Nasturtium Pesto & Endless Possibilities

nasturtium pesto

Are you a pesto-file? Always looking at different ways to make pesto? Here is one you quite possibly have not tried yet, and it is very versatile. A couple weeks ago, I taught a workshop on edible common garden flowers at Fig Earth Supply, the edible nursery in my neighborhood. And, it got me thinking of all the delightful, delicious ways we can get the most nutritional bang from our outdoor spaces. Enter nasturtium pesto!

This pesto’s uses are pretty much endless! Top it on some eggs, spread it on vine ripened tomatoes, dollop on fresh caught trout, spread it on crostini, mix it into Alfredo sauce, heck I’ll bet it would even make good ice cream if done right! My favorite, and the most nutrient dense way to enjoy it is as a simple, stand alone dip for colorful, raw vegetables, like peppers, asparagus, cucumber, and celery.

And what’s the  best part about this pesto? It is, in fact, made of a leaf that would otherwise become byproduct in your garden- the edible leaves of the nasturtium flower. The main nutritional components found in nasturtium are glucosinolates, mustard oil, flavonoids, carotenoids and vitamin C.

There are a few recipes for this pesto out there, but this one is 100% vegan and raw, for added nutritional value and plant-powered nuance. So, if you feel like having some pesto, but don’t have any basil around, just run out to your back yard and grab some nasturtiums, and go to town!

vegan cashew nasturtium pesto

2 cups of nasturtium leaves (about 30 leaves of varying sizes)
About 20 nasturtium flowers
NOTE: Try to pick the stems with the leaves, and reserve them as an optional ingredient
1/2 cup raw cashews
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly sliced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Read More


Shrimp Cocktail and Nopalitos Are Good Friends

shrimp cocktail

The nopales of Los Angeles are sprouting up everywhere! This may seem completely insignificant unless you have explored the special nutritional benefits of nopal and how much it is enjoyed in Mexican cuisine. This recipe for Shrimp Cocktail with Nopalitos takes the Mexican classic shrimp cocktail and combines it with the classic Mexican Nopalito Salad. Nopal, also known as cactus pad, is very low in saturated sat and cholesterol. It is also a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B6, iron and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese. And with an amino acid score of 71 the protein content isn’t bad either– for a vegetable! I must give credit to my partner Ricky who makes the bomb-est shrimp cocktail, and came up with this awesome combination.

shrimp cocktail with nopalitos

2 pounds of shrimp with peel
1 onion, chopped, separated in half
1 lemon, cut in half
10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced, separated in half
2 quarts water or vegetable broth
2 tsp. each sea salt and pepper (for seasoning shrimp boil water)
8-12 nopales, depending on size (cactus leaves), peeled of thorns and cut into squares (nopalitos)
3 tomatoes, diced with seeds Read More


13 Bean Soup Satisfaction

13 bean soup

The chard in the food garden is making gigantic leaves right now. They are so big I am tempted to preserve them and use them as shoe leather, or a hand fan, or something practical. Since those wild ideas are probably ultimately not as practical as one would hope, I opted to put together this 13 bean soup, and just enjoy the chard in its glorious, minimally processed form. That’s actually my favorite way to enjoy nutrient dense greens! My partner Ricky bought a bag of 13 bean soup mix a while ago, and has been nudging me to make soup out of it. So here is one more hearty soup to get into your belly before the seasons completely change over. Or enjoy it all spring and summer using a variety of different seasonal greens and fresh vegetables. The key is to put the greens in at the end, so they are super fresh, vibrantly colored and retain as much of their living nutrition as possible.

13 bean soup with garden chard

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill 13 Bean Soup Mix
2 1/2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth
1 onion, coarsely diced
2 large carrots, cut into hearty slices
2 stalks celery, cut into hearty slices
2 cloves garlic, chopped
10 oz. crimini or conventional white mushrooms, left whole, or cut in half if they are large
Fresh Thyme
Fresh Sage Read More


Stuffed Portobello Mushroom for Veggie Lovers

stuffed portobello mushroom

I like to work a little tofu into my diet here and there. This tofu stuffed portobello mushroom usually hits the spot. If you stick to natural, more traditional, and unprocessed forms of soy you can alleviate most health concerns around soy. The commercialization of soy has managed to turn soy into a “Frankenfood” monster by using GMO soy and creating so many products from refined soy. Therefore, my personal policy about soy is to use a whole food approach and common sense, backed up by this article from Dr. Mark Hyman, MD. Keep your soy products organic, natural, fermented, sprouted if possible, and in a more traditional form.

