Bulgogi Portobello Mushroom Bowl + Weekend Eats

Bulgogi Portobello Mushroom Bowl + Weekend Eats

This veggie packed bulgogi portobello mushroom bowl uses meaty portobello mushrooms in lieu of beef! Plus, a sneak peek into my idea of a healthy weekend ;) 

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Miso Roasted Salmon Bowl with Quick Pickles and Sesame Spinach

Miso Roasted Salmon Bowl with Quick Pickles and Sesame Spinach

This easy miso roasted salmon bowl is packed with flavor from an easy Asian marinade, quick cucumber pickles and sesame sauteed spinach! 

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Vegan Stuffed Poblanos with Cashew Queso Drizzle

Vegan Stuffed Poblanos with Cashew Queso Drizzle

These vegan stuffed poblanos are filled with black beans and brown rice and drizzled with an easy homemade cashew queso! Just a little bit spicy and super cheesy from the sauce! 

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Tomato Basil Risotto with Prosciutto

Make this recipe for tomato basil risotto with prosciutto and get tips for making a creamy, dreamy Italian risotto! 

Italian tomato basil risotto with prosciutto!

I couldn’t be more thrilled for this month’s Recipe Redux theme, recreating a favorite recipe from our travels.

When I went to Italy for the first time with my family back when I was in high school, each of us had a very specific dish that we were determined to discover the best possible version of. If we saw it on the menu, we would always get it, even if was a shared dish for the table, ordered solely for taste testing purposes. For my stepmom, it was spaghetti carbonara, lactose intolerance be damned! For my brother and dad, it was basically anything pork, including suckling pig, which was somewhat traumatic for me as I had just gotten out of my vegetarian phase. And for me, it was risotto.

Heirloom cherry tomatoes for making Italian risotto

The winner turned out to be a seafood risotto from Harry’s Bar in Venice. It was creamy and savory and rich and perfect. I must also give honorary mention to a squid ink risotto, also from a restaurant in Venice. It was so tasty the only thing that kept me from spending the rest of the night with a satisfied grin on my face was the fact that my mouth was turned jet black by the squid ink.

Creamy risotto packed with flavor from prosciutto, heirloom tomatoes and basil!

I used to make risotto pretty regularly at home until I started watching Top Chef. I feel like every time a chef makes an attempt at risotto, it turns into a miserable fail that gets them sent home! And if the nations top chefs can’t make a decent risotto, I know I sure as heck am failing at it.

Creamy, dreamy risotto flavored with prosciutto, basil and tomatoes!

So while this risotto may not please the judges on Top Chef, I personally was quite happy with how it turned out. To flavor the dish, I used prosciutto and halved heirloom cherry tomatoes briefly sautéed with fresh basil leaves and extra virgin olive oil. Here’s a few notes on how to make a maybe not Top Chef worthy, but totally passable and tasty risotto:

  • Use Arborio rice or some other type of short grain white rice, which is starchier and creates a creamier risotto. You may be tempted to swap in brown rice or another whole grain, like farro or barley. With the delicate flavors like tomato and basil, I think a whole grain would be overpowering, but for more “fall” or “winter” flavor risottos, brown rice is really tasty! Think chicken and wild mushroom risotto with peas. You’ll just want to double or triple the cooking time and have more stock on hand.
  • Use warm stock. If you add cold stock to the dish, it will cool everything down and slow the cooking process.
  • Don’t over, or under-stir your risotto. Stirring the risotto is necessary – the rice grains rub against each other which creates more starch and a creamy consistency. It also evenly distributes the liquid and prevents the bottom from burning. But there’s no need to stir constantly. You’ll be left with sore biceps and a gluey risotto. I give it a good stir when I add broth, let it simmer for a bit, and then give it another good stir before adding in more broth.
  • Add the vegetables after cooking the risotto. Other than the garlic and onions that flavor the dish, you’ll want to cook your vegetables in a separate pan and stir them into the fully cooked risotto, otherwise the veggies will get mushy and disintegrate.

[Tweet "Creamy dreamy tomato basil risotto with prosciutto! "]

Tomato Basil Risotto with Prosciutto
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, CLT
Serves: Serves 6
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, sliced
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup lightly packed basil leaves plus extra for serving
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Heat broth to a simmer in a pot on medium heat. Let it continue to simmer, turning down the heat if it starts to boil.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, pot on medium heat. Add prosciutto and cook until crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in rice and cook until rice smells slightly nutty, about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in white wine and stir until wine is mostly evaporated. Pour a ladle of hot broth into the rice, stir for a few seconds and let simmer until broth is mostly absorbed. When the risotto starts to look dry, repeat with more broth. Continue with remaining broth until risotto is creamy and tender with a bite (al dente).
  4. As the risotto is cooking, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add tomatoes and basil with a pinch of salt. Cook until tomatoes are tender, but not falling apart, about 5 minutes.
  5. When risotto is creamy and done, stir in tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve garnished with more parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

[inlinkz_linkup id=651194 mode=1]

Learn how to make the perfect risotto and try this recipe for tomato basil risotto with prosciutto!

California Roll Sushi Burrito

If you don't live in a big city, your only chance at enjoying a sushi burrito is making one at home! Learn how to make this easy California roll sushi burrito. 

California Roll Sushi Burrito

A few months ago when I went to Virginia/DC for my sister-in-law's bachelorette and to wrap up work on Joyful Eating with Alex and Anne, I had a not so top secret side mission - to get a sushi burrito.

I kept seeing my New York and DC friends posting pictures on instagram with both hands clutching an extra large sushi roll stuffed with all things delicious. Can you say food FOMO? Come on Columbia, can we get with the program and convert one of our million burger joints to a sushi burrito place?

California Roll Sushi Burrito

California Roll Sushi Burrito

California Roll Sushi Burrito

California Roll Sushi Burrito

As it got closer to my trip, I googled all the sushi burrito joints in and around DC and plotted them on a map to see if I would be nearby. Unfortunately, I wasn't, but I figured it was worth a special trip. But somehow, when I was there, time slipped away from me and I never had a chance to fulfill my sushi burrito fantasy.

So, I decided to make it at home, which turned out to be a lot easier than I thought. Thanks to this handy video from my friend Lisa at Healthy Nibbles and Bits, I got my wrapping skill down pat. Rather than rehash the details and tips, I'll just point you over there!

California Roll Sushi Burrito

For filling, I turned to the classic California roll for inspiration. I found canned crab clawmeat at Trader Joe's, which tasted not quite as good as fresh, steamed crab, but mixed with a little mayo and stuffed into a sushi burrito, I couldn't taste the difference. Just don't use imitation crab, which isn't actually crab but rather a processed stick of starch and random bits of white fish. Blech.

[Tweet "Learn how to make a classic California roll sushi burrito! "]

California Roll Sushi Burrito
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, CLT
Serves: Serves 4
  • 1 1/4 cup short grain brown rice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 8 ounces crab meat
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 sheets of nori seaweed
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 small avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • Optional, for serving: wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger
  1. Place rice in a colander and rinse under cold water, shaking rice from side to side until water runs clear. Place rice in a pot with 2 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer 40-50 minutes until rice is tender and water is absorbed. Uncover and let rice cool 15 minutes. Whisk together vinegar and sugar, drizzle over rice and stir to combine.
  2. While rice is cooking, mix together crab meat, mayo and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Place seaweed shiner side down on the counter or on a bamboo sushi mat. Scoop a quarter of the cooked and seasoned rice over the top. Using wet fingers (keep a bowl of water nearby for dipping your fingers), spread the rice evenly over the top. About 1 inch away from the end of the roll, scoop a quarter of the crab filling. Next to it, lay a few sticks of cucumber, then a line of shredded carrot, a few slices of red pepper, a few slices of avocado. Sprinkle sliced scallion over the top of the fillings.
  4. Check out [url href="http://healthynibblesandbits.com/how-to-make-a-sushi-burrito/"]this video for rolling technique.[/url] If you have foil, wrap it up in foil to prevent filling from falling out the bottom (not biggie if you don't!). Serve with soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi, if desired.


