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Healthy Homemade Ketchup

I’m a condiment freak — I like to dip everything. So, this healthy homemade ketchup is a must in my house!

It’s true. We are a condiments-all-the-time household. We can find a reason to dip everything in something. A few years ago it started to bother me that so much of our fridge was filled with jars and bottles that had ingredients that I would normally never use when I cooked . So, I started making my own. OMG — we are so much better off. This ketchup is especially delicious, and it doesn’t have all of the sugar that commercial ketchup has. And yes, I too used to be a Heinz lover… but now we really do all love this healthy homemade ketchup. Try it… you’ll love it too.

One day, when Steve was slathering his food with ketchup, as was his usual M.O., I had that light-bulb-over-head moment and I began creating homemade healthy condiments. Now, let me tell you, he used to really piss me off. I mean, how do you not even taste your food before you drown it in ketchup? I once heard a story about a hiring partner in a huge corporate firm who would take his interview candidates out to lunch and observe them. If they salted their food before tasting it, they wouldn’t be hired because he thought there was not enough thought and consideration in this gesture. Same goes for ketchup.

The creation of this recipe required a lot of trial and error. We ate a lot of ketchup that wasn’t… ummmm… wasn’t… worthy of the name ketchup. I tried all kinds of ingredients to get the right balance of sweet and tangy. For us, this recipe is the perfect balance. It’s the right consistency, and it tastes awesome.

You’ll notice that this recipe contains prunes. I know that sounds weird, but they really give this ketchup just the right taste. So, you’ll need to use a high-speed blender if you want your ketchup to be really smooth.

Another thing I used to buy but now I like to make homemade is Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese.

healthy homemade ketchuphealthy homemade ketchup

Hear are some of the great healing ingredients in this healthy homemade ketchup recipe:

In Chinese medicine, we use prunes to reduce stomach acidity and to help smooth the digestion. The claim to fame of the prune is that it helps fight against constipation. This is true, and when you clear your intestines, you are also taking a great step toward preventing colon cancer. These dried plums also are great for your vision and they have enough potassium to make them an official heart-healthy food.

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.

Raw apple cider vinegar is one of the most amazing ingredients available today. My husband and I really do take a big spoon of it every day along with our other supplements. It helps you maintain a healthy alkaline level in your body, detoxifies the liver, and is good for your heart. This vinegar helps intestinal function, much the way probiotics do. It also acts as an antacid and can help break down mucous in the body.

healthy homemade ketchup

Healthy Homemade Ketchup
Author: 
Recipe type: condiment
Cuisine: paleo, vegan, vegetarian
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: ½ cup
 
Look at all of the jars in bottles in your fridge. They contain so much sugar! If you are a ketchup lover, you've got to make this recipe for healthy homemade ketchup and store it in your fridge.
Ingredients
  • 6 pitted prunes
  • 7 oz tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs raw apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder
  • ¾ tsp dried minced onion flakes
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • water, as needed
Instructions
  1. Put all of the ingredients, and 5 Tbs water into a high-speed blender.
  2. Whiz it up. Add more water if necessary to get this ketchup to the desired consistency.
  3. Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge.
  4. Enjoy on everything!

healthy homemade ketchup

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

Creamy Vegan Baked Pumpkin Pasta

creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta

It’s pumpkin season! I know everyone gets so excited to go out and grab their pumpkin lattes, but not me. Don’t get me wrong — I love all things pumpkin too, but give me pumpkin comfort foods and I am the happiest ever. And this creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta blows your favorite pumpkin latte out of the water.

I never met a pasta I didn’t like. Especially a creamy pasta. Add in the fact that this is a hot and comfy baked pasta dish with a great crumb-topping, and you’ve got me drooling. So, when I saw a recipe for a baked pumpkin pasta by the amazing and inspiring Candice Kumai, I had to go for it.

What’s better than eating a delicious dinner with pumpkin in it while looking outside at the beautiful fall foliage? Nothing! Come on, look outside. Watch the leaves blowing around, smell the smells of fireplaces, open the windows and feel the slight chill in the air. Come on, do it. I live in the middle of the city, and I still open my windows and experience the wonder that is fall. Now, if I could figure out what kind of music to play while I’m cooking up all of this pumpkiny goodness… You know, winter is Christmas music in my kitchen. Summer is beachy music. But what’s fall? Hmmm… I’m open to suggestions…

I’ve made many pumpkin pasta dishes. Some of them end up looking like macaroni and cheese. Nothing wrong with that look… But, I’ve made the mistake of calling them something like pumpkin mac & cheese. This is a mistake, because it almost always disappoints the person I’m feeding, because while pumpkin pasta may look like mac and cheese, it doesn’t taste like it. But, pumpkin pasta is awesome. Especially this one… it’s creamy and pumpkiny and decadent tasting. I make mine with grain-free pasta and it is spectacular. I guess you get the point. I really think you should make this creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta.

