Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

I grew up eating and loving my Mom’s banana bread, which was so delicious and sweet, it should have (maybe) been dessert 😉 I healthified banana bread by making it with fiber-rich whole wheat pastry flour and oat flour (which you can make at home by blending rolled oats in a blender) and cut the sugar tremendously by using monk fruit sweetener.  The Cinnamon Swirl in the middle and top of the banana bread is unreal and a MUST for the recipe!  The center is gooey, like the center of a cinnamon roll, while the top becomes crunchy, almost like crème brûlée.

Summer Tomatoes Two Ways!

Local tomatoes from QuintaMKE (@quintaMKE) taste like sweet summertime! Roasted Tomato Couscous Salad pairs perfectly with big slices of heirloom tomatoes, dressed with olive oil and fresh basil.  Serve for lunch, a light dinner, or as a stunning addition to brunch with family and friends!

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

What (your ingredients):

Couscous:

1 1/3 cup Israeli couscous

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cup boiling water

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:

1 pint cherry tomatoes

Drizzle of olive oil

Pinch of salt

Pinch of dried thyme

Dressing for Roasted Tomato Couscous Salad:

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon white wine vinegar

10 basil leaves, thinly sliced

Pinch of pepper

Fresh Heirloom Tomatoes:

2 heirloom tomatoes

Sprinkle of seasoned salt (Crazy Jane’s Mixed Up Salt or Garlic Salt)

Pepper to taste

5 basil leaves, thinly sliced

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 400 °F.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, sauté couscous and olive oil for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.

When couscous is toasted and slightly brown, add salt and boiling water.

Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 12 minutes.

Add cherry tomatoes to a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and dried thyme. 

Toss to combine, then roast for 10 minutes.

Once the couscous is finished cooking, turn the heat off, and add the roasted cherry tomatoes (and juices from roasted tomatoes!).

Add the couscous dressing ingredients (olive oil, vinegar, basil leaves, pepper) and stir to combine.  Set aside.

Slice the heirloom tomatoes into large slices and place onto a large platter.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with olive oil, and top with fresh basil.

Pour the Roasted Tomato Couscous to the platter next to the fresh heirloom tomato slices.

Enjoy warm, room temperature, or cold!

Why (the science):  Roasted tomatoes are high in lycopene, which helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Hemp Dip with Dill and Parsley (Vegan, GF)

Hemp Dip with Dill and Parsley is the perfect meal prep dip that can last 3-4 days in the fridge.  It’s highly versatile, too!  Serve with your favorite veggies on a crudité platter, spread on a sandwich, or even dress a salad with it.  And what’s even better is that Hemp Dip with Dill and Parsley get whipped up in a blender or food processor in 30 seconds 😊

Serves: 6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

½ hemp seeds

¼ cup water

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh dill

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

How (your directions):

Add all ingredients to a blender or small food processor, and blend on high for about 30 seconds.

Serve with your favorite veggies, as a salad dressing, or even spread on your next sandwich!

Why (the science):  Hemp hearts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are a heart-healthy fat that can help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.  Omega-3’s are also important for healthy brain development!

Mexican Fiesta Quinoa Salad

This recipe is a crowd-pleaser! Colorful and delicious, Mexican Fiesta Quinoa Salad is the perfect recipe for healthy meal prepped lunches, quick weeknight dinners, or part of a festive summer BBQ!

Serves: 6-8

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable broth

1 15.5 oz can black beans

1 cup fire roasted corn

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 spring onions, thinly sliced

How (your directions):

Add quinoa and vegetable broth to a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then cover, lower heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add black beans, corn, olive oil, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, and salt to a large bowl.  Stir to combine.

Once quinoa has finished cooking, turn heat off and allow to sit, covered, for another 5 minutes. 

Add quinoa to the black bean and corn mixture.  Top with thinly sliced spring onions.

Enjoy warm, room temperature, or cold!  Store leftovers in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

Why (the science):  Quinoa and black beans are rich in protein, making this a satisfying lunch throughout the week!

Banana Oatmeal Cookies (Vegan, GF)

These Banana Oatmeal Cookies are the bomb!  They have no processed sugar, are gluten-free, and vegan, so you can feel good about eating them any time of day.  Made with wholesome ingredients, they can be meal prepped and enjoyed for one-the-go breakfasts, snacks, or as a yummy dessert with a piece of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate on the side.  Bonus: they’re made in the food processor!  Ahem, minimal clean up 😊

Serves: 6

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

What (your ingredients):

2 ripe bananas

6 dates, pitted (make sure they’re soft and sticky)

1 tablespoon coconut oil, not melted

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups rolled oats

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Add bananas, dates, coconut oil, salt, baking powder, and vanilla to a blender.  Pulse 10 times, then blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.

