Foodist Approved: Gluten-Free Maple Zucchini Nut Muffins

by | Sep 17, 2014
maple zucchini nut muffins

maple zucchini nut muffins

I typically don’t condone eating muffins for breakfast since they’re usually just a minuscule step up from a cupcake. Even the wannabe bran muffin is loaded with sugar and unhealthy oils, and will leaving you feeling drained and hungry with lunch still hours away. But the illustrious muffin is a convenient food for busy mornings when you just need something to grab, so I set-out to create a Foodist-approved muffin recipe.

The winner of my muffin escapades in the kitchen were these Maple Zucchini Nut Muffins. They’re the perfect balance of hearty and healthy. My zucchini muffins are free of refined sugars and flours (the gluten-free crowd will love ‘em!) and are loaded with protein and healthy fat from the nuts, oats, flax, eggs and organic butter.

Best part—counts as eating veggies for breakfast!

Maple Zucchini Nut Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons organic butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely grated zucchini, about 2 medium size
  • large muffin cups

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with muffin cups.

Mix together the dry ingredients––almond flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, flax and walnuts––in a large mixing bowl.

Beat the eggs with the maple syrup, melted butter and vanilla extract. Combine wet and dry ingredients thoroughly. Fold in the grated zucchini.

Spoon the batter evenly into 12 muffin cups.

Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Elyse Kopecky is a social media and digital technology consultant based in Portland, OR. After 10 years working for NIKE and EA SPORTS in Portland, Amsterdam and Geneva she briefly left her desk job for the chance to study culinary nutrition at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. Follow her adventures in the kitchen and on the trail at and @freshabits.

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For the Love of Food

by | May 30, 2014
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week wheat vs gluten, the truth about alkaline diets, and the surprising importance of iodine.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).
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Foodist Approved: Simply Roast Chicken

by | May 14, 2014
Simply Roasted Chicken

Simply Roasted Chicken

Once upon a time I was intimidated by the idea of cooking a whole chicken. It seemed like a daunting task requiring a day’s commitment and the skills of a butcher. But now that I’ve roasted a few stellar chickens, I’m here to tell you the truth.

Roasting a chicken is seriously easier than baking cookies. It’s also more rewarding. You’ll be spending most of the hour-and-a-half commitment sipping wine and savoring the smells wafting from your oven. And once you roast your own chicken, you’ll never again want to buy some flavor-injected, grocery-store rotisserie chicken. My homemade version is healthier, and tastier.

The key to serving a praise-worthy roasted chicken to your family or friends is actually not determined by your culinary skills. A chicken’s nourishing flavor and satisfying juiciness is all dependent on the bird you buy (but no reason not to let your guests think the opposite!). A few simple tips to finding the perfect chicken: buy local, do pay extra for organic and free-range, and avoid those huge chickens pumped up with antibiotics.

And fear not the dark side. Dark meat is actually more nutritious than white—that’s where all the vitamins and minerals are hiding out.

Serve with a salad of spring greens, radish, walnuts and crumbled goat cheese and you’ve got a meal to remember.
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Foodist Approved: Zucchini Pesto “Pasta”

by | Apr 30, 2014
Zucchini noodles

Zucchini noodles

Remember how I told you to make a double batch of my kale hazelnut pesto? I hope you listened! We’re going to put that leftover pesto to good use to make a simple, but insanely satisfying noodle dish, sans noodles.

The first time I made this pesto “pasta” dish using zucchini as the noodles instead of pasta, I thought there’s no way this is going to fill me up. I found the opposite to be true. This pasta tastes indulgent and is richly satisfying thanks to the flavor-loaded pesto and nutrient-packed ingredients.

Top this pasta with your favorite broiled or grilled fish and you have a complete dinner that looks straight out of your favorite Italian cookbook.

This dish is great for the gluten-free crowd, but you don’t have to be Paleo to trade your rigatoni for fresh zucchini. Even my pasta-loving husband gave this dish a rave review.
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Foodist Approved: Gluten-Free PB&J Cookie Bites

by | Apr 2, 2014
PBJ Cookie Bites

PB&J Cookie Bites

Friends keep asking me to share stories about crazy pregnancy cravings. I hate to disappoint—I haven’t experienced any middle of the night I-need-to-eat-a-pickle-right-this-moment cravings. But since month one, I have had this strong desire to eat childhood favorites. One of those has been good ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Of course, nobody needs a recipe for PB&J. So, instead, I’ve put a healthy and decadent twist on this classic lunchbox staple. This recipe combines my renewed love affair with PB&J with my always-present appreciation for homemade cookies.

“Healthy and decadent.” It might sound contradictory, but these cookies are truly just that. Thanks to the coconut oil and peanut butter, they are satisfyingly rich and flaky, and on the healthy spectrum, these PB&J Cookie Bites are free of refined sugars and high in protein. Another bonus—they’re also free of common allergens including gluten, dairy and eggs.

Unlike many gluten-free recipes that require three different kinds of flour, this recipe is super easy to master. Since only minimal ingredients are needed, you won’t be tempted to pick up a package of overly sweet store-bought cookies instead of baking your own.

Tip: Invest in a small ice cream scooper. It’s the easiest way to make perfect little round cookies that don’t fall apart the second you try to remove them from the pan.

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Foodist Approved: Roasted Parsnip and Cauliflower Hummus

by | Feb 12, 2014
Roasted Parsnip and Cauliflower Hummus

Roasted Parsnip and Cauliflower Hummus

I love making homemade hummus, but I don’t always love the process of soaking and simmering the chickpeas for hours in advance. Plus beans just don’t seem to agree with everyone (if you know what I mean).

