recipe

Creamy Greens & Artichoke Dip

One of my favorite apps to order is a classic spinach artichoke dip. Nothing beats that warm, savory drip, spread across some crispy, salty pita bread (or any bread for that matter). And hey, there's spinach in it! And artichokes! it must be healthy. 

Eh, not so much. I wanted to give my best shot at making a healthier (but just as tasty) alternative. This version uses cashews and white beans instead of sour cream or cream cheese. You still get the creamy, savory texture, but this time with loads of extra fiber, protein, and healthy fats. I've also added an extra green, kale, to give it an extra nutrient boost. 

This version does still have cheese in it, a sprinkling of parmesan. However, if you "don't do dairy" you can eliminate this, and instead sub in nutritional yeast. I've made it both ways, and I think they're both bomb. 

Creamy Greens & Artichoke Dip

  • ½ cup cashews
  • ½ cup white beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced,
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup water, boiling
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup kale, packed
  • 1 cup spinach, packed
  • Pita Bread for dipping

In blender or food processor place cashews, white beans, garlic, salt, parmesan and water. Blend until completely smooth. Add artichoke hearts, and pulse until well blended. Add kale and spinach and pulse again. Enjoy with pita bread.

To reheat: transfer to oven safe bowl and heat at 400 F. until warm.

 
 

Souping is the New Juicing (+ a recipe)

A few days ago my uncle (Uncle Anthony, lovingly called "Unclee" because of my sister's failed attempts to say the "Anthon" part of his name as a child) texted me this:

The LIRR is the Long Island Rail Road - for you non-New Yorkers. I love that he was trying to keep in the loop on the next big, cutting edge, piece of evidence-based nutrition advice out there; a few Brooklyn hipsters talking about eating soup, soup, as if it were something novel and eclectic. 

While I consider myself a bit more progressive than most, it's rare that I'm the first to know about these nutrition trends. So now when your friends tell you that they heard somewhere that "souping is the new juicing" you can thank me for telling you first. And I can thank my uncle. And he can thank the hippie riding the LIRR. 

Hey, just in case she's right about this, you should go make this soup. It's liquid (like juice!) and has the heartiness of a split pea soup with the flavor that you crave from Chinese food. Oh, and regardless of where it falls on the "trendy" scale, it's loaded with fiber, protein, and tons of nutrients from the broccoli I sneak in there. Give it a try. 

Asian Split Pea Soup

  • 2 cups split peas
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped,
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like spicy)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Toasted sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, green onion (for garnish)

Boil in a pot until peas are cooked. Blend with immersion or regular blender. Garnish with sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil and green onion. 

If you're looking for a spring/summer version of a pea soup, check this out. 

 
 

Caramelized Onion, Sweet Potato, and Goat Cheese Frittata

I cannot believe this is the FIRST time I am posting this. If you've ever come to my house for any meal at all, I without fail will make something with this combination: caramelized onion, sweet potato, greens, and goat cheese. I've put it this on pizza, in tacos, and even layered it carefully into some sort of noodle-less lasagna.

I discovered this winning combination quite a few years ago at Emma's, a small Italian Pizzeria in Cambridge, MA. They had a sweet potato pizza with goat cheese that I just had to recreate. I've probably made it 30 times since then, and never once paused to take a proper photo.

This frittata is SO easy to make, plus it makes 4-8 servings (depending on what else you're serving and how hungry you are), so you can serve it at a party or save it to have for a quick breakfast throughout the week. Check out the recipe below.

Caramelized Onion, Sweet Potato, and Goat Cheese Frittata

  • 2 cups sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups greens of your choice (arugula, kale, spinach)
  • 1-2 onions, sliced into half moons
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Using a basket steamer steam sweet potato until tender. Tip: If you don't have a basket steamer you can use a pasta strainer placed over a boiling pot of water. 

Meanwhile, place a large pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, throw in onions and a dash of salt. Toss them around until browned, adding a few splashes of water if they start to stick to the pan. Tip: the salt should draw enough water from the onions that you don't need to use butter or oil. 

Place the cooked sweet potatoes, onions, and greens in a bowl and rinse out and spray the pan you used for the onions and place over medium heat. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and add a dash of salt and pepper. Stir in the vegetables and pour into the pan. Top with goat cheese.

Cook until the edges are cooked, and then place in the oven under a low broil. Watch this carefully as every oven is different! Keep in there until the top is cooked, and the cheese is slightly browned. Remove and cut into 8 pieces to enjoy!

Having a go-to is so great for last-minute meals (especially when company is involved). Let me know yours in the comments below!

