Romesco Chicken with Kale Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Romesco Chicken with Kale Mashed Potatoes Recipe

This romesco chicken with kale mashed potatoes looks complicated, but only takes 45 minutes to make! This thick and tangy sauce is sure to become a new favorite! Make extra and freeze for later so you can whip up this dish in no time, or enjoy over potatoes or with roasted vegetables.

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Vegetarian Polenta Lasagna with Kale, Butternut Squash & Mushrooms

Vegetarian Polenta Lasagna with Kale, Butternut Squash & Mushrooms

Inspired by my all time favorite vegetarian lasagna recipe, this weeknight friendly recipe for vegetarian polenta lasagna with kale, butternut squash and creminis is sure to become a new favorite! Use precooked lasagna rounds in place of lasagna noodles, which makes it gluten free too. Layered with caramelized fall vegetables, spicy arrabiata sauce, and lemony ricotta.

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Instant Pot Vegan Mushroom Barley Soup with Pumpkin Recipe

Instant Pot Vegan Mushroom Barley Soup with Pumpkin Recipe

Warm up with a bowl of this instant pot vegan mushroom barley soup with pumpkin! It's incredibly easy to make - just mix all the ingredients in the instant pot and set for 40 minutes. You'll get a richly flavored soup, packed with whole grains, beans and veggies, perfect for winter months. A perfect make ahead meal! 

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Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole with Peppers and Kale

Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole with Peppers and Kale

Looking for something yummy and comforting to make on Christmas morning? This make ahead hash brown casserole with peppers and kale has all the comfort ingredients - melty cheddar cheese and sausage - plus a ton of veggies for flavor and nutrition! It's super easy but special enough for a holiday breakfast! 

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Kale and Mushroom Stroganoff over Crispy Roasted Potatoes

Kale and Mushroom Stroganoff over Crispy Roasted Potatoes

This kale and mushroom stroganoff is a vegetarian spin on classic stroganoff. For extra comfort factor, it's served over crispy, roasted potatoes instead of egg noodles - although it's yummy over egg noodles too! It gets it's depth of flavor using a combination of fresh cremini mushrooms and dried mushrooms for a rich and flavorful sauce that gets soaked up by the potatoes. 

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Lentil Pasta with Roasted Fingerlings, Baby Kale and Crispy Garlic

Lentil Pasta with Roasted Fingerlings, Baby Kale and Crispy Garlic

Make this vegetarian lentil pasta with roasted fingerlings, kale and crispy garlic! It's packed with flavor despite the simple ingredients list from crispy fried garlic chips, caramelized onion and plenty of fruity, peppery olive oil! Using lentil pasta means it's also packed with protein for a balanced meal. 

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Grilled Naan Pizza with Kale Pesto, Heirloom Tomatoes and Burrata

Grilled Naan Pizza with Kale Pesto, Heirloom Tomatoes and Burrata

This recipe for grilled naan pizza with kale pesto, heirloom tomatoes and burrata cheese is my favorite quick and easy recipe for summer! Naan makes such a simple and tasty crust and perfectly ripe summer tomatoes are delicious paired with creamy burrata cheese. 

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Warm Farro Salad with Kale, Caramelized Onions, Grilled Fennel and Harissa

Enjoy this warm farro salad with kale, caramelized onions, grilled fennel and harissa topped with crumbled goat cheese or a fried egg for a hearty vegetarian lunch!

Happy Monday! Gah, I'm really wishing it was another Sunday - I could use a lazy day! This past weekend my parents came in town from Virginia. Turns out its tough keeping up with 50 and 60-year olds. Friday night we went to Craft and Draft for local beers, then out to dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, Baan Sawan. Seriously, I would go out on a limb and say it's the best Thai food outside of Thailand and I feel 110% confident putting that statement out on the internet.

On Saturday, we went shopping on Devine St for their semi-annual sidewalk sale. I snagged a really cute winter skirt and a plaid poncho which I think will replace my beige knit sweater in it's weekly rotation. Then we went out to City Roots, our local organic farm, for a pig and oyster roast. We enjoyed incredible barbecue, awesome sides (holy blue cheese coleslaw and pimento mac and cheese!) and hot roasted SC oysters. Oh, and a few too many Westbrook IPAs, hence the need for a second Sunday.

