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


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


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


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


Black Bean Rotini Salad

I thought I would squeeze in a 4th of July recipe this morning! Here is a gluten free pasta salad that is packed with summertime garden goodness, contains all the comfort and zesty flavors of the holiday, but won’t leave your body starving for awesome nutrition. I named it “L.A. Summer” because it contains all the stuff that you might find growing in one of L.A.’s back yards or urban farms, like nopales, cucumber, tomatoes, and peppers, and it has some hints of Mexico and the Southwest in it’s flavor profile, two prominent cuisines in the area. Enjoy, and happy Independence Day!

L.A. summer black bean rotini salad

1/ 12-oz. bag of black bean rotini pasta
2 average sized vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1 Japanese or equivalent cucumber, scored and diced
2 cups Prepared Nopalitos
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 ears of corn, not yet shucked
1/c cup loosely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup hulled hempseed 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