Sunday, July 23, 2017

RECIPE: Lightened-Up Creamy Avocado Basil Pesto (no oil added)


·            1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

·            1/2 large ripe avocado

·            2 cloves garlic

·            2 tablespoons pine nuts

·            1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

·            3 tablespoons water, plus more if necessary

·            1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

·            sea salt, to taste


1.  Add basil, avocado, garlic, pine nuts and lemon juice to a food processor and pulse for 20 seconds or until pesto is chopped. Add in water and process again until completely smooth. You may need to add more water to get it to your desired consistency; I like mine a little on the thicker side. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese.

2.  Store in an airtight container or sealed mason jar and refrigerate. Pesto is best if used within a few days, otherwise you can freeze it for several months.


Toss in 1/2 cup spinach for extra nutrition

You can omit the pine nuts, but I think they add a nice flavor.

New to pesto? Here are some delicious ways to enjoy it:

-Toss 1/4 cup in with some whole grain or gluten free pasta for an easy weeknight dinner. Add chicken for extra protein.

-Stir into cooked quinoa and add a few cherry tomatoes for an easy weekday vegetarian lunch.

-Spread it on toast and top with a few other extras like sliced tomatoes, avocado, sprouts and chia seeds

-Use it as a sandwich spread for your grilled cheese; it’ll add a ton of flavor!

-Toss in 1/2 cup spinach for extra nutrition!

RECIPE: Basic vinaigrette for the perfect summer salad

Difficulty level: Easy

1/4 cup white-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Pinch of sugar (or honey, brown sugar, agave...)

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Optional: minced garlic, shallot or fresh herbs. Substitute different vinegars or lemon juice. Add Parmesan or blue cheeses.

Combine ingredients and shake in a jar!


6 Servings

30 minutes or fewer

Don't be fooled into thinking that a great-tasting homemade soup needs long, slow cooking to prepare. This satisfying soup is ready in just 15 minutes.

·                                 2 tsp. olive oil

·                                 1 small onion, finely chopped

·                                 6 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

·                                 7 cups vegetable broth

·                                 5 cups chopped escarole

·                                 1 9-oz. pkg. mushroom tortellini or tortelloni, cooked (I substitute a lb. of tofu that I press for 20 minutes)

·                                 grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1.                             In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.

2.                             Add broth and bring to a simmer. Add escarole and cook 2 minutes. Add cooked tortellini and heat through. Serve hot, sprinkled with Parmesan if desired.

RECIPE: Creamy Vegan Dill Salad Dressing

Serves: 6-8
  • ½ cup cashews
  • water for soaking
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
  1. Soak the cashews in water to cover for at least an hour.
  2. Drain and rinse the cashews.
  3. Place all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender or food processor.
  4. Process the dressing. Slowly add in the olive oil with the processor or blender going.
  5. Transfer the dressing to a bottle.
  6. Store in refrigerator.
  7. Enjoy!

Friday, July 14, 2017

RECIPE: High Protein & Oil-Free Basil Pesto

This is far from a traditional tasting pesto, but it’s so delicious I couldn’t stop eating it! The navy beans replace the typical cup of oil in this pesto recipe, making it not only oil-free, but high in protein as well. Nutritional yeast adds a cheezy taste while packing protein and B12. Enjoy this pesto spread on sandwiches, pasta, or even use for a dip for vegetables or chips. Spoon feeding encouraged.

Yield: 1.5 cups


1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves (don’t be shy- really pack it in!)
1 garlic clove
1 15-oz can navy/cannellini beans (1.5 cups)
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1/2 lemon) I used 3 tbsp
1/2-3/4 tsp kosher salt (I used 3/4 tsp)
You can add olive oil to taste if you prefer!

Directions: Add garlic clove to processor and process until finely chopped. Now add in the rest of the ingredients to taste and process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

RECIPE: Crispy, Roasted Cabbage Steak

Crispy Roasted Cabbage Steaks provide everything you love about roasted Brussels Sprouts but made even easier here with cabbage. No need to trim a whole bag of Brussels Sprouts when you just need to make a few cuts to a head of cabbage. Plus the presentation value of the cabbage steaks is great.  For plating I usually either serve it as an intact steak, cut in half in a half circle (use a good spatula to lift intact) or using a fork to twirl it into a pasta-like pile of delicious-ness.
Cabbage gets such a bad rap as far as vegetables go. Not a lot of people see it on menus and say “oooh let’s order a side of cabbage with our short ribs” but if you were to try this side dish, I promise…you’ll be a convert. In fact the first couple of times you make it you can even get away with taking one for the team and eating all those extra browned outside pieces… here’s a secret… They are the best part! They’re super crispy and delicious, and sometimes if I have a few extra minutes I let more of them crisp up.
Ok fine, truth? Sometimes I snack on the outside rings and put the tray back in for a few more minutes to get more of them browned. And no one is ever the wiser.
Crispy Roasted Cabbage Steaks
Crispy Roasted Cabbage Steaks make a great side dish for any meal in just 20 minutes. You'll never boil cabbage again.
 Prep Time 2 minutes
 Cook Time 20 minutes
 Total Time 22 minutes
 Servings 6 servings
 Author Dinner, then Dessert
·                            1 head cabbage , dark loose leaves removed
·                            Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
·                            2 tablespoons canola oil

1.                   Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2.                   Slice the cabbage into 1/2 inch thick steaks
3.                   Brush with oil on both sides and place onto cookie sheet.
4.                   Season to taste with Kosher salt and black pepper (I used 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper).
5.                   Roast for 17-20 minutes or until caramelized.

6.                   (Psst, save the super crispy dark edges for yourself, they're the best part!!)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

TIP: How to Store Fresh Herbs

Note: I have tried the paper towel method and the mason jar/plastic bag method. Both work, but you have to know which herbs work best for which method. My herbs last up to 2 weeks depending on the variety and method! See what works in your home environment, as well. If your home is too warm, perhaps don’t leave the herbs out on the counter or a windowsill and use the refrigerator method!


Soft herbs include parsley, cilantro, dill, basil, tarragon, and mint. Basil and/or mint can be left out at room temperature (I’ve put mint in the fridge and it survived just fine). All other herbs should be refrigerated. This method helps the herbs retain moisture and keeps oxygen from browning the leaves. 

Directions for soft herbs:

1.      Cut bottom of the stems

2.      Make sure your herbs are completely dry. Avoid rinsing until you are about to use them, to avoid mold or wilting.

3.      Fill a jar or glass with about one inch of water, or enough to submerge the base of stems. “Plant” stem ends into water in jar.

4.      Cover loosely with with plastic or ziplock bag, bound at the base with a rubber band.

5.      Place in fridge. Change water every few days if water becomes discolored.


Hard herbs include rosemary, thyme, chives, oregano, and sage. The paper towel method keeps the herbs moist to avoid drying out and again keeps oxygen from getting in.

Directions for hard herbs:

1.      Wrap herbs loosely in a damp paper towel

2.      Store in an airtight container or a ziplock bag in your crisper.