(recipe and photo by Sarah-Louise Moseley)
Caponata is a classic Italian dish from the South.
It is sort of the Italian version of the French Ratatouille. Though Italians would definitely think that the Ratatouille is the French version of the Caponata.
The original recipe is truly amazing but it has two caveats for us, looking to get lean and strong: it has a disproportionate amount of calories and basically no protein whatsoever.
“Such a pity!” — I said to myself.
So I did something that is sort of illegal in Italy: I changed the traditional recipe.
I know, many grandmas are most likely turning in their graves as I cooked this.
But, if you can forgive me the biggest Italian sin, then this recipe should really be in your high-protein staples.
Mind you, it still has a lot of calories, but waaaaay less than the original. Which makes this a great recipe for a clean and healthy bulk.
Let’s talk about the mind-blowing taste. Bittersweet, flavorful, rich, and truly mouth watering. Each bite will call for the next.
You say that you can’t gain weight because you seem not to eat enough? Try this recipe and try to tell me that again! 😉
Given the relatively high amount of fiber, this dish is pretty satiating too!
This recipe is also low carb high fat (LCHF) so, if you happen to be on this diet, you’re good to go!
I used to HATE Brussels sprouts.
Like any cheap plot you can think of, I am now in love with them, of course.
It all started when I wanted to pair some veggies with my beloved sardines.
I was experimenting with different things and I decided to give Brussels sprouts a try. And boy I was hooked!
I don’t know what happened but I actually really like them now. Go figure!
Brussels sprouts are a nutrient powerhouse!
100g of Brussels sprouts provide:
This recipe is a great way to pack some vitamins together with some great flavor (and a lot of protein!).
In the recipe I used beer. Feel free to substitute it with wine or vinegar (apple cider goes great here!).
If you don’t want to use sweetener, you can use applesauce for a more natural and whole ingredient (I didn’t have it at hand). Apple goes very well with pork, you should really try.
This is a full meal great for clean bulking. I would recommend this as dinner or post-workout. You get protein, fat, and healthy carbs all in one meal!
You don’t need to eat junk food to gain muscle mass. You can have perfectly healthy bodybuilding meals to gain mass and this recipe is an example.
This is a one-pot recipe which means that you won’t have to spend much time for cleaning up since you do everything in one pan.
This is a very easy and quick bodybuilding recipe which is also good for people on the paleo, primal, lchf, iifym diet.
I never cooked pork belly before but I was intrigued to try it since it was on discount at the supermarket.
It’s not the big chunk pork belly usually comes in but it was in slices.
Anyway, I decided to try to cook it very simply with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.
Literally, it took me 10 min total to make this and it tasted so freaking great.
On top of that, it packs 900 kcal and almost 40g of protein.
I really cannot understand how people struggle to eat enough to gain muscle mass. It’s not difficult if you choose calorie dense food.
Being so low carb and high fat, this is a great keto bulking recipe.
If you are looking to make some keto gains, you should try this recipe out.
On a bulking phase, you increase your calories. On a ketogenic diet, if you are not tracking your caloric intake, it can be hard to gain weight since this diet is very satiating. With some tricks such as adding heavy cream, butter, or olive oil, this can be overcome.
Too many calories for you? Really easy! Just drop the heavy cream! It will still taste great and it will have 132 kcal less.
Still too many carbs for you? Skip the cherry tomatoes or replace the shallot with garlic. The taste will be different but still delicious since garlic goes great with both pork and mushrooms.
This dish not only is super easy and delicious but it’s also incredibly cheap! No excuses for not building muscle mass here!
Once, I found out Gordon Ramsay’s YouTube channel and I ended up spending the entire Sunday morning watching is cooking videos.
I was drooling over my keyboard.
The guy is a whizz and he’s incredibly passionate about cooking. You can see his heart is in there when he seasons the meat, chops up the onions, or sears a steak.
Given that pork chops is relatively high in protein and I’m bulking, I decided to give Gordon Ramsay’s pork chops recipe a try.
The recipe itself is rather simple though I never basted meat before so that was sort of tricky for me though I managed at the end. It’s a nice technique to bring more flavors and speed up the cooking so that the meat doesn’t dry up and you can give it a try with this recipe.
I wouldn’t recommend this recipe to someone who never cooked before. There are easier recipes that can provide you great taste as well.
The taste was great: rich, full of aromas from the herbs and butter, sweet and sour from the vinegar and the peppers. Some sour cream or crème fraîche would make a great topping for this one or even just some quality extra-virgin olive oil.
Despite being high in fat, it doesn’t have a high amount of calories: only 590kcal/serving. Since I am bulking, I ate 2 😄
Olive oil and pork meat are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which can increase anabolic hormone levels.
