Tuscan Kale Soup Supercharge

Many of my recent clients are following a Paleo-leaning or AIP (Autoimmune Paleo) diet, part of which requires obtaining high nutrient density per calorie. So, I have been delving into meals that fit that profile. I am finding that this style of cooking does not have to be complicated at all. I love it when something really simple comes out delicious and nutritionally complex. Enter this quick, rainy day soup. Not only is it Paleo, but it’s clean, weight management friendly, and can be converted to vegan very easily. If you want to go vegan and are not concerned about avoiding certain plant based foods, you can replace the sausage with cannellini beans, but since the sausage brings some flavor to the soup, you may need to ramp up the herbs and garlic to compensate.

tuscan kale soup with sausage

1 pound of your favorite organic sausage (like organic chicken basil or wild boar), cut up into pieces or made into meatballs
NOTE: For a vegan variation use cannellini beans, hemp tofu, or sprouted organic tofu
2 medium carrots cut into large pieces
2 celery stalks, sliced across the grain
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp. fennel seeds, crushed or partially ground in a coffee grinder
6-8 cups vegetable of chicken broth, warmed
2-3 cloves garlic, minced Read More

Spaghetti Squash Burger Fix

We have a bunch of volunteer spaghetti squash growing out of our compost pile. It is relentlessly giving us more spaghetti squash than we would normally eat. So, I am exploring its various wonderful (and not so wonderful) uses. These patties are kind of a cross between falafel and a veggie burger, with some global spice infusion. They hold together well, so they can be enjoyed on a bun or just stand alone as a vegan entree or side dish.

spaghetti squash-quinoa falafel burgers

2 cups cooked spaghetti squash
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 can (1 3/4  cups) mashed chickpeas
2 chia eggs (or regular eggs)
1/4 cup sprouted oat flour
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. garam masala Read More

Robata Eggplant Tacos

The Japanese eggplant is going nuts in my garden right now. I have enjoyed Japanese eggplant many different ways. This time, I wanted figure out a way to keep it intact, because the shape is so cool and versatile, while trying something entirely new and different from my typical eggplant concoctions. Robata is a Japanese method of cooking long pieces of food on an open flame, on big skewers. Traditionally, the skewers are placed around the fire by sticking them directly into the sand or earth that surrounds the fire.You don’t have to go to the trouble of building a fire to enjoy something similar. You can grill the eggplant, or just cook it on a stovetop griddle if you don’t have a lot of time. In fact, modern robata restaurants use a charcoal grill, not an open pit fire. The charred eggplant, combined with the slightly spicy miso slaw make for an awesome fusion taco. The sprouted corn tortilla is superior for nutrition and it has a homemade tortilla kind of texture and flavor. I loved the way this came out and will definitely make this a regular.

robata eggplant tacos with miso-sesame coleslaw

for the coleslaw:
2 cups finely shredded cabbage (I used red cabbage), about 1/8-1/4 head of cabbage
2/3 cups grated radish, about 4 or 5 radishes
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
juice of one lime
1tsp. chile garlic sauce or paste
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. miso paste Read More

Stuffed Chard for Sunday Dinner

It seems like chard just wants to be a regular part of my life. It is all over the Farmers Market, and manages to find its way into the  occasional box of Farm Fresh to You that comes to my house. I have been getting nice, big leaves in bunches, which makes me want to do one thing– see what I can roll those big leaves around. Here is a straightforward idea for stuffed chard that doesn’t require anything more than your basic staple vegetables and some tomato sauce. And the cooking time shouldn’t be too long either.

stuffed chard with fennel & spring onions

1 bunch large, intact swiss chard leaves (about 8 leaves)
2 cups cooked brown rice (short grain or sprouted is best for stickiness)
1 small fennel bulb, cleaned and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 young, red spring onion, chopped
1 tsp. crushed fennel seeds
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. healthy cooking oil
1 cup cannellini beans or garbanzo beans Read More

spaghetti with calabrese broccoli

Spaghetti with Calabrese Broccoli & Nasturtium

We all know broccoli is good for us. But one has to admit that the same “commercial” broccoli that we are relentlessly exposed to can get a little tiring. That is why I always get a little excited whenever I see less ubiquitous varieties of broccoli at the market. The particular calabrese in this recipe was small and tender, making it a great, quickly seared pasta stir fry. In retrospect, I wish I had taken a photo of it at the market, but the finished dish gives you a good sense of the anatomy of this broccoli. The green garlic adds a spring time garlic kick, and the nasturtium adds a slight peppery essence, for an uncomplicated, light springtime meal. By the way, if you are wondering where to find nasturtiums, they grow like crazy everywhere, so just tap into your “inner hunter-gatherer” and you should be okay. You might even have some growing in your own yard!

