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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Foodist Approved: Roasted Butternut and Leek Warm Winter Salad

by | Dec 4, 2013
Butternut Warm Winter Salad

Butternut Warm Winter Salad

It’s OK to let yourself indulge a little this time of year. The best part about the holidays is family, friends and… food. I can’t imagine how boring a holiday party would be without delicious eats and festive cocktails. And enjoying good food in the company of good friends is healthier than eating a salad by yourself at home in front of the TV.

But (and this is a big but) don’t be tempted to bring home the leftover cheese platter and pecan pie, even with Mom insisting.

To maintain your healthy lifestyle throughout the holiday season it’s important to eat fresh and light at home. Soups, salads, baked fish and roasted veggies are all great choices. They’ll balance out all the festive eating and drinking, and getting plenty of veggies this time of year is especially important to keep your immune system strong and your waistline in check.

When the weather is cold and rainy (as it so often is this time of year in Portland), I don’t crave salads. But I know that a salad is sometimes just what I need to recover from a night out. I’ve discovered that if I top my salad with warm roasted veggies, I get both my raw- and cooked-veggie fix together. Plus, a warm salad is so much more appealing. The key to a winter salad is to use a hearty green like arugula or spinach; leave the romaine lettuce for light summer salads.

I made an amazing winter salad the other night with leftover roasted butternut squash. I added it atop my usual favorite combo of arugula, walnuts and Parmesan, then added pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of hummus dressing. It was so good!

Butternut can be difficult to chop. I recommend heating the entire squash in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes so that it’s easier to get a knife through it. Or buy your butternut already cut (I promise I won’t tell). Just don’t use frozen butternut. After cooking it will have the consistency of baby food.
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Foodist Approved: Cucumber Wakame Salad with Oranges

by | Nov 13, 2013
Cucumber Wakame Salad

Cucumber Wakame Salad

Unless you’re Japanese, here are some words you’ve probably never heard: “Honey, we’re running low on wakame! Don’t forget to pick up another bag!”

But perhaps they should be. Sea vegetables (wakame is one) are one of the world’s most nutrient-dense foods. Sea vegetables make up 10% of a typical Japanese diet, and guess what people live longer than any other in the world? (Hint: it ain’t Americans.)

The ocean provides us with thousands of varieties of vegetables. Some varieties have a fishier taste than others, but marinating the vegetables in a lemon or vinegar dressing will offset that fishiness. My favorite varieties are wakame, arame, toasted nori and kombu. Because of its mild taste, arame is great for kids and those who’ve never tried seaweed. You can find all these varieties in most health food stores. They come dried in small bags and require soaking in water to rejuvenate, but are otherwise easy to store and can be kept on hand for days for when you need a good nutrition kick.

Below is a recipe for my favorite seaweed salad. You’ve probably had a similar dish at Japanese restaurants. The restaurant version has a lot of added sugar. Instead of sugar I use orange segments for a delicious sweet and salty contrast. This salad is easy to prepare and goes well with an array of main dishes, from baked fish to veggie stir-fries to steak or grilled chicken. Try it as a side with my Miso-marinated Grilled Chicken. I promise you’ll be happy and healthy!
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Foodist Approved: Feta and Avocado Egg Scramble

by | Oct 30, 2013
Feta Avocado Scramble

Feta Avocado Scramble

Lately, with the mornings getting darker and colder, I’ve been waking up craving a hot breakfast. Fruit and yogurt just isn’t making the cut. And getting out of bed on crisp fall mornings is easier when I know I’ll soon be enjoying my favorite egg scramble.

Starting your day with protein is a great way to fuel up. I’ve noticed when I eat a high-protein breakfast I’m more productive throughout the morning and less likely to get the afternoon munchies. Once incorrectly branded an unhealthy food, eggs are now heralded as a top 10 healthiest food by many nutrition experts. Eggs contain the purest form of protein found in whole foods, which means our bodies use it more efficiently than any other protein.

And please, please, don’t throw out that yolk! Unless you’re allergic, you should definitely indulge in the egg’s incredible center. The yolk contains not only all the egg’s vitamins and minerals, but also healthy fats your body needs to absorb such fabulous nutrients.

My favorite egg scramble naturally has to include avocado. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love avocados (and to those out there who don’t, you’re seriously missing out!). Avocados can turn an average dish into an oh-my-I could-eat-this-every-day type dish. They give the eggs a creamy texture and a decadent flavor. The trick is to add the chopped avocado towards the end of cooking so you don’t end up with just a mushy pile of green eggs (although Dr. Seuss would approve).

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Foodist Approved: Immune-Boosting 8-Vegetable Minestrone

by | Oct 16, 2013
8-Vegetable Minestrone

8-Vegetable Minestrone

Cold weather is ahead and that means all the good things that come with it. Cozy fires, hot chocolate, comfy sweaters, and holiday parties.

Oh, and flu season.

But fret not. Darya and I are here to help you stay healthy all fall and winter long. A recent post of hers contains ten great tips on how to avoid getting sick. And my recipe for a hearty, healthy homemade soup will help you nail her #9: Eat well.

For years I’ve been working to perfect the recipe for my Immune-Boosting 8-Vegetable Minestrone. I love the result.

This isn’t your average minestrone with some beans and a few wimpy vegetables floating in some tasteless broth. My minestrone alone is a complete meal. It satisfies like a bowl of your favorite hearty pasta, and in addition to eight different fresh veggies this soup includes whole-wheat penne, cannellini beans, spicy chicken sausage (optional), and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Even better, it is easy to make and hard to mess up.

Ready to beat cold and flu season? Don an apron and dust off your pots and pans. It’s a lot of vegetables to chop, but enlist the help of a friend and you’ll both benefit from the big batch of soup this recipe makes. It’s so good you can eat it multiple nights in a row, or freeze the leftovers and enjoy a quick, healthy dinner at a later date.

Enjoy!
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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 freshabits.com and on Twitter @freshabits.

 

Bon appétit! 

Darya

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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