Mediterranean Farro Salad with Chickpeas

This is a delicious, nutritious, and hearty salad that lasts for days in the fridge.

Inspired by Ina Garten’s Farro Tabbouleh with Feta.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 hothouse cucumbers, unpeeled, halved, seeded, and 1/2-inch diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can organic chickpeas, drained (I don’t rinse – I like the brine)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley (if you like parsley, use the entire bunch)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (or more)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 6 ounces feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • Pitted Kalamata olives, drained

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain the farro and place it in a large saucepan with 4 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until tender. Drain. I highly recommend cooking farro the way it is prepared in Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the cucumbers, chickpeas, scallions, parsley, and mint in a large bowl. 
  3. Drain the farro and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Add the warm farro to the vegetables and herbs and add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Carefully stir in the feta and olives.

*I have found with most beans and grain salads that much less oil is needed in the dressing than typical green salads. Therefor typical oil to acid ratios don’t apply.


Blue Zones Kitchen Black Eyed Pea Salad with Mint & Onions

Adapted from The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100

Ingredients

  • 1 pound black-eyed peas (or four 15-ounce cans, drained) (pinto or white beans work well too)
  • 3 green onions, tops removed and coarsely chopped (I chop the tops as well)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated (I like using 2 carrots)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup greens like spinach, baby kale, or sweet dandelion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (at least 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Dill (optional for garnish)
  • Juice of 2 lemon (my addition – I don’t think the vinegar adds nearly enough acid so I like to add lemon juice)
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes, chopped (my addition)
  • 1/2 cup italian parsley, chopped (my addition)
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice (my addition)

Directions

  1. If using dried black-eyed peas, place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid, tilting lid slightly to let some steam escape.
  2. Cook for an hour, or until peas are tender.
  3. While peas are still hot, mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. If using canned black-eyed peas, just drain, rinse, and heat on a stovetop over medium heat with all other ingredients until warmed through (5-6 minutes). (I usually use canned beans and don’t bother heating them).
  5. Garnish with dill, if using.
  6. Serve warm or cold.


Soba Noodles with Swiss Chard

This is a simple, nutritions, and surprisingly delicious dish that comes together in about 10 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 2 servings Soba noodles, 110g (I like Eden Organic)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 large clove garlic, sliced or minced
  • 1 medium bunch Swiss Chard, stems removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Chicken (or vegetable flavor)
  • Freshly cracked pepper 
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

Directions

  1. Cook soba noodles according to package.
  2. Drain the soba noodles, reserving a little cooking water.
  3. Optional: Stir the noodles with a little butter and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a little oil or butter in a large saucepan or pot.
  5. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant.
  6. Add bouillon and 1/4 water and stir.
  7. Add chard and cook until soft and wilted, approximately 5 minutes.
  8. Add the chard and soy sauce to the noodles and toss well. If the noodles seem dry, add a little bit of the reserved cooking liquid.


Kettner Exchange Kale Salad {Copycat}

The kale salad at San Diego’s Kettner Exchange is arguably the best kale salad in town. I was so pleased with myself when I made a version that tasted just like it! This salad will make a kale lover out of anyone.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz bunch of curly kale (purple if you can find it)
  • 1/2 apple, thinly sliced (I use a mandolin)
  • 1/3 cup cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup Marcona almonds (or sliced roasted almonds)
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Dressing

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (Kettner Exchange uses lemon-flavored olive oil and probably uses double this amount. I like it a little more acidic)
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Dash of red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Shred the kale as finely as possible.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper.
  3. Pour half of the dressing over the kale and massage it into the leaves to tenderize them. Once they have wilted down a bit from this process, you can determine how much more dressing you’d like to add. You will probably need all of it,
  4. Add the apples, almonds, raisins, and parmesan and toss well to combine.
  5. Allow to sit 5 minutes and toss again.