For another delicious creamy vegan pasta dish, try my recipe for Creamy Mint Avocado Pasta.

creamy vegan baked pumpkin pastacreamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta

Look at some of the healing ingredients in this awesome creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta dish:

Pumpkin can help reduce pain and fever and can soothe stomach irritations. It’s a great food to treat constipation, allergies and asthma. It’s high in vitamin A and can help protect your lungs and intestines from cancer.

n Asian medicine, we use coconut to strengthen the body, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding. Coconut kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes. And perhaps most importantly, it helps you keep your mind sharp and it makes it easier for you to focus. I like to use full-fat canned coconut milk for this pasta.

Kale is everywhere these days. It is extremely nutritious, and because it to so popular you can find it already washed and prepared in lots of markets. Make sure you clean the kale leaves thoroughly and remove the center thick stems if they bother you (I don’t like to eat these think stems). This dark leafy green is a great source of fiber and calcium. It’s also rich in many minerals, including magnesium, iron and potassium. One serving contains 200% of the daily requirements of Vitamin C and 180% of Vitamin A.

Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric. I only used a little bit of turmeric in this pasta, so you don’t really taste it… but feel free to use as much as you like!

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….

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!

creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta

Creamy Vegan Baked Pumpkin Pasta
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
This is comfort food at it's most delicious. This healing vegan baked pasta is warming, delicious, simple, gooey, and just plain awesome.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb pasta of your choice (I used a grain free pasta)
  • 1-1/4 cups full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 15 oz can pure pumpkin (I buy them by the case)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • leaves of 3 thyme sprigs
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil (for greasing the pan)
  • For crumb topping:
  • 1 cup crumbs of choice (I used chickpea crumbs)
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion flakes
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup chopped lacinto/dinosaur kale
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Grease a large square or rectangle baking pan with oil.
  3. Cook your pasta al dente, drain well, and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Place the coconut milk, pumpkin, turmeric, thyme, garlic, and salt and pepper into the blender. I used my Vitamix. You can make this in a regular blender, but it make take a little time -- make sure you blend until very creamy and smooth.
  5. Stir the sauce into the pasta, and pour the mixture into the greased baking dish.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, then remove the pasta and switch the oven to the Broil setting.
  7. Make the crumb topping: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  8. After 30 minutes in the oven, spread the crumb mixture all over the top of the pasta and broil for a few minutes, until the crumbs start to turn brown. Watch it carefully -- no burning allowed!
  9. Enjoy!

creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta

Peruvian Chicken With Green Sauce

Roast chicken is comfort food. Kick your comfort up a notch with this Peruvian chicken with green sauce…

peruvian chicken with green sauce

I am a huge proponent of eating whatever works for your particular body and circumstances at this particular point in time. Sometimes I eat vegan and at other times of the year, I feel my body does best with a little grass-fed organic meat. That’s how I roll… I feel a plant-based diet coming on, so before I go all veggie on you, I want to post one of my all-time favorite chicken recipes. This Peruvian Chicken With Green Sauce is amazing on so many levels…

There’s an awesome little Peruvian restaurant a few blocks from my apartment. It’s so good… and reasonably priced… and the chicken is cooked perfectly. But, their green sauce is way too spicy for me — and I am a spice-lover…  So, when I saw a recipe for Peruvian Chicken With Green Sauce, I knew it had my name all over it.

This chicken is better than my fav little place. Yup, I said it… better. But, I don’t serve it with what they do (french fries with cut-up hot dogs). I like to serve mine with a tri-color salad or some other fresh green vegetable.

I always like to give credit where credit is due… so a big thanks to Epicurious for this recipe!

If you want to try another flavorful chicken recipe, try my recipe for Easy Tandoori Chicken.

peruvian chicken with green sauceperuvian chicken with green sauce

Here are some of the awesome healing ingredients in this Peruvian Chicken With Green Sauce:

Chicken is something I push people to buy organic if possible. Organic chicken is a great, healthy protein to give you energy, lessen the pain of some types of arthritis, and boost your system when you are particularly weak — like after surgery or childbirth. People who have some conditions that we consider “excess heat” conditions should limit the amount of chicken they eat. So, if you have an illness that gives you a bright red tongue or severe dryness in your body, check with your doctor first. For example, if you have a lot of burning stomach acid, you should avoid chicken for awhile…

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….

