Vegan Falafel Balls with Kale Cashew Pesto

I recently had a yearning for some falafel after seeing them on the streets of Manhattan at every street fair imaginable… I thought I’d recipe test by creating a vegan falafel ball with a kale pesto dipping sauce.  I opted to add the Kale Cashew Pesto as a dipping sauce for an extra kick, you can also add in more cashews for a creamier texture.

Vegan Falafel Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 oz. can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. lime zest
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. cumin seeds, toasted
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tsp. water
  • 1 Tbsp. rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small skillet over medium heat to toast cumin seeds.  Toast until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes.
  3. In a food processor combine chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, sea salt, white pepper and chili powder; pulse process until coarsely chopped. Add water, ground flax seeds and rice flour.  Using your hands, mold into golf-sized balls.
  4. Place falafel balls on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and serve warm with Kale Cashew Pesto (below).

Kale Cashew Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 cups kale, steamed and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup cashews, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup rice milk
  • 2 cloves garlic, roasted
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Directions

  1. Place kale and scallions in food processor and pulse until chopped.
  2. Add cashews, nutritional yeast, rice milk and garlic, pulse again to combine.
  3. Slowly add sea salt, lemon juice, oil and chili powder.
  4. Continue pulsing until smooth.

Have you ever made falafel? If so, I’d love to hear your recipe…it’s such a fun, creative way to jazz up a classic recipe such as falafel and add in your own ‘kick’ of flavor.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

In The News This Week:

Casava May Improve Gluten Free Bread

Fresh & Easy Goodness Products for Kids Launched

Tofu Goes Interactive in Education


Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup

There’s nothing like a bowl of chicken noodle soup on a chilly February evening.  Last night I created a delicious gluten-free, dairy-free chicken n’ buckwheat noodle soup that warmed me up from the Manhattan chill. I tossed in some navy beans and my favorite dinosaur kale along with mushrooms and ginger for an exceptionally delectable soup.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 4 ounces buckwheat noodles
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried cilantro
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 1 cup navy beans
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cups dinosaur kale, chopped
  • Dash of sea salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • Toppings: Organic corn tortilla chips, crushed; fresh basil, chopped; chili powder

Directions

  • Cook chicken over medium heat until fully cooked and no longer pink. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Prepare and cook buckwheat noodles according to package.  Drain and set aside.
  • In a large pot, combine water, dried herbs, spices and ginger.  Heat until water boils; add navy beans; cover and reduce to a simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms, kale and sea salt; cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add buckwheat noodles, chicken and oil; mix well.
  • Transfer to serving bowls. Top with organic corn chips, fresh basil and a sprinkle of chili powder.
  • Enjoy!

Lucious Leafy Greens

greens

Many of my clients considered ‘leafy green veggies’ unappetizing before they came to me for counseling.  The first thing that came to their minds when I mentioned ‘leafy green veggies’ was “Well, I eat Iceberg Lettuce”! O boy, I thought…we’ve got some work to do and this is going to be fun.  This is what I love about being a Nutritionist.  I truly love making a difference in the way my clients eat and make them realize that this pale lettuce, once so ubiquitous in restaurant salads, does not have the power-packed goodness of other delicious greens.

Before my clients came to me for counseling, they either forgot about these nutrient-rich, flavorful foods or got scared off by the idea of preparing them.

Learning to cook and eat greens is essential for creating lasting health.  It is a simple, easy way to boost your daily diet.  The next time you are at the farmers market or in your local food store, be sure to add some of the following greens to your shopping list: Arugula, Bok Choy, Broccoli Rabe, Cabbage, Collards, Chicory, Dandelion, Escarole, Kale, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Watercress and many other varieties of lettuce.

Leafy green veggies help strengthen our respiratory and circulatory systems.  They are high in magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K.

Leafy green veggies are packed with folic acid, chlorophyll, fiber and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals.  Moreover, they help with blood purification, cancer prevention, improving circulation, strengthening your immune system and improving gall bladder, kidney and live function.  They are also a great ally in the Fall when cold season begins because greens can help clear congestion and reduce mucus.

