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Foodist Approved: Sweet Pea Soup with Parsley and Chèvre Recipe

by | Feb 16, 2016
Sweet Pea Soup with Parsley and Chevre

Sweet Pea Soup with Parsley and Chevre

Spring is just around the corner, but with the recent snowstorms across the country sunshine may feel hopelessly out of reach. Fear not.

Get into the kitchen and make soup to rejuvenate your soul. Plus, Souping is the New Juicing—the perfect way to squeeze more veggies into your life.

This pea soup only requires a 15-minute simmer, making it a front-runner for weeknight dinners. Add a little sautéed Italian sausage to transform it into a hearty meal and no other sides are needed.

Chèvre (goat’s cheese) is my go-to for adding creamy richness to soups without the use of heavy cream. Goat cheese is much easier to digest than cream, and it lends a tart, tangy, earthy flavor that turns this nourishing vegetable soup into a showstopper.

Get fancy and top each bowl with homemade croutons to add irresistible crunch.

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Foodist Approved: Super Healthy Bolognese Sauce Recipe

by | Jan 19, 2016

Healthy bolognese with extra vegetables

As winter drags on you’ll find yourself craving hearty food—I know I do this time of year. Sometimes nothing will satisfy that hunger except a classic bowl of spaghetti topped with a rich meat sauce.

My homemade bolognese sauce is loaded with vegetables, but won’t disappoint the meat lover in your family. I created this recipe for Lily, my 18-month-old who absolutely loves pasta, as a means to sneak more veggies into her life.

I prefer to make bolognese sauce with 85% lean grass-fed ground beef, but any ground meat will work (just not the really lean stuff). Try making the sauce with ground bison, lamb or turkey, or go meatless and swap in tempeh (grind the tempeh in a food processor).

This sauce is memorable served on top of pasta, but you can also serve it on top of spaghetti squash for a lighter meal. The gluten-free crowd will love it spooned on top of brown rice or a baked potato.

I highly recommend making a double batch and freezing half so you get two family dinners for the time-commitment of one.

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Foodist Approved: Roasted Butternut Squash, Farro and Kale Salad Recipe

by | Dec 22, 2015
Butternut, farro and kale salad

Butternut, farro and kale salad

This delicious salad with roasted butternut squash, farro and kale has become my family’s go-to nourishing winter salad to fight the onslaught of cold viruses.

One bowlful has it all going on: crisp kale, sweet butternut, hearty farro, salty Parmesan, and an addicting homemade dressing. It’s chockfull of vitamins and minerals including C, K, A, calcium, magnesium, and potassium—all enhanced by the enzyme-rich apple cider vinaigrette. But of course the best reason to eat it is that it’s delicious.

Prepping a butternut squash requires a good quality chef’s knife and a little muscle power (learn the best technique here), or many grocery stores sell it freshly cubed to save you time. You’ll just want to chop the cubes into smaller 1/2-inch pieces for guaranteed roasting perfection.

Make this colorful salad as an impressive side dish on a Sunday night then stowaway the leftovers for a work lunch that will be the envy of the office.

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Foodist Approved: Black Rice Porridge with Sautéed Apples Recipe

by | Nov 17, 2015
black rice breakfast bowl

black rice breakfast bowl

Porridge made from black rice, also called “forbidden rice,” is a creative and delicious alternative to oatmeal.

This recipe was inspired by a memorable brunch I had a couple months ago at a tiny neighborhood restaurant, The Sudra, in SE Portland. The Sudra is beloved for its vegan, deeply spiced Indian cuisine.

Black rice has a rich, nutty flavor, chewy texture, and powerful color, while sautéed apples spiked with cinnamon and cardamom take on a beautiful crimson hue, making this bowl impressive enough to serve for weekend brunch.

You can use any type of milk, but for a creamy treat I recommend making it with rich coconut milk. Unsweetened canned coconut milk is available at most grocery stores.

To be able to prepare this breakfast in less than 15 minutes, cook the rice the night before while you’re cleaning up from dinner.

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Foodist Approved: Chicken Liver Pâté with Walnuts

by | Oct 20, 2015

chicken liver pate sm

From reading books like Nourishing Traditions and Super Nutrition for Babies, and following along with the “nose-to-tail” movement, I know that organ meats are incredibly nutritious. That’s why I wanted to try cooking chicken livers for Lily, my one-year-old, but having never cooked them before I kept passing them by at the meat counter.

Then I read Darya’s post 18 Nutrition Habits You Are Probably Neglecting, where she discuses all the “weird” foods she devours, and I was inspired. I decided it was time to get out of my comfort food zone. Up first: I was going to make a dish using chicken liver.

I consulted my notes and recipes from studying at the Natural Gourmet Institute and came up with this recipe. After the first round of testing and tasting, I decided to add walnuts into the spread to give it some texture and balance out the gamey flavor of the liver.

At first I was hesitant to serve the pâté to guests, but to my surprise everyone was delighted by it. Lily was adorably signing “more, more” while Grandma exclaimed it reminded her of her childhood and asked if she could take home the leftovers (luckily this recipe makes enough to fill two small ramekins).

When buying chicken livers, be sure to buy from a reputable butcher. Since the liver is the organ that filters out toxins, liver from pasture-raised or organic chickens is preferable to minimize exposure to toxins.