Whole Wheat Orzo Risotto with Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts (low-fat)

Inspired by Ellie Krieger’s Herbed Salmon and Orzo Casserole with Feta. I love the way she cooks the orzo in minimal liquid. It adds a yummy creaminess.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 (12oz) package frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 3/4 cups water or broth
  • 12 large raw shrimp (21-30 count)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups greens (kale, Swiss chard, spinach)
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Spices – Whatever you like -I like to use lemon pepper, celery salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided), more for drizzling 
  • Parmesan or feta cheese for serving

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Place fresh or frozen shrimp in a single layer. Sprinkle each piece with preferred spices.
  3. Cook for a minute or two and then flip the shrimp. Cook on the second side until pink and no longer translucent. Remove to serving plate.
  4. To the skillet, add another tablespoon of olive oil, garlic and artichoke hearts and cook for a minute or two until artichokes are slightly browned.
  5. Add the orzo, water/broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer; cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and stir; continue to cook 3 more minutes or until tender and all liquid is absorbed. If the orzo is still firm, add a bit more water and cook until tender.
  7. Turn off the heat, stir in greens and a squeeze some lemon juice. Toss until the greens are wilted. Remove from heat.
  8. Stir in the shrimp to heat them up a bit, and serve.
  9. Sprinkle with feta or parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice instead of last 3 spices
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, water, oil, salt, and eggs. Beat until well mixed.
  3. Place a sieve over the bowl and sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves (or pumpkin pie spice). Mix until smooth.
  4. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin.
  5. Bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Serve with cream cheese frosting.

What to do with the leftover pumpkin puree?


Trader Joe’s Lentil Salad

Made from ready-to-eat items from Trader Joe’s, this is a quick, delicious, and healthy salad that holds up for days in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • 1 container Trader Joe’s Bruschetta Sauce (refrigerated)
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils (refrigerated)
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • Feta cheese (optional)
  • Basil (optional)

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine entire packages of lentils and bruschetta sauce.
  2. To serve – lay a bed of baby spinach onto the bottom of a bowl. Top with a scoop of lentils and garnish with feta cheese and torn basil.


Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix

Rather than paying a higher price to consume artificial flavor, disodium phosphate, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, mono and diglycerides, artificial color, yellow 5, yellow 6, bha (preservative), make your own mix! It only takes a minute.

Ingredients

For the dry ingredients – make in advance and store:

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

The wet ingredients when ready to make:

  • 3.5 cups of milk (I use 1%)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  1. In a cold saucepan, whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. Slowly pour in the milk and whisk.
  3. Turn on the heat, and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and just starts to boil, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and optional butter.

Tip: To ensure a smooth consistency I like to pour the pudding through a fine mesh sieve and into a cold bowl. This process also speeds up the cooling process. Additionally, I like to stir in 1-2 tablespoons cold milk to quicken the cooling time. I’ve found these steps help prevent the “skin” that can form over the pudding. I also add milk at the end if the pudding seems too thick.


Sweet & Spicy Ginger Green Beans

Photo from Milk Street

Ingredients

Recipe by Milk Street. My alterations are always in parenthesis.
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional – I use 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (I use 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 pound green beans, stemmed and halved on the bias (I just snap them into smaller pieces)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • Ground white pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce. Set aside.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until beginning to smoke. Add the beans and cook, without stirring, until beginning to color, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the water and immediately cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Cook until the beans are bright green and barely tender, about 2 minutes.
  4. Clear a space in the center of the pan, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil (I don’t add any more oil) to the clearing. Stir in the ginger and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour the sugar-fish sauce mixture into the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened and coats the beans, about 1 minute.
  5. Off the heat, stir in the vinegar.


Beaming Rockstar Smoothie Copycat (Your new favorite smoothie)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Almond milk
  • Coconut water (at the end if needed for thinning)
  • 1/2 frozen banana or (1/4 Avocado to make low-glycemic)
  • 1 date or (1 teaspoon Yacon syrup to make low glycemic) (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Vanilla Beaming *Protein Powder (see note for sub)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 teaspoon coconut butter (optional)
  • 5 cubes of Ice
  • Add: Fit Matrix, E3live & Blue Majik (I skip this)

My additions – sometimes I throw in a spoonful of cacao nibs or 2 tablespoons of granola

*A comparable protein powder substitute that is much more affordable. I use 1 scoop of the unflavored whey plus 1/2 scoop of the Vanilla Veggie Protein (see image).

Directions

Add all the ingredients to a high speed or regular blender. If adding cacao nibs, blend a bit first and add at the end to maintain crunch.

My sub for Beaming Protein Powders. Veggie one found at Sprouts. Unflavored on Amazon.