Lemon peels contain calcium, potassium and vitamin C. Lemons are good for your stomach, they help detoxify your body, they balance your pH and they act as an antibacterial. If you have a sore throat or a cough, go for lemons to make things better. Lemons are great for quenching your thirst, and, in China, many years ago, hypertension was treated by drinking tea made from lemon peels. This recipe includes lemon juice and lemon zest.

Cilantro is also known as Chinese Parsley. It is good for the common cold, indigestion, and energy flow in the body. An old Chinese remedy for the common cold and even for measles was to drink cilantro and mint tea. Cilantro is one of those herbs you either love or hate; I’m a lover…

Hot peppers contain more vitamin C than any other vegetable and they are good at fighting off the common cold. So, if you like spice, as I do, use a generous amount of whatever hot peppers you like. The main component of hot peppers is capsaicin. Capsaicin actually works with your body and mind to make you feel happy. It’s also good for reducing swelling and can relieve arthritic joint pain. If you have high blood pressure, check with your doctor before eating too many hot peppers because they can actually raise the blood pressure in some people.

Limes help to regenerate fluids, so they are great to combat any dehydration symptoms that sometimes can accompany alcohol consumption. They also contain a lot of vitamin C and they can actually help energize you.

peruvian chicken with green sauce

Peruvian Chicken With Green Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: chicken, paleo, whole30
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: Epicurious
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
This is the perfect roast chicken... and don't even get me started on the sauce... it's so good!
Ingredients
  • For chicken:
  • 1 4-1/2 lb whole organic chicken, spatchcocked (backbone removed and chicken pressed flat)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • juice from 1-1/2 lemons
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • For green sauce:
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (thick stems discarded)
  • 1-inch piece of a serrano pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • the juice of 1-1/2 limes
  • pinch of sea salt
  • ⅓ cup of a healthy mayonnaise
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Lay the chicken on a baking sheet.
  3. Gently loosen the skin from the breast and thighs by slipping two fingers in between the skin and flesh.
  4. Combine remaining chicken ingredients in a small bowl.
  5. Gently spread about 2-Tbs of the spice mixture under the skin.
  6. Season the outside of the skin with salt.
  7. Place in the oven.
  8. Brush the skin with some of the remaining spice mixture, every 20 minutes, and continue roasting until done (170°F on an instant-read meat thermometer). Mine took about 1 hour.
  9. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let it rest 10 to 15 mins.
  10. Meanwhile, make the sauce by pureeing all of the sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  11. Cut up chicken and serve with the sauce on the side.
  12. Enjoy!

peruvian chicken with green sauce

Creamy Mint Avocado Pasta

Avocados are good for hot flashes!
creamy mint avocado pasta

I’m going to be honest: most of my life I was not a big mint fan. I could never understand how people liked mint chocolate chip ice cream so much — to me, the mint ruined the deliciousness of the chocolate chip. Mint tea?… ewww…. And, I would always choose any other candy over the pretty red and white candy canes of winter. Funny how things change. And boy have they ever! Mint is awesome! And it’s recipes like this creamy mint avocado pasta that make me wonder what was wrong with me all of those years ago…

When I first started studying Chinese medicine and I fell so in love with all of the herbs, Mint (Bo He) quickly became a go-to healing herb for me. It is amazing in it’s abilities to fight colds, boost the immune system, and settle your stomach. But, it wasn’t until I started experimenting by adding mint to my recipes, that a true love affair bloomed.

A few weeks ago, one of my neighbors asked me if I wanted some fresh mint from her garden. Well, duh… of course I did. So I gratefully took a whole bag-full, and made tea and chocolate mint shakes, and this awesome pasta sauce. I probably should have shared the big bowl of it that I made but we ate it all before that ever happened. I guess there’s always next time…

So, when I tell you that this creamy mint avocado pasta sauce is amazing, I really mean it. The avocado makes it creamy. The flavor of the mint can be as strong as you like, or it can just peak through. And, if you make this dish with grain-free pasta, it’s one of the healthiest comfort foods around. It’s like happiness in a bowl — ugh, did I really just say that…?

