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!
Another chicken recipe because people who want to get big and strong only eat chicken, am I right?!
The truth is that it was on sale and I stocked on chicken hahaha #frugalaf
This recipe smells of Mediterranean.
I don’t know why it happens but once cooked, everything has this fragrance of fennel and the sweetness of the onions. It was then natural to me to add some fennel seeds to boost that aroma even more with some fennel seeds. But if you don’t have them, this recipe tastes delicious as well. The fennel seeds are really the cherry on the top.
This high-protein recipe tastes really succulent and it’s also cheap and easy to make.
This recipe makes a great healthy post-workout not only for people doing IIFYM (flexible diet) but also those on Paleo/Primal.
This recipe is recommended for bodybuilders on a bulking phase since it provides 790kcal. It is great for building muscle mass since it has 50g of protein! Talking about high-protein recipes, eh!?
I used beer to make it. You can replace it with wine (white for a more delicate flavor, red for a more robust one) or with chicken/vegetable broth/bouillon) or vinegar (my bet is that balsamic is great here). If you don’t have any of this, feel free to use water.
Building muscle mass and becoming strong can be done in a healthy way and this recipe is an example. Healthy bodybuilding is possible! 🙂
I am definitely going to make this again because I loved it and it’s sort of set it and forget it since the oven is doing most of the work.
Ah, some sour cream/crème fraîche is great here, for those of you looking to add more calories, just saying 😉
Without further ado, here’s the recipe.
Potatoes…who doesn’t love them, am I right?!
All those calories though!
What if I told you that there is a vegetable that tastes and “behaves” 90% like a potato but with half of the calories?
Let me introduce you to a new staple in your diet which makes for a great food hack.
Yeah, bizarre name. But you might also know it as neep or swede.
I stumbled upon it almost by chance, really.
I live in the Netherlands and my Dutch is very bad. I asked for “Kohlrabi” and the fruit seller packed me a rutabaga. Which I discovered only when getting home and finding this HUGE and weird looking vegetable in my bag.
It actually took me some time even to understand what it was hahaha
I found a lot of delicious recipes on the internet but I didn’t have much time to do fancy stuff so I decided to treat it like I would normally treat a potato and use it to make this chicken stew you can see here.
I am pretty sure that if you would serve this to anyone who didn’t see you cooking, they might never tell that it’s not made with actual potatoes. The more sophisticated foodies might spot the difference and tell you “what kind of potatoes did you use for this dish?”
The difference is incredibly subtle.
The rutabaga/neep/swede has ONLY 36 kcal/100g!! It also provides a mere 8g of carbohydrates of which 3g are fibers. If you are on a ketogenic diet and miss potatoes, this can be for you!
From the nutrition point of view, unfortunately, as with regular potatoes, this is nothing spectacular as it doesn’t provide that high amount of nutrients. Though it has more vitamin C than regular potatoes providing 42% of the Vitamin C RDA in 100g. But to be honest, you need to have a very crappy diet not to consume enough vitamin C 😀
Also for those of you cutting and missing potatoes, try to have some rutabaga! I am going to show you more recipes in the future that are great for cutting!
I decided to make a very quick chicken stew using “kipkluifjes”. I have no idea what’s the English word for that and the closest approximation is chicken thighs though they are very small.
Of course, you can use bigger chicken thighs, drumsticks, and even chicken breast.
This high-protein recipe is a healthy bodybuilding meal great for dinner or post-workout.
At 850 kcal this recipe can be a bulking one for those looking to increase muscle mass. If you are cutting, use chicken breast or remove the skin from the chicken.
This recipe is also high in protein since it provides 54g per serving.
With 32g of net carbs, this can a good post-workout recipe for people on the targeted ketogenic diet (TKD).
If you don’t want to use beer, use wine, vinegar, or chicken broth to make this recipe paleo/primal.
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 😜 ).
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).
A big traditional Italian classics which is perfect for building muscle and strength too!
Furthermore, this recipe has very low amount of carbs and it’s very cheap and easy to make.
Next time you have guests at home thinking how miserable your life must be on a LCHF diet, serve them this, and you might get a convert right there 🙂