Coconut Curry Beet and Butternut Squash Soup with Cilantro-Lime Pesto {Vegan}

Because you know I’m all about that beet, bout that beet, with pesto. I’m all about that beet, bout that beet, with pesto. I’m all about that beet, bout that beet, with pesto. I’m all about that beet, bout that beet, with pesto. Hey!

I’m bringing beet soup baaaaacccckkk!

I could totally continue on with my Meghan Trainor/beet soup song, but I have an important recipe that needs sharing. For soup, no less. And while this soup is totally about the beets, it’s also about the butternut squash, coconut, curry and THE PESTO. [Vegan] Cilantro Lime Pesto that I posted yesterday. The combination of that pesto and this soup is money.

coconut_curry_butternut_squash_beet_soup_vegan

Who calls a soup + pesto combination “money”? I called a sandwich “money” the other day while out to eat with the boy, who proceeded to tease me about using the phrase to describe food.

I guess that’s just how I roll.

Okay, back to soup.

I’m not generally a soup maker. I make big batches of chili all the time but for some reason I’ve neglected soup.

I think it’s because, until now, I didn’t appreciate the beauty of soup. Soup is a fantastic way to use up ingredients — produce, proteins, etc. — that are on the verge of going bad. While soups can take a little longer to prepare, they yield a giant pot of deliciousness that can then feed you for days. Soups also let you play around with flavor combinations and can be relatively fool-proof.

The curry-coconut-cilantro combo (with beets + butternut squash) is seriously delicious. The richness from the coconut is perfectly balanced by the acidity and freshness of the Cilantro Lime Pesto.

And while I’m not a vegan, the vegan principle of using real, whole ingredients is one that I totally get behind. If you haven’t noticed, I don’t really do processed foods.

coconut_curry_beet_squash_soup_vegan

Coconut Curry Beet and Butternut Squash Soup with Cilantro Lime Pesto

This soup would be perfect to serve at parties, for the holidays or just make whenever you want a warming, delicious and satisfying meal. If you’re not a vegan, I suggest pairing this with a grilled chicken breast for some protein.

Servings: 6, 10 oz. cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 large, fresh beets
  • 1 can (13.6 oz.) light coconut milk + 1 can (13.6 oz.) water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (optional)
  • Cilantro Lime Pesto for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut butternut squash in quarters. Cut the ends off (the little nub at the top and tough part at the bottom). Scoop out the seeds (save these for delicious roasted squash seeds if you feel inclined).
  3. Wash/scrub beets well. Cut off top and bottom of each beet, then cut into quarters. No need to peel the beets — just make sure you scrub them well.
  4. Lay butternut squash, cut side down, and beets on a sheet pan and roast for about an hour, until they are soft. Peel the skin of the butternut squash off (it should easily come off). Let the squash and beets cool slightly.
  5. When beets and squash slightly cooled, add to a food processor and pulse mixture until smooth.
  6. Add blended mixture to a large pot, along with coconut milk, water, curry powder, salt, pepper and optional chili powder.
  7. Heat over medium until mixture starts to boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Top each serving with a spoonful of cilantro pesto and serve warm.

vegan_beet_squash_soup_with_pesto

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Toasted Maple and Smoked Sea Salt Almonds {Recipe ReDux}

Smoking is so in right now. It seems like everybody’s doing it — from young to old.

……………………..

No, silly — I’m talking about SMOKED FOODS. There are herbs and spices, sea salts, proteins, vegetables, butters and even cocktails that use smokiness to lend a unique and deep flavor to foods and drinks. I have been a fan of smoky foods for some time now (I know, I’m like SO ahead of the trends!) and was thrilled when I found out the theme for this month’s Recipe ReDux, “Start Smoking in the New Year:”

The New Year is heating up with smoke and spiciness. From boldly flavored smoked salts to actual smoking techniques, subtly smoked food is on-trend. The same can be said for spice as we savor heat from harissa, sriracha and smoked paprika. Show us the healthy dish you’re heating up with smoke and/or spiciness.maple_smoked_salt_almonds

I contemplated trying to create a small home smoker for a hot minute but decided my tiny, poorly ventilated kitchen would probably not be the best environment for said cooking technique.

