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In the beginning, cooking from scratch can seem intimidating, but learning some simple basics removes most of the mystery. It’s also a great skill to have in your back pocket, since knowing how to prepare your own food will always serve you, no pun intended. The recipes included here were designed with budget and simplicity in mind, right below delicious and healthy of course. Readily available ingredients, simple preparation methods, and everyday cooking tools are key. But the real trick is planning ahead, and there are Beanalicious tools for that, too.
If the title intrigued you enough to read on, I hope to inspire you enough to get your hands on all the summer stone fruit you can find, and grill it. In short, its practically impossible to overstate the culinary merits of grilling peaches, plums and nectarines when they’re fresh and abundant.
Whether tossed into a savory salad with arugula and walnuts or added to a warm dish of couscous and feta, there are too many options to list. Serve them warm, serve them cold, pair with veggies; cooked or raw; eat with cheeses, vegan or dairy; mix with grains, whole or baked, or simply enjoy them warm off the grill (possibly atop a frozen treat).
The simple act of grilling thick juicy slices of fruit imparts a subtle smokiness as it caramelizes the natural sugar and intensifies the flavor, no marinating required.
Here are some suggestions for fruit grilling success:
Now, for a simple serving suggestion, try this delicious recipe, or make up one of your own!
Grilled Summer Stone Fruit Salad
Turn your (clean) grill to medium heat, and swipe is with a hint of coconut oil to prevent sticking. Sprinkle the green onions with lemon juice and salt. Once the grill is heated to temperature, place the onions on the least hot part and cook until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes on each side (I know they’re round, so assuming 2 sides total). Remove and set aside. Cut stone fruit in half and remove the pit, then slice it into 1” thick round pieces.
Add to the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes each side until you see grill marks, then remove and set aside.
Add the arugula to a large bowl, leaves can stay whole if small, or cut/tear into bite-sized pieces if not. When onions and fruit are cool enough to handle, chop the onions into ¼” rounds and add to arugula. Chop fruit into 1” chunks and add to the salad.
Add remaining ingredients and toss to mix. Serve right away.
Protein: 8.5 grams per 1 cup serving, cooked
Quinoa looks a lot like couscous, but its way more nutritious, containing 8 grams of protein per cup, including all nine essential amino acids. Full of fiber, iron, magnesium, and manganese, quinoa is a terrific substitute for rice.
Lentils are an amazing source of protein as well, with 9 grams of per half cup, along with nearly 15 grams of fiber, they’re both versatile and delicious.
Highly flavorful and super-healthy, Protein-Packed Quinoa Salad takes center stage when served over mixed greens as a main course.
Add lentils and water to a large saucepan and bring water to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, then add quinoa and again bring to simmering, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, if the water fully absorbs before then, add an additional ¼ cup and finish cooking.
Toss in onion, fennel and cabbage or greens, cover and cook at lowest possible temperature for 5 more minutes, stirring half way through and adding more water if needed (to prevent browning).
Remove from burner and let sit covered for 5 minutes longer, then add salsa and salt to taste. Serve warm or chilled.
Makes 3 (200 calorie) servings
If you’re new to the benefits of chia, you’re in for a treat. Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, containing more omega 3s than salmon, more antioxidants than blueberries, plus ample calcium, fiber and protein (4 grams in just 2 tbsps). Relatively low in calories for all of the amazing nutrients they deliver, chia seeds are an excellent addition to baked goods for the nutty flavor they impart.
But the real fun of chia seeds comes in the soaking. Placed in liquid, they’ll absorb up to 12 times their weight and thicken to resemble a tapioca pudding texture, the mild flavor of which pairs perfectly with fruit. This delicious Cinnamon Chia Pudding takes just a few minutes to make, then store in the fridge for a healthy snack or quick breakfast option.
Combine chia and all liquid in a pint sized glass jar. Shake to combine, wait a few minutes and shake again to insure the chia seeds don’t form a clump on the bottom during the first 5 minutes of soaking.
Once they’ve begun to expand you can leave them soaking for at least 30 minutes, top with your favorite berries or diced fruit, and your Cinnamon Chia Pudding is ready to enjoy! Store refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Super easy, fresh and light, this Sassy Spring Salad is packed with fiber, protein and flavor! It’s a perfect lunchtime pick to keep you going strong all afternoon, whether you’re spending it at work or outdoors enjoying a lovely Spring day.
Combine all ingredients in a salad bowl, toss and serve immediately.
Tangine is a North African word for both a special type of ceramic cookware and the succulent stew that’s traditionally cooked inside. The exotic spices make this version of North African Date Tangine beautifully fragrant and very delicious.
To prepare beans from scratch, soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse beans, then add to a large stockpot and fill with water to cover the beans by at least 6 inches. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1½ to 2½ hours. Drain and rinse.
Sauté onion in oil in medium saucepan, stirring often, until it begins to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and Curry Spice Blend and sauté for 1 minute longer. Add tomato, cinnamon, garbanzo beans, and ¼ cup water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes longer.
In the meantime, prepare couscous by bringing 4 cups of water to a simmer in medium saucepan. Add couscous and return to boil, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes. Add dates, salt, and lemon juice to the tangine, stirring thoroughly. Serve over couscous.
This custardy cold-weather torte is made completely in the blender, keeping the prep work to a minimum. Bake it in individual custard cups or use a pie plate and cut into slices.
Serve it warm as a yummy breakfast alternative, alongside your favorite winter entree as a slightly sweet side dish, or even as a healthy dessert that can be topped walnuts for an added treat. Use almond meal instead of flour for a gluten-free option.
Butternut Custard Torte Ingredients
Pour the mixture into the pie plate, sprinkle with chopped nuts if you choose. Baked at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until torte is lightly browned and slightly cracked. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
Nothing warms you up from the inside quite like homemade chili. This dish is so rich and hearty, you’ll never miss the meat. It’s easy to prepare, too, and makes great leftovers (and also freezes well). Feel free to like to mix different beans—black with pinto and kidney, or any combination you like. Serve with a side salad and a slice of corn bread for an easy meal.
To prepare beans from scratch, soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse beans, then add to a large stockpot and fill with water to cover the bean by at least 6 inches. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours until tender. Let sit on the stove if you’re making the chili the same day, or refrigerate beans in cooking liquid until ready to use.
When you’re ready to make your Easy Beanie Chili, sauté the chopped onion in olive oil in a large stockpot on medium-high heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients, including 2 cups of the bean cooking liquid (can be replaced with broth or water); cover and cook on medium heat, simmering, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding bean cooking liquid, broth, or water as needed.
Continue to simmer on low heat until ready to serve. Spoon into serving bowls and top with shredded cheese if desired.
Makes 4 servings
This festive favorite is surprisingly simple to pull together. Acorn squash is easy to prepare, just hard to cut, so enlist a hand if you need to!
The combination of olives, sundried tomatoes and oregano creates a savory stuffing reminiscent of the best Italian cuisine, while the lentil and grain combination adds the pleasing texture to this delicious vegetarian stuffing. Serve Italian Inspired Stuffed Acorn Squash as a meat-free main dish friends and family will love.
Preheat oven to 385. Place squash halves, cut side down on a glass or metal baking sheet (glass is easier to clean), and place in the oven.
Cook for 35-40 minutes until squash is soft, then remove from the oven. This step can be done ahead or while you’re preparing your stuffing.
Give your lentils a quick rinse to remove any debris. Add 8 cups of water to a large saucepan and pour in the lentils and quinoa. The water should cover the lentils by at least 4”.
Bring the water to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes before adding the onion, celery and sundried tomatoes.
Return the lentil mixture to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes longer, until the lentils are tender.
Remove from the heat, drain and pour the mixture into a large serving bowl and add the remaining ingredients.
Turn the squash halves over to cut side up, and fill with stuffing mixture. Place back into the oven 385 degree oven and cook for 10-15 minutes longer until the stuffing begins to brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
This nutty, chewy and flavorful salad is remarkably easy to prepare. All of the ingredients cook in the same pot, so it’s just a matter of chopping, steaming and seasoning before you’re good to go.