This recipe uses two such traditional forms of soy: organic tofu and organic miso paste. I love combining miso, mushrooms, any chance I get. These flavors love being together! This makes a great, simple entree. You can enjoy it right away or as a protein-rich salad topper for a lunch or brunch. The stuffing is somewhat similar to a tofu scramble, with a little more depth from the other ingredients.

miso-tofu stuffed portobello mushroom dynamite

10 ounces of organic, sprouted tofu (I use firm so it retains some of it’s chunky texture in the stuffing, but you can use soft as well)
3 tbsp. miso (I love Korean miso, much more pungent with chunks of soybean still intact)
2 tbsp. Emil’s Vegan Mayonnaise or Veganaise (if not going strictly vegan, try this avocado mayo)
1 tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder, or 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 portobello mushroom caps without the stems
4 cups fresh baby spinach, uncooked Read More


Tuna Salad on a Mission

Used to be that tuna salad was considered the “healthy choice.” But now who knows? Is the tuna wild? Is the mayo used to make the salad healthy? What about the bread for the sandwich? Is it gluten free? We can drive ourselves bonkers trying to keep up with all the information. And, this may  be part of the reason why tuna salad has lost popularity lately.  So, if you ever just get a taste for a tuna salad sandwich, why not just try it from a different angle? This recipe combines a dairy-egg free variation of tuna salad with Life Changing Bread, to bring you a clean(er) nutritional powerhouse of a tuna sandwich, with fiber, complete proteins from the fish and also plants, healthy fats, and other vitamins and minerals.

So, forget about “whether a tuna sandwich is okay” and dig in!

niçoise tuna salad finger sandwiches

2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
About half a scallion, chopped
2 sprigs fresh tarragon, loosely chopped
Splash of unfiltered raw cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon (or more if you like strong mustard flavor) Read More


It’s a Radish Wrap

So, I guess I have thought in the past about slicing a daikon radish thin to use as a wrap. But for some reason, when my airbnb guests from Korea introduced this dish to me, it seemed like a totally groovy new thing. I think what did it was the fact that the daikon radish came already sliced into perfect round sheets, and packaged. At first, I thought it was a gyoza (pot sticker) wrapper, but when I saw that it was radish, I was pleasantly surprised. So, today we have a couple of unwitting guest bloggers,  Hyoungwoo & Silhui from Seol, Korea, and their super simple, daikon veggie rolls. I see these being very versatile, stuffed with shrimp, seared tofu, smoked mushrooms, all sorts of things. This recipe is just a basic veggie roll, just like the ones that were prepared in my home the other day.

The pickled radish has sugar, so if you want to avoid that, make your own and use a healthier substitute for the sugar, like stevia, or jaggery sugar. Besides that though, this is a great way to get some raw, nutrient density into your body in a very simple and delicious way.

korean daikon radish wrap with vegetables

15-20 slices of Ssam-Mu (sliced & pickled Korean or daikon radish)
NOTE: You can also find it packaged at a Korean and sometimes Japanese Supermarkets
1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed and steamed or roasted
1 bell pepper, color of your choice, trimmed and julienned into slices
1 package enoki mushrooms, earthy base removed and cut into long, loose mushrooms
Your favorite Asian style dipping sauce

OPTIONAL OTHER FILLINGS: shrimp, sliced chicken, fresh herbs like basil, perilla leaves, Read More


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


Vegan Grilled Gouda- Melted Mastery

I couldn’t decide whether throwing together a list of somewhat obscure plant based stabilizers and coconut milk would appeal to any readers. But if you know how awesome it is to find a vegan cheese that is easy to make, and has a really wonderful MELT, you can understand why I had to finally break down and share this. Factor in the current chilly wet weather we have been having, and well, there you go!

The cheese recipe is a slight adaptation from a quick cheese recipe found on one of my favorite plant- based living blogs. The obscure ingredients can be found at a mom and pop health market, Sprouts, or Whole Foods.

vegan grilled gouda & portobello sandwich

Cheese, Wet Ingredients:
1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. liquid smoke
¼ cup water
½ tsp. liquid aminos
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast Read More


Carrot, Ginger & Turmeric, Yes!

Have you ever picked up some fresh turmeric root at the market, just to have it sort of sit in your kitchen and shrivel up? Well, here is an easy, season-appropriate way to put that turmeric root to really good use. This soup will make you want to curl up under a blanket and turn the phone off.

healing carrot, ginger & turmeric soup

1 tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
½ onion, chopped
3 tbsp. chopped, peeled fresh turmeric root
2 tbsp. chopped, peeled ginger root
1 tsp. curry powder
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 pound roughly chopped carrots Read More


Bullet Proof Golden Milk

Autumn is definitely here, in more ways than just the fact that it’s November. Here is a wonderful way to get some warm, satiating healthy fats into your body with the awesome benefits of turmeric and other spices, featuring a Turmeric Spice Blend from Create Your Health Teas. This recipe is inspired by the classic Golden Milk recipe, but the emulsion blender gives it a modern twist inspired by the Bulletproof diet, and adds to the creamy aesthetics. This is sure to comfort your soul on a chilly evening or morning. The fat from the almond milk and coconut oil makes the turmeric more bioavailable, for an overall wonderful, healing cup of wellness– fuel for the body and the mind! Enjoy!!

bullet proof golden milk turmeric latte

2 cups almond milk
1 tbsp. Turmeric Spice Blend or comparable turmeric spice blend
2 tbsp. virgin coconut oil
1 tbsp. (or more if you like it sweet) Jaggery sugar, Piloncillo, or other natural sweetener Read More