Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl

Burrito bowls are a wonderful thing. Passing on the tortilla, you’re skipping the nutrition-less carbs and focusing on a burrito’s main attraction, the filling.
While I have made cauliflower “rice” on multiple occasions, it never had occured to me until waiting in line at my local Chipotle that I could in fact use this concoction to make my own, more nutrient dense version of the standard burrito bowl.
The next day I put my idea to the test and was beyond happy with the results. Since the rice is not the star but the base in a traditional burrito bowl, replacing it with riced cauliflower truly mimics the signature texture and taste when lime and seasoning is added. While I thoroughly enjoyed my choice of toppings, feel free to get creative with whatever vegetables, beans, etc. you choose. The sky (or the size of your bowl) is the limit!

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Serves 2
Ingredients:
4 cups roughly chopped cauliflower
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro/parsley
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 large white onion onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
½ cup mushrooms. chopped
½ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
Taco seasoning (or mix of chili, garlic, onion, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper)
Salt and pepper

Optional Toppings:
Shredded cheese
Fresh pico/salsa
Avocado slices/Guacamole
Plain Greek yogurt
Hot sauce
Shredded lettuce
Protein of choice (I used Siracha marinated tofu)

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Directions:
Pulse cauliflower in a blender or food processor until it resembles rice. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with a paper towel and microwave for 2-3 minutes or until hot. Add chopped cilantro/parsley and lime juice to the “rice” and mix well.

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Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms, and peppers to skillet until mostly softened. With about a minute of cooking remaining, add beans to heat through, about 1 minute.
Top mixture with about 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning and stir to coat.
Separate rice into two bowl and divide vegetable mixture to each of the bowls.
Top with cheese, salsa/pico, avocado/guacamole and/or greek yogurt.

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Quinoa Almond Salad

Every week on Sunday I like to make a large jar of grains to use throughout the week. I don’t really like to meal prep because I like to be inspired by what looks good at the farmer’s market or grocery store and I can’t anticipate what I will be craving a few days in advance. However, I have found that making a grain in bulk before the week picks up really cuts down on my dinner prep time and adding a few simple ingredients keeps the monotony at bay.
I generally like to rotate between lentils, brown rice, wild rice, or in this case, quinoa. Switching it up each week means I don’t get bored of the same old grain.DSCN4778
For this recipe I added a few ingredients and was pretty surprised at how gourmet it tasted! While the rosemary olive oil is optional, it really adds to the unique depth of flavor in this dish. I received this olive oil and red wine vinegar from a friend and it comes from a vineyard in Napa Valley that has amazing wine as well as oil and vinegar. You can even sign up for wine or their “Food Lover’s Club” to get these delivered.
Though I ate my creation as a side dish, it would be great as a base for a quinoa bowl or served on a bed of greens as a salad.DSCN4793

Serves 1

Ingredients:
½ cup cooked quinoa
½ tablespoon sliced almonds
1 ½ teaspoons rosemary olive oil, I used Round Pond (regular olive oil is OK)
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

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Directions:
Put everything but sliced almonds in a bowl and mix. Add in sliced almonds and stir to incorporate. It’s that easy!

Lemon Garlic Cod

I don’t eat meat but I don’t think I’ll ever give up fish for good. As I’ve always said, I try to live a life in balance and strive to be an educated consumer- and that includes food consumption of course. I do, however, try my best to purchase the most sustainable fish. If you’re interested, click here to learn about choosing sustainable seafood.
After visiting the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium a few weeks ago, I learned Pacific cod from Alaska is a “Best Choice” and a “Good Alternative” when it’s from the U.S. West Coast and British Columbia. However, Pacific cod from Japan and Russia should be avoided because little is known about these populations. In addition, Atlantic cod is on the “Avoid” list, except when it’s certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.
Okay enough facts, now onto this simple, protein packed and yummy recipe…

DSCN4624Ingredients:
2 6oz cod fillets (or any white fish of choice)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon capers
Optional: tablespoon chopped parsley

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Directions:
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a bowl whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, paprika, thyme and salt and pepper. Add in capers.
Spray a baking dish/pan with olive oil. Place fillets on dish/pan and pour on lemon garlic mixture.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until fish is white and flaky.
Optional- top with chopped parsley.

