plant based

Creamy Lemon Avocado Pesto

Pesto is one of my favorite summer condiments (yes, it's condiment because I put it on everything). This "upgraded" version has protein from the hemp seeds, lots of good fats from the olive oil and avocado and a delicious surprise with the freshness of the lemon. My favorite way to serve it is with pasta and cherry tomatoes. It's the perfect summer night meal when it's too hot to be in the kitchen. 

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  • 4 oz fresh basil
  • 1/2 medium to large avocado
  • 3 T hemp seeds
  • 2 T toasted pine nuts
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 T lemon juice (about a half a large lemon)
  • 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 T Philosophie Green Dream (optional)
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In a food processor combine all ingredients except the olive oil. Turn the food processor on and slowly drizzle the olive oil in, stopping to scrape down the sides halfway. Return the lid, turn on the processor and slowly drizzle in the remaining oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. This pesto can be kept in a glass container in the fridge for up to a week. Serve on pasta, pizza, add to salad dressings or eat straight out of the container with a spoon (I won't just you).

Look at this green goodness!

Look at this green goodness!

Creamy Adaptogenic London Fog

I love anything earl gray. I have since I was young. The smell, the taste, the way it makes me feel. I have memories of sitting around the kitchen table with my mata ji drinking endless cups of earl gray with milk and scones. This morning my body wasn't feeling coffee and I was digging through my tea cupboard and found some earl gray I forgot I had. Out came this really lovely latte with coconut butter, chaga, he shou wu, mucuna pruriens and vanilla. It was the perfect start to my slow morning. 

Ingredients:

In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients and blend on high for 30 seconds to a minute until combined and frothy. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

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About the Adaptogens:

If you've been reading for a while, you know how I feel about adaptogens. If you're just joining, adaptogens are amazing herbs that help our bodies adapt to stress. Whether it be physical, environmental, emotional, mental, etc they give our bodies a little extra help so we can "adapt" to any situation. Adaptogens do not replace a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet, but they have had a huge impact on my life and I am a big believer in their power. In this latte I used Root and Bones Chaga and He Shou Wu. You can use code "bodybliss" for a discount at check out. My favorite brand of Mucuna Pruriens is made by Sun Potion. For information on each adaptogen, please read below. 

Chaga is know as the "King of Plants."It is high in digestive enzymes and helps to support the GI tract. A powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-viral. Historically it has been used for centuries in Siberia and was used as a coffee substitute during WWII. It has a lovely sweet taste and blends will with chocolate and vanilla. 

He Shou Wu is a Chinese herb revered for its powerful anti-aging properties. It translates to "Mr. He's black hair" after an elder who restored his youthfulness with this herb.  It's both energizing and calming and increases fertility. It high in iron, boosts mood and supports the nervous and adrenal system. 

Mucuna Pruiriensalso known as the "dopamine bean;" is high in L-Dopa, the precursor to dopamine, the feel good hormone in our brain. Regular use of this adaptogen helps to lift mood, fight depression and soothes the nervous system.

Note: If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have any health concerns, I recommend speaking with your ND, MD, acupuncturist or Ayurvedic Practitioner. 

Eggplant Involtini

Italian food is definitely on my top 5 for favorite cuisines. It is fresh, full of amazing flavor and, to me, the ultimate comfort food. Involtini is one of my favorite dishes. It is quite versatile, which I love. You can change the flavors in the filling or change out what you use for your "wrapper." Whether it be zucchini, squash or eggplant (chicken and veal is also used). This version uses Good Culture plain cottage cheese instead of ricotta. It is high in protein and adds a really lovely texture. I love all the layers of flavors the different vegetables add. Feel free to play with flavors and see what you create!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-large eggplant
  • 2-5.3 oz cups Good Culture plain cottage cheese
  • 1 small-medium zucchini
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups crimini mushrooms
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 T fresh rosemary
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • zest from half a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4 inch slices

 

Preheat the oven to 475. Peel the eggplant and cut (or use a mandolin) to slice into 1/4 inch slices lengthwise. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes until the eggplant has released some of the water. Pat with a paper towel and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until brown and soft.

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Shred or cut zucchini into matchsticks. Thinly slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic (reserving one clove) and rosemary.  In a skillet at medium head, add 1 T avocado oil. Add garlic and rosemary and stir until fragrant. Add zucchini and stir to coat. After the zucchini becomes soft, add mushrooms and salt to taste. Add the red wine vinegar. Cook until zucchini and mushrooms are tender and most of the water is cooked off. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat. In a large bowl combine cottage cheese, sliced artichoke hearts, remaining garlic, veggie mixture, lemon zest, oregano, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until combines, taste and adjust seasoning.

In a baking dish, drizzle 1-2 T of olive oil and several spoonfuls of pasta sauce. Spread around with a spoon. One at a time, place a slice of eggplant on a cutting board. Add a large spoonful filling to the end closest to you. Roll and place in a baking dish. Continue until all the filling is used. 

