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Seasonal Dishes

Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

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Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

The crux of my entire food philosophy can be summarized in the simple ingredients of this soup - I believe in food that makes you feel good, meaning it doesn’t just taste good and it isn’t just good for you but its both - tasty and healthy, nourishing and delicious. I believe in food that incorporates a wide variety of micronutrients (which you get from eating a ton of different whole-plant-foods) while offering a balanced ratio of macronutrients (fats, carbs and proteins). I believe in food that is seasonal and (at least somewhat) locally sourced. I believe in food that is easy, accessible and quick to make. I believe in food that brings people joy and is happily shared. I could go on, but for now, let me just say - I BELIEVE in this soup! Is that a crazy thing to say? Why don’t you give it a try and see if I’ve made a believer out of you!

Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

If you couldn’t tell already this is the quintessential creamy fall soup - but my version is fortified with extra good for you ingredients to get you glowing in this season of change. Sweet, savory, creamy and smooth with a hint of spice and extra umami flavor - I think you’ll love the way traditional fall flavors of squash and apple pair with yellow curry and healing spices.

I don’t know about you, but I basically live off stuff like this during this time of year - warm, healing, gut-loving goodness that couldn’t be more delicious. I’ve added some extra special stuff to this particular recipe to give it a truly deep and complex flavor with a wide variety of health benefits (scroll below for the breakdown).

Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

The best part? This soup comes together in under 30 minutes with minimal prep. It’s also super affordable to make and a total crowd pleaser!

Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Here’s a few of the stars in this recipe and a little insight into what they do for your body:

Butternut Squash - high in fiber and full of B vitamins, great for immunity and heart health

Apple - again, high in fiber and full of natural sweetness

Miso - a fermented food, just like sauerkraut and kombucha, which means its amazing for your gut. This soybean paste can be found in most regular grocery stores now and adds a level of umami not easily attained in plant-based cooking - it’s flavor is super savory, salty and almost cheesy

Ginger - ginger is an all star digestive aid but it’s tummy-taming benefits are matched by the wonderfully spicy and floral flavor it gives this soup

Turmeric - get glowy with turmeric! This deep yellow cousin to ginger is great for your skin, a powerful antioxidant, and it also happens to be an anti-inflammatory aid - the perfect thing to work into your dishes before the winter season (read: dull skin and colds all around).

Cinnamon - balances blood sugar


Serves: 4-6 people • Prep Time: 10 min • Cook Time: 20 min


  • Roughly 8 cups butternut squash or sweet potato (I used an even combo of the two), peeled and cubed

  • 1.5 16 oz. cans coconut milk (I used a “lite” variety but full fat will be even creamier)

  • 2-3 cups low sodium veggie stock

  • 1 small apple (any variety), peeled and cubed

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1/4 cup dehydrated mushrooms *TOTALLY optional but so worth it

  • 2 tsp. good quality yellow curry powder

  • 2” knob peeled ginger

  • 1 tsp. fresh or ground turmeric

  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, nutmeg, and cinnamon *optional

  • 2 tsp. white miso paste *optional

  • Salt and pepper to taste

TOPPINGS

  • raw or toasted pepitas a.k.a pumpkin seeds

  • a drizzle of reserved coconut milk OR plain/unsweetened cashew yogurt

  • chives or green onion


Peel and then chop your butternut squash into roughly even pieces (or can buy it pre-chopped in the store for ease). Peel and chop your onion.

Toss your squash and aromatics in a large pot with 1.5 cans coconut milk, vegetable stock, dried mushies, ginger, turmeric and all the spices and allow to come to a simmer. The liquids should cover the veg about half way - later on you can always add more if you like a thinner soup. Simmer on medium heat until the squash is quite tender - apx. 10-15 minutes.

Once cooked, turn off the stove and carefully transfer the contents of the pot to a high speed blender and blend until fully smooth and creamy -depending on the size of your blender, you may have to work in batches. Make sure to taste for flavor and consistency here - you can add more seasoning or more liquid if you wish.

NOTE: ALWAYS be very careful to remove your blenders top vent and cover with a kitchen towel when working with HOT liquids otherwise molten hot the contents may explode. If you use a nutri-bullet or other “top down” type of blender, wait until your soup has come to nearly room temp to do this step and then re-heat. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender right in the pot, but I find I get the creamiest, smoothest result with my Vitamix.

Once blended, immediately transfer to serving bowls and garnish with the suggestions above or your own selections - croutons, vegan grilled cheese or a fresh autumn salad would be a delicious accompaniment.

Keeps well in the fridge for about a week, reheats wonderfully.