I do love smoked paprika, but I thought I’d use something that isn’t already part of my cooking repertoire: SMOKED SEA SALT. This stuff is amazing and truly elevates any recipe, turning it into a sultry, smoky, savory, seductive dish of the gods.

And who doesn’t love a salty-sweet combo? Add smoky into the mix and it’s divine. Thus, I bring you Toasted Maple and Smoked Sea Salt Almonds. These contain five ingredients and come together in less than 20 minutes. Just watch yourself — they are seriously addicting.

Toasted Maple and Smoked Sea Salt Almonds

These almonds make a great snack, or try them sprinkled on a salad with dried fruit. If you want even more flavor, these would be great with chili powder, dried rosemary, curry and/or cumin added to the mix.

maple_salted_almonds

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. raw almonds
  • 2 Tbsp. egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. smoked sea salt

maple_smoked_salt_almonds_ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Add almonds, egg whites, maple syrup and smoked sea salt to a large bowl. Toss to coat almonds in the mixture
  3. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with brown sugar
  4. Bake for 5 minutes, then toss the almonds and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until toasted

raw_maple_salted_almondstoasted_maple_salted_almonds

For more “smoky” recipe inspiration from fellow Recipe ReDuxers, click on the link below!

Holiday Salad with Pecan and California Raisin-Crusted Goat Cheese {Sponsored Recipe ReDux}

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

The holidays are certainly upon us. I’m not sure about you all, but we have holiday parties/festivities for the next several weekends (not that I’m complaining). That means lots of food, and most of it not very healthful.

My general plan of attack for myself (and what I recommend to clients) is to bring a couple dishes that you have prepared and feel good about eating. That way, when you’re surrounded by marshmallow and sugar-laden sweet potato casseroles, creamy vegetable sides and indulgent desserts galore, you at least can at least eat/feel good about eating the dishes you brought (and maybe skip some of those disgusting creamy casseroles).

brussels_butternutsquash_raisins_goatcheese1

For the holidays, my go-to dish is a salad. It’s the dish I volunteer to make for all my holiday parties, partially because I don’t trust others to make a good salad — I’m a control freak and I’ve never denied that — and partially because I make a damn good salad.

So when the folks at California Raisins tasked us with creating recipes that are “naturally sweet for the holidays,” my mind went to salad.

When making a salad, I love taking seasonal vegetables and adding just a touch of sweetness, whether that’s a honey-infused vinaigrette, raisins, or both, as I’ve done here. California Raisins add natural sweetness with zero fat, no cholesterol and no added sugar. Plus, they offer 9% your daily fiber and potassium, and 6% of your daily iron.

brussels_butternutsquash_raisins_goatcheese

They’re a great choice for wholesome at-home or on-the-go snacking, plus they lend themselves well to both savory and sweet applications, where they provide natural sweetness.

They are seriously amazing for snacking, though, as evidenced by the fact that my roommate and I snacked on a pretty portion of the bag of California Raisins before I even started to create my recipes, to the point where I had to go back to the store to get several more bags. No biggie though, because California Raisins are the most economical dried fruit, according to the USDA.

As a sidenote, I love to pop a few raisins with peanut or almond butter — ants-on-a-log sans the celery, if you will — and also add them to my plain Greek yogurt to add extra nutrition and a little natural sweetness.

They also were d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. in my Vegan Moroccan Stew, which I made for another ReDux a few months ago.

Recipe: Raw Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Pecan and California Raisin-Crusted Goat Cheese

This salad is perfect for the holidays and because the Brussels sprouts don’t wilt like other greens, you can actually prep and dress the salad up to 1-2 days ahead of time. California Raisins add a great sweet note to the salad and the goat cheese brings just the right amount of tang.

brussels_butternutsquash_raisins_goatcheese2

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 3/4 cup California Raisins, divided (1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup)
  • 8 oz. log Chevre goat cheese, sliced into 1/2″ rounds
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Peel butternut squash using a sharp knife then cut in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds from the middle. Dice into small (~1/4″) cubes. Toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and lay on a baking sheet. Roast at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until the squash is soft.
  2. While the squash is cooking, cut/shred Brussels sprouts, then wash and thoroughly dry them (or use a salad spinner).
  3. Mix 1/4 cup California Raisins, pecans and rosemary and gently press mixture into both sides of the goat cheese slices.raisins_pecan_rosemary_goatcheese
  4. In a large bowl, add balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, honey, pepper and salt. Use a whisk to mix.honey_balsamic_dressing
  5. Add shredded Brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash, and remaining 1/2 cup California Raisins and toss with dressing.          brussels_butternutsquash_honey_balsamic
  6. Top with pecan and California Raisin-crusted goat cheese.