If you are looking for another great pasta sauce, try my recipe for: Chickpea Penne With Arugula Pesto.

creamy mint avocado pastacreamy mint avocado pasta

Here are some of the healing ingredients in this creamy mint avocado pasta:

Mint is a Chinese herb called Bo He. It’s one of the best things to fight a cold, sore throat, or fever. It’s also good for some abdominal issues too, like bloating, nausea, and some stomach pains. Mint also helps cool of the body in cases of heatstroke, so stock up in summer!

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.

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.

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 this recipe, the garlic is left raw, so it’s effect and taste is magnified… so don’t use as much as you would if you are making a recipe with cooked garlic.

Limes help to regenerate fluids, so they are great to combat any dehydration symptoms that sometimes can accompany alcohol consumption. They also contain a lot of vitamin C and they can actually help energize you.

creamy mint avocado pasta

Creamy Mint Avocado Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: pasta, simple, sauce, vegan, vegetarian, paleo
Cuisine: recipe inspired by: Always Order Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This pasta sauce is amazing! It's so healthy, and it's raw -- just put the ingredients in your food processor or blender, cook your pasta, and you're ready to go!
Ingredients
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds (you can buy these)
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • 1 lge garlic clove, chopped
  • juice of 1-1/2 limes
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 12-oz pasta of your choice (here's a grain-free one)
  • Vegan parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook your pasta according to the package directions, making sure it's al dente.
  2. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, make the sauce by putting all of the remaining ingredients (except Parmesan) into your food processor.
  4. Whiz it up until it's creamy.
  5. Toss the sauce with the pasta.
  6. Sprinkle with Parmesan if you like.
  7. Enjoy!

creamy mint avocado pasta

Healthy Sweet Potato Salad

                           Sweet potatoes will help get your digestion running smoothly!
healthy sweet potato salad

I love potatoes of any kind. You can prepare them any way and I will love them. That’s why it’s so important that I make my tubers healthy. I mean, if I’m going to eat the whole bowl, I’d much rather it be a healing dish than a mess of fried or mayonnaise-y potatoes. This healthy sweet potato salad is perfect. It’s delicious and it’s healing… even if you eat more than you should…

Lately, I’ve been swapping out traditional potatoes for sweet potatoes in every recipe that I can. When I was a kid, my favorite thing to order in a diner was french fries with gravy. OMG… just thinking about it makes me both smile and cringe at the same time. The other day when I was at lunch by the beach, I ordered sweet potato fries, rationalizing that this was somehow healthier than ordinary fries. Bahahaha — it’s amazing the rationalizations you can talk yourself into — this was so unhealthy and the second I was done eating, I was sorry I ate it.

So, back to this awesome recipe for healthy sweet potato salad. This is perfect.

And NO MAYONNAISE — the creamy dressing is made with parsnips!!!

And you still feel good after you eat it. It’s got sweet potatoes and dill and some crunchy radishes. Really, it’s clean tasting and creamy at the same time. It’s the perfect side dish for everything you make this summer.

I served this beautiful, colorful salad with fish one night and then on top of a crisp green salad on the second night. Both were just perfect!

Also, you should try my simple recipe for Vegan Potato Salad.

healthy sweet potato saladhealthy sweet potato salad

Here are some of the awesome healing ingredients in this healthy sweet potato salad recipe:

Sweet potatoes are good for your digestive system. They can be good for both constipation and diarrhea. These orange gems also help rid your body of excess water, are good for breast health, help people with diabetes and actually can help ease night blindness. In olden times, it was common in China to rub mashed sweet potatoes on poison insect bites to remove the toxins. I haven’t tried this, but if you see me looking a tad orange, this will be why…

Parsnips will help you knock a cold out of your system. So if you have a common cold with headaches, muscle aches, and a stuffy nose, try eating parsnips. They can also help ease arthritic pain.

Dill is considered a chemoprotective in that it can help neutralize some carcinogens. It also helps fight bacteria in the body.

Scallions, as I tell you often, are one of my favorites. In Chinese medicine, the root of the scallion is a healing herb (Cong Bai). I always keep scallions on hand in my refrigerator so that I can whip up a batch of cold and flu fighting tea (scallion roots and ginger) the second anyone feels that scratchy throat coming on. It helps the body sweat out toxins. Scallions are antiviral and antibacterial; they are good for the common cold and general nasal congestion — just don’t eat too many if you have a fever.