Surprisingly, greens are not as complicated as they may appear  Try a variety of cooking methods such as boiling, sauteing in olive oil, steaming, blanching, roasting or chopping up for salads and snacks.  Chopping raw veggies for salads and snacks takes only a few minutes to rinse and prepare.  Cooking greens takes a couple of minutes of prep time and about two minutes of cooking time.  You can experiment with cooking your greens with seeds, nuts, beans, butter, tofu, seital, tempeh, chicken, turkey, fish, ground meat, eggs, etc.  Green veggies are easy to add to homemade or prepared soups or stews right before serving.

Try to get into the habit of adding these green veggies to your diet as often as possible.  While veggies are the scarcest food in the American diet, leafy green veggies area is lacking most of all.

Give some of these green leafy veggies a try and see how you feel!  Let me know what you think about the different flavors and textures of these delicious greens…I’m interested to hear!

Uproot from the Green Basics

While everyday veggies such as broccoli and spinach are great for your health, be adventurous and try these other dark greens that pack a flavorful and nutrient-dense punch.

  • Kale- This leafy green is easy to grow and thrives in cold temps.  The beautiful leaves provide an earthy flavor and excellent nutritional value.  I love making ‘kale wraps’ where I wrap kale leaves around my fish and chicken for a fun finger food!
  • Collard Greens- A staple of traditional Southern cooking, this nutritional powerhouse provides vitamins A, C, calcium, iron and magnesium.  Collard greens are delicious to bake with and I love adding collards to my baked fish recipes.
  • Bok Choy- This veggie has a light, sweet flavor and a crisp texture.  Toss some bok choy into stir-fries, Asian dishes or soups.
  • Escarole- This curly Italian green has a bitter taste.  As you remove the leaves, you will experience different degrees of flavor! As the leaves are peeled back, they continue to lighten in shade and bitterness.

Fillet of Sole with Spicy Cilantro Salsa

Last evening, I created a delicious dinner for myself…I spent my afternoon in the long lines of Whole Foods Market at Columbus Circle…after waiting online and fighting the New Year’s Eve crowds (at 3 PM), I was a happy camper with my fresh piece of sole, parsley, cilantro, onions, tomatoes and kale.

I created a tasty dish, quite simple, in fact…I simply cooked the fillet on the stove top, covered, with a touch of low sodium vegetable broth, sea salt and freshly ground white pepper.  Once the fillet was cooked, I served it over steamed kale and my new concoction ‘Spicy Cilantro Salsa’.

Spicy Cilantro Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Greek plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. spicy, stone ground mustard
  • 1 small tomato, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dulse flakes

Directions

  • Simply combine all of the above ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix well.
  • Serve chilled or at room temperature atop fillet of sole, steamed kale and blanched sweet onions.
  • I served my sole with an additional dollop of Greek plain yogurt and salsa (gotta love the extra’s, hehe) as you can see in my picture below.
  • Enjoy!

Happy New Year Bloggies!

Harvest Pumpkin Tofu Frittata

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I was bit by the frittata bug last week and made this for a quick and easy breakfast dish, which then turned into a few meals throughout the week.  Aside from this tasty breakfast, I created an afternoon frittata lunch over arugula, pistacios and fresh figs and  a hearty supper earlier this week atop  al dente buckwheat noodles, tomato sauce and vegan Parmesan cheese.

Over the years my clients have asked me, “What’s the difference between a frittata and an omelet?” Good Question, isn’t it?  Well, in case you are unsure of the answer…the main difference between these two is simply that omelets traditionally have the eggs cooked and folded around the filling, while a frittata gets everything mumbled, jumbled and mixed together.  I serve my frittatas at room temperature, which makes them a convenient option for ‘Cooking Once, Eating Twice’ through creating lunch and dinner plates.  The thought of frittatas reminds me of getting together with friends over brunch and gives me a cozy feeling inside…suddenly it’s not about the frattata anymore, yet the overall enjoyment of a versatile dish that can be enjoyed by one (me) or a large group.  For me, there’s nothing like a light egg dish combined with your favorite veggies and herbs, topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt, tomato sauce and vegan Parmesan cheese.  Now, doesn’t that sound delicious?

