Chai-Chia Seed Coconut Pudding {Recipe ReDux}

There are certainly a lot of chia seed recipes out there, especially for pudding. I have always been a fan of chia seeds — sprinkling them on salads, on top of my oatmeal, in my yogurt and smoothies — but had yet to get on the chia seed pudding bandwagon…

…Until this month’s Recipe ReDux theme was announced: “Tea cups around the world are bubbling up with bold new flavors: From cardamom chai and sencha green to bubble teas and veggie teas. We wish we could attend the World Tea Expo the end of this month – but in lieu of a plane ticket, we’ll be cooking and baking and stirring up tea-inspired healthy dishes.

chai_chia_pudding

Since I constantly type “chia” instead of “chai” or vice versa [seriously, does anyone else have this problem?? #foodbloggerproblems] and since I always have both chai tea and chia seeds on hand, I thought, “wouldn’t it be cute to make a chia-chai recipe?”

chai_chia_puddin

Besides being vegan, gluten-free and full o’ great nutrition, this recipe also whips up in 20 minutes (15 of that is the refrigeration time needed to thicken up the pudding).

Recipe: Chai-Chia Seed Coconut Pudding

This recipe makes a great breakfast, snack or dessert! While the mixture seems watery at first, it will thicken — a LOT! Chia seeds provide omega-3’s, protein and fiber, among other nutrients. Plus, they work as a binder and can be used in place of eggs in many recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces unsweetened coconut milk (the kind that comes in soymilk-like containers AKA tetra paks, NOT the canned variety)
  • 1 chai tea bag
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Nuts, such as pecans, for garnishing (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat coconut milk in the microwave in a large bowl for 2-3 minutes, until milk is steaming.
  2. Add remaining ingredients (except for nuts) and give a good stir.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the fridge and let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the pudding to thicken up.
  4. Top with optional nuts. Enjoy cold.

chia_seed_pudding

Check out the fantastically creative and delicious recipes from other Recipe ReDuxers by following the link below!

 

Chive and Walnut Pesto {Recipe ReDux}

Well, Mother’s Day is coming up and I figured I’d highlight one of the MANY amazing things about my Mom: her mad cooking skills. Not just the fact that she’s a great cook, but that she instilled a passion for food and nutrition in me — so much so that it’s how I make my living (and how she makes hers as a fellow RD).

So, when Recipe ReDux tasked us with creating a recipe using “treasured cookware,” I was excited to incorporate one of my Mom’s — and my — favorite, albeit extremely underrated, kitchen tools. The nut grinder.

nut_grinder

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Such a simple tool yet so incredibly useful. Especially when you don’t have a food processor (wah, wah). And while I guess it’s not technically “cookware,” I still wanted to highlight it as it’s a sentimental kitchen tool for me.

While growing up we used the nut grinder for many delicious loaves of walnut banana bread and dozens of almond cookies, I wanted to use it to create a more savory recipe.

I do love a good pesto but I wanted to make an out-of-the-box, more unique version. What I created is quite possibly one of the best condiments I’ve tasted. Super-versatile, too. I spread it on tonight’s Mahi Mahi dinner but it would be delicious over vegetables, mixed in with an omelet, with olives added to make a play on a tepenade or over a boring salad. Basically, this provides an instant upgrade to any food with which it’s paired. Enjoy!

Recipe: Walnut and Chive Pesto

While this isn’t a true pesto, its components — herbs, citrus, cheese, nuts and spices — are reminiscent of one. The lime zest and juice add delicious acidity and flavor to the pesto.

walnut_chive_pesto

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts, ground {ahem, nut grinder}
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup aged white cheese (I used Quattro Formaggi from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

walnut_chive_pesto

Directions:

Grind walnuts using nut grinder, food processor or chop by hand.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Enjoy over fish, chicken, steak or veggies. Truly multipurpose.

 

I used the pesto as a topper for Mahi Mahi. If you’d like to do so, cook the fish (would also work well over salmon or white fish) using your preferred method. I baked it at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. In the last couple minutes of cooking, spread the pesto over the fish. This will allow the cheese to melt and the walnuts to get a little toasty.

mahimahi_with_pesto

Check out more “treasured cookware” from fellow Recipe ReDuxers by clicking on the link below!

Kale and Sweet Potato Niçoise Salad

Ever since eating my first Niçoise salad, I’ve been hooked. The perfect green beans. The Kalamata olives (my favorite). The potatoes, which give just the right amount of sustenance to the salad. And of course, the seafood. Throw in hard-boiled eggs and a delicious dressing, and you’ve made the classic.

Well, last week, the urge for a Niçoise salad hit and it hit bad. Since I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand for the classic, I decided to mix it up a bit and do my own take. Leftover sweet potato subbed for white potatoes, kale subbed for lettuce, capers subbed for olives and sardines subbed for tuna/anchovies. Plus some fresh basil from my beloved Farmed Here and black garlic — a new obsession — to add a little more flavor. Top it off with a 3-ingredient Dijon vinaigrette and I was in Niçoise heaven (or at least my improvised version of it).