If I could drag myself off the couch to do a little meal prep for the week, I'd probably whip up a batch of this farro salad. It's kind of a mishmash between a old favorite recipe from orangette and a heirloom brown rice bowl with harissa I had while we were in Arizona last month. Then I threw in some grilled fennel I had leftover and it was a smart choice.

Chewy farro is possibly my favorite choice for grain bowls. It reminds me a bit of barley, but better. Farro is a type of ancient wheat, thought to be the oldest cultivated grain. Look for it in the bulk aisle of your local health food store, or if you can't find it, swap barley or even brown rice.

Although it takes a bit to put together the different components of this dish, it's absolutely worth it. While I served this with harissa, you could also drizzle it with sriracha. If you're feeling extra hungry, top with a fried egg.

Warm Farro Salad with Kale, Caramelized Onions, Grilled Fennel and Harissa

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sweet onions, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 head kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup pistachios
  • 3 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • Lemon, in wedges
  • Harissa, for serving

Instructions

  1. Place farro in a medium pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Place lentils in a small pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
  3. Head 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium sided pot on medium high heat. Add onions, stir to coat with oil, and cook 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until deeply caramelized. Season with salt and black pepper and set aside until ready to use.
  4. Slice fennel into thick slices. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set an indoor grill pan (or outdoor grill) on medium-high heat. Place fennel on the grill and cook 5 minutes per side until charred and tender. Set aside and let cool. When cool enough to handle, chop the fennel.
  5. In a medium skillet (you can use the same one you caramelized the onions in if it's free), heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat. Add kale, stir to combine and coat with oil. Add 1/2 cup water, mince garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes, adding more water if needed, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. In a large bowl, toss together farro, lentils, fennel, kale, caramelized onions. Divide between four bowls. Top with pistachios, goat cheese and serve with lemon wedge and harissa.
Brown Rice Bowl with Five Spice Tempeh, Garlicky Bok Choy and Edamame Hummus
Brown Rice Bowl with Five Spice Tempeh, Garlicky Bok Choy and Edamame Hummus
Hippie Salad with Sprouted Grains and Tahini Dressing
Hippie Salad with Sprouted Grains and Tahini Dressing
Roasted Eggplant, Chickpea and Wheat Berry Salad with Za'atar
Roasted Eggplant, Chickpea and Wheat Berry Salad with Za'atar

Sweet & Spicy Tofu Millet Bowl with Garlicky Kale and Citrus Tahini Sauce

This sweet & spicy tofu millet bowl with garlicky kale and citrus tahini dressing makes a perfect lunch! 

You know what I realized I don't have enough of on this blog? Asian inspired grain bowls.

KIDDING! I've posted 11. Just counted.

Buuuut, I still think this one deserves it's own special place on the blog. First, there's the sweet and spicy baked tofu. Make sure you leave plenty of time for it to marinate, so it soaks up all the delicious flavors. If you think you don't like tofu, trust me, this recipe will change you.

Then there's the garlicky kale. Kale and garlic are like peanut butter and bananas. I love how the sweet bite of sauteed garlic permeates the bitter greens.

Of course, avocado is mandatory. Except when you're about to take photographs and slice one open and it's brown inside. Then said avocado becomes optional.

We can't do a grain bowl without crunch. For this bad boy, we've got toasted pumpkin seeds. If you're ever looking for something to fulfill a salty, crunchy craving, try salted toasted pumpkin seeds. The little pocket of air in the middle expands, giving them some major crunch.

Because all grain bowls need some fermented goodness, I added a scoop of fermented sauerkraut. I used an Asian arame and ginger kraut by Wild Brine but any ol' kraut will do.

Last but not least, there's tahini dressing, the king of all dressings. This one is spiked with miso (more probiotics!), citrus and sriracha.

Enjoy!