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Eating Seasonally: Pea and Basil Pesto Cucumber Canapes with Sun Dried Tomatoes

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I'll admit it. I am not an appetizer person. It's not that I don't like the idea of them but, I have a big appetite and honestly, I'd rather just get to the full-plate of food which is why I never really feature them here on the blog. That said, the first time I made this app I pretty much ate a dinner sized portion so I guess, if you're like me, you could do that too.

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My pea pesto is somewhere in between a thick pesto and garbanzo-free hummus - rich, creamy, fresh and packed with flavor. It is loaded with the good stuff - brain boosting walnuts, 'cheesy' nutritional yeast, refreshing citrus, sweet basil and even some very sneaky good-for-you greens. It starts with a lowly bag of frozen peas and transforms into something wonderful in the food processor. I spread it thick over bias-cut cucumber slices (would be just as good over crostini) and top it with fresh or smoked sun-dried tomatoes for a truly special app that tastes like a sinful slice of pizza but with an ingredient list that is as clean as can be. 

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Makes: 30 Canapes • Prep + Asembly Time: 30 min


PEA AND BASIL PESTO

  • 20 oz. bag of frozen petite peas, thawed to room temperature 
  • 8-10 basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup dandelion or spinach greens, de-stemmed *optional
  • 1 clove of fresh garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, pine nuts OR pumpkin seeds
  • the juice of 1 small lemon
  • salt to taste

To make the pesto, add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse til a thick, smooth consistency has formed. You may have to scrape the sides down a few times to ensure all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

PRO-TIP: I recommend making this pesto day-of. Even with the addition of lemon juice, basil can tend to brown as it is exposed to air for a longer period of time.

TO ASSEMBLE

  • 2-3 english cucumbers, cut on the bias into 30 rounds
  • Sliced fresh tomato to garnish OR julienne diced sun-dried tomatoes (find the smoked variety if you can)

Use a rounded table spoon of pesto on each canape. Arrange them on a large tray and top with fresh or sun dried tomatoes. Serve room temp or chilled. 

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Eating Seasonally: Raw Pad Thai Salad with *Peanut-Free* Dressing

This salad is not just a salad. It's everything. Am I being dramatic? I am. But keep scrolling and you'll see what I mean.

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This salad is something so special. With a soft-spot for Thai flavors, I've eaten my fair share of this traditionally heavy, salt-laden dish in the past and yea, its amazing. But I would argue that THIS is almost better. My take on raw Pad Thai has the same flavor profile as it's noodley-counterpart but it's fresh, crunchy and leaves me feeling light and energized. 

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If you follow my blog, the sauce recipe should look familiar to you as I have shared it a few times. Usually I make it with powdered peanut butter or tahini but I really love this almond butter variation.

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This is the perfect way to use up all the veggies in the back of your fridge, or your new CSA box or to try something new you see at the farmers market with minimal risk (it's covered in bomb-ass sauce after all). It is slightly labor intensive with all that julienne peeling and chopping but it is SOOO worth it. 

P.S- Do not skip the addition of raw corn here! It's a summer staple that adds a really refreshing hint of sweetness!

Give this nutrient-rich, full-flavor salad a try and let me know how you think it stacks up to the original Pad Thai!

raw pad thai

Serves: 2 'dinner' size portions • Prep Time: 30 minutes


FOR THE SALAD

  • 1 medium zucchini/summer squash, julienned 
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green/Napa cabbage
  • 3/4 cup raw corn kernels 
  • 3/4 cup raw veggies of choice, julienned or thinly sliced (celery root, asparagus, beets, jicama, etc.) *optional
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. mint, chopped

Julienne, spiralize and/or chop your clean veggies and herbs. Add them all to a large bowl suitable for tossing. A julienne peeler (linked about) makes light work of this task.The goal is the get a diverse range of textures just like in a traditional noodle-based Pad Thai so opt for a few different methods when it comes to slicing your veggies.


FOR THE SAUCE

  • 1/4 cup unsalted almond butter or tahini (for a nut-free option)
  • 1/4 cup  fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. coconut aminos OR Bragg's liquid aminos
  • 2-4 tbsp. water (depending on how thin your almond butter is)
  • 2-3 tsp. maple syrup (or other sweetener)
  • 1/2" knob of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1" piece of lemon grass *optional 
  • 1-2 tsp. sriracha or other asian-style chili sauce *optional
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high til well combined. Sample and adjust seasonings to taste. Stores well in a glass container in the fridge for well over a week.

NOTE: This dressing will thicken slightly as it sits but you can always stir in more acid (lime juice) or water to thin in out.

