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.


Instead of deep-frying the broccoli in this sesame noodles recipe, we used a high-heat roasting method.

4 servings


·                                 1 large head of broccoli, cut into large florets with some stalk attached

·                                 2 garlic cloves, 1 finely grated, 1 thinly sliced, divided

·                                 1 1/2 teaspoons sambal oelek

·                                 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, divided

·                                 3/4 cup vegetable oil, divided

·                                 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more

·                                 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more

·                                 3 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced, plus more for serving

·                                 1 (3-inch) piece ginger, peeled, cut into 1-inch matchsticks

·                                 4 cups chopped Tuscan kale leaves

·                                 2 (10-ounce) packages fresh ramen noodles or 2 (3-ounce) packages dried

·                                 Torn mint leaves and toasted sesame seeds (for serving)


1.                                                      Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss broccoli with grated garlic, sambal oelek, 1 Tbsp. vinegar, and 1/4 cup oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and browned in spots, 20–25 minutes.

2.                                                      Meanwhile, whisk scallions, ginger, sliced garlic, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and remaining 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup oil in a large bowl. Add kale; toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

3.                                                      Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain; rinse under cold water. Add noodles and warm broccoli to kale and toss to coat. Divide among bowls and top with mint, sesame seeds, and more scallions.

RECIPE: Ayurvedic Cilantro Chutney

This is a simple recipe using the remarkable coriander leaf (cilantro). It is not only delicious, but it is a safe way to begin purifying deep toxins (known as garavisha) from the body. You can eat cilantro chutney with holy basil (tulsi) as an addition to your diet. The cilantro is said to help remove heavy metals, and the holy basil is helpful in eliminating two particular kinds of toxins recognized by ayurveda — amavisha and garavisha. If you grow it in your home, it helps purify the air as well. It grows easily in most spring-summer north American climates.


8 tsp. chopped organic cilantro leaf

1 tsp. shredded organic ginger

½ tsp. organic lime or lemon juice

½ tsp. chopped holy basil leaf

A little water to blend


Mix all ingredients and blend together to a thin paste. Add salt to taste.

You can use this chutney with cooked veggies, rice and other grains and flatbreads (chapatis).


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

RECIPE: Spicy Radish Top Pesto

1 bunch Radish Tops, washed thoroughly

1 bunch Arugula

1 handful Basil leaves

1 handful Parsley leaves

1 handful Nuts – Pine Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds or Cashews, optional

1-2 cloves Garlic, smashed

3 tablespoons or more grated cheese – Parmesan, Pecorino, Grana Padano

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper


Wash all herbs thoroughly and place in food processor or blender. Herbs are relatively interchangeable, if you don’t have arugula or are using as the base of the salad, increase the amount of basil or parsley to compensate and adjust the flavor to your needs. Process on high until greens become coarsely chopped.

Toast nuts in pan or oven if using. Rough chop and place with greens. Add garlic as well. Process again on high until paste begins to form.

Begin with a ¼ cup of olive oil and drizzle slowly while processing on low.

Add grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Process on low until combined.

Drizzle more olive oil while processing on low until you achieve desired consistency.

Store in a mason jar in the refrigerator or freezer. Cover the top of the pesto with olive oil to prevent browning.

RECIPE: Braised Dandelion Greens

1 bunch Dandelion leaves
4 strips bacon (optional)
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt, pepper, red pepper

1. Cut bottom of stems and rinse greens thoroughly. Use a medium to large size pot for this recipe.

2. Dice approximately 4 strips of bacon and cook until beginning to brown. Drain grease from pot. Add 3-4 crushed garlic cloves and sautée until fragrant. If not using bacon, simply sautée crushed garlic cloves in extra virgin olive oil until fragrant.

3. Add greens to pot. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper.

4. Add approximately 4 cups of water, enough so that when the greens wilt they will be just submerged. Bring water to boil and reduce heat to low. Braise greens until tender, about 30 minutes.

4. Serve in bowls with broth alongside steak and other meats. The dandelion broth is highly nutritious and can be drunk as a soothing end to the meal or used as a stock when making soup.

RECIPE: Escarole with Kalamata Olives

1 head Escarole
4-6 anchovies packed in olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup or more Kalamata Olives, pitted and roughly chopped
Dry white wine/red wine/stock or a mixture
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper
Lemon and Parmesan (optional)

1. Tear escarole from head and rinse thoroughly.

2. Sautée 3-6 anchovies with extra virgin olive oil until anchovies begin to melt. Omit this step if desired.

3. Add sliced or chopped garlic and sautée until fragrant.

5. Add roughly chopped kalamata olives and sautée until fragrant.

4. Add escarole and season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.

5. Add 1/2 a cup or more of dry white wine, dry red wine, stock or a mixture of the two. Cook greens on low until soft.

6. Finish with a squeeze of lemon or Parmesan cheese and serve.

Alternate: Serve as bruschetta with grilled bread. Substitute cannellini beans for olives and serve with short pasta.