So I decided to concoct a bean-free hummus with seasonal roasted vegetables. I chose parsnips and cauliflower to keep the creamy white of traditional hummus, and to lend an earthy, crave-worthy sweetness to this seasonal spread.

This recipe is a 2-for-1. The first step yields an alluring tray of roasted veggies that you’ll want to snack on right out of the oven. That’s fine! Go ahead and relish—just make sure to set aside two and a half cups of them for the hummus. Otherwise the whole batch might get demolished by hungry peeps.

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Foodist Approved: Southern Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens and Quinoa Salad

by | Jan 1, 2014
Black-eyed peas and collard greens quinoa salad

Black-eyed peas with collard greens and quinoa salad

This recipe is inspired by my Southern roots. In the South we eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day for good luck. Tradition says that eating these cute beans leads to a prosperous year.

Typically this dish is cooked in pork fat. I decided to skip the oink and instead created a vibrant salad. After all the holiday overindulging we need a little help detoxifying our digestive systems.

This recipe contains plenty of foods rich in fiber and phytonutrients, two things crucial to cleaning the ol’ pipes of toxins. You can make it ahead and pack for lunch all week to ensure you start your year right.

Here’s to a delicious 2014!
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Foodist Approved: Maple Coconut Macaroons

by | Dec 18, 2013
Foodist Approved: Maple Coconut Macaroons

Foodist Approved: Maple Coconut Macaroons

As I wrote in my previous post, the holidays are a time to indulge a little. So I asked Darya what she thought about mixing things up from our usual recipes packed with green veggies.

Darya’s response?

It’s a freaking treat and it’s the holidays, enjoy it already.”

Love it! So in honor of that, get excited! We’re about to make some very beautiful coconut macaroons, one of my favorite sweet indulgences. These macaroons (with chocolate drizzled on top) remind me so much of Samoas Girl Scout cookies, did you ever eat those as a kid? They were my favorite.

But, of course, seeing that this is Summer Tomato, these aren’t your typical store-bought coconut macaroons loaded with a pound of white sugar. I just couldn’t go that low.

My macaroons are made with real maple syrup and are free of refined sugar. And I promise you they’re not just as good as your usual macaroons, but better!

I love macaroons because they’re small and satisfying. And if you want, you can drizzle them in chocolate and sprinkle with crushed pistachios to make an extra fancy treat, one perfect for impressing your holiday guests.

And just in case you need one more excuse to indulge, did you know coconut is high in fiber, healthy fat, vitamins and minerals?

P.S. My macaroons are also gluten-free. Just make sure you’re buying gluten-free chocolate chips if you have an intolerance.
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Foodist Approved: Nutty Sunrise Granola

by | Sep 18, 2013
Nutty Sunrise Granola

Nutty Sunrise Granola

Big news!

I’m thrilled to announce that Elyse Kopecky has officially joined the Summer Tomato team as our new recipe developer. Elyse is a whole foods chef and marketing consultant based in Portland, Oregon, who studied health-supportive culinary arts at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York.

Elyse Kopecky

Elyse Kopecky

Since the launch of Foodist I’ve been looking for new ways to grow and improve Summer Tomato, and thousands of you have made it clear that you want more Foodist Approved recipes. Elyse’s fabulous creations are the perfect mix of seasonal, nutritious and delicious, and are designed to be both simple enough to fit into your life and fun enough to keep you cooking.

You can expect new recipes from Elyse every other Wednesday, and your feedback is always welcome. Follow her adventures in the kitchen and on the trail at and on Twitter @freshabits.


Bon appétit! 


Foodist Approved: Nutty Sunrise Granola 

by Elyse Kopecky

The food industry knows that very few of us have time to cook a nutritious breakfast, that’s why the cereal aisle runs the length of the grocery store. But any breakfast that you rip out of a package or grab from the glass counter at your go-to coffee joint probably has few redeeming nutritious qualities.

Even those fancy bags of “high-fiber,” “high-protein,” “whole-grain” granola that cost as much as a bottle of wine are full of ingredients that lack true sustenance. Often they have lots of added sugar marketed as “organic cane sugar” or “evaporated cane juice,” which is just a fancy (and deceptive) way of saying white sugar––the last thing we should be feeding our bodies first thing in the morning.

Here’s some good news.

Homemade granola is seriously easy to make and is a fabulous healthy breakfast option. I’ve baked many batches (enough to last me the year) to perfect this recipe, which is packed full of protein, loaded in omega-3s and balanced with whole grains. Of course it’s also full of nutty, cinnamon-y flavor with just the right amount of sweetness.

For the sweetener, I use brown rice syrup because it’s minimally processed and has a low glycemic index. Its consistency makes the oats and quinoa extra crunchy, which allows us to use less oil.

For an awesome weekday breakfast I suggest my Nutty Sunrise Granola sprinkled atop whole milk organic yogurt and chopped fresh fruit. Or enjoy it with unsweetened almond or hemp milk. And on those days when you’re rushing out that door, grab a small bag of granola to munch on at your desk.

Nutty mornings now won’t seem quite so bad!
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Velvety Mediterranean Gazpacho with Avocado Cream (+ Cookbook Giveaway)

by | Sep 9, 2013
Velvety Mediterranean Gazpacho with Avocado Cream

Photo Credit: Leo Gong

Today I’m thrilled to share a recipe from The Longevity Kitchen, the fabulous new cookbook by Rebecca Katz, MS. Rebecca is a Marin-based nationally recognized cookbook author, nutrition expert and chef. She is the founder and director of the Healing Kitchens Institute at Commonweal, which is dedicated to transforming lives through nutritional science and culinary alchemy. Her previous book, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, is a two-time IACP award-winner.

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