For an impressive appetizer, serve this French-inspired spread on top of thin baguette slices that have been drizzled with olive oil and toasted under the broiler for a minute on each side.

Weird food is oh so good! Thanks Darya for the inspiration.

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18 Nutrition Habits You Are Probably Neglecting

by | Sep 29, 2015

Purple Artichokes


Going to a restaurant with me is not a normal phenomenon. I’m not impressed by comfort foods that most people love like mashed potatoes and mac’n cheese, and I almost always order the “weirdest” thing on the menu––think crudo (aka raw) platters, seaweed tastings and organ meats.

Just last week, for instance, I took my brother Shay to lunch at Mozza in Southern California, and without even asking him ordered the bone marrow appetizer. He looked at me incredulously. “Bone marrow?”

Me: “Yep, don’t worry about it. I always get it. You don’t have to have any if you don’t want.”

To Shay’s credit he tried it and––like 75% of the “weird” stuff I’ve encouraged him to try––he loved it.

So why am I such a freakshow?

Beyond my general disdain for social norms and conformity, my desire to eat at the fringes of the menu and grocery store stems from my desire to get as broad a spectrum of nutrients from my food as possible.

Healthy eating is about more than avoiding flour, sugar and trans fats. It also requires optimizing your nutrient intake of basic vitamins and minerals, as well as essential fats, amino acids, and trace micronutrients science may still be unaware of.

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Foodist Approved: Radicchio Salad with Roasted Figs and Walnuts

by | Sep 22, 2015

roasted fig salad kopecky 2 edit sm

Since figs are in season just once a year, for a short period when summer fades into fall, this is the salad I’m devouring right now. The bitter radicchio paired with the sweet, caramelized, roasted figs and the salty crumbles of goat cheese satisfies every craving in one forkful.

Figs are one of those rare fruits that producers haven’t yet figured out how to grow out of season, ship from halfway around the world, or pick under-ripe and store for months on end. Therefore the figs you’re seeing right now at your grocery store or farmers market are at peak perfection.

Transform this salad into a nourishing meal, perfect for lunch or dinner, by tossing in a cup of cooked farro, wheat berries, or brown rice.

When figs are not in season, pears or grapes make impressive stand-ins.

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Foodist Approved: Simple Roasted Tomato Marinara

by | Aug 18, 2015

roasted tomatoes sm

Being that this is Summer Tomato and that tomatoes are at their peak flavor right now, I’m going to teach you how to make a swoon-worthy Simple Roasted Tomato Marinara sauce that you can savor now and stow-away for winter.

Roasting the tomatoes prior to pureeing them concentrates the flavor and results in a perfectly balanced tomato sauce that, unlike most store-bought marinaras, doesn’t need to be loaded with sugar.

For the richest flavor, we highly recommend getting the tomatoes from the farmers market, or better yet, your own backyard. Most of the tomatoes sold in grocery stores have been bred for shelf-life and picked under-ripe, resulting in an unremarkable and less nourishing tomato.

To preserve tomatoes for winter, you need not get out the canning equipment. This sauce freezes beautifully and can be easily stored in re-sealable freezer bags (I highly recommend making a double batch). If you want to freeze your sauce in glass jars, just make sure the jar is straight-sided and that you leave room for the contents to expand when frozen.

Come December when the days are shorter and colder, you’ll want to hug me when you remember that the essence of summer is hiding in your freezer.

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What Spirit Animals Can Teach You About Food and Health

by | Aug 4, 2015
by Austen Caldwell

by Austen Caldwell

And now for something completely different….

I haven’t told many people this, but the octopus is my spirit animal. I know that scientists aren’t supposed to have spirit animals, and if I told you how I got mine you probably wouldn’t believe me. Regardless, the symbol of the octopus has been undeniably helpful for me in untangling the events of my life that have challenged me to the core and shaped who I am (I call these transformative gifts). Maybe it is because he has so many arms.

The reason I’m telling you my octopus secret now is that a friend of mine, Austen Caldwell (we go back 26 years, is friend still the right word?), has also recently become enamored by the octopus in a way that kinda sorta relates to food.

To me, the healthiest relationship you can have with food is one of respect and appreciation. You should respect food, no matter what it is or where it comes from. You should appreciate all aspects of it, including it’s life and how it enhances yours.

Thank you Austen for helping us celebrate the octopus today. I’ve added a few of my own notes in brackets.

Austen Caldwell is a huge nerd. You can find him writing about sports, real and imaginary, at The Iron, Unkind. or drawing pictures of Godzilla on cocktail napkins. Follow him on Twitter @destroytokyo and argue with him about Speed Racer being the greatest comic book adaptation of all time.

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Foodist Approved: Lebanese-style Grilled Eggplant with Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Quinoa

by | Jul 21, 2015
Grilled eggplant with chickpeas and tomatoes

Grilled eggplant with chickpeas and tomatoes

Vegans, vegetarians, and vegetable aficionados rejoice—you need not be a meat-lover to have fun grilling this summer. Vibrant vegetables (and fruit!) can benefit from the sear of a hot grill as much as a juicy burger or steak.

Thick slabs of eggplant brushed with olive oil and spices, transform into melt-in-your-mouth goodness when charred to perfection.

Grilling is faster than cooking on the stovetop and it requires less cleanup. Ready to get your grill on?! Here are a few tips to get you started:

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