Whether using naturally gluten-free ingredients or a special mix, these gluten-free dishes will wow!
Risotto always feels pure FALL to me, and that’s particularly true of this roasted butternut squash risotto with fragrant fresh basil. These flavors and ingredients really straddle summer and fall, making it a great transitional recipe.
Risotto has been one of my signature dishes pretty much my whole adult life, and I love how endlessly adaptable it is.
You take a basic recipe and fairly simple ingredients, a few techniques, and then can add just about any ingredients to make it whatever you want (roasted vegetables are a fave of mine).
There are three types of rice you can use for risotto, but two main ones Americans can generally get their hands on. The most common is arborio, which many mass grocery stores have. The other is carnaroli, which you can order on Amazon easily as well. You can learn more about why each works here.
The process of making risotto has always been kind of therapeutic for me. I learned to make risotto while studying abroad in Italy, and loved sitting with my host mom, Giovanna, while she patiently heated stock and added it bit by bit to her risotto con funghi.
For many years risotto was my dinner party staple, because while it takes quite a long time to make *right*, it is a simple dish. It’s the perfect thing to sit and stir (or have a guest stir) with a glass of wine while chatting and getting the rest of the food ready. It takes patience but not much else.
The #1 rule of risotto is NOT TO RUSH IT.
Soooo…last spring I had started a post that pulled together my best summer desserts for parties.
And then COVID hit, so the *last* thing that people were doing last summer was having large gatherings. I decided to hold off. And so here we are again, and it’s time for awesome summer get-togethers!
What makes for a good summer party dessert?? Well, to me it’s 1) amazing and addictive, 2) great for hot weather, and 3) ideally can be made pretty easily in a large quantity. This rules out anything fussy, requiring long baking times (wow, the heat!), or that can’t deal with sitting around for a while (lookin’ at you, chocolate).
Because let’s face it, when you’re at a summer gathering—be it a pool party, family gathering, picnic, whatever—those desserts sit out for a while! So without further ado, here are some of my favorite desserts for summer parties and get-togethers!
Strawberry Shortcake for a Big Group
I wasn’t planning to share any more keto recipes, as it’s not really the focus of this blog and I feel a bit tapped out on what I can do there. But then this amazing and easy almond flour pancake recipe came along and…honestly?? They are shockingly good.
While I won’t tell you that these naturally gluten-free pancakes are just as perfect and fluffy as my basic buttermilk ones (scientifically, can’t really be), it’s the first recipe in a while that didn’t feel like I was getting a lesser version of what I really wanted.
These are great just being what they are. They’re moist, have a little fluff to them, and a really nice texture overall. They’ve got a little sweetness. They pack a punch in both protein and fat, but basically no carbs.
And you can make a batch of the batter and keep it in the fridge, just making up a few here and there as needed (I don’t think they’re as great reheated).
And the best part about these keto pancakes? Less than 15 minutes start to finish, including a 5-minute rest of the batter.
Y’all, I was SOOOOO skeptical about this. Seriously, could a “no squeeze” cauliflower pizza crust even work?? It was so wet! Surely this was a recipe for disaster.
But wow…this was the easy cauliflower crust of my dreams.
This crust is gluten-free, grain-free, high protein and low carb, and doesn’t have the weirder preservatives and stabilizers found in store-bought cauliflower crusts.
What makes it amazing is that it’s so fast and hands-off…you don’t have to pre-cook the cauliflower (you use it raw), and you don’t have to squeeze (and squeeze and SQUEEZE) all the moisture out before making the dough.
But HOW, I can hear you saying?? This crust includes one key secret ingredient that makes this possible—egg white protein powder.
I talked in my post on how I survive a low-carb or keto diet about how I tend to avoid weird special ingredients that I don’t know enough about, but this is an exception (and it’s not that weird).
It’s just pure powdered egg whites and it makes all the difference in a super easy cauliflower pizza crust. The crust “dough” is super wet when it goes in the oven (you even PUT water in it!) but the powdered egg whites soak it up as it bakes and makes it puffy and like a real dough.
Y’ALL…this post has been a long time coming. For varying health reasons, I’ve had to keep my carbs to an absolute minimum for the past 4-5 months, which basically feels like forever. So I wanted to share my tips for a keto diet (or super low-carb diet).
Basically, how to not lose your mind and hate everyone and everything 🙂
A lot of this came from trial and error, seeing which things actually could help me make good choices. At the end I’ve also shared some of the recipes that have been my go-to’s for this low-carb diet.
I tend to avoid lots of store-bought keto things just due to not knowing/liking all the weird ingredients and stabilizers so generally make things myself. I also just didn’t really use cream cheese…it’s never something I’ve bought or worked with (though am not against).
1. Stock up on produce, & have a shelf life strategy
I am not a meal planner or prepper, and my work life is nuts, so my biggest enemy was time and planning ahead. I knew I needed to eat tons of veggies (the super low carb kind), and so started just buying a ton.
For instance on one trip I bought:
- Zucchini and mini bell peppers
- A bunch of curly kale
- A head of cabbage
- Red and orange bell peppers
- Avocados (I ate sooooo many)
- Mixed greens
- Cauliflower pearls (rice)
- A head of cauliflower
- Brussels sprouts
- Hearts of romaine lettuce, “little gem” lettuce, microgreens
But I do have a bad habit of letting things go bad then having to toss them. So instead I started by figuring out how to use the cauliflower rice, avocados, okra, zucchini, lettuce and greens, because they were going to go bad the fastest.