Frittatas are a wonderful way to add a variety of veggies (and leftovers) to your meal; the flavor combinations are unlimited…simply let your imagination guide you when choosing what’s available in your fridge.  It’s quite easy to experiment and hard to go wrong when creating your frittata masterpiece…it’s a fun, effortless way to whip up a quick meal anytime of the day. My  flavorful pumpkin tofu frittata is packed with health benefits, which come from its rich source of vitamins A, C and K.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped (stems removed)
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 5 oz. firm tofu, drained
  • 2 eggs (or egg substitute)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped for garnish
  • Optional Toppings: Greek yogurt, tomato sauce, vegan Parmesan cheese

Directions

  • Prepare and chop all vegetables.
  • Puree tofu with eggs and egg whites, canned pumpkin, dried oregano and turmeric in a blender.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. vegetable broth with 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large pan over medium heat; let sit for 1 minute, or until it starts to steam.
  • Add onion, garlic, zucchini, bell pepper, kale and sun dried tomatoes; saute for 1 minute over medium heat.  Stir often.
  • Add 1/4 cup vegetable broth and balsamic vinegar.  Pour tofu mixture over veggies, cover and cook over low heat until mixture is completely firm and cooked, about 12 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Enjoy!

Here are some recent articles ‘In The News’ that I  thought I’d pass along:

5 Superfoods About To Make It Big

Diets That Promote Health and Always Have

How Your Toddler Can Get The Nutrients He Needs

Moms Spend Wisely

Oat n’ Turkey Burgers

The other night I was making turkey burgers in my kitchen and I glanced over at my “Steel Cut Oats” and thought…hmmm, let’s throw these guys into the recipe and experiment!

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground Turkey
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • Eden Organic no salt-added tomatoes
  • Nu-Salt, Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
  • 1/3 cup bran crumbs (you can use mashed crackers, pretzels, etc.)
  • Bread of Choice (Buns, Pitas, Wrap,  Flat Bread, Naan)
  • Kale/Collard Greens
  • 1 Fresh Tomato, sliced
  • Cooking Spray
  • Veganaise, Mustard, Ketchup for topping (if desired)

Directions

  • Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl and mix well
  • Divide into 6 burgers (1/2 inch thick)
  • Heat grill pan and spray with cooking spray over medium-high heat
  • Add patties and cook for 6 minutes on each side (or until fully cooked)
  • Place each patty on your choice of bread (above) along with slices of fresh tomato, kale, collard greens.
  • Add Veganaise, Mustard, or Ketchup if desired
  • Enjoy!

These delicious burgers turned out to be quite a success and I loved the texture with the oats.  I paired these burgers with a side of my butternut squash fries!

Breakfast Burrito

This morning , I decided to switch up my traditional breakfast routine and made myself an egg and re-fried bean burrito.  This mouth-watering recipe is heavenly first thing in the morning, not to mention incredibly satisfying.

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Ingredients

  • Tortilla (Gluten Free/ Whole Wheat)
  • Amy’s Organic Corn and Bean Salsa
  • Amy’s Organic Re-fried Beans
  • SoyaKaas Gluten Free/Dairy Free Jalapeno Cheese
  • Kale
  • Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • Avocado (sliced)
  • Nu-Salt and Pepper
  • Scallions
  • Chili Powder
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Directions

  • Spray skillet with cooking spray and scramble 2 eggs with Nu-Salt and pepper.  Add SoyaKaas cheese.  Cook until cheese is melted.
  • Transfer eggs to tortilla and add beans, salsa, avocado, kale and yogurt
  • Top with scallions and a sprinkle of chili powder
  • Wrap up and enjoy!

What ingredients do you put into your breakfast burritos?

 

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