eating your superfoods is easy – with this vibrant kale + golden beet salad

superfood salad

People tend to either love or loathe kale salads — me? I’m firmly in the ‘love’ camp – so long as it’s prepared properly. The trick to making a killer kale salad is to marinate it. As kale can be a tough, fibrous green it requires acid + salt to properly tenderize.

Also adding to kale salad’s virtues is that they couldn’t be easier. They’re pretty fool proof – and it’s a true ‘one bowl’ meal. No need to prepare a separate dressing, you just add the acid, oil, and seasonings directly to the greens.

I also love that they can not only be made ahead of time – but they get better the longer they sit. It’s perfect to make ahead of time to work for a convenient lunch or to keep in your fridge for a grab and go meal.

I call this version a ‘superfood’ salad as it’s packed with nutrient dense ingredients like goji berries, hemp seeds, and microgreens. Goji berries are packed with antioxidants and add a little sweetness to offset the kale. I like that they will plump up as the dressing marinates. The hemp seeds also add a hefty protein dose that transforms this from a side salad to a complete meal. As a side note – adding hemp seeds to salads, bowls, and vegetables is a great way to up protein intake for those eating a largely plant-based diet.

Using a hand slicer to thinly slice the beets makes this a super simple and fast. Don’t have one? Try grating them with a box grater instead.

Kale Salad with Goji Berries + Golden Beets

Ingredients:

1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces
½ avocado
2 tablespoons goji berries
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (from one lemon)
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 small golden beets, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 scallion, chopped
2 tablespoons microgreens (optional)

Procedure:

Add kale, avocado, goji berries lemon, olive oil, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes to a large bowl. Use clean hands to ‘massage’ kale. This will also smash the avocado – the point being to combine with the lemon, oil, and salt to create a dressing.

Add beets, hemp seeds; mix together. It’s ideal to let this salad sit for at least 10 minutes – or even overnight. The longer it sits, the more the kale will tenderize and get increasingly flavorful.

Top with chopped scallion and microgreens if using.

make your mornings better — with this simple paleo granola recipe

best simple paleo granola recipe

Most people I know, love granola. When it’s done right, it’s crunchy, savory, sweet, and satisfying. The problem with most granolas is that they are usually pretty carbohydrate and sugar heavy. As more people are adopting elements of a paleo diet (gluten and grain-free), so I set out to create a granola recipe to compliment the lifestyle.

The problem that I’ve found with many of the store bought paleo granolas is that they are too clustery – great for snacking, but not really as a topping. They’re often pretty dried out and tough to chew. I used my beloved best ever granola recipe as a guide, but swapped out the grains with nuts, seeds, and coconut. The result may be even better than the original — and easier to make (no popping amaranth).

I love using sunflower seeds in this recipe, because their shape naturally mimics that of an oat. By cooking them low and slow, they get golden, crunchy and delicious. I also pulse the nuts in the food processor so they have a smaller, more uniform shape. I like using almonds and pecans (I think it was what I had on hand), but feel free to swap in any of your favorites. Hazelnuts or cashews would both be good options.

I shared this recipe with my ‘Paleo 101’ cooking class last month and it was a clear winner. Hope you enjoy it the same.

Cinnamon Spiced Almond-Coconut Granola
 
Ingredients:
 
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup coconut oil (liquefied)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sunflower seeds
½ cup almonds
½ cup pecans
1 cup large coconut flakes
 
Procedure:
 
Preheat oven to 275 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 
 
Mix maple syrup, coconut oil, chia seeds, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside. 
 
Add sunflower seeds to a large bowl.  Add almonds and pecans to a food processor.  Pulse to rough chop.  Add coconut flakes and pulse again until broken down.  Add to sunflower seeds.
 
Pour chia seed mixture over seeds and nuts, mix well to coat.  Spread in an even layer on prepared baking sheet. 
 
Bake for 20 minutes.  Use a wooden spoon to stir on baking sheet.  Bake an additional 10-15 minutes.  Let cool for at least 20 minutes, as the granola will get crispy as it sits.

meet your new favorite dessert — hello, berry clafoutis

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I saw the apricot rhubarb clafoutis when I first flipped through the My New Roots Cookbook earlier this spring, and couldn’t wait to try this simple, yet ‘fancy’ sounding dessert.

Clafoutis (cla – foo – tee), is a custard-like treat with fruit as the star. The best part is you can adapt it to whatever is seasonal and abundant. This summer, I’ve tried versions with plums, peaches, and berries. While all were delicious, I particularly enjoyed the combination of blackberries and blueberries that I’m sharing with you.

Add all ingredients to the blender, pour over fruit, bake – and you’re all set.

It’s wonderful served with a coconut whipped cream for a mildly sweet, seasonal dessert. I am also partial to serving this clafoutis cold for breakfast with plain yogurt. Would be a welcome addition to a brunch spread, too.