PRO-TIP: I like to make a double (or even triple) batch of this sauce. The recipe above makes just as much as you need for these two salads BUT it can be tricky to get that small of an amount blending in a conventional size blender. Making more than enough of this is great because you can always store it in the fridge to use on salads later in the week, or to add to a nourishing and warm rice bowl. Although, if you have a nutri-bullet or something similar, whipping up a small batch should be a breeze.


FOR GARNISH

  • Sprinkle of cilantro and mint
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoon chopped dry roasted pumpkin, almonds, cashew or pistachio 
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Right before you're ready to serve toss the dressing through the veggies. You may want to reserve a bit of the dressing (for dipping) or if you don't like a lot of sauce. 

Garnish with chopped nuts, seeds, herbs and black sesame for an authentic look.

PRO-TIP: Be sure to toss just dressing into the veggies right before you serve. The acid in the sauce will break down the thinly sliced veggies over time and NO ONE likes a mushy raw pad thai. Make note of this if you are prepping salad for the week!

*recepie inspired and informed by Oh She Glows!

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Grandma Sandrey's Irish Soda Bread - Vegan!

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Irish Soda Bread is a piece of cake to make vegan - pardon the pun.

My grandmother's recipe doesn't even include an egg - it uses vinegar as an active agent that interacts with the baking soda/powder instead - so it was super easy to veganize - I simply subbed cows' butter for a combination of vegan butter and coconut oil and cows' milk for a plant based variety.

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Now, this isn't the healthiest bread on the block but Irish Soda Bread, scented with caraway and dotted with sweet raisins is so nostalgic for me, so having the taste and texture spot on makes all the difference. And what is food if it cannot be enjoyed?! Don't get me wrong, I FULLY enjoy all the healthy recipes I share (if not, I wouldn't share them) but I do think that the way we feel when we're eating a certain food alters the way it digests and is ultimately transmuted into our bodies. If we approach an eating situation or a certain food with guilt, then we are not going to enjoy it or feel good afterwards - but if we eat something (even a slightly 'unhealthy' treat) with joy and good feelings then it is going to make us feel wonderful no matter the calorie count. Wow, that came out of nowhere. Ha! End rant. 

Enjoy the recipe. 


Makes: 8 thick wedges • Prep Time: 10 minutes • Bake Time: 65 minutes


DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cup spelt flour (sub regular, whole wheat or 1-to-1 gluten free flour blend)
  • 2-4 tbsp. stevia baking blend sugar (sub coconut or regular sugar)
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup vegan butter or coconut oil, melted (I used a blend of the two)
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 tbsp. plant milk + 1 tsp. course sugar for topping

METHOD

Preheat oven to 400*F.

In a large bowl mix together all dry ingredients together - make sure raisins are evenly distributed in the flour mixture.

Make a well in the center and add all of the wet ingredients at one time - use a wooden spoon to bring the mixture together gently - DO NOT overmix! The batted should be relatively dry and sticky.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 4-5 times only.

Spray a pie pan with coconut oil spray and form the bater into a round and use a knife to score the bread as pictured. Coat the top with a bit of plant milk and sugar for a nice finish.

Bake at 400*F for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 375* and bake for another 50 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly. Cut into wedges and enjoy warm or cool with a little vegan butter. 

Keeps well for a few days in an airtight container

 

LIVE IN THE LIGHT, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Coconut + Matcha Protein Pancakes

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Lets address the elephant in the room right off the bat - Yes. This is a "healthy" pancake recipe.

Yes, this recipe includes spinach, matcha powder and apple cider vinegar. 

Yes, I said spinach and NO you can't taste it. I promise.

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So if you are looking for a healthy, high powered meal to start your day or fill you up post workout, then you have found your new, very green, best friend.

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It is no coincidence that I am posting this so close to St. Pattys day. I've had pancakes on the brain lately (can you tell I miss my job making breakfast for guests every morning). I was thinking about different combinations of flavors, different textures, different colors and that's when it hit me - last year I made an incredibly healthy and nearly spot-on version of a 'Shamrock Shake' and this year (check that out, btw) so this year I wanted to bring a little health to another tasty treat. Not that green pancakes are a St. Pattys day thing but hey - you only live once and if you want to start this often indulgent holiday off right, this is your recipe!

