Monthly Archives:

February 2012

Broccoli Pesto with Quinoa

Why take a dish that works and change it? Well, for one, if I had basil growing in my backyard, maybe I’d consider using it, but given the frost still occasionally building on my windshield, that’s not looking too promising. However, even if basil were to be in season, pesto proves to work wonderfully in many different forms, so why not test out something new?

Last year’s kale pesto was a perfect exhibit of how pesto can make kale irresistibly delicious, even for the non-kale-lovers. Similarly, this recipe packs a ton of green veggie power (6 cups of broccoli, to be exact) into one easy dish, while surprisingly shying away from having an overbearing broccoli flavor. I’ve even incorporated extra broccoli aside from the pesto into this quinoa dish, but if you’re not a fan of the green crowns, feel free to add another form of green texture instead, like snow peas or string beans. However, if you’re a broccoli lover like me, as an alternative to quinoa, the pesto makes a great dip too. If you choose to go this route, simply thin out with a tablespoon or two of extra olive oil or warm water and serve with lightly steamed broccoli or crudites.

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Avocado Salmon Salad

Salmon is by far my favorite type of seafood. Well, actually, I’d probably say Chilean sea bass, but I’m not trying to feed too heavily into their extinction. Anyways, it’s rare that I’ll have leftover salmon from the night before, but when I do, it often gets turned into salmon salad. It’s a nice change of pace from tuna, especially when jazzed up with avocado and lime.

The avocado and salmon combo. is not only a flavor dream team, but it also packs this salad with omega-3s. Omega-3 is that essential fatty acid that keeps your brain running smoothly. My head’s always all over the place, so god knows I could use a little extra brain juice. Luckily, fish are full of them, and concurrently, avocados happen to be one of the highest plant sources as well.

The avocados also add an extra creaminess to this salad, making it pair perfectly with both bread and crackers. You take your pick.

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Lightened Eggplant Parmesan

The one year we shared a kitchen together, my friend Deirdre instantly won my heart by making me homemade eggplant parm. A couple years later, I had yet to forget the occasion.

My fridge still stocked with eggplant, and my bowl of eggplant ideas running empty, I asked her to share her recipe with me.  After planning to make dinner together, there we were again, months till we graduate from college, still feasting side by side on eggplant parm. So much and so little has changed.

Deirdre started making this eggplant parm. with her dad when she was just a kid.  As she got older and ventured to a kitchen of her own, she started playing with the recipe a little, abandoning the classic deep-fried eggplant version for a slightly lighter, oven-broiled variation. Genius. You’d never know the difference unless you were standing in the kitchen watching the whole process go down. Much of the crispiness from deep-frying eggplant gets lost in the layering process anyways, while the broiled version is capable of maintaining that breaded, dense texture of the eggplant needed in this dish.

I still wouldn’t label this “light,” but the broiling process definitely cuts down on some of the grease. Today, Deirdre, her dad, and I will all be using this method from here on out.

It makes a good-sized portion, so share with friends, or freeze for later. Enjoy!

Click here for recipe…

Coconut Sweet Potato Kale Soup

When I go to Whole Foods, I’m like a kid in a toy store. I could spend hours perusing the aisles, admiring the colors, and playing with the packages. This goes for farmer’s markets on warm days too. They are trips I always look forward to and on which I nerd out, although I’m sure I’m not alone in the ever increasing world of foodies.

For me, Whole Foods outings are particularly special because although I’m surrounded by two of these produce galleries within a bike ride’s reach, a college kid’s budget makes these trips unpalatably scant. Luckily for me, my mom knows me well and gifted me with a Whole Food’s gift card this past Christmas.

For the first couple months, I’d been saving most of it, dropping by for a bottle of kombucha or two here and there. However, this past week, I decided I needed a getaway from the regular grocery store to one that would surround me with fresh eye candy, left and right. It’s here that I picked up some lovely Lacinato kale and deep orange hued sweet potatoes.

Yes, this post makes me sound like I come from a family of healthy nut hippies, which I guess to an extent could be true, but kale, sweet potatoes, and kombucha could easily become your best supermarket friend’s too. I decided to take my two prized produce purchases and throw them together in a coconut-laced soup. Feel free to indulge in full-fat coconut milk for a richer, slightly sweeter broth, or keep it on the light side and proceed as is.

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Chocolate Pumpkin Overnight Oats

Ever since I bought cocoa for my Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie, I’ve been finding as many new ways to use it as possible. I was surprised at how chocolaty unsweetened cocoa could make things taste sans sugar. My favorite new usage for the powder is in Greek yogurt, topped with honey and nuts. It’s a creamy, rich-feeling snack that led me to my latest rendition of overnight oats.

I rarely cook oatmeal anymore. However, frequently you’ll find me just before bed, preparing oats for my next morning’s breakfast. Hearing the commotion in the kitchen, my roommates walk out, presuming to catch me whipping up a late night snack. However, they’re never thrown off when instead they see me swirling uncooked oats and yogurt in my bowl. They know the routine.

I’ve become addicted to the creamy, quickness of this breakfast. In the two minutes it takes my tea/coffee to finish brewing, I can pop my oats from the fridge, top them with honey and nuts, and have a gourmet breakfast ready to go for the spare minutes I have prior to heading out the door. This particular combination is extra filling, but not in a heavy, breakfast-sandwich type of way. More like in a satisfying, pumpkin, fiber-filled way instead. I’ve made a vegan version of pumpkin oats before, but decided to keep the yogurt this time because, after all, as I just said cocoa + yogurt is my new fav.

When they say chocolate is healthy, this is it. Cocoa puffs, not so much. But chocolate-antioxidant-packed oats, yes please. Who says chocolate shouldn’t be for breakfast?

Click here for recipe…

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