On the other hand, the curly kale, mini peppers, tomatoes, head of cauliflower, and brussels sprouts could be my “mid”-term options, while things like onion, cabbage, and big bell peppers are much sturdier and can sit around for a while.
If you’d told me a few months ago that cauliflower crust pizza would be making up like…25% of my diet, I’d have asked what you were smoking. And yet here we are.
This cauliflower crust only takes a few ingredients (most of which you have on hand). It’s is high in vitamins K and C, low-cal, high in fiber and antioxidants, and (like all cruciferous vegetables) good for detoxing the liver.
Your topping options are also really versatile, though I stay away from super wet/soggy ingredients. Here are a few things I typically throw on:
- I often keep cooked hamburger on hand to throw on any dish
- I use both shredded (parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella), and a soft cheese (there’s a sheep/goat one that’s AMAZING)
- I usually will throw a pan of roasted vegetables in the oven along with the cauliflower crust (brussels sprouts, peppers, and onions are my fave)
- You can use sauce, but I’m not a fan and it does make things soggy. Sometimes I will spread a bit of dijon mustard on though for extra flavor.
You might also like: 10 Tips For Surviving a Super Low-Carb Diet (e.g. Keto)
Why do I call this “traditional”? It’s because it involves manually squeezing all the liquid out before mixing and baking. I’ve recently found an alternative recipe that doesn’t require squeezing (due to a secret ingredient), which I’ve been loving as well.
The thing about making a traditional cauliflower crust is that it’s not super fast. Now, it’s not HARD, it just has a few different steps and ALL THAT SQUEEZING. What I’ve found helpful in how to make cauliflower crust is to break up into a few key phases or steps so I can plan my timing around it.
- Rice/food processor your cauliflower (if necessary) and cook it
- Squeeeeeeeze your cauliflower to get all the liquid out, then mix together the dough
- Bake the dough mixture by itself, then top and bake just long enough to melt the cheese
So I’ll often do the first step earlier in the day so it can cool, then just throw the cooked cauliflower in my nut milk bag and come back to it later. Then when I’m ready to actually make dinner, I turn my oven on and start the squeezing.
I’ll squeeze once, let it rest a couple minutes, come back and squeeze some more…you want to get as much liquid out as possible.
Some dishes just scream “comfort food”, and this creamy, soupy golden rice topped with crispy spiced chickpeas ticks all the boxes for a hearty and comforting vegetarian meal any time of year.
It’s super easy and doesn’t require a ton of hands-on work. The flavors are quite subtle, not the kinds of spices that punch you in the face. In fact if you’re not careful it can be a tiny bit bland, so I recommend being a little heavy-handed on both layering salt as well as the red pepper flakes.
What really elevates this soupy turmeric rice dish is the crispy, crunchy chickpeas that are PACKED with flavor. Used as a topping, these chickpeas first provide protein, but also have a salty and spicy flavor, some intensity from the shallots, and little crispy bits from the coconut as well.
For whatever reason, pavlovas feel super fancy, and I always have to remind myself that they’re actually really simple. And these mini pavlovas piled high with tart grapefruit curd, berries, and pillowy whipped cream are sheer heaven no matter the occasion.
So whether you want an easy make-ahead dessert for a dinner party, or just want to treat yourself, you need these in your life.
What’s pretty great is that they’re also naturally gluten-free, dairy-free (though you’d need to top them with something else), and unleavened. WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE???
If you’re wondering how the chemistry works in this mini pavlova recipe, here are a few things to know about it:
- The vinegar (or some recipes use lemon juice, cream of tartar, some kind of acid) helps stabilize the egg white foam, and interferes with clumping; it helps prevent the effects of “overbeating” as well, usually where the egg whites collapse and weep (boy, don’t we all). Ultimately, it helps make the meringue a little chewy.
- Adding cornstarch to the egg white foam interferes with the egg proteins and provides a buffer to prevent overcooking. But too much cornstarch can make it almost chalky and too chewy, so don’t overdo it.
- The cornstarch and vinegar both act as stabilizers and help create that soft marshmallow-y center that the pavlova is known for.
First off, I’m not going to pretend that these are “real” waffles. Not like my fluffy carb-y buttermilk goodness, or dark chocolate indulgence. But if you’re on a low carb diet for whatever reason, this keto waffle recipe might be your best friend.
I accidentally made this a few months ago on a healthy whim, and kind of forgot about it since it didn’t blow my mind.
But the last month I’ve been on a super low-carb diet for health reasons for (like keto, but more restrictive). And after a couple weeks of egg-mania plus some 90-second keto bread, I was craving something that felt semi-normal.
You might also like: 10 Tips For Surviving a Super Low-Carb Diet (e.g. Keto)
It’s crazy easy and all the ingredients were things I had on-hand. Even if you’re not on a specific diet, going low-carb and gluten-free on occasion isn’t a bad thing.
I often add a bit of cinnamon and vanilla to the mix, and you could even try going a tiny bit savory if you wanted (like some fresh rosemary). It doesn’t need sweetener, but you could definitely add a bit of honey or monkfruit syrup too.
I’ve made it in both my more Belgian-style waffle maker and a more traditional rectangle one and it’s great either way (I’m more partial to the Belgian).
I KNOW. You’re probably thinking, “What is happening here? Who is this person??” Same. But here we are—90-second keto bread.
