Saturday, February 25, 2012

Roasted Fennel + Sweet Potatoes

Do you have a favorite vegetable or side dish? You know, the one you enjoy at least once each week. Yeah, we definitely have that “go-to” veggie at my house. We can always count on…broccoli. While I love broccoli and other typical vegetables trying a new method or combination can be fun, exciting, and really spice things up!

I used to struggle with sugar cravings. I would always jump at the opportunity to indulge in a cupcake, ice cream cone, chocolate chip cookie, etc.  Since I have added more sweet veggies (squash, carrots, sweet potatoes) into my diet I have been able to, for the most part, kick these cravings! Woohoo! If you can relate to this type of craving, I encourage you to do the same! “Crowd out” the unhealthy options by adding more naturally sweet veggies and fruit to your diet.
Image from: Backyard Gardening

This recipe is a great side dish that pairs fennel and sweet potatoes. Fennel is a crunchy, refreshing, and slightly sweet vegetable that can most commonly be identified in Italian cooking. Typically you’ll find fennel available late fall through early spring. Oh and just so you know, you can eat the entire thing – bulb, bushy green sprigs, and the seeds.

Fennel contains some unique phytonutrients, including Anethole, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and prevent the occurrence of cancer. It is also high in vitamin c, fiber, folate, and potassium. What does this mean? Fennel aids in proper functioning of the immune system, may reduce elevated cholesterol levels and blood pressure thus preventing risk of stroke and heart attack. All in all, add fennel to your diet!

2 large fennel bulbs, quartered with green bushy tops reserved for later use
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Himalayan sea salt (or whatever you have at home)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add the sweet potatoes and fennel to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle with sea salt and use your hands (or spoon) to mix things up. Make sure the veggies are evenly coated. 

Left: Before roasting; Right: After roasting
Transfer the vegetables to a large jellyroll pan (baking sheet with edges) and roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven, spoon them into a serving bowl, top with green fennel sprigs, and serve!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mock Curried Chicken Salad

I am a member of a local food coop called Ocean BeachPeople’s Organic Food Market. I have read rave reviews about the mock chicken salad they make so many times that I finally caved. It was so good! After reading through the list of ingredients I decided that this was something I could easily whip up at home. So I went for it, switched a few ingredients, added my own twist and came up with this Mock Curried Chicken Salad! Yum!

Now, you might be asking yourself what exactly is mock chicken? Great question! Seitan (aka gluten), is the protein portion of wheat, and has a similar consistency to animal protein. Seitan is typically referred to as mock chicken, pork, or beef in vegetarian restaurants and can be found in the perishable section of your natural foods store. It is rather flavor-less and can easily be thrown into many recipes. If you cannot find it at your local market there are numerous recipes online. Please note if you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity I advise you to stay away from this product. If you consume animal protein, this recipe can also be made with organic, free-range chicken.

I have tried eating this mock chicken salad many ways – the possibilities are endless and they all seem to be equally delicious. Today, I wrapped it in a large collard leaf and it was so awesome! This recipe is super quick and satisfying.

½ pound of Seitan (chopped into small pieces)
¼ cup of Grapeseed Vegenaise (vegan mayo substitute)
½ cup of chopped celery
¼ cup of chopped red onion
½ cup of raisins
½ cup of chopped cashews
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 tablespoon of agave (maple syrup or honey would also work)
Himalayan sea salt (add based on your preference)
Black pepper (add based on your preference)

* Collard leaves for serving (optional)

Add Vegenaise, curry powder, sea salt and pepper in a medium bowl and stir until mixed well. Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Place a few scoops of the mock chicken salad to the collard leaf and roll it up. That’s a wrap! Enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Polenta Stacks with Truffled Arugula and Romanesco Broccoli Mash

Have you ever seen Romanesco broccoli? It is absolutely stunning! The light green color and intricate detail of this veggie is amazing. My boyfriend, who is an Engineer, appreciates it for its logarithmic spiral and natural fractal. Whoah! To each their own. I just like to eat it J

Though many people think that Romanesco broccoli is a new modern-day cross between broccoli and cauliflower – it is actually an ancient vegetable. In fact, it was first documented in Italy back in the 16th century and is a member of the brassica family.

And of course, no blog post found on Nourish would be complete without bragging about its excellent nutritional benefits! This lovely veggie contains more Vitamin A and C than the typical white cauliflower due to its green hue. Green = Chlorophyll! Chlorophyll increases the production of red blood cells and enhances the cells’ ability to carry oxygen.  This green goodness also strengthens the immune system, decreases inflammation, improves circulation, and offsets harmful free radicals. It is also rich in fiber and carotenoids, and like other cruciferous vegetables, it may prevent some forms of cancer.

Today’s post features the beautiful Romanesco broccoli but feel free to substitute traditional broccoli or cauliflower if you cannot find this in your local market. I turned this detailed vegetable into a puree or mash, paired it with some truffled arugula (yum!) and stacked it with polenta. Hope you enjoy it!