Add rolled oats and pulse 5-8 times.  You want the rolled oats slightly broken down to form a dough, but not blended so much that you end up with a paste or completely smooth dough.  Leave a little oat texture.

Spoon six cookies onto lined baking sheet.  Smooth edges, and create a flat top to the cookies using the back of your spoon.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Enjoy warm! 

Store remaining cookies in an airtight container for a week.  Reheat and serve with a drizzle of peanut butter and a side of fruit for breakfast.

Why (the science):  Oats and bananas are prebiotics, which means that feed the healthy bacteria in our gut, which improves our mood and immune system.

** Recipe inspired by Nutrition Refined

5-Ingredient Creamy Broccoli Soup (Vegan, GF)

This 5-Ingredient Creamy Broccoli Soup comes together in less than 30 minutes and couldn’t be easier to make!  It has a silky-smooth texture, made creamy from the red potatoes, and is the perfect meal prep recipe.  5-Minute Creamy Broccoli Soup is nutritious, freezer-friendly, and perfect for lunch or a light dinner.

Serves: 6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

½ teaspoon salt

5 medium red potatoes, diced

6 cups veggie broth

8 cups broccoli florets

To serve: freshly cracked pepper

How (your directions):

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.

Add diced yellow onion and salt.  Sauté for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent.

Add red potatoes, veggie broth, and broccoli.

Bring to a boil, then cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Turn off heat.  Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth and creamy.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer soup carefully to a blender and blend until smooth.

Enjoy hot with freshly cracked pepper!

Why (the science):  Broccoli is a cruciferous veggie, meaning it has powerful anticancer effects!

Italian Inspired Egg Muffins

If you’re in search of a healthy, freezer-friendly meal prep recipe that can be enjoyed for on-the-go breakfasts or afternoon snack, then this recipe is for you!  Italian Inspired Egg Muffins freeze beautifully, but they also last in the fridge for 5 days.  Serve them with toast and fresh avocado, or serve with a salad for a light lunch.

Serves: 6-12 (1-2 egg muffins per serving)

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 cup fresh spinach, chopped

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

½ freshly grated parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

12 eggs

¼ cup unsweetened plant-based milk

Pinch of salt and pepper

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line a 12-cup muffin pan with parchment paper muffin liners. 

In each muffin cup, add a tablespoon of chopped fresh spinach and a few pieces of diced tomato.

Sprinkle each muffin cup with Italian seasoning.

Top each muffin cup with 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese.

In a large Pyrex measuring cup, whisk eggs, plant milk, salt and pepper.

Distribute egg mixture evenly among the 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Enjoy hot, room temperature, or even cold!

Why (the science):  Herbs are rich in antioxidants, so don’t skip the addition of Italian seasoning.  It adds both flavor and nutrition!

 

Quinoa Crusted Quiche with Roasted Tomatoes and Thyme | GF, Dairy-Free |

Quiche is typically not a healthy meal- it’s usually loaded with heavy cream, half and half, butter, cheese, and sometimes bacon or ham.  This Quinoa Crusted Quiche with Roasted Tomatoes and Thyme is super healthful and rich in protein and antioxidants!  The quinoa crust holds its form with the help of omega-3 rich flax meal, and the eggy center is dairy-free.  This quinoa crusted quiche can also be meal prepped for a week of healthy breakfasts that you can simply heat and eat 😊

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

2 tablespoons flax meal

4 tablespoons water

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ teaspoon dried thyme

6 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

¾ cup unsweetened almond milk or Ripple (pea protein milk)

Cooking oil spray

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 425 °F.

Add 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water to a large sauté pan.  Set heat to high, bring to a boil, then cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add cherry tomatoes to a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and thyme.  Roast at 425 °F for 15 minutes.

Add flax meal and 4 tablespoons water to a large bowl.  Stir to combine and set aside.

To another large bowl, add eggs, salt, pepper, and dairy-free milk.  Whisk to combine.

When the quinoa has finished cooking, add quinoa to the bowl with the flax meal.  Stir to combine.

Spritz a tart pan or pie dish with avocado oil to prevent quinoa crust from sticking.  Add quinoa and flax mixture to the pie dish, then press evenly into dish and up the sides to create a crust.

When the tomatoes have finished roasting, place them evenly on top of quinoa crust. 

Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.

Pour egg mixture over the tomatoes.

Bake the quiche for 35 minutes.

Serve hot or warm!