You may be unfamiliar with high fiber and nutrient-rich heritage grains like nutty farro, earthy spelt or chewy wheat berries. If you’re new to the wonders of whole grains, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. You can’t go wrong with any of the suggestions below, simply allow 45 minutes through an hour cook time (whole grains don’t easily overcook), add your favorite veggies and seasonsings, and you can’t go wrong.
Gingered Persimmon Whole Grain Salad Ingredients
Pour the grain with a pinch of salt, and enough water to cover it by at least 2”, into a medium-sized saucepan with a lid. Bring to a boil on medium high heat, then turn the heat down to medium, cover and let it simmer for the following times (or until tender):
Stir occasionally, until grains become tender ( 5-10 minutes from being done). Don’t worry about overcooking whole grains, cooked heritage grains like wheat berries and spelt can be chewy, but be careful not to overcook rice or Farro, which may cause them to break down.
Once your grain is almost cooked, add persimmon and vegetables, and stir into the pot. Cover again and cook for 5-10 minutes longer. When veggies are cooked (onion will be translucent), drain the grain mixture and toss in all of the remaining ingredients except for the arugula. Pour into a serving dish and toss in arugula right before serving.
Delicious warm or cold!
This savory dish is such a favorite in our family we simply call it the Mushroom Appetizer. It’s essentially a bruschetta, but the combination of flavors, especially when shitake or oyster mushrooms are used, is nothing short of sublime.
Shitake Mushroom Appetizer:
Gently wipe mushrooms clean with a damp cloth or paper towel, and then thinly slice. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, Masala, mushrooms, green onions and garlic to a medium-sized sauté pan. Turn the heat to medium high, sautéing until mushrooms are soft and cooked through, 5-7 minutes.
Add basil, tomato and salt and continue cooking for another minute or two until everything is heated through. Finish with freshly ground pepper and let sit the mixture sit while you prepare the bread.
Wipe out the sauté pan and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, tilting the pan to evenly coat it. Turn heat to medium and add the bread, toasting for 2 minutes each side until lightly browned.
Remove the baguette slices from the pan and top with mushroom mixture. Serve
This uber-healthy and sinfully delicious breakfast pudding is protein and fiber-packed enough to keep you going all morning long. If you’re new to the wonders of chia, these tiny seeds are extraordinarily high in both of these key nutrients. And just 2 oz. of chia seeks pack more than 8 times the omega 3 content than an ounce of salmon.
Another unique chia characteristic is the gelatinous coating they developed when soaked in liquid. Thus the pudding connection which offers endless options for a yummy breakfast, portable lunch or even a healthy dessert. Soak your chia seeds in water, plant or dairy milk overnight for best results!
Pumpkin Chia Breakfast Pudding
Makes 3 generous cups (3 servings)
Combine tea (warm or cold), milk, chia seeds and dates in a glass jar or bowl, cover and let stand for at least an hour, or, preferably refrigerated overnight before using.
When you’re ready to prepare your pudding, add the chia mixture and the remaining ingredients to a Vitamix or blender and blend until just combined or super-smooth, depending on your preference.
Brussels sprouts rank high on the list of cabbages with a bad rap, and undeservedly so. The trick is to bring out the sweet nutty flavor in these earthy veggies by cooking them until almost al dente, but definitely not overdone. Fresh and in season ( like now!) is the best time to give those Brussels another try.
Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin C, just six contain 90 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C per day. And according ot the authors of “Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer,” eating three servings of crucifers like brussels sprouts per week can reduce the risk of developing cancer by increasing the rate of chemopreventive glucosinolate in the body.
All of which is fine on paper, but you have to like them first. Try tossing them in olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a dash of salt before roasting at 400° for 35-40 minutes ‘til the edges are brown, then serve. Or use this easy recipe:
Sweet and Savory Brussels Sprouts Sauté:
Trim the stems, then halve the sprouts lengthwise to each half has part of the stem to hold it in tack. Steam sprouts in water in a large sauté pan for 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Drain and return to heat, add remaining ingredients and briefly sauté ‘til lightly onion is cooked and sprouts are lightly browned (5-8 minutes).
Enjoy warm or serve at room temperature tossed into a hearty green or grain salad.
Makes 4 cups
Pumpkin recipes are all the rage this time of year, and with excellent reason. Pumpkin is a nutrition powerhouse that rings with Fall flavor, sending the culinary creativity soaring. This Savory Pumpkin Curry Sauce is a family favorite at my house, where my kids love the creamy texture and savory blend of flavors in the cozy Fall dish.
Easy to prepare, this sauce is perfect to simmer your favorite veggie blend in (see suggestions below), and serve spooned over brown rice.
In keeping with my theme of planning ahead, the recipe makes enough to freeze a batch for use whenever you need it. For best results, freeze in a glass jar, lid left slightly ajar until fully frozen to avoid breakage, for up to 2 months.
Optional for added heat :
Ingredient suggestions for creating your Savory Pumpkin Curry stir fry:
(Steam, covered in 1” water for 8-10 minutes before adding sauce)
(Steam, covered in 1” water for 5 minutes before adding sauce)
Add 1 inch of water to a saucepan. Add cubed pumpkin or butternut (if using) onions, garlic and cover, turn heat to medium, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until onions are softened and translucent. Let stand on the stove for 5 minutes longer, covered, then remove the cover and let it cool off for at least 5 more minutes.
When you’re ready, pour the steamed veggies into a blender or food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth. Savory Pumpkin Curry Sauce freezes for up to 2 months, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Makes 2 12” pizzas, 4-6 servings Preparation time: 20 minutes Bake time: 30-40 minutes
Easy Vegan Taco Pizza is so savory and satisfying, you won’t believe how nutritionally stellar it is. It’s gluten-free and vegan optional too. This recipe is very abundant, so if you’re only cooking for one or two, freeze half of the crust, then just thaw, top and bake when you’re ready to serve it.
Preheat the oven to 385 degrees. Lightly oil 2 cookie baking pans with coconut oil.
Place chopped carrots, parsnips and sweet potato pieces in a saucepan with 1” of water. Heat, covered, on a medium high stovetop to simmer, then lower the heat to medium low and steam for 7-10 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
Turn off the heat and drain the liquid from the veggie mixture. Let the pan sit for a few more minutes to allow the vegetables to begin to cool.
Add the steamed veggies and the sage to the blender or food processor, and process until well blended, but there is no need to completely puree here!
Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the flour, salt, seasoning and garlic until blended. Divide the dough in half and using your hands, flatten each half onto one of the oiled cookie sheets to create a 12” round pizza crust (it will be about ¼” thick).
Bake for 10 minutes, before removing from the oven. Sprinkle with cheese, top with pico de gallo or salsa fresca (and olives if your using them) and return to the oven to be for 10-15 minutes longer, until cheese is melted.
Remove from the oven and serve.
Makes 16 pieces
Prep time: 15 minutes
Yummy, protein-rich morsels are a great option for a healthy snack or dessert.
Drain the dates and add along with oats, almonds and dark chocolate to a food processor or blender, and pulse just until the mixture reaches an even consistency.
Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir until well-combined, then roll into 1 ½” balls and enjoy! Store finished Coco Nut Protein Bites covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Prep time, 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Who says breakfast needs to be predictable? Spicy, smoky and slightly sweet, this Southwest Sweet Potato Hash is a family favorite at my house. Prepared with smoked tofu, or topped with a free-range over-easy egg, it’s a fiber rich, nutrient-dense and satisfying way to start the day.
½ cup smoked tofu, cubed (optional)
Add the potato cubes to a large saucepan, fill with 1/2” of water, then cover and place on the stove. Heat on medium high and steam the potatoes for 7 minutes before stirring in the onion and pepper. Turn the stove off but replace the pan on the burner, covered, for 3 minutes longer before draining the water and adding remaining ingredients.
Turn the heat back to medium high and sauté the hash for 10 minutes longer, until the potatoes soften to your preference. Serve hot and enjoy!
Prep and cook time: 15 minutes
This delicious dish is so quick to make it actually takes less time than stopping for takeout, and you control what goes into it. Typically a dish high in salt, sugar and fat, this version of Kung Pao Noodles is optimized for taste and nutrition without compromising the yum factor.