Sweet & Spicy Tofu Millet Bowl with Garlicky Kale

Serves 4

Inspired by this recipe in Bowl + Spoon, a beautiful cookbook by the lovely people at The Sprouted Kitchen.

Ingredients

Tofu: 

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Bowl:

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup millet
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounce bag of chopped kale, or 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, shaved into ribbons
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup fermented sauerkraut (optional)
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 large naval orange

Instructions

  1. Wrap tofu in a clean dish towel. Place on a plate and weigh with something heavy, like a cast iron skillet. Let sit to drain water about 30 minutes or longer. The longer it sits, the more water it will drain and the more room to soak up marinade. You can leave it in the fridge to drain if desired. Or, you can drain it quickly using a tofu press. Chop into 1 inch cubes.
  2. In a large plastic container, whisk together sugar, soy sauce, sriracha, vinegar and sesame oil. Place tofu inside, cover and shake to combine and coat. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate at least 30 minutes or all day/overnight.
  3. When ready to make bowl, first whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Drain tofu and spread evenly on a large baking sheet sprayed with olive oil. Place in oven and bake 20 minutes total, flipping halfway, until browned. Set aside until ready to use.
  5. While tofu is cooking, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small pot. Add millet and toast for a couple minutes. Add 2 cups water, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer 15-18 minutes until water is absorbed. Let sit covered a few minutes, then remove lid and fluff millet with a fork.
  6. While millet is cooking, heat olive oil in a large sided pan. Add garlic cloves and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kale and 1/2 cup of water. Cook until wilted and tender, about 10-12 minutes total, adding more water as needed. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Divide millet evenly among four bowls. Top with sauteed kale, tofu, carrots, pumpkin seeds, kraut, avocado and drizzle with dressing.

More Asian-inspired grain bowls: 

Brown Rice Bowl with Five Spice Tempeh and Garlicky Greens
Brown Rice Bowl with Five Spice Tempeh and Garlicky Greens
Sushi Un-Roll with Smoked Salmon and Creamy Sriracha Sauce
Sushi Un-Roll with Smoked Salmon and Creamy Sriracha Sauce
Crispy Kale, Black Rice & Coconut Salad
Crispy Kale, Black Rice & Coconut Salad

Classic Green Smoothie + Review of The Natural Pregnancy Cookbook

This classic green smoothie is naturally sweetened with mango, watermelon and strawberries. Easily digestible and packed with nutrients to jump start your day! 

Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of The Natural Pregnancy Cookbook. I was not compensated to write this review. 

Remember back in the day when your facebook news feed was filled with pictures from going out the night before and slightly un-PC status updates (which have since been deleted because OMG WHAT DO YOU MEAN FACEBOOK ISN'T PRIVATE?!?!?). Sigh. Those were the days...

Now it's babies. Baby announcements, babies being born, babies in oversized onesies, babies growing into toddlers, toddlers throwing tantrums, toddlers making a mess, toddlers growing into kids, kids throwing tantrums, kids saying totally inappropriate yet hilarious things (my personal favorite of the bunch). Yup, at 31, we're at that age.

Babies just aren't in the cards for the hubs and I (so if that's where you thought this was going, sorry to disappoint). While we love our friends and families kids with all our heart (because we love our friends and families with all our heart), we are just not baby people. I can't think of two people who know less about babies than the two of us. Recently, when Scott saw our friends 2 1/2 year old walking and talking, he exclaimed, "I didn't realize they were already functional at that age!" I made fun of him, but secretly, I was surprised as well.

Except for the basics on how it starts, there's just one thing I know about pregnancy. It's scary. Apparently, there are all these awful people who drown pregnant women with unsolicited advice, especially about diet, leaving them feeling completely overwhelmed and fearful that everything they eat will cause their baby to come out with two heads. And then they judge you if you do not accept said advice.

What jerks.

My pregnant or trying to become pregnant friends frequently come to me for nutrition tips or with questions about dubious advice they were given. Being honest, I'm not the expert when it comes to nutrition during pregnancy. There's a lot I learned for the test then promptly forgot!