To make it a meal, try adding grilled chicken, turkey or fried eggs, as I did for breakfast yesterday.

CARaisins_GoatCheese_Salad_witheggs

See how other Recipe ReDuxers are using California Raisins by clicking the link below.

Vegan Moroccan Stew {Recipe ReDux}

Scary spices.

No, I’m not talking about your least favorite Spice Girl. I’m talking the theme for this month’s Recipe ReDux:

Spooky Spices: You know they are lurking there: Way in the back of your spice drawer. There lie the herbs, spices, or rubs that are getting dusty because you’re afraid to use them… you simply don’t know what to do with them! Well, pull them out and show us a recipe you created to deliciously conquer that fearful spice. (Or maybe the recipe was a flop – and the spice still give you nightmares?!)

I’d say I’m not scared of too many spices. I love to combine spices in unusual ways to completely alter/upgrade a recipe.

So at first, I was completely stumped.

Then, like a gift from the gods, my friend gave me some amazing saffron. I like the flavor and color that saffron brings to recipes, but I had never used it in my own cooking.

saffron

So, I started doing my research and one article gave mention of using saffron with cinnamon and cumin — SOLD! Saffron can give a bitter taste to dishes if not treated properly. To make sure I mantained the beautiful taste and depth that saffron can lend, I first ground the saffron using a mortar and pestle (my Grandma’s mortar and pestle, in fact — brought all the way from Turkey). Then, I steeped it — like you would tea — in hot (but NOT boiling) water for about 30 minutes, yielding the most beautiful golden liquid.

vegan_moroccan_saffron_stew

From there, it was time to make stew! Not just any stew…Moroccan-style, VEGAN, warming stew. Enjoy!

Recipe: Vegan Moroccan Stew

This dish is perfect for a cool fall day. If you need gluten-free, use one block of extra firm (crumbled) tofu in place of the tempeh.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pinch saffron (about 25 strands)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 3 cups mushrooms, such as criminis, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut or olive oil
  • 2 blocks tempeh, crumbled by hand
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, preferably no salt added
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 cup raisins

Directions:

  1. Heat 1/2 cup water until hot, but not boiling. While water is heating, grind saffron using a mortar and pestle, or even with your fingers if you don’t have a mortar and pestle. Add the ground saffron to a small dish and pour hot water over it. Let steep.
  2. In a large pot, saute onion in oil. Once onions are translucent, add mushrrooms and eggplant and saute for 10 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, crumbled tempeh, spices, salt, apple juice, steeped saffon/water combo and raisins and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Garnish with raisins or a sprinkling of ground saffron if desired.

vegan_tempeh_saffron_stew

Check out how fellow Recipe ReDuxers use “spooky spices” by clicking on the little blue guy below. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Cremini Mushroom Tacos with Tahini Sauce {Recipe ReDux Sponsored Post}

Mmm, umami.

What is umami you ask? It’s the fifth, and often unrecognized, type of taste bud. It’s the taste bud that senses savory deliciousness (and my personal favorite of all the tastes). Examples of umami-rich foods include meat/seafood, tomatoes, cheese — especially Parmesan, seaweed, soy, potatoes and of course, MUSHROOMS!

So imagine my excitement when I discovered that the folks at the Mushroom Council were sponsoring this month’s Recipe ReDux. They challenged us to use their “Trend to Blend” technique to either blend chopped, diced or minced mushrooms in place of at least half of the meat in a recipe using their blendability technique (you should seriously check it out, it’s genius!). Or, we had the option to forgo the meat altogether and make a purely vegetarian dish.