I’m already looking forward to fall versions with figs and pears…

 

 


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Berry Clafoutis

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cup berries (I like using blackberries + blueberries)
coconut oil or ghee (for greasing pan)

Procedure: Preheat oven to 350. Grease a tart or pie pan (or a shallow, oven-proof baking dish) and set aside.

Add eggs, maple syrup, coconut milk and vanilla to blender. Add oat flour, almond flour, coconut sugar, and salt to a small bowl, whisk to combine. Add flour mx to blender and puree until smooth Spread fruit in an even layer on bottom of tart pan, and pour batter over.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until clafoutis is golden.

experiment with plant protein — try this chickpea skillet bread

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My favorite recipes are usually quick, easy, and have minimal ingredients. With those requirements, this is at the top of my go-to list. Making it even better? It’s a great mix of protein + fiber + healthy fat which will keep you satisfied and ward off junk food and carby cravings.

Chickpea flour is simply milled chickpeas — by soaking the flour with water, oil, and salt — it soaks up flavor and creates a creamy, thick texture. Simply heat up your trust cast-iron skillet (I’ve shared why I love them so much HERE) swirl in a bit of olive oil, add batter, and place in oven. 10 minutes later you have a dense flatbread that has a crispy, caramelized crust.

This recipe is the most basic version — but feel free to add chopped herbs, vegetables, or cheese to the batter. I like to top the skillet bread with an arugula salad, and sometimes throw a fried egg on top. It also works well with your favorite pizza toppings.

I use Bob’s Red Mill chickpea flour which is pretty easy to find at natural foods stores and traditional markets alike.

Chickpea Skillet Bread

Ingredients:

3/4 cup chickpea flour
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
½ teaspoon sea salt

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 450. Whisk together chickpea flour, water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat an 8-10 inch cast iron skillet in oven for 5 minutes. Remove, and swirl in remaining tablespoon of olive oil to coat pan. Add chickpea mixture. Place in oven for 8-10 minutes until firm and cooked through. Option to broil for 2-3 minutes to blister the top. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, carefully loosen bread around edges with a spatula, remove from skillet and serve.

get your seasonal sweet fix – pumpkin muffins with cinnamon almond glaze

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Ready to get your pumpkin fix? It’s that time of the year when pumpkin is stealthily sneaking into our desserts, breads, coffee — and even hummus and potato chips.

While the trend is totally at a saturation point, there’s no denying the appeal. Creamy, mild and subtly sweet pumpkin puree pairs perfectly with complex spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves that combine for the aptly named, ‘pumpkin pie spice.’ As I’ve said before, I like adding pumpkin (and accompanying spices) to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, and chia bowls. It’s also the perfect muse for seasonally inspired baked goods.

I set out to make a pumpkin bread, and experimented using a loaf pan, cake pan, and finally in muffin cups. The muffins were my favorite — though this recipe can be used in any form you prefer. I listed the variation in cooking times below. The best news? These whole grain, gluten-free treats are minimally sweetened with mineral rich coconut sugar and maple syrup which allows it to effortlessly transition from breakfast, snacks, and/or dessert with ease. .

The glaze is optional — though highly recommended. Easily made with almond butter, almond milk, maple syrup, and cinnamon, it adds just the right touch of sticky sweetness.

Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Almond Glaze

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil, liquified
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup pumpkin
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1 ½ cup oat flour
½ cup almond flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 12 muffin cups with coconut oil (or use muffin liners).

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, maple syrup, pumpkin, and coconut sugar. In a smaller bowl, whisk together flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Gently fold into wet ingredients. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 of the way.

Bake for 20 – 22 minutes. Let cool slightly. Remove from pan and drizzle with cinnamon almond glaze.

Cinnamon Almond Glaze

Ingredients:

1/3 cup almond butter
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Procedure:

Whisk together all ingredients.

Variations:
+ add 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips, dried fruit (currants, raisins, chopped dates, etc), or chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds)
+ want to make it vegan? substitute 2 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water)
+ bake in mini muffins for 15, or a loaf pan for 55-60 minutes, or 9 x 9 cake pan for 30

cauliflower is the new kale — try it in this 4 ingredient soup

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Truth be told, cauliflower is my favorite vegetable. I particularly love to roast it with olive oil and salt until it becomes a caramelized, crispy treat. But what makes it so great, is its versatility. You can mash it, rice it, and recently I have even made grain-free tortillas with it. So while cauliflower may not have the same rich nutrient density as kale, its definitely becoming a culinary darling as of late by starring on restaurant menus, in cookbooks, and hopefully – in your kitchen.