Nicoise_salad

Oh and no offense to the Niçoise peeps, but I feel my version is quite possibly tastier and most definitely packed with more nutrients than the original — from the “superfood” status of kale to the omega-3 content (it’s high, folks) of sardines to the antioxidant power of fresh herbs.

Recipe: Kale and Sweet Potato Niçoise Salad

Trader Joe’s just started carrying fermented black garlic, which is where I bought it. If you live near an Asian market, however, you will most certainly find it there. Fresh rosemary or thyme would also be delicious in place of the basil.

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Yields: 1 salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups fresh baby kale (love the Earthbound Organic pre-washed Kale)
  • 1/2 large sweet potato
  • 1, 6 oz. can water-packed sardines
  • 1 cup cooked green beans
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons
  • 1 Tbsp capers, juices drained
  • 1 clove fermented black garlic, sliced

black_garlic

  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp olive oil, preferably organic, cold-pressed
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Pepper to taste

Directions:

Poke holes in sweet potato and microwave for 3-5 minutes, until potato is soft. You can also use a leftover baked sweet potato if you have one on hand. Cut the sweet potato into large wedges.

Assemble salad: Lay kale on top of a large plate. Top kale with cut sweet potato, can sardines (drained), cooked green beans, capers, sliced black garlic and fresh basil. Grind black pepper over the salad.

Make dressing: Mix Dijon mustard, olive oil and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Pour over salad.

dijon_vinaigrette_nicoise

Warning: this salad is best enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. Your coworkers will not be very pleased if they have to smell sardines and garlic over the cube wall. Just sayin’…

Savory Greek Yogurt Series: Rosemary-Roasted Beets with Balsamic and Olive Oil

In case you’re unaware, I have an obsession with tzatziki sauce. And the main ingredient of tzatziki sauce? Greek yogurt. Yup, also obsessed. It’s super-versatile and I find that I can use it in both sweet and savory dishes, mix it into soups and sauces, turn it into a dip and use it in place of many higher-calorie, higher-fat ingredients (e.g. mayo, sour cream, cream cheese).

I’m especially fascinated with the idea of using Greek yogurt in a more savory way. So, after bringing home a mammoth container of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt from Costco, I decided it was time to make a series of savory Greek yogurt dishes (parfaits, if you will).

Recipe: Greek Yogurt with Rosemary-Roasted Beets and Balsamic

Beets with balsamic and rosemary lend an earthy flavor to this Greek yogurt “parfait.” If you have pistachios or pepitas on hand, they would also be excellent sprinkled on top. To save time, roast the beets ahead of time and enjoy throughout the week.

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Ingredients:

For roasted beets:

  • 1 beet, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp each, cracked black pepper and sea salt

For parfait:

  • 1 beet, roasted (ingredients above, roasting instructions below)
  • 1 cup plain, non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp aged balsamic vinegar (Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze would also work nicely)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Peel and cut beet into wedges. (You can also make a batch of roasted beets ahead of time). Toss with olive oil and place on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes, or until beets are soft. Remove from oven and let cool.

For parfait, top Greek yogurt with roasted beets then drizzle with balsamic and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and optional rosemary.

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Do you have any other suggestions for savory Greek yogurt dishes? Please share in the comments below!

 

Quinoa Power Breakfast: Gluten, Dairy and Egg-Free

Quinoa is often praised by dietitians and other health professionals as a super-food. While I find the term “super-food” a little gimmicky, it is mostly true in the case of quinoa. A grain, quinoa (pronounced KENN-wah) is a good source of both fiber (with more than 5 grams/cup) AND protein (more than 8 grams/cup). While we know that whole grains, like quinoa, generally contain fiber, we don’t always get that one-two punch of fiber and protein.

The best part? Quinoa’s amino acid profile is considered complete, meaning it doesn’t lack an amino acid like many other grain products do. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins for our body. Our body can make ten of the 20 amino acids we need to make proteins in our bodies, but the other ten — considered essential amino acids — must be supplied by the foods we eat. Most plant sources of protein don’t provide all of the essential amino acids, so it’s even more impressive that quinoa does.

I find that most people view quinoa as a savory food, often mixed with veggies and beans (and meat/poultry too) to create a quinoa salad. Think about it, though, quinoa is really just a bland-tasting grain when you get down to it. Thus, you can use it in sweeter preparations as well. Alas, Breakfast Quinoa! It’s a terrific option for when you have leftover quinoa from the night before (assuming you didn’t use broth or savory herbs to make it). Just mix with whatever fruit and nuts you have on hand, plus some cinnamon or other sweeter spices. It’s more filling than oatmeal, because it contains more protein and fiber (the satiety dynamic duo, if you will). Check out my delicious Banana Coconut Quinoa below!

Banana Coconut Power Breakfast Quinoa:

Breakfast_Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • One cup quinoa, cooked (1/2 cup dry)
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp organic virgin coconut oil
  • sprinkle of cinnamon (about 1/4 tsp)

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package directions or heat up leftover quinoa. Stir in coconut oil when hot, then top with sliced banana, sunflower seeds and cinnamon.