Easy Side Dishes


I don’t really miss bread ever since I switched to a grain-free diet about 8 years ago. Eating regular bread has so many health implications for me that it is just not worth it — honestly, it’s probably not worth it for you either! Joel and I don’t even eat bread made with alternative flours very often, so an individual serving of a low-carb bread in a mug for those rare times is just what the (functional medicine) doctor ordered.

Sometimes I just want savory bread in a mug with cold-smoked salmon for breakfast instead of eggs. Other times I want a breakfast sandwich with bacon, fried egg, and sautéed greens piled high. For lunch, I may want turkey sandwiches to get through our turkey leftovers. This is when two slices of savory bread made in a mug hit the spot.

Seriously, it is so easy and quick to make in only 90 seconds of cooking time that there is no need to bake a whole loaf. Well, unless you’re serving a lot of people. If I ever feel like I want a sandwich or something different from my regular rotation, I can have an individual serving of fresh bread in less than 5 minutes!

Bread in a mug with smoked salmon
Savory bread in a mug with cold-smoked, wild-caught salmon and sour cream

As is with any baking that uses alternative flours and low-carb sweeteners, I’ve been refining this bread in a mug recipe for a while. I finally settled on a version that I like and want to share with you. It doesn’t use almond flour for those of you who can’t tolerate it. It can also be made dairy-free using coconut oil instead of butter, but I think it tastes better with butter 🙂

I initially started with a recipe that used coconut flour and blanched almond flour. Those two flours together produced a moist-enough consistency only if you used 2 tablespoons of fat or 1 tablespoon of fat and 1 tablespoon of water per serving. And then I read something online that changed my world. Funny how that happens!

Now, you might ask, “What’s wrong with almond flour and 2 tablespoons of fat or 1 tablespoon of fat and 1 tablespoon of water?” First, in my case, 2 tablespoons of cooking fat is simply too many calories in one meal. Joel can have that — no problem — he’s bigger!

Turkey sandwiches with bread in a mug
Turkey sandwiches made with savory bread in a mug, toasted, layered with turkey slices and onions from the homemade Paleo stuffing, poured over with homemade grain-free gravy, and served with a side of leftover chicken broth for dipping

Second, I did my gut microbiome test and found out that I should minimize almonds, at least in the initial phase of rebalancing my overall microbiome. In fact, many people out there don’t tolerate almonds very well and are looking for recipes that don’t use almond flour. Blanched almond flour is surely better than regular almond flour because it has almond skins removed, but still.

The breakthrough happened when I was reading comments about a low-carb bread recipe that was posted on I love that site and their entire mission! Someone suggested using ground flaxseed because it makes the bread moist and gives it a nice texture. Well, flax seeds are on my “enjoy” list according to my gut microbiome test!

I modified my initial bread in a mug recipe to use ground flaxseed instead of blanched almond flour. It now requires only 1 tablespoon of cooking fat of your choice to be completely moist and delicious! Plus, all of the ingredients in the recipe are on my “enjoy” list. I can root for that!

The best part, of course, is that my hero Robb Wolf created a story on Instagram saying that my turkey sandwiches made with this savory bread in a mug looked amazing! Read my story to find out why Robb is my hero 🙂

Bread in a mug liked by Robb Wolf
Instagram story by Robb Wolf

Makes 1 serving


1 large egg, preferably pastured (I use pastured eggs from Vital Farms, which are available at most grocery stores in our area)
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder or granules
1 tablespoon grass-fed butter or coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons dried chives (optional)


  1. Whisk the egg, coconut flour, ground flaxseed, baking powder, sea salt, and onion powder in a microwave-safe mug with a wide bottom or a large ramekin until well combined.
  2. Pour melted butter or coconut oil into the mug or ramekin and mix well.
  3. Mix in dried chives (optional).
  4. Microwave on high for 90 seconds.
  5. Remove the mug or ramekin using oven mittens (it will be hot!)
  6. Let cool for a minute.
  7. Remove the bread from the mug or ramekin and cut into slices.
  8. Toast in a frying pan or a toaster (optional).

Bread in a mug recipe

I like to use a small whisk when mixing these ingredients, but a regular fork works just as well. Joel uses a fork all the time! I also use a butter knife to remove the bread from the mug.

This is where you get to play around with your favorite flavors! Feel free to omit onion powder if you don’t like the taste or want it plain. Try experimenting with other herbs and spices — I’d like to try it with dried dill because it would go well with smoked salmon.

