Posts

Pineapple Mango Smoothie

This pineapple mango smoothie is bright and refreshing… but the best thing about it is that it will help your digestion!

pineapple mango smoothie

I make smoothies all the time. I mean, every day. My Vitamix gets more use than any kitchen tool I’ve ever owned. I just love the idea that I can pick out whatever food and herbs and supplements I need at a particular moment, toss them all in the blender, and have a healing cocktail of sorts that will boost my energy, fix my digestion, decrease my inflammation, or lift my mood in a matter of seconds.

To me, it’s like magic. Smoothies are the epitome of food is medicine.

When I was in school getting my Masters Degree in Oriental Medicine, we learned all about the value and the amazing healing powers of Chinese herbs. And, I  cook with Chinese herbs all the time. One of my favorite things to do is to introduce my clients to these amazing plant-based medicines.

While it was my culinary school training that started my obsession with more traditional food herbs, like basil, it was my Chinese herbal medicine training that taught me the healing abilities and properties of these more traditional herbs. This pineapple mango smoothie includes a large amount of basil. And basil, is one of the most healing food herbs around. Not only is it great for your immune system, but it’s also a spiritual herb and will lift your mood.

Healing. Delicious. Simple. Those are the 3 words that describe the perfect smoothie.

But… yes, there’s always a but… sometimes I get stuck in a smoothie rut. I fall into the trap of using the same ingredients way too often. I find that green, brown, and red are the colors of most of my smoothie creations.

Okay, if I’m being totally honest — if I’m just making one for myself, oftentimes it’s really ugly. Really healing, but really ugly. I’ve been told sometimes that they are the color of baby poop. Wow, that’s pretty unappetizing… but honesty’s worth a lot, isn’t it?

So, I’ve made a pact with myself (do you ever do that?) that I will make new smoothies, with new combinations of ingredients.

Another thing I’m trying to do is to use fewer ingredients in these recipes. Yes, I do love my powders, potions, and supplements, but sometimes less is more.

This pineapple mango smoothie is one of my newest blended recipes. And look… it’s YELLOW. This one makes me happy just to look at it. But, when you taste it, you will really smile.

The combination of the pineapple with the mango is like a tropical explosion in your mouth. The banana gives it just the right amount of creaminess, and then… for the piece de resistance… a big handful of fresh bright green fragrant basil leaves. The aroma itself is incredible!

Okay, have I talked you into making this pineapple mango smoothie yet?

I hope so. And, if you want another great awesome, colorful smoothie creation, try my Pink Pitaya Mango Smoothie Bowl recipe.

pineapple mango smoothie

I’m on a big customized-recipe-creation kick right now… let me customize a recipe for you that will work for whatever’s going on in your body now… I’m such a geek that I really do get excited about doing this. I’ve got a smoothie will your name on it…  So CLICK HERE to be taken directly into my calendar to sign up for your free phone consultation.

pineapple mango smoothie

Each ingredient in this pineapple mango smoothie really packs a healing nutritional punch:

Pineapple is great for your digestion and it can help stop diarrhea. It’s especially good in the summer because it fights against heatstroke. And, if you haven’t tried drinking pure pineapple juice when you have a cough… you’ve really been missing out because pineapple juice is the best cough suppressant around!

Mangos are great for digestion and they help if you have one of those annoying dry coughs that just won’t go away. This delicious fruit will also help strengthen your bones and is good for your heart.

I love to add bananas to smoothie bowls; they offer a great natural sweetness and a nice creamy texture. Bananas are good for your intestines (an old Asian remedy was to eat a banana every day to relieve hemorrhoids) and your lungs, and they even help relieve the effects of overindulging in alcohol.

Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (I love to do this), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects.

Extra-virgin olive oil is amazing. It is good for just about everything. It is great for your heart and has even been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks when added into a healthy diet. It’s also good for your brain, and can reduce some of the inflammation in your body. I recommend buying extra-virgin olive oil because it is less processed than some other olive oils. Also, with olive oils, sometimes you get what you pay for, so if you are able to taste the oils before you buy, that’s a great thing to do.

pineapple mango smoothie

If you make this Pineapple Mango Smoothie, please be sure to let me know in the comments below. I love hearing how you like a recipe, and I love to answer your questions! If you make it, be sure to take a photo and tag me and post it on Instagram.

