Chickpea + Avocado Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

The holiday season is in full force! Hanukkah began Sunday evening, and Christmas is just a few weeks away. I feel extremely grateful this year to be in Boston, so I don’t have to miss out on spending time with family. Both my parents and Ben’s live in the area, so we’re able to celebrate with everyone.

One thing I’m looking most forward to is helping my mom prepare everything for Christmas Eve and Christmas. I already spent a weekend helping her make homemade raviolis and decorating the house. She also follows a pescatarian diet, and we have a few other vegetarians coming to celebrate, so I wanted to create a quick and delicious meat-free entrée. I think being vegetarian for so many years, I am extra in-tune with dietary restrictions of others. I always appreciate when others go out of their way to make sure there are veggie friendly options for me, so I try to do the same!

These sweet potatoes are a perfectly balanced meal in themselves: they have filling fiber (sweet potatoes) and protein (chickpeas) paired with healthy fat (avocado) and a pile of greens for a little extra nutritious kick. The chickpea avocado filling takes 5 minutes to prepare, and you can prep the sweet potatoes the night before and just reheat. They’re also meat-eating boyfriend approved, so everyone at your table is sure to enjoy these.

Are you guys preparing food for people with dietary restrictions this year? I would love to hear what you are making!

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A few large handfuls of greens (I used Organicgirl Protein Greens)
  • Red pepper flakes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Scrub sweet potatoes, then poke a few holes into them with a fork. Roast for about 1 hour until very soft.
  2. In the last 10-15 minutes of sweet potatoes cooking, mash together chickpeas, avocado, lemon juice, cumin, garlic powder, mustard, salt and pepper. Mash some of the chickpeas, but keep some whole.
  3. Let sweet potatoes cool for 10 minutes after roasting. Cut in half lengthwise and mash with a fork to form a small well.
  4. Top each sweet potato half with a handful of greens and a few heaping spoonfuls of chickpea avocado mash. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes for a little heat, if desired. Serve warm.

Recipe makes 8 servings.

If you guys try this recipe, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations! Happy Holidays!

Green Goddess Tahini Sauce

What do you guys include in your weekly meal prep sessions? A couple protein sources, roasted veggies, and a big batch of grains are key. But how do you make your meals super flavorful and eliminate boredom as the week progresses? Sauces and dressings! I love to include one or two different sauces in my weekly recipe round up. It may seem intimidating, but you really can make your favorite peanut sauce at home in less than 10 minutes. I sometimes even wait until the night I cook a meal to whip up a sauce to go with it.

Why make your own sauces, instead of buying them pre-made? Making your own sauces/dressings at home is empowering from a nutrition standpoint, as it allows you to control exactly what ingredients you’re adding. You can eliminate pro-inflammatory oils, excess added sugars and preservatives.

I currently have a batch of mustardy champagne vinaigrette and this delicious Green Goddess Tahini Sauce in my fridge. This is the first time I’ve made this sauce, and Ben and I can’t get enough! It’s wonderful used as a dressing for kale salads and drizzled over roasted veggies. It would also be a great dipping sauce for homemade falafel or sweet potato fries. There are only a few simple ingredients, and all you do is add them to a blender! I created the recipe in my NutriBullet Balance blender and smartphone app, which calculated the nutrition information in real time! So, so easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup smooth tahini
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cumin

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Drizzle over just about anything!

This recipe will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. If you make it, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see you creations! 🙂

Curry Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Daylight savings time is when the changing seasons really hits me. The days are getting shorter as the temperature drops. I actually like the first few weeks after we change the clocks, because I enjoy waking up when the sun is rising. But I know in about a month, I’ll be wondering daily why I live on the East Coast (anyone in California looking for a winter roommate)?

My body starts craving warming flavors and hot foods around this time, too. Some of my favorite spices to cook with in the fall and winter are ginger, curry, and cinnamon (and this soup uses all of these)! This recipe is super simple but filling, thanks to the addition of lentils. Lentils are a legume, and come in many different varieties. They are such a wonderful ingredient, and I find they don’t always get the attention they deserve! They are a great source of plant based protein, and are rich in nutrients like folate and manganese. Plus, they are extremely inexpensive. I’m often asked how I can spend so little on groceries each week and still eat well. A plant based diet actually lends itself perfectly to eating on a budget, because vegetarian protein sources are generally less expensive than animal proteins. Some of my other favorite affordable vegetarian proteins are chickpeas, black beans, tofu and eggs.