Great with a side of my cheesy green bean fries!

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Peanut Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles)

DSCN4375I truly don’t understand how people don’t like peanut butter. I mean I get how you can be allergic and all but in that case you got to at least love the smell right? I’d seriously EpiPen myself all day if I were allergic to nuts. Is there a daily limit on that kind of thing?
Peanut butter can be great for you too, it’s just that normally peanut noodles are a nutritional nightmare. Enjoying some in moderation is always an option, but with this recipe I can eat a GIANT portion any time of the week. All the while I won’t have to wear sweatpants to work, because we all know those are reserved for just Fridays.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.27.05 PM

Serves 2 or 1…

Ingredients:
Sauce-
3 tablespoons peanut flour/powdered peanut butter
1 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons tamari/braggs liquid aminos
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon coconut/rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Juice from 1/4 a lime (about 1/2 tablespoon)
½ teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons Siracha or hot sauce of choice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon coconut sugar or alternative sweetener

Base-
2 medium-large zucchinis
1 large carrot
½ cup sliced mushrooms
1-2 scallions
1 tablespoon chopped peanuts
Optional-
1 cup edamame or precooked shrimp
1 cup shredded cabbage (for even more bulk)

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Directions:
Whisk together all sauce ingredients into a small saucepan.
Spiralize zucchinis and cut strands with knife or kitchen shears so you don’t have any overly long pieces. Slice carrot and mushrooms and add them to your veggie pile.
In a large sauce pan, heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Once heated, add your zucchini, carrots, mushrooms and optional shredded cabbage. After one minute, add your precooked and thawed edamame or shrimp. Stir around until vegetables are soft and protein is heated through.
Once finished, remove veggie mixture with slotted spoon. Pat with paper towel to remove extra moisture (so sauce doesn’t get too runny).
Meanwhile, heat up your peanut sauce in the saucepan for ~1 minute. You could alternatively heat your sauce in the microwave as well.
To assemble, simply pour sauce onto your zucchini noodles and toss to coat.

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Garnish with chopped scallions
Remove from heat and top with scallions and chopped peanuts.

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This one is especially fun to eat with chopsticks 🙂

Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

This weekend at the market, the sweet potatoes were calling my name. I’m not quite sure why because they certainly aren’t the most handsome of vegetables but I brought them home only to realize that I had no idea how to prepare them.
I certainly have eaten my fair share of sweet potato but for some reason have never made them myself. This called for some research time.

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I wanted to make a satisfying main dish with sweet potatoes, all with ingredients I already had in my kitchen. I started browsing and came across a great recipe which I modified to add some more veggies, change some seasonings, lightened up the oil content, and made them “stuffed” potatoes rather than just halves. I especially loved the change of extra sauteed veggies for even more crunch and the salty bite of the capers.
The result was seriously delicious and a very filling (not to mention, super photogenic!) vegan dinner. Cut in half, these ‘taters would be great as a side dish as well.

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Makes 2 Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes
½ 15 oz can (a little less than 1 cup) chickpeas
1 teaspoon olive/coconut oil
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon each paprika, cinnamon and chili powder
½ tablespoon lemon juice

Hummus Sauce:
2 tablespoons hummus ( I used this spicy hummus for a little kick!)
½ tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon minced garlic gloves
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional- 1-2 teaspoons water to thin out sauce

Toppings:
½ bell pepper
1 cup dark greens
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons drained capers

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400F.
Scrub sweet potatoes, pat dry, and then poke it with a fork 5-6 times.
Spray or rub sweet potato halves with olive/coconut oil and place onto a foil lined baking sheet. Place sweet potatoes in the oven for ~45 minutes until tender.
Rinse chickpeas and pour into a small bowl. Add in olive/coconut oil, spices and lemon and toss to coat.
Spray or rub sweet potato halves with olive oil and place onto a greased or foil lined baking sheet.
Place chickpeas on top of another foil lined baking sheet and place into the same 400F oven 25 minutes before it is time to take out your potatoes. Remove chickpeas ~25 minutes when they are golden brown.