Radishes are good for your tissues, blood vessels, teeth and bones. They also can help regulate your blood pressure and can ease the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory ailments. In this sweet potato salad, they also add a good amount of crunch and peppery bite.

healthy sweet potato salad

Healthy Sweet Potato Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: salad, side dish
Cuisine: paleo, healthy, sweet potatoes, vegetables, vegan, vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This healthy potato salad is so colorful and so flavorful, you'll love it even more than your favorite mayonnaise-y dish!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes (I used a mixture of orange, white, and purple ones), unpeeled, cut into ½-in. pieces
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 parsnips, peeled, cut into 1-in. pieces
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 Tbs fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 radishes, sliced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F convection setting, or 425°F regular bake setting.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Toss the potatoes with the oil and spread them out on the baking sheet.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  5. Roast the potatoes in the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes or until they are cooked through.
  6. Meanwhile, put the parsnips, vegetable broth and a pinch of sea salt into a medium saucepan.
  7. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat and simmer until the parsnips are soft, about 20 minutes.
  9. Pour the parsnip mixture into a blender. Cover the blender with a clean dish towel and hold that towel tight over the top while you blend until smooth. NOTE: the towel will allow steam to escape so you can prevent the top blowing off and burning you!
  10. In a large bowl, mix together the roasted sweet potatoes, radishes and scallions. Pour in the parsnip dressing and gently stir to combine.
  11. Add the dill, and serve.
  12. Enjoy!

healthy sweet potato salad

Chickpea Penne With Arugula Pesto

Arugula can help cool your body down while giving you a good dose of calcium!
chickpea penne with arugula pesto

Is there anything more comforting than a big bowl of pasta? Nope. There’s not. At least not in my book. And this chickpea penne with arugula pesto doesn’t disappoint.

This recipe is great on 2 different fronts. First, there’s the pesto. OMG — this is sooooooooo good! And, it takes only 5 minutes to make. Next, there’s the beauty and deliciousness of the grain-free pasta made from chickpeas. Well, this is nothing short of genius!

I would serve this to a crowd of eve the pickiest eaters. But, truth be told, the last time I made this, it was all for me. Yes, it’s a really big bowl, I know, but I was home all by myself and I felt like I deserved the queen’s treatment. And this did the trick. And no, I didn’t eat the whole bowl. Well, at least not in one sitting… This was a totally decadent treat for me. A night home alone. A hot bath. A big bowl of this chickpea penne with arugula pesto. A nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Yup, certainly queen-like!

Basil pesto has always been a go-to for me. But recently, I started experimenting with pestos made from different herbs and greens and other interesting veggies. I can honestly say that this arugula pesto is amazing. I have started to like it even better than my traditional beloved basil pesto.

As soon as I admitted my love for all things pesto, I started seeing recipes all over the place. I just want to give a shout-out to Emily at A Nutritionist Eats for opening my eyes to arugula pesto.

chickpea penne with arugula pestochickpea penne with arugula pesto

Here are some of the great healing ingredients in this chickpea penne with arugula pesto:

Arugula has a good amount of calcium and it also contains vitamins A, C and K. It is rich in potassium and it’s extra beneficial in the summer because it actually cools the body down. This delicious peppery green is also believed to be a libido booster. One of the first things I learned when I started really taking care of my health through proper nutrition, was to substitute dark greens for lighter greens whenever possible. One of the easiest, tastiest, and healthiest switches you can make is to swap out some of your lighter salad greens for peppery, dark arugula.

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

Lemon peels contain calcium, potassium and vitamin C. Lemons are good for your stomach, they help detoxify your body, they balance your pH and they act as an antibacterial. If you have a sore throat or a cough, go for lemons to make things better. Lemons are great for quenching your thirst, and, in China, many years ago, hypertension was treated by drinking tea made from lemon peels. This recipe uses zested lemon peel and lemon juice.

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….

Cashews are really a multi-tasking nut. I use them all the time so I say it all the time: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts. Most of the fat in cashews is unsaturated and is made up of oleic acid; this is the same acid that is found in olive oil, making these nuts a heart-healty choice.

chickpea penne with arugula pesto

Chickpea Penne With Arugula Pesto
Author: 
Recipe type: simple, pasta, comfort food, pesto
Cuisine: pasta, American, Italian, grain-free, dairy-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Arugula pesto is even better than basil pesto! This is awesome. And it takes only 5 minutes to make it. Use grain-free pasta like I did, or substitute your own favorite pasta!
Ingredients
  • ½ lb grain-free chickpea pasta (or use your favorite pasta), cooked al dente, and drained (SAVE ABOUT ⅓ CUP OF THE PASTA COOKING WATER FOR THE PESTO!!!)
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice and zest from one lemon
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tbs vegan Parmesan (or whatever Parmesan makes you smile)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • pinch of dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
Instructions
  1. Put the cooked pasta in a large bowl. (Be sure to reserve about ⅓ cup of the pasta cooking water, and set that on the side in case you need it for the pesto.)
  2. Put all remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until finely minced. Add as much of the reserved pasta cooking water as you need to make it a creamy pesto-y consistency.
  3. Toss the pesto with the pasta.
  4. Enjoy!

