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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Foodist Approved: Tempeh Tomatoes Farcies (aka Stuffed Tomatoes)

by | Sep 3, 2014
Tempeh Stuffed Tomato

Tempeh Stuffed Tomato

I’ve got the post-Labor-Day blues. Summer has once again flown by and I’m not ready for the amazing Portland weather to end. Thankfully I think we can at least squeeze in a couple more good summer recipes before its bounty comes to an end.

This recipe is inspired by my French mother-in-law’s tomatoes farcies, or stuffed tomatoes. Her delicious stuffed tomatoes are made with sausage or ground beef, but I decided to up the ante and make a healthy vegetarian variation stuffed with tempeh, broccoli and mushrooms.

My husband at first was skeptical, but after going back for seconds, he proclaimed the vegetarian version a success. The tempeh turned out so flavorful, you could probably pass it off as a sausage filling.

Serve with a crusty baguette to soak up all the juices!
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Foodist Approved: DIY Quinoa Salad

by | Aug 20, 2014

Quinoa Salad Kopecky Summer Tomato sm

So you want to eat healthier but you’re not sure where to begin? A good place to start is revamping your lunch.

Lunch is easy to overlook, inconveniently located smack-dab in the middle of the day. This means you might be tempted by anything you can grab on the go, often a processed-deli-meat sandwich or a deceptively-labeled energy bar.

Since a long lunch and an afternoon siesta are not likely to become a part of our culture anytime soon, the best routine you can get into is to make a big batch of a veggie-loaded whole-grain salad on Sunday evenings. My go-to is a seasonal quinoa salad that I pack with whatever veggies I have left over from our weekly farm share and toss with my favorite lemon miso dressing.

Below is a recipe guide for creating your own quinoa salad. Keep the basics in mind (grain + veggies + dressing) and you really can’t go wrong with mixing and matching. Once you’ve made this recipe a couple of times, you’ll be able to accomplish it in 30 minutes or less.

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Foodist Approved: Pesto New Potato Salad with Fava Beans

by | Jul 9, 2014
Pesto Potato Salad with Fava Beans

Pesto Potato Salad with Fava Beans

Our amazing recipe developer Elyse Kopecky is back from maternity leave with her delicious Foodist Approved recipes. Please join me in welcoming her back and congratulating her on her new baby girl!   -Darya

I’m back in the kitchen and now with a baby on board! On June 19th I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. It’s been a life-changing experience that’s even altered my approach to cooking.

With a whole new appreciation of busy, I can finally understand why many parents revert to frozen foods and takeout. To avoid falling into an unhealthy rut, I now double or triple recipes so that I will have leftovers when I’m in a time crunch. It’s especially helpful to make big batches of things like salad dressing, pesto and sauces, which can be used to quickly turn the mundane into deliciousness.

This week’s recipe was inspired by my latest weekly delivery from my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which included freshly dug baby new potatoes, giant fava beans and a hearty bunch of floral basil.

This is the first year I’ve been a member of a farm share and it’s been the best thing ever for insuring I don’t get in a rut of buying always the same produce. Even though I went to culinary school, I still have vegetables show up in my share that I’ve never cooked before.

If you haven’t tried my pesto recipe from a couple months ago now’s your chance to make a big batch of it. It’s great slathered on just about anything.
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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: Kale Hazelnut Pesto

by | Apr 16, 2014
Kale Hazelnut Pesto

Kale Hazelnut Pesto

Now that I’m in the homestretch of pregnancy, I’ve had a lot less desire to spend my evenings standing in the kitchen, chopping onions. Lucky for me my husband, Andy, has stepped up to don the apron. And lucky for him I stockpiled the freezer with homemade pesto.

Pesto is a bright accompaniment to many dishes. It’s quick and easy to make, and it stores well for dishes at a later date. Of course, this recipe isn’t for your average, run-of-the-mill pesto. I’ve upped the health factor by packing in nuts, basil, kale and miso.

Miso in pesto might sound odd (any Italian would definitely freak out), but it adds that fabulous salty, cheesy flavor that you want in a pesto. In fact, to make this recipe vegan you could leave out the parmesan entirely and add a little more miso to taste.

The recipe below makes enough to indulge in now, and plenty more to freeze for later. The possibilities are endless: serve on top of vegetables, chicken or fish. Spread on crostini or toss into pasta or oven-roasted potatoes. In the coming weeks, I’ll share with you more inspiration for pesto, so go ahead and make a double batch!
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Foodist Approved: Fennel and Pear Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

by | Mar 12, 2014
Fennel pear salad

Fennel pear salad

I’m ready to say goodbye to soup, stews and roasted vegetables. Now that the days are getting longer and warmer, I’ve been craving refreshing salads.

But I find it a challenge to shop this time of year. Our bodies are asking for new revitalizing foods, but summer’s alluring produce still seems far off. Don’t be tempted to buy artificially ripened tomatoes or strawberries from far-off places, instead embrace salads that celebrate winter vegetables.

I’ve made this fennel and pear salad for just about every get-together I’ve been to in the last month. It’s rare that a salad gets the limelight at a dinner party but this simple, yet sophisticated, salad always does just that.

I recommend making a large batch of the red wine vinaigrette to have on hand all week (this recipe makes enough for 2-3 family size salads). It pairs perfectly with any type of salad and stores well in the fridge. If you prefer, you can cut the vinaigrette recipe below in half and that will be plenty for this dish.

I hope you enjoy, and let me know if this becomes your new favorite end-of-winter salad!
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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: Tuscan Red Lentil Soup with Kale and Farro

by | Jan 15, 2014
Red lentil soup with kale and farro

Red lentil soup with kale and farro

This past week has been a pinch hectic as my husband and I closed on our first house and are getting ready to move.

Dinners had to be quick and easy with minimal cleanup, meaning one-pot meals instead of my usual nightly disaster in the kitchen (which always keeps my husband busy scrubbing). But into those single pots I also needed to fit a lot of healthy goodness, as I’ve been extra hungry lately (have I mentioned that I’m pregnant!!).

My best concoction from the week was a creamy, hearty soup that I loved so much, I made it twice. This recipe takes less than fifteen minutes to throw together and then you can just sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy the smells while it simmers (no wine for me!).

I got lucky with how good this soup turned out as I was actually just trying to use up a few random ingredients in our pantry. I found a bag of red lentils that had been sitting neglected for a while. I like how red lentils take on a creamy texture when cooked in a broth. They’re perfect for thickening a soup and they add a healthy dose of protein and fiber.

I tossed in a cup of farro to make it a meal. That, combined with the kale, made this a one-pot meal loaded with both nutrition and flavor.

It also makes for a delicious vegan soup (there is no actual cream in this creamy soup). Simply use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and skip the sprinkle of parmesan.

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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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