I used red lentils in this recipe because the cook quickly. They also soften quite a bit when cooked, which helps to thicken the soup’s consistency. If you’d like to keep a thicker broth, I’d recommend not substituting another lentil variety in this recipe. From start to finish, this soup only took about 30 minutes to make! If you’re looking for the coziest soup to warm up to after work, this recipe also is excellent to meal prep!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can no salt added diced tomatoes (15 oz)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (I used Pacific Foods Mushroom Broth)
  • ¾ cup red lentils
  • 8 oz baby spinach or chopped kale
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat avocado oil on medium heat. Add onions, cook for 2 minutes until translucent.
  2. Add garlic and ginger, and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add spices and salt, stir and let cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Add coconut milk, diced tomatoes, veggie broth and lentils. Stir to mix everything and bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes until lentils are tender.
  5. Stir in greens until wilted.
  6. Add lime juice and salt to taste.

This recipe makes about 5-6 servings, and keeps well in the fridge for 4-5 days.

I hope you guys try this warming soup recipe! Tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations 🙂

 

Curry Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Golden Raisins and Parsley

Cauliflower has definitely become the most loved vegetable of our generation. We’re adding it to smoothies and turning it into rice and pizza crust. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t have 8 bags of Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi stashed away in my freezer. As a dietitian, this hardcore vegetable love makes me VERY happy! You guys know I’m a huge proponent of a plant-based diet, so the more veggies, the better!

Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. Other members of this squad include broccoli, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Cruciferous veggies are loaded with nutrients including vitamin C, folate and vitamin K. In fact, one cup of cauliflower has the same amount of vitamin C as an orange! Folate is an especially important nutrient for prenatal and pregnancy nutrition, as adequate amounts are protective against neural tube defects in babies.

While I absolutely love all the creative ways cauliflower is finding its way onto our plates, I also love cooking it straight up and letting it shine just as nature intended! I often include a big pan of simply seasoned roasted cauliflower for meal prep. I recently was asked to bring some vegetables as a side dish to a holiday party, and I wanted to bring a dish that was a little more “dressed up”. I had just gotten some great curry powder, so decided to use that for flavor inspiration. I landed on this curry turmeric cauliflower and added in golden raisins and parsley to round out the dish. I think it’s a great dish for fall and winter, because it’s full of warming spices. It would be perfect for Thanksgiving!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated on microplane
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins (optional: soak raisins in hot water while cauliflower cooks to make them more plump and softer)
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place cauliflower florets on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss with ginger, garlic, lemon zest, curry powder, turmeric, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 25-35 minutes until fork tender and nicely browned.
  4. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with raisins and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

I hope you guys give this recipe a try! Tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations 🙂

Vegan Avocado Quesadillas

Thank you So Delicious for sponsoring this post! I’m grateful to partner with brands I love to cook with, and all opinions are my own.

Happy Tuesday! I’m proposing we include #QuesadillaTuesday to be bundled with #TacoTuesday from here on out. Quesadillas are so simple, and often overlooked, but are equally as delicious. I believe that Mexican food in any form is always a good idea! I love this cuisine not only for the flavorful dishes, but also because there is an abundance of plant-based ingredients. Mexican cuisine incorporates some of the most nutritious foods on the planet, including fresh vegetables, avocados and beans. It is easy to please people with a variety of dietary needs with Mexican food, from paleo to gluten-free to vegan.

To further celebrate the beauty of a plant-based diet, I used So Delicious dairy free shreds in this recipe. The cheddar jack flavor added the perfect kick of heat to these quesadillas. These shreds look and feel like the real thing, and melt beautifully! This dairy-free cheese is an amazing alternative for those who can’t, or choose not to consume dairy products – or for anyone looking for a delicious product. I also love that these shreds are lower in saturated fat than their dairy-containing counterparts.