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Don't let the look of these guys scare you, the whole process is honestly SO EASY and in terms of equipment all you need is a blender and a skillet. It's basically a riff on my old standby gluten-free 'blender' pancakes but with a few modifications to make it more fun, festive, high-powered and well...green. I start by adding matcha powder and spinach to create the green color and to give you an extra boost (matcha is green tea powder loaded with clean caffeine) and some extra minerals (spinach has them all). And again, I promise you CANNOT taste the spinach - the earthy matcha, vanilla protein powder and sweet coconut completely mask it's flavor. These are really good, pure and simple.

Give this recipe a try and let me know how you like it!


Makes: 6 pancakes (serves 1-2) • Prep Time: 5 minutes • Cook Time: 15 minutes


DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup GF rolled oats
  • 1 cup lightly packed baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla protein powder (I used Vega Vanilla Protein + Greens Powder)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil *optional
  • 2 tbsp. coconut flakes *optional
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds *optional
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup coconut milk (I used the Califa farms brand, but any plant milk will do)
  • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

TOPPINGS

Coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, Lavva Plant Based Yogurt (plain), Maple Syrup


METHOD

Combine all wet and dry ingredients in a high speed blender and process on high til the batter is totally smooth.

Allow the batter to sit and thicken for 1-2 minutes as you heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat.

Pour apx. 1/3 cup of the batter into the skillet and use the back of a spoon to help spread the batter into a circular shape (it will be a little thick so the spoon does help).

Cook on the first side on medium heat for apx. 1.5 minutes or until you see a few bubbles and the edges look done. Spray a spatula with a light coating of coconut oil spray and flip the pancake - cook on the other side for apx. 45 seconds to one minute until the pancake puffs up slightly and is golden brown on both sides. 

NOTE: With this recipe, I cook one or two pancakes at a time. If your skillet is huge and you have good control of your stoves heat, by all means make more but I find that slow and steady wins the race with these bad boys - you can always keep your oven warm and stick them in there on a sheet tray so they don't get cold.

 

LIVE IN THE LIGHT, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Crisp + Chewy Orange Vanilla Granola Bars - Chocolate Covered!

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Does the smell of fresh oranges remind anyone else of the holidays? Growing up my mom...I mean, Santa, would always top our stocking with a fresh, juicy orange, and we had to eat it before we could open any gifts. That unmistakable citrusy scent takes me directly to Christmas morning, especially when paired with sweet spices like vanilla and cardamom. So when planning recipes for the holidays I knew orange had to be involved... but I wanted it to be something totally unique.

Now, I make your standard, pour-and-go granola at home pretty often - it's cheaper than store bought, super quick and I can make any flavor I want. But when I recently went make a fresh batch I realized I haven't EVER made a granola bar recipe on the blog! That had to change. While regular granola is great for a quick breakfast or snack these are even more on-the-go efficient and better for gifting (food makes the best gifts, right?). Naturally sweetened, filled with healthy ingredients and scented with the elegant combination of vanilla and orange - these granola bars will leave your sweet tooth satisfied anytime. They are the perfect mid-point between crispy and chewy so they will satisfy everyone's preference and if the texture doesn't do it, the chocolate coating certainly will.

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This recipe also makes a great base for different flavors - once you get the hang of the method and proportions you can easily omit and sub in the nuts, buckwheat, orange zest and vanilla and mix in your favorite flavors - like coconut, chocolate, cinnamon, etc. 

Let me know if you give them a try!

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Serves: 12 large granola bars/24 small • Total Time: 45 minutes 


Dry Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups oats
  • 1/4 cut buckwheat groats (or sub more oats)
  • 1 cup slivered raw almonds
  • 1 cup packed and pitted dates, dried apricots or any combination of the two

Wet Ingredients

  • Rounded 1/4 cup almond butter or other neutral nut/seed butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave 
  • 1 tsp. fresh orange zest
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (using the seeds from a vanilla bean would be INCREDIBLE here)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax seeds

Chocolate Coating (optional)

  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil 

Toppings: sea salt, orange zest, almonds, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, etc.


1. Preheat your oven to 350*F. On a parchment lined sheet pan, mix together the oats, buckwheat and silvered almonds - add to the oven and toast dry for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Check often and toss with a spatula to make sure no over browning occurs. 

NOTE: If your almonds are already toasted, add them in after this step.

2. While the mixture is toasting, use a food processor to puree together the dates/apricots until there are no more large chunks of fruit and it forms into a mass. 

NOTE: I used a combination of dates and apricots for this recipe. If you do plan to use all apricots or another dried fruit (raisins and figs should work quite well), make sure they are quite moist. If you notice that they are a bit dry you can soak your fruit in boiling water for about an hour and drain before adding to the food processor - that should do the trick. 