Chicken Burrito Brown Rice Bowl Bowl with Homemade Guacamole

This chicken burrito brown rice bowl with easy homemade guacamole is the perfect clean out the fridge meal, made with frozen corn and peppers, salsa, and a little leftover cheese!

Easy chicken brown rice burrito bowls with homemade guacamole, sautéed peppers, and charred corn

Hi guys! Apologies for no new post on Monday. I'm kinda a scatter brain with all the travel I'm doing this month. Also, after 8 hours driving back home from Virginia after being away for over a week, quality time with the hubs > glancing at my to do list.

Anyway, thought it would be fun to share a recap of my week up in Virginia/DC with you all, since I packed a lot of friends, good food and work into the trip. My trip to Virginia was half social/half work. The first weekend was my little brother's finance's bachelorette, then the end of the week, AlexAnne and I were getting together to wrap up work on our Joyful Eating program. Since my dad and stepmom live outside DC, I packed up the pups, hit the road and used that as an excuse to work remotely for the week!

Easy chicken burrito bowls with salsa verde

The bachelorette party was an absolute blast! I didn't know any of my future sister-in-law's friends before this trip and I had such a blast getting to know them and hanging out with my SIL more, since we've never been in the same city. We rented a row house in Capitol Hill and there was a ton of fun places to go out nearby. Friday we had really tasty dinner at Smith Commons (lobster fried quinoa for the win...) before going out. Saturday, we attempted to be mature and do a walking tour of DC, but really we just ended up taking dorky pictures with the souvenir vans, waiting in a really long line to pee at Washington Monument then giving up and getting bottles of Cava with strawberries at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Hey, we tried!

Dinner at Smith Commons

Touring DC!

Before heading to my parents in Virginia, I visited two of my friends to see the new house they bought in DC just a couple days before. We ate breakfast at The Royal, this really cute coffee shop with latin inspired breakfast options. Their egg arepa with avocado and chimichurri was super tasty but super messy - glad my friends don't judge! Afterwards, we walked around their neighborhood and they indulged my love of historic homes by dropping in an open house, where we pretended to be the kind of people who could afford a 1.9 million dollar home (ahem, we can't). Also, stumbled across this clearly haunted stunner - anyone want to invest a few million into my opening a B&B in the city? Anyone??

The rest of the week was pretty packed with work. Was hoping to see a bunch of my friends from home, but I completely lost my voice over the weekend. Wish I could say it was from having too much fun but I had a sore throat from allergies on Friday and it just got worse and worse all weekend! Since we were recording the audio lectures for our online intuitive eating program, I ended up having to cancel a few virtual appointments, which I felt awful about since I've never canceled appointments before, but I needed the voice rest. Still, I managed to squeeze in a visit with one of my two best friends from high school and her curly headed cutie! Can you get over these ringlets??

One Wednesday, Anne, Alex and I launched our 6-week online intuitive eating program, Joyful Eating, Nourished Life then spent Thursday and Friday wrapping up the program. It was so great to see each other in person again versus google hangout. Thursday we worked from my parents house so my dad could play instagram dad and take pictures of us for the website - poor guy was a trooper! Then Thursday we worked from Anne's house in Arlington, stopping for an extended lunch break with a really tough yoga class at Edge Yoga followed by salads at Sweetgreen. If only they would come to Columbia!

After a TOUGH yoga class

Salads at Sweetgreen! Mine was the umami bowl with baked tofu, quinoa, spicy sunflower seeds and more!

As we were going through last edits of our program, I couldn't help but get SO very excited for how wonderful it's turned out! We were able to squeeze in so much information about intuitive/mindful eating, sustainable nutrition strategies and enjoyable fitness in a usable, but not overwhelming way. We're really pumped about the number of signups so far, so if you're hoping to join the first group starting June 20th, be sure to sign up soon because we might actually reach our cap (knock on wood!).

Here's a sneak peek at our photo shoot:

Joyful Eating Program

Joyful Eating, Nourished Life Program

Intuitive Eating Online Program

Mindful Movement for the Joyful Eating Program

Over the weekend I took it easy since it had been a pretty hectic week. I visited with one of my best friends from high school who was also my roommate for a couple years at Clemson for a walking date. She had just gotten engaged a couple weeks before so it was fun to celebrate! She's one of the absolute kindest people I know so was thrilled to see her so happy! Then for Mother's Day, went out to brunch at Silver Diner with my dad and stepmom. We used to hangout there in high school and get burgers and fries, so I was really impressed that the menu had become so locally focused with a ton of flexitarian options, like my roasted vegetable huevos rancheros.

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[Tweet "These loaded chicken brown rice buritto bowls are sure to make you drool! "]

Now on to the recipe. This burrito bowl was (obviously) inspired by the bowls at Chipotle. People always ask me what food I get when I'm on the road and if there's a Chipotle nearby, it's always a brown rice bowl, usually with their sofritas (tofu) or chicken. But it's such an easy dinner to make at home too. While this one took a bit longer with the marinated meat and homemade guac, it can be super simple. Just top precooked brown rice with canned black beans, salsa, cheese, sautéed frozen peppers or spinach and a dollop of store bought guac. If you know how to prepare plantains, that's also a really delish topping!

A spicy chicken burrito bowl topped with charred corn, sautéed peppers, guacamole and salsa verde

Chicken Burrito Brown Rice Bowl Bowl with Homemade Guacamole
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: Serves 4
Makes extra guacamole, which you will surely find some use for.
  • [b]Chicken: [/b]
  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • [b]Guacamole:[/b]
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • [b]Burrito Bowl:[/b]
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 1-lb bag frozen peppers and onions
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • Cilantro, chopped
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, first prepare rice. Bring 2 cups water and 1 cup rice to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook 40-50 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes, then stir in chopped scallion and fluff with a fork.
  3. Next prepare guacamole. Scoop fresh out of the avocado and into a bowl. Add lime juice, cilantro, and red onion. Add salt and mash with a fork to combine.
  4. Heat grill on medium high. Place chicken cubes on a skewer. Grill about 4 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium skillet. Add corn and cook until corn is lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from skillet, wipe clean, and add 2 teaspoons oil to the skillet and heat. Add peppers and cook until tender and lightly charred, about 7-9 minutes. Remove from skillet. Season both with salt and pepper.
  6. Divide rice between bowls. Top with chicken, corn, peppers, a healthy scoop of guacamole. Top with cheddar, cilantro and drizzle with salsa verde.


Vegetarian Brown Rice Congee with Tempeh

For a unique breakfast, try this vegetarian brown rice congee with tempeh, a healthy take on a traditional Asian breakfast. 

Vegetarian brown rice congee, fully loaded with tempeh, fried shallots, green onions and a soft boiled egg!

First of all, thank you all so very much for all the incredibly kind feedback on yesterdays post on dieting and feminism. Seriously, some of your comments and emails brought me to tears! It was a post very much written from the heart - I actually stayed up till midnight writing it! I was really worried in my sleep deprived state I wouldn't be able to make the statement I was trying to make, so I was happy to hear so many of y'all connected.

Now, on to todays post!

Growing up in Atlanta, one of my favorite weekend treats was going to Canton House on Buford Highway for dim sum. Having moved from New York City, with Chinatown and its plethora of authentic Chinese food, I was so happy to find a place that sold things other than sesame chicken and lo mein. I'd guess we went there twice a month growing up and I still go almost every time I'm back in Atlanta!

Vegetarian brown rice congee with tempeh, a traditional Asian breakfast porridge

Have you ever been to dim sum? It's kind of like Chinese tapas, but instead of ordering off a menu, small plates of food are carted around the restaurant and you simply point at what looks good to order. It's perfect for someone like me who can't make a decision to save her life when faced with a menu. Also, endless dumplings.


There were a few dishes we always ordered. Steamed pork buns for my brother. Rolled rice noodles for me. And always a bowl of congee to share.

Congee is a type of rice porridge served for breakfast in many Asian countries. It's made with rice simmered until it's broken down and soup-like, flavored with just a little bit of pork or chicken and topped with all sorts of yummy things, like green onions and fried shallots. So basic, yet so delicious. My mouth is literally watering right now.