Pineapple Mango Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: smoothie, fruit, breakfast, snack
Cuisine: paleo, whole30, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
This pineapple mango smoothie is like sunshine in a glass. It only has a few ingredients, and it will help your digestions... and it is delicious!
Ingredients
  • ½ of a fresh pineapple, cut into chunks (discard the outer rind)
  • 1 mango, pit and peel discarded
  • ½ of a banana (if you have a frozen one, even better)
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • large handful of fresh basil leaves
  • ice (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender (I used my Vitamix, so it was pretty quick).
  2. Whiz it up until smooth.
  3. Pour into your favorite glass.
  4. Enjoy!

pineapple mango smoothie

Slow Cooker Vegan Baked Ziti Soup

This slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup is comfort food times two in one healthy bowl: it’s a combination of 2 old favorites: baked ziti and hearty soup!
vegan baked ziti soup

I love to take old fashioned comfort foods and turn them into something that tastes just as good as I remember them tasting when I was a kid, but that actually can heal my body. In my house, these comfort food recipes are usually everyone’s favorites. This slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup is a new creation, but I’m betting it quickly makes it to “favorite status”…

Right now, I think the top rated comfort food recipe is my Cheeseburger Soup. I make this all of the time… I mean, waaaayyyyyyyy too often. But OMG it is sooooo good!  So, I figured I should create a new soup with the same healing yet comforting vibe. Enter: Slow Cooker Vegan Baked Ziti Soup.

We are all creatures of habit.

I guide people out of their comfort zones every day. Because it’s so important. Soooooooo important…

I just love when someone steps outside of their box with me. Let’s face it — it’s so much easier to stay in our comfort zone than step out of it. But, we all know that nothing good comes from stagnation. You’ve got to leap in order to fly… you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince… if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you… blah, blah, blah…

Sometimes, you just need to throw those cliches in the trash and find someone to guide you out of your comfy box.

I remember, in one of my old careers (and yes, I’ve had several…), I got to meet Walter Cronkite. And what this genius said has always stuck with me. He said he loved his job as a newsperson, but that every single night before he went on the air, he had to put his head between his knees because he felt like he was going to vomit. This was because every single night he stepped out of his comfort zone and into the unknown by interviewing people who were unpredictable and never gave expected answers… every single night was different.

What a way to live. And I mean that in a great way. What a way to live!

I’ve made a habit of stepping outside of my comfort zone as much as possible. Maybe not every single day, but yes, every single week.

If you want to step outside of your box, sign up for a free phone consultation with me and we will step together. Let’s chat and figure out how to create awesome changes in your body, your mind and your spirit… I just love this stuff! So, CLICK HERE and you’ll be taken directly to my calendar so you can sign up for a time that’s convenient for you… do it now!

Oh my, that’s quite a tangent I went off on. All because of the phrase “comfort food”.

So, back to this comfort food recipe for slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup. It really is comforting. It really does taste like baked ziti. I made it with lentil pasta, and a really creamy vegan mozzarella cheese and I drizzled some great basil pesto on top. And, of course, I hid some superfoods inside — hemp seeks and Chinese herbs… so healing!

I want to thank Alissa at Connoisseurus Veg because it was her genius recipe for Slow Cooker Vegan Lasagna Soup that was my inspiration for this recipe.

So, make this slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup. Or, try my recipe for Paleo Beefaroni — that’s a great comfort food too.

slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup

I’m on a big customized-recipe-creation kick right now… let me customize a recipe for you that will work for whatever’s going on in your body now… I’m such a geek that I really do get excited about doing this. So CLICK HERE to be taken directly into my calendar to sign up for your free phone consultation.

slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup

Here are some of the great healing ingredients in this slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup:

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

Lentils help lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, are high in vitamin B and protein, and have hardly any fat. They are a good source of long-term energy and are very high in fiber. These tiny legumes also help with digestion and they are the perfect protein to eat in the summer because they actually clear the body of excess heat; long ago, cold lentil soup was prescribed for patients with heatstroke or fever.