chickpea penne with arugula pesto

Salmon With Parsley Sauce

Salmon is so healing: it can actually help reduce some of your joint pain!
salmon with parsley sauce

This is hands-down the best way to cook salmon! Yup, a bold statement I know, but it’s true. If you are making a great sauce to serve with your salmon, this is the way to cook it. It’s soooooo moist and flavorful! I mean, think about it, if you are covering your beautiful fish with sauce, who needs to sit there and crisp it up… I would go for the moist, easy preparation every time! This salmon with parsley sauce is easy, delicious, healthy, and impressive too!

Years ago I learned to cook salmon this way. Slow-roasting this fish at a really low temperature keeps it so tender, juicy, and fresh tasting. Sometimes I’ll rub it with turmeric before roasting it. Um…. yum! But for this deliciously fresh parsley sauce, all you need is a little olive oil and some salt and pepper. That’s it. And, really, it’s perfect.

Salmon used to be my least favorite fish. I know, for a lot of people it’s a favorite. But for me, I always thought it was too fishy. Then I learned how to cook it correctly. Salmon tastes so much better when it’s cooked medium-rare. And slow-roasting allows that to happen easily. I know some of you are doubters… but try it!

Interesting factoid and helpful tip: when that ugly white substance starts to form on your salmon, you’ve overcooked it… it’s not dangerous, just ugly… so no worries, but really, try not to cook it too long.

This sauce is pretty versatile. You can make it with different herbs. This time I used parsley because, well, it’s really awesome with the salmon. But, you could go with cilantro or basil and have a great fresh herb sauce too.

But, did you know that parsley is considered an anti-cancerous herb? And, it freshens your breath! So, if you get a chance to use it for something other than a garnish, I say go for it!

If you want to try another great salmon recipe, try my Simple Poached Salmon With Yogurt Sauce.

salmon with parsley saucesalmon with parsley sauce

Here are some of the awesome healing ingredients in this salmon with parsley sauce:

Salmon is the perfect food to nourish the blood and the yin. It’s especially great for women because it raises fertility levels by promoting a healthy endometrial lining. Salmon is also great for anyone who is in need of additional iron. Be sure to buy wild salmon because the levels of mercury are lower than in farmed salmon. This beautiful fish also contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, making it a good food source to combat breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, asthma, depression and diabetes. Lately there’s also been a lot of evidence that salmon is great at reducing intestinal inflammation and that it’s also good for your joints and muscles.

Parsley has been shown to reduce tumors in the lungs and to neutralize the effects of carcinogens, including cigarette smoke. It is high in vitamins A and C, and is good for your heart. This herb is also a natural breath freshener. So, if you have a chance to use more than a few sprigs as a garnish, go for it.

Scallions, as I tell you often, are one of my favorites. In Chinese medicine, the root of the scallion is a healing herb (Cong Bai). I always keep scallions on hand in my refrigerator so that I can whip up a batch of cold and flu fighting tea (scallion roots and ginger) the second anyone feels that scratchy throat coming on. It helps the body sweat out toxins. Scallions are antiviral and antibacterial; they are good for the common cold and general nasal congestion — just don’t eat too many if you have a fever.

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…. The garlic in this recipe is raw, so it adds quite a kick so use it sparingly…

Capers, although small in size, are a big source of anti-oxidants, and they actually can make you feel better emotionally because they activate the “happiness” center of your brain.

salmon with parsley sauce

Salmon With Parsley Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: seafood, fish, sauce, simple
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: The New York Times
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Slow roasting your salmon makes it taste amazing -- soft, moist, and flavorful. And this simple raw herb sauce is just perfect!
Ingredients
  • 1-1/3 lb wild salmon filet
  • 1 Tbs plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 2 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tsp capers
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 200°F.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Rub about 1 tsp oil into the top of the salmon filet.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
  5. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, then check for doneness. If it's not done enough, put it back in the oven and continue to check every 5 minutes. (Mine took 22 minutes for medium rare.)
  6. Meanwhile, place the parsley, garlic, scallions and capers into a food processor and pulse it about 10 times or until the herbs are chopped up, but the sauce is not smooth.
  7. Add 2 tsp of oil to the processor and process until combined.
  8. Remove the herb sauce to a small bowl and drizzle in as much of the remaining oil as you like.
  9. Remove the salmon from the oven when done, put it on a platter, and top with the herb sauce. Feel free to drizzle the top with a touch more olive oil.
  10. Enjoy!