You might also like: 10 Tips For Surviving a Super Low-Carb Diet (e.g. Keto)
When I started looking for easy keto bread recipes, just to have a vehicle for my almond butter, I had trouble finding one that sounded good. A lot had cream cheese (not my thing, nor do I keep it around the house), or weird ingredients (lookin’ at you psyllium husk), or were overly complex. And then I found this gem.
Technically I guess it should be called like…5-minute keto bread since you have to get the ingredients out and stir them together. The 90 seconds is just the cooking time. But still.
Be honest…if I say “chickpea flatbread”, does it give you immediate cravings?? I’m guessing that’s a NO. But it should. Socca has been on my radar for several months, but for whatever reason I kept putting off giving it a try.
Then last week I was starving, needed something super healthy, and had nothing in my fridge…I’d gotten back in town late Christmas Eve so everything was closed. I had some veggies clinging on for dear life in my fridge and that was it. So I decided that socca needed to happen immediately.
What is socca?
Socca (called farinata over the border in Italian Liguria) is a traditional Provençal flatbread and street food, somewhere between a pancake and a thick crepe. It’s crazy simple, made with chickpea flour and water, with a little salt and olive oil for flavor.
It’s naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free, and high in protein from the chickpea flour. Cooked under the broiler, it’s got a charred top and golden, crispy outside, with a soft creamy inside, perfect for topping with whatever your heart desires.
Personally I love garlicky roasted vegetables and soft, salty cheese, but you can top with eggs, fresh veggies, meat, or anything else, or just slice it up into wedges and eat hot and fresh.
It’s satisfying, one of those healthy recipes that still feels a little indulgent. And perhaps most importantly, socca is flexible…as long as you have chickpea flour on hand you can make it, and then just figure out what your refrigerator has to offer for toppings.
I use a small 5-inch cast iron skillet for a single portion of this socca breakfast skillet. You can double or triple it for a larger pan to feed more people, but it’s so easy and fast to make that I wouldn’t try to use it for leftovers. It’s definitely best fresh.READ THE POST
Some of the best recipes result from trying to use up an ingredient, and that’s definitely the story of this AMAZING salmon and potato hash.
I’d bought a couple giant salmon filets, but the week kind of got away from me and they were smelling stroooong. I was trying to figure out what to do, since throwing $20 worth of salmon away did not appeal. But just eating the filet itself kind of freaked me out. So I decided to just bake it up and figure it out later.
Then I got a brainwave about a salmon and potato hash, since I also had a bunch of red potatoes to use up. After looking up a bunch of recipes nothing struck my fancy, so I just made it up.
And this has become a new fave, a hearty and healthy lunch option that makes great leftovers and is the perfect way to use up leftover salmon.
The recipe is super flexible, so you can add other veggies or adjust the seasonings based on your mood. Just don’t add anything too wet (like fresh zucchini or squash)…it’s meant to be dry and get kind of caramelized.
You’ll actually notice through this recipe that I alternate between two sets of photos. I’ve made this a few times, and once I added in some roasted butternut squash that was just sitting around. Don’t let it confuse you!
It’s happened. I found a salad recipe I love. True, it’s packed with roasted vegetables and hearty grains in addition to the baby kale…
But still, I absolutely love this recipe, and for a person who’s not really into salad, that is saying something!
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it’s CRAZY adaptable, takes very little hands-on time, and you can use store-bought ingredients to make things simpler. I used pre-cooked beets (I still went ahead and roasted them after), and a clamshell of baby kale which is tender and doesn’t need shredded.
This roasted vegetable salad is also a great dumping ground for other leftovers…I’ve tossed in roasted veggies, grilled chicken, and anything else that caught my fancy. It made a great make-ahead lunch for taking to work all week, and I actually *looked forward* to pulling it out of the fridge.
Besides swapping out the wild rice for a hearty grain like barley, and I played with the dressing proportions quite a bit…in particular, I decreased the olive oil so it makes less dressing but the flavor is stronger—so you need less and cut the calories down a little.
Because I use baby kale and it’s more tender, this works okay, and you can add the dressing ahead of time without everything getting too soggy. It packs a punch!
Sometimes a self-directed health guilt trip and a slapdash new recipe can actually work out for once. My track record lately on poorly-thought-out and super rushed recipe trials has been…not great. Due to tons of travel lately (and not a little bit of stress and convenience-based choices), I’m feeling less than spry and as soon as I got back from a week at the wineries of Sonoma I really felt the need to LOCK IT DOWN.
I really needed to actually eat a decent healthy lunch last week, and this thai chicken with cauliflower rice happened to catch my eye. I actually threw it together in just a few minutes *while* making my dinner for that night, and to my surprise it was totally awesome! Easy, delicious, and fast.
And best of all, it made amazeball leftovers. Like, leftovers I actually looked forward to warming up at work. I made a few tweaks to the recipe, both playing with the ingredients in the sauce slightly as well as combining a few steps to make it even easier.
It’s rare that I find a recipe that not only makes amazing leftovers, but makes *enough* of them that it’s worth all the work. And that I can actually talk myself into still choosing over the cafeteria’s amazing chicken tenders on days 2, 3, 4…
This is one of those recipes.
This grain and roasted vegetable salad is a total recipe unicorn—easy, versatile, and just as good hot, lukewarm, or cold. It can be meat-y, vegetarian, or vegan. Basically, YOU DO YOU.
Also, this lemon tahini dressing is sooooo good! It really pulls everything together, with depth and tanginess but doesn’t just overwhelm you. Honestly you should put this dressing on everything!