3. In a small sauce pan on low heat combine the wet ingredients - almond butter, maple syrup and pureed dried fruit. Break up the dried fruit and stir with a whisk or spatula until the entire mixture becomes well blended. Turn off the heat and add orange zest, vanilla, salt and cardamom. 

4. When the oat mixture comes out of the oven, let it cool slightly before transferring to a bowl and add in the wet ingredients. Stir until well combined, then add the chia and flax seeds, stirring once more.

5. Re-line your sheet pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with coconut oil spray. Dump the granola mixture onto the pan and press it into a thin, compact, even layer with a spatula or your hands.

TIP: To prevent a huge mess you can dampen your palms and fingers with water or coconut oil when pressing the granola into the pan - it will prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands.

6. For a toasted taste and crisp yet chewy texture, add the granola back into the oven for 15 minutes, checking often. When you remove the granola from the oven you want it to be golden brown and slightly darker at the edges. 

7. Allow the granola to come to room temperature before moving the entire sheet pan to the freezer for at least a half hour (or overnight) to firm up. 

8. When you're ready to slice and coat your granola in chocolate remove the pan from the freezer and use a sharp knife to cut the granola into the shape and size of your choosing (I opted for 12 large squares here). 

9. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in a small sauce pan on low heat or in the microwave in 20 second intervals. Once you have a smooth mixture, coat half or all of each granola square with the hot chocolate and place them on another parchment lined plate or sheet pan.

10. Sprinkle the chocolate coating with toppings if desired and then add the bars back into the freezer to set up for at least 10 minutes. 

These bars store well in the fridge or freezer for up to two weeks! 

 

LIMITLESS LOVE,  LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

 

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Super-charged Gingerbread Coffee

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It's my favorite time of year again - cool days, warm drinks, getting cozy and using the quiet time to reflect and plan ahead (any other crazy calendar organizers in the house?!). I know this isn't everyone's favorite season but hey, at least there's this recipe for a vegan gingerbread latte to get you through the months ahead.

Naturally sweetened, no refined oils, healthy fats and a flavor to rival any coffee shop concoction - you are gonna love this simple treat that keeps you fuller for longer, provides a boost of nutrition and gives you the warm holiday fuzzies. 

When living in Los Angeles I was only a few blocks away from the original Bulletproof coffee shop and while I see the appeal of giving yourself a blast of healthy fats to keep you full I wasn't really into the texture that coconut oil gave my coffee - not to mention, it was literally $8 for a small cup. Fast forward a few years later and these 'super-charged' coffees are on every street corner and in kitchens around the globe so needless to say I have been itching to throw my hat in the right with the perfect vegan version. Now, one of my major hang ups with the original was that it lacked flavor - I mean, common, if I am going to pay $8 for a cup of coffee I'd rather get some ridiculous sugary thing that is obviously no good for you but is good to the last drop. So when I saw that gingerbread lattes were back at Starbucks, I thought to myself "Gingerbread! Now THAT'S the perfect way to get both nutrition and seasonal flavor into one cup". 

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Here's what we got going on:

Blackstrap molasses - loaded with vitamins and minerals and its also a critical part of the flavor profile in this cup. 

Dates - a natural sweetener that also adds to the creamy, frothy texture

Ginger - an obvious addition for flavor but it's also great for gut health

Maca powder - a great addition as it really adds to the flavor profile but also provides you with extra energy and hormone balancing powder

Almond butter - a heathy source of fat that keeps you full and makes the whole drink creamy as can be

I am not a huge fan of refined fats like oils which is why I didn't use coconut oil or anything - I just don't get why refined sugar gets such a bad wrap but refined fats do not. Of course natural fat is essential but why are we eating it in such concentrated doses? Anyway, this is a rant for another time.

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While testing this recipe I didn't tell my boyfriend what the flavor was supposed to be mimicking and he guessed right away - so it's pretty spot on and I am excited for you to try it! 

Let me know what you think! 

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Serves: 2 large cups • Prep Time: 10 minutes 


  • 3 cups strongly brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup plant milk (use soy or coconut milk if you're looking for maximum creaminess)
  • 2 large medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1.5 tbsp. nut butter (I used MaraNatha almond butter here, my favorite!)
  • 1 tsp. blackstrap molases
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon or pumpkin spice blend
  • 1/2 tsp. maca powder
  • pinch sea salt
  • optional addition: protein powder (I did not add any but imagine that that this would make the ultimate post-workout snack)

1. Brew your coffee in a french press and let it steep for 8-10 minutes so you get a strong flavor, you could also make espresso if you're fancy like that. 