Why (the science):  Roasted tomatoes are high in lycopene, which is especially healthful for men in helping reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

 

Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Fresh Mint and Creamy Goat Cheese | GF |

Who doesn’t want to make a recipe in under 30 minutes that can last all week in the fridge, and be enjoyed at any meal, be that breakfast or dinner!  This Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Fresh Mint and Creamy Goat Cheese is rich in antioxidants, as well as protein to keep you full and satisfied.  Make once, enjoy all week!  The perfect simple meal prep recipe 😊

Serves: 6

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

3 tablespoons orange juice (juice from 1 blood orange)

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 lb. strawberries

20 fresh mint leaves

2 oz. goat cheese

Walnuts to serve

How (your directions):

Add 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water to a large sauté pan.  Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, create an easy vinaigrette by adding orange juice, olive oil, and salt to a large bowl.  Whisk and set aside.

Slice strawberries and chiffonade the mint.  Add to bowl with the vinaigrette.

When the quinoa has cooked for 15 minutes, turn off the heat, but leave the quinoa in the covered pan for 5 minutes.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork, then add to the bowl.  Stir to combine.

Place in refrigerator for a few minutes to cool.  Once cooled, crumble the goat cheese into the quinoa salad.

Serve room temperature or cold, and top with walnuts.

Enjoy for lunch or dinner (or even breakfast!) throughout the week.

Why (the science):  Mint and other herbs are high in antioxidants, which helps reduce inflammation and boost your immune system, which helps you feel better in general!

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding Parfait

Chia seed pudding is an excellent meal prep recipe, as it lasts in the fridge for 5 days!  The Strawberry Sauce is delicious layered with the chia seed pudding, and can also be stirred into yogurt (or poured over ice cream (shh I won’t tell!). Cheers to a breakfast that you can make in advance, grab and go, enjoy as a dessert, or devour as a midafternoon snack 😊

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes (+ soaking overnight)

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

Chia Seed Pudding:

½ cup chia seeds

2 cups almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Strawberry Sauce:

8 oz. strawberries

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ lemon

How (your directions):

In a large bowl, add chia seeds, almond milk, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup.  Whisk immediately, then allow to sit 5 minutes.

Whisk chia mixture once more, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

To make the strawberry sauce, simply add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.

To assemble, create layers of chia pudding and strawberry sauce.  Garnish with additional sliced strawberries.

Why (the science):  Chia seeds are incredibly high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, so they’re great for both digestion and heart health.

Pear and Almond Tart Smoothie

I love a Pear and Almond Tart for dessert, but it’s not an everyday indulgence.  So, to enjoy one of my favorite desserts, I made a smoothie version that I can enjoy as breakfast, as a light and simple dessert on a weekday evening, or as an afternoon pick-me-up!  It comes together in less than 5 minutes, and is incredible for digestion, as well as for keeping energy levels up and stable 😊

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 Bartlett pear, core and stem removed

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 cup oat milk

1 pitted date

How (your directions):

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds.

Enjoy immediately!

Or pour into an ice-cube tray, freeze, and blend with water or oat milk when ready to drink.

Why (the science):  Pears are incredible for digestion!  If you’re suffering from constipation, the fiber in pears promotes regularity and healthy digestion 😊

Anti-Inflammatory Pasta Salad | Plant-Based Vegan |

I love a good pasta salad, and this recipe for Anti-inflammatory Pasta Salad is GREAT!  It’s one of those super simple meals that feels incredibly satisfying and nourishing.  Packed with antioxidants from the colorful array of veggies, along with the fiber and plant-based protein, this Anti-inflammatory Pasta Salad is designed to keep you both satisfied and feeling healthy.  It’s the perfect meal prep recipe for lunches and dinners, since it lasts all week in the fridge.  Bring to any picnic or outdoor event, too!

Serves: 6

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 box spinach fusilli

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Freshly cracked black pepper (~1/4 teaspoon)

1 zucchini

1 pint cherry tomatoes

12 sweet peppers

How (your directions):

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt (enough that the water tastes like the ocean) and add your pasta.  Boil according to package instructions, about 9 minutes.

Meanwhile, add olive oil, vinegar, salt, Italian seasoning, and black pepper to a large bowl.  Whisk to combine.

Slice zucchini into small pieces, cherry tomatoes in half, and dice the sweet peppers.  Add to the vinaigrette and stir to combine.

When pasta is finished cooking, strain and add pasta to the vegetables.  Stir until evenly combine.

Enjoy immediately, room temperature, or store in the fridge in an airtight container for 5 days.