The only downside of this recipe is that actually getting that many vegetables roasted or grilled (and prepping them, honestly) can take a bit of time.
However, what I usually do is pace it over the course of an afternoon, since the veggies don’t need to be piping hot fresh. And I’ll do a combination of grilling and roasting so I don’t have my oven on forever. I love to absolutely pack this salad with veggies rather than have it be really grain-heavy, because HEALTH.
I feel a little like a superhero on this one. Like I’ve tackled something a proper baker would do with ease.
Or maybe I’ve just been watching too many Great British Bake-Off episodes…which is probably true anyway, but my point is that they are ALWAYS using meringue of some sort and getting all fancy, but it’s always felt like something a bit too complicated and fiddly for regular ol’ folks. However, I’m here to tell you that it’s amazing and delicious, and we all need to go out and make pavlovas RIGHT THIS SECOND!
See, I’ve never been a huge fan of meringues…like those hard little cookies that are like styrofoam? So this was a baking technique that I wasn’t quite rarin’ to try. But what I discovered was that there is a key difference between a meringue and a pavlova.
What makes a pavlova magical is that, after you’ve whipped the egg whites and added all the sugar, you add a tiny bit of vinegar and cornstarch. This is chemistry sorcery, and results in an amazing marshmallow-y center with the meringue’s crispy outside. As a bonus, this is naturally gluten-free, so can be a fancy but still easy dessert to make when you need something GF.
These are so versatile and can be topped with all sorts of things. You definitely want something sharp or tart to offset the intense sweetness, and I’m looking forward to experimenting with some more “out there” flavor combinations. But for this one, I went with one of my favorite combos of all time—almond and berry. Because I thought, “What can make this even better?? Easy: almond pavlova!” This is kind of like a posh strawberry shortcake, and you’ll be wow-ed by the lush, pillowy textures, the chewiness of the meringue, and the way all the flavors explode in your mouth.
This is a story of me falling in love with something I’ve spent my whole adult life telling people I don’t like. That most cliche of fancy restaurant dessert menu features—the flourless chocolate cake.
I’ve always found flourless chocolate cakes FAR too rich and sweet…like eating fudge. No complexity, no real textural interest, just nauseating sweetness. But as I tried to figure out a dessert to make for our Night to Be Much Observed (Passover) meal this year that was also gluten-free, I decided it was my best option for a crowd, even if I didn’t love it myself.
But *this* recipe totally won me over. I used dark chocolate (around 72% cacao), went a little scant on the sugar, and added a dash of orange extract to deepen the flavors a bit. The result is a more bittersweet chocolate flavor that’s interesting not cloying, and a nice kind of crackly exterior rather than just pure fudge.
And I haven’t even told you the best part—it only takes 10-15 minutes to whip up, and then less than a half hour to bake. It’s such a low-maintenance dessert that feels so fancy, now I get why restaurants the world over insist on featuring it!
It’s been a while since I’ve shared a simple healthy dinner recipe…probably because it’s been a while since I’ve *made* one that doesn’t require just throwing chicken and veggies on the grill. But this yummy and super easy farro salad is such a perfect way to transition from winter’s cozy comfort food to lighter summer fare that I had to share.
This is another Smitten Kitchen gem that I’ve adapted in several different iterations depending on what I have in the fridge (like that delish goat cheese with thyme and apricots you can kind of see in the pic below). This is the simplest version, but feel free to add to or switch up ingredients. The best part of this dish is the combination of different textures and flavors—creamy, chewy, salty, crunchy, sweet. So as you swap things in and out, try and maintain those elements for maximum awesomeness. You can also try it with different grains (barley is a particular favorite of mine).
I haven’t been quite this obsessed with something in quite some time.
And of all things it’s a *bark* recipe, which I am historically just “meh” on. But this delicious blend of rich, bittersweet chocolate and punchy peanut butter chips, lifted up slightly by nutty tahini and a crunch of sea salt, is like amazing not-actually-that-bad-for-you crack.
The most critical thing in making this amazing is to use a high-quality dark chocolate. Since the chocolate is the base and the entire carrier of this recipe, using a cheaper and lower quality kind will definitely result in a mediocre product. That doesn’t mean you need something insanely expensive, just more along the lines of Ghiradelli vs. Hershey’s. Trust me, it’s worth it!
I love this so much that I’d love to find a way to make it just as yummy, but using a healthier alternative to peanut butter chips. The actual chemistry of how bark sets isn’t really my area of expertise, so I’m going to do some fiddling and researching to see if this is feasible…as much as I love peanut butter chips, they’re not super great for me and this would be quite a really nice healthy indulgence.
It’s been over a month since I’ve posted something healthy, which feels like a pretty good indication of what my life choices have been like lately :p #allcarbsallthetime
Between work, travel, and this disgustingly cold polar vortex weather, I’ve been indulging a bit too much, and right now I feel the need to get my eating back on track. But it’s still gross cold and so these healthy options have to be delicious as well. Behold—soft, sweet, salty, healthy feta & sweet potato hash!
The flavors of the mellow sweet potato, the bitterness of the greens, and the saltiness of the feta play really well together, and the dried herbs add depth to the overall flavor profile. It’s a really comforting dish, something easy to throw together and really healthy, but feels like you’ve done something special. Here’s to good choices 🙂
Ever since I got my grill, it’s been tough pushing myself to try new recipes that don’t require me to just throw things on the grill, because it’s my new favorite thing ever.