2. Add the hot coffee to a blender along with the rest of the ingredients and blend for 1 minute on the highest setting until the beverage is creamy and frothy. 

NOTE: This type of beverage is best made in a high speed blender with a vented top for the steam to escape. If you're using a blender with a screw on bottom (nurtibullet) you'll have to cool your coffee first as there is no vents for the steam to escape - which could result in a molten hot explosion. Yikes. 

3. Pour into a mug of your choice and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or allow to cool slightly and pour over ice. 

 

LIMITLESS LOVE, 

LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Fall Salad with Roasted Kabocha Squash and Creamy Dressing

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This is my go to Fall Salad! It's an all around winner, the perfect combination of flavors, textures and ingredients. If you don't like salads or struggle to eat them, you need to try this recipe. I have been eating it at least a few times a week for the past few weeks and it's safe to say I am addicted, sometimes having a variation for both lunch and dinner. Even though theres some chopping and roasting involved, the whole thing comes together pretty simply and I love that I can prep most of the ingredients ahead of time. I usually eat it as full-on-entree not a side but this would be great to bring to a party or other dinner gathering as it makes a gorgeous presentation.

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My favorite thing about this salad is it's nutritional density and flavor combinations - a complete and healthy meal for sure! Dark leafy greens, filling carbs from the kabocha squash, a boost of protein from the chic peas and healthy fats from the creamy tahini mustard dressing. The addition of tart, dried cherries and pumkin seeds only adds to the healthy benefits (pumpkin seeds are antimicrobial and tart cherries are known to be a natural pain killer)

If you haven't tried kabocha squash you are seriously missing out for a few reasons. One, the texture is my absolute favorite in the squash kingdom - once cooked its soft, creamy and almost custard like. Two, the flavor is sweet but not over powering and three, you don't have to peel it  - yes, you can 100% eat the skin - lazy people rejoice! I've always had luck finding kabocha in my local markets but I didn't always know of it's existence - if you're looking it's dark green with lighter vertical stripes, a round flat shape and a thick stem - it sort of looks like an acorn squash on steroids. I eat this type of squash regularly (in curries, over rice or plain as a snack), I've tried to prepare them many ways but the bake-steam method I detail below is my all-time favorite - especially when seasoned with fall spices. Yum!

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Most salads I make are drizzled with some version of the dressing recipe in this post - it's just the perfect creamy style dressing that taste good on pretty much anything. Make sure you use a high quality, authentic Israeli or Middle Eastern brand of tahini because some of the conventional brands are too thick and taste a bit bitter. You will love it drizzled atop any fresh veg (I particularly love it on tomatoes)  and when you take a bite that includes all of the goodies in this salad, you will know why I haven't been able to eat much else for the past few weeks. 

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The thing about salads is this - you can totally make swaps for all of these ingredients - can't find kabocha, use butternut squash. Don't like tomatoes? Use another veggie instead. Out of pumpkin seeds? Use sunflower seeds or walnuts! Want more? Bulk it up with quinoa, rice or another grain. I often hesitate when writing a recipe for a salad because it can be so straightforward and intuitive but this one is totally worth it!


Serves: 1 large salad, 2 side salads • Prep Time: 30-40 minutes 


Sweet roasted Kabocha Squash

  • 1/2 small kabocha squash, cleaned, de-seeded and cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup 
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup water

1. Preheat your oven to 425*F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Clean, de-seed and dice the kabocha squash (remember you can eat the skin of this particular squash) and transfer the squash to your sheet pan. 

2. Sprinkle on salt, spices and maple syrup - toss to combine and spread the squash out in an even layer on the pan. Place the pan in the oven and carefully pour 1/4 cup water over the top - this will help the squash cook without oil, leaving the pieces tender and slightly crisp on the outside.

3. Roast the squash for 20-25 minutes until desired done-ness is reached. 

4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully before serving on the salad


Roasted Spiced Chic peas

  • Can of chic peas, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 tsp. garam masala spice blend
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

1. Preheat your oven to 425*F (I recommend doing it at the same time as the squash since they cook at the same temperature) and line and baking sheet with parchment paper

2. Drain and rinse a can of chic peas (I always go for the low-sodium variety) and use a paper towel or tea towel to lightly press some of the dampness off the beans

3. Transfer to the sheet pan and sprinkle with spices and salt - toss to combine

4. Add the chic peas to the oven and roast for apx. 10-15 minutes. The end result with be crisp on the outside and still soft inside - I love this texture but you could roast them longer to get them fully crunchy-crisp - just watch them carefully so they don't burn.