Following a plant-based doesn’t mean you have to eat salads for every meal. There are so many delicious alternatives out there so you can include your favorite foods. These quesadillas contain just a few simple ingredients, and you can whip up this recipe in just 10 minutes. The recipe is below, if you’d like to try!

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole wheat flour tortillas
  • ¼ cup So Delicious Dairy Free Cheddar Jack Shreds
  • 1/3 cup vegetarian refried pinto beans
  • ½ an avocado, peeled and sliced
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Avocado oil spray

Instructions:

  1.     Preheat a skillet on medium heat.
  2.     Sprinkle cheese shreds on one half of each quesadilla. Add layers of spinach and avocado slices.
  3.     Spread refried beans onto the other half of the quesadilla, and fold each in half.
  4.     Spray skillet with avocado oil spray. Add quesadillas to skillet, cooking for about 3 minutes until tortilla is browned and crispy. Flip and cook other side until browned.
  5.     Serve immediately with hot sauce, salsa, extra avocado, etc.

Recipe makes 2 quesadillas.

I hope you guys give this quick and filling recipe a try! Tag @daisybeet and @so_delicious on Instagram 🙂

Healthy Puppy Chow

Lately, I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the most random things. Maybe it’s because I’m officially an “adult” now being completely done with school and working a full-time job, or realizing I’m only 2 years away from being 30 years old, but time seems to be flying by too quickly!

Last night, my roommate was showing me home video clips she watched after going to her parent’s house for the weekend, and we chatted about all the Disney VHS movies we both owned. Who else was a diehard Little Mermaid fan?

In addition to nostalgia for things like movies, I’ve also been thinking about foods I haven’t eaten in years. I bought a box of shredded wheat cereal to add to yogurt bowls for quick breakfasts last week, and that brought me down memory lane! I used to LOVE frosted mini wheat cereal for breakfast – there was something so satisfying about that sugary flavor and that delicate ratio of milk to cereal that created the perfect texture piece of cereal.

Munching on shredded wheat all week reminded me about a popular snack we had growing up: puppy chow! My own mom actually never made this for us, and I don’t think I was introduced to this treat until middle school at a friend’s house. This crunchy, peanut buttery, chocolately, sugary snack was so addicting.

Puppy chow is traditionally made with peanut butter, chocolate chips, rice chex cereal, sometimes butter and coated in heaps of powdered sugar. I decided I wanted to make a more nutritious version, without compromising on flavor!

My version maintains the same texture and rich peanut butter chocolate goodness, however I swapped the powdered sugar for a blend of powdered peanut butter, cacao powder and cinnamon. Here are some of the benefits of my puppy chow:

  • Whole grain fiber, thanks to unsweetened shredded wheat cereal
  • A boost of antioxidants by using dark chocolate
  • Zero added sugars or preservatives by using natural peanut butter and no powdered sugar

If you guys had puppy chow growing up, I encourage you to try this recipe for a more nutritious trip down memory lane. I plan on making another batch for a Super Bowl snack to munch on!

Ingredients:

  • One 3.5 oz bar of dark chocolate, roughly chopped (or ½ cup dark chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 4 cups shredded wheat cereal
  • ¼ cup powdered peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the stovetop. Stir in peanut butter once melted.
  2. Add 1 cup shredded wheat cereal to a large mixing bowl. Add a few big spoonfuls of melted chocolate and mix.
  3. Alternate about 1 cup shredded wheat cereal and melted chocolate, and mix gently until everything is combined. (I suggest using a rubber spatula to scrape out as much chocolate as you can).
  4. In a large ziplock bag, combine powdered peanut butter, cacao powder and cinnamon.
  5. Pour chocolate coated cereal into the bag, close and shake until pieces are well coated.
  6. Pour into a bowl or enjoy! This snack will keep well in the fridge.

 

If you try this recipe, tag @daisybeet so I can see your creations! I hope you enjoy 🙂

Creamy Curry Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

Now that I am working full time while finishing my masters, quick and easy batch cooking is even more essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Training has been great, but I come home absolutely exhausted with little motivation to cook. It is a life saver to have meals like this curry butternut squash soup ready for me when I get home.