After some serious pondering, I took the latter route.

mushroom_tacos1

Side note: if you, too, love mushrooms, you can enter your own recipe in the Mushroom Council’s “Swap It or Top It” contest. Just submit your favorite burger recipe that either uses the blendability technique described above, swaps out meat completely for mushrooms or your favorite burger recipe topped with a delicious mushroom creation. The Mushroom Council is giving some top-notch prizes, like $5,000 cashola to the Grand Prize Winner. Not too shabby!

Besides delicious umami flavor, mushrooms are packed with nutrition. They’re low in calories (20 calories for 5 medium sized shrooms!), fat-free, cholesterol-free (that one’s kind of a no-brainer), low in sodium and also provide important nutrients, mainly selenium, potassium, vitamin D and more.

For vegans and vegetarians, mushrooms are a great way to bring some umami (read: satisfying) flavor back into meals. And for the meat-eaters, myself included, mushrooms can help you switch up your meals a bit (meatless Mondays, anyone?). I promise you won’t even miss the meat on these bad boys.

Recipe: Mediterranean Cremini Mushroom Tacos with Tahini Sauce

The tahini sauce is a perfect complement to lend creamy deliciousness without the use of dairy/animal products. You can find pre-made tahini sauce (Trader Joe’s has a new one that I’m OBSESSED with), or make your own as I did below by blending tahini (sesame paste) with lemon juice and garlic. A third option would be to top with hummus.

Mediterranean_Mushroom_Tacos

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Mushroom Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Yield: 4 tacos

Ingredients:

For mushroom blend:

  • 1, 10 oz. package Cremini mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed using a garlic press
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For tacos:

  • Sauteed mushroom blend (ingredients above)
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 4 corn tacos

Directions:

For mushroom blend:

  1. Wash mushrooms well and dice using a chef’s knife.
  2. Heat 2 cloves minced garlic in 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil for one minute.
  3. Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add turmeric, basil, cumin, pepper and salt to mushrooms and saute an additional 1-2 minutes.

For tacos:

  1. Mix 1 clove minced garlic with lemon juice and tahini to form the tahini sauce.
  2. Heat corn tortillas in microwave for 15-20 seconds, until soft and pliable.
  3. Place 1/4 of the mushroom blend on each tortilla.
  4. Top with tomatoes, cucumbers and 1/4 of tahini sauce mixture.

mushrooms

Mushrooms all diced and ready to go into a saute pan…

diced_mushrooms

Sauteeing away — see how the turmeric gives the blend a gorgeous golden color?!

sauteed_mushrooms

In goes the mushroom blend…

mushrooms_tortillas

Then the tomatoes and cucumbers…

mushroom_tacos

Finish it off with delicious tahini sauce…

Mediterranean_Mushroom_Tacos

Check out more delicious ways that Recipe ReDuxers used mushrooms by following the link below!

Gluten-Free Rosemary Butternut Squash Bake {Sponsored Recipe ReDux Post}

I received free samples of Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax and Breton Gluten Free Herb and Garlic from Dare Foods Incorporated mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Dare Foods Incorporated and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

gluten_free_butternut_squash

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! I just got back from celebrating all of the wonderful mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers in my life — they are all truly amazing woman whom I admire so much and can only hope to be like “when I grow up.” I hope that you all were also able to celebrate the mamas in your life today!

While May means Mother’s Day for many (and my birthday — hint, hint), it is also Celiac Disease Awareness Month. According to the University of Chicago, Celiac Disease affects 1 in 133 people. These people MUST avoid gluten as consumption of gluten-containing foods (those that have wheat, barley and/or rye in them) causes an inflammatory reaction in which the intestines essentially attacks itself.

Yikes! Not so fun.

Luckily, there are an increasing number of amazing gluten-free products out there so that those with Celiac Disease and those who are sensitive to gluten can continue to enjoy their favorite foods.

Crackers are one of those foods for me. They must be crunchy when you first bite into them but then turn melt-in-your-mouth buttery and soft as you eat them. They should be a generous size so that you can pile on toppings for a quick snack. And if they have added nutritional benefits — like flax seeds — I’m all over it.

So when the folks at Dare Foods asked us to create delicious, gluten-free recipes using their line of gluten-free Breton crackers, I was thrilled to play around. These crackers exceeded my expectations for what a cracker should be, AND they have the added benefit of being gluten-free!