It is true that spinach contains iron, but it’s this vegetable’s lesser-known qualities that really hold my admiration. Spinach contains a substance that helps eliminate prostate cancer. It’s also great for your bones and also for memory loss. Diabetic patients may find that eating spinach helps combat excessive thirst and can even be good for night blindness. Spinach can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium, so calcium-rich foods should be avoided when eating this leafy green.

Huang Qi is like magic; this Chinese herb builds qi/gives you energy… you can really feel it working while you are eating. My family makes fun of my excitement for herbs, but they also are happy to reap the rewards when they eat my herb-infused foods, so think about trying out some herbs the next time you boil a pot of something…

I added a few sticks of raw Shan Yao. This Chinese herb is actually Chinese Yam, and it’s great for energy.

slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup

If you make this slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup, please be sure to let me know in the comments below. I love hearing how you like a recipe, and I love to answer your questions! If you make it, be sure to take a photo and tag me and post it on Instagram.

Slow Cooker Vegan Baked Ziti Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup, vegan, comfort food, vegetarian, slow cooker
Cuisine: recipe inspired by: Connoisseurus Veg
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This comforting vegan soup is so healing, so delicious, and the slow cooker does all the work!
Ingredients
  • 1 qt vegetable broth
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ¾ cup dry green lentils
  • 2 Tbs hemp seeds
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • Optional raw Chinese herbs: Huang Qi, Shan Yao
  • 3 oz baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 6 oz green lentil penne (or pasta of your choice)
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • 1 cup vegan ricotta cheese
Instructions
  1. Put the vegetable broth, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, dry lentils, hemp seeds, Chinese herbs, and crushed tomatoes into the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 3-1/2 hours.
  3. Open the cooker and add the spinach and pasta.
  4. Cook on high for 8 minutes (or until the pasta is cooked al dente).
  5. Ladle into bowls.
  6. Top each bowl with a dollop of pesto and a dollop of vegan ricotta cheese.
  7. Enjoy!

slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup

Instant Pot Spring Vegetable Soup

Soup still hits the spot even when the days start to get warm.  This instant pot spring vegetable soup is perfect for those days — it will boost your immune system and make you feel good! Read more

Cold Cucumber Herb Soup

This Cold Cucumber Herb Soup is filled with healing superfoods and greens. Make a pitcher and keep it in the fridge for the hot summer days ahead! Read more

17 Foods To Boost Your Mood

It’s pretty awesome that there are foods you can eat to elevate your mood. It’s true that food really IS medicine! The next time you need a little mood boost or emotional pick-me-up, pull out this list of 17 Foods To Boost Your Mood… Read more

Baked Eggplant Chickpea Skillet

I was craving veggies, but also comfort food… so I made this baked eggplant chickpea skillet for dinner. It’s like a cross between eggplant parm and a Moroccan chickpea stew and it hits all the right spots!
baked eggplant chickpea skillet

I’m not sure why, but every time I see a food described as a “skillet” I think it must be awesome. I’m a sucker for any type of breakfast skillet on any menu anywhere. So, when I have the chance to actually describe one of my dishes as a skillet, you can be sure I’m going to go for it. So, here’s my baked eggplant chickpea skillet.

People always ask me: “What are you?” in terms of my diet. I’m not sure what to answer anymore except that “I’m whatever is good for me at the time.” Last week I was on a meat kick and I made a huge meatloaf and a chicken curry dish and the biggest piece of salmon you’ve ever seen. The best part was that this big protein-fest made for the best leftovers ever. But now, I still have some left in the fridge, and I really can’t even look at it anymore. I mean, there’s only so many times I can eat the same thing no matter how many creative ways I re-invent it. And some of the ingredients I used aren’t dog friendly… ugh. Note to self: scale down on the number of servings!

Last night was my niece’s engagement party. It was soooo nice. A few of us wanted to eat a light dinner beforehand so we wouldn’t pig out on all of the enticing appetizers. I opened the fridge, looked in, saw all of the same food, and I just couldn’t do it. I so wished I had already made this baked eggplant chickpea skillet so that we could sit there with a bunch of forks and dig into that skillet! (By the way, the Poke bowls we ended up ordering in were so good!)