Why (the science):  There’s a reason I often remind you to eat the rainbow!  Each veggie color represents different antioxidants and phytochemicals that keep your immune system strong and you feeling your best 😊

Chewy Trail Mix Bars | Raw, Vegan |

Chewy Trail Mix Bars are so incredibly yummy and nutritious, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make them soon!  One of the simplest recipes, Chewy Trail Mix Bars come together in 10 minutes, and will give you a satisfyingly sweet (but not too sweet!) breakfast or snack to enjoy on the go and during your busy day.  And when you make your own bars at home, you can be sure there are no preservatives, artificial and “natural” flavors, and other weird ingredients.  Wholesome and oh so good, these Chewy Trail Mix Bars will please child and adult alike 😊

Serves: 12

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

10 dates

½ cup creamy peanut butter (drippy, natural)

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 cup oats

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

¼ cup goji berries

How (your directions):

Line a medium baking dish (7x11) with parchment paper and set aside. 

Add dates to a bowl and cover with water.  Microwave on high for 60 seconds.  Dates should be gooey and sticky.  Remove the pits and add dates to a food processor.

Blend dates on high until a sticky paste forms.  Add peanut butter, maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon.  Blend on high until a dough ball forms. 

In a large bowl, add oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and goji berries.  Stir to evenly distribute ingredients.

Using your hands, take the date and peanut butter dough ball and add it to the dry ingredients.  Knead dry ingredients into the date and peanut butter dough until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Press dough firmly into the parchment-lined backing dish.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes. 

Remove from pan by lifting the parchment paper out of the baking dish.

Slice into 10 bars.  Enjoy immediately, or store in an airtight container for 5-7 days.

Why (the science):  The oats, nuts, seeds, and dates make these bars the ultimate energy boosting snack or breakfast on the go!  Keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day is the key to improved mood, focus, and productivity. 

Creamy Buckwheat Porridge | Vegan, GF |

Creamy Buckwheat Porridge is a no-fuss, gluten-free breakfast made quickly in a blender.  Think of it as an exciting alternative to overnight oats!  Simply soak the buckwheat to soften this pseudocereal, then blend with oatmeal and chia seeds.  Creamy Buckwheat Porridge is a great meal prep breakfast, too- just fill a few glass jars, top with your favorite fruits and nuts, and grab-and-go.  Buckwheat helps prevent blood sugar spikes, so you won’t feel an energy crash after this naturally sweet breakfast. 

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes (then allow to soak 4 hours or overnight)

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 cup buckwheat groats, soaked 4 hours or overnight in water

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 pear, roughly chopped

1 ½ cups oat milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds

Toppings: sliced kiwi, blackberries, sliced almonds, or any fruit and nut of choice

How (your directions):

Begin by submerging and soaking 1 cup of buckwheat groats in water for 4 hours or overnight.

Once soaked, drain and rinse buckwheat. 

Add buckwheat, cinnamon, pear, oat milk, and chia seeds to a blender.

Blend on high for 60 seconds until smooth.

Spoon smooth porridge into 4 glass jars, then top with your favorite fruit, nuts, and seeds.

Enjoy immediately or refrigerate and enjoy throughout the week.

Why (the science):  Buckwheat contains the antioxidant, rutin, which helps reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Superfood Raw Brownies | Vegan, GF |

Serves: 6-12 people (makes 12 brownies)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 cup pecans

1 cup sliced almonds

12 dates, pits removed (Tip: if your dates are not sticky, soak them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes)

¼ cup cacao powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Toppings: pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, goji berries

How (your directions):

Add all ingredients (except toppings) to a food processor.

Blend for 1-2 minutes, until a dough forms.  Hint: if you can pinch the dough together between your fingers, the dough is ready.  If the dough does not stick together, add 1 teaspoon warm water and blend for 30 seconds. 

Pinch off 2-3 tablespoons of dough at a time, and press dough into each muffin cup in a silicone muffin mold (or into a lined muffin tin).  Repeat with remaining dough.

Press toppings onto each brownie.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm. 

Store in an airtight container for 5-7 days.

Why (the science):  The protein and fiber from the nuts, seeds, and dates will keep your blood sugar levels stable, meaning it’s the perfect pick-me-up snack for steady energy.  Stable blood sugar means better mood and reduced levels of anxiety!

Vegan Raspberry Muffins

Light and fluffy Vegan Raspberry Muffins are the perfect meal prep breakfast to enjoy throughout the week.  You’ll be absolutely adored if you make these for someone special on Valentine’s Day!  These muffins are significantly lower in sugar than traditional muffins, and the raspberry preserves help sweeten the muffin and add extra raspberry flavor.  The whole wheat pastry flour is my secret nutrition weapon when it comes to baking- it’s whole wheat (hello, health benefits of fiber and vitamin E for blood sugar control) but is light and fine like all purpose flour. 