You can easily convert this kid-friendly, vegan recipe to a gluten-free version by just substituting rice or quinoa pasta for the whole wheat spaghetti listed below.
Cook the pasta according to instructions on the package. While it’s cooking, wash your veggies, shred your carrots (no need to peel them first), and chop the green onions.
Measure peanut butter and add to a glass dish (you can use a 2 cup or larger glass measuring cup as your mixing bowl if you have one).
Add the remaining ingredients to the peanut butter and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave, until warm.
Mix the sauce until the consistency is smooth.
When the pasta is done, drain it and put it back into the cooking pot. Add the shredded carrot and green onion to the pan and cover it for 2 minutes so the hot pasta slightly steams the veggies.
Finally, add the peanut butter sauce and toss with large serving forks to combletely combine. Serve warm or cold, topped with chopped smoked tofu if you like.
Prep time: 20-30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
This savory and satisfying alternative to your everyday meatloaf is not only simple to prepare, it’s loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins and too many other good things to list here. Don’t make it for the health benefits though; it’s so delicious no one ever needs to know.
Savory Harvest Veggie Bake is essentially a heavy-duty blender or food processor recipe, which on the upside makes clean up a snap. Cook it in a glass casserole dish with a cover if you have one, so you can store any leftovers in the fridge as-is and save yourself a step.
I use high protein garbanzo bean flour in this gluten free version, but you can substitute brown rice flour or any other whole grain flour you have on hand just as well.
Soak cashews for 30 minutes in just enough water to cover them. I soak mine right in the Vitamix!
Preheat the oven to 385 degrees.
Place chopped carrots and sweet potato pieces in a saucepan with 1” of water. Heat, covered, on a medium high stovetop to simmer, then lower the heat to medium low and steam for 7-10 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
Turn off the heat and add the green onions. Replace the cover and let the pan sit for a few more minutes to allow the onions to soften and the other vegetables to begin to cool.
Add the steamed veggies and the sage to the blender or food processor, and blend with the cashews (and soaking liquid) just until completely blended, no need to completely puree here!
Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl and stir the flour until blended. Pour into an oiled casserole dish or loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes, until the top begins to look dry.
Remove from the oven, let sit for ten minutes before slicing into squares and serving.
10 minutes prep time
30-35 minutes to cook
Whether it’s work, school or play that gets you hustling in the morning, a healthy breakfast is key to sustaining energy (and willpower!) all morning long. While the best breakfasts don’t often come in a box, it doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or complicated process either.
Take this high fiber, high protein, low sugar breakfast pudding – simply prep it the night before, pop it in the oven when you get up, and voila! Overnight Breakfast Bread Pudding makes a warm and satisfying breakfast your whole family will enjoy.
I prefer to buy bread a whole loaf and slice it thick, the hearty Whole Wheat Walnut at a local bake shop is my favorite. But whatever you choose, I suggest you keep an eye on the fiber count if you’re buying pre-packaged. At least 4 grams of fiber per serving and 0 added sugar is a good benchmark.
Break the bread into 1” cubes and set aside. Whisk the egg in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients (except for the bread) and continue to whisk until fully blended. Add the bread and toss to fully coat the cubes.
Bake, covered at 375 for 35-45 minutes, until eggs are cooked solid and slightly browned. Serve hot or warm, topped with fresh or thawed frozen berries for an extra yummy treat.
Many among our older generation are surprised to see today’s parent frantically whip up an entirely different meal for their kids than they’re eating. The kids’ food category is after all a relatively new construct, and although it creates exciting marketing opportunities for food companies, it isn’t such a win for kids and parents.
Most “kid foods” contain more sugar, fat and sodium than the adult versions, tastes which shape their food preferences into what can become a vicious cycle as time goes on. Taste buds become so saturated that healthy, whole foods with their more subtle flavors have a hard time delivering enough sensation to satiate.
I agree, it’s hard to get children to eat kale and quinoa when they really just want a Happy Meal, but fortunately for all of us, there are happy mediums too. When time and patience are at a premium, it helps to have some tricks up your sleeve to keep the Mac ‘n Cheeze at bay. Mama Bears Tips for Healthy Eaters is here to help, or check out this fun and easy Kabob suggestion, because as the photo-shoot props and my nine-year old reminded me, kids are infinitely more likely to enjoy food that comes on a stick, even tofu.
Kabobs are a great way to pack a healthy, kid-friendly lunch using last night’s leftovers or fruits and veggies straight from the fridge. Share the menu below with your kids and let them check off their choices so they can be sure to add them to your grocery cart or market tote, and create their own lunchtime masterpieces.
Easy Lunch Kabobs Choose your favorites:
Bamboo skewers are easy to find at your local market or retail store, but often too long to pack in a lunchbox. Use kitchen scissors to snip them into two pieces, then skewer your favorite combination, leaving just enough of the stick free for easy pick-up. Pack or wrap in a BPA-free reusable container for an easy lunchtime treat.
10 minutes prep time
5-7 minutes cook time
This flavorful salad assembles harmoniously with the seasonal produce so abundant at the height of summer. Just a quick trip to the market turned my plain garbanzo beans into a flavor extravaganza for under $5 in less than 10 minutes. It’s no accident that Mother Nature provides the best ingredients for the job just when we need them, and as good fortune would have it, fresher means more nutritious too.
But what about all the hard work it takes to make food from scratch when it’s so easy just to pick up a package? The fact is, the only way to really know what you’re eating is to make it yourself. Packaged food, even the “healthy” kind, usually contains preservatives, colorants and other additives used to keep it looking and tasting fresh.
The quality of your diet directly correlates to your health, so it’s time to rethink the convenience factor, especially when home cooking doesn’t have to be difficult and time consuming! My delicious Farmer’s Market Chick Pea Salad came together in less than ten minutes, including cleanup. I had the beans already prepared, another easy DIY method that takes little hands on time for the most delicious results.
Here are the ingredients I used:
Check out the process below:
Makes 3 cups
There’s no big secret to making good hummus. If you puree garbanzo beans in a blender along with a bit of salt, it tastes pretty good. Add some savory seasonings and you’ll quickly make your way to delicious.
Here’s a favorite basic recipe, but feel free to experiment by adding other ingredients (roasted red pepper, black olives, or fresh basil are my top picks). As I’ve said before: as with most bean dishes, it’s hard to go wrong.
Lots of hummus recipes call for tahini, which along with lots of olive oil can be heavier than the calorie conscious among us prefer. This lighter version makes a nice alternative without any compromise on flavor. It’s a great dip for veggies or whole grain pita chips, and always yummy as a wrap or sandwich spread. This Beanalicious hummus trio fits the bill for kid-friendly, healthy and delicious!
To cook beans: soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse beans, then add to a large stockpot; fill with water to 6 inches over the top of the bean blend. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1½ to 2½ hours. Drain and rinse.
To prepare hummus: Add all ingredients to your blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
The lovely crimson hibiscus plant makes a wonderfully tart and delicious tea. The health benefits of this vibrant plant have been celebrated for centuries in cultures all around the world.
With studies linking the acids contained in hibiscus to lower blood pressure, this healing plant also contains phytochemicals like quercetin, shown to reduce inflammation and support kidney health, and antioxidants known to reduce the effects of aging*.
This simple Hibiscus Sun Tea is perfect for overnight steeping, no heat required. It’s a beautiful thing to wake up to, with lots to spare for all day enjoyment.
For stovetop or microwave: heat water until it reaches the point of simmering. Remove from the heat and using your tea strainer, steep the tea for about 20 minutes while it cools. Remove tea bags and continue cooling until it reaches room temperature.
Overnight or sun tea method: Pour the water into a mason jar or pitcher, depending on what type of strainer you’re using. One that fits inside the mouth of the mason jar is perfect for this, see below.
For either method: add remaining ingredients and serve iced or hot. May be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. *While hibiscus tea is completely safe for most people, if you’re currently using prescription medications, be sure to check with your doctor before enjoying too much of this potent tea.