Check out my recipes for an easy roasted chicken or prime rib, which would be perfect for using leftovers to make sandwiches with the savory bread in a mug.

This sour cream radish salad comes from Russia with love! It’s perfect for summer. Fresh, crunchy, and creamy…it goes well with burgers, steaks, fish, pork, chicken…you name it! It’s a great side for anything you grill. And it’s super easy to make.

You may or may not know this, but I was born and raised in the former Soviet Union, so I love Russian food, of course! Although Russians eat bread with just about everything, many of the Russian dishes are perfect for a keto or low carb, high fat diet — they’re filling and satisfying (think sour cream and mayonnaise). This salad is one of those dishes, and it’s quite delicious!

Russians also add cucumber and sometimes tomatoes when making this salad, however, since both of those fruits are high in lectins, I omit them in my cooking.

To make this salad Paleo-friendly and dairy-free, use extra-virgin olive oil instead of sour cream. Russians sometimes make this salad with sunflower oil, but as a seed oil, it’s not good for you, so use olive oil instead.

Watch how I make it. The written recipe is below.


1 bunch fresh radishes, sliced
1 green onion, chopped (green and white part)
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sour cream (preferably organic from pasture-raised cows)
Salt to taste (I prefer Himalayan pink salt for its mineral content)
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste


  1. Place sliced radishes, chopped green onion, and minced dill into a salad bowl.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add sour cream.
  4. Mix together.
  5. Enjoy!

If you love onions as much as my husband does, feel free to add a second green onion to this recipe.

I hope you fall in love with Russian food!

The days are hot right now, which makes me want to eat light side dishes with my steaks, burgers, chicken, fish, or whatever protein I’m eating that day. One of the easiest side dishes to throw together is my tangy broccoli slaw.

Typically I’d add mayo to it, but not on a hot summer day. My love Joel, The Grillmaster, cooked up succulent grass-fed rib eyes to go with the slaw.

grilled rib eyes

This tangy, light, and crunchy broccoli slaw is super easy to make. It’s a perfect side dish for summer days.

Watch how I make it. The written recipe is below.


4 cups store-bought, pre-washed, pre-cut broccoli slaw
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg’s Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar)
Salt to taste (I prefer Himalayan pink salt for its mineral content)
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste


  1. Place broccoli slaw into a salad bowl.
  2. Add extra-virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss together.
  5. Enjoy!

Feel free to add fresh herbs to your liking, such as parsley, cilantro, or any other.

I love asparagus, but I don’t like how it’s typically cooked. It’s steamed, oven-roasted, or sautéed…blah. I say there is a better way.

One day I was volunteering as a chef’s assistant in a cooking class. I clearly remember Chef Dan Witherspoon, of The Gourmet Spoon in Denver, Colorado, say that the best way to cook asparagus is to grill it. If you can’t grill it, broil it. It’s the next best thing to grilling.

Then once, during an annual ski weekend with my former college buddies, I was cooking batches of asparagus for dinner. People kept coming up to me and asking what I put in it because it tasted so good. I said, “Nothing special. It’s just quality oil and salt, and I broiled it.” People couldn’t believe how simple and delicious it was.

So, here is my “special,” super easy, and quick recipe for the best asparagus you can cook at home.

Watch how to prep asparagus for cooking, how to broil it, and enjoy! The written recipe is below.


1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed by hand (see tip below or watch the video)
3 tablespoons avocado oil (or any high-heat cooking fat)
Sea salt to taste (I prefer Himalayan pink sea for the minerals in it)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste, if desired


  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Place asparagus into a mixing bowl and drizzle with avocado oil. Use your hands to coat the spears with oil. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  3. Arrange asparagus onto a broiler pan or baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure there is a bit of space between each spear.
  4. Broil for about 5 minutes. Flip over and broil for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and transfer to a serving plater immediately. Arrange asparagus in a single layer, otherwise, it will steam and become soggy.
  6. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper to taste if you’d like.
  7. Enjoy!

For thicker spears increase cooking time by a few minutes depending on the thickness. You may keep checking while the asparagus is cooking to ensure it doesn’t get charred. It should be slightly crispy, but not too brown.


Use your hands instead of a knife to trim your spears. Simply hold a spear with both hands on each side and bend it. The spear will naturally snap. Discard the tough end and use the tender portion of the spear.

You can tell by this recipe that I like to use my hands when working with food. They are the original kitchen tool!