A healthier spin on congee, made with brown rice and topped with tempeh

When we went to Vietnam, I was SO excited when I found congee at our hotel breakfast buffet. Like, I flipped out to Scott and basically forced him to get a giant bowl with me. I was heartbroken when I had a bite and realized it was super bland and not at all the congee of my youth. Have you ever had a bite of your favorite hamburger from your favorite childhood restaurant, only to realize they changed the recipe? That was how heartbroken I felt. Literally, every single hotel we stayed at had the same bland congee.

Since then, I've been craving some congee. (P.S. Columbia friends, favorite Chinese restaurant recs? I've found great Korean and Vietnamese, but nothing but Panda Express-style Chinese.). So, I decided to whip some up myself.

Congee is a savory Asian rice porridge served for breakfast! Gluten free and vegan if you leave off the egg!

This recipe isn't exactly authentic because, you know, I'm white, but it's still packed with flavor and I think, pretty close in flavor profile to the original. Don't skip on the toppings! They pack in the flavor and make a pretty dish!

Vegetarian Brown Rice Congee with Tempeh
Serves: Serves 6
Enjoy for breakfast for dinner alongside a side salad.
  • [b]Congee:[/b]
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • [b]Tempeh: [/b]
  • 1 tablespoon seasme oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces tempeh, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • [b]Fried Shallots:[/b]
  • 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • [b]For serving:[/b]
  • Tempeh
  • Fried shallots
  • Sliced green onion
  • Soft or hard boiled egg
  • Sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds, toasted
  • Red pepper flakes
  1. Bring brown rice, ginger, garlic and water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt. Reduce heat to maintain at a steady simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, about 1 and a half hours, until it has a thick, soup-like consistency and the rice is broken down. Add more water if it's starting to look too thick. Stir in spinach and let wilt.
  2. While congee is cooking, make the tempeh. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add tempeh and cook until browned and tender,about 5 minutes. When cooked through, stir in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce to season. Once soy sauce has evaporated, about 1 minute, turn off heat and set aside in a bowl until ready to use.
  3. To make the shallots, toss shallot rings and cornstarch together in a bowl. Heat oil on medium high heat in a small skillet. Add the shallots and fry until golden and tender, flipping halfway, about 2 minutes per side Remove immediately to paper towel lined plate.
  4. Serve congee garnished with tempeh, fried shallots, green onion, a drizzle of sesame oil, egg and red pepper flakes.


Eggs in a Nest

Eggs in a nest, a dish of brown rice sautéed with vegetables and eggs baked in, is SO simple, you won't believe how tasty it is! Meet your new favorite weeknight dinner! 

Every year for Valentine's Day, I give my husband a very special and thoughtful gift - the gift of not having to bother getting me any gifts.

Yep, I'm one of those people who thinks Valentine's Day is kind of silly. I'm not vehemently anti-Valentine's Day, I just rather not get a box of chalky tasting chocolates or go out to dinner at 8:45 because that's the only time we could get a reservation. I much prefer a cozy meal at home with the hubs, my pups and Netflix.

I used to prepare a special meal for Valentine's day. When we first moved into our house (we closed on it a few weeks earlier) I prepared a beef roast with this Madeira wine and tomato jam with crispy potatoes and this super fancy French bistro salad. The meal was pretty incredible, but I think we ate at 10 pm because it took so long and I had to work late that day. So basically my Valentine's Day was spent running around the kitchen as a harried, frazzled mess. Braving the crowds on Valentine's Day was starting to make a lot more sense.

A couple years ago, I gave Scott an even better present for Valentine's Day - food poisoning. I thought I pulled off this incredible meal of mussels in dijon cream sauce with pommes frites (you know, the really thin, crispy kind) followed by the most incredible chili chocolate brownies studded with caramel. It wasn't until the next day when we both didn't feel so hot that I realized we had food poisoning from the mussels.

No more fancy Valentine's Day meals for us.

I now like to keep things simple, making something with sentimental value rather than flare. Things like this egg in a nest, which I used to make all the time when we were semi-long distance dating. As basic as this recipe is, just pan fried veggies and brown rice with eggs baked in, it's soooo crazy good. In fact, I used to use the fact that I was making it to lure my now hubs into driving almost 2 hours from his work just to see me for the night by telling him I was making this dish!

This works best when you use cold or room temperature cooked rice, which gives it a nice, crispy texture and keeps it from getting sticky or mushy in the pan. It also helps it form a nice crust on the bottom, which is kind of the best part. Or maybe it's the runny yolk? Mmmm.

It probably goes without saying, because everything goes well with sriracha, but this is REALLY good with sriracha.

Eggs in a Nest

Serves 4


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 ounces spinach, roughly chopped (half a bag)
  • 6 eggs
  • Sriracha and chopped fresh parsley, optional for garnish


  1. Bring brown rice and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 40-50 minutes. Set aside and cool to room temperature, or refrigerate.
  2. Head olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add carrots and sun-dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until carrots are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add brown rice and cook until vegetables are tender and rice is starting to get crispy. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Make 6 wells in the rice and crack an egg into each. Cook until whites are starting to set, then transfer to the broiler. Cook until whites are set and eggs are still runny, which should take just a few minutes.

For those of you who actually like to do Valentine's Day like a normal person:

Strawberry Crepes with Cashew Cream
Strawberry Crepes with Cashew Cream
Spaghetti with Roasted Cauliflower and Browned Butter Sauce
Spaghetti with Roasted Cauliflower and Browned Butter Sauce
Cedar Plank Trout with Asian Guacamole
Cedar Plank Trout with Asian Guacamole

Ahi Poke Bowl

Embrace the Hawaiian food trend with this ahi poke bowl, inspired by a trip to the Islands! Try it with tofu for a vegan version! 

When we were in Hawaii this past December, I kid you not, the hubs and I ate ahi poke every single day. We were discussing recently and I think that it might be our new favorite food of all time. I joked that I might rename my blog an ahi poke a day, but seriously, I might.

Almost as soon as I got home, I dreamed of recreating the dish. Luckily I got the chance when Food and Nutrition Magazine's blog said they were on the lookout for Hawaiian recipes and I basically emailed and said "Pick me!! Pick me!!!"

And they did :) So head on over to Stone Soup blog to grab the recipe for my ahi poke bowl!

Bulgogi Tofu Meatball Lettuce Wraps

Bulgogi tofu meatball lettuce wraps are a fun vegetarian take on classic Korean food! 


Hello from Phoenix! Actually, technically speaking this is hello from 30,000 feet above somewhere in Tennessee. We’re visiting Phoenix to watch our Clemson Tigers play in the college football national championships against Alabama. I’m nervous to write anything about the game because this post will live in internet eternity, so no predictions or trash talk from me! Plus, I don’t want to jinx anything, because you know, how well Clemson plays is totally reliant on what some random 31-year-old nutrition grad says ;)

Instead, let’s talk bulgogi, which I don’t think will have any trickle down effects on the championship game. At least I hope not…


Bulgogi is a Korean barbecue dish, made from thin strips of beef marinated in a mix of soy, brown sugar, sesame oil, Asian pear and gochujang (aka Korean ketchup). Living in the South, there’s passionate debate over where to find the best barbecue. Is it our local mustard based sauce? (Probably). Or is it the thick, sweet ketchup based sauce? (No). Some think it’s the simple vinegar and chili mixture used in North Carolina. (Maybe). We can all agree it’s not that weird mayo based barbecue sauce those crazy people in Alabama like so much. (Okay, maybe a little bit of trash talk ;) )

I might not be let back into South Carolina on Wednesday, but frankly, I think the debate is rather silly, because Asian barbecue wins hands down. Bulgogi is the perfect example with it’s sweet and spicy, complex blend of flavors. South Korea > South Carolina when it comes to barbecue. I am so sorry guys, but it’s the truth. If any of my Columbia friends are mad at me, go eat dinner at Arirang and then tell me how you feel.


Now, this dish definitely isn’t traditional, but it’s simplified, fun to eat, and still really really tasty. I found this recipe for bulgogi chicken meatballs on Goop that was calling my name. After more meat eating than normal with our recent travels and the holidays, I decided to take a stab at a vegetarian version (p.s. you can make these vegan too!). I remembered my spicy tofu burger from a few years back and realized it would make the perfect base. I actually think I like using this mix in ‘meatball’ form instead of a burger, because you get more crispy crust.