So when my friend Dr. Sonali Ruder of The Foodie Physician reached out to see if I'd like to check out her new cookbook, The Natural Pregnancy Cookbook, I happily accepted. Clearly my personal knowledge ain't cuttin' it!

The Natural Pregnancy Cookbook is more than a cookbook. It's as comprehensive a resource on nutrition for pregnancy as you can get without being overwhelming. It discusses everything from healthy weight gain, food safety, nutrients of concern, pregnancy cravings and side effects. And of course, there are tasty recipes for pregnancy that are simple enough to make after the little one comes along. I've got my eye on her salmon oreganata, miso roasted brussels sprouts and roasted butternut squash salad with maple dijon vinaigrette ;)

One other thing I know about pregnancy: morning sickness is awful. I shared an office with someone through two pregnancies. I remember the retching. Consider me traumatized.

It can be difficult to get the much needed nutrients in when you're feeling nauseous. Cold and easily digestible smoothies can be helpful since they don't have a strong scent, which can trigger nausea. Throwing some greens in your smoothie is always a good idea, but especially so during pregnancy. Greens are an excellent source of folate and iron, two critical nutrients during pregnancy.

This green smoothie from The Natural Pregnancy Cookbook is pretty fantastic as a basic smoothie recipe. It's nice and light, but you could always dress it up with a scoop of nut butter or even a little plain protein powder. The recipe calls for watermelon which is out of season right now, but luckily I had some frozen cubes leftover from making my Hawaiian fruit freezes. If you can't get your hands on any, just use extra strawberry. If you're feeling nauseous, throw some ginger in this. Not only is it delicious, but it's been shown to be an effective treatment for morning sickness. 

Also, totally unrelated but I wanted to share pictures from a fun photoshoot I did recently with the lovely Celia of Celia G Photographie. I've been wanting to get professional pictures done for the blog and media work, and I am so so happy with how they turned out! She perfectly captured the joy and easy going attitude I want to convey with my brand. Celia is an absolutely fabulous person and super talented - trust me, I'm much more awkward in real life ;) These pictures are even more special now after the flood. The riverwalk, one of my favorite spots in Columbia where we took most of the pictures, was completely devastated.

Classic Green Smoothie

Serves 2

Feel free to use all spinach or kale if you don't feel like purchasing both.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mango
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cubed watermelon
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, preferably organic
  • 1/2 teaspoon spirulina (optional)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Divide into two glasses and serve.

More smoothie recipes from the archives:

Raspberry Rooibos and Gingery Green Tea Smoothies
Raspberry Rooibos and Gingery Green Tea Smoothies
Turmeric Smoothie with Mango
Turmeric Smoothie with Mango
Wild Blueberry and Ginger Smoothie
Wild Blueberry and Ginger Smoothie

Spaghetti with Roasted Red Pepper and Clam Sauce and Braised Kale

Upgrade classic spaghetti in clam sauce with this veggie packed version with braised kale and roasted red pepper sauce. 

Making the decision to follow a plant-based diet opens you up to a ton of questions about your eating habits and nutrition. The most common question, as I’m sure any vegan or vegetarian can attest: how do you get enough protein? Considering the amount of protein in many plant based foods and the fact that the average meat-eating American is eating double the amount of protein they need, it’s kind of a moot point (or moo point, as I like to call it). Vegetarians and vegans are easily able to get enough protein without any more meal planning than the average meat-eater.

In general, moving towards a vegan or vegetarian pattern of eating naturally moves you towards a healthier, more plant focused pattern of eating. By eating more plants, aka natures multivitamin, you eat more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

There is one nutrient of concern however, and that’s B12. B12 is produced by certain strains of bacteria. No plant, animal or fungi are capable of producing it. It can only be obtained in animal foods and a few fermented foods. While vegetarians are able to get B12 from dairy and eggs, vegans are at especially high risk, although it should be noted, B12 deficiency is common in meat eaters and vegans alike. You can take a supplement, but there's controversy over the effectiveness of b12 supplements versus what's found in food.