But this recipe has been a staple the last few months as I’ve navigated moving, living in a temporary apartment for a couple months (with a terrible kitchen set-up), and then trying to balance the gluttony of travel and meetings with the need to fit into my clothes. The key is that it’s not just healthy, it’s YUMMY.
There’s a fair amount of “dealer’s choice” in this recipe. It’s incredibly flexible and forgiving…you can substitute different vegetables, use different grains (I use farro, but barley, Israeli couscous, wheatberries, or other similar grains would do), and I’ve even had to substitute dressing ingredients in a pinch. One time I didn’t have fresh lemons or oranges, so I used a combination of lemon juice & rice wine vinegar to get the tang and acidity, and one time left out the Greek yogurt, and it was still great.
So that’s all to say, I’ll tell you how I’ve done it a few different times, but if the spirit moves you go with your gut. Grill, roast, and drizzle your way to healthy deliciousness.
I’ve been completely obsessed with this this recipe for a couple months now. I’ve seriously made it three or four times in six weeks. And I cook like…maybe once a week?
This dish is super healthy done right—it’s so delicious that you don’t feel like you’re giving something up, and so easy that you don’t have to work hard to convince yourself to make it. Another bonus is that the main ingredients are really affordable, which isn’t always the case when using fresh, healthy ingredients.
Given how hectic things have been lately, I’ve tried out a couple of meal prep delivery services to see if they would help me be better about cooking and eating healthier—rather than relying on UberEats. I recently tried Terra’s Kitchen and focused on largely paleo and vegan recipes for my first box, to try and counteract the rest of my life.
This is a slightly adapted recipe of the first meal I made from them, and it was a WINNER! If you are wanting to try out a meal delivery service that has a lot of really healthy, fresh options, you might give them a try. This code will get you $40 off your first box (just a referral link, not a partnership of any sort).
The star of this dish is the sweet, tangy, spicy sauce that coats everything. But don’t underestimate how awesome the different textures are in combination—solid yet tender cauliflower, chewy chickpeas, crunchy peanut pieces. Nom nom nommity nom!READ THE POST
So…I’ve been chastising myself lately for my diet. Between crazy work schedules, travel, and being on crutches, I’ve just been a bit too reliant on Uber Eats and definitely lacking in fruits and veggies. It’s kind of amazing I don’t have scurvy.
Then this morning as I was working I decided to finally get around to watching “What The Health?” on Netflix, which talks through a lot of the things wrong with our diets and how that’s impacting our health, and the medical establishments and lobby groups that are set on keeping it that way.
Its basic conclusion is that we’re meant to eat plant-based diets, and that anything else is unhealthy. It’s definitely an interesting watch, and while I don’t completely agree that meat is the devil—I grew up on a family-run cow farm, after all, and I also believe that God designed us to eat some meat—I 100% agree that we’ve totally screwed up our food chain in so many ways and that a heavier plant diet is a good thing, and overall it guilted me REAL HARD into really putting on my adult pants today.
So I did some digging on plant-based diets and found some recipes that I want to try to rotate into my everyday routine. This was the first one I came across that made me go “Hmm!” The flavor combos are awesome, it’s easy to make, I’m a sucker for a good tahini sauce, and I’m hoping it’ll make an awesome lunch for a couple days this week as well. For a non-pasta vegetarian meal, I’m totally on board with this one!
I’m on the record as stating that soup is not a meal, in and of itself, with very few exceptions.
This is one of them. (My mom’s baked potato soup is basically the only other.)
I also don’t like lentils usually. That is, until I went to Istanbul last year and we ate in a Kurdish family’s house and were served corba as an appetizer. Corba is a hearty red lentil soup, super flavorful and comforting. When I returned to the States, I started pinning recipes right away so I could try it myself. I learned that red lentils are very different than the dark ones I’d had before, and didn’t have as many texture issues for me.
I’ve made this recipe a few times, trying to get the texture and flavors just right. For some weird reason I have issues with it separating a bit (so becoming a little watery), but since I like it better with crushed up crackers in it anyway, I decided to just let that go. One time I even tore up half a bagel into the soup, and the texture was awesome!
One of the great things about this soup is that it comes together really quickly—like half an hour from start to finish. So you can get home from work, get it simmering, and go about your business until it’s time to blend everything up and serve. Efficiency FTW!
READ THE POST
My dessert tastes don’t always quite jive with other people’s. I don’t like things super sweet, I tend more toward fruity desserts rather than super chocolate, I will always choose dark chocolate over milk (and don’t even talk to me about white chocolate and its lies…).
I was blown away by the complexity of the flavors in this cake, yet how subtle they were. I cut back on the sugar quite a bit from what the recipe called for, and for me that made it perfect—letting the chocolate have more of a bittersweet quality and the cinnamon shine through. Also, whoever thought to put cinnamon in whipped cream is a genius and I can’t believe I haven’t done that before. But I assure you I will forever moving forward…
READ THE POST
*womp womp* After the last couple months of travel gluttony, it’s time to get back on track, and these muffins at least have the consolation of being delicious as well as super healthy.
In the interest of full transparency, to be truly clean eating you’ll need to omit the chocolate chips from the recipe and use one of the other mix-ins instead (nuts, dried fruit, etc.). But unless you’re completely following a clean eating diet, the mini chocolate chips do really add something to the muffins so I’d recommend leaving them in. Because, duh.
I made these on a Sunday night on a whim, and brought them to work the next day. They were scarfed by my co-workers within a few hours, and got rave reviews. They’re moist, flavorful, and—best part—insanely fast and easy to make.