This zesty ragout—a fancy word for “stew”—with its south-of-the-border flair makes a simple and savory protein-packed dish. Take advantage of summer’s bounty, when eggplant and peppers are abundant. Eggplant Fiesta Ragout is delicious over rice or served with whole grain tortillas, add a garden-fresh salad for a memorable warm-weather meal.
To prepare beans from scratch, soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse beans, then add to a large stockpot and fill with water to cover the beans by at least 6 inches. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Drain and rinse.
Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat, then add eggplant, onion, and red pepper. Sauté until eggplant is cooked through and onion is translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off heat and mix in cilantro. Let the caponata stand for 10 minutes to blend, then add salsa, beans, and salt. Serve at warm or at room temperature with tortillas, rice, or your favorite grain.
This salad is a snap to make and especially delicious with freshly cooked garbanzo beans, but canned (BPA-Free) work as well. The fresh corn adds a hint of summer sweetness, a nice balance to the tang of your favorite salsa. I love it for sharing at picnics and potlucks, since you get lots of flavor, fiber and protein for your buck. Serve as a side dish or over a bed of mixed greens or shredded kale for a simple, satisfying lunch.
To prepare beans from scratch, soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse beans, then add to a large stockpot and fill with water to cover the beans by at least 6 inches. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1½ to 2½ hours, until tender.
Drain and rinse your garbanzos, whether they’re cooked or canned, then add to a large salad bowl. Add remaining ingredients, stir to thoroughly combined and serve at room temperature.
Note: Sensational Summer Chickpea Salad is even better when it’s prepared an hour or so ahead, or better still the day prior, to really let the flavors meld.
This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy garden-fresh zucchini. More of a simple preparation style than a recipe, I suggest making more than you may eat in one sitting. Chilled Zesty Citrus-Grilled Zucchini makes a wonderful addition to green salads, quinoa or rice dishes you would like to embellish.
Pre-hear your grill to a medium temperature (low flame), ten minutes prior to cooking. Place zucchini strips in a flat-bottomed baking dish with sides to contain liquid. Combine marinade ingredients in a cup or small bowl, then pour over the zucchini and toss to coat. Place zucchini strips on the grill crosswise to rack so they won’t fall in. Cook 3-5 minutes each side until browned but not burnt. Remove from heat after all sides are browned. Serve warm or chilled.
My mom used to make this delicious dish as frequently as our zucchini was plentiful when I was growing up. It reminds me of long summer days and lively family dinners outdoors in the warm night air. Although she’s not actually Italian, I suspect mi mama got this simple recipe from her mama-in-law, who most definitely was.
The cook time here is much longer than I typically recommend for vegetables, but the results are melt-on-your-mouth delicious. Sprinkled with bread crumbs or cheese, Mama’s Italian Zucchini turns kid-friendly favorite too!
Garnish with: ground black pepper, seasoned bread crumbs or grated parmesan cheese
Add the first 5 ingredients to a large saucepan (with cover) and lightly sauté for 5-7 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Stir in tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium high heat. Cover and cook at a low simmer (you’ll probably have to lower the heat) for 20-30 minutes, until veggies become soft and almost translucent. Add the basil during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.
Serve warm, garnished with bread crumbs or grated parmesan cheese.
Inspired by the newly-released Oprah Chai, my hot and spicy Almost Oprah version makes a wonderful morning pick me up or a welcome afternoon treat (minus the extreme packaging!)
If you haven’t tried making your own chai, it’s as simple as assembling the ingredients, but a good loose leaf tea strainer or a pot with one built-in is also key. These ingredients should be pretty easy to find in bulk in most health food stores, but if you don’t have a good local option nearby, Mountain Rose Herbs is a wonderful online source.
Blend all ingredients and store in a glass jar for up to 6 months.
To brew: place 1 tablespoon of chai per cup of water into a teapot with a built-in strainer (a must have for all tea lovers!). Either heat water separately to boiling or heat your teapot on a medium-high stove just until water comes to a simmer before you turn it down to low heat.
If you’ve separately heated the water, pour it into your teapot and steep chai for 5-10 minutes. If you’re heated your chai on the stove top, steep for 2-5 minutes longer, depending on how strong you like it.
Enjoy your chai with ¼-½ cup warm rice, almond or dairy milk and a dash of stevia for a bit of sweetness.
And to donate to one of Oprah’s favorite charities without having to buy the tea, click here.
Sautéed fresh mung sprouts, scallions and fresh raw carrots combine to form a sweet and savory Sprout and Carrot Slaw the likes of which you’ve never seen. This simple recipe comes together in ten minutes or less, but you may want to let it marinate for an hour after you make it to really let the flavors meld.
Heat the coconut oil in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add Mung beans, green onions, garlic and Bragg’s or salt. Sauté on medium heat for 5-8 minutes until beans begin to soften, than add remaining ingredients and cook, covered for 5 minutes longer, lowering heat to medium. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Serve warm or cold.
Makes 6-8 servings
Nutty Sprout Crunch Salad is a great way to prepare fresh bean sprouts. Both lentils and mung beans are simple to sprout, requiring only a few days before they’re ready to eat,and so easy to prepare. Steam them with the rice and toss into the veggie blend. Add a touch of sweet citrus to complete this savory, satisfying one-dish meal.
Prepare your rice by rinsing it in a fine sieve until water runs clear, then transferring to a medium pot. Add 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the water is absorbed, 40-50 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes then uncover and fluff with a fork.
When the rice is done cooking, mix your sprouts into the rice in the pot, cover and let sit for at least 5 minutes. This mixture can be made ahead as well.
Divide the orange into sections and cut each into 4 pieces. Prepare the rest of the ingredients before adding each of them to your large salad bowl. Pour in the rice and sprout combo, the warmer the better, then combine all ingredients and mix well. Enjoy!
Makes 2 large rolls, 2 servings
Inspired by the Japanese tradition, these colorful rolls are as fun to make as they are good to eat. Sprouted lentils and brown rice deliver high quality protein to complement the nutrient-rich seaweed and veggies rolled into a highly flavorful package.
Pack UltraVeggie Maki Rolls for lunch or serve with a big salad for a light evening meal. Be creative with your fillings; add your favorite veggies, nuts or even some smoked tofu for an extra protein punch.
You’ll need a bamboo mat for this, but they’re easy to find in the Asian food aisle of most grocery stores, and inexpensive (around $2) too.
Prepare a pot of brown rice by simmering 1 cup of rice and 1/2 -1 teaspoon salt in 2 cups of water,covered for 45-50 minutes until the water is absorbed.
When rice is just finished cooking, remove ½ cup from the pot, and blend with red lentils. (chefs note: If you like the rice and lentil combination, add 1-2 cups of sprouted red lentils to your freshly cooked rice to use in additional meals). Store remaining rice covered in the fridge for future use.
Scoop out the avocado and add it along with the salt and garlic powder to a small mixing bowl. Mash the ingredients together until well blended.
Place a sheet of nori onto your bamboo mat, and spread the half of the avocado mixture evenly over the bottom half.
Layer half of the rice mixture over the avocado, then sprinkle half of the pepper, cabbage and nuts (or whichever fillings you choose to substitute) over the spread.
Moisten the top half of the nori with a little lemon juice or water, and you’re ready to roll!
Roll the nori starting at the bottom, and rolling up burrito-style, making sure the filling is wrapped in tightly. Slice in half or into small cylinders and serve with dipping sauce on the side.
Bountiful Sprouted Lentil Salad is all about abundance; abundance of flavor, of satisfaction and of uber-rich nutrients all in one amazing dish. To be sure, sprouted lentils, tofu and millet all top the list of protein-rich foods fueling this wonderfully savory one-dish meal.
Substitutions: Lentils are easy to sprout in just a few days, but if all you have on hand is dried, don’t let that stop you from trying this deliciously simple dish. Quinoa or wild rice can be substituted for millet too.
Add 2 ½ cups water to a medium sauce pan, pour in millet, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes longer before removing from the heat. You’ll mix this in with the salad when it’s prepared.
Add coconut oil to a medium sauté pan. Turn the heat to medium and all cabbage, scallions, salt and Braggs (if using), then saute for 2 minutes to coat. Add lentils, tofu, water and chutney and cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Add millet and stir to combine. Serve warm or chilled.