This week I’m feelin’ the veggies and I want to cook some vegan dishes, and even though I wished this food had been ready to eat last night, I’m happy it’s here today! This dish is healthy, clean, and comforting all at the same time. The first time I made this dish it was because I had seen a recipe for an eggplant and chickpea casserole from The New York Times and I just had to make a version of it.

Did you know that in Chinese medicine we use chickpeas to elevate the mood? Haha, I know that’s a pretty random thought here, but I just think it’s so awesome… And, this dish did make me happy…

It’s not quite prime farmers market season yet here in New York, so when I shopped for this dish I went to Whole Foods. They had more different types of eggplant than I’ve ever seen in one place. And they were so pretty. It took me awhile to choose which ones I wanted but I ended up choosing some long thin, light purple Japanese eggplants because there are no bitter seeds and the skin is really thin and not too noticeable. If you have a picky eggplant eater, I highly recommend this variety.

But… ooh, the white and neon purple striped eggplants… oh my! They are just so pretty. I’ll have to try those next time…

If you are a skillet freak like I am, you should also try my recipe for Vegan Skillet Zucchini Parmesan.

baked eggplant chickpea skilletbaked eggplant chickpea skillet

Here are some of the awesome things this baked eggplant chickpea skillet can do for you:

In eastern medicine, eggplant is added to the diet when there is pain in the body because it’s great for relieving pain and reducing swelling. It’s especially good to eat eggplant when you are experiencing some nasty digestive issues. It relieves stomach pain, helps with dysentery, diarrhea, and painful urinary conditions. Eggplant has also been used topically to treat frostbite and canker sores… talk about a multi-tasking vegetable…

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.

Chickpeas actually help calm the spirit. They relieve anxiety and soothe irritability… it kind of makes you realize why hummus is so popular…

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. In the winter, I eat lots and lots of onions… I guess I should feel sorry for the people close to me! Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; they actually can rid the body of bacteria. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!

Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (I love to do this), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects.

baked eggplant chickpea skilletbaked eggplant chickpea skillet

Baked Eggplant Chickpea Skillet
Author: 
Recipe type: stew, skillet, vegan, Moroccan, paleo
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: The New York Times
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This dish is warming, comforting, healing, and it's vegan. The sauce is slightly Moroccan in flavor and it compliments the eggplant so well. And it comes in a skillet!
Ingredients
  • 3 medium, thin, Japanese eggplant, sliced in half vertically, then sliced horizontally into ¼- to ½- inch thick half moons
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing the eggplant
  • For sauce:
  • 1 medium onion, cut in ½, then sliced thin
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 28-oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste (I love this one -- it comes in a jar!)
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar (here's an organic one)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (here's a good brand)
  • additional basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  3. Brush the foil with some oil.
  4. Lay the eggplant out on the oiled foil. Brush the eggplant with more oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  5. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 15 mins.
  6. Remove the tray from the oven, fold up the foil around the eggplant, crimping all sides so that the eggplant is completely enclosed, and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
  8. Meanwhile, make the sauce:
  9. Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. (If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, use a regular one and then before you put it in the oven, transfer everything to a baking dish.)
  10. Add the onion to the skillet, and saute until it begins to soften, about 3 mins.
  11. Add the crushed garlic, and saute, stirring, 30 seconds.
  12. Add the tomato paste, and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  13. Season with salt and pepper.
  14. Add all the remaining sauce ingredients, except the chickpeas, stir to combine, and simmer, uncovered, 15 mins.
  15. Stir in the chickpeas and the eggplant.
  16. Place the skillet in the oven and cook, uncovered, for 50 mins.
  17. Remove the wilted basil leaves, if you want (I actually like to eat them) and replace them with fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional).

baked eggplant chickpea skillet

Zoodles With Creamy Avocado Pesto

zoodles with creamy avocado pesto

Pasta is my favorite food in the world. Give me a big bowl of spaghetti, and just leave me alone. But, I feel so much better when I don’t eat grains. Ugh.  Now there are some awesome grain-free faux pastas available today I am sooooooo happy. BUT, when people tell me that zucchini noodles/zoodles or spaghetti squash noodles or any vegetable that’s been turned into noodles will satisfy my pasta craving, I think they are crazy. That being said, these zoodles with creamy avocado pesto are really awesome…

I know, now I’ve kind of talked you out of making them. I really stink at marketing sometimes. But, I am honest — sometimes to a fault. Really, what I should have done is compared these to other vegetable recipes, not to my beloved pastas. Because — and this is so true — this is one of the best vegetable recipes around. And, for all of you out there who do feel that zoodles can take the place of traditional spaghetti, you are going to flip over this recipe.