 
 

Kitchari - Immune Boosting Recipe

Last year when I met with Jill Talve, an Ayurvedic Practitioner (check out our recent interview), she told me about this amazing Ayurvedic recipe called Kitchari (also spelled, kitcheree) to help support digestion and boost immune function.  The turmeric and ginger in this recipe are potent antioxidants and the mung daal and rice are easy to digest. Plus, it's so simple to make and insanely delicious.

To get you super excited about this recipe, my friend Sarah let me come make a mess of her kitchen and helped me take some of these fabulous photos. She's a quite literally a jack of all trades; an amazing chiropractor, cook, craftsman, and photographer. Enjoy!

Photo by Sarah Granite

Photo by Sarah Granite

Photo by Sarah Granite

Photo by Sarah Granite

Photo By Sarah Granite 

Photo By Sarah Granite 

Basic Kitchari

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1⁄2 cup mung dal
  • 1 tablespoon kitchari spice mix
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup radishes, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt

Wash rice and mung dal and soak overnight. Drain soak water.

In a medium saucepan on low heat warm the ghee, be careful as this burns easily. Add the kitchari spice mixture and sauté for one to two minutes. Add rice, mung beans, and salt and sauté for another couple of minutes. Then add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add additional salt, if needed. 

Once the kitchari has come to a boil reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until it is tender (approx. 30-45 minutes).

Turn the heat off, then add radishes and cilantro. Salt to taste. Pour into bowls and top with additional radish and cilantro for garnish. 

If you're not sure where to grab these items, take the lazy way, like I did, and buy the Kitchari Making Kit from Banyan Botanicals

A big thank you to Sarah Granite of Granite Chiropractic for helping me take these amazing photos!

Make Ahead Meal: Egg Muffins

There is something about that bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast that is so wildly satisfying. I rarely make it myself because it takes a bit more time and cleanup then my typical smoothie or oatmeal, but then I came across a few of these "egg muffin" recipes and knew that I had found my solution: bacon, egg, and cheese muffins, with a a hash brown crust of course. Since I absolutely despise cooking bacon (nope, sorry, there is no non-greasy, messy way to do it), I decided to substitute with bacon's close cousin, prosciutto. The flavor is just as good and the cleanup is 10x easier. 

They're so simple to make, and last the whole week as a heat-and-eat breakfast option. Plus, they only dirty ONE dish! Check out the recipe below. 

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Muffins (with a Hash Brown Crust)

  • 12 eggs
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 5 cups potato, shredded (or, 1, 15 ounce bag frozen hash browns, no salt added)
  • 1 large handful baby arugula
  • 6 slices proscuitto or Serrano ham (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, mix together cheese and potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a non-stick muffin tin, take the mixture and mold it to make a crust in each cup, pressing down firmly with your fingers. Place in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop up the proscuitto or ham, leaving about 1/2 slice for each muffin. When the crust is baked, place a small bunch of arugula in each cup, pressing it down to make room for the eggs. Then, add an egg to each muffin tin. Top with proscuitto or ham and bake an additional 10 minutes (or longer if you like your eggs well-done). Refrigerate and store for an easy breakfast. 

 
 

The Power of the Acai Bowl

acai-bowl

I know... I think I'm a little late on the Acai trend (it's pronounced, Ah-ss-eye-ee), but this has been my go-to breakfast for quite a few weeks now. It's immensely satisfying (keeps me full until lunch) and nice and cooling for the last of these summer days.  It only take a few minutes to whip up, and you can get really creative with toppings and different flavors. 

Acai is a berry that's native to Central and South America. Its loaded with antioxidants, which is one of the reasons I've been indulging so frequently. With the turn of the season, I'm usually prone to getting sick just about now, so I'm taking as much precaution as possible by loading up on antioxidant-rich foods (leafy greens, hemp and flax seeds, and rich colored fruits) and keeping consistent with my probiotic and essential oil habit. I'll be sharing some more immune boosting tips in an upcoming podcast episode of At The Table, but for today, I'm sharing my favorite immune boosting Acai Bowl combination. 

Acai Bowl

  • 1 package Sambazon Acai Packets (look for no sugar added)
  • 1 small banana or 1/2 large banana (frozen is best, but fresh works too)
  • 5-6 frozen strawberries
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (almond butter works too)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add extra almond milk to desired consistency. Top with toppings of choice. I use 1/4 cup blueberries and 1 tbsp hemp seeds. 

 
 

Farro Salad

Move over pasta salad, this light, but hearty dish takes the cake. Bursting with the summer flavors of basil and cherry this salad can serve as a main dish or a side to your grilled favorites.  This dish is my 'ode to the end of summer... I hope you enjoy!