Serves: 8

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 tablespoon flax meal

3 tablespoons water

1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons cane sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup unsweetened almond milk

2 tablespoons melted vegan butter

2 tablespoons raspberry preserves

1 cup raspberries

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line a muffin tin with 8 liners, then set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together flax meal and water.  Set aside while preparing dry ingredients.

To a large bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk to combine.

Once the flax egg has thickened, add almond milk, melted butter, and raspberry preserves to the flax egg.  Stir to combine.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until flour is just moistened. 

Fold in raspberries evenly through batter.

Using an ice cream scoop, evenly distribute batter among the lined muffin tin.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove muffins from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 3 minutes. 

Transfer muffins to a cooling rack.

Enjoy warm, room temperature, or toasted for breakfast throughout the week!

Why (the science):  Raspberries are rich in the antioxidant, ellagic acid, which reduces inflammation in the body and repairs DNA.

Grilled Romaine & Corn Salad with Basil Aioli Dressing (Vegan, GF)

If you’re bored with the same meals and are looking for the simplest and quickest way to switch it up, then you’re going to love this Grilled Romaine and Corn Salad with Basil Aioli Dressing.  The dressing and salad come together in 15 minutes flat! The Basil Aioli Dressing is creamy, dreamy and just happens to be super healthy and vegan (but don’t tell your spouse and children that...)  Whip up this showstopper salad in both winter for some needed brightness and color, and in summer to impress your BBQ party guests. 

Serves: 2-4 (2 meals, 4 sides)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

What (your ingredients):

Basil Aioli Dressing:

1 cup raw cashew halves

½ cup boiling water

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)

1 garlic clove

1 20-gram package basil

For the Salad:

½ tablespoon olive oil

1 head romaine, rinsed and dried

½ sweet corn, frozen

How (your directions):

To make the Basil Aioli Dressing, start by placing cashews in a small bowl and covering them with ½ cup boiling water.  Let stand 5 minutes.

While cashews are soaking, heat grill pan over medium heat.  Slice the head of romaine in half.  Tip: do not remove the tough bottom that holds romaine head together.

Once heated, add the olive oil to the grill pan.  Place each romaine half, cut side down, onto grill pan.  Next to the romaine, add the frozen corn.  Cook romaine halves and corn 3-4 minutes.

While grilling, add cashews and their soaking water, salt, lemon juice, garlic clove, and basil to a blender. 

Blend until smooth.

Plate by placing grilled romaine halves onto a large serving platter, then evenly distribute grilled corn on top.  Drizzle liberally with the Basil Aioli Dressing.

Why (the science):  Creamy dressings from the store are loaded with processed ingredients, preservatives, and unhealthy fats.  This Basil Aioli Dressing is super nutritious, between the heart-healthy and protein-filled cashews and the anticarcinogenic garlic.  This creamy dressing is something to feel good about 😊

Mushroom and Artichoke Pulled BBQ

Eating your vegetables has never been so easy!  Make pulled BBQ at home in 25 minutes using only a few easy, whole food ingredients.  Mushroom and Artichoke BBQ would be a delicious plant-based option at your outdoor picnic and summer BBQ parties 😊

Serves: 4

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz. white or baby bella mushrooms, diced

2 15-oz. cans baby artichokes in water, drained and diced

1 ¼ cup favorite BBQ sauce

Assembly: toasted whole wheat buns, coleslaw

How (your directions):

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add sliced onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes.

Add garlic, mushrooms, and diced artichokes.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes until golden brown.

Add favorite BBQ sauce and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring only occasionally to allow for caramelization.

Serve immediately on a warm, toasted whole wheat bun with ¼ cup of coleslaw!

Why (the science):  Mushrooms are a rich source of selenium and glutathione, antioxidants that lower inflammation in the body.

Easiest Vegan Chili

Easiest Vegan Chili is so easy and quick, you can make it on a weekday in 30 minutes!  It requires 5-8 minutes of hands on dicing or stirring, but the rest of the cooking time is leaving the chili to simmer.  Leftovers are wonderful, so this Vegan Chili also makes a nutritious meal prep recipe for lunches or dinners.  Store it in the fridge in an airtight container for 4 days.

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

What (your ingredients):

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

½ teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon tomato paste

24-oz. can diced tomatoes

2 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup water

How (your directions):

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven.

Add yellow onion and salt, and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

Add chili powder, cumin, paprika, and tomato paste.  Sauté for 1 minute.

Add black beans, white beans, and water.  Bring to a low boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately with your favorite chili toppings!

Why (the science):  Beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber to keep you full and satisfied, while garlic and onion have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties to boost your immune system.