Keeping It Real

Taylor Riggs doesn’t shy away from labels.

Yes, it’s true that her new cookbook is both gluten-free and paleo-friendly, but the blogger-turned-author has a much simpler mission for Real Food. Real Simple—one that reflects its title:

She just wants to create a realistic guide for people who really don’t have time but want to be healthy.

“My whole goal with this project make healthy eating less intimidating and approachable to people,” she said. “I own cookbooks that are fun to look at, but none that I can incorporate into my everyday life, so this was a way to do this.”

Luckily, this one’s fun to look at, too. That’s thanks to Allie Lehman of The Wonder Jam, who as a co-collaborator helped bring the simplicity of the recipes to life in vivid, light imagery. (Simi Botic provided the at-home backdrop and logistical help in the kitchen, proving not only that this cookbook is all-local, but that it really can be done at home).

Riggs, who has lived with Type 1 Diabetes since the age of 10, and Lehman, who has dietary restrictions of her own, both had a natural passion for the project.

“There were some recipes that were just two steps, and I would show someone and they would say ‘Oh my gosh, two steps! That’s my kind of recipe,’” Lehman said, adding that the book’s almond butter flax cookies are her current favorite to serve to her houseguests.

“Everyone was so amazed that they tasted no different than a regular cookie. I felt empowered to adjust the recipe to fit her needs, and the fact that I can (tailor recipes) to my dietary specifications is really encouraging and I think really encouraging for other people.”

Not all of us here at Stock & Barrel are in need of gluten-free recipe help, but damn, if we didn’t think the results of these three’s collaboration was worth sinking our teeth and eyes into.

Dig in.

Spaghetti Squash Vegetable Pizza Bake

Serves 4-6


1 large spaghetti squash

1 tbsp olive oil

2 large eggs

¼ cup coconut flour

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp black pepper

1 15-oz can pizza sauce

1 cup red pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup green pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp garlic, minced

dried oregano and basil to taste

4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced, optional


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Drizzle the insides with olive oil and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife slides easily into the back of the squash.

Remove the squash from the oven and allow it to cool completely. Once cool, remove the strings from the squash using a fork, holding the squash vertically and repeating a downward scraping motion starting from the top and moving toward the bottom. Remove the excess water from the squash by pressing against a fine strainer or in a thin layer between two paper towels.

In a large bowl, combine the squash, eggs, coconut flour, salt and pepper to form the crust mixture. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, form the mixture into a large crust, about 1/8 inch (0.3 cm) thick.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and spread pizza sauce evenly over crust, followed by the vegetables, garlic, seasonings and cheese (optional). Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly tender and the cheese has melted.

Balsamic Date and Prosciutto Pizza with Goat Cheese and Arugula

Serves 4-5

Ingredients: Crust

2 cups almond meal

2 large eggs

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

½ cup nutritional yeast


1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup red onion, thinly sliced

½ tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 large medjool dates, finely chopped

3 slices prosciutto

4 oz goat cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Arugula for topping


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a large bowl and mix to form a dough. Form a ball with the dough and place it between two large sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 1/6-inch (4 mm) thick crust.

Remove the top piece of parchment paper and place the bottom piece with the crust on top onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil and add in the red onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the balsamic vinegar and continue to sauté for additional 2-3 minutes (the onions should be translucent and tender). Remove the skillet from heat.

Arrange the onions, dates, and prosciutto evenly on the pizza crust on a large baking sheet. Crumble the goat cheese over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake the pizza for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Remove the pizza from the oven and top with arugula before serving.

Nanny’s Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs

Yield: 4-5 servings

Ingredients: Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp garlic, minced

2 15 oz cans tomato sauce

4 6 oz cans tomato paste

3 cups water

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp dried oregano

1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped


1 lb ground turkey

1 large egg, beaten

1 tsp garlic, minced

¼ cup yellow onion, chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

¼ cup nutritional yeast

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the sauce, heat the oil and garlic over medium heat in a large stockpot. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, seasonings and herbs. Bring to boil, then turn the heat to low.

For the meatballs, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix together with your hands.

Roll the turkey mixture into balls (about the size of a golf ball) and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake the meatballs for 15-20 minutes, then remove them from the oven and add them to the sauce. Allow the sauce and meatballs to cook for at least one hour before serving (the longer, the better!)

Italian Spaghetti Squash Boats

Serves 4


2 small spaghetti squash

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

½ cup yellow onion, diced

1 lb mild Italian ground turkey

1 (28 oz can diced tomatoes

2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

2 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, optional


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut each squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Use 1 tbsp (15 ml) of olive oil to lightly brush the inside of each half. Place face down on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until a sharp knife slides easily into the back.

While the squash is cooking, heat the remaining 1 tbsp (15 ml) of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the garlic, onions and turkey. Cook for about 6-7 minutes, or until the turkey is browned. Add the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain the tomato mixture to remove excess liquid.

When the squash are done, flip each over and, using a fork, gently scrape some of the strings out. Fill each with the meat sauce.

If adding cheese, top the boats with mozzarella and return them to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.