I served these as lettuce wraps with brown rice, shredded carrots, cucumber, and kimchi, which I forgot to photograph in the rush to catch the last minutes of daylight. Oh my food bloggers readers, you know the joys of winter! If you have some cilantro or basil on hand, I’d throw out a bowl of it too. You could also swap brown rice noodles, or even quinoa. To make these vegan, use chia eggs - 1 tablespoon ground chia with 3 tablespoons water.

Bulgogi Tofu Meatball Lettuce Wraps

Serves 4


Bulgogi Tofu Meatballs:

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 16 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed
  • 1/2 cup whole grain panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang or sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Lettuce Wraps: 

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 cucumber, julienned or spiralized
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • Kimchi, for serving
  • Sriracha, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a food processed, blend cashews until finely chopped. Add remaining meatball ingredients, blend until combined, scraping down sides as needed.
  3. Spray a baking sheet lightly with oil. Form small golf ball sized meatballs with the tofu mixture. Mix should make about 20. Spray tops lightly with oil. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until golden, flipping halfway.
  4. While tofu balls are baking, make glaze. Mix soy sauce, brown sugar, gochujang and sesame oil in a small pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  5. Drizzle or brush glaze over meatballs. Mix brown rice with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with lettuce cups, brown rice, cucumber, carrots and kimchi.

Good Mood Food: Crispy Kale, Black Rice and Coconut Salad

Crispy kale, black rice and coconut salad is a healthy, fiber packed lunch, perfect for topping with seared tofu or roasted salmon. 

Did you happen to catch that article circulating facebook claiming kale is a "silent killer"? I know. Insert eye-rolling emoji.

When I saw it posted on my feed, I immediately dismissed it because, well, duh. Kale is kale. A few days later, I saw the rebuttal, which of course I clicked on. Gotta love a good science takedown! Basically, the research behind the whole 'kale is toxic' claim is flimsy at best, but more accurately, nonexistent. Read it yourself. How such horrific science was spun in a fairly reputable media source will definitely make you look at nutrition headlines differently.

Rest assured, kale is perfectly nutritious, and while theoretically, any food can be dangerous if consumed in excessive quantities, that's pretty low on my list of concerns. So go ahead, throw some kale leaves in your smoothie, saute it, whip up a big ole' kale salad. You'll be eating one of the most nutrient dense foods out there, and you may even feel happier for it! Thats right, because kale is a Good Mood Food!

Kale certainly has a cultish following among the health conscious and food lovers in general. It can be a bit much, but I must say, the reputation is deserved. Kale tops the charts when it comes to nutrient density. As one of the most nutrient dense foods, kale is rich is brain boosting nutrients!

MAGNESIUM // A deficiency in magnesium has been linked to anxiety, depression, ADHD and fatigue. Unfortunately, almost 70% of Americans don't eat enough magnesium. Magnesiums role in psychiatric conditions isn't well understood, partly because magnesium has so many complex roles in the brain - regulating neuronal function, optimizing thyroid function (an underactive thyroid can cause depression), reducing inflammation, as a precursor to neurotransmitters...I could go on. Or you could go eat some kale, which contains a hefty dose of magnesium and is one of the greens lowest in oxalates, a compound in many green leafy vegetables that can interfere with magnesium absorption.

CALCIUM // Calcium does more than build healthy bones! Calcium plays many roles in the regulation of neurotransmitters and the electrical impulses in our brain. There are many plant based sources of calcium, including leafy greens. A serving contains 9% your daily needs.

VITAMIN A & VITAMIN K // Two of those fabulous fat soluble vitamins we were missing out by following the low fat craze of the 90s. Vitamin A plays a role in creating the enzymes that make neurotransmitters while vitamin K makes fats called sphingolipids that make the structure of our brain. A serving of kale contains 200% daily needs of vitamin A and a whopping 600%+ daily needs for vitamin K.

I'm a huge fan of eating kale in salad form. The sturdy kale leaves won't wilt so you can whip up a kale salad that will last all week, dressed and all. To tenderize the leaves so I don't spend my entire lunch break chewing, I massage the dressing in. It can get a little messy and as much as I love to play with food, it's one task I'm happy to skip.

When I first tried this salad from Super Natural Everyday I fell in love, not just with the salad itself, but the ingenious method for softening kale leaves by roasting them with a flavorful dressing. Straight out of the oven, some of the kale leaves are nicely wilted while others get crispy. Basically, it's a kale chip salad. I know! And although you lose the crispiness with leftovers, it's still pretty fantastic.

To boost the brain power, I served this with salmon roasted in sesame oil, soy sauce and spritzed with a little lemon juice, but feel free to make it vegan with baked cubes of tofu or even extra hemp hearts, which are high in protein. You could also swap the black rice for more readily available brown rice, or other whole grains like farro, quinoa, or bulgur.

Crispy Kale, Black Rice and Coconut Salad

Serves 4-6

Adapted from Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson, one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks.


  • 1 cup black rice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Couple pinches cayenne
  • 2 10-ounce bags of chopped kale or two bunches, chopped
  • 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut


  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil with black rice. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 50-60 minutes until rice is tender and water is absorbed.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, sesame, soy sauce, garlic and cayenne.
  3. Spread chopped kale evenly across two large baking sheets. Toss with coconut. Drizzle with about 3/4ths of the dressing. Place in the oven and bake 12-18 minutes until the coconut is golden and the leaves are slightly crispy around the edges. You may need to swap the pans positions in the oven (from upper to lower rack and visa versa) halfway through cooking.
  4. Remove kale from the oven and transfer to a large bowl. Add black rice, remaining dressing and toss to combine. Serve warm. Leftovers can be enjoyed cool or reheated slightly.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Pesto Brown Rice

Y'all. I am exhausted.

I hate to complain, but also, I'm so tired right now, I honestly can't think of anything else to talk about. Not even these incredible stuffed tomatoes that essentially taste like summer in a casserole dish. Well, except for that last sentence. After that, I'm out.

I haven't been staying up late, feeling stressed or working more hours than usual. I just for the life of me can't get a good, restful night of sleep!

Do any of you have a jawbone? I use it to track my workouts and steps, but mostly, I'm fascinated to see how long and how deep I sleep. Every morning, as soon as my alarm goes off, I plug it in so I can see how long and how deep I slept. I call it my sleep porn, because whenever I have an especially good night, I'd let out an deep "ohhhh yeaaaah." These things are exciting when you're 30+.

My husband thinks I'm ridiculous, judging my tiredness off my jawbone and not how I feel. His theory is that I'm getting enough sleep, but moving more at night, causing my jawbone to interpret it as light sleep. He thinks my tiredness is all psychosomatic. Is this kind of the sleep equivalent of when you focus on the scale versus how you feel?

That said, it's probably a good idea that I turn off the computer, do some light yoga, and snuggle up in bed.

Oh, and these stuffed tomatoes are awesome! Do it! Feel free to swap any whole grain you like - quinoa, millet, couscous or farro would all be great! I threw a few pattypan squash in there as well since we had some from our CSA. You could do this with zucchini too, although it might take a little bit longer to bake. Just check it with doneness after 45 minutes by poking it with a fork.

Brown Rice and Pesto Stuffed Tomatoes


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup brown rice

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 12 tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup pesto

  • 1/4 cup basil, slivered

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 2 cups jarred tomato sauce

  • 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled


  1. In a medium pot with a tight fitting lid, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stir, then pour in 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 40-50 minutes until tender.

  2. While rice is cooking, cut the tops off the tomatoes. Scoop out the insides. Cut a sliver of tomato off the bottom so they stand up straight in the casserole dish.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  4. When the water has absorbed and the rice is tender, let sit covered in the pot, off heat, 5 minutes. Remove the lid and let cool slightly, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the pesto, basil and chickpeas. Season with salt and black pepper if needed.

  5. Spread 2 cups tomato sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Place tomatoes evenly over the sauce. Divide the rice mixture between the tomatoes, stuffing down into each one. Crumble the goat cheese over each tomato. Bake 35-45 minutes until tomatoes are tender.

