Oh, how American’s love French fries, myself included included. The crispy, greasy, fried potato is the perfect burger companion. For a healthy alternative that is just as satisfying, I’ve created an oven-baked version with sweet potato and kohlrabi and a creamy garlic sauce for dipping. The sweetness of the potato is a perfect balance for kohlrabi, which has a slight bitter taste. Enjoy as an appetizer or pair with a hamburger or your favorite sandwich for healthy pub grub at home.
Ingredients: 1 large sweet potato 1 large kohlrabi bulb 1½ tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon smoked paprika ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper ½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt 2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard 2 cloves minced garlic
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel sweet potato and kohlrabi and cut into fry shaped strips.
Place sweet potato and kohlrabi strips in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat.
Arrange vegetables in a single layer on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip with a spatula. Continue baking for 15 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Meanwhile, add yogurt, mustard and garlic in a small bowl and stir to combine, creating a creamy garlic sauce for serving.
Served over hoecakes, made from fresh ground cornmeal, this is a southern vegetarian version of Dr. Suess’ breakfast. Sautéed kale and a light avocado sauce give this traditional egg dish two shades of green and a healthy makeover. Create a make-your-own Eggs Benedict station for brunch guests by adding ham or smoked salmon as additional options. Pair with a fresh glass of orange juice, mimosa or Bloody Mary to finish out the meal.
Hoecake Ingredients: ¾ cup cornmeal ¼ cup whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 egg 1 cup buttermilk canola oil, for greasing the griddle
Green Eggs Benedict Ingredients: 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled Juice of 1 small lemon 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided ¾ cup water a couple pinches of salt and pepper 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped, or 5 ounces baby kale 8 eggs, fried or poached
Prepare a griddle over medium heat. In a large bowl, make the hoecake batter by stirring together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Add the egg and buttermilk and whisk to combine.
Lightly brush griddle with canola oil. Ladle the batter onto the griddle, working in batches to create 8 hoecakes. Cook until bubbles start to form on the top and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown and the center is cooked through. Place cooked hoecakes on a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the batter, adding remaining oil to the griddle as needed.
Place avocado in a blender or food processor. Add lemon juice, 2 teaspoons canola oil, water and a pinch of salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, adding more water as needed to reach desired consistency.
Heat remaining oil in a medium skillet and add kale leaves. Sauté until wilted, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Top each hoecake with sautéed kale and an egg. Drizzle with avocado sauce and serve.
Hearty quinoa with its nutty flavor compliments sweet berries and crunchy almonds in this breakfast bowl that will keep you satisfied all morning. Substitute the strawberries and blackberries for any seasonal berry in your region of the world. Quinoa is a complete protein, offering all of the essential amino acids, making it a great choice for vegetarians. It’s also an excellent whole grain option for those with celiac or gluten sensitivities since it’s naturally gluten-free.
I love to make a big batch of Berry Breakfast Quinoa on the weekend for a fast breakfast to just reheat on busy weekday mornings. A nutritious and delicious breakfast doesn’t have to be time-consuming.
Ingredients: 1 cup quinoa 2 cups water, plus more for rinsing ⅓ cup dried cranberries 6 ounces strawberries 6 ounces blueberries ⅓ cup sliced blackberries 2 tablespoons sorghum or honey
Using a fine-mesh sieve, rinse quinoa with water.
Combine quinoa, water and cranberries in a rice cooker and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
Add berries, almonds and sorghum. Stir to combine and serve warm or chill and enjoy cold.
If you know a local mushroom farmer or grow your own mushrooms, you are so lucky and I am a little jealous. I created this recipe when I had access to weekly fresh mushrooms at a Farmers’ Market when we lived in Wisconsin. Most Saturdays I would make this recipe as soon as I got home from the market and serve it with a fried egg for breakfast or side salad for lunch. I couldn’t wait to eat these mushrooms and this simple and quick dish made it possible to get them on my plate in about 15 minutes. The recipe quantities below make this a great appetizer for a small group, but just trim the amount back if you want to enjoy this as a meal for one or two.
Ingredients: 14 inch baguette 8 ounces shiitake or white button mushrooms 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons water 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon black pepper 4 ounces goat cheese
Turn oven broil setting to low heat. Slice bread into about 16 pieces and place on a baking sheet. Set aside while preparing mushrooms.
Remove stems from the mushrooms and gently wash the tops before thinly slicing. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for about four minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water and continue cooking for another 4 to 6 minutes, until tender and golden brown. Add thyme, salt and pepper to the mushrooms and stir to evenly coat.
Broil baguette slides on each side for 1 to 2 minutes. Top with equal amounts of mushrooms and goat cheese and continue broiling for another 2 minutes until cheese is warm. Serve immediately.
We all have those busy nights when the fridge is sparse and we don’t have time to pick up fresh ingredients for dinner. My Pantry Pasta dish is the perfect meal to make during those moments. It takes less than 15 minutes to prepare, giving you more time to relax at the end of the day.
For a fresh version of this recipe during summer months, replace the canned tomatoes with vine-ripened tomatoes fresh from the farm or your backyard. Cheers to making meals that are both healthy and convenient.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 (15.5 ounce) can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced and no-salt-added tomatoes ¼ cup red or white wine ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper ½ pound whole wheat spaghetti noodles
Optional Ingredients for Serving: Fresh basil, cut into ribbons Parmesan cheese, grated
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add beans, tomatoes with juices, wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about five minutes.
Serve over spaghetti noodles. Top with basil and Parmesan cheese if desired.
When I make my Sweet and Spicy Veggie Quesadilla, I don’t always make six servings, which means I have extra black beans and sautéed mushrooms on hand. That’s where the inspiration came from for this Mushroom and Black Bean Omelet. Treasure those leftovers and use a little creativity to transform them into a new delicious meal.
