A Filipino meal that’s somewhat healthy!

As you’re probably aware by now, I’ve adapted a semi-Paleo lifestyle.  Personally, I cannot commit to 100% Paleo diet; there are some foods that I can’t give up (being Chinese American, I absolutely love my Jasmine rice, among many other things), but there are also some aspects of the Paleo diet that I don’t understand or agree with.  One of the items excluded in the Paleo diet are legumes.  Based on my research, it seems that legumes are made up like grains.  Multiple sources continue to describe the high amount of lectins, which is a sugar binding protein.  (BTW, I had to google what lectins even were).  I don’t know… I think all vegetables are great for your health and high in fiber, so I’ll continue to consume my legumes, thank you very much.

Since Bjorn is Filipino, I’ve tried a few Filipino dishes in the kitchen, but struggle a bit because a majority of the classic dishes are not the healthiest.  To name a few: Pancit (rice noodles stir fried with meat and veggies), lumpia (fried spring roll), turon (deep fried plantains wrapped in spring roll wrappers), kare-kare (meat, tripe, and oxtail stew with vegetables in a peanut sauce)…

One of the dishes that I learned to make over the holidays was Ginataang Hipon Kalabasa.  Basically, it’s a veggie dish made of kalabasa (squash), long beans, coconut milk, and shrimp.  It’s such a hearty and healthy dish; Bjorn loved it and approved!

Ginataang Hipon Kalabasa (Shrimp with coconut milk and squash)

Serves 6


  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks (the traditional dish calls for kalabasa, which is Asian squash, but butternut squash is a tastier alternative)
  • 1 lb of jumbo shrimp (approximately 20)
  • 1 lb of string beans (don’t add this if you want to keep this dish Paleo)
  • 1 can of coconut milk (14 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Olive oil
  1. In a large pot, over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil and add in onions and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes until onions are translucent.
  2. Toss in butternut squash and string beans.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup of water and cover for an additional 5 minutes or until the squash is tender.DSC02149
  3. Add coconut milk and fish sauce.  Stir well.  When the liquid comes to a boil, add in shrimp and mix well.  Turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.



4 thoughts on “A Filipino meal that’s somewhat healthy!

  1. Yay for Filipino foods! My mother (a lovely 4’10” Filipino lady) has been making me Paleo friendly Filipino dishes when I visit. You could make Kare Kare Paleo by using almond butter instead of peanut butter. (I’ve been looking into this myself since I love that dish.) You could make Chicken or Pork Adobo with coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Not so much vinegar though, since coconut aminos is more subtle than soy sauce. I had to learn that the hard way. Also. I really miss rice!

    I think that it’s great you made this dish because I’ve been thinking a lot about green bean and squash Filipino dishes lately. Good timing!

  2. That’s awesome!!! Thanks for the recommendations. I wonder if almond butter for kare kare would taste good? I’ve never cooked with coconut aminos before… Will give it a try as well. I did try to make a “lower calorie” chicken adobo before and Bjorn was not a fan, haha.

  3. First time here…I’m glad you made the effort to make Filipino dishes more healthier. I’ve thought about that myself — for instance, making kare kare with beef stew meat or chicken adobo with chicken breast. Your Ginataang looks light and just as delicious as the original. Thanks for sharing. 😉

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I like the ideas of using leaner protein for those dishes – would be worth a try to see if it’s a yummy alternative. Let me know if you try this and how it turns out!

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