These zucchini noodles are delicious! Really, I’m not just trying to redeem myself after my ranting above. It’s my opinion that when you make a dish that’s zucchini in spaghetti form, it needs a really creamy, flavorful sauce. You are not going to catch me serving zoodles with a light garlic and oil sauce (even though I know tons of people who love that). Nope, I want the most decadent sauce I can find. And this creamy avocado pesto sauce is just that.

The avocado here makes the pesto so creamy. And it’s so easy to make. And it’s a really pretty green. And it’s really healthy… Ok, have I talked you into it yet?

I made this last week when I was in the mood for creamy pasta but I didn’t want to deal with the guilt that would go along with that when I didn’t feel well afterwards. And, truly, I was happy. I like to leave the zucchini a little crunchy and I used my favorite store-bought pesto… so quick and so easy!

If you are a zucchini noodles fan, you should also try my recipe for Szechuan Zoodles.

zoodles with creamy avocado pesto

There are only a few ingredients in these awesome zoodles with creamy avocado pesto, but they are healing ones:

Zucchini cools your body off and makes you feel better when you are feeling hot. It helps your body release excess heat and it will make your mind feel more calm.

Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (I love to do this), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects. I used a store-bought basil pesto for this recipe, but feel free to experiment with your favorite pesto!

Avocados are one of my favorite foods, both for their health benefits and because they taste great. In Chinese medicine, some practitioners recommend avocados to raise the sperm count. I like them because they are good for anemia, dry skin, palpitations, constipation, and hot flashes due to menopause.

It is true that spinach contains iron, but it’s this vegetable’s lesser-known qualities that really hold my admiration. Spinach contains a substance that helps eliminate prostate cancer. It’s also great for your bones and also for memory loss. Diabetic patients may find that eating spinach helps combat excessive thirst and can even be good for night blindness. Spinach can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium, so calcium-rich foods should be avoided when eating this leafy green.

zoodles with creamy avocado pesto

Zoodles With Creamy Avocado Pesto
Author: 
Recipe type: zucchini noodles, faux pasta, simple
Cuisine: vegan, vegetarian, paleo, whole30
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Zucchini spaghetti is smothered in a flavorful pesto sauce made creamy by adding avocado! This is so easy and so healthy!
Ingredients
  • 1 large clamshell package of zucchini noodles/zoodles (or spiralize about 3 medium/large zucchini)
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ of an avocado
  • 6 oz. basil pesto (or substitute your favorite pesto)
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large saute pan.
  2. Add the zucchini and stir until it's how you like it -- I like mine a bit crunchy, so it only takes a few minutes.
  3. In a blender, combine the spinach, avocado, and pesto.
  4. Whiz it up until really creamy.
  5. Put the zoodles in a large bowl.
  6. Add as much of the sauce as you like. Toss well.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Slurp it up and enjoy!

zoodles with creamy avocado pesto

Crispy Smashed Potatoes With Pesto

crispy smashed potatoes with pesto

I am always testing new recipes and playing with different preparations of foods. I love to create new dishes — this experimenting has always been what de-stresses me. There’s just something about the kitchen itself and the fresh ingredients and all of the possibilities that puts me in my happy place.

While this sounds good to many people, it makes my family crazy. Even if they love a dish, they rarely see it again the same way because I’m always tweaking and changing and experimenting.

But, this recipe for crispy smashed potatoes with pesto is different. I make it the same way every time. Because it’s awesome. And, it it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…

There’s no better side dish than these potatoes. They are the perfect compliment to chicken or fish or steak. But honestly, I love them best served alongside a great bowl of soup. And, last week we even ate them with some grain-free pasta. And yes, I know pasta and potatoes at the same meal doesn’t sound right. But I guess I figured since the pasta was made out of almonds and almonds are a protein…

The last time I made this dish, I stored the leftovers in a container that somehow got hidden in the way back of the fridge. So, a few days later when I found the container, I had to figure out what to do with them. One of my go-to ways to refurbish leftovers is to cook them with eggs for an awesome breakfast. These crispy smashed potatoes with pesto made the most delicious base for some over-easy eggs… yum… I couldn’t have planned it any better!