They’re the kind of healthy breakfast that gives you the fiber and protein you need, but still makes you feel like you’re getting a bit of a treat to start the day. That’s a win in my book. Add a couple strong espressos and you’re all set. Bring it on, Monday.READ THE POST
Oh my goodness, this has got to stop. It has been way too long. I literally made these for our Fitzco #fitzgiving back in November, but haven’t had a chance to post until now. And that’s not fair, because these are pretty darn good.
I offered to make a bread, so threw together my whole wheat olive oil rosemary bread, which is the bomb. But at the last minute I asked if we had any gluten-free folks and since they weren’t sure, I went searching for a good, easy GF biscuit or roll recipe.
As I’ve mentioned several times before, I don’t like using all sorts of weird ingredients that the average person wouldn’t recognize or be able to find. Don’t be alarmed by how many ingredients are listed in this particular recipe either, most of them are ones you already have on-hand. I did make my own gluten-free flour mix (I used an easy 1-1-1 mix of corn flour, brown rice flour, and cornstarch), but even if you want to leave that out you can just substitute more almond meal.
Because they’re made largely (or entirely) with almond meal, their texture definitely isn’t like a fluffy dinner roll. It’s a little grainier, denser. But I inhaled a few just the same (though be warned, because of the almond meal, they’re higher-calorie than you might think). The garlic is intense but awesome, and the cheddar great—I went light on the butter wash at the end. They were also still really moist and delicious several hours later when I actually reheated and served them.READ THE POST
Some things are perfect in their simplicity, and these honey-roasted peaches definitely qualify.
I didn’t plan to buy peaches last weekend, but when I walked into the produce section I was almost knocked over by the amazing smell of ripe peaches. They were so soft you had to hold them super gently so they didn’t bruise. Fuzzy. Juicy. Amazing.
Since I was trying to eat really well this week, and already had like five things I was planning to make, I wanted something simple and super healthy.
This dessert feels fancy in a completely undeserved way. You seriously just cut fruit in half, drizzle a little honey and butter over it, and bake for a while.
And the result is a dessert that embodies summer, adds a little class to any dinner, and takes five minutes, tops, to prepare. Sign me up!
Also, peaches. They’re the best!
Simplicity, man. As I mentioned last week, I just wanted the easiest dinner possible. Something healthy, but something that didn’t require a million steps or ingredients.
Also, I’ve been on a weird ricotta kick. Like, eat it straight out of the carton with a spoon, maybe with a drizzle of honey. It’s getting weird. I used to hate ricotta and now look at me.
So I made some delicious marinated grilled (well, sauteed) chicken, and this delightful frittata.
Frittatas are such a great go-to meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They’re full of veggies and protein, easy, and make awesome leftovers. Basically, they’re perfect.READ THE POST
Last Sunday I just wanted something SIMPLE. I’d had a super long, exhausting week at work and even after resting up over the weekend I just found the prospect of cooking daunting.
[Updated 6/2018 with some new photos]
I didn’t want to assemble 20 ingredients or spend an hour preparing different elements of a meal. I wanted quick and tasty and healthy. Also, I wanted ricotta, which is a weird craving but I went with it and threw together a delicious spinach, tomato, and ricotta frittata (bonus breakfast leftovers), then I added some more protein with this “dynamite” chicken.
Honestly, the main reason I made the chicken was so I’d have some leftovers for lunch, and also because I wanted to use my grill for the first time this spring. Aaaaand, that was a total fail because when I went out to grill the chicken like half an hour after turning on the grill, it was totally cold. I went to plan B (the stovetop), but still need to figure out what’s going on with my grill. [Updated photos with grilled chicken]
Oh well…it was worth it in the end, because the flavors on this chicken will knock your socks off. It’s really got some tangy bite, which was a nice complement to the more soothing, mellow frittata. Also, it was super easy, which is always a win in my book.READ THE POST
I’ve got another gluten-free gem comin’ at ya…this time it’s black bean brownies with honey.
Now I know I shared a black bean brownie recipe last week, and to me it’s absolute perfection. They’ve got amazing texture, taste great, have more protein and fiber than regular brownies, and aren’t packed with sugar (like most black bean brownie recipes are). You’d never even know they have beans in them and are gluten-free.
However, I know that some people want to avoid refined sugars, and so having an option made with honey is ideal. I’ve got your back.
These were my runner-up recipe in my great search for awesome black bean brownies. The reason these couldn’t win the top spot is that the honey does change the texture a little. Specifically, it’s white sugar that gives the tops of the brownies that crisp, slightly crackly look, and you just can’t replicate that with honey.
These are great in their own right…they’re very moist and light, very fudge-y.
If you’re trying not to use white sugar, this recipe is a great alternative, and crazy easy.
Soooooo, I have been on the hunt for the best black bean brownie recipe. Why, you ask?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I got it into my head a couple months ago after I tried out my healthy deep-dish chocolate chip cookie pie, which is also chock-full of fiber and gluten-free. Having friends who are gluten-sensitive, I’m always on the lookout for GF dessert recipes for dinner parties.
I’d seen people pin different black bean brownie recipes, but every time I checked out the ingredients I was shocked at how much sugar they called for—I guess to compensate for the lack of other unhealthy things.
So I started browsing through all sorts of recipes and trying several of them find one that was still fairly healthy without compromising on taste or texture. AND I HAVE FOUND IT.