salmon with parsley sauce

Simple Poached Salmon With Yogurt Sauce

This simple poached salmon with yogurt sauce will keep you healthy inside and out…

simple poached salmon with yogurt sauce

I don’t think I’ve poached salmon since I was in cooking school. I don’t really know why I don’t do it more often though, because this salmon is awesome. It’s perfect if you are serving a crowd and it’s an easy dish to make ahead and serve cold or at room temperature. This simple poached salmon with yogurt sauce really is just that: simple.

What’s better than a dish that is made for leftovers? The salmon that’s leftover here makes the best cold salmon salad. And it makes a terrific filling for omelets. Oh, and topping a salad with some big chunks of this moist salmon and then using the yogurt sauce as a dressing… well, just… yum!

I made this a few weeks ago when I was asked to bring a main course to a family gathering. Honestly, I usually use those kinds of opportunities to experiment with new recipes (which some people are happy about and some people are just plain scared about), but on this particular day, I just didn’t feel like cooking. And I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t feel like cooking but I cook anyway, any first-time-experimental-recipe invariably comes out pretty bad. So, I figured I’d do something simple. Something mainstream. Something everyone would love, and nobody would be fearful of.

Oh, did I mention that I used my leftover simple poached salmon with yogurt sauce to make tacos the next day…?

And, the yogurt sauce is non-dairy!

I tell a lot of my clients to add wild salmon to their diet to increase their athletic performance — this fish can help reduce aches and pains in your muscles and joints, and it’s a good source of iron.

If you want to try another great salmon recipe, try my recipe for Blood Orange Salmon With Turnip Noodles.

simple poached salmon with yogurt saucesimple poached salmon with yogurt sauce

Here are some of the awesome healing ingredients in this simple poached salmon with yogurt sauce recipe:

Salmon is the perfect food to nourish the blood and the yin. It’s especially great for women because it raises fertility levels by promoting a healthy endometrial lining. Salmon is also great for anyone who is in need of additional iron. Be sure to buy wild salmon because the levels of mercury are lower than in farmed salmon. This beautiful fish also contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, making it a good food source to combat breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, asthma, depression and diabetes. Lately there’s also been a lot of evidence that salmon is great at reducing intestinal inflammation and that it’s also good for your joints and muscles.

Scallions, as I tell you often, are one of my favorites. In Chinese medicine, the root of the scallion is a healing herb (Cong Bai). I always keep scallions on hand in my refrigerator so that I can whip up a batch of cold and flu fighting tea (scallion roots and ginger) the second anyone feels that scratchy throat coming on. It helps the body sweat out toxins. Scallions are antiviral and antibacterial; they are good for the common cold and general nasal congestion — just don’t eat too many if you have a fever.

Lemons are good for your stomach, they help detoxify your body, they balance your pH and they act as an antibacterial agent. If you have a sore throat or a cough, go for lemons to make things better. Lemons are great for quenching your thirst, and, in China, many years ago, hypertension was treated by drinking tea made from lemon peels.

In Asian medicine, we use coconut to strengthen the body, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding. Coconut kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes. And perhaps most importantly, it helps you keep your mind sharp and it makes it easier for you to focus. I used a full-fat coconut yogurt for the sauce to accompany this salmon.

Dill is considered a chemoprotective in that it can help neutralize some carcinogens. It also helps fight bacteria in the body.

simple poached salmon with yogurt sauce

Simple Poached Salmon With Yogurt Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: simple, paleo, whole30
Cuisine: seafood, fish, salmon
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
This is a classic recipe. Anyone you serve it to will love it and the leftovers make awesome tacos...
Ingredients
  • 4 lb salmon fillet, cut in half
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 4 scallions, cut into 3 or 4 pieces (leave the roots on)
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 2 carrots, cut into thick slices
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 10 grinds black pepper
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 cup full-fat plain coconut yogurt
  • ⅓ cup healthy mayonnaise (I used Fabannaise)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Place the salmon in a large pot and cover it will water.
  2. Add the vinegar and scallions to the pot.
  3. Squeeze the lemon halves into the pot and then toss in the lemons halves themselves.
  4. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to a low simmer.
  6. Simmer about 10 minutes, or just until the salmon is cooked (if you start to see the white fat congealing on the fish, it's a bit past done... so watch carefully)
  7. Using two large spatulas, carefully remove the fish to a platter. You can throw away the lemons and scallions, but if you like carrots, serve them strewn around the salmon.
  8. Make the sauce: Stir together all ingredients.
  9. Break up the salmon a bit on the platter and serve with the sauce.