Options: Add fresh cilantro, ginger and garlic or basil for more flavor if you’re so inspired.
This recipe was adapted from Mark Bittman’s Mixed Whole Bean Dal recipe, I simply streamlined it and added my own flavor flair. This simple 3-bean curry is equal parts salad and stew; low on liquid, nicely textured and surprisingly rich. It makes a wonderful lunch served alongside some whole grains at room temperature or heated, it’s simply delicious. Don’t be intimidated by the short soak step, it’s very hands off and doesn’t add much prep time, but simply soak your usual way if you prefer and start from .
Short soak and boil your beans; pour beans and 8-10 cups of water into a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil then turn off the burner. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 2-4 hours.
Drain and set aside in the large glass bowl you plan to use for serving. In the meantime, sauté onion and cabbage in coconut oil in your large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan until soft, 5-7 minutes.
Add curry powder and sauté for 1-2 minutes more, before adding tomato paste, salt, walnuts and currants. Sauté for a minute or two longer to combine, then add your beans, and just enough water to cover the mixture by about an inch.
Bring the bean mixture to a boil then lower the heat and cover the pan. Let your curry simmer for 20-25 minutes before adding salt and additional water if needed. Cook for 15-25 minutes longer, until beans are a combination of soft and slightly firm. Enjoy over basmati or brown rice as a hearty, delicious meal.
One of my go-to food staples. These Super Energy Breakfast Bars really are all good; high in nutrients, fiber and protein with very low sugar and no saturated fat. And very kid-friendly! The ingredients are easy to find, even a good chain grocery store should have them. These hearty oat bars store and travel really well too, perfect for on the go or on the road. While the ingredients list looks long, the prep is very easy and the recipe makes enough for at least a week, they’re quite dense. I like to whip up a batch on the weekend and enjoy them all week long! If you bake more than 5 days’ worth, consider freezing some of the bars for later.
Note: I recommend using an 8 or 9” square baking pan or dish, but don’t let that throw you off track. Substitute a cake pan or similar in a pinch.
Add oats to a large mixing bowl, and pour in 1 cup rice milk and vanilla. Mix well to combine, then let stand for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Thinly spread coconut oil along the inside surface of an 8 or 9” square baking dish to prevent sticking. Add banana, oats and remaining ½ cup rice milk to your blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Pour into oat mixture and add remaining ingredients. Stir until well blended.
Spoon the mixture into the pan, spread evenly and pat it down with a large spoon or spatula. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the pan in for at least 15 minutes longer (or until the oven is cool). Cut into squares and serve. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
I’ve been smitten with Mung Bean pancakes, or griddle cakes as it were, since the ever-inspiring Mark Bittman first introduced me to the concept in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Why not? I reasoned, after all there are plenty of versions of veggie pancakes and Mung Beans are so easy to sprout. And since I do like a good shortcut, neither was I opposed to using a mix. So I turned to my stash of Bob’s Red Mill for starters.
I used a multigrain pancake mix and whipped it up according to the recipe on the package. I added scallions and sprouts and cooked them to a lovely golden brown. Without actually specifying that the pancakes were made with sprouts (code name Asian Veggie seemed to suffice), I served them for dinner.
Never ones to refuse a good pancake, my kids and husband enjoyed them as politely as kids and a husband can, meaning there were none left and no one complained. Serve your Mung Bean pancakes griddle cakes with a side of plain yogurt, chutney or your favorite salsa for a fun and savory dinner treat.
Combine the first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl until batter is smooth. Add sprouts and scallions and mix thoroughly. Add 1-2 additional tablespoons of milk if needed for pancake-thick batter.
Add about 1 tsp. of coconut oil to a large frying pan or skillet and heat to medium high. Spread the melted oil evenly around the pan, and drop the batter, 2 tablespoons at a time, into the pan, leaving about 1” between the pancakes.
Lower the heat to medium, cover the pan and cook for 5 – 10 minutes until bubbles form the surface of the cakes, then flip and cook for 3-5 minutes more on the 2nd side, until cooked through and lightly browned. Enjoy!
Whole-grain kamut is making a comeback, and Tangy Orange, Fennel, and Kamut Salad is a flavorful way to enjoy it. This highly nutritious grain is the perfect alternative to brown rice; the nutty flavor and substantial texture make a wonderful combination in this dish. I prefer to soak my kamut for at least 8 hours or overnight before cooking, but it’s not a must-do if you find yourself in a time crunch. Serve as a side dish or over some fresh arugula for a yummy main dish.
Place kamut in a saucepan with 2¾ cups water and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes over low heat, until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the burner, but leave the pan on the stove. Add fennel and scallions to the pot, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat and cool for 30 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients. Serve warm or at room temperature.
This savory salad tastes so fresh, you’ll love our high-protein version of the classic summer favorite. Best to enjoy when cucumbers and tomatoes are fresh and in season. I love using my mini food processer for chopping the herbs, which saves a lot of prep time; but it’s a pretty minimal effort either way. The quinoa may be prepared in advance for this dish, since it’s served cold.
Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add quinoa and black lentils, bring to simmering, then reduce heat to low; cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow quinoa mixture to cool. Mix in remaining ingredients and serve warm or cold.
This amazingly easy overnight oatmeal recipe takes the cooking time out of steel-cut oats on a busy morning. You’ll love the less mushy texture too, almost like oatmeal is supposed to be made. This breakfast is a truly a win-win, since oat fiber has been shown to help regulate cholesterol, maintain steady blood sugar levels and keep hunger pangs as bay. Studies show that just 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (as in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers cholesterol levels by 8-23%. Pretty impressive!
Oats also contain healthy antioxidants and plenty of other nutrients which I could go on and on about. But in all honesty, my kids just eat them because they’re flavorful and satisfying, especially when combined with berries, nuts and cinnamon. Yum!
Use this fun preparation technique to make 3-4 servings of instant oatmeal, no cooking required.
The night before you plan to enjoy your oats, place all ingredients except for the nuts in a glass bowl or jar and and stir or lightly shake to combine. Store in the refrigerator and serve cold or briefly heated in a saucepan the next morning, sprinkled with nuts. No cooking required!
I was scouring the winter produce at my local farmer’s market, when I spotted the most beautiful mustard greens, and despite my lack of familiarity, simply had to try them. Duly inspired, I cooked a big pot of white beans until they reached the perfect creamy texture before adding chopped parsnip, fresh sage and the mustard greens for the loveliest flavor combination. The very next day my typically picky grade schoolers packed the leftovers for lunch, need I say more? Here is the simple recipe.
To prepare beans from scratch, soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse after soaking, then add to a large stockpot and fill with water to cover the beans by at least 6 inches. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1 ½ hours, adding the parsnip during the last ten minutes of cooking.
While beans are cooking, wash and roughly chop mustard greens into 1” pieces. Wash and finely chop sage. Add all ingredients to cooked beans and mix thoroughly. Serve as a side dish, atop a green salad, or add to a whole grain tortilla and with some avocado and greens for a yummy veggie wrap.
If you’re not familiar with the wonders of quinoa, it’s time to give this high-protein plant food a try! Light, yet hearty, sprinkled with subtle hints of sweet, this exotically spiced quinoa salad not only tastes amazing, it’s a super simple one-dish meal. Or serve it alongside a dish of beans and greens for a scrumptiously satisfying dinner. Leftovers make a fabulous lunch throughout the week.
Add water and quinoa to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes before adding carrots, parsnip, currents and tomato sauce. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes longer until veggies begin to soften, and turn off the heat. Add remaining ingredients and let sit covered for 8-10 minutes before serving.
Minimalist that I am, I wasn’t remotely interested in cooking with steamer baskets until I learned this incredible recipe in a cooking class. I love that the steamer method is low-tech, easy to learn, and fast. At home I use a bamboo steamer, which creates an interesting and not unpleasant scent while steaming. And believe me, this is a recipe worth steaming for!
Note: you’ll need two stackable steamer baskets for this dish.
