Veggies

now browsing by category

 

Zucchini Pizza Boats!

If you are like me, you are so happy when fruits and veggies come in season.  They are cheaper, more readily available and they taste better.  It’s even more exciting when you are growing your own, or can share what is growing in your neighbor’s garden.  But what happens when all your zucchini comes in at once?  Or you buy a ton of it at the Farmer’s Market because it looks beautiful and you can’t resist?  Zucchini Pizza Boats!

Zucchini Pizza Boats are a great meal anytime, one of my favorite leftovers (yummy for a quick lunch or afternoon snack), and they also makes a really fun appetizer.  Just cut them up into bite sizes and serve – your guests will love them.  They are so easy, too.  Get all your favorite pizza toppings out and let everyone make their own!

Image

Zucchini Pizza Boats

I’ve seen lots of recipes for these, but I took my inspiration from Paleo Indulgences by Tammy Credicott

Preheat oven to 400º.  Clean the zucchini, then split in half lengthwise and scoop out part of the center and seeds to make a shallow trough.  Place the zucchini on a baking sheet lined with parchment with the hollowed-out side up.

Fill the hollowed-out center with pizza sauce, your favorite marinara sauce or bruschetta topping and then start layering all your favorite pizza toppings.  I use turkey sausage and mushroom and I’ve also made some using turkey canadian bacon and caramelized onions.  (Just make sure that the toppings, like sausage, are already cooked).  Quick Note:  If using dairy-free cheese (I use Daiya), I typically put the cheese over the sauce and then put toppings on top of that.  It seems to melt a bit better for me that way.

Bake about 30-40 minutes or until toppings and sauce are bubbling and zucchini is soft.  After cooling a bit, serve as is or slice into 3-4 bite-sized pieces if serving as an appetizer.

 

Home Grown Produce Is The Best!

P1010838

I did some traveling this summer and was lucky enough to stay with good friends along the way.  One of my friends has a beautiful garden in her backyard, with all kinds of wonderful growy things to choose from when preparing a meal.  The tomatoes were just coming into their own, and the fresh herbs were happy and healthy.  What a feeling of abundance it is to go out the back door and pick dinner!

The best thing about home grown produce, other than knowing how it was grown and what is and isn’t sprayed on it, is the quality of the food.  When you slice up a tomato that has just been picked off the vine, nestle in some fresh basil leaves, all you need to do is sprinkle with a good quality olive oil, maybe some salt and pepper, and you have got the most amazing dish!  It can’t be any simpler than that, and really…. it can’t get much better, either.

 

P1010568

Eating healthy meals can be so easy, especially when you start with high quality produce.  If you can’t grow any of your own, find the farmers markets in your area, or get to know your neighbors who have gardens.  Many times they are happy to share or barter.  Getting something that is fresh, full of flavor and full of nutrients – way worth getting your hands dirty!

Because I was out of state for most of the summer, I didn’t get a lot of time to grow things, but since our weather has been so nice, I did just plant herbs in hopes that I will have at least several months of use.  Along with mint and rosemary that survived the winter, I just planted dill, basil, cilantro and parsley.  I still need to find some tarragon, although that is usually the toughest one to locate.  What about you?  Let us know what you are growing this season!

Roasted Veggie Dip


Roasted Veggie Dip/Spread

This has become one of our all-time favorites.  It is Ina Garten’s recipe (click here for original recipe) and it is great as a dip, to top chicken or fish, and wonderful used as a healthy spread on a wrap.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded
  • 1 red onion, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking.

Cool slightly.

Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper.

 

Fabulous Eggplant Dip


Eggplant Caviar

This is the original recipe for what we all refer to as the Fabulous Eggplant Dip.  This is one of the few recipes that I don’t mess with – I like it just the way it is.  It tastes great on sliced cucumbers!

By Nora Kogan, originally published in Real Simple

Makes 1 1/2 cups (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1  large eggplant (about 1 1⁄2 pounds)
  • 1/2  small onion, finely chopped (1⁄4 cup)
  • 1  clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1  teaspoon  red wine vinegar
  • 1  tablespoon  mayonnaise (optional)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Cut-up vegetables, for serving

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Using a fork, prick the eggplant all over. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until very tender, 50 to 60 minutes.

2. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, halve it lengthwise and scrape out the flesh, discarding the skin. Finely chop the flesh and transfer it to a large bowl.

3. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, oil, vinegar, mayonnaise (if using), ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and mix to combine. Sprinkle with additional parsley and serve with the vegetables, if desired.

Chunky Tomato Soup

Chunky Tomato Soup

This recipe was inspired by the Potassium Balance Broth in the Hungry For Change cookbook.  I wanted more of a tomato soup, so this is my variation.  It’s a great, simple soup that is easy to digest and is super good for you.  I always seem to want more of this one!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups sping water
  • 4 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 15 ounces green string beans, roughly chopped
  • 1 small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, finely chopped (see note)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 26 ounces crushed tomatoes (see note)
  • Fresh herbs – Oregano, basil, or your favorite combination

Directions:

1. Put all ingredients, except crushed tomatoes, in a pot. Bring to a gentle boil, lower heat and then simmer very gently for 30 minutes, with lid on.

2. Strain and use as a broth. Alternatively, leave vegetables in, or even blend to create a thicker soup.

Notes:

The original recipe calls for the 3 tomatoes, but I found I wanted more tomato flavor (especially when tomatoes are out of season and not so yummy), so I added about 26 oz. crushed tomatoes (I use Pomi brand). I used one of those “boat motor” immersion blenders and blended it (didn’t strain it – I wanted all the fiber from all the good veggies!) until it was a little bit smooth, a little bit chunky.

Then I added some fresh herbs  and I ate several bowls of it! I thought it was good – really light and tasty and my body seemed to really love it as well!

 

Squash!

What a fun Healthy Priorities get-together!  I’m so glad everyone could come and learn a bit more about the amazingly versatile squash.  Here are the recipes I used:

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Tacos – click here

Spaghetti Squash Casserole – Click here

White Bean, Kale and Roasted Veggie Soup – click here

Paleo Pumpkin Bars – click here

Pickled Red Onion and Jalapeno – click here (it is included with the fish taco recipes, so just scroll down and you’ll find it).

 

Stuffed Acorn Squash

from Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie & Charles Mayfield

2 acorn squash

1 tbls. olive or coconut oil

1 onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red pepper, chopped

1 lb. ground turkey or turkey sausage

2 tbls. chili powder

3 tsp. cumin

1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped

Preheat oven to 400º.  Cut squash in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and pulp.  Place facedown in a baking pan with about 1/4” of water.  Bake for 30-45 minutes until squash is soft.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add in oil, and when hot stir in onions and garlic.  Cook until onions are translucent, being careful not to burn garlic.  Stir in peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes longer.

Add in turkey and spices and brown until turkey is cooked through.  Stain off any excess liquid from the turkey and stir in tomatoes, heating through.  Place squash face up and fill with turkey mixture and serve.

Notes:  Serve with your favorite salsa or dairy-free cheese on top.  I also took the leftover turkey mixture and served it with some leftover spaghetti squash and it was great!

Zucchini Pizza Boats

I’ve seen lots of recipes for these, but I took my inspiration from Paleo Indulgences by Tammy Credicott

Preheat oven to 400º.  Clean the zucchini, then split in half lengthwise and scoop out part of the center and seeds to make a shallow well.  Place the zucchini on a baking sheet lined with parchment with the hollow-out side up.

Fill the hollowed-out center with pizza sauce, your favorite marinara sauce or bruschetta  topping and then start layering all your favorite pizza toppings.  I used turkey sausage and mushroom and I’ve also made some using turkey canadian bacon and caramelized onions.  (Just make sure that the toppings, like sausage, are already cooked).  Top with your favorite dairy-free cheese (I used Daiya).

Bake about 20-30 minutes or until toppings and sauce are bubbling and zucchini is soft.