simple poached salmon with yogurt sauce

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Bowl

Pasta rules! And this roasted red pepper pasta bowl is awesome!

roasted red pepper pasta bowl

Yay! Another great, fantastic, awesome, deliciously healing, yet paleo AND vegan pasta dish that tastes like real, classic, homemade Italian pasta. Wow, that was a mouthful! But I honestly don’t know how to accurately describe the awesomeness of this dish without using so many adjectives…

If you know me at all, you know that I will try any and every pasta that I see if it’s paleo. Some are truly awesome. Some… not so much. This lentil pasta is one of my favorites. (See the recipe below for where you can buy it.) It really has the texture and taste of traditional whole wheat pasta. For real — no one will know.

I made this dish a few days ago and I got to do one of my favorite things — feed an unsuspecting guest… My daughter’s boyfriend was here and I was in the kitchen experimenting and I made these pasta bowls. You know young men — they are always hungry… So, he gladly accepted a pasta bowl and ate it. Now, he knows my bent toward all things healthy, so after he ate half of it, he looked up and asked: “Is it real pasta?” I just smiled. He knew the answer, but continued to eat with gusto. Success! After that my daughter ate it and also loved it. The list continued from there. So, to Sam, my willing taste-tester, you are welcome in my kitchen any time!

This pasta is made so amazing by the delicious (and oh-so-easy) creamy roasted red pepper sauce. And then, a few drizzles of pesto and a dollop of cheese (I used a great vegan creamy cheese) and some crisp fresh arugula and fragrant basil. Really, this roasted red pepper pasta bowl is the complete package! I have to send an shoutout now to one of my favorite blogs: Half Baked Harvest, because she came up with the original recipe that inspired me to create this version — ingenious!

If you are looking to try another paleo pasta recipe, try my Vegan Fettuccine Bolognese.

roasted red pepper pasta bowl

Here are some of the amazing ingredients in this roasted red pepper pasta bowl:

Bell peppers help with indigestion. If you are feeling bloated and full from over-eating a lot lately, consuming bell peppers will help reduce this feeling. They are also good for blood circulation and research has shown that they are good for people with a low appetite or anorexia. It used to be common in China to use bell pepper tea to soothe indigestion.

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.

Cashews are really a multi-tasking nut. I use them all the time so I say it all the time: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts. Most of the fat in cashews is unsaturated and is made up of oleic acid; this is the same acid that is found in olive oil, making these nuts a heart-healty choice. The cashews give this sauce a velvety, creamy texture.

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….

Arugula has a good amount of calcium and it also contains vitamins A, C and K. It is rich in potassium and it’s extra beneficial in the summer because it actually cools the body down. This delicious peppery green is also believed to be a libido booster. One of the first things I learned when I started really taking care of my health through proper nutrition, was to substitute dark greens for lighter greens whenever possible. One of the easiest, tastiest, and healthiest switches you can make is to swap out some of your lighter salad greens for peppery, dark arugula.

roasted red pepper pasta bowl

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Bowl
Author: 
Recipe type: pasta, paleo, vegan, Italialn
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: Half Baked Harvest
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This pasta is paleo, vegan, creamy, and healing! Oh, and did I mention it is awesomely delicious and so easy to make...
Ingredients
  • 16-oz jarred roasted red peppers
  • 10 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup raw cashews (you can buy them here)
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves (plus more for serving)
  • 12 oz pasta -- I used a paleo, lentil pasta (you can buy the lentil pasta here)
  • a few handfuls of fresh arugula
  • small jar of vegan pesto (whatever kind of pesto you like will be great)
  • 4 dollops of a creamy cheese (I used Kite Hill's vegan cream cheese with chives and it was perfect)
Instructions
  1. Boil the pasta al dente.
  2. Put the red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, cashews, and ½ cup basil into a blender (I used my Vitamix, so it was really quick). Whiz it up until smooth and creamy.
  3. Drain the pasta.
  4. Toss the pasta with as much sauce as you like.
  5. Divide the pasta between 4 bowls.
  6. Top with pesto, arugula, cheese, and extra basil leaves.
  7. Enjoy!

roasted red pepper pasta bowl