So, that leads us to question #1. What does this have to do with Good Mood Food? B12 is one of the most important nutrients for brain health and the nervous system. Deficiency has been linked to cognitive decline, depression, fatigue and anxiety.

Now, my smart readers may be wondering what all this talk of vegan/vegetarian nutrition has to do with a recipe for pasta in clam sauce, which is clearly neither. Clams happen to be the best food source of vitamin b12 with a 3 ounce serving providing a whopping 1,500% daily needs. Because clams and other bivalves like mussels and oysters, do not have a central nervous system, there is a growing group of ethical vegans and vegetarians that will eat them. Also, although farming seafood is generally a environmentally harmful practice, clams, mussels and oysters help filter the water and keep it clean.

That said, the decision to go vegan or vegetarian for ethical reasons is a highly personal one and I'd never tell someone where they should draw the line. But it's important to know it's an option so you can make that decision for yourself.

Also, this pasta, it's really really yummy.

Growing up, we ate pasta with a garlicky clam sauce pretty frequently. Sure, it was packed wHoith B12, but it was also packed with white flour and what I presume was an hefty dose of butter. Mmm, but it was delicious (and still is when I recreate it with whole grain pasta and olive oil > butter).

However, I am a major supporter of vegetables in pasta, so when I stumbled across this recipe for spaghetti with clam sauce and roasted red peppers and greens, I had to have it. And it was so good, I had to share it with you!

Spaghetti with Clam Sauce and Braised Kale

Serves 4

Adapted from Food & Wine.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, 4 minced, 4 smashed and peeled
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 lb canned clams, drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved
  • 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/2 lb whole grain spaghetti
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot on medium high heat. Add minced garlic and saute 30 seconds until fragrant. Add white wine, 1/2 cup liquid from clams and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add to a blender with roasted red peppers and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to directions, drain and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sided skillet on medium high heat. Add crushed garlic and crushed red pepper and saute 30 seconds until fragrant. Add kale, 1/4 cup water, season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing frequently until wilted, about 10 minutes. Add a few more tablespoons of water as needed to wilt. Add roasted red pepper sauce, clams, spaghetti, lemon zest and juice and season with salt and pepper. Cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve.

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Greek Greens Frittata

Eggs are my secret to a quick, easy and delicious meal. Greek Greens frittata can be on the dinner table in less than thirty minutes! 

Back in February, when the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee dropped their recommendation to limit cholesterol, I was pretty excited. A long time egg lover (sunny side up and over, thank you!), I hate that eggs were demonized for so long. If you live in Columbia, you may have heard me yell out a Vicky Gunvalson-style "woo hoo!" when the news broke...or maybe that was your next door neighbor whose been subjecting himself to rubbery egg white omelets for years.

There's a small percentage of people considered "hyperresponders" to dietary cholesterol, usually someone with diabetes, an early history of heart disease or familial hypercholesterolemia. They should continue to limit eggs to just a few times a week. Otherwise, eggs are not only safe, but incredibly nutritious, yolk and all.

In fact, eggs are (you guessed it!) a Good Mood Food, and not just because that sunny yellow yolk makes you smile. Although it does that too :) Eggs, especially the yolks, are packed with nutrients that support brain health.

VITAMIN B12 // A deficiency in B12 can cause depression, anxiety, and lethargy, which in some cases can be severe. This vitamin plays many roles in the maintenance of the central nervous system, including the creation of neurotransmitters, DNA expression, and metabolism of fatty acids (remember, your brain is mostly fat). One whole egg contains 25% daily needs of B12.

VITAMIN D // Does more than build strong bones. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and most recently, depression. Vitamin D is needed to build neurotransmitters, for nerve growth, and seems to also reduce inflammation in the brain. Multiple studies have shown a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and cognitive issues and depression. Vitamin D, which is activated by the sun, has been proposed as the root cause of seasonal affective disorder, or the winter blues. It's too early to know if vitamin D is an effective treatment, but one small study found supplementing vitamin D in women with severe depression reduced symptoms.

