Green Beans with Lemon, Tarragon & Chia Seeds

green beans with lemon

This green beans with lemon recipe is another one of those super simple, “too tasty and easy to be true” dishes for an easy lunch or dinner side dish. Sometimes demonstrating that you can grab one vegetable from your garden or the Farmers Market, and easily turn it into a fairly complete meal or tide-over, is the best way I can use my blog space! The chia seeds provide extra complete protein and healthy fats to this, making it a decent light meal. And you can always add more chia seeds to suit your own nutritional preference and taste. So enjoy this one and let me know in the comments all the different ways you did! I used some rattlesnake beans from my garden for this recipe.

green beans with lemon, tarragon & chia seeds

About 1 pound of green beans, trimmed
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Manuka honey (or other organic raw honey) Read More


Watercress Salad for Simple Summer Soirees

watercress salad

I found some flowering watercress at the Farmers market this week, so I decided to make it the star of the blog post! There isn’t much to say about watercress except how simple it is to enjoy it as a stand alone ingredient, or mixed into all kinds of stuff. I pulled some tomatoes and basil from the garden and came up with this simple salad that will add some delicious color and quality nutrition to any summer table. You can make your own cheese fairly quickly, or look for an artisan vegan cheesemaker like Blöde Kuh, or use your favorite fresh cheese that you think would go great with garden tomatoes and watercress.

tomato & watercress salad with basil cashew cheese

About 3-6 tomatoes of varying sizes
2 cups watercress
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 tbsp. basil cashew cheese or any fresh cheese that would go great with tomatoes Read More


Hazelnut Pesto for Lazy Afternoons

hazelnut pesto

Basil, basil, and more basil! When a basil plant decides to take hold it really pumps it out. So, I schedule a few minutes each day to go out and cut the flowering basil tops, to keep the plant going all summer long. Which winds me up with a lot of extra basil hanging around the kitchen. Here is a great sweet-meets-savory idea for a lazy afternoon salad, with vegan hazelnut pesto as the star of the show. You can also do a non vegan version of this by using parmesan or another hard aged cheese in place of the nutritional yeast. Enjoy!

vegan hazelnut pesto with mango & avocado slices

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 fresh mango, split, peeled and cut into slices
1 fresh avocado, seeded, peeled and cut into slices 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


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


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


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