Breakfast is one of my favorite meals and I think weekday meals should be just as delicious as slowly savored weekend brunches. This recipe is fast and easy to make any day of the week. Create your own version by substituting the mushrooms and beans for last nights’ leftover vegetables, such as steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes.
Ingredients: 2 eggs ⅛ teaspoon salt ⅛ teaspoon black pepper ¼ teaspoon chipotle Chile powder ½ teaspoon butter ¼ cup black beans ¼ cup mushrooms, sautéed ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded light sour cream and salsa for serving
Crack eggs in a small bowl. Season with salt, pepper and chipotle Chile powder and blend with a fork.
Melt butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Pour eggs into skillet and lightly stir with a spatula, until the eggs start to come together. Use the spatula to start to loosen the edges of the omelet by gently peeling it away from the pan.
When the eggs are almost set, add black beans, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese to one side. Fold omelet in half to cover ingredients. Cook for about a minute longer. Flip omelet and cook an additional minute, until outside is lightly browned and cheese has melted. Top with light sour cream and salsa before serving.
Sweet potatoes may not be a common quesadilla ingredient, but this puree — combined with black beans, mushrooms and jalapeño pepper slices — results in a delicious medley that gives your taste buds a little heat and sweet.
I love a reason to have a glass of wine with dinner. The mushrooms need some cooking wine, so there is my rational for opening a bottle and enjoying a glass with my meal. Cheers to good food, good wine and a different take on veggie quesadillas.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 (8 ounce) container white button mushrooms, sliced ¼ cup red wine (any varietal) 2 cups (1 recipe) Spicy Sweet Potato Puree 6 whole wheat tortillas 1 (15 ounce can) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese hot and sweet jalapeño pepper slices light sour cream for serving
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes, until browned. Add red wine and cooking 4 to 5 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
Spread ⅓ cup of sweet potato puree evenly on one side of tortilla. Top with ¼ cup black beans, ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons mushrooms and desired amount of jalapeño slices. Fold tortilla over, completely covering ingredients. Repeat to create 5 more quesadillas.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place two quesadillas in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes on one side, until golden brown. Flip quesadillas and cook for an 3 additional minutes. Continue cooking remaining quesadillas two at a time. Cut each into 4 wedges and serve with sour cream.
Chipotle chile pepper adds smokey heat, while the maple syrup amps up the sweetness in my Spicy Sweet Potato Puree. Add a pork chop and sautéed kale to turn this side into a meal.
I like to make a double or triple batch of this Spicy Sweet Potato Puree to freeze and have on hand for fast weeknight dinners. To avoid taking up too much storage space in your freezer, store the potatoes in zip-top bags and lay them flat. When you’re ready to serve them again, just defrost the bag in your refrigerator before heating.
Ingredients: 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 tablespoon maple syrup 1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper ¼ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons skim milk
In a medium saucepan, add sweet potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender.
Drain potatoes in a colander and return to saucepan. Reduce heat to low and mash sweet potatoes with a potato masher (for a more rustic version) or use a mixer (for a smooth, no-lump version). Add maple syrup, chipotle chile pepper, salt and milk. Stir to combine and cook for a minute or two, allowing flavors to meld.
Pinto beans and sautéed greens are two of my favorite southern sides, and they also make a great combination in this easy, no-fuss meal. This is a bowl of comfort food that will provide warmth on a cold winter night. Add a hot skillet of cornbread, just like your grandmother made, and you have a delicious meal that’s worth writing home about.
I used dried beans in this vegetarian meal that’s sure to please even the meat lovers in your life. Dried beans are a great bargain and you can control how much salt is added. Beans are an excellent source of plant protein, and also provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc. Kale is packed with vitamin A and C, and also a good source of calcium and potassium. Enjoy this nutritious bowl of goodness.
Ingredients: 1 cup dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed 9 cups water, divided 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced 1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 bunch kale hot sauce or hot and sweet jalapeño slices
Soak dried beans in 5 cups of water overnight.
Drain beans and place in a slow cooker. Add onion, jalapeño, garlic, salt and pepper. Add 4 cups water, turn to high heat and cook for 3 to 4 hours.
Wash and chop kale, removing tough stems. Add kale to pinto beans, stirring to combine, and cook for an additional hour.
Serve with cornbread and hot sauce or sweet jalapeño slices.
Beans and butternut squash are two of my favorite combinations, and they are bundled up in a wrap along with caramelized onions to create a healthy and comforting meal. Creamy black bean hummus adds lean protein to this vegetarian wrap and also helps hold it all together. My Black Bean Hummus recipe, which you can whip up in less than five minutes, is perfect for this dish. If you want to give new life to your leftovers for a different meal the next day, serve the squash and onions on top of a salad and enjoy the hummus as a side dish with tortilla or pita chips.
Ingredients: 1 small butternut squashed, peeled, seeded and cubed 1½ tablespoon olive oil, divided ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 tablespoon butter 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced 1 teaspoon sugar 4 tortillas Black Bean Hummus 2 cups tightly packed spinach leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a half baking sheet, place butternut squash and drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat. Arrange squash in a single layer and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until tender and lightly brown, flipping with a spatula halfway through cooking.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Once butter has melted, add onion slices and sprinkle with sugar. Stirring occasionally, let the onions cook about 20 to 25 minutes, until caramelized and golden brown.
Spread a fourth of the black bean hummus on each tortilla and top with a fourth of the butternut squash and caramelized onions. Add ½ cup spinach to each tortilla, wrap tightly to secure vegetables and serve.