 

Nothing Better Than Summer Veggies

 

Ok, it’s been crazy hot out here.  And if you’re like me, you don’t feel like eating a lot, much less preparing a big meal.  Instead of reaching for the bowl of ice cream (not that we’d ever do that!), take advantage of all the wonderful veggies that are in season.  Check your local Farmers Markets and eat locally when you can.  Cut up and serve raw or lightly steam them, and have some fun things to dip them in.  Try some homemade mayonnaise, your favorite salad dressing, even a jar of salsa works.  It’s a fun, easy, light meal and your body will be so happy to have those extra vitamins and minerals.

BLT Salad

 

A perfect meal for this hot weather, and a joyous re-uniting of flavors for those of us who are not eating grains.  I have to admit, that a great BLT is something I do miss, so luckily my sister (Dr. Cary) came up with this easy solution to solve the cravings.

Fry up several slices of bacon (nitrate/nitrite free please!  Trader Joe’s has a great one).  While they are frying, put together your favorite salad ingredients – cool crunchy lettuce, tomato (of course) then add red onion or scallion, cucumber, even avocado is great.

After the bacon is cooked and crispy, let drain on paper towels, pour out leftover bacon grease from pan but don’t wipe out all the yummy parts on the bottom of the pan-that’s where all the flavor is.  Add about two tablespoons (or more if you like a lot of dressing) of mayonnaise, either homemade or straight from the jar and let it warm up and get all creamy. You will probably have to add some water to dilute it, so start with just a bit and add in as you need to thin it out.  As you stir it around, it will pick up all the bits of flavor left at the bottom of the pan.  This only takes a few moments, so just add your crunchy bacon to the top of your salad, pour on the warm dressing and toss.  It’s a BLT in a bowl!!!  Full of flavor and makes a great summertime dinner.

For those of you who really need that bit of bread, use your favorite gluten-free (or regular if you are still eating that) bread, chop it up in big chunks, and toast in a saute pan with some olive oil and salt until crisp and crunchy. This makes the best croutons and would be fabulous mixed in with your BLT salad.

Carrot Cake Cooler

One of my friends usually requests a carrot cake as her birthday treat, but this year, she decided to forego the carrot cake as she wanted to begin the year with an eye towards better health.  So, instead of a high fat, high sugar (and yes, yummy) carrot cake, we had Carrot Cake Coolers to celebrate.  Usually I think about these for a warm weather treat, but they are actually great anytime.  Besides, after all that holiday eating, I’m sure your liver would be happy with the extra love from the carrot juice!

This recipe is adapted  from the Carrot Cake Cooler recipe in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Clean by Diane A. Welland, M.S., R.D.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbls. fresh carrot juice
  • 3 tbls. reduced fat (lite) coconut milk
  • 3 tbls. unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 4 tbls. rice milk
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg

Combine the juices and milks, stir, and serve over ice with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg on top.

I Finally Like Brussels Sprouts!

For years, I’ve known that brussels sprouts are really little tiny heads of nutritional goodness, but….. they just weren’t my favorite.  You can’t beat these little cabbage-like veggies for the amount of Vitamin C and Vitamin K they contain, not to mention their protection against cancer and even DNA damage. (Click here for more nutritional information). But let’s face it, most people aren’t crazy about them because of their taste.

When they started showing up in the grocery stores for the holidays, I was bound and determined to figure out a better way to prepare them.  (I love getting them fresh on the stalk, usually at Trader Joe’s.  Most of us have no idea where food comes from anymore!)  I decided to caramelize them because everything tastes better that way. Here’s my super easy, you gotta try it, recipe:

Remove the old/bad leaves from the sprouts, soak a bit to make sure they are clean, and cut in half.  Meanwhile, slice an onion and saute in coconut oil until soft and caramelized.  Remove from pan.  Take brussels sprouts and put flat side down in hot saute pan (you should have a bit of coconut oil left from onions).  Let them cook until brown, then turn.  After they are browned all over, add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and cover.  Steam until softened.  Add in the onions, season with salt and pepper and anything else you like on your sprouts, stir, and serve.  Fabulous!