CHOLINE // Contained in the yolk is a nutrient called choline, which forms acetylcholine, the backbone of neurotransmitters. Most research has focused on deficiencies in serotonin as a root cause of depression - the most common antidepressants work on serotonin - but recent research indicates acetylcholine may play a role, especially for those who don't respond to traditional depression medications. Choline deficiency has also been linked to anxiety. Egg yolks happen to be an excellent source of choline, the most excellent source in fact!

OMEGA 3S // Likely the most studied nutrient for brain health, depression and anxiety and it's not just in fatty fish! Because pastured eggs significantly more omega 3 fats, it's a good reason to pay the few extra dollars.

Clearly, I'm a fan of the mood boosting benefits of eggs. But perhaps just as important - eggs are THE BEST for whipping up a quick, easy and family friendly dinner. Think omelet and a salad, veggie and potato scramble, veggie fried rice with a scrambled egg...heck, I'll throw an egg on some whole grain toast and cal it a day if I'm really pressed for time! But usually, it's a frittata that becomes my weeknight meal. We probably making one every week, either for a make ahead breakfast or dinner! This Greek inspired frittata was particularly tasty, especially when topped with a quick spicy tomato sauce. Feel free to use any greens you like, another good mood food, by the way, but we'll save that for another day!

Greek Greens Frittata

Feel free to use any greens you like. Spinach, chard and arugula would all work well. To save time, skip the tomato sauce and use jarred, souped up with a little crushed red pepper flakes.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ounces goat or feta cheese, crumbled

Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pureed tomatoes

Instructions

  1. In a medium, oven-proof skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add garlic and kale and saute, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 7-10 minutes depending on thickness. While kale is cooking, whisk oregano, salt and pepper into the eggs.
  2. After kale is wilted, add olives and stir. Pour eggs into the skillet, reduce heat to medium and cook without touching until mostly set. To cook the top, place briefly under the broiler for about 1-2 minutes.
  3. While frittata is cooking, make the tomato sauce. In a small pot, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Pour in pureed tomatoes. Simmer 5-10 minutes to let the flavors meld. Season with salt and pepper.

More egg dishes: 

Chickpea Pancake with Fried Egg & Chili Oil
Chickpea Pancake with Fried Egg & Chili Oil
Spinach Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
Spinach Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
Kale & Cremini Mushroom Quiche with Blue Cheese
Kale & Cremini Mushroom Quiche with Blue Cheese

Chipotle Tempeh and Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Kale Guacamole

Black beans and tempeh are simmered in a spicy tomato sauce then served over cauliflower rice with kale guacamole in this chipotle tempeh and cauliflower rice bowl. 

So, I'm sitting here, staring at my computer, desperately trying to find the words to express the pure deliciousness of this dish, but the only thing coming to me involves drool, OMG's and multiple exclamation marks.

But I won't do that because I'm a professional and there's lots of letters behind my name to prove it. So instead, I'm going to write a bunch of fluff to fill a few paragraphs until it's appropriate to jump to the recipe.

Let's start with the most important part, the kale guac. I will never eat non-kaled guac ever again. That's a lie. I will eat guac every which way. But seriously, kale in guac is pretty epic. The fats in the avocado soften the kale and the kale acts like an herb, lending a bright, fresh flavor to it. And if you have a kale haters in the family, you can pass it off as cilantro (before you kick that weirdo out of the house).

Then we've got the cauliflower rice, which I fell in love with last year when I got on a kick of experimenting with grain free dishes. All you do is place cauliflower florets in a food processor, pulse, then saute the "rice" with olive oil, garlic and onions. I actually like it better than real rice!

Last, but not least (or maybe it is least, 'cause I really really really like cauliflower rice and guac) we've got the bans and tempeh in chipotle sauce. Are you hesitant to try tempeh? I can't blame you - it is a fermented soybean cake afterall. This dish is the perfect introduction. Crumbled up in a spicy chipotle sauce with beans, it tastes just like ground meat. Still not ready for tempeh? Swap in 1/2 lb of ground beef or chicken, or more beans.

Now, I think that's enough fluff for today.