If you want to try another great side dish recipe, try my Kale With Tomatoes And White Beans.

crispy smashed potatoes with pestocrispy smashed potatoes with pesto

This recipe for crispy smashed potatoes with pesto only has a few ingredients, but they are healing ones:

Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (I love to do this), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Sunflower seeds help lower blood pressure and can relieve headaches and dizziness. In Eastern medicine we recommend eating sunflower seeds if a person is troubled by certain severe intestinal symptoms like dysentery, or intestinal worms or certain parasites. These seeds also contain calcium and magnesium and have anti-aging properties. In Chinese medicine they are often prescribed to get rid of rashes.

Nutritional yeast gives things a cheese-y taste without using any dairy and it adds amino acids and Vitamin B, iron, zinc, and selenium to your diet. Nutritional yeast is a complete protein and also contains fiber, so it’s a really good thing!

Potatoes are good at soothing ulcers and neutralizing acid in the stomach and they help relieve constipation. These tubers also can help relieve arthritic inflammation. So, even though sweet potatoes are thought of as the white potato’s more nutrition sister, regular old potatoes can be just what the doctor ordered.

crispy smashed potatoes with pesto

Crispy Smashed Potatoes With Pesto
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, potatoes, vegetables
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: Minimalist Baker
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This is the perfect side dish. It's easy, healthy, delicious, and it goes with everything. The pesto is garlicky and tangy and OMG it's so good!
Ingredients
  • About 20 mini fingerling potatoes, washed
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • For pesto:
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • juice of 2 small lemons
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Place the potatoes in a medium pot.
  3. Fill the pot with enough cold water to cover the potatoes.
  4. Add a handful of sea salt to the water.
  5. Boil the potatoes until a fork stick easily into them (about 15 to 20 minutes).
  6. Drain the potatoes.
  7. Using a potatoes masher or the bottom of a skillet, smash the potatoes until they are flattened a bit.
  8. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  10. Bake in the oven until crispy (about 20 minutes).
  11. Meanwhile, make the pesto by putting all of the pesto ingredients into a food processor and processing until almost smooth.
  12. Feel free to thin out the pesto a bit with some additional extra virgin olive oil if it seems too thick.
  13. When the potatoes are crispy, remove them from the oven, arrange on a platter and top with pesto.
  14. Enjoy!

crispy smashed potatoes with pesto

Tomato Pomegranate Salad

Salads don’t have to be boring! Try this tomato pomegranate salad for a change of pace…

tomato pomegranate salad

Last week I had a counter filled with tomatoes. You know how it is… I went to the farmers market and there were tomatoes everywhere. I mean everywhere. Red ones. Yellow ones. Purple ones. Teardrop shaped ones. Oval ones. Round ones. Big ones. Little ones… you get the picture… This tomato pomegranate salad was the perfect use for this gorgeous variety of tomatoes.

Back at the market, I just started filling my bag. It was like I was possessed. But, in my defense, they were so pretty — like jewels.

I made a lot of dishes with these beauties. And there were still more.

Sometimes the universe just provides you what you need. I opened my email inbox one morning that week, and there were my weekly recipes from The New York Times, and ta-da… one of them was for their tomato pomegranate salad.

This tomato pomegranate salad is beautiful, simple, delicious, healthy, and easily customizable with the ingredients you have on hand.

If you’ve still got some tomatoes left after making this salad, here’s another great recipe to try: Vegan Caprese Salad With Hearts Of Palm.

tomato pomegranate salad

Here are some of the great healing ingredients in this tomato pomegranate salad:

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.

Pomegranate seeds nourish the blood. In Chinese medicine, we know that many illnesses and conditions are caused by the body making poor quality blood. Pomegranate seeds are great at helping the body make good quality blood. They are also good to combat diarrhea, anemia and incontinence.

Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (I love to do this), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects.