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While sweet potatoes and chickpeas are cooking, prepare the sauce. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Dice bell pepper half and lightly saute along with dark greens and any other veggies of choice you would like to add (onions and carrots would work great here).

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Once sweet potatoes and chickpeas are ready, remove from oven. Slice large slits into each sweet potato to stuff them.
Serve sweet potatoes topped with chickpeas, sauteed veggies, hummus sauce and garnished with capers and parsley.

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Creamy Kale & Zucchini Pasta/Dip

Sometimes my best recipes come out purely out of an effort to use up the contents of my fridge. I was in the mood for something quick and healthy, yet comforting and delicious all at the same time.
I had some veggies I wanted to use up before leaving for the weekend so I just began roasting and blending and the result was super tasty (all the while I got to feel like a mad scientist in the kitchen)!

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This recipe creates a great stand alone dip for veggies or crackers, but combined with some gluten free pasta, it makes a creamy and nutritious sauce. I chose to serve mine topped with smoked salmon for extra protein and a salty bite. It is perfect for a filling and simple Sunday night dinner or for any night of the week.

Ingredients:

1 large zucchini
½ of a small onion
2 small cloves of garlic
3 cups kaleDSCN4539
⅓ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
Olive oil (spray)
Salt and pepper to taste

Pasta of choice- I chose TJ’s Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta
Optional: smoked salmon

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400F. Slice zucchini into ¼ inch strips and cut your half onion into chunks.
Peel the cloves of garlic.
Grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Place zucchini and onion onto the baking sheet and either spray or drizzle additional olive oil. At this time you may also place the garlic on the baking sheet for a roasted garlic flavor.
Place baking sheet into the oven for 15-20 minutes until veggies are lightly browned.
Meanwhile, steam 3 cups of kale.
Place kale, Greek yogurt, zucchini, onion and either roasted (or not roasted) garlic cloves in the blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Blend until fairly smooth but leaving some small vegetable chunks.

To make the pasta dish, simply use your pasta of choice and prepare according to package instructions. Once finished, reserve about ¼ cup of pasta water.
Strain pasta and pour into a large bowl. Add in your desired amount of sauce and slowly pour in pasta water while stirring until desired consistency is achieved.
Optionally, top with smoked salmon.

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Great served with my vegan garlic cauli mash!

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Watermelon Salad

Knowing that California watermelon season is quickly approaching its end, I jumped on the opportunity to buy one when I saw a stand selling them this weekend at my local farmer’s market.
I have a history of accidentally cutting myself with knives, so I let someone else do the major chopping and then began enjoying the fresh and juicy slices.
Though watermelon is fantastic on its own, I wanted to mix it up and create a refreshing salad combining my farmer’s market produce.
This recipe is single serve but can easily be doubled, tripled or multiplied tenfold for a crowd. It is light, refreshing, sweet and crunchy all at the same time. For a creamier bite, a sprinkling of crumbled feta on top is especially delicious.

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Ingredients:
¾-1 cup watermelon
4 mint leaves
2 large radishes
1 small or ⅓ a large cucumber
¼ lime
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon olive oil
Salt to taste
Optional: feta cheese

Directions:
Cut watermelon and cucumber into ¼ inch chunks. Either slice or dice radishes.
Place watermelon, radishes and cucumber into a bowl. Tear or chop mint leaves and sprinkle on top.
Squeeze juice from ¼ of a lime and drizzle ½ teaspoon of olive oil and apple cider vinegar on top of the salad. Add salt to taste and then toss to coat.

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For best results, stick it in the fridge for at least an hour.