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Smother the rolls in pasta sauce and top with mozzarella slices and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes until heated through. Turn the broiler on and broil for 3-5 minutes, keeping a close watch as not to burn. This will make the top golden brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let sit 10-15 minutes. Serve with a green salad and sourdough garlic bread. 

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Creamy Blackberry Nicecream

Now that the weather is starting to heat up, I crave something cool mid-day or after dinner. Dairy ice cream is usually not my friend and I try not to keep ice cream (dairy or not) around because I end up eating it and then not feeling so great. One of my favorite summer treats to make is nicecream. Nice cream is a banana based frozen treat that you can make super simple or add superfoods, fruits, nut butters, etc to make it extra creamy and delicious. 

The other night I was craving something sweet and pulled a few things out of the freezer. What came from it was a super creamy, super delicious "ice cream" that will now be a staple for the coming summer months. The trick to making this super delicious is waiting until you bananas are very ripe (not completely brown, but lots of brown spots) before freezing. Not only will it make it sweeter, but the starches in the banana break down more the riper the banana gets allowing it to cream up more easily. 

  • 3-4 very ripe frozen bananas
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries (you could also play with other berries)
  • 1 T cashew butter (I use Artisana)
  • splash of nut milk
  • pinch of salt

Combine everything, except the milk in a high speed blender. You will need the stopper for this. I use the "frozen dessert" setting on my vitamix. Use the stopper to push the ingredients into the blender. If needed, add a splash of milk, but not too much or it will become too runny. Continue to blend until creamy. Scoop into a glass container and freeze for 20-30 minutes before serving. If you're feeling extra, you can make my Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake cookies and make a nicecream sandwich. 

 

 

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Herby Lentil Tart

I love this tart. It has so much flavor, is warming and comforting. I developed this recipe last Thanksgiving when I needed a main dish, but wanted to do something different. This recipe is super versatile, as you can play with the flavors in the filling. It would be delicious in the summer with  pesto seasoned lentils. You can also create mini tarts and serve as an appetizer. Enjoy!

Recipe:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (I used French)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp each of fresh sage, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 T pomegranate molasses
  • 2 T mustard
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola
  • salt and pepper to taste
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Preheat your oven at 425. Remove puff pastry from the freezer and let it come to room temperature.

Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly caramelized. Add a sprinkle of salt and the herbs. Stir until fragrant and add the lentils. Season with a bit more salt and cook until everything is combined. Taste and adjust flavors to your preference. 

In a small bowl combine molasses, 1 T olive oil, 1 T mustard and pepper. Pour over lentils and stir until combined. Allow the liquid to cook down by about half. Add the chopped walnuts and stir to combine. 

On a parchment lined baking sheet, roll out the puff pastry. Brush with olive oil, leave a 1 inch border around the edge. Brush the edge with water and fold over 1/2 inch to create a raised crust. Brush the center of the tart crust with mustard. Pour the lentil mixture into the center of the crust and spread until even. Sprinkle with crumbled gorgonzola and place in the oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the edges are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and serve warm with a beautiful green salad. 

Summer Veggies and Lentil Fusilli

I know I have been MIA. We have been in the middle of a move and this crazy lady thought she would somehow be able to cook and or have the time to stop and write a blog post. That didn't happen :) I did; however, manage to throw together a delicious and easy dinner the other night. It is quick, loaded with plant-based protein and veggies. It is the perfect Summer evening pasta. I am happy to be back up and running. Stay tuned for some exciting content in the next couple weeks. 

 

A little about my pasta journey:  Living in Italy greatly influenced and changed the way I make Italian food. One of my most favorite ways to cook pasta is by adding lentils. It adds protein, texture and a delicious earthy flavor. Italians love to lace their pasta with beans. Trust me on this one!

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz gluten free pasta
  • 2 small or 1 large zucchini
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup steamed lentils
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • Zest and juice from half a lemon 
  • 1 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • Chili flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • Pecorino cheese (optional, but oh so delicious
  • Micro greens
  • drizzle of good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Bring a large saucepan with a small handful of course salt to boil. Add the pasta (I used this one). Cook until tender, drain and reserve 1 cup pasta water. 

Thinly slice the garlic. Cut zucchini down the middle lengthwise, turn so that flat side is on your cutting board and cut in half lengthwise again. Cute quarters into 1/2 inch slices. Wash, stem and chop the kale.

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat until hot, add 1 T olive or avocado oil and garlic. Stir until fragrant and add zucchini, a sprinkle of salt and dried red pepper flakes. Cook until softened and add lentils. Cover with a lid and let steam until zucchini is very soft. Add kale and cover with lid. Cook until kale is bright green and slightly wilted. Add lemon zest and cook until fragrant. Add 1/2 cup pasta water and cook until reduced by at least 1/2. Squeeze in juice from half a lemon, kalamata olives and drained pasta. 

Plate the pasta, drizzle with a generous amount of EVOO. Top with shaved pecorino and micro greens of choice (I used pea shoots)