spaghetti with calabrese broccoli, green garlic & nasturtium blossoms

1/2 pound spaghetti or linguini (I prefer quinoa, brown rice, or whole wheat)
4 cups calabrese broccoli florets with stems and leaves
1/2 cup green garlic, sliced
Pinch of crushed chile peppers
1 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. healthy butter of your choice (optional): Consider avocado, olive oil, or grass fed dairy butter
1/2 cup water reserved from pasta Read More

Spaghetti Squash for Dinner

So, I though I would get one more winter-like dish in before completely emerging into Springtime. This one has been sitting in my drafts for a while, and I think it’s time to bring it out and get it onto your dinner table! This dish may remind you a bit of pasta with ratatouille, but with a personality of its own.

spaghetti squash with dutch oven vegetables

1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds cleaned from middle
1 eggplant, cut into ratatouille sized cubes
2 medium zucchini, cut the same way as the eggplant
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 shallot, sliced or chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 – 2 cups tomato concasse (or 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes with the juice)
2 tsp. herbes de provence
1 tbsp. liquid aminos Read More

Simple Brussels Sprout Brilliance

Brussels sprouts, you either love them, or you hate them. I have both prepared, and eaten Brussels sprouts many different ways: steamed, sautéed, braised in oatmeal stout, grated raw in salads; some preparations good, some not so good. So who knew that the quick and easy, clean and vegan preparation would turn out to be so delightful? Well, not me, but now I am sold. This dish provides the devout vegan with essential B12 from the nooch, essential fats, and a complete amino acid protein profile from the hempseed. But don’t let the word “vegan” put you off. This is absolutely delicious, light, and satiating and can be enjoyed on just about any diet or lack thereof.

brussels sprouts with hempseed & lemon zest

10-15 oz. Brussels sprouts, whole, or cut in half or quarters, depending on size
1-2 tbsp. vegan butter from healthy oils, like avocado, olive, etc. or coconut oil (suit amount to your taste and oil consumption needs)
2 tbsp. hulled hempseed
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast Read More

“Chicken” Fried Tofu Comfort

We are having a rainy weekend here in Los Angeles. With rain comes that urge to cook and enjoy traditional comfort food. Typically that would lead to chicken and dumplings, pot pie, or something along those lines. All I had to make this happen was a block of organic sprouted tofu, so I gave this a whirl. The secret to making tofu taste great lies in two simple steps: 1) You need to press the tofu, and 2) you need to marinate it. The marinade should always have an acidic base with flavors that compliment whatever theme you are going for. You should never use oil in your tofu marinade. Since tofu contains a lot of water, and is packed in water, it will naturally repel anything that has oil mixed into it. My experience has been that oil free marinades absorb into tofu the best, resulting in a variety of uses. In this case, I used vegan chicken flavoring to conjure up the experience of eating a chicken fried steak. It came out delicious, tender on the inside, crispy on the outside. This is easy to make, but you need to allow for about 90 minutes to press and marinate the tofu.

“chicken” fried tofu steak

1 block (about 8 oz.) organic sprouted tofu (any tofu will work with this recipe), cut into slices as pictured
1/4 cup “Not Chicken” vegan chicken flavored broth
2 tbsp. tamari or liquid aminos
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp.garlic powder
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1 tbsp. Italian seasonings or herbes de provence, or mix up thyme, oregano & parsley
1 tsp. smoked paprika Read More

Socca- Niçoise Chickpea Crepes

Socca, in my opinion, is one of the best kept little secret gems in the world of gluten free cooking and healthier options. Socca is a street food from the South of France, that is so simple to make it is almost mind blowing, consisting of just chickpea flour, olive oil, water, and seasoning. It makes a healthy crepe for breakfast, lunch, or a light dinner, or it can be made a little thicker, and cooked longer for a pizza crust or flatbread effect. The trick is in not trying to flip it over, but instead, letting it cook through from one side.

socca with dijon & fresh vegetables

1 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
1 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for cooking
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. herbes de provence

Suggested Toppings: Dijon mustard, baby spinach, sautéed mushroom, fresh tomato, sautéed zucchini, garlic, steamed snow peas, sprouts, artichoke hearts, roasted eggplant, caramelized onion, roasted fennel, fresh herbs, truffle oil, olive oil, nutritional yeast Read More

Vegan Kale & Mushroom Curry

Sometimes the best meals come out of just throwing a few (or several) things in the kitchen together. The coconut milk and cashew butter in this make it an awesome vegan comfort dinner that can satiate and warm up a kitchen against any full dairy meal.

vegan kale & mushroom curry

16 oz. fresh hearty mushrooms like crimini, left whole or cut into large pieces
2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped Read More