconut milk. Even though the thick cream will melt into the other ingredients as you prepare the lemon layer, don’t be tempted to use liquid coconut milk instead. The thick cream has more fat that is important for the flavor and consistency of the lemon layer.
- Don’t be tempted to leave out the turmeric either. It may seem like a strange ingredient to add to a dessert, but it enhances the yellow color in the perfect way. You won’t taste it, I promise.
- For a grain-free treat, use unsweetened shredded coconut instead of the oats.
Keep your eyes peeled for a post next week with my favorite egg-free, nut-free breakfast ideas. Until then, enjoy these Lemon Strawberry Tarts!
- ⅓ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ⅓ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ⅓ cup gluten-free rolled oats or unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup (packed) pitted Medjool dates
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Line 12 cups of a standard muffin pan with paper liners.
- Make the crust: In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and oats. Process until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add the dates, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Process until incorporated and the dough holds together when pinched with your fingers. Divide the dough into quarters. Divide each quarter into 3 equal size pieces, yielding 12 pieces in total. Press 1 piece of dough into the bottom of each muffin cup.
- Make the filling: In a small pot over very low heat, combine the coconut oil and honey. Cook, stirring, until the oil is melted and blended with the honey. Remove from heat and whisk in the coconut cream until melted and smooth. Then whisk in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and turmeric.
- Pour the filling mixture evenly among the crusts. It will be quite runny. Don't worry, it firms up. Place 2 strawberry slices on top of each tart. Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. Store frozen tarts in an airtight container in the freezer. Thaw for a few minutes before serving.