This soup is filled with warming flavors that is perfect to come home to on a chilly night. Butternut squash, ginger, curry powder and coconut milk meld together for a creamy, flavorful, nutritious meal. Top with Thai basil pesto for an added punch and texture!

This dish features one of my new favorite products, Thrive® Algae Oil. I love this cooking oil for many reasons. First, it has a high smoke point – 485 degrees to be exact. This means the fats will not oxidize into harmful substances when cooked at a high heat. It also has an excellent fat profile – full of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) that are good for our hearts. It even has more MUFAs than olive oil - Thrive® has 90% compared to the 70% in olive oil. Finally, Thrive® has a very neutral taste, lending itself well to so many different recipes. It definitely helped enhance the wonderful, complex flavors in this soup and pesto!

I hope you all try this soup and/or pesto. The pesto is great with pasta or on eggs, as well. Remember to tag #Daisybeet so I can see your creations!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash (3-4 pounds)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • ½ bag riced cauliflower (I used frozen)
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 ½ tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp Thrive® Algae Oil
  • 8 oz unsalted or low sodium veggie stock
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • Batch of Thai Basil Pesto (Optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Pierce butternut squash with a fork several times. Cut butternut squash in half by separating the long, narrow part from the wide part. Cut each piece in half. Scoop out seeds (discard seeds or save for roasting).
  3. Drizzle squash flesh with 1-2 tsp Thrive® Algae Oil and a little salt. Place cut side down onto foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until squash can easily be pierced with a fork.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp Thrive® Algae Oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and salt to taste, and cook 3-5 minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add garlic, ginger, thyme and cauliflower rice and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add more salt, turmeric and curry powder and stir to coat mix.
  7. Scoop out roasted butternut squash from skin and add to soup pot.
  8. Add veggie stock and stir, letting flavors combine for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Transfer contents to blender (I recommend a high-speed blender like a Vitamix) and blend on high until smooth and silky.
  10. Pour soup into large container or back into soup pot, and stir in the can of coconut milk until well combined.
  11. Serve as is, or topped with a scoop of Thai basil pesto (optional).

 

Ingredients for Thai Basil Pesto:

  • 2 cups Thai basil
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Thrive® Algae Oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1-2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • Shake of crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions for Thai basil pesto: Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until combined. I like to keep a little texture in my pesto, but if you prefer a smoother pesto, blend for longer.

 

Raw Cashew Coconut Snickerdoodle Truffles

Raw desserts sound intimidating and expensive. Sometimes, there is a laundry list of obscure ingredients involving multiple layers and complicated steps. But, they can actually be surprisingly easy to make, and man, are they satisfying! I secretly dread dragging out my food processor and the ensuing clean-up to make them, but these cashew coconut snickerdoodle truffles took no time at all. I could easily devour the entire recipe in one sitting because they taste incredible.

If you told me these truffles were made from less than 10 simple ingredients, I wouldn’t believe you. I also wouldn’t believe that they are nut based and full of healthy ingredients! No expensive, hard-to-find add-ins here. In fact, I bet you actually have most of what you need to make these on hand already. Free from refined sugar, flour, dairy and eggs, these truffles would be a perfect addition to your holiday dessert line up. I guarantee they’ll be a hit, and will suit the dietary needs your guests may have (vegan, gluten free, and paleo).

Here are some of the highlighted ingredients:

And the nutrition breakdown:

  • Cashews are one of my favorite nuts. Their neutral and mild flavor lends itself nicely to a variety of recipes. Compared to other nuts, they become particularly creamy when blended, making for a great cream replacement. Cashews are an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral that is essential for energy production in our bodies, but one that many of us may fall short of in meeting our daily requirements. One serving of cashews provides about 20% of our daily magnesium needs! Reach for a handful of cashews for a protein packed snack that is also rich in minerals and healthy fats.
  • FlavaNaturals chocolate bars are one of my recent favorite products. I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic with a huge sweet tooth, so I was thrilled to create this recipe. These bars come in creative flavors like blueberry matcha, so they are delicious eaten on their own. What separates FlavaNaturals chocolate bars from others on the market is their flavanol content. Flavanols are the reason we consider dark chocolate to be a healthy treat. These powerful antioxidants are anti-inflammatory and may promote good heart heath. Unfortunately, many of the flavanols in chocolate are lost during processing. FlavaNaturals takes painstaking steps to ensure the flavanol content of their chocolate is preserved as much as possible, so you reap all the health benefits!