I always start making more soups come fall, and wanted to make a creamy, comforting soup without all the starch and cream. I made this recipe with all the ‘optional’ elements, so it technically was more than three ingredients… but the point is you can make a super simple and flavorful version with an onion, cauliflower, and a bit of olive oil and salt. I also think this soup would be delicious by adding a few teaspoons of curry powder when sauteeing the onion.

I prefer soups with a little texture, so I puree about half of the soup so there are still some chunks of cauliflower throughout. But if you’d like, you can puree the whole pot.

If you’re looking for a heartier seasonal soup, try this cauliflower and kale soup I shared last year.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:

2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, chopped
5-6 cups water
splash of sherry, sherry vinegar or fresh lemon juice (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped + more for garnish (optional)
fresh ground pepper, turkish crushed red peppers (maras or allepo) for garnish (optional)

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 425. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Arrange the florets from 1 head of cauliflower on baking sheet, coat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 40-45 minutes, until florets are caramelized and cooked through.

Meanwhile, begin to prepare soup. Heat a large stockpot and add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add remaining head of cauliflower, stir, and add water. Occasionally stir and break up florets with a wooden spoon. Let simmer until cauliflower softens.

When roasted cauliflower is finished, add it to the pot and sitr. Turn off heat, and add a splash of sherry, vinegar, or lemon. Carefully add 3 cups of soup to blender. Blend until creamy and return to pot. Add in chopped fresh thyme. Serve in bowl and garnish if desired.

If you’d like a creamier soup, puree the whole pot.

Yield: 6-8 servings

get your pasta fix – creamy pasta with broccoli

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It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter in Chicago; and according to Mr. Groundhog – we’ll have to put up with 6 more weeks of it. Blah.

It’s amazing how our moods, energy, and habits are all affected when the sun forgets to make an appearance and below freezing temperatures keep us tucked away inside. If your like me (a self-declared homebody-introvert), maybe you’ve been feeling a lack of motivation or desire to venture out into the frozen tundra. Because I haven’t been getting to the grocery store as much, I’ve been forced into my pantry to create meals with what’s inside. I’ve been craving warm, hearty, and filling meals – but don’t really want to deal with the tummy aches and grog that comes along with refined grains and dairy.

Lucky for me, I had all of the ingredients on hand to create this creamy, rich pasta dish to satisfy my comfort food cravings. This recipe has been a staple in my kitchen the past few weeks. It’s quick and easy to make and oh-so comforting and delicious. I shared it with my ‘Kickstart Detox’ class a few weeks ago and someone proclaimed it ‘the best pasta they ever had.’

Not too shabby.

The creamy sauce comes from blending cashews with caramelized onion, garlic, and nutritional yeast for a little bit of that ‘umami cheesiness’. Add a few handfuls of broccoli florets to the cooking water a minute or two before the pasta is cooking and drain it all together to save a pot.

I’ve liked using the brown rice pasta shells (Tinkayada brand) but use whatever you like or have hanging out in your pantry.

Hopefully this clean-eating comfort food will ease your wintertime blues as it has mine.

And spring will be here soon enough. Right??

Creamy Pasta with Broccoli

Ingredients:

Creamy Cashew Sauce:

1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup cashews, soaked in water for about 30 minutes
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt

8-10 ounces brown rice or quinoa pasta (or whatever you prefer)
4 cups broccoli florets

Procedure:

Bring pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat skillet over medium heat. Add coconut oil, and sauté onion over low heat until soft, caramelized, and fragrant; about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and stir for another minute or two. Turn off heat.

When water begins to boil, cook pasta according to instructions. Add broccoli florets to pot 1 minute before pasta is done.

While pasta cooks, add sautéed onion and garlic, drained cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, paprika, red pepper flakes, water, and sea salt to blender. Blend until smooth.

When pasta and broccoli are done cooking, drain and rinse with cool water. Return to pot and turn heat to low. Pour creamy cashew sauce over pasta and stir until thick and coated. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper.

millet is the new quinoa. try this millet + chickpea cake recipe

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I’m sure you eat and cook with quinoa on the regular – but what about millet? Millet has an almost identical nutrition makeup at quinoa – containing all nine essential amino acids, fiber, and protein – but it does not enjoy the same level of popularity. The (bad) joke I always tell at my cooking classes is that millet’s publicist isn’t nearly as good as quinoa’s. Like quinoa, millet is a ‘pseudo-grain.’ It cooks like a grain, but is actually a seed making it a relatively good source of protein as well as a low-glycemic food.

Millet cooks at a 1:3 water ratio and cooks up creamier and less granule than quinoa or rice. It has a nutty taste that works well in savory or sweet dishes. The consistency is comparable to thick mashed potatoes, grits, or polenta. It has a naturally ‘sticky’ texture so it lends itself well to a making individual cakes to serve up as a vegetarian main or side dish. I also like using millet for creamy porridge recipes “>like this one.