Add 6 inches of water to a large saucepan and bring it to a boil. Place the sweet potato slices on the bottom steamer basket, and greens on the other one. Place the sweet potato basket over the pot of water and cover; steam for 7 minutes. Add the greens layer, cover, and steam for 5 minutes longer. Check the sweet potato slices for doneness, and once tender, remove from heat.
Add to a bowl, toss in the scallions, and let cool for 20 minutes or longer before tossing in sprouts and adding dressing. Serve salad at room temperature or make ahead and refrigerate, adding dressing right before serving.
Ginger Miso Dressing Makes ½ cup
This is the dressing flavorful enough to transform iceberg lettuce and cello tomatoes (remember those?) into delicious cuisine in certain Japanese restaurants. Imagine how good it’ll be with fresh organic greens or mung bean sprouts.
Combine all ingredients and serve. Stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
This lovely, appetizing dish is easy to prepare. Boiling the fennel stalks and greens in water until the liquid becomes concentrated, is a marvelous way to make your own aromatic consommé in one simple step. Serve this nourishing dish with wild rice or crusty whole-grain bread.
To make consommé:
Remove stalks and greens from fennel bulb, rinse thoroughly, and add them to a large saucepan with 6 cups of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover, and cook down for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, chop fennel bulb into inch-long, very thin slices.
When consommé is reduced to 2 to 3 cups, remove from heat, and pour the consommé liquid only into a glass jar. Set aside. Toss out the remaining cooked fennel.
Add olive oil to the saucepan, and return to medium heat. Add chopped fennel and sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup of consommé and simmer on medium-low for 5 more minutes, then repeat. Add ¼ cup more consommé, collard greens, and remaining seasonings and cook for 5 to 8 minutes longer, until greens are tender. Stir in beans and serve warm or hot. Label, date, and store remaining consommé in the fridge for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
This scrumptious high protein salad is surprisingly simple to pull together. The combination of lentils and quinoa produces a nutty taste and pleasing texture for a hearty lunch or side dish. Toss in some oven roasted cauliflower and serve over arugula for a wonderfully healthy meal.
Give your lentils a quick rinse to remove any debris. Add 8 cups of water to a large saucepan and pour in the lentils and quinoa. The water should cover the lentils by at least 4”. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat, add a sprinkle of salt, and simmer for 15 minutes before adding onion, celery and sundried tomatoes. Return to a simmer and cook 10-15 minutes longer, until lentils are tender. Remove from the heat, drain and pour the mixture into a large serving bowl. Add remaining ingredients and serve warm or cold.
I love how very simple this recipe is, and the taste will pleasantly surprise you. Cauliflower has a rather long refrigerated shelf life, so I always have some on hand for those times I need a 5-minute-to-prep veggie dish that is also a kid favorite.
1 medium head cauliflower (2-3 cups of florets, broken into bite-sized pieces)
2 tbsps. Braggs liquid aminos (optional)
2 tbsps. pesto or cilantro mint sauce
½ tsp. salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 385 degrees. Toss all ingredients in a mixing bowl or use a glass casserole dish and place in the oven after mixing. If using a mixing bowl, pour the seasoned cauliflower into a glass casserole or or baking dish, then place into the oven to cook for 35-45 minutes, until lightly browned. Enjoy hot or cold.
4 to 6 servings
A good Caesar Salad is always a treat, yet when loaded with all of the oil and cheese the traditional recipe calls for, not the healthiest of fare. This delicious vegan version is simple to prepare, while the white beans add a hearty dose of plant-based protein. Kids have been known to tussle over the last remaining lettuce leafs (and croutons), so be sure to prepare accordingly.
To prepare beans from scratch, soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then add them to a large stockpot and fill with water so it covers the beans by at least 6 inches. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours until tender. Drain and rinse in cold water to cool.
Add the first 10 ingredients (cashews to capers/fish sauce) to a blender. Puree until smooth. Add the lettuce to a large serving bowl and toss with dressing and beans. Season with pepper, add croutons, and serve.
Copyright Elizabeth Borelli, 2013
This lively soup is a wellness bonanza, with ginger and spices that both enhance the flavor and give your immune system an extra boost. The ginger is potent, so adjust according to your preference. Enjoy it hot, poured over a warm bowl of rice or quinoa as a nourishing meal, or hold the beans and serve it cold for a light and refreshing summer bisque.
To prepare beans from scratch, soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse after soaking, then add to a large stockpot and fill with water to cover the beans by at least 6 inches. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Drain and rinse.
Add the onion, carrots, and ginger to a large saucepan with ½ to 1 cup water (about ½ inch) and simmer, covered, over medium heat until soft and translucent, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes longer. Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor with the remaining ingredients, except for the beans. Puree until soup is smooth and creamy, then pour mixture back into pan, add beans, and reheat to serve. Top with sunflower seeds if desired.
This yummy dish is supercharged with healthy ingredients, and a cinch to make, despite the exotic flavor combinations. Hearty enough to go solo, or serve Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup with some brown rice on the side and a simple green salad for a flavorful multi-course meal.
Add 1 inch of water to a large pot and bring to a simmer. Add sweet potato and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, then add onion and cook for 5 minutes longer. Add the apple and turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the stove, covered, for 5 minutes longer. Pour the mixture into a blender with 2 cups of water and puree, then return the soup to the pan. Add remaining water and vegetable bouillon. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 to 35 minutes longer, depending on the lentil variety you choose (red and yellow cook more quickly). Remove from heat and serve.
• 1 whole-grain baguette
Preheat oven to 350°. Slice the baguette lengthwise. Brush the entire surface lightly with olive oil and place, cut side up, in the oven. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and spread with a thin layer of bean dip. Top with chopped tomato, and serve immediately.
Makes 2 cups This dip is wonderfully simple to prepare, and better yet, you can make it using any bean variety. It’s delicious served as a dip for veggies, a topping for Beany Bruschetta or as a sandwich spread. Placed in a vintage jar, it makes a thoughtful hostess gift. Double or triple the recipe and keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 1week. Ingredients:
• 1½ cups beans (white, garbanzo, and black beans are favorites, precooked)
Add ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Note: See the Bean Soaking and Cooking Chart bean preparation instructions.
This dish is so scrumptious and satisfying you’d swear it was loaded with everything you try not to eat. Yet this festive dish is both simple to prepare and terrifically nutritious. Butternut squash is good source of fiber and nutrients, including vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A and E. Combine it with your favorite winter veggies, add a touch of sweet and bake until it almost melts in your mouth for a holiday dish you’ll savor any day.
There is some chopping involved in this recipe, but don’t worry about getting everything sized right – it will come together beautifully regardless. And if you haven’t cubed butternut before, with a sharp knife and potato peeler, it’s easier than it sounds (at least the second time)! Check out this demo and give it a try!
Maple Butternut veggies, ready to bake
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Toss all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into 2 glass pie plates (recommended because they’re easy to clean)! You can use a shallow baking dish here as well.
Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir to loosen anything stuck to the bottom of the baking plates or dish and ensure everything cooks evenly, then turn the heat up to 450 degrees. Put the dishes back into the over for 5-10 more minutes, until browned at the top and ready to serve.
For more simple, whole foods recipes, visit www.ElizabethBorelli.com
Brussels sprouts rank high on the list of cabbages with a bad rap, and undeservedly so. The trick is knowing how to bring out the sweet nutty flavor in these earthy veggies by cooking them until almost al dente, but definitely not overdone. Just in season (now!) is the best time to give those Brussels another try, done right.
Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin C, just six contain 90 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C per day. And according ot the authors of “Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer,” eating three servings of crucifers like brussels sprouts per week can reduce the risk of developing cancer by increasing the rate of chemopreventive glucosinolate in the body.
Trim the stems, then halve the sprouts lengthwise to each half has part of the stem to hold it in tack. Steam sprouts in water in a large sauté pan for 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Drain and return to heat, add remaining ingredients and briefly sauté ‘til lightly onion is cooked and sprouts are lightly browned (5-8 minutes). Enjoy!