You might also like: 

Quinoa Crusted Eggplant and Zucchini
Quinoa Crusted Eggplant and Zucchini
Vegan Eggplant Involtini
Vegan Eggplant Involtini
Chermoula Roasted Eggplant with Bulgur Salad
Chermoula Roasted Eggplant with Bulgur Salad

Fried Black Rice with Bok Choy

Fried black rice with bok choy is a quick, easy and nutritious meal, packed with whole grains and seasonal vegetables.

Last year, I wrote this article for Pure Barre's blog, outlining my strategy for weekend meal prep. You can read it yourself, but here's my basic gameplan:

  1. Cut and roast veggies
  2. Cook a big batch of grains and/or beans
  3. Make a soup, stew, chili, or some other batch meal I can reheat on the days I don't feel like cooking
  4. Prepare a grab and go breakfast
  5. Portion out grab and go snacks

I aim to do at least three of these things each Sunday. It doesn't always happen, but even if I cross just one item off the list, it makes a huge difference in simplifying and streamlining my week. Ever since I got an electric pressure cooker last year, which cooks grains in 15 minutes and beans in 30, there's no excuse not to whip up a batch to last all week.

You'll find a million things to do with a big batch of cooked whole grains. Pour in almond milk, honey and fresh fruit for breakfast. Whip up a grain bowl with leftovers and random bits hanging around the fridge. Toss in olive oil and fresh herbs for a simple side dish. But who am I kidding? 99.9% of the time I make fried rice.

I have endless love for fried rice. From the authentic versions at my favorite restaurants to the uber-greasy Panda Express at the mall version, I love it all!

It couldn't be easier to make homemade fried rice. I rarely follow a recipe, but for the sake of sharing, I wrote down this one today. Basically I saute onion, garlic a seasonal vegetable in oil, usually olive or sesame, add cold cooked brown rice or some other whole grain, then scramble in an egg. It's as easy as that! Just be sure to use cold rice, otherwise it will get mushy.

For this recipe, I used black rice, also called forbidden rice. It's black when raw, and a dark purple-ish color when cooked. It's hue comes from anthocyanins, the same type of antioxidant that gives blueberries, blackberries and other purple fruits & veg their color. Anthocyanins have been shown to protect against diabetes, cancer and heart disease. And actually, black rice has almost as much anthocyanin as blueberries and blackberries! You can purchase it online or at most health food stores and well stocked grocery stores, where it's often sold in bulk.

Fried Black Rice with Bok Choy

Serves 4


  • 1 cup black rice, cooked then cooled
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb bok choy, chopped
  • Chili flakes (not sure how much because this happened)
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup peanuts, toasted 


  1. Heat oil in a large sided skillet on medium high heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic and saute 5 minutes until translucent. Add bok choy and chili flakes, saute until stems are tender and leaves are wilted. Stir in rice, let sit for a minute to crisp, then toss. Repeat until rice is slightly crispy, about 10 minutes total.
  2. Add scallions and soy sauce and toss to combine. Remove rice to a serving bowl.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add sesame oil to the empty skillet. Pour in beaten egg. Scramble egg by pushing in sides towards the center until cooked through, then break apart with a spatula. Stir eggs into the rice. Serve garnished with peanuts.

Mujadara with Harissa Tomato Sauce, Parsley Pesto and Lemon Tahini Sauce

This healthy mujadara recipe tops the traditional Middle Eastern dish of lentils, brown rice and caramelized onions with a spicy harissa tomato sauce, parsley pesto, and tahini sauce. 

Mujadara with Harissa Tomato Sauce, Garlicky Herbs and Tahini Drizzle
Mujadara with Harissa Tomato Sauce, Garlicky Herbs and Tahini Drizzle

By posting this recipe, I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by USA Rice Federation and am eligible to win prizes associated with this contest. I was not compensated for my time. 

Living in South Carolina, a state basically built on rice, I was excited to see the latest Recipe Redux contest was sponsored by USA Rice Federation. Rice is a huge part of lowcountry cuisine, served with gravy at almost every meal. When I was working at a hospital, a patient once told me he would rather pull his fingernails out one by one than give up rice. I think he was serious.

Luckily, that man is still in possession of all 10 fingernails, because there's absolutely no need to give up rice. Brown rice is a nutritious, and versatile whole grain, one of my favorites to cook with. Let's take a deeper look at why you should think rice.

WHOLE GRAIN // Brown rice is an intact whole grain, meaning it still has the germ and bran intact. That's where most of the vitamins, minerals and fiber is stored. Whole grains, like brown rice, are beneficial for weight control, blood sugar control, cholesterol lowering and are protective against certain types of cancer.

CHOLESTEROL LOWERING // Rich in soluble fiber, a type of fiber that binds to cholesterol, rice is incredibly heart healthy. Studies also show the natural oils in rice may help lower cholesterol as well.

GLUTEN FREE // If you're on a gluten free diet for health reasons, you'll be happy to know rice is naturally gluten free!

BONE HEALTH // Most people think of calcium for bone health, but there are other bone building nutrients of equal importance. Magnesium and phosphorus are two, and a cup of brown rice contains about 20% daily needs of both.

SELENIUM // Selenium is an antioxidant mineral that helps support healthy thyroid function. A serving of brown rice contains 35% your daily needs.

I thought about creating a lowcountry inspired dish for this contest, featuring South Carolina's famous Carolina Gold rice, but I wanted to highlight rice's versatility in regards to different cuisines. It is one of the most widely consumed foods in the world! Think sushi in Japan, arroz con polloin South America, risotto in Italy, biryani in India, congee in China, gallo pinto in Central America, paella in Spain...you get the point. At the risk of sounding cheesy, rice connects us all!  

Speaking of which, cheesy rice...mmmm.

So, I came up with this gussied up version of mujadara, a traditional Middle Eastern dish of lentils cooked with brown rice, topped with caramelized onion. It's an incredibly simple dish. The first time I saw a recipe for mujadara, I thought there's no way it could be anything but boring. The only reason I made it was out of empty kitchen-too lazy to go to the grocery store necessity.

Gluten Free Mujadara with Sauces
Gluten Free Mujadara with Sauces

Alternate title: Mujadara, fully loaded.

Basic mujadara is comfort food at it's best, but when is anything not improved by a spicy tomato sauce, a garlicky herbs and copious amounts of tahini? To save time, you could leave off the extra sauces, or just make one, but they don't take long, so you might as well go for the whole shebang.

Mujadara with Harissa Tomato Sauce, Garlicky Herbs & Tahini Sauce




  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup lentils, picked over for stones
  • 3/4 U.S.-grown brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Harissa Tomato Sauce, for serving
  • Parsley Garlic Sauce, for serving
  • Lemon Tahini Sauce, for serving


  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt, and cook, stirring every so often, until a deep, caramel color, about 50 minutes.
  2. While the onions are cooking, cook the lentils. Place the lentils in a medium pot, cover with water by about an inch, bring to a boil on medium-high heat then reduce heat and simmer. Cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. When the onions are done, set half aside for garnish. Add rice and lentils with salt to the pot along with 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 40-50 minutes until rice and lentils are tender and water is absorbed. Season with salt.
  4. Serve garnished with caramelized onions, tomato sauce, parsley garlic sauce and lemon tahini sauce.

Harissa Tomato Sauce


1 1/2 cups


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons harissa
  • 1 14 ounce can tomato puree


  1. Heat olive oil in a small pot on medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add harissa and saute an additional 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Add tomato puree, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes. Set aside for serving.

Parsley Pesto


1/2 cup


  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt


  1. Place ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Set aside for serving.

Lemon Tahini Sauce


1 cup


  • 2/3 cup tahini
  • Juice of 1/2-1 lemon
  • Salt


  1. Whisk together tahini and juice of 1/2 lemon. Taste and add the rest of the juice if desired. Season with salt and set aside for serving.

Check out the other rice creations from my fellow Recipe Reduxers:

[inlinkz_linkup id=490418 mode=1]

Brown Rice Bowl With Five Spice Tempeh and Garlicky Greens

This brown rice bowl with five spice tempeh, garlicky greens, edamame hummus and pea shoots comes together in less than five minutes when the ingredients are prepped in advance. 

This weekend, I taught two nutrition classes, both focused on making healthy eating easy with meal prep and planning. So naturally, I spent quite a bit of time praising my favorite quick meal - the grain bowl.

Have you hopped on the grain bowl train yet? I wrote an in depth post on it a few months ago, sharing my formula for a perfect grain bowl, but basically it's a hearty salad with whole grains as it's base. Endlessly adaptable, it's a perfect way to use up random leftovers and vegetables hanging around the fridge. It's filling, nutritious, portable, fun to eat...basically it's perfect.

Free idea for any aspiring food bloggers: I think there should be an entire blog devoted to grain bowls. Will someone please do that? If you do, I promise to subscribe and share every post and also love you forever.

I've made a gazillion grain bowls (no exaggeration). Most aren't exactly a recipe, but rather a bunch of random stuff piled on some grains. It's always delicious, but not exactly blog worthy in the looks department. So when I made this picture perfect grain bowl last month, I knew I had to add it to the queue.

With all the ingredients precooked, this took just 5 minutes to throw together. And the prep was hardly intensive either. I cooked brown rice in the pressure cooker (2 minutes hands on time), sauteed baby bok choy and spinach (10 minutes, doing the dishes as it cooked), and baked tempeh (5 minutes hands on). Not too shabby.

A shout out to the star of this dish - the edamame hummus. Big thanks to Eat Well, Embrace Life for the special delivery. I was kind of skeptical, but it actually turned out to be my favorite flavor. If you can't find edamame hummus, simply swap in avocado slices or a drizzle of sesame oil for healthy fat.

Brown Rice Bowl with Five Spice Tempeh and Garlicky Greens

Serves 4

If you can't find edamame hummus, swap in sliced avocado. For a spicier version, use kim chi instead of fermented kraut.


  • 8 ounces tempeh
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb baby bok choy, sliced
  • 6 ounce bag baby spinach
  • 3 cups cooked and cooled brown rice
  • 1/2 cup edamame hummus
  • 1/2 cup fermented sauerkraut
  • Pea shoots, microgreens or sprouts
  • Chili oil, for serving
  • Fermented soy sauce, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut tempeh into 16 slices widthwise. Place on a oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle with half the five spice powder, salt and pepper. Flip and season the other side. Spray with olive oil. Place in the oven and bake 15 minutes. Flip, then bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside and cool.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add garlic, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add bok choy, saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
  4. Place 3/4 cup brown rice in a bowl. Place 4 slices of tempeh, 1/4th of the vegetables, 2 tablespoons of hummus, 2 tablespoons of sauerkraut, and a handful of pea shoots in piles over the brown rice.
  5. Drizzle with chili oil and soy sauce to serve.

You might also love:

Build a Perfect Grain Bowl
Build a Perfect Grain Bowl
Jamaican Jerk Tofu Bowl with Garlicky Greens
Jamaican Jerk Tofu Bowl with Garlicky Greens
Buddha Bowl with Marinated Tofu, Kimchi, and Spinach
Buddha Bowl with Marinated Tofu, Kimchi, and Spinach

Sushi Un-Roll with Smoked Salmon and Avocado

Sushi Unroll with Smoked Salmon and Avocado
Sushi Unroll with Smoked Salmon and Avocado

Welcome to the new Avocado A Day Nutrition! First up, a recipe adapted from my very first recipe post. The sushi un-roll is perfect for the home chef. Brown rice is tossed with green onions, pickled ginger and nori, then topped with my favorite sushi fillings - smoked salmon, creamy avocado, crunchy fresh veggies and a spicy sriracha sauce. 

New Year, new you, new blog :)

Welcome to Avocado A Day Nutrition, my new internet home! You like?

I've wanted a blog with a professional web design basically since I started to blog almost two years ago. Besides the obvious costs involved, not being so technically inclined, the user-friendly blogger program and $30 Etsy template made much more sense. With the switch to wordpress and the gorgeous new design by the creative minds at ByFarr Design here in Columbia, I finally feel like my blog is part of my business!

Since I opened Avocado A Day Nutrition almost 9 months ago, I've been preparing for this relaunch. I'm glad I waited until now because it gave me a chance to settle into the new business, research and brainstorm. Most importantly though, it gave me ample time to figure out branding, a concept I knew absolutely nothing about when I started my business.

When I started my blog, I wrote about anything that struck my interest. When I started my business, I dabbled in a little bit of everything. Mostly, it was because I have many interests, but also, I was afraid to narrow my scope and miss out on potential clients and opportunities.

I still have many interests within the wide world of nutrition. However, over the past few months, I've honed in on what my true area of passion is - helping my clients and readers rediscover the joy of eating with delicious foods, nurturing a healthy relationship with food and by integrating the science of nutrition and psychology.

Sushi Bowl with Sriracha Mayo
Sushi Bowl with Sriracha Mayo

On Avocado A Day 2.0, you'll continue to see the same practical nutrition advice and delicious, whole food, plant-centric recipes that get you running to the kitchen. I'll also be delving a little deeper into the intersection between nutrition, mental health and wellbeing. As a dual-major with Psychology, I've always been interested in concepts like mindful and intuitive eating, as well as the impact of specific foods on brain health. I've realized this area is my true passion within nutrition. As I've further integrated these practices into my practice and personal eating habits, I've seen tremendous results. Can't wait to share the knowledge I've gained in mood-enhancing foods, mindfulness and my personal philosophy of joyful eating with you all!

We're still working out a few kinks and I'm busy cleaning up old posts, but I wanted to go ahead and share my first post today. I was too excited to wait!

If you subscribe to email updates through my old site, it should betransferred over in the next couple days. But just be to safe, you might want to sign up again through this feed. And while we're at it, how about everybody signs up for email updates on this blog :) You'll get new posts sent directly to your inbox.

For the next couple days, both sites are up but eventually my archived recipes and posts will only be on this site. Links from the old blog will be redirected here, so no need to repin anything. Also, within about a week, I'll have a page set up where you can shop for my services as well as downloadable nutrition guides and handouts. I'll be expanding my shop with more offerings throughout the year. Still, I hope you'll spend some time checking out my new, easy to use recipe index, resource page, and "About" section.

But for now, just enjoy this gorgeous sushi bowl. My very first recipe post on Avocado 1.0 was a sushi salad, perfect for those of you who, like me, lack the hand-eye coordination to make rolls. It was so delicious, but you'd never know it from that hideous picture! We'll be revisiting that soon...


This dish embodies my philosophy of joyful eating. It's simple to make, fun to eat and is made with only minimally processed ingredients. For me, this dish brings to mind so many happy food memories - sushi nights with my best girlfriends and the smoked salmon bagels I lived on as a child growing up in NYC. The bowl is packed with mood-enhancing foods, like fatty fish, whole grains and probiotic rich, fermented soy sauce. And of course, there's avocado.

A huge thanks to Brynley and the talented team at ByFarr Design for your hard work on my site, especially around the holidays. It looks incredible! Another big thanks to my family, and husband, aka tech support. To my long-time readers - thank you! Thank you for being a part of this little community through your kind words and comments, sharing my blog with friends, client referrals, pointing out embarrassing typos, sharing your successes with me and for choosing my recipes to nourish yourself and your loved ones.

You all are awesome! May 2015 be your best year yet!

Sushi Un-Roll with Smoked Salmon and Avocado


Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE



For a fun meal to serve a crowd, make a big batch of the rice and serve with a variety of toppings so everyone can make their own sushi bowl. Cooked shrimp, seared tuna, marinated tofu/tempeh, radishes, shredded carrot and and steamed asparagus would be fun additions.


  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2-3 tablespoons naturally brewed soy sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons pickled ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 package of toasted nori snacks, or two large sheets of nori, toasted
  • 2 cups snow peas, halved
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and julienned
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, sliced
  • 2 small avocados, halved and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil mayo or vegan mayo (I used Hampton Creek Just Mayo)
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha


  1. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil with 1 cup of brown rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Then uncover and fluff with a fork.
  2. Once rice has cooled to room temperature (I prepped the ingredients as it cooled), combine it with scallions, sesame seeds, soy sauce, ginger, and toasted nori. Add more soy sauce and ginger if desired.
  3. Whisk together sriracha and mayo in a small bowl.
  4. Divide rice between four bowls. Top with snow peas, cucumber, smoked salmon and sliced avocado. Drizzle with spicy sriracha mayo.


Wild Rice Salad with Chicken and Tart Cherries

Nutty wild rice is tossed with leftover cooked chicken, crunchy celery, tart dried cherries and blue cheese for a beautiful fall-inspired salad. 
wild rice salad with chicken and tart cherries

So here's your useless bit of trivia knowledge for the day: did you know wild rice isn't rice? In fact, it isn't even a grain, it's a seed. Wild rice is actually the seed of an aquatic, reed-like grass, putting it in the category of pseudograins like quinoa and buckwheat. Who knew?

When I write about a specific food, I mostly share things I already knew. But as I sat down to write this post on wild rice, I realized I know nothing other than it's nutritious and I love it. So, I did some googling and I was amazed by what I learned.

Wild rice is native to North America, where it grows in the wetlands of Canada, Minnesota and throughout the Great Lakes Region. There is archeological evidence of it's consumption that dates back over 12,000 years. As the story goes, the ancestors to the Ojibwa and Chippewa tribes were told by their Great Spirit to go west, to the place where food grows on water, or perish. They traveled until they found wetlands full of wild rice, and decided to make it their home. They called it manoomin, which means "good berry."

These days, 80% of the wild rice sold is a cultivated hybrid, grown in paddies and machine harvested. Yup, that's right. Most wild rice isn't even wild. Blew my mind too. Authentic wild rice is hand-harvested using a canoe then dried over a wood fire, imparting a rich smoky flavor. Compared to cultivated wild rice, it supposed to have a nuttier flavor, lighter and fluffier texture, plus it cooks in about half the time.

This salad was made with a cultivated wild rice, which until today, I thought was the only wild rice. Now I'm dying to try it. Eden Foods, a company I love, sells authentic wild rice that's widely available.

Nutritionally, wild rice is rich in fiber and contains about twice the amount of protein as brown rice, making it a fantastic choice for blood sugar control. It's a rich source of vitamins A, C, and E and contains a wide array of minerals, including folate, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. One study found wild rice has 30 times the antioxidants found in white rice.

wild rice salad with cranberry vinaigrette
My favorite way to use wild rice is in cold salads, especially when the weather is cold, as the nutty flavor goes especially well with fall flavors. I came up with this salad as a way to use up some Thanksgiving leftovers. I was so excited with how it turned out that I quickly snapped some pictures. While I used turkey and cranberry sauce, yours is probably gone by now, so feel free to swap it with chicken and fig jam or a chutney.
Now, before we get to the recipe, I'm excited to share with you all a new program I'm launching called New Year, New You! Thanksgiving is over and the New Year will be here before you know it. Ditch the New Years Resolution and try a different approach. My program takes a step by step approach to wellness. Rather than overwhelming yourself on Jan 1, we will spend each month focused on a different theme, developing personalized goals and giving you the tools and knowledge you need to succeed. The program includes twelve 45-minute sessions, one each month, at a special discounted rate, and monthly nutrition handouts and guides. The program is available in person in the Columbia, SC area or over telephone/Skype. Invite friends to make it a group program at no additional fee - you'll save money and build a support system at the same time! Email me at AnAvocadoADayRD@gmail.com to reserve your spot as appointments are limited. And please share with anyone you think might be interested!
Wild Rice Salad with Chicken and Tart Cherries
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: 4
For a vegan/vegetarian version, substitute the chicken or turkey for cubes of baked tofu or edamame and leave out the blue cheese.
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked wild rice
  • 1 cup shredded leftover cooked chicken or turkey, preferably organic
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 small carrots, shredded
  • 1/3 cup dried unsweetened tart cherries
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • 2 large green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 cups arugula or baby kale
  • [b]Dressing:[/b]
  • 3 tablespoons cranberry relish (or any jam/chutney you have)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegary
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  1. First, cook the wild rice. I did mine in the pressure cooker with 2 1/3 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for 30 minutes. If you don't have one, bring 3 1/2 cups water to a boil, stir in rice, reduce heat and simmer 50 minutes until tender. Set aside to cool.
  2. When the rice is at room temperature, mix in the chicken, celery, carrots, tart cherries, almonds and green onions. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the wild rice mixture. Divide the arugula among four plates. Top with wild rice salad, garnish with blue cheese and serve.

Beans & Greens Burrito with Cashew Queso

My favorite thing about Chipotle? Packing in ALL the fillings! This homemade, vegan burrito is packed with goodies - sauteed greens and meaty mushrooms, black beans, brown rice and a cheesy cashew queso! 

As you know, I'm not a fan of fast food. I could get on my soapbox, but - oh wait, it's my blog, so I will!

Fast food is absurdly overprocessed. Think over 72 ingredients in a burger, at least 30 in a simple biscuit, and a whopping 63 in hot wings. Harmful ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils, carrageenan, and sodium nitrate seem to be in everything. Sugar, salt, and processed fats are the main flavoring ingredients. Workers are paid horribly. They shamelessly market unhealthy food to children and engage in shady politics, fostering a food system that's destructive to the environment.

But most of all, it tastes awful.

There is, however, one fast food I unapologetically love - Chipotle. Calories be damned, all 1,3000 of them, those burritos are mighty delicious! Not only that, Chipotle actually displays pretty decent corporate ethics. Certainly, lunch at Chipotle isn't the same thing as shopping at a local, organic farm, but they show big business can support environmentally sustainable farming and more humane treatment of animals and still thrive. You could even order a fairly nutritious meal, like the salad or burrito bowl on brown rice - although lets be real, if you're at Chipotle, you're getting a burrito with extra cheese and chips.

With a hankering for Mexican, I wanted to create a vegan burrito that felt like Chipotle's (i.e. over-stuffed and cheesy). The first swap was easy - a much smaller, 100% whole wheat tortilla for their massive 300 calorie wrapper, equivalent to 3 slices of bread. I kept the beans and rice, because it's basically essential. For a meat substitute, I used mushrooms, which have the same meaty flavor yet are packed with nutrients like copper, selenium, ergothioneine, and conjugated linoleic acid. Then I threw in some greens, because you can never have enough greens!

But what about the best part, the cheese? Yet again, it's cashews to the rescue! I know I'm probably driving you nuts with my current obsession with cashew cheese, but I just can't stop myself. If you've been following my blog for longer than, oh, a week, then you know cheese is my absolute favorite. Not quite to this level, but close. So if I'm telling you cashew cheese is legit, you can take my word on it!

This version was inspired by a recipe from the queen of vegan blogging, Isa from Post Punk Kitchen. It's cheesy, melty, and just a little bit spicy - everything a good cheese sauce should be. Even after loading up my burritos with cheese sauce, I still had plenty leftover. Paired with tortilla chips, it made a perfect snack for a much deserved movie break.

Beans & Greens Burrito with Cashew Queso

Serves 4, with leftover queso


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 bunch chard, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Cashew Queso (see recipe below)
  • 5 100% whole wheat flour tortillas


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add onion, mushrooms and garlic. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chard and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring heat cashew cheese sauce in a medium pot on medium heat until warm. Lower heat to low until ready to use.
  3. While vegetables are cooking, mix brown rice and beans in a large bowl. Heat a couple minutes in the microwave. Stir in cumin and chili powder.
  4. Heat tortillas 15-20 seconds in the microwave. Divide the rice and bean mixture among them, top with sauteed vegetables then drizzle with cashew cheese sauce. Wrap and secure with a toothpick if needed. Serve with a side salad and salsa.

Cashew Queso

Makes 2 cups

Adapted from The PPK


  • ½ cup cashews soaked in water at least 2 hours
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder (or other mild chili powder)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. In a food processor or blender, add drained, soaked cashews, vegetable broth, and miso. Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, heat olive oil on medium high heat in a small pan. Add onion, garlic and red pepper and saute until tender, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add sauteed vegetables to food processor along with cumin, chili powder, nutrition yeast and salt. Blend another minute until smooth, longer if needed.