These black bean brownies are perfect. They’re fudge-y and rich but light and not too sweet, and just as good days later as they were fresh out of the oven.
My co-workers were shocked when I told them that they were gluten-free and made of beans. You also blend all the ingredients in a food processor, so there are no bowls to clean, no stirring—just blend, pour, and bake.
FAQs (because I can hear you asking): Do these brownies taste like beans? No. Do they have a weird texture? No. Will anyone be able to tell they have beans in them? No. Will they make me toot? Possibly…that’s really between you and your intestines.
It feels like spring! I think the weather is finally turning for good, and this weekend was truly glorious. I was tempted to pull out my grill, but instead went for a meal that was bright and happy—a garlic rosemary salmon and roasted okra.
If that doesn’t say “spring in the South” to you, I don’t know what does.
Bright red wild-caught sockeye salmon from Alaska is dusted with freshly-ground salt and pepper, then packed with minced fresh garlic and rosemary (from my own herb garden!) and roasted for a few minutes to bring all the flavors together.
Fast, easy, and healthy. Add a side of roasted okra, and that’s a happy Sunday night.
Granola is one of those things I really WANT to love. I do.
I have all the best intentions of loving granola, and then I pour my milk in and try to eat it, and I chew. And chew. And chew. And then my jaw and teeth hurt. But this quinoa maple nut granola is pretty special.
While it has a traditional base (oats and nuts, some coconut), it brings in a number of interesting flavors and textures.
Chia, quinoa, and sunflower seeds provide extra crunch and protein, dried cranberries and cherries substitute for raisins (which I’m not a huge fan of), and maple syrup and coconut oil hold it all together.
I threw in some flaxseed, wheat germ, and hazelnuts, for good measure, since I didn’t have the pumpkin seeds or buckwheat the recipe called for.
Blah blah blah resolutions blah. Seems like that’s all anyone talks about this time of year. But the fact of the matter is, there’s nothing magical about January in terms of getting healthy.
In fact, it’s harder to make a drastic change mid-winter (when, let’s face it, your body is craving sleep and warm comfort food) than to make gradual changes over time that you can actually sustain.
For me, the two major things are exercising almost every day and eating healthy at home since my job often entails lots of eating out, drinking, and treats.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I’m not going to stick with a diet that I don’t enjoy. That’s why one of my big focuses in the past year has been finding super healthy recipes that I absolutely love.
Make a list of the most healthy foods and ingredients you should be eating—superfoods, whole grains, spices, etc.—and then see how you can work them into recipes. Everyone’s list is going to be different. For me, I haven’t found anything involving lentils that I enjoy, and brown rice is dry and bland when eaten as leftovers.
But conversely I’ve found a lot of quinoa and barley recipes that I like and are great to take to work the next day. I love kale, brussels sprouts, all squashes, okra, and spinach, but there is no recipe or list of healthy benefits that can convince me to eat cucumbers, green peppers, or fresh ginger.
Once you find ingredients you enjoy, hunt up all sorts of different recipes using them. That’s where this recipe comes in. I’ve found that quinoa salads like this one and my sweet & savory chicken quinoa and quinoa & kale salad with feta & pecans are easy, healthy, filling, and affordable. And that’s quite the combination.READ THE POST
As someone who loves all things gluten-ful (I did grow up on a wheat farm, after all), the whole idea of gluten-free makes me sad.
But the reality of gluten-free *baking* makes me even sadder. And it’s a reality for lots of people. I never really thought about it much until recently, when I had a friend who had realized he had a pretty decent level of gluten-intolerance and so he and his wife have gone gluten-free.
This guy used to devour all my cookies, load up on waffles, and eat my leftover pasta, so this is a majorly big deal. So I’ve tried to start playing around with alternative, gluten-free dessert recipes…and have discovered that it’s really hard!
See, the thing about most gluten-free recipes that I’ve found is that—in addition to their strange and interesting flour alternatives—they often call for some weird ingredients to use as a binding agent, since that’s normally where the gluten comes in.
But as much as I love cooking with real ingredients and whole foods, I just shrink back from recipes that include things like xantham gum that don’t sound like they’re that natural. So, other than puddings and custards, the pickings are slim.
Then I found this gem of a recipe…
I wasn’t even looking for a gluten-free recipe when I found it. I was (as I tend to do) going down a rabbit hole on Smitten Kitchen’s site and hopping from link to link. I was browsing the red wine chocolate cake when I found these.
They’re called chocolate financiers (pronounced all fancy and French like “fee-nahn-see-ay”), and they’re made with almond flour. I don’t know the full history, but they probably weren’t even meant to be gluten-free initially—just delicious. In fact, the traditional ones aren’t even chocolate as far as I know.
I whipped these suckers up in five minutes flat, and so they were done in about 15-20 minutes from start to finish. The almond flour gives them an interesting consistency, somewhere between a brownie and a cookie. Kind of fudgy. All delicious.
And the Dutch dark cocoa powder adds a super special flavor, as does the hint of almond extract in there. If you don’t have almond flour, you can get it at Trader Joe’s, probably in the health section of your grocery store, and most certainly online (Amazon Prime is your friend!). You will wow people with these, and they are a super speedy crowd pleaser to have in your dessert arsenal!READ THE POST
I can tell what you’re thinking. That “healthy” and “deep-dish chocolate chip cookie pie” don’t belong together. It’s an oxymoron. I must be off my meds.