Chipotle Tempeh and Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Kale Guacamole

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Chipotle Tempeh & Beans: 

  • 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 chipotle chilies plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 ounces tempeh, crumbled

Cauliflower Rice:

  • 1 head cauliflower, stemmed and cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped

Kale Guacamole:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 juicy lime
  • 1 cup packed, chopped kale

Instructions

  1. First, make the chipotle tempeh and beans. Place diced tomatoes, garlic, cumin, chipotle chilies and adobo sauce in a blender and blend until pureed, 1-2 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot and heat on medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add chipotle sauce, black beans and crumbled tempeh. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes then let sit on low heat while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  3. Place the cauliflower florets in a food processor. Process until it's the consistency of rice. You may have to do this in 2-3 batches, depending on the size of your food processor.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, sided skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower rice, season with salt, and saute, stirring every so often to prevent burning, until lightly caramelized and tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. While cauliflower rice is cooking, make the guacamole. Scoop out the flesh of the avocados into a medium bowl. Add the onion, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and mash to desired consistency. Stir in chopped kale.
  6. Divide the cauliflower rice between bowls. Top with chipotle tempeh and serve with the guacamole on the side.

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Chorizo Tempeh and Potato Tacos
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Honey Bourbon BBQ Tempeh
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Sriracha Tofu Cauliflower Rice Bowl 

Sriracha Tofu Cauliflower Rice Bowl 

Kabocha, Kale & Roasted Garlic Soup

A simple winter soup made with the most delicious of all the winter squash - kabocha. Roast a head of garlic along with the squash for a rich, caramelized flavor and stir in sauteed kale for a hit of fresh green. 

Remember when I first met kabocha and quickly fell in love? Well guess what? We're still going strong! In fact, I've left Scott and kabocha and I are moving in together ;-)

Okay, that last part was weird...

But in all seriousness, kabocha and I have been having quite the love affair this winter. I can't get enough of it's dense, creamy texture and rich sweetness! I've been throwing roast cubes of it into everything I eat...and sometimes snacking on caramelized cubes of it between meals. But mostly, I've been making soup. Lots and lots of soup.

I tend to get sick of pureed soups pretty quickly, but I remain enamored with this basic one, even after multiple batches. You can use this recipe as a template and add different flavors and spices as you like. Give it a Middle Eastern flair with a sprinkle of za'atar, swirl of olive oil and dollop of plain yogurt. Stir in sweet rice cake balls to make a traditional Korean soup called danhobak juk. Stir in curry and turmeric for an Indian spiced soup. Or, go all Paula Dean with it and cook the kale in rendered bacon fat then garnishing with crumbled bacon. Kale cancels out bacon, or something like that.

For a topping, I saved the kabocha squash seeds and roasted them as I whipped up the soup. One thing I love about winter squash is you get a meal and a snack out of one piece of produce. Squash seeds are packed with nutrition - healthy fats, fiber, zinc, and copper to name a few. I've seen many recipes that call for meticulously soaking and cleaning the seeds, but I say pfffttt to that! The squash "guts," if you will, may not be as pretty, but it adds flavor and that's the important thing.

This is one of those recipes that speaks for itself, so I'll just get to it. But first, tell me your go-to winter soups in the comments below. The temperature is dropping and I need some inspiration!