Breton Gluten Free US

breton_butternut_squash

Dare Foods (www.darefoods.com) sent me both varieties of their gluten-free crackers to play with:

  • Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax crackers
  • Breton Gluten Free Herb and Garlic crackers

While I loved both, I was drawn toward the Original crackers not only for their taste but also because they have the following attributes (as do the Herb & Garlic variety):

  • Certified gluten free by the Canadian Celiac Association’s Gluten Free Certification Program
  • Kosher dairy OU-D
  • Low in saturated fat
  • Made with arrowroot and green lentil flours
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • No cholesterol
  • Peanut free
  • Trans fat free

While I enjoy snacking on crackers — especially when I can dip those crackers in hummus, guacamole or some other delicious dip — I wanted to make something a little more special. A butternut squash bake with rosemary, cheese, and Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax crackers sounded fantastic to me (and was!).

This is a dish that everyone can appreciate, whether gluten-free or not. Enjoy!

**SIDE NOTE: I DISCOVERED A MICROWAVE/OVEN COMBO FOR MAKING THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH THAT HELPED CUT THE COOKING TIME IN HALF. SEE BELOW FOR INSTRUCTIONS**

Recipe: Gluten-Free Rosemary Butternut Squash Bake

The earthiness of rosemary pairs beautifully with the sweet-nutty flavor of butternut squash. Topped with a crushed Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax crackers/four-cheese blend, the bake is divine! The whole family can enjoy this, whether they’re gluten-free or not.

gluten_free_butternut_squash_bake

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, or 1 Tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or melted grass-fed butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax crackers
  • 1/4 cup four cheese blend (I used Trader Joe’s Quattro Fromaggio)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Poke holes in whole butternut squash using sharp knife (be careful here!) Microwave whole, pierced butternut squash for 4-5 minutes, or until squash has softened. Let squash cool for 5-10 minutes so that it is cool enough to cut.
  3. Cut squash down the middle (so that stem is one piece and the bottom/base is the other piece). Using a paring knife, cut away the skin of the squash. Next, cut the peeled squash into wedges. Place wedges in a casserole dish.
  4. Top the squash with the two rosemary springs (minus the stems). Drizzle with olive oil or butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. butternut_squash_bake_ingredients
  5. In a sandwich-size zip-top bag, add Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax crackers. Seal the bag and crush the crackers until they become crumbs. Add cheese to the bag, seal, and shake the whole thing around to mix.
  6. Remove squash from oven and sprinkle with cracker and cheese mixture. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the whole thing browns a bit on top. butternut_squash

This dish would be great at a family get-together, or anytime to want to add deliciousness to your dinner. Make extra — it holds up really well in the fridge or freezer.

gluten_free_butternut_squash

Check out the many other delicious, gluten-free recipes featuring Breton Gluten Free Crackers 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

nut_grinder1

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.

Image

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’…

Spiced Beet, Apple and Sweet Potato Patties with Avocado Tandoori Sauce

Well, St. Patty’s Day has come and gone, but the Recipe ReDuxers are still in spirit with this month’s theme:

A Play on Patties : While St. Patty’s Day will be over by the time The Recipe ReDux rolls around this month, we’re celebrating the ‘patty’ all month long. We’ve seen images of stacked patties go crazy on food photo sharing sites like HealthyAperture.com; so stack ‘em up! Think healthy tuna burgers, potato patties, or veggie stacks.”

Patties, fritters, cakes, burgers…

Call them what you wish, but the bottom line is they’re delicious. Even when they’re not fried.

They are also really easy to pull together — I like to take whatever I have in my fridge/pantry, add an egg or two to bind it all together, and bake or pan-fry to finish it off.

This recipe was no exception.

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So what exactly is in that bowl? Well it started with shredded beets and green apples, and gradually evolved to also include sweet potatoes, fresh minced ginger and cinnamon. That’s it!

Top it with a creamy avocado tandoori sauce (literally, just mashed avocado and tandoori) — and voila! One seriously delicious patty! This recipe is also chock-full of nutrients: potassium, vitamin C, fiber and “good” fasts from the avocado, to name a few. Plus, the spices pack a major antioxidant punch.

