Tag Archives: Ugly Food That Tastes Good

Ugly Food That Tastes Good: Joe’s Special

In my arsenal of ugly recipes, this is probably the worst offender. It’s ugly when you start, ugly while you’re cooking it, and ugly when it’s finished. Thank god it is so tasty that it is worth it casting aside this discriminatory idea that we eat with our eyes first.

Also: Super Nutritious.

You know how everyone and their mother wants you to drink Green Smoothies for breakfast because it’s such a delicious protein filled way to camoflouge all of that spinach? This website shares the best green juice recipes. Well this is the Green Smoothie’s dinner equivalent. And it will rock your socks off, even if you are a confirmed hot spinach hater like me.

Allow me to introduce to you: Joe’s Special.
Joe's Special

Have you heard of Joe’s Special? It is a famously San Franciscan dish that I remember hearing about in my childhood. The story of origin varies — some say it was invented to fill the bellies of hungry miners during the gold rush, others say it was a midnight snack for local jazz musicians in the 20s, my parents used to order it at a restaurant that they enjoyed on those occasional date nights they had while I was growing up. I can’t remember not knowing about Joe’s Special. So the first time I actually saw it, I was shocked that it looked a lot more..um, “rustic” than I had imagined for a dish with such history. I expected something fancy done in little bites on fine white china, what I got was something that Ina Garten would say looks like “A Dog’s Breakfast.”

But do you know what it tastes like? Bliss.

It’s a combination of beef, onions, spinach, mushrooms and eggs that has all of the flavor but none of the refinement of a good frittata. And? It falls within the Paleo/Primal spectrum no matter how strict you are. Omit the dairy and it’s still great! Not drinking alcohol? Substitute Beef Broth. Anyway you slice it, it will come through in the clutch the next time you need to get a quick meal on the table. And as a bonus it will give you a good story to tell.

Joe’s Special
Adapted from: Everywhere. This recipe specifically is on a 3×5 card from my Mama!

1 TBS Coconut Oil (Or cooking fat of your choice)
1 Large Onion, diced
6-8 Large Mushrooms, sliced (Any kind you you like will do)
5 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 lb Grass Fed Ground Beef
6-8 oz of Fresh Spinach (About 6 big handfuls. More is ok too!)
1/2 Red Wine or Beef Broth (Depending on if you cook with alcohol)
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese (Omit if you don’t do dairy. Totally cool.)
2 Extra Large Eggs, beaten
Salt and Pepper


1. Saute diced onion and sliced mushrooms in Coconut Oil over medium heat. You want to get the mushrooms good and caramelized. Salt and pepper the onions and mushrooms when they have browned a bit otherwise the mushrooms will get rubbery.

2. Add garlic, cook for about a minute.

3. Crumble in ground beef and brown. When beef is cooked, salt and pepper this layer liberally as well.

4. Add in your spinach. It will look like a lot. It will cook down. In fact, sometimes I add extra just to get crazy. You can’t have too much spinach in this dish, so don’t be afraid.

5. Pour wine/beef broth over your spinach and meat concoction and let the spinach wilt down.

6. Add in your parmesan and blend together.

7. Pour beaten eggs over the whole shebang, stir until eggs are cooked. Serve with a little extra grated parmesan or spinach for garnish.

8. Enjoy the ugliest dish ever!

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Ugly Food That Tastes Good: Pizza Zucchini

You know this food, right? It’s so hideously unattractive that even the best food bloggers can’t make it look appetizing, but it’s food that needs to be shared with the world? Well this side dish is right up on that list and since I am not the world’s best photographer, yet this is a recipe I’ve emailed a million times I decided that it was about time to bite the bullet and post it anyway.

Pizza Zucchini AKA How My Mom Got Me To Eat My Vegetables As A Child


It has all the flavors of your favorite late night deep dish, but with the added benefit of being a giant serving of vegetables. This is about as close as I get to supporting the Congressional decision to make pizza a vegetable. This method is so easy a caveman could do it (calling it a recipe is almost too formal) but if you are going strict Paleo, omit the cheese. If not, enjoy the melty goodness!

Pizza Zucchini
Adapted from My Mama
Serves 4


2-4 medium/large Zucchini cut in half (or quartered if really large) and sliced into half moons
1 TBS of your preferred cooking fat
Garlic powder
Penzey’s Pizza Seasoning (A mix of Oregano, Basil, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Cayenne)
1 14 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Cup Shredded Cheese (My mom used to use mozzarella, we use whatever is on hand. It’s good either way!)


1. In a 12 inch skillet (one that has a lid) heat up your fat of choice on medium/medium high then toss in chopped zucchini.

2. Brown your chopped zucchini on medium high until crisp tender – a full skillet will take 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the zucchini pieces. Whether they are cooked more or less will be a personal preference in the end. I like mine a little crunchy when it’s done. Garrett likes his soggy. Usually we compromise. At this point, you want the zucchini to have a little color but not be completely cooked.

3. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Penzey’s Pizza Seasoning to taste. (If you don’t have pizza seasoning, substitute Italian Seasoning)

Note: Pizza Seasoning does contain salt so beware of that when you are salting to taste.

4. Add the entire can of tomatoes with their juice and crank up the heat right on the cusp of medium high/high for about another 5 minutes. This will continue to cook the zucchini and also reduce a bit of the tomato liquid.

5. When the tomato liquid has reduced a bit, lower heat back to medium, sprinkle the cheese on the top, cover for 1-2 minutes and let it melt.

6. Serve and smugly enjoy the flavors of pizza with the servings of vegetables!

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