FARRO SALAD

Serves 4

  • 1 cup farro, dried
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted
  • 1 cup basil, chopped
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 tbsp greek yogurt (optional)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, OR balsamic reduction

In a medium pot, bring water to a boil. Add farro and let simmer 30-45 until water is soaked up. Meanwhile, mix together mustard, lemon, and optional yogurt.

After farro has cooled pour dressing over the farro, then mix in basil, arugula, and cherries. top with balsamic to enjoy!

 
 

Restaurant Redo: Mac & Cheese

Hey everyone! I'm Alix, Jessi's (former) intern. Let me just say that it has been an AWESOME experience working with Jessi. I can only hope that my first post in first person will even slightly rival her on point weekly posts.

(Jessi here - I swear I'm not paying her to say this).

My direct inspiration for this Restaurant Redo? A combination of three things:

  1. My and my roommates’ love for late night snacking
  2. The cauliflower craze (ever heard cauliflower is the new kale?)
  3. The BOWLS and BOWLS of Mac ‘N Cheese I sell to guests every shift at Cafeteria Boston (the restaurant I work at as I finish up my senior year at Boston University). 
cauliflower

The great (and not so great) thing about this menu option is that you can order it all kinds of ways... lobster, chicken, or shrimp; lobster, chicken and shrimp; scallops, peas and carrots... you get the picture.

I have learned by now that the guest looking up at me has either ordered the same dish 100 times over, or they have newly discovered the pot of gold on the menu. In the second case, I ALWAYS tell them that they won’t finish the whole bowl. They usually challenge me, but I win every single time.

Bottom line? The unbelievable gooey, noodley goodness is worth of salivation from just walking by it. But, how do you think they get it that way? Yup, lot's of pasta, heavy cream, and four kinds of cheeses. It's worth every bite, but definitely not something to indulge in on a daily basis.

I couldn’t live without being able to come home and satisfy a craving that had been building up for hours at work, but I wanted to do it the right way. So, here we have it: Chicks & Cheese. Instead of refined pasta noodles, heavy cream, and 4 kinds of cheeses, we have a complete meal made without any refined carbohydrates, but still loaded with hearty flavors and a creamy texture.  

cauliflower-mac-and-cheese

Chicks & Cheese

  • 1 head (or 1 lb) cauliflower, use different colors to liven up the dish!
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • ½ cup goat cheese
  • ½ cup shredded fresh mozzarella
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ cup almond flour (you can make this my pulsing ½ cup of almonds in a food processor).

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and let simmer. 

While the quinoa is cooking, cut the head of cauliflower in half, cut the stem off, and chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. In a saucepan, heat 1 tbs of coconut oil. Add the cauliflower, chickpeas, oregano, salt, and pepper. Saute until tender and light brown on the surface.

Once the quinoa is done cooking, pour the contents of the saucepan into the pot. Break up the goat cheese and stir it into the mixture. Add additional salt, pepper, and oregano to taste.

Scoop out the mixture and place in an oven-safe container. Sprinkle the cheese and the almond flour . Place in the oven for 5-10 minutes (depending on how crispy you like it). Remove from heat and serve warm. You can also add chicken, or shrimp for extra protein. 

 
 

Guide to Buy: Yogurt

So many times I get these types of questions:

"What do you think about yogurt?"

"What kinds of protein powder should I use?"

"Should I use almond butter, or peanut butter?"

While I always encourage people to look at the BIG picture, having worked in the food and grocery industry for a few years, I feel confident in saying not all products are created equally. So this week intern, Alix put together the first Guide to Buy featuring Yogurt! Make sure to scroll on down to see our list of guidelines along with our top 4 picks for yogurts, plus, grab Alix's recipe for Pickle Dip! Let's start with a little Q/A...

Yogurt FAQs

What is “Greek” yogurt?

Greek yogurt differs from regular yogurt in that before greek yogurt is packaged for the shelf, the yogurt it strained to remove the liquid remaining after the milk curdles (this is called whey). The by-product is a yogurt that is more solidified, and has less sugar and carbohydrates. However, the FDA still does not have specific regulations for greek yogurt. Companies can add extra ingredients and include additives of their choice and still call their product “greek yogurt.” Any “whey concentrates” or added thickeners like cornstarch are added into the yogurt after it’s strained. Greek yogurt is always strained to achieve its consistency, and sometimes yogurt with added ingredients skips the straining process, which means it isn’t real  greek yogurt.

Is Greek yogurt is better for you?

Greek yogurt, as compared to a regular yogurt or a whipped, light yogurt, is thicker and more nutrient dense. Because of this, I recommend plain greek yogurt as your first choice in yogurt, simply because if you choose the right kind, it’s more natural and pure. You have less added sugars and preservatives to worry about, and 8 oz of greek yogurt provides you with a hefty portion of your protein needs for the day.

What is grass milk and why is it in yogurt?

No, grass milk is not what happens when you juice grass (I’ve heard it all). Grass milk is a non-homogenized milk that comes from cows that are 100% grass-fed, as opposed to supplemented for growth with soybeans and grains. If you think about it, the more processed a cow's diet, the more processed the milk product. Since cow's thrive on a grass-fed diet, both the milk and meat of grass-fed cows have been shown to have healthier nutrient profiles and contain a higher proportion of healthy (Omega-3) fats.

What yogurts are made without bovine growth hormone?

Bovine growth hormone (usually seen as rBGH) is a hormone given to cows in order for them to produce more milk. And guess what? The hormone also get’s secreted in the cow’s milk. And then we drink it. Fun, right? No.

Luckily, there is a movement today to encourage leader yogurt retailers to definitively stop using bovine growth hormone in their products. Most organic companies, state that they do not use bovine growth hormone (like all of the recommendations below).. Chobani is the leading greek yogurt provider right now, and they have not yet confirmed or denied their use of the hormone. Bottom line: our hormones are already out-of-wack enough as it is - don’t make it worse. Stick with the hormone-free yogurts!

What to consider when choosing a yogurt:

  1. Probiotic Content: We know and have heard that yogurt gets its characteristics from the live bacteria inside the container. We have heard that probiotics “regulate your system” and do a lot for your body when it comes to maintaining health. The truth is, not all yogurts have beneficial bacteria, and the farther they stray away from this key component, the less we should consider them REAL yogurt that has the actual benefits that we hear so much about.  When looking to assess probiotic contributions, look at the label for the following two bacteria:  Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. These are the only two bacteria you need to ferment milk, which is ALL yogurt is! A laundry list of ingredients will contain additives and extra sugary substances (note: be on alert for anything that ends in “ose”).
  2. Check the Ingredients: Look for yogurts that have no added sugar. That means looking at the ingredient list (as milk has naturally occurring sugars that you can’t get rid of). Then, check the nutrition facts label and check out the protein content. If you’re using yogurt as a meal replacement (on-the-go breakfast or lunch) the higher protein content will keep you fuller, longer.
  3. Expiration Date: This may seem like a no brainer, but this recommendation is NOT what you think! In order to keep from going sour, the yogurt that is shelf stable for long periods of time has been properly heat treated. This means that there are no viable cultures in the yogurt at this point in time. There might have been prior to heat treating, but in order to reap any probiotic benefits, keep with yogurt that expire sooner rather than later (seriously).
  4. DIY “Fruit Yogurt.” If you’re going to grab a fruit-filled yogurt on-the-go, try to find one that contains REAL fruit. This is usually hard to find. If the container doesn’t specify real fruit, it probably contains additives, flavors and dyes that make you think the real thing is in there. Secondly, any dessert looking yogurt (i.e. key lime pie, tiramisu, dutch chocolate….you get the picture) that advertises low or non-fat contents is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. All they do is subtract that fat in order to add more sugar. In this case you have two choices: grab a yogurt from the list below OR just go enjoy some real dessert!
  5. Get FAT: Yogurt can have many benefits, but if you’ve worked with me before, you know that I encourage going full-fat in smaller quantities versus low-fat in higher quantities. Full-fat versions are (generally) less processed, and let’s face it, they taste much butter. Make your serving count!

Below are four recommendations for yogurts that fit the bill. If you have a brand you like and it passes all of the above tests, stick with it! Otherwise, try to take a leap of faith and transition to one of these and remember, add your own toppings. Be free yogurt eaters!

You can also use yogurt as substitutes or bases for other ingredients or recipes. Try it as:

  • A substitute for sour cream or mayonnaise.
  • A substitute for cream in soups. (check out my Summer Corn Chowder recipe!)
  • A base for dips (like the recipe below!).
  • A supplement to smoothies for creamy texture and protein.
  • A base for salad dressings.
pickle-dip

Pickle Dip

  • 16 oz Stonyfield Greek yogurt
  • 1 container of regular or spicy dill pickle spears
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chives
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Plantain Chips

Pour the yogurt into a bowl. Chop 4-6 pickle spears, as fine or chunky as you prefer. Remove the peels and chop the garlic cloves. Chop the chives finely, removing the roots and the leafy ends. Add the pickles and the garlic to the greek yogurt. Pour liquid from the pickle jar into the yogurt to achieve the consistency of your choice.  Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.

Use plantain chips over regular potato chips!