Kabocha, Kale & Roasted Garlic Soup

serves 4-6

You could certainly make this with any other winter squash, it's just that kabocha is the best, so why would you :) Other greens, like chard or collards, work in this as well, just adjust your cooking times accordingly so the greens are wilted, not crunchy.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium kabocha squash
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch of kale, thick stems removed, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Carefully cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and guts using a spoon, reserving only the seeds in a small bowl. Cut each half in half so you have four sections. Drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a large baking sheet.
  3. Peel away the paper outer layers of the garlic. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and wrap with a square of aluminum foil. Place alongside the squash.
  4. Place pan with garlic and squash in the oven and roast about 45 minutes until tender. Check the squash after about 30 minutes with a fork to see if it's tender. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  5. While cooling, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and saute 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add kale, salt and pepper and saute until wilted, adding a couple tablespoons of water to help it steam.
  6. While the kale is wilting, scoop squash flesh and roasted garlic (just squeeze the individual cloves out of it's paper) into a blender. Add vegetable broth, turmeric and caynne and blend until pureed. Pour into the pot with the kale. Add 2 cups water to the blender to help rinse out the remaining squash puree and pour that into the soup. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Bring soup to a simmer then cook 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  8. Reduce oven temp to 375. While the soup is simmering, toss the seeds with 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet (can use the same one you roasted the squash on). Roast for 10-15 minutes until crispy and crunchy, but not browned.
  9. Serve soup garnished with toasted seeds.

Cure a Cold Gingery Green Soup

Give your immune system a boost to fight off that cold with a warm bowl of gingery green soup, packed with immune supporting ingredients like ginger, turmeric, green leafy veggies and garlic!

Does it seem like everyone is sick right now? We hosted supper club this Sunday and about half the people there were just getting over something, myself included. Of course, now the other half are probably currently sick from being in my germ infested house. Sorry guys. Hope the coq au vin was worth it!

Whenever I catch a cold, it usually runs it's course in a couple days, but this one has lingered almost a week. Yesterday morning I was fed up after I woke up feeling congested and groggy yet again. So, I decided to whip up a soup with all the immune supporting ingredients!

Although I do still believe in the curative powers of chicken noodle soup, I wanted to take this recipe in a different direction. I chose this recipe from 101 Cookbooks as a base, which I've had stashed in a binder for years only to stumble across it again last week. Perfect timing, no?

This soup basically has every food known to enhance immune function packed into each bowl. Okay, so maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it's definitely has it's fair share of cold and flu fighters! Here's a look at what's inside:

Green leafy veggies // Citrus fruit is probably what comes to mind when you think of vitamin C, but green leafies are a pretty good source too. Green leafy vegetables have also been shown to help lymphocytes, a type of immune cell, function properly. 

Ginger // Ginger tea is one of my favorite tricks for a sore throat. I'm actually drinking it as I type! This gingery broth helps soothe a sore throat. Plus, ginger is an effective way to reduce nausea, so this light, brothy soup would be perfect if you've got a stomach flu.

Garlic // Garlic has been used medicinally for years to treat everything from gangrene to the plague. However, there's actual scientific evidence showing garlic's benefits for colds. One study found people who take garlic supplements were less likely to catch a cold, and those who did recovered faster.

Turmeric // Powerfully anti-inflammatory turmeric is fantastic for immune system support. It helps to boost a protein called CAMP, which helps the immune system fight bacteria and viruses.

Yogurt // Did you know the majority of your immune system is located in your gut? Beneficial probiotics from fermented foods like yogurt are a critical part of that system.

So, how do I feel now? My fingers may be permanently stained yellow from turmeric, but I feel much better! If you're feeling under the weather, I'm sending healing thoughts your way and a warm bowl of this soup!

Cure a Cold Gingery Green Soup

Serves 6

For a vegan version, simply mix the turmeric into the broth at the end of cooking. It will turn the broth quite yellow, but it will be delicious. Or, you could substitute a plain coconut milk yogurt, which I think would taste pretty great with the Asian flavors in this soup. Adapted from 101 Cookbooks. 

Ingredients

Soup:

  • 1 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped small
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch spinach, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce

Turmeric yogurt:

  • 1/2 cup plain, organic yogurt
  • 1 small nub of fresh turmeric or
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional for color)

Instructions

  1. First, make the turmeric yogurt. Using a microplane grater, grate the turmeric into the yogurt or whisk in turmeric powder. Season with salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion, a pinch of salt and saute until lightly browned and tender, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and saute 25 minutes until caramelized.
  3. Place sweet potato, kale, leek, ginger, and garlic in a pot with water, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes until tender. Add spinach, cover and simmer another 5 minutes until wilted. Add lemon and soy sauce to taste.
  4. Serve topped with a dollop of yogurt.