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


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


Cocoa-Mint Spirulina Chia Pudding- Say What?

Spirulina has been around the block a few times with all of us. But in spite of its past trendiness and ups and downs with the limelight, it is definitely worth keeping in your pantry due to its many awesome nutritional benefits. Luckily for all of us, there are companies out there that are passionate about keeping spirulina relevant in our lives and finding new, innovative ways to deliver it to us. Whenever that happens, if I happen to be in the know, I get my hands on it and get to work seeing what can be done to enjoy it the best ways possible. That brings us to this incredibly simple dessert that is more of a nutrition powerhouse than it is a transitional dessert, packed with almost 20 grams of vegan protein, vitamin b12, and essential fatty acids. It can be enjoyed as a sugar-free dessert, or as a quick breakfast or snack on the run. This immediately became a regular in my kitchen. It is worth adding that it’s also paleo and keto friendly!

cocoa-mint spirulina chia pudding

1 cup almond milk (the more pure or homemade the better)
4 tbsp. chia seeds
2 tbsp. cocoa-mint spirulina powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Optional berries for garnish Read More


Sweet Nutrition for Rosh Hashanah

Shana TovahIn the midst of all the Rosh Hashanah greetings this weekend, I decided to whip up something that touches on the Jewish New Year tradition of consuming sweet foods, like apples, honey and dates. Here is a nutrient rich, yet sweet and delicious salad that you can definitely celebrate if you are celebrating the Jewish New Year, or even throughout your year-end holidays. This is a delicious stand-alone salad, or an accompaniment for your Thanksgiving turkey or other holiday feast. And, the Omega-3 punch you get from the walnuts and walnut oil helps you keep your body in balance during the indulgent holidays. Enjoy! 

Spaghetti Squash, Beet & Apple Salad

3 cups cooked and cooled spaghetti squash strands
2 medium beets, grated
2 apples, grated
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. minced dates, or more if you like it extra sweet
1 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. walnut oil
1 tbsp. fresh tarragon or parsley Read More


Pumpkinseed Pesto Yumminess

If you raise basil on a regular basis, you will encounter those times when you get busy and kind of ignore the basil for a few days, and while you are busy doing other stuff, the basil goes nuts and produces an abundance of flower stalks and leaves. This happened to me the other day and in my rush to prune it all back, I ended up with a giant pile of basil. So, since autumn is just around the corner, I decided to do a variation of pesto using raw pepitas (pumpkinseeds). There is something about the pumpkinseeds’ earthiness and association with the impending fall season that just made it all seem right.

I am still getting some glorious heirloom tomatoes, although that season is nearly over, so I put together this sort of “summer-fall” transitional salad that is vegan, yet packed with high quality, raw protein and healthy fats. This vegan pesto is very versatile and I have been using it in a variety of ways beyond this salad. This recipe is definitely a keeper and a healthier alternative to traditional pesto.

Heirloom Tomato and Pumpkinseed Pesto Salad

2 heirloom tomatoes
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup avocado oil + extra for drizzle
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. raw pipitas (hulled pumpkinseeds) + extra for sprinkling
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice Read More


Watermelon & Avocado Salad

I love it when something is so ridiculously simple it almost doesn’t make sense. I have been extremely busy developing some new flex foods to compliment a new cleanse product that I have been offering on my Whole, Clean & Green Challenge. The cleanse protocol specifies a very short list of flex foods, so I was limited to basically just citrus juice and sea salt for any kind of dressing. I was delighted to discover how flawless and wonderful just watermelon, avocado, lime, and sea salt taste when combined together. And therefore I had to share it on the blog! You can make this in about three minutes. Drizzle some avocado oil on top if you must, but it really isn’t necessary.

Lime & Sea Salted Watermelon & Avocado Salad

About 2 heaping cups of watermelon, cut into cubes
2 avocados, cut into half with pit removed
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 pinches sea salt
A couple generous sprigs of watercress
Optional avocado oil for drizzling Read More


Fig & Shiitake Bacon Bites

Here is a fun and extremely easy variation on the bacon-wrapped fig. Actually, I wanted to see if I could wrap a fig in a shiitake bacon, but the bacon pieces aren’t quite big or flexible enough. Next time I will try making a portobello bacon. In the meantime, this is what I ended up with, and to my delight, it came out very tasty. Try this as a snack, or a vegan and Paleo-friendly summer hors d’oeuvre, if you go with the vegan cheese, or I would imagine that goat cheese would be equally amazing. You can google shiitake bacon recipes and experiment, or just use the one I came up with here. Making shiitake bacon is much easier than it sounds if you use this quick method.

fig & shiitake bacon bites

For the shiitake bacon:
4 or 5 large shiitake mushroom caps
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. tamari or liquid aminos
1/2 tsp. melted coconut oil
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper Read More


Avocado & Pear, What a Pair!

I love it when a random “grab two things and see what happens” move in the kitchen turns out to be so yummy. Here is an extremely easy recipe that mixes pears with avocados, and finishes it off with some fresh lime and basil. Add this to your list of simple raw fruit and vegetable go-to’s. It’s perfectly refreshing for hot summer days. Enjoy!

avocado & pear salad with basil lime dressing

1 fresh pear
1 avocado
1 lime, juiced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. raw honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. avocado oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
2 tbsp. julienned fresh basil Read More


Vegan Caprese Happiness

A couple weeks ago I picked up a gorgeous pine nut cheese from Blode Kuh, one of my favorite vendors at the Farmers Market. This cheese was screaming to be made into some version of a caprese salad. Voila! Most times, the simplest stuff using ingredients made with love, make the brightest and most tasty dishes.

vegan caprese with pine nut cheese & roasted pepper dressing

2 vine ripened tomatoes, sliced into fairly thick slices
1 small wheel of pine nut or other aged nut cheese
8-10 fresh basil leaves
1 red bell pepper
1 tbsp. (or more) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 clove garlic, chopped
Juice of 1 small lime
Splash of balsamic vinegar Read More


Green Garlic Almond Cheese

Nothing says Spring like fresh green garlic at the farmer’s market. I grabbed a bunch the other day, and before I could put it into my bag this idea to make fresh raw almond cheese with green garlic popped into my head. This is a fresh, quick cheese that slightly resembles the consistency of a ricotta, and offers a nice, nutritious, dairy-free creaminess. The green garlic made it heavenly. You can use it on a sandwich with vine tomatoes, as an hors d’oeuvre filling or topping- as pictured, or try it in layers of lasagna. Enjoy!

green garlic almond cheese

1 1/4 cup raw almonds, soaked in filtered water for at least 2 hours or overnight
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup water
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/4-1/2 cup sliced green garlic (depending on how strong you want it to taste) Read More