Swiss Chard Enchiladas Are What’s Up

swiss chard enchiladas

We have this gigantic Swiss chard “bush,” seriously taking hold in the food garden. The leaves kept beckoning me to wrap them up with something. So, here’s an idea for gluten-free and cornmeal-free Swiss chard enchiladas that came out pretty yummy! The fresh epazote adds a nice, earthy, Oaxacan nuance, but you can substitute something like fresh thyme and still get a great fresh herbal infusion. Epazote is really easy to grow but not so easy to find at the market. Feel free to play around with non-vegan variations using queso fresco, organic chicken, and-or ground meat. Enjoy!

vegan swiss chard enchiladas with quinoa, black beans & epazote

12 chard leaves- steamed for 1 1/2 minutes
2 cups cooked sprouted quinoa (easy to get this by cooking 1 cup dried quinoa and 2 cups water in a rice cooker)
2 cups grated zucchini (about 1 medium)
1 1/2 cups semi smashed black beans
1 tsp. sea salt to taste
1/4 tsp. chipotle chile powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 tbsp. fresh epazote (optional, or substitute fresh thyme or other pungent herb) Read More


Chewy Squash Blossom Fritter Yuminess

squash blossom fritters

“Vegan-Paleo Squash Blossom Fritters” is about as complete a description as I could get for these very interesting, chewy-yet-crisp treats that were basically an experiment. But I guess that is how it’s supposed to work on here, right? I started thinking I was going to make a gluten-free, vegan squash blossom pancake, but the texture of these, coming from the tapioca flour, is definitely more “fritter”- like. These seem best right out of the oven, but I’ll bet they would be great cold or reheated also. The problem is, I gobbled them up so fast I didn’t have any to save for later, so now I have to wait until I get some more fresh squash blossoms on my hands.

Technically, these only fulfill the ingredient guidelines of being “Paleo.” In order to be truly paleo from a macronutrient standpoint, they wouldn’t be so heavy on carbs. But, they are gluten, grain, dairy free and totally vegan as well. So enjoy these as a healthier indulgence and as a great way to enjoy the season’s squash, zucchini and other blossoms from the garden or the Farmers Market. I’ll bet the chewy texture of these is unique from many things you have tried before.

vegan-paleo squash blossom fritters

1/2 cup hazelnut flour 
3/4  cup tapioca flour
1 1/2 cups organic, full-fat coconut milk (from can)
20-25 fresh squash blossoms Read More


Red Lentil Pasta Salad for Healthy Sunny Days

red lentil pasta

I am enjoying the new red lentil pasta varieties that have been popping up at the store. If you are going to have pasta, these are a good way to go, with just lentils, quinoa and water as ingredients, and packed with protein and other nutrients.

This recipe is a cold salad twist on linguine with tomato, basil & garlic. And it takes the nutrition density even a step further by eliminating the refined oil and instead getting it from whole foods like avocado. You can add other veggies to the asparagus or eliminate the asparagus for a more traditional version of a tomato, basil, garlic “TBG” pasta salad.

oil free red lentil pasta salad t.b.g.a.

1 box Pow red lentil linguine (8 oz.)
2 large heirloom tomatoes (about 2 cups), cut into 1/4 inch pieces, seeds and juice included
2-3 cloves garlic (depending on how much garlic you like)
1/4 cup fresh julienned basil
1 fresh lime, juiced
1 avocado, diced
3 tbsp. hulled hemp hearts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast Read More


Riced Cauliflower with Porcini Mushrooms, Fennel & Peas

riced cauliflower

I know you are probably thinking that I post too many things with mushrooms, and you are right! But when I glanced at my bag of dried porcini mushrooms the other day, I couldn’t help thinking how great they would be as a rich, flavorful foundation for riced cauliflower! This recipe for riced cauliflower with porcini mushrooms, fennel & peas makes a nice springtime side dish or vegan entree. Porcini mushrooms have a natural, rich, gamey flavor and the higher quality ones give off a roux when cooked, that naturally adds some thickness to the dish.

riced cauliflower with porcini mushrooms, fennel & peas

3 cups vegetable broth or water
About 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 bulb fresh fennel, cored and thinly sliced
2-3 cups riced cauliflower
1 cup fresh or frozen shelled English peas
Sea salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional for flavor enhancement) Read More


Roman Slow Cooker Artichokes, an Easy Spring Appetizer

slow cooker artichokes

Every year the artichoke root system in our garden pops out an abundance of fresh artichokes. For the first few years this is really fun and rewarding, but after a while, one yearns for some new ideas and ways to gobble up all those artichokes, without adding a lot of prep time. This recipe for slow cooker artichokes is super easy, with just about 15 minutes or less of prep time. Then you just set the cooker, get on with your day, and return to a crock pot full of tender, moist artichokes loaded with flavor.

roman slow cooker artichokes

4 artichokes, stems removed
1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced (slivered)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh oregano
Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper Read More


Maca Cacao Sprouted Brown Rice Pudding

sprouted brown rice pudding

Yesterday I attended a seminar given by Australian herbalist Lee Carroll on the subject of integrative herbal and whole food nutrition. If you are thinking that I walked away with a recipe for sprouted brown rice pudding, you are oddly correct. At one point, while discussing Dysbiosis  and how to support healthy microbiota, he shared cacao’s benefits, then proceeded to rattle off a rice pudding recipe that he sometimes shares with his patients in Australia. It sounded so intriguing I jotted down the rough concept, and decided to give it or something similar a try. The key ingredients that caught my attention were brown rice, tahini, cacao, and Manuka honey.

This recipe uses a cacao-maca powder blend, but you can use all cacao powder if you want. Manuka honey is considered to have all sorts of nutritional benefits. But getting pure, unadulterated Manuka honey can be a bit pricey. Having said that, a little bit goes a long way. So if you want this pudding to be packed with more nutrition, try to keep it pure. The tahini provides the fat component that gives this pudding a creamier consistency, along with the way the rice is cooked. Altogether, this pudding packs some substantial nutrition for a sweet treat. I can see this as a dessert, evening chocolate craving fix (that is gradiently healthier than many alternatives), or even a quick breakfast.

maca cacao sprouted brown rice pudding

1 cup hot sprouted brown rice, just out of the rice cooker
2 tbsp. cacao-maca powder
1-2 tbsp. Manuka honey (or other organic raw honey)
2 tbsp. 100% sesame tahini paste Read More


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