Creamy Mustard Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup good quality tahini
  • 2 tbsp. grainy mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp. maple syrup, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (you can also try using balsamic, just add a bit more to get the right acid balance)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (try fresh orange juice if you like a sweeter dressing)
  • 2 - 4 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, salt

1. In a mason jar or bowl add all ingredients (except water) and whisk together till well combined.

2. Slowly add water 1 tbsp. at a time till a rich-creamy-drizzel-able consistency is reached. You can store this in your fridge for up to two weeks, and it is good on everything so I reccomend making a double batch!

NOTE: If you have ever made tahini dressing before you will know that it thickens up FAST! I can make a batch with perfect consistency one minute and the next it is wayyyy to thick so you may have to whisk in a bit more water right before pouring it over the salad. If you are making it in advance, always know that you'll have to thin it out when taking it out of the fridge. This is a total win-win thought because this stuff can really stretch!


The Salad Components

  • A healthy few handfuls of any greens you like - I especially love asian mix, baby kale or arugula
  • A generous sprinkle of pumpkin seeds
  • A few Roma tomatoes, cut into half moon slices
  • Cucumber, cut into  half moon slices
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries

1. To assemble the salad place a bed of lettuce in a large shallow bowl and toss with a squeeze of lemon juice

2. Chop your fresh veggies and lay them on top, then place some of your cooled squash and  chic peas over the salad (you will have left overs which is great). 

3. Next, sprinkle on the dried cherries and pumpkin seeds. 

4. Finally, drizzle the dressing across the top (you will have a bit extra left over, which I use for dipping).

 

Here's to eating food that feels good!

LIMITLESS LOVE, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Healthy Vegan Shamrock Shake

Confession: I actually haven't ever had a real, McDonalds Shamrock Shake BUT I've done a lot of research and talked to a lot of people who enjoyed them in years past. To be honest, I have always wondered why that glowing green milkshake tasted like mint and vanilla - "what does that have to do with St. Pattys?", I would wonder. But, the more fun side of me embraces the Shamrock shake as a totally made up kitchy American tradition that people who crave healthier, plant based options should get to enjoy as well.

When developing this recipe I wanted it to be as nourishing as possible while still being a totally dessert-like indulgence that hit all the same flavor notes as the original (minus the processed grossness). My version only contains whole food, plant based ingredients - thats right, no food coloring, dairy or artificial flavors here ...and, according to those who have tasted a Shamrock shake, this version totally has it going on. This thing is frothy, creamy and totally shake-like, even though it is technically a smoothie. 

The recipe involves many green ingredients to ensure the color is as Irish (?) as possible - zucchini, spinach, mint and avocado - yes, Irish.  By the way, if you've never tried zucchini in your smoothies, you really should - it adds the same creamy texture as bananas but without the sweetness - great for those times you want to keep things lower in the glycimic index. The avocado adds to the richness and the mint give it the classic 'shamrock-i-ness'.

The traditional drive-thru shake is topped with whipped cream and cherry but I opted for a drizzle of vegan chocolate shell because who doesn't the combination of mint and chocolate?...Sounds better than mint and cherry to me. LOL

Anyway, let me know if you try my healthy, plant based version of a Shamrock shake and how it compares to the original.


Serves: 1-2 (depends of if you want it as a meal or a snack) • Prep Time: 5 min


Healthy Vegan Shamrock Shake

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 small frozen zucchini
  • 1 packed cup spinach leaves
  • Handful fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup plant milk
  • 2-4 ice cubes, depending on how icy you want it
  • 2 pitted medjool dates (or sub maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. pure peppermint extract (optional)
  • 1/4 avocado

Vegan Chocolate Shell

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. coco powder
  • 1 tsp. sweetenner of choice

1. In a high speed blender, add all ingredients except avocado and blend on high till frothy and well combined. 

2. Once fully blended, plus in the avocado till just combined and the mixture is icy and creamy.

NOTE: Blending the avocado in at the last second is optional, you can totally chuck it in to start but from testing I realized that resulting texture is a bit too whipped and fluffy if your goal is to stay true to milkshake texture. 

3. Add to a chilled glass and top with chocolate shell or vegan whipped cream!

 A leprechaun stole me shake! Just kidding, I drank it all. 

A leprechaun stole me shake! Just kidding, I drank it all. 