Makes 4 cups
This is a simplified version of the luscious curry sauces used in Indian cooking, but delicious still and perfect to prepare ahead and freeze for use when you need it. Some of the oil can be replaced with coconut milk, although it can be hard to source a non-canned (or BPA-free canned) version. Keep in mind that while the coconut oil adds flavor, it’s also high in saturated fat, so find the calorie/fat balance that works for you. I like to add some heat with cayenne pepper or chili powder, but be sure to go easy—a little goes a long way!
• 2 large onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
Optional for added heat :
• 1 teaspoon chili pepper or cayenne powder
Add 1 inch of water to a saucepan. Add onions and garlic and cover, turn heat to medium, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until onions are softened and translucent. Let stand for 5 minutes longer, then pour the hot mixture into a blender or food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth. This sauce freezes for up to 2 months, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
4 to 6 servings
On those days when you’re caught without a plan (we all have them!) and the pressure’s on to whip something up in a hurry, here is an easy, throw-together idea for a delicious, nutritious, one-dish meal.
More of a cooking method than a formal recipe, this dish invites you to use whatever you have on hand. Add a sauce (pre-made if possible), some tofu, and a grain (brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta…) and you’ve got all your bases deliciously covered.
Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat, add chopped vegetables and tofu, and stir-fry for 5 to 10 minutes, until tender. If mixture becomes dry, add a tablespoon of water as needed to prevent burning. Add mushrooms or sprouts if using, and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Mix in salt and sauce and stir to coat. Remove from heat and serve.
If you lack the patience for baking yet still relish the proceeds, this simple path to a super healthy breakfast baked good is for you. And before you laugh at the idea of making muffins because you would never in a million billion years have time, consider this. This easy recipe gives you the opportunity to trade 30-minutes of your life in exchange for not accidentally consuming the antifreeze in the store bakery muffin, which can’t be all that good for you.
You’ll also get 18-20 hearty, delicious whole grain muffins to energize you through you many more mornings, requiring no prep time at all, at one quarter the cost of store bought, and with all of the extra protein and nutrients to boot.
Note: You’ll save tremendous amounts of time and energy if you use muffin cups to line your pan and pour carefully for easy clean up. Most grocery stores sell both of these items for under $10 total. If you don’t have a muffin pan, you can use a 8” round or square pan instead. Coat it with coconut oil before using to prevent sticking.
Muffins stay fresh for 3 days, but since these muffins don’t contain propolene gycole, you can freeze the rest and just thaw in the oven or overnight for an instant, healthy breakfast on the go, anytime.
If you haven’t tried chia (the seeds not the pet), you’re in for a treat. These tiny seeds contain more omega 3s than salmon, more antioxidants than blueberries, plus ample calcium, fiber and protein (4 grams in just 2 tbsps). Relatively low in calories for all of the amazing nutrients they deliver, chia seeds are an excellent addition to baked goods also for the nutty flavor they impart.
But the real fun of chia seeds comes in the soaking. Placed in liquid, they’ll absorb up to 12 times their weight and thicken to resemble a tapioca pudding texture, the mild flavor of which pairs perfectly with fruit. Soak them overnight in a jar and store in the fridge so they’re ready to use when you need them.
Chia pudding is a quick and nourishing choice for breakfast, and a fave with the younger set who will see and taste pudding, so no complaints there. I blend mine smooth using frozen fruit, banana and avocado for the creamy texture and good monounsaturated fats that round off this brain food powerhouse. What better way to begin a day?
Soak chia seeds in water the night before, or at least 10-15 minutes prior to blending. Add all ingredients to your blender or vitamix and blend until smooth. Pudding will continue to thicken after it’s blended. Serve plain or topped with coconut.
How can a hearty bean stew made from scratch be made simple? By breaking it down into 3 simple, 5 minute steps, neatly fit in to your regular routine. The lentil and bean combination makes a stew so rich and delicious, you won’t believe how easy it is to put together. Simply cover your beans in water the night before you plan to serve them, rinse and simmer the next morning, turn the stove off before you leave to start your day and wrap up your recipe with the remaining ingredients that evening. Serve warm or hot. Add a fresh green salad and some thick, crusty whole grain bread for a satisfying meal.
Soak beans overnight in plenty of water (4” above the dried bean level), in the same saucepan you’ll use to cook them. The next morning, rinse and refill the saucepan with water to the same level. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 ½ -2 hours before you start your day. Scoop out a spoonful, rinse and decide if they’re soft enough. When fully cooked, add the cabbage, turn off the heat, cover and leave them for at least 15 minutes more. If the room temperature is less than 70° throughout the day, leave the covered bean and cabbage blend on the stove until you get home. Otherwise, when the pot is sufficiently cooled, place it right in the fridge until you’re ready to reheat it to finish the dish.
Drain the cooled bean and cabbage mixture when ready to complete the recipe, and add remaining ingredients. Heat again to simmer and cook covered for 5-10 minutes, then serve.
This quick and easy dressing also makes a delicious sauce for quinoa, pasta or your favorite stir fry. Truly a five minute wonder, it lends a sassy Asian-inspired twist to your meal.
• ¼ cup yellow miso
Blend the first 2 ingredients in your measuring cup with a fork or small whisk until smooth. Stir the remaining ingredients directly into the cup, and pour into a clean glass bottle to serve.
About the ingredients
Tahini, miso and rice vinegar may not be things currently in your cabinet, and you may wonder if it’s worth it to buy them when you’re not sure you’ll ever use them again. So I thought I’d talk a bit about each and why I think it’s worth the investment!
All three ingredients combine health benefits with the rich flavor they bring to everything from dressings to bean dishes. They’re versatile ingredients with staying power (as in long shelf life), so you don’t need to worry about using them right away.
Tahini, to start, is packed with 7 grams of protein per serving, makes wonderful sauces and dressings, and lasts as long as peanut or almond butter (refrigerated). Miso is a naturally fermented seasoning high in B12 and acidophilus, a healthy gut bacteria, Use it to flavor soups, stir fries and sauces. Rice vinegar is high in amino acids, lovely on salads and in marinades.
As for the cost, I did the math so you don’t have to. It came to less than $3 to make 2 cups of Miso Goddess dressing, or about half of what you’d pay for an equivalent product in the store. So I say splurge on some new ingredients you know will help you transition from package to pantry, and enjoy the health and cost saving benefits long term.
Join me in a daily morning smoothie and get ready to glow! A smoothie for breakfast makes sense for many reasons: fiber, enzymes, protein and antioxidants will keep you going all morning, no caffeine required! Ingredient choices are flexible here, but be sure to keep it fresh, raw and mostly green to avoid sugar overload.
This recipe makes 4 servings, one for now, the rest to freeze for later.
3 packed cups kale leaves
Rinse ingredients and toss them in a blender, blend until smooth.
Spouting brings out the best in your lentils. Sprouted lentils are not only easier to digest, they’re nutty, nourishing and delicious! The sprouting increases digestibility (hold the Beano), produces vitamin C, increases protein, enzymes, vitamin B and carotene content.
This satisfying salad is a healthy, nutritious main dish or side. Kale and cabbage are really interchangeable here, depending on taste and availability. Pair it with brown rice and a roasted butternut for a fabulous meal.
Prepare raw lentils by steaming in ½’ water for 4-8 minutes, depending on how soft you like them, OR Cook dried lentils according to instructions* 30-45 minutes.
Drain cooked lentils and leave them in the pot on the stove. Mix in onion, kale and/or cabbage and immediately and cover for 5 minutes. Prepare dressing in a large mixing/serving bowl and toss in lentil mixture. Add tofu and pea shoots then toss. Gently toss in avocado when cool, cover with sunflower seeds and serve.
Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as an entrée.
Ditch your packaged bars and make the switch to a home-baked alternative – you’ll save money while trading up to wholesome, un-processed goodness.
These tasty bars are easy to make and a great source of nutrition for a healthy nosh on-the-go.
And if you haven’t tried spelt flakes yet, here’s your chance! Higher in iron than rolled oats, but similar in taste and fiber-content, spelt makes a hearty oatmeal-style breakfast dish as well.
Time saving tip: double the recipe and freeze the rest!
Summer is the ultimate season many things, garlicky pesto sauce not least among them. Fresh basil in abundance practically begs to be blended into this bold and vibrant treat. It needn’t be complicated either, the ingredients list is short.