Now, on to the recipe! You’ll be able to whip these babies up in 20 minutes with minimal cleanup. No baking required, too! Raw desserts really are a beautiful thing 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 6 large pitted medjool dates
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 5 bars of FlavaNaturals classic dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. Combine cashews, coconut, dates, spices, vanilla extract and salt in a food processor. Process until ingredients are well combined and stick together easily.
  2. Roll “dough” into 1 inch balls (will make about 15 balls).
  3. Place balls in freezer for 10-20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, melt chocolate bars with coconut oil in a double boiler.
  5. Remove balls from freezer, and dip in melted chocolate.
  6. Place chocolate coated truffles back in freezer or fridge for 10 minutes.
  7. Can be eaten right from the fridge or freezer, or brought to room temperature.

 

I hope you guys enjoy these easy, delicious treats! Tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see what you whip up 🙂

Ginger Roasted Beets, Sweet Potatoes, and Pears

Even though Thanksgiving is still a week away, I can’t help but feel excited for Christmas. I get very nostalgic around this time of year, and start to miss my family even more than usual. There is nothing I love more than to be surrounded by everyone I love with a cozy fire, good food and lots of laughter. Growing up, my extended family would gather for a huge Christmas Eve party every year.  My sisters and I LIVED for these parties, as we got to stay up late with our cousins, eat plenty of cookies, and meet Santa Claus (AKA my Uncle Erik). These days, my favorite part of the holidays has become helping my mom out in the kitchen. I love preparing big batches of roasted veggies and desserts with her in our pajamas, listening to Christmas music. I truly cherish these moments, and hope it never changes.

This year, I am absolutely bringing these roasted beets, sweet potatoes, and pears to the table. I am so excited to share this recipe with you guys. If you’re looking for a healthy side dish to share with your family and friends, this is the one! It’s simple, inexpensive, and mouthwatering.  I’m so happy with the way this turned out! The flavors blend so beautifully thanks to fresh ginger and thyme, and is a celebration of fall produce. This recipe will suit many dietary needs - it is vegan, paleo and gluten free!

Traditional side dishes are often laden with unhealthy ingredients. While I am ALL for indulging a bit during the holidays, I definitely feel run down and lethargic after a few days of eating like this. What I love most about this recipe is how nutrient dense it is, without compromising on amazing flavor! Beets are an excellent source of fiber and contain organic nitrates. These nitrates are converted into nitric oxide in the body, which helps blood vessels relax, and thus may play a role in lowering blood pressure. Sweet potatoes are a richer source of vitamins and minerals, like beta-carotene, than their white counterparts. They also have a low glycemic index, so the sugars from sweet potatoes are released slowly and steadily into the blood. This does not cause a sharp spike in blood sugar levels like more refined carbohydrates.

I hope you all try this recipe for a holiday gathering and share with your loved ones! What are your favorite holiday traditions? I would love to hear all about them!

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium-large beets, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes (I actually keep the skin on as it does not bother me, but most people prefer beets without the skin)
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, diced into 1 inch cubes (peel or keep skin on, either works)
  • 2 green anjou pears (ripe but still firm)
  • 1-2 tsp fresh thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine beets, onion, garlic, ginger, salt and about 1 tbsp avocado oil. Toss so veggies are well coated in oil. Spread beet mixture evenly on baking sheet, and roast for 15 minutes.
  3. While beets are roasting, combine sweet potatoes, pears, thyme, salt, and remaining oil in bowl.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and pears to the baking sheet and mix to combine.
  5. Place mixture back into the oven and roast for an additional 40-50 minutes. Toss mixture halfway through.
  6. Add more salt to taste after cooking, and garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy warm or cold – it tastes delicious either way!