Tag Archives: paleo appetizer

Bacon, Guac & Tomato Bites (and why you don’t need to be afraid of bacon!)

Bacon, Guac & Tomato Bites | AmandaNaturally.comIn honour of the ridiculous report released by the WHO earlier this week (saying that bacon and red meat are akin to cigarettes regarding cancer risk), I’ve decided to share a go-to appetizer in my house – Bacon, Guac & Tomato Bites! This doesn’t even really require a recipe per se, it’s more basic directions for the world’s best appetizer!

But briefly, before I jump into the awesomeness that are my BGT Bites, I just want to post a few links to solid articles (and my favourite quotes from each) to put you at ease for eating both red meat and bacon:

World Health Organization, Meat & Cancer – Zoe Harcombe

“…the baseline for the processed meat eaters showed that they were far less active, had a higher BMI, were THREE TIMES more likely to smoke and almost TWICE as likely to have diabetes. This makes processed meat a MARKER of an unhealthy person, not a MAKER of an unhealthy person.”  (bold emphasis is mine)

The Link Between Meat & Cancer – Dr. Sarah Ballantyne

“Where heme becomes a problem is in your gut: the cells lining your digestive tract metabolize it into cytotoxic compounds (meaning toxic to living cells), which can then damage your colonic mucosa, cause cell proliferation, and increase fecal water toxicity—all of which raise cancer risk….Here’s where vegetables come to the rescue! Chlorophyll, the pigment in plants that makes them green, has a molecular structure that’s very similar to heme. As a result, chlorophyll can block the metabolism of heme in your intestinal tract and prevent those toxic metabolites from forming. Instead of turning into harmful byproducts, heme ends up metabolized into inert compounds that are no longer toxic or damaging to your colon.” (bold emphasis is mine)

Bacon Causes Cancer? Sort of. Not Really. Ish. – Sarah, Zhang at Wired

“…smoking increases your relative risk of lung cancer by 2,500 percent; eating two slices of bacon a day increases your relative risk for colorectal cancer by 18 percent. Given the frequency of colorectal cancer, that means your risk of getting colorectal cancer over your life goes from about 5 percent to 6 percent…” (bold emphasis is mine)

“[The list of carcinogenic compounds] includes processed meat, and also asbestos. Also alcohol (boo!) and sunlight (yup!).”

“Risk assessment involves looking at different scenarios, finding out real-world exposure levels, and weighing possible benefits. (Useful drugs like Tamoxifen—used to treat breast cancer—are also carcinogens, for example.)”

The moral of the story is: The medical literature simply does not support these recommendations. I am confident in my understanding of the medical literature, to continue to recommend the consumption of a moderate amount of meat (ideally grass-fed, pasture-raised whenever possible) along side as many vegetables as possible.

Now that that’s out of the way….BACON!

Bacon, Guac & Tomato Bites (a.k.a. BGT Bites)


1 lb pastured bacon (or organic thick cut)

1-2 cups guacamole (see recipe)

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. 
  2. Slice each piece of bacon into 4 equal pieces. If the slice of bacon is particularly short, only cut into 3 pieces. They lose quite a bit of their size once cooked, so don’t cut too small!
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until very crisp.
    1. Option 1: lay flat on parchment paper lined baking sheet
    2. Option 2: line baking sheet with tin foil, place baking rack on top, lay bacon on rack. This allows you to save the rendered back grease for later use (hello bacon-fried eggs and bacon-mayo!)
  4. Meanwhile, make a batch of guacamole. If you’re out of time, or there aren’t any ripe avocados, Wholly Guacamole is fairly clean. As is the one found at Costco.
  5. Slice the grape/cherry tomatoes into discs – approximately 3-4 slices per tomato.
  6. Remove bacon and let cool.
    1. NOTE: If you are assembling this appetizer elsewhere, store the 3 ingredients in separate containers. You can transport the guac in the ziploc bag (see below), just make sure to squish it all into one corner and get rid of every last bit of air to prevent it from browning! Keep the bacon and tomatoes in separate containers to prevent the bacon from getting soggy. A piece of paper towel in with the bacon can also help this.
  7. Assemble BGT Bites – line a serving tray with bacon pieces. Spoon the guac into the corner of a ziploc bag. Cut off the corner and use like a pastry bag – squeezing a dollop of guac onto each piece of bacon. Top with a tomato slice!

Bacon, Guac & Tomato Bites | AmandaNaturally.com

Baba Ghanoush & Cucumber Sliders

Baba Ghanoush & Cucumber Sliders | grain free, dairy free, vegan | AmandaNaturally.comThis recipe came out of troubleshooting the following food-related challenges  opportunities I was posed with last week:

  1. We have cucumbers growing like crazy in our garden right now, and I needed to use them up in any way possible. They were large field cucumbers, which worked just fine, but I think smaller english cucumbers (with no seeds!) might work a bit better.
  2. We received an eggplant in our weekly CSA bin, and I don’t normally cook with eggplant. To be honest, I don’t really love eggplant, but I didn’t want it to go to waste. This is what I will do with eggplant going forward! 
  3. I needed to create an appetizer that I can eat (grain, dairy, legume free), but that was also vegetarian friendly. Guacamole is usually our go-to, but that was already being brought to the event, so it was time to get creative!

So many appetizers are based on bread, and since bread is such an epically nutrient-poor, processed food (even the gluten-free versions!) I thought I would use cucumber slices in place of a cracker or crostini, and top it with baba ghanoush (roasted eggplant dip). To make sure the dip didn’t slide off the cucumber, I cut the cucumber into thicker discs, and scooped out the flesh in the middle to make it a little cup. They worked great!

You could easily use this same approach and fill the cucumber cups with guacamole, egg/tuna salad, salsa or hummus/bean dip (if tolerated). 

Baba Ghanoush & Cucumber Sliders
A delicious, nutrient-dense appetizer that is free of grains and dairy. Vegan friendly as well!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Baba Ghanoush
  1. 2 medium eggplants
  2. 2-3 cloves garlic
  3. 3 tbsp tahini
  4. 1 lemon, juiced
  5. 1 tsp cumin
  6. ½ tsp sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  7. ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Cucumber Sliders
  1. Cucumbers
  1. Slice eggplant into ¼ inch rounds.
  2. Sprinkle with sea salt and place in a colander in the sink.
  3. After 10 minutes, rinse off and pat dry with a tea towel.
  4. Turn your oven to broil.
  5. Lay eggplant rounds on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.
  6. Broil 10-15 minutes, flipping once, until eggplant is golden brown and soft.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool.
  8. Once cool, peel/cut off skin. Add eggplant to food processor.
  9. Add remaining ingredients and mix until creamy.
  10. Meanwhile, slice cucumber into discs, about 1 inch thick.
  11. Scoop out half of the inner flesh, taking care not to go all the way through.
  12. Fill with baba ghanoush.
  1. To fill cups nicely, place dip in a piping or a ziploc bag with the corner cut off. Pipe dip into cucumber cups.
  2. Other dips would work great as well
  3. - salsa
  4. - tuna/egg salad
  5. - guacamole
  6. - ranch dip
  7. - hummus or bean dip (if tolerated)
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