Clean eating at its finest!

avocado tandoori

And while the finished product isn’t the most beautiful, I promise you, it was ridiculously, insanely yummy. I will definitely be eating a patty topped with a fried egg tomorrow for breakfast. I’m giddy just thinking about how tasty it will be!

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Recipe: Beet, Apple and Sweet Potato Patties with Avocado Tandoori Sauce

I started with just one egg, but two will help bind it slightly better. Be sure to squeeze the liquid out when forming the patties. And if you happen to drink the extra beet-apple-ginger-cinnamon sweet nectar liquid, you will be one happy camper.

Ingredients:

For patties:

  • 2 medium beets, peeled
  • 2 large organic green apples (unpeeled)

apples_beets

  • 1 small knob fresh ginger (about the size of two thumbs)
  • 1 sweet potato, preferably organic
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon (or less if you’re not a cinnamon fiend like me)
  • 2 eggs

For avocado tandoori sauce:

  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled and mashed
  • 3/4 tsp tandoori seasoning

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

Poke holes in the sweet potato. Microwave for 4-6 minutes, until very soft.

Using a box grater or food processor, shred beets, apples and ginger. Add all of it to a bowl. (Note: the beets will have dyed your hands a lovely shade of pink by now)

Beet Hands!

Beet Hands!

Pull peel off of the cooked sweet potato (should be very easy — otherwise cook it a little longer) and add sweet potato flesh to the bowl with the apple, beets and ginger. Add cinnamon and eggs. Combine ingredients well.

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Using your hands, form the beet mixture into patties. Be sure to squeeze any extra liquid out of the patties before placing on the baking sheet.

Seriously -- don't these look like beef burgers?!

Seriously — don’t these look like beef burgers?!

Bake for about 45 minutes, until top and sides are crisp.

While the patties are baking, make the avocado sauce. Mash avocado in a small bowl and add tandoori spice. Stir until well combined.

Let patties cool and serve with a dollop of the avocado sauce.

Beet_burger

See what other delicious patties Recipe ReDuxers came up with by clicking on the link below!

Eggs Baked in Spaghetti Squash “Nests”

Spring is here! It’s been a loooonnngg winter here in Chicago, so today — the first day of spring — is extremely exciting. It signals warmer weather, new life and hope. Yes, that is slightly dramatic, but hot damn, multiple days of -30 degree (sometimes colder) days over the last few months? Seriously?! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

It’s spring and that calls for a spring-inspired dish!

And what’s more spring-like than birds? Here’s my play on eggs in a birds’ nest — with a nest made ‘o spaghetti squash with eggs baked in. Spice up the spaghetti squash as you wish, but I’ve taken a Southwestern spin with lemon and lime zest, paprika, cumin and a salsa topper. And of course, it’s served on a bed of organic lettuce, because you’ve got to have your greens!

Did I mention this recipe is gluten-free, vegetarian, provides protein (thanks to the eggs), fiber (from the bed of greens and squash) plus loads of other vitamins and minerals? Well, it is, which means you can feel good about this tasty breakfast.

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Recipe: Eggs Baked in Southwestern Spaghetti Squash Nests

Change up your morning routine with baked eggs, nestled in roasted spaghetti squash. Spice up the dish with your favorite seasonings. Here, I used Southwest spices but this would be delicious with Italian, Mediterranean or Indian seasonings.

Makes: 1 serving (2 eggs)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small, cooked spaghetti squash (approximately 1 cup “spaghetti”)
  • 1 tsp salt-free taco seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cumin (if it’s not in your taco seasoning)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil, split
  • 2 eggs, preferably free range, organic

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use a fork to “string” the spaghetti squash into a medium bowl. Add taco seasoning, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to coat the squash in seasoning.

Coat two custard/souffle cups with 1/2 tsp each olive oil (or use olive oil spray). Add spaghetti squash mixture, forming it around the bottom and sides of the souffle cups. Crack one egg into each cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until white of the egg is set.

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Use a small spatula, spoon or fork to “unmold” the nests. Serve over greens and top with salsa.

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Once you cut in, the yolk will run over the whole dish creating a creamy, unctuous breakfast dish!

Intrigued by this whole baked eggs phenomenon? Check out this recipe for Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce.