Plant-Based Pesto Quinoa

If you follow me on instagram, you know that I set two goals for the month of September: 1. better meal prep and 2. daily meditation. Truth be told, the meal prep is going pretty well. Why it’s more difficult to find the time to  literally sit still than it is to exert effort into things like shopping, chopping, and cooking is beyond me. Meditation is a work in progress…but at least the meal prep is going well. Hey, nobody’s perfect, right?!

Anyway, I typically meal prep on Sundays and I usually roast some chicken and a ton of veggies. Last Sunday, I was a little sick of chicken, so instead made a big batch of quinoa to have throughout the week. I didn’t want the quinoa tasting like bland leftovers, so I decided to mix things up and pesto-fy my quinoa….because anything with pesto is delicious, no?! Plus, not that I’m into labels or anything, but this baby also happens to be vegan/plant-based, gluten free, dairy free, and choc-full of all of your macro-nutrients. Yup, you’ve got protein, carbs, fat, and a serving of greens too – all in this one super simple dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 handful arugula
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional, or sub for parmesan cheese if desired)
  • 1/2 cup organic corn

*note: all of my ingredients were organic, but if you’re going to go organic on anything, corn is the most important because conventional corn is so highly GMO. I use frozen organic corn and just thaw it out beforehand.

Cook quinoa (cook however you like to cook your quinoa. I cooked it on the stovetop in 2-3 cups water and a pinch of sea salt.) While quinoa is cooking, make the pesto by combining arugula, basil, olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the pine nuts, and nutritional yeast in food processor (I use a Vitamix.) Toast the other tablespoon of pine nuts, but be sure to watch them because they toast fast! (Truth: toasting nuts usually takes me two attempts because I forget about them and burn them the first time. Don’t do this.)

Turn heat off, but leave pot on the warm stove and stir in pesto, corn, and pine nuts. That’s it! Enjoy for lunch or dinner…all week long!

One Healthy Breakdown: Meatless Monday…and Tuesday…and Wednesday…

 

Creamsicle Power Smoothie

Spring is arguably the most promising of seasons, showing signs of growth, vibrance, sunshine, and rejuvenation. Unfortunately, spring also brings about unreliable weather, the peak of allergy season, and those end-of-flu-season germs that have us needing some serious Vitamin C. Ditch the pills and give your immune system a healthy boost with this tasty treat instead!

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange or 2 clementines or 1 grapefruit (peeled)
  • juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 scoop high quality vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk or coconut water
  • 1 handful romaine lettuce (optional)
  • dash of turmeric or small piece of turmeric root (optional)
  • ice cubes (optional)

Add all ingredients to a blender, starting with the liquids. Blend until smooth. Add ice cubes if you wish. Pour into a glass and enjoy, knowing that you’re feeding your body right.

One Healthy Breakdown: real food cures all most!

Paleo Lemon Blueberry Loaf

I just love anything (and everything) with a tangy lemon flavor. Lemon squares, you’re SO GOOD…but you’re SO BAD! This guilt-free, grain-free paleo bread with lemon, blueberries, and very little sugar…now that’s a show stopper. This deliciousness can be made as a loaf or muffins, crunchy on the outside and soft and crumbly on the inside. Does it get any better?!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond or coconut flour (or healthy flour of choice)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 or 3 lemons (depending on how lemon-y you like)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside blueberries and lemons. Combine all other ingredients in food processor (I use a Vitamix.) Wash lemons and grate the zest of one lemon into mixture. Cut lemons in half, remove seeds, and squeeze juice into mixture. Continue to blend until batter is consistent and smooth. Add blueberries and stir by hand. Grease loaf or muffin pan with coconut oil and pour batter in, leaving about an inch on top for loaf to rise. (If you have leftover batter, it can be used for muffins or pancakes.) Bake for 35 minutes (25 for muffins!) and check with a fork to make sure it’s cooked through, if not, continue to bake another 8-10 minutes. Once top has started to brown, remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan. Refrigerate leftovers to keep fresh. Enjoy this sweet and sour snack!

One Healthy Breakdown: take that sugar-laden lemon bars!

*recipe inspired by Savory Lotus’ Blueberry Lemon Bread

Homemade Larabars

I’m always on the hunt for on-the-go bars. Not only should they taste delicious, but the perfect bar must be made of real, whole foods. Larabar gets an A in my book because of their minimal ingredients – real, whole food that we’re all familiar with…which also means that they’re pretty easy to recreate, customize, and they involve no baking whatsoever. Shall we?

Homemade Larabars: (makes 10 bars)

Ingredients:

  • 10 dates
  • 2 generous tablespoons nut butter (peanut, almond, or cashew butter are all great)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash of sea salt
  • water as needed
  • totally optional modifications:
    • 1/3 cup oats (for a serving of healthy carbs)
    • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips
    • 2 tablespoons coconut butter or shredded coconut
    • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds (for added protein)
    • 2 tablespoons high quality protein powder (for added protein)
    • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup (for picky kids with a serious sweet tooth)
    • replace 1/2 of dates with other dried fruit of choice, like apricots or goji berries
    • 1/4 cup blueberries for blueberry flavor

Add all ingredients (except water) to food processor and mix. If mixture is too dry to stick together, add a teaspoon of water and continue to blend. Once mixture is consistent, transfer to a square pan or glass container and smoothly spread it as evenly as possible. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Remove and cut into square or rectangular bars and remove bars as you wish (ideally with a flat metal spatula.) You can either keep in same container or individually wrap bars for travel. Enjoy a bar as a snack, pre-workout energy boost, or a sweet treat!

One Healthy Breakdown: oh the possibilities with homemade Larabars!

Vegan Pesto Zoodles with Fresh Tomatoes

Zoodles are oodles of fun, especially during tomato season! Upgrade any pasta dish with veggie noodles for a healthier meal that’s low in carbs, calories, and high in fiber. This one just happens to be meatless, vegetarian, vegan, and you won’t even miss the meat or cheese one bit! I used the inspiralizer to make noodles out of zucchini and summer squash before adding fresh tomatoes and a vegan pesto that is out of this world. Ready to be inspiralized?

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Ingredients: (makes two servings)

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1/3 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

Use Inspiralizer (or your tool of choice) to make noodles out of the zucchini and squash. Put noodles aside on a plate, sprinkle sea salt over noodles, and let sit to drain some of the liquid. For pesto, in a Vitamix, blender, or food processor, combine arugula, basil, nuts, avocado, 1 tablespoon olive oil, nutritional  yeast, and the lemon (remove seeds, optional to use juice or peel as well like we do.) Add a few spoonfuls of water if needed, so that mixture blends together.

Put zoodles in a pan on the stove over low heat and add remaining olive oil. Once they start to cook and soften, add pesto and cubed tomato. (For added protein and creaminess, you can also add one egg to the pan at this time.)

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Mix over heat a few more minutes until noodles are all covered in pesto and tomatoes have softened. Remove from heat and serve in pasta bowl, garnish with basil leaves. Bon appetit!

One Healthy Breakdown: There’s nothin’ wrong with a little healthy Italian.

Green Cream of Cauli Soup

The simple veggie soup happens to be tasty, hearty, and oh so comforting! Forget mashed potatoes, I give you Green Cream of Cauli Soup, the dish that bridges the gap between comfort food and superfood. Adapted from OHH’s Super Spring Cleanse, it’s like a green juice in a soup. For more detox-friendly recipes and tips, get your cleanse copy now!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower cut into pieces
  • 1.5 cups bone broth, chicken broth or veggie broth
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large handful organic arugula
  • 1/3 avocado
  • 1 teaspoon hemp seeds, nuts of choice, or 1/4 cup Greek yogurt for protein
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Here’s what I did:

  • Boil cauliflower in bone broth
  • Add garlic and basil and continue to cook on medium
  • Once cauliflower is soft, transfer entire mixture to your Vitamix or high-powered blender (you may have to wait until it cools depending on what you have)
  • Add remaining ingredients
  • Serve warm, garnish with basil leaf

One Healthy Breakdown: the cleanse-worthy cream of!

Berry Good Oat Bars

Introducing the berry good oat bar, star of the snack scene and best blueberry- loaded breakfast in town! Loaded with nutrients, these babies are chewy like a brownie, but much healthier, with the perfect combination of carbs, protein, and fat. Now, that’s berry, berry good!

IMG_1975In a mixer/blender, combine all of the following ingredients:

2 cups berries (blueberries or a variety of berries, fresh or thawed frozen)
1 cup plain oats
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup nuts OR nut butter of choice
1 tablespoon flax
1 teaspoon honey

optional additions:
1 scoop high-quality protein powder for extra protein
1/4 cup goji berries
1 tablespoon hemp or chia seeds

Spray a large brownie pan and pour batter evenly into pan. Bake at 325-350 for about 15-20 minutes. Check with a fork, they’ll be soft, but won’t stick to fork. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and cut into individual bars. Serve cool or heated and enjoy any time of day.

IMG_1964One Healthy Breakdown: sounds like berry good plan!

Homemade CocoNut Milk

No, you’re not nuts. Not only is it possible (and super easy!) to make your own nut milk, it also happens to be WAY more delicious and nutritious than store-bought. All you need is a cup of nuts, one can of organic coconut milk, and some water. See, simple enough already!

image(44)On day three of Whole30, this not-a-fan-of-black-coffee sought out for an alternative to her usual cartons of unsweetened almond milk…and what she got was far superior – a decadent, creamy concoction that makes a plain cup of coffee a supreme experience. Another victory for good old whole foods and homemade simplicity…hold the following: Cane Sugar, Salt, “Natural Flavor,” Locust Bean Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan gum, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Zinc Gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin (B2), Evaporated Cane Juice, Potassium Citrate, Carrageenan, D-Alpha-Tocopherol, Syrup, Pea Protein, Rice Protein, Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Phosphate, Carrageenan, L-Selenomethionine, Zinc Oxide, Folic Acid. Just to name a few of the many additives found on the most popular brands of nut milk. Here’s how it’s done:

IMG_1610Step 1: soak about a half cup of nuts (cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, brazil nuts, or any combination of these – raw and unsalted is best) in a bowl of water overnight or for at least three hours.

Step 2: drain soaked nuts in strainer.

Step 3: pour rinsed nuts, 1 can coconut milk, and two cups of water in your Vitamix or high-powered blender and go to town. Once mixture is blended into liquid, store in fridge and use within a week. Makes about six cups. Amazing with coffee, tea, granola, oatmeal, and pretty much anything else. Note that if you’re not a fan of coconut, feel free to blend soaked nuts with one cup water and call it a (coconut-free) day! Also, feel free to experiment with flavorings – cinnamon, vanilla extract, cardamom, sea salt, rose water, etc.

One Healthy Breakdown: go nuts…coconuts!

One Healthy Shamrock Shake

Let’s forgo the fast food, skip the drive thru, hold the corned beef, and head straight for the shake. We’re talking a Shamrock Shake, yum yum. After all, a large shake at McDonalds will cost ya almost a day of calories, well over 100 grams of sugar, and a whole lotta other crap that is far from lean or green. This healthy version is delicious and nutritious enough to have for…breakfast! Lucky you!

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One Healthy Shamrock Shake:

In a blender, combine:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 large handful spinach or romaine (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • A bunch of fresh mint leaves and/or one drop of peppermint extract (a little bit goes a long way)
  • 1 teaspoon cacao powder or cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • handful of ice cubes

Pour into a large glass. Top with extra nibs or chocolate chips and go to town!

One Healthy Breakdown: it’s a wish come true!

Apple Pie A La Smoothie

There’s nothin’ like warm apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream atop…right?! If you’re an apple pie fan, you’ll love this one – great for any time of the day (yes, even breakfast!) and makes a perfect post-workout refuel! Warm up while you cool down, feed your body, and wake up your senses with this sweet smoothie recipe!

MP900384682In a blender, combine the following:

  • 1 large (or 2 small) apples
  • 1 handful romaine lettuce or spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 scoop high-quality vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • ice cubes if desired

One Healthy Breakdown: it doesn’t look like a pie, feel like a pie, or compare nutritionally (thankfully!) but it sure is tasty…and healthy!