This version is lower in calories than most, since I like to keep the oil to a minimum and skip the cheese. No one will miss either one. I suggest maki enough to last you several rounds, which you can use during the week to whip up a pasta dish, a quinoa salad or a white bean and veggie stir fry in just minutes, then freeze the remainder in small containers for use well after the season ends.
Try spreading it on a whole-wheat baguette, top with sliced tomato, and pop in the oven at 350% for ten minutes for a mouth-watering treat!
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. If working with a blender, you may need to stop it intermittently and push the leaves down with a spatula before starting up again, to help pulverize them. Once all ingredients are incorporated into a thick, even consistency, turn off the blender and spoon the pesto into a serving bowl and use it within a day or two, or freeze in airtight containers (labeled and dated) for up to 2 months.
Luscious, creamy, and delicious it’s hard to believe something that tastes this decadent is also a potent beauty and energy booster. This blueberry superfood smoothie is both low in sugar and bursting with antioxidants, a perfect anti-aging combination. If you don’t have access to sunflower sprouts, substitute kale instead and be surprised at how such an unusual combination can taste so great.
I like to make a double batch to enjoy again the next day (or freeze it for up to one month.) Believe it or not, this drink is kid-friendly since the blueberries mask the greens quite nicely.
Place all ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
This simple salad is always a crowd-pleaser. In the off chance there are leftovers, it’s even better enjoyed the following day (or two!).
Combine all ingredients in large salad bowl, then let the spices blend for at least 30 minutes before serving. Even better when left to marinate, store this crunchy salad in the fridge for up to 3 days.
* Cilantro Mint Sauce
Makes 1½ cups
Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
As it turns out, granola is one of those things so easy to make, that once you learn you’ll wonder why anyone would ever feel the need to buy it. Once you get the basic recipe down, you can experiment with spices, nuts, and dried fruit to find your favorite flavor combination. Enjoy Easy Fruit and Nut Granola served with a scoop of stevia-sweetened yogurt (plant-based or dairy) for a light, easy, and super-healthy breakfast, or pack some to go for a midday or lunchbox snack.
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, nuts, salt, and spices. Stir to combine. Add in oil and honey or maple syrup and vanilla, and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet (rimmed if you have it) and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so to ensure even cooking. Remove from the oven and stir in dried fruit. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Betty’s Bean Burritos are a delicious opportunity to use leftover beans and rice for an easy dinner or satisfying lunch. As quick to make as they are healthy, I usually add shredded cabbage for an extra dash of green; as always, have fun creating your own version!
Heat beans and rice separately by placing into a saucepan, adding ½ inch of water, and warming over medium heat, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes. If beans are unseasoned, stir in salt before serving.
Warm your tortillas by wrapping a stack of 6 tortillas in aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350° oven until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes.
Layer each warm tortilla with beans and rice and any other fillings you choose, spreading evenly in a line down the center. Top with cheese and salsa, tuck in the ends to keep the goodness in, roll up, and enjoy.
A true power blend, Shitake Kale Salad is one of my dietary staples. Packed with amazing nutrients, it’s one of the few salads you can make ahead, since it will last, refrigerated, for several days.
Kale is considered one of the healthiest foods you can eat, since it’s loaded with antioxidants, which help to neutralize harmful free radicals and is a great source of calcium as well. Some research suggests kale even helps reduce the risk of certain cancers. One cup of raw kale provides more than 100% of the daily recommended value of vitamins A, C, and K.
Easy to prepare, Shitake Kale Salad makes a delicious, nutritious side dish or light meal.
Combine kale and sesame oil in a large salad bowl. Lightly toss, then “massage” the kale a bit with your fingers to slightly wilt it. Add remaining ingredients, toss, and serve.
This simple coleslaw-style Thai Cabbage Salad tantalizes with a light and zesty finish. It’s so easy to prepare, I frequently mix one together as a last-minute salad option, since I always have cabbage and carrots on hand and all it requires is a bit of chopping.
Combine all ingredients in large salad bowl. Best to let the spices blend for at least 30 minutes before serving.
This crunchy treat is a healthier tribute to the classic Chex Snack Mix, minus the corn syrup, genetically modified ingredients, excess sodium and preservatives—and you won’t miss them. This Nutty Party Mix is not only scrumptious, it’s high in protein and amino acids too! I use it in creating healthy, no waste lunches and my kids love it – in part because it’s snacky enough for happier noshing with fewer uneaten returns.
You can get creative with the ingredients but here is what I like to use:
Beginning the day with a yummy and super-nutritious smoothie boosts energy, mood and brain function. We don’t always know what happens once those kids are out the door, but if we can pack in some goodness to get them started, we’re on the right track!
The nice thing about this Smoothie is it disguises the foods kids might not be otherwise be into for breakfast. I start with 2 good, blend-able fruits they love, like banana, mango, blueberry, raspberry or strawberry. I add carrots and avocado to my daily version, which my kids like the flavors of better than the notion, but the extra nutrients are too good to skip. Add some protein-rich flaxseed and a bit of sweetener, and you’ve got a super-blend your kids will love.
The trick to including the secret ingredients is to stay within the color family of the fruit you’re basing the drink on, and don’t add new or spicy flavors except possibly in small doses. With a bit of experimenting with different fruit and even the occasional veggie combination, you’ll find what works for you. Stevia is an excellent sweetener to use since the intense fruit flavors hide the aftertaste it can sometimes have, and this all-natural, low-glycemic alternative enables you to keep extra sugar out of the morning meal.
Add all ingredients to a blender, food processor or Vitamix and puree until smooth.
Quick trick: premake “smoothie packs” by pre measuring and packing your solid ingredients together, placed in the freezer until ready to use. Note: cucumber, lettuce and sprouts don’t freeze well, so if using, add fresh before blending.
The actual prep time for these delicious spring rolls depends upon your choice of veggies, but when time is of the essence, ten minutes is enough. Cabbage, lettuce, avocado, tofu and sprouts are your speediest options. Carrots, peppers, cukes and herbs take a bit longer, but not much. The rest is a snap; just dip the spring roll wrapper in water for a few seconds as it softens like magic and you’re ready to fill and roll. Here’s my eight-year old helper Talia to demonstrate her fabulous ten minute spring rolls, one simple step as a time:
Filling options (choose 3-5 for best results):
Place your choice of ingredients in a row across the center, place, leaving about 2 inches on either side of the wrap without any ingredients.
Fold the “naked” sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, burrito-style. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Served room temperature or chilled, with (0ptional) dipping sauce.
Time Saving Tip: If a stop to the market is on your agenda, visit the salad bar and stock up on precut veggies like carrots and red peppers to save the time of cutting them yourself.
Remember way back in the day before the microwave when the go-to appliance was the toaster oven? While you don’t need a toaster oven per se, this recipe is definitely inspired by it. Just use your oven or even a large, covered sauté pan to briefly heat your creation, and voila! Quickie Quesadilla, just like that. It’s so easy, you might encourage your kids to put together this tasty sandwich-alternative high-protein lunch or snack.
For oven cooking: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle beans across the top of the tortilla, then cover with cheese. Place the quesa on a cookie sheet, then cook for five minutes until cheese is melted,. Remove from heat, fold in the middle, slice up pie-style and serve.
For stovetop preparation: place a saucepan (with a cover) on the stovetop, heat to medium. Sprinkle beans across the top of the tortilla, then cover with cheese. Place the quesa in the saucepan, cover then cook for five minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from heat, fold in the middle, slice up pie-style and serve.
Baked Kale Chips make a tasty alternative to the standard bagged snack. Some of the most die-hard veggie-phobes have been known to change their tune after just one bite. Fortunately they’re a snap to make, and surprisingly kid-friendly too!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie or baking sheet with parchment paper.
Break or cut kale leaves from stems, break into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Whisk remaining ingredients together in a cup or small bowl. Drizzle the mixture over the kale and toss to coat.
Spread kale leaves over the baking sheet and bake until the edges of the kale are browned but not burnt, 10-15 minutes. Serve at room temperature. Store for up to one week in an airtight container.