1 cup of Polenta
3 ¼ cups warm water
¼ cup on green onions, thinly sliced
1 medium Romanesco broccoli (or substitute of choice)
1 garlic clove peeled and minced
2 cups of arugula (I also used pea sprouts because I had them in my fridge)
¼ cup raw cream (use soy milk to keep it dairy free)
2 tablespoons of goat cheese
2 teaspoons of black truffle oil
EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the water, polenta, green onion, one tablespoon of EVOO, and one teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Stir with a fork until well blended and then transfer mixture to an 8-inch square pan (sprayed with olive oil). Bake uncovered for 50 minutes. Remove from oven, slice into squares, and then bake for an additional ten minutes. When it has firmed up nicely, remove from the oven and set aside.

While the polenta is baking, wash and cut the Romanesco broccoli into even segments and place in a large bowl. Add the minced garlic, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Use your hands to make sure all the veggie segments have been coated with oil. Place the Romanesco broccoli on a large baking pan (with edges) and roast for 25 minutes.

In the mean time, place the arugula and pea shoots (if using) in a bowl. Add the truffle oil and mix with your hands. Set aside until you’re ready to assemble your stacks.

Once the Romanesco broccoli has finished roasting, remove it from the oven and transfer to a high-speed blender or food processor. Add the goat cheese and cream and blend until desired consistency has been reached. Feel free to add water or veggie stock if you prefer your mash or puree to be thinner.

Now it’s time to assemble your masterpiece! Place one square slice of polenta on a plate, top with Romanesco broccoli mash, sprinkle with arugula and repeat each step once more. Feel free to sprinkle some additional goat cheese on top and serve!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

Yes, you saw the title of this post correctly. Today I am featuring the amazing Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites! Earlier today on Nourish’s Facebook page I discussed the negative impacts of sugar on our beautiful bodies. Large amounts of sugar can lead to disease, cancer, skin irritation, and fertility related issues. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is loaded with sugar! We, as consumers, and our own health advocates need to be mindful and aware of what is in our food.

Try to avoid processed foods as much as possible and those that contain sugar and other “refined” ingredients. Most importantly – stay away from trans fats. Now most labels will show a zero next to trans fats. The FDA has actually approved food companies to list trans fats as a whopping zero if the product contains 500mg or less. 500 mg! Trickery! A tip from Nourish, scan the ingredients. If you see hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil – this is a trans fat. Do not purchase this product and tell your friends.

Okay back to the tasty treats! If you doubted this post and the fact that I would post a recipe with white sugar, raw egg, and pounds of butter – you were right J These cookie dough bites include all natural nut butter, only a couple tablespoons of natural sweetener, and 80% organic raw cacao chips. I have seen variations of this recipe gracing healthy food blogs everywhere! With a modification or two of my own - I finally gave in. These delicious bite sized balls of deliciousness can be whipped up using a mere five ingredients and will require ten minutes of your time. I promise they will be worth it!

Oh…and don’t plan on eating only one J


1/3 cup organic rolled oats
2/3 cup of your favorite nut butter (I used all natural peanut butter)
2 tablespoons of honey (agave or dates would also work)
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla
80% raw organic cacao chips


Add the oats to a food processor or high-speed blender and turn these oats into lovely oat flour in no time.

Next add the nut butter, sweetener and vanilla and blend or process again until the mixture resembles cookie dough.

Transfer the “dough” into a medium-mixing bowl, add the cacao chips and stir with a spoon. Use your hands to roll the dough into bite-sized dough balls and place them in a storage container with a lid. You don’t want your new tasty treats to get dry!

Remember that sharing is caring J Enjoy!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Smoky Cumin Kale Chips

Soft and chewy or crisp and crunchy? Sweet and juicy or salty and savory? We all have our vices, right? I’ve never been much of a chip eater myself. I typically lean towards sweets or fruity flavors. However, the other day as I made my way through my neighborhood food coop I couldn’t take my mind off of a healthy, crunchy snack. Yes, I could have chosen carrot sticks or celery but that is so basic and normal. I wanted something a little less ordinary - kale chips!

Kale chips are so easy to make and are absolutely delicious and nutritious! Find the amazing benefits of Kale here. By adding different spices you can completely change the flavor of your “chips.” I really enjoy a smoky flavor so I chose cumin. You could also choose chili powder, curry powder, garam masala, or a drizzle of vinegar and sea salt. Pick your flavor and go for it!


1 bunch of kale (I used Red Russian kale)
1 tablespoon of EVOO
Sea salt
Spice/flavor of you choice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the kale leaves from the thick spine and rinse and dry them thoroughly. A salad spinner works great if you have one! 

Add the leaves to a large bowl, drizzle with EVOO, and use your hands to make sure each leaf is coated. Transfer them to two large baking sheets and sprinkle with sea salt and cumin (or spice of liking). Place both pans in the oven and bake the chips for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges turn light brown and start to curl. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!