Buddha Bowl with Spinach, Marinated Tofu, Kimchi and Soy-Miso Dressing

Whole grain rice topped with garlicky spinach, marinated tofu, kimchi and a soy-miso sauce - a delicious way to sneak in healthy probiotics! 

The moment I hit "publish" on my last post, I had second thoughts. First, I realized it was my third recipein a row featuring kale. Oops. But even more concerning, I remembered the big nutrition news of the day that had meat lovers everywhere rejoicing. Hopefully my article on the benefits of grass fed meat wasn't contributing to the bacon feeding frenzy.

In case you missed it, here's the recap. On Monday, new research was published examining the relationship between specific types of fat and heart disease. Researchers looked at nearly 80 studies involving almost 500,000 people and concluded that saturated fat, the type mostly found in animal foods, does not increase the risk of heart disease.

Now, before you polish off that bacon double cheeseburger, let me be the one to inform you despite the media portrayal, this study isn't a license to go on a t-bone bender. I don't consider the results an endorsement for meat, but rather a strike against the outdated single nutrient, or reductionist, approach to nutrition.

It's easy to categorize unsaturated fat as bad and unsaturated fat as good. Certainly, I'm guilty of using this simple explanation more often than I should. Afterall, foods like red meat, processed meat and fast food, which are clearly correlated with heart disease, are high in saturated fat. Protective fats, like olive oil, nuts and avocados contain mostly unsaturated fat. So it would make sense to avoid high saturated fat foods and eat more unsaturated fats. But there are many exceptions to this rule. For example, dark chocolate and coconut are high in saturated fat, yet the specific fatty acids have a neutral, or slightly beneficial effect on cholesterol and heart disease risk. And unsaturated fat isn't always good. Although these fats lower cholesterol, some types, like corn and safflower oil, have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Yet multiple studies show a clear link between meat-eating and heart disease, and a significantly lower risk for vegetarians and vegans. So what does this all mean?

It means we've been blaming the wrong guy all along. Saturated fat made for a convenient scapegoat. But it's the Standard American Diet, excessive in animal foods, sugar and refined carbohydrate, and woefully inadequate in plants, that's the real culprit. It's easy to avoid a specific nutrient, but it doesn't exactly get at the heart of the problem.

So, with more and more studies vindicating saturated fat, how do we incorporate this new knowledge into dietary practices? First, remember this study doesn't discount the heart protective benefits of minimally processed, plant based fats like olive oil, nuts, and avocados, so continue to use these foods as your primary source of fat. Nor does it discount the benefits of omega-3 rich fatty fish, so eat more fish than meat and poultry. If you do eat meat and dairy, work towards a flexitarian pattern and choose organic and grass fed. And put down that dry, tasteless peice of boneless, skinless chicken breast! If you're eating a plant-based diet, feel free to enjoy full fat dairy, a pat of butter, or a no-so-lean cut of meat.

The moral of the story? The single nutrient approach is dead!

Buddha Bowl with Spinach, Marinated Tofu, Kimchi and Soy-Miso Dressing


Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE


Serves 4


  • 1 cup whole grain rice (I used pink rice, because it's pretty)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb firm tofu, drained and pressed, then cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 12 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1 cup kimchi
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • [b]Dressing:[/b]
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • [b]Optional garnishes:[/b]
  • Chopped green onions
  • Sesame seeds
  • Five spice powder
  • Chopped peanuts


  1. Cook 1 cup whole grain rice according to directions in a pressure cooker or on the stove.
  2. Make dressing by whisking miso, sesame oil, soy sauce and water until smooth.
  3. While the rice is cooking, whisk soy sauce, ginger, and garlic in a large bowl. Add tofu and toss to coat evenly with marinade. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  4. While the tofu is marinating, bring a large pot filled with 2 inches of water and set with a steamer basket to a boil.
  5. Heat coconut oil in a medium skillet on medium-high heat. When hot, add green onions and stir fry 2 minutes until tender. Add tofu and stir fry another 3-4 minutes until tofu is lightly browned.
  6. Meanwhile, steam the spinach 2-3 minutes until tender and wilted.
  7. Divide rice between four bowls. Divide the tofu, spinach, kimchi, and carrots evenly between the bowls. Drizzle with dressing. Garnish as desired.


Pumpkin Black Bean Patties

Homemade veggie burgers are less than 30 minutes away! You'll love the fall flavors in this gluten free pumpkin and black bean burger.

Happy Monday! I hope you are starting your week feeling refreshed and revitalized. We had a really lovely weekend here in Columbia. Friday night we stayed in and watched Ken Burns documentaries on Netflix, cause, you know, I'm turning 30 in exactly 32 days so I guess I better start acting like it. Saturday was decidedly more lively. We celebrated Mardi Gras at City Roots, our local, organic farm. They had great music, local brews, and food trucks set up around the farm. It was so much fun to be outside with friends in the beautiful, almost spring-like weather. Then on Sunday, I spent most of the day on the front porch (in a t-shirt!!) working on lesson plan for an upcoming class I'm teaching (more on that later). All this lovely weather and short-sleeve wearing got me really excited for spring.

Then I suddenly had a moment of panic when I realized, oh my goodness, I have the perfect fall/winter recipe sitting in my archives and I'm running out of time to share it! Is sharing a pumpkin recipe after Thanksgiving the blogging equivalent of white pants after labor day? Eek, I hope not!

These are some of the best veggie burgers I've made. Considering I try a new veggie burger recipe a couple times a month, that's saying something. I hardly adapted it at all from the original recipe on Sprouted Kitchen, really, I just added a little extra smokiness with smoked chili powder. This is a really versatile recipe. You could serve them in a burger, maybe with a slice of tomato, avocado and pepper jack cheese. Or, make a miniature version to stuff in a whole grain pita, then serve it with a fresh salsa of cucumbers and cherry tomatoes and sour cream. I served it over a kale salad, which turned out kinda blah, hence me not sharing the recipe. If you do go the salad route though, make sure you include pomegranate seeds - their sweet crunch was the perfect foil to the pumpkin patties.

One more thing before I share this recipe - if you live here in the Columbia, SC area, I hope you'll join me for a class I'm teaching this Saturday the 8th from 1-2 pm at Sozo Fitness in Irmo. I'll be covering a topic I'm sure you know I'm passionate about, plant-based nutrition. In the class we'll cover subjects like....

  • What is a plant-based diet? How is it different from vegetarian or vegan diets?
  • What are the health benefits of a plant-based diet?
  • How can I plan plant-based meals the whole family will love?
  • Should I be concerned about getting adequate protein?

I have a really fun lesson plan made up, and I think it should be interesting for people on all ends of the spectrum, from the biggest carnivores to those who are already practicing a plant-based diet. If you can't make it to this class, I'm teaching yet another class on Sunday, March 16th from 2-3pm at Sozo Fitness (6365 Saint Andrews Road, Columbia SC 29210). This class will review a holistic approach to digestive health. I'm really excited for this one, because so many people struggle with digestive issues, and conventional medical and nutrition advice is rarely helpful. There's so much new information out there just waiting to be disseminated to the public (and medical providers!). We'll cover the following topics...

  • Fiber (basic, but you just can't teach a class on digestive health without it!)
  • Prebiotics and probiotics
  • Fermented foods
  • Low FODMAPS diet - a new dietary approach to managing IBS that has been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms in 75% of IBS sufferers
  • Gluten-free diets and who can benefit
  • The mind-body connection in digestive health

Each class is only $15 (cash or check). I really hope that some of my readers can come, because it really would be wonderful to meet you in person and put a face to the google analytics!

Pumpkin Black Bean Patties


Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE


Serves 4


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked chili powder (or 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice
  • 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup oat flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil


  1. Place garlic, scallions, pumpkin, olive oil, chili powder, salt and cumin in a food processor and blend until well combined. Add the rice and beans and pulse a few times to combine. Don't let it become a paste - you still want chunks of beans and rice in there. Add the flaxseed and oat flour and pulse to combine.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Make 4 patties. Fry in coconut oil for 3 minutes per side. Serve as desired.