This is a pretty versatile recipe – feel free to substitute different beans (white, black, kidney, aduki) or greens (spinach, kale, chard). If you have fresh herbs lying around – throw them in the mix, too. I have baked or fried these cakes – so do whatever you prefer. They make great leftovers for convenient lunches or dinners.

Baked Millet + Chickpea Cakes

Ingredients:

½ cups millet, rinsed
1 cup cooked chickpeas, mashed
1 cup fresh baby arugula or spinach, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil + extra for drizzling
½ teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 400.

Bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil. Add millet, reduce to a simmer, and cover for 30 minutes. Add chickpeas, arugula, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir to fully combine ingredients and adjust seasonings to taste.

The mixture should resemble thick mashed potatoes. Once cool enough to handle, use a ¼ cup to form patties. Arrange them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Drizzle a little olive oil over patties. Bake for 12 minutes. Flip patties and cook an additional 8 minutes.

chocolate chip cookies – to cure your cravings

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When I created this ‘chewy chocolate cookie‘ recipe – I received a lot of fan fare. I’ve heard that it’s been the winner in cookie contests (that featured traditional sweets) – and kids (of all ages) love them. One such fan requested a more basic chocolate chip cookie recipe that would satisfy cravings for the classic, all-time favorite treat. There’s nothing like warm chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven, right?

So, I got to experimenting and came out with this winning recipe on the first try (which NEVER happens!) – and I’m so excited to share it with you.

Like most of my treats, these cookies feature whole-grain oat flour and high-protein almond flour. They’re naturally sweetened with low-glycemic coconut sugar, and get richness from coconut oil . But most importantly, they taste pretty amazing.

They will make a great addition to your holiday baking line up and will appeal to your friends and family with special diets and/or healthy lifestyles.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup almond flour, packed
1 cup oat flour
¾ cup coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons ground flax
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup liquid coconut oil*
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup chocolate chips

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk almond flour, oat flour palm sugar, flax, baking powder, soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk coconut oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir until evenly mixed. Add in chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Using a scant tablespoon, form dough into balls on baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

NOTE: If your coconut oil is solid, place it on the stove in a saucepan filled a few inches with simmering water until it liquifies. If you (or your tasters) don’t love the taste of coconut oil – substitute grapeseed oil.

Want more holiday baking inspiration? Try some of my other favorites perfect for sharing:

Jam Dot Cookies
Granola
Sesame Seed Brittle
Maple-Pecan Cookies

craving a burger? try this veggie version made with white beans, quinoa + roasted garlic

white bean burgers  

Sure, I love to cook. But when it comes to doing so at home for myself, I like to make something that’s easy, will last awhile, and lends to simple reheating and preparation. I like to be able to grab something from the fridge and have a healthy balanced meal ready in minutes. A veggie bean-based burger fits the bill. They take about 30 minutes – from start to finish (clean up included!) – to make, and will be welcome additions to your fridge – or freezer – when hunger strikes.

This particular ‘burger’ has been a favorite of mine this summer. Seasoned with roasted garlic , anise, and oregano, this white bean + quinoa burger is full of flavor and ‘meaty’ texture. Serve in a traditional burger fashion on a bun, in a pita, or lettuce wrap – or crumble on a salad.

Feel free to add in fresh herbs like basil or parsley. They would be delicious pulsed into the mixture (with the quinoa and chia).

White Bean + Quinoa ‘Burgers’

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
2 cups cooked cannelini beans (if using canned, choose unsalted)
1 head garlic, roasted (directions below)
1 cup cooked quinoa
3 tablespoons chia seeds

Procedure:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil. Saute onions, stirring occasionally until softened; about 5-6 minutes. Add anise seeds, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes; stir, until fragrant for 1-2 minutes.

Add cannelinni beans to food processor. Squeeze the head of roasted garlic into food processor and add the sauteed onion. Blend until smooth. Pulse in quinoa and chia seeds.

Transfer mixture to bowl, and let sit for 5-10 minutes until the burger mixture thickens.

Use a quarter cup to evenly portion into patty shapes.

Heat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet on high heat. Lightly grease. Cook patties for 5 minutes on one side. Gently flip, and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.

Serve on a bun of choice, or in a pita. Top with avocado, whole-grain mustard, tomato, roasted pepper, lettuce, arugula…. or anything your heart desires!

Yield: 9 burgers

Roasted Garlic

Ingredients:

1 head garlic
small amount of olive oil

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 375.

Chop the top 1/4 off of the garlic head. Place garlic in the center of a small piece of parchment paper (or foil) and drizzle with a little olive oil. Wrap up the garlic, and place in oven for 45-60 minutes.

Remove garlic and let cool. Garlic should be golden and aromatic.