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Egg Crust Pizza

All kids love pizza, well, except for me. I never really loved pizza growing up. (Feel free to gasp now.) At birthday parties, I would eat a slice because that was what was being served, but what I was really excited for would be the ice cream cake- and that still hasn’t changed.
Many years have passed since my bowling and movie party days, and somewhere in between I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Knowing that I couldn’t have pizza for some reason made me desire it more. I started to create my own modified versions of pizza and as I was making an omelet one day it hit me, why not use eggs as my base?!DSCN4442

This healthified pizza is packed with protein, low in carbs, and totally customizable. It is super easy to whip up for a quick dinner/lunch any time of the week and uses items you probably already have hanging out in your fridge and pantry.
Oh and it’s delicious and 100% male approved.

Ingredients:
1 whole egg plus ½ cup egg whites or ¾ cup just egg whites
¼ teaspoon each of garlic powder, oregano & dried basil
1 tablespoon Parmesan/nutritional yeast
Salt & pepper to taste
3 tablespoons marina or my green marinara (could swap for pesto)
1-2 tablespoons shredded cheese of choice/nutritional yeast
¼ cup spinach/any other leafy green
Chopped vegetables or other add ons of choice

Directions:
Whisk together eggs with spices and Parmesan/nutritional yeast.

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Heat a medium saute pan over a medium flame and cover with olive oil spray. Once thoroughly heated, pour eggs into the pan.
As if making an omelet, use a spatula to to push cooked edges towards the center while allowing the uncooked eggs to move outwards.

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When the eggs are almost cooked, top the egg crust with your sauce cheese, spinach and other veggies of choice.
Cover pan with a lid for about 1 minute until cheese melts and spinach wilts.

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Slice up as you would a normal pizza and munch away!

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Tofu Croutons

Tofu is a versatile and great source of plant protein. I don’t mind eating plain, straight out of the container, but I recognize for most that that’s just tasteless and plain weird.
Having a half of a container of tofu left after making my crispy tofu tacos, I decided to get creative. I got the tofu into small bits, covered them with some spices and baked them to crisp perfection to create what I like to call tofu “croutons.”
These little nuggets of crunchy heaven are totally customizable. Want them spicy? Add some cayenne or some hot sauce. Use any dried herbs on hand to accompany the dish you’re throwing them on top of. You can even make sweet versions using cinnamon and sugar.
Now you’re thinking, what the heck am I supposed to do with these things? While they can be used for traditional crouton application like a salad and or soup like my caramelized onion and roasted red pepper soup, making them sweet means they’re a great topping for yogurt, oatmeal and more.

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Instead of nutritionally deprived bread croutons, these babies are low carb and high protein. They even make a great on the go snack- just don’t blame me for any strange looks you end up getting.

Ingredients:
½ package non-GMO extra firm tofu
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil spray
Spices of choice, here I used:
¼ teaspoon each of onion powder, cumin & paprika

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350F.

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Cut tofu into ¼ inch cubes. In separate bowl combine balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and remaining spices. Place tofu in bowl and use a large spoon to stir to thoroughly coat the tofu without breaking up the cubes.
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Spray sheet pan with olive oil spray and place tofu on the pan. Spread tofu evenly on the pan and then use the olive oil spray again to coat the top of the tofu.
Next, place the tofu in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Finally, broil for 6-8 minutes.

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Raw Detox Zucchini Gazpacho

After the long weekend, it’s time to cleanse and refresh from our Labor Day festivities. Getting back on track shouldn’t mean having to spend hours preparing meals though. For anytime you want to detoxify, whip up a super easy recipe, or just want some refreshing and yummy soup, this one is for you!

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Detoxifying parsley as well as mint and lemon combine with hydrating zucchini to create this light and tasty gazpacho. Per serving you’ll get 4 grams of fiber, less than 12 grams of carbs and almost grams 7 of protein for a mere 90 calories.
Eat the whole thing and it’s still a snack! Enjoy alongside some cooked quinoa for a balanced vegan meal.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 medium zucchinis
¼ large onion
1 clove of garlic
½ cup parsley
6-8 mint leaves
1 ¼ cup coconut water/plain water/vegetable broth (not raw)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
Juice from half a lemon
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Peel zucchinis and roughly chop. Peel garlic clove.

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Place all items into the blender. Blend until smooth.
Season to taste.
Place into fridge to chill for at least 1 hour.
Serve sprinkled with additional hemp seeds if desired.

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