Pork and butter are also a source of saturated fatty acids which, as well, can increase levels of anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormones.
This will contribute to gaining muscle mass faster by increasing your testosterone levels in the long term.
Be sure to include polyunsaturated fatty acids in your diet as well such as omega-3s which you get from eating fatty fishes or by taking fish oil supplements for a proper balance.
Each serving will also provide 35g of protein which is a good high amount for people who want to build muscle and strength (you still need to train though 😜 ).
Pork sausage was on discount, therefore I bought 1.5 kg.
What to do with it?
Pork sausage is one of those foods that you can put together with anything and it will taste superb.
This does indeed in this amazing recipe I am presenting to you today.
It’s pretty low in carbs so perfect for a ketogenic diet or low-carb high-fat (LCHF).
If you don’t care about your carbs intake, this goes perfectly with pasta. I had it with some gnocchi and, boy, was this foodgasmic!
Trust me, it tastes way better than it looks 🙂
You know, well, everybody knows that cabbage is good for you.
Right. But that taste…
I wanted to include some green cabbage in my diet and tried to think of how can I make this enjoyable and not a dread.
I thought: Chinese have been using green cabbage since forever and they make delicious stuff out of them!
Since I am not Chinese and I wouldn’t dare mess around with such a complex, rich, and ancient culinary art, I decided to give Chinese cabbage rolls an Italian spin so nobody gets offended. Though if you are Chinese and want to teach me how to make high-protein healthy cabbage rolls, please write me 🙂
So, what makes this dish “Italian”?
Besides the usual aromatics (onion, carrots, leek) I used red wine and fennel seeds. Fennel seeds really give a twist to this dish!
This has only 19g of carbs per serving which makes it ideal for someone on a LCHF diet or keto (when carbs are kept below 50g).
It’s also fairly high-protein. But if you want to increase the amount of protein without increasing calories, go for lean beef (here I used a fatty cut).
This dish can easily be boosted in protein to have 30-40g per serving just by using lean beef.
This dish has less than 500kcal per serving so it can be used for cutting as well (use lean beef in this case which will also increase the amount of protein per serving!)
If I had a broiler, I would have put some Parmesan cheese on top and gave them a couple of mins to become crunchy and even more delicious!
My grandma (and mom) used to make this all the time: a big tradition in southern Italian cuisine.
The flavors are incredible and the way they combine makes you feel in Italy after a first mouthful.
Little that I realized, how high-protein and low-carb high-fat this dish can be!
Therefore, whenever I have some time and can find cheap eggplants, this dish is a must do for my post-workouts.
This is very filling too so if you are cutting you can make it as well.
So, there you have it, the authentic south Italian stuffed eggplants recipe adapted for muscle mass gains!
(I’m sure my grandma would kill me if she knew I posted her recipe hahah)
Have you ever heard of Bud Spencer and Terence Hill? They are famous Italian actors, famous for action-comedy movies such as “They Call Me Trinity”.
In this movie, there is an epic scene of almost 3 minutes in which the main character is eating a delicious beans course straight from the pan.
The scene is so well done that you start drooling right away.
Your brain goes: “MUST. HAVE. NOW.”
I tried to imagine how that recipe would be like and went about to re-create it. t was as delicious as in the movie.
It was as delicious as in the movie it seems to be.
This is a healthy, high-protein, low-carb recipe which is great for building muscles!
If you want to be as strong as Bud Spencer, you should try this recipe. It’s super easy!
This recipe is also gluten-free.
Note: the carbs indicated on the nutrition label are already net carbs (as in the style of European nutrition labels)
How to make a cheap, (fairly) healthy, and high-protein dinner?
Well, you use pork, legumes (lentils in this case), and veggies!
This recipe is a great high-protein lunch/dinner idea since it packs a lot of proteins and a ton of fibers (for those of you struggling with fiber intake!). It delivers an incredible 38g of fibers per serving. If I remember correctly that’s the recommended intake for an adult male!
While being all good for your intestinal health, it’s also very delicious as the aroma of the pork meat perfectly combines with the texture and taste of lentils and tomato sauce. Then, the added spices add a touch of unexpected flavor that blends delightfully with the whole dish.
It’s not a quick recipe (it might require up to 50 min), mind you, since you have to cook the lentils but if you have a slow cooker than it’s perfect!
Since this is a high-calories recipe, it’s ideal if you struggle to gain weight and muscle mass.
This recipe is good also for people on the slow-carb diet!
The amount of carbs in the label is net carbs (as in European nutrition labels’ style).