And to be fair, this should really be called “healthier“, not “healthy”. Because dessert will never be carrot sticks—it’s just a fact of life. Dessert CAN be made healthier, though, without giving up taste or awesomeness. And that’s what we’re doing here today.
This dish is pretty intense. Despite some major ingredient substitutions, it’s rich and sweet and soft and gooey. Plus lower in sugar and full of fiber and protein. And gluten-free.
I might go so far as to say I like it better than I’d like a regular deep-dish cookie pie (which has never been to my particular taste).
As you may have guessed, this healthy delight has a secret ingredient. No, it’s not the tears of a baby duck, or the hoof of a firstborn unicorn. What is it, then?READ THE POST
I am not a mustard person, which is why I had pinned this recipe quite some time ago but have been finding reasons to put off trying it. But I had company coming over and needed a quick, easy dinner I could throw together. And thus, I decided to tackle the ever-present “man-pleasing chicken” recipe from Pinterest.
I was really worried that the three main ingredients—dijon mustard, maple syrup, and a sweeter vinegar—would just make this way too intense, all the flavors fighting each other. But I was pleasantly surprised by how the flavors actually kind of balanced each other out, making the end result sweet, tangy, and with just enough bite to keep your interested.
The other nice flavor component was the rosemary. If you don’t have it the recipe is still great, but the fresh rosemary just adds another great layer of flavor with the mustard-maple sauce.
[June 2019: This is one of my most popular recipes, so I’ve updated the images to be better…though it’s hard to make this chicken look pretty 🙂 But it IS delicious]
READ THE POST
Guys, I was REEEEEEALLY skeptical about this one.
Unlike many people, crockpots actually scare me. I’m on board with soups and chili, but pretty much everything else I’ve ever made in a crock pot has turned out burned, dry, soggy, or otherwise not very good. It’s like I’m incapable of mastering it. But I needed a make-ahead breakfast option for my “breakfast day” at work, so the crockpot was really my only option. I turned to this crockpot breakfast casserole recipe…and guess what? It turned out surprisingly great!
The final result wasn’t *pretty*, mind you (hence no pics of it ready to serve) but it was very flavorful, not dry at all, and got a thumbs-up from my co-workers. Plus, the assembly the night before was quick and painless—cooking the bacon was the most involved piece, everything else was just layering. Slow cooker breakfast casserole for the win!READ THE POST
“I need to try cooking quinoa.”
I’ve probably been saying this for two years. A couple weeks ago I finally got up the courage to try it.
Why quinoa? Well, for one, it’s a bit of a superfood—high in awesome protein, rich in nutrients (such as calcium, iron, vitamin B), full of fiber and complex carbohydrates, easy to cook, hearty, versatile, and quite tasty.
For my first foray, I went with a delightful-sounding quinoa mac & cheese recipe. Spoiler alert: it was awesome, easy, and delicious!
Haha, well several years after writing this post originally, I had to re-write it because basically nothing was true anymore.
I wrote that almost none of my recipes have chicken (I literally grill chicken every night now), that knowing whether the chicken is cooked stresses me out (true, but I’ve discovered meat thermometers), and that I hate dealing with raw meat (still true, but I’ve had to man up). I’ve updated a few of the recipe details as well.
BUT, what is still true about this delish chicken recipe is that it’s super fast, easy, and healthy. And that still makes it a winner (winner, chicken dinner) in my book.
This recipe is so easy and not remotely stressful, even on a harried weeknight. It even got a super thumbs up from a guy friend, so don’t worry about the brown sugar making it too “frou frou”. I served this with a delicious cauliflower leek risotto and some sauteed kale and they went great together. We were super stuffed afterward.
Note, I’ve recently updated the photos and the recipe itself to improve the overall output.
The best part about this? Five minutes of actual hands-on time, and then it’s in the oven. Start your ovens…
Risotto is one of my favorite authentic Italian dishes, and my absolute favorite to make myself when I have the time. You can’t rush risotto. It’s my “stress-relief” dish—pour a glass (or two) of wine, and stir and stir. The process of it is soothing.
One of the first recipes I pinned on Pinterest was for this cauliflower risotto with leeks. It’s a healthier version, since you get the additional vitamins, fiber, etc. from the cauliflower plus you use less rice, which is a simpler carb.
I’ll admit I was skeptical about the cauliflower. I’ve never made anything with cauliflower (I didn’t even know how to chop it!), and I was worried you’d lose the smooth awesomeness of risotto by adding the cauliflower in. I remained skeptical throughout the entire cooking process, but I was more than pleasantly surprised by the result. It was so delicious!
Look at all this healthiness you’re about to put inside you.
Like much of the country, Hotlanta has been living up to its name lately, with temperatures soaring over 100 every day and like 90%+ humidity. You feel like you’re being broiled every time you walk outside (get in the car, wake up and get out of bed, etc.). The humidity is really what kills you, it steals your breath and your will to do anything.
Suffice to say, I have been trying to turn on the oven as little as possible, since it makes my little 600-square-foot apartment feel like a hot yoga studio. But this is hard since I love roasting vegetables and baking delicious treats, and every weekend I try to treat myself to some dessert. So I was racking my brain this past weekend for something easy and cold, and then had the perfect idea: chocolate cornstarch pudding. I have no idea where the recipe originally came from, but it’s been a staple in my family since I can remember.
Look at that awesome cold, creamy, sweet awesomeness. What’s especially awesome about this pudding is that 1) it’s super easy, 2) it doesn’t require many ingredients, and 3) it’s not too sweet or bad for you.