 

LIGHT & LOVE, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Vegan Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash

I know I've said it before but fall is simply the most inspirational time to be in the kitchen. Our bodies love to be nourished with the seasons offerings - spring and summer keep us craving raw, simple, fresh foods (think smoothies, watermelon, salads) but fall and winter inspire warming, cooked dishes (squash, stews and sauces). I am so grateful to have moved to Northern California earlier this year so that I can be back in a climate that allows me to actually experience the seasons - although I know others might disagree I felt totally out of wack in the year round Los Angeles sunshine and heat. There's something so spiritual about seasons, their distinctions leave me feeling much more connected to nature, to the passage of time and to myself. 

Getting back to the recipe - this roasted and stuffed acorn squash is also spiritual - perfect for the coming holiday season and it's honestly one of the recipes I am most proud of. 

Now, this recipe admittedly takes a bit longer than most of the dishes I create. I am not ashamed to admit that I acquired a good 80% of my cooking knowledge watching Rachael Ray's '30 Minute Meals' (love you Rachael) as a kid so most of my food is quick to prepare and has a somewhat simple list of ingredients. But when it comes to festive, holiday food I don't mind spending a little more time in the kitchen - I think Rachael is cool with that - and I hope you don't mind either. Put on some Frank Sinatra, light a dang candle and get cooking! 

This recipe works on it's own as a light yet hearty dinner or as an impressively beautiful side dish for a holiday feast. The sweet roasted squash makes the perfect vessel for a hot bulgur wheat salad that includes warming spices, golden caramelized onions, ribbons of kale, creamy white beans, tart and sweet pomegranate seeds and a savory tahini dressing that truly brings it all together. I love this salad because, while you can totally make it your own (suggestions below), the balance of flavors in this original recipe is just so seasonal both in color and in flavor complexity. Not to mention this recipe is vegan and uses almost exclusively foods in their whole form so this meal will leave you feeling nourished and happy over the holidays.

P.S- You could, and totally should, make this bulgur salad on it's own as an amazing side dish!

Try my vegan stuffed, roasted acorn squash this season and let me know how you - and your friends - like it!


Serves: 4 • Prep Time: 60 minutes (some inactive time included)


Roasted Acorn Squash

  • 2 medium acorn squash, halved
  • 4 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil 
  • Cracked black pepper to taste

Bulgur Wheat Kale and Pomegranate Stuffing/Filling

  • 3/4 cup of bulgur wheat + 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 large onion, diced small
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1/2 a 16 oz. can of low sodium white beans
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds 
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • Pumpkin seeds and more pomegranate seeds for garnish

Other yummy possibilities/variations:

  • Add in mushrooms of any kind
  • Sub pomegranate seeds for dried cherries or cranberries
  • Add in fresh corn, peas, carrots, zuchinni
  • Sub bulgur for brown rice or quinoa 

Tahini Dressing

  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp. Mrs. Dash

1. Preheat your oven to 425* F and prepare your acorn squash by splitting it in half length wise and scooping out the seeds. Place in a roasting pan, inside facing up.

2. Heat the coconut oil and maple syrup til runny and drizzle the mixture onto each half and rub into the flesh. Season with pepper and place in the oven to roast for 50-55 minutes or until the inside is soft and slightly caramelized.

NOTE: You can save the seeds and roast them for garnish - just put them in the over with a little bit of cooking spray, salt and pepper for 5-10 minutes but keep an eye on them. I would like to say I did this myself but I totally burnt them and did not reattempt, whoops.

3. While the acorn squash is roasting, add your bulgur and hot water to a bowl and cover for 30 minutes - you'll know its ready wen all the water is absorbed and the wheat will be slightly soft and chewy. In this time you could also prep the pomegranate - because unless you bought the seeds on their own, it takes a while (and some patience) to seed a pomogrante.  

4. Add diced onion and garlic to a pan with a little bit of water and cook on high stirring every so often allowing the aromatics to get golden brown and caramelized. This should take about 5-8 minutes and you may need to add a bit more water to avoid burning. 

5. Once the onion and garlic are soft and golden brown, add in the rosemary and kale and a bit more water - toss until the kale is wilted down by half and all the water has evaporated.

6. Add in the beans, the bulgur and the rest of your seasonings - pumpkin spice, cumin, onion powder, pepper. Cook for a few minutes to let the flavors combine.

7. Turn off the heat and add in the pomegranate seeds and 3/4 of the tahini dressing (which is simply made by whisking all ingredients together in the bowl). Toss to fully coat - you may need to add a bit of extra water here to help things loosen up. 

8. Remove your acorn squash from the oven and fill the cavity generously with the bulgur stuffing. Top with the rest of the dressing, pepper, more pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds or even the roasted acorn squash seeds (if you don't burn them). Serve hot!

 

 

LIGHT & LOVE, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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