Preparing fish at home does not need to be complicated or intimidating. This one-dish recipe for stuffed flounder and a variety of vegetables looks like something for a special occasion but is actually easy enough to make for a fast weeknight dinner. Plus, it utilizes the greens of the colorful root vegetables for increased nutrient density and practically no waste. And that’s a win for your health, a win for your pocketbook, and a win for the environment!
I developed this recipe as I was preparing to cook at a wellness retreat in Italy, where I would be accommodating multiple food restrictions among the attendees. I ended up not using this exact recipe there, but I did make it for a lunch gathering of my virtual colleagues who work with me on Angie Alt’s SAD-to-AIP-in-SIX group coaching program. If you are a current member or an alum of the program, chances are you recognize some of these faces in this goofy selfie we took right before digging in!
Fish: If flounder is not available, try this with another white-fleshed fish, such as sole or flounder. In fact, my original plan had been to make this with sole since it was inspired by this recipe, but my store didn’t have it.
Vegetables: I like the colors of the combination of carrots, beets, and radishes, but feel free to mix this up with any other root vegetable you like. I also really like Brussels sprouts this time of year, so they go in as well even though they don’t fit the “root” vegetable theme.
Greens: Yes, the greens on top of all of these vegetables are edible! But if you aren’t able to buy them with the greens in place, substitute a pound of fresh spinach in their place.
Mushrooms: I’ve been adding mushrooms to everything I can these days, since learning how much they benefit the gut microbiome. They also add a little bit of bulk to the stuffing and a nice earthy tone.
Healing Diet Notes
This recipe is compliant with the elimination phase of the Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) and with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). It would also be embraced by Wahl’s Protocol followers, due to the massive amount of nutrient-dense vegetables included and anyone undertaking a Whole30 or simply aiming to eat a mostly whole food diet. Enjoy!
What happens with the earth meets the sea? You get a dish like this stuffed flounder! It utilizes the greens of the root vegetables that are roasted with it, so there is practically no waste and high nutrient density.
Prepare beets, radishes, and carrots as follows: Remove greens and set aside to use for stuffing. Wash vegetables thoroughly and peel beets and carrots if desired. Cut all into evenly sized pieces, each one about 2 inches square or diameter, or large bite-sized.
Cut Brussels sprouts in half or in quarters, depending on their size, so that they are about the same size as the root vegetables.
Toss beets, radishes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts together along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt. Spread in an even layer in a baking pan or casserole dish.
Place in preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes, while you prepare the fish.
Wash the reserved root vegetable greens carefully to remove any grit. Remove any very tough stems and finely chop the rest. Measure out 4 cups of greens, loosely packed. NOTE: You will likely have more than you need for this recipe, so plan to reserve some for another use or saute the extra while the fish is baking and serve alongside the meal.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then saute the shallots and mushrooms until both are soft and slightly browned (about 5 minutes). Add the chopped greens and continue cooking and tossing until all are wilted and very soft.
Add salt to taste. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Lay fillets flat on a work surface with the skinned side up. Spoon an equal portion of the greens and mushroom mixture onto the center, near the narrower end of the fillet, and then roll into a cylinder, enclosing the stuffing mixture.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and gently place the rolled up fish fillets on top. Sprinkle with dried oregano and salt as desired, then place lemon slices on each fillet.
Cover with a layer of parchment paper and aluminum foil over top to tightly seal and return to oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and remove foil. Return to oven for at least 10 more minutes, uncovered. Check fish to see if it is cooked through; if it is not, cook for up to another 15 minutes uncovered.
Allow to rest in pan for 10 minutes, then serve.
If you can’t get vegetables with greens attached, you can substitute 1 pound of fresh spinach for the greens.
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