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. In the winter, I eat lots and lots of onions… I guess I should feel sorry for the people close to me! Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; they actually can rid the body of bacteria. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!

tomato pomegranate salad

Tomato Pomegranate Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: salad, vegetarian, simple, side dish
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: The New York Times
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This is the perfect dish for all of those ripe summer tomatoes! You can customize it with whatever fresh veggies are in your fridge...
Ingredients
  • 16 oz heirloom tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp za'atar (or use spice blend of your choice)
  • 6 Tbs pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup very thinly sliced red onions
  • 3 large basil leaves, sliced into thin ribbons
  • cubes of vegan cheese (or cheese of your choice)
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • sea salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine the oil and the za'atar in a small bowl.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Toss with the oil mixture.
  4. Enjoy!

tomato pomegranate salad

Zoodles With Raw Tomato Basil Sauce

These zoodles with raw tomato basil sauce can actually help calm your mind…

noodles with raw tomato basil sauce

Honesty time. I don’t love zucchini noodles. I really want to, but I just don’t. I know everyone, everywhere, is saying that noodles are a great substitute for spaghetti. Yeah, right. Not so much for me. BUT, they are so good for you — especially these zoodles with raw tomato basil sauce — that I made it my mission to figure out why I don’t love noodles as much as everyone else seems to.

This is what I figured out: I just don’t love them when I think of them as spaghetti. When I’m expecting a big heaping bowl of satisfying pasta, any kind of vegetable, no matter how good it is, just isn’t going to cut it. So, here’s my trick. I serve them with a cold sauce (and this one is delicious), so that it seems more like a salad-y dish than a pasta dish. This way I’m not disappointed. And, let me tell you, the flavor is so good, it’s the best salad ever!

I guess it’s a mental thing. A mind over matter thing.

But, I can honestly say, I love these zoodles with raw tomato basil sauce as a side dish for my grilled fish. Or with my collard wrap for lunch. And I used the sauce as a salsa for some grain-free chips too! Ah, a multitasking dish… you gotta love it!

If you are a zucchini lover, you should also try my recipe for Vegan Skillet Zucchini Parmesan!

noodles with raw tomato basil saucenoodles with raw tomato basil sauce

Here are some of the awesome healing ingredients in this recipe for zoodles with raw tomato basil sauce:

Zucchini cools your body off and makes you feel better during those hot days of summer. It helps your body release excess heat and it will make your mind feel more calm.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections. This recipe uses both fresh and sun-dried tomatoes.

Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (I love to do this), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects.

Avocados are one of my favorite foods, both for their health benefits and because they taste great. In Chinese medicine, some practitioners recommend avocados to raise the sperm count. I like them because they are good for anemia, dry skin, palpitations and hot flashes due to menopause.

Oregano is a powerful antioxidant and it is great at fighting bacteria. It’s also known as an herb that brings joy and happiness to people. I even just bought a bottle of oregano essential oil and I put a drop in our smoothies or water when anyone has a cold… it works great!

Celery actually helps stop bleeding — so if you or anyone you know has just had surgery, start adding celery to your dishes! Celery is also great to help lower blood pressure and it’s been known to help with insomnia.

noodles with raw tomato basil sauce

Zoodles With Raw Tomato Basil Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: paleo, whole30, vegan, vegetarian, vegetables, sauce, zucchini noodles, vegetables, zoodles
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: The Fully Raw Diet cookbook
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Zucchini that eats like pasta... the perfect easy side dish. And, everyone should add a few raw dishes to their diet...
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 lb. zucchini noodles (pre-made or spiralized yourself)
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1-1/2 lb fresh tomatoes
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into pieces
  • juice of ½ a small lemon
  • ¾ cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbs fresh oregano leaves
  • ½ an avocado, cubed
  • 3 sun-dried tomato pieces, packed in oil
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and saute, stirring, until in starts to brown.
  3. Add the zucchini and some sea salt and toss with a tongs just until the zucchini begins to soften a little bit.
  4. In a food processor, combine the fresh tomatoes, celery, lemon juice, basil, oregano, sun-dried tomato, and avocado. Pulse until the consistency of salsa (not completely smooth).
  5. Serve the noodles with sauce on top and pass the extra sauce on the side.
  6. Enjoy!

noodles with raw tomato basil sauce