side dish

Roasted Acorn Squash with Herb Dressing

Winter squashe might be one of my favorite things about the fall. Aren't they just so delicious?

You can't ever go wrong with a baked squash of any kind. This recipe here is a simple go-to of mine that takes little preparation and packs a lot of flavor. 

What's best about winter squash varieties is that they are super nutritious. They are high in antioxidants (hence their bright color), contain fiber, and have good amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron.

Squash is meant to be comforting on all levels for this time of year. Get cooking! 

 

Ingredients

Roasted Acorn Squash:

1 acorn squash

1-2 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted, enough to coat squash

Pinch of sea salt and black pepper

 

Herb Dressing:

½ cup parsley, finely chopped

½ cup cilantro, finely chopped

¼ cup basil, finely chopped

½ - 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, enough to cover herbs

Juice of ½ lemon

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Pinch of chili flakes, to taste

 

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Procedure

To cook squash:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut squash in half from top to bottom. Scrape out seeds with a spoon and save (you can toast them or blend in smoothies). Cut into ¾-inch thick half moons.
  3. Toss squash with coconut oil, sea salt, and black pepper on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Spread out evenly and bake for about 30 minutes, turning at 15 minutes, until squash is soft in the middle.

To make dressing:

  1. Place finely chopped herbs in a small bowl.
  2. Add olive oil slowly while whisking. Add enough olive oil to cover and create a dressing-like consistency that can be poured.
  3. Season with lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, and chili flakes until you reach desired taste.
  4. Serve cooked squash and drizzle herb dressing over it.

Serves 2-3

This recipe was created for Oh My Drifter and photographed by the lovely Micaela

Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges + Avocado Superfood Dip

Spiced sweet potatoes featured image

There's something about sweet potatoes. Don't you love them? I do! Sweet potatoes are the healthy alternative to regular potatoes because they actually pack a punch of essential vitamins and minerals. They are anti-inflammatory and help balance blood sugar. The words 'yams' and 'sweet potatoes' are often interchangeable. They are actually two different vegetables, but are both great options.

Staying clear of all whites is always best (white breads, flours, sugars, etc.), but there is an exception... Japanese sweet potatoes. They are white-light yellow inside and have a purple skin. These are actually the most nutrient dense of all sweet potatoes. So enjoy your sweet potatoes/yams, especially the Japanese ones!

Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges (I used yam & Japanese sweet potato)

2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon turmeric

Pinch of cayenne

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Place sweet potato wedges in an oven safe dish.
  3. Combine coconut oil and spices in a small bowl and drizzle over potatoes. Mix to coat well.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Turn broiler on towards the end if you want them crispy.
  5. Serve with avocado superfood dip (recipe below).
Spiced sweet potatoes

Avocado Superfood Dip

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado

2 Tablespoons raw tahini

1 teaspoon spirulina (I use HealthForce brand)

1 teaspoon raw honey

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup water, or to desired consistency

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with fresh herbs and enjoy.

What's your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes? Share your creations and recipes below or on social media with #apurifiedlife

Summer Minty Gazpacho

minty gazpacho featured image

Perfect for a summer day. Gazpacho is also a great way to get in a variety of vegetables at once. The beauty of this recipe is that you can't go wrong with what ingredients you use. This is all I had on hand, but feel free to use any vegetables you'd like (still including tomatoes though). I would throw in some cauliflower and bell pepper, or broccoli, yum!

Ingredients

2 pounds ripe heirloom or early girl tomatoes, cores removed and roughly chopped

1 cucumber, roughly chopped

1 small red onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Chili flakes, to taste

Sea salt, to taste

minty gazpacho

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until combined, but leave chunks for texture. I use "pulse" setting instead of "process" setting to make sure not to over process. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  2. Plate and top with toppings of choice.

Serves 4

Enjoy! x

Cauliflower Mash

Cauliflower mash featured image

Cauliflower is often an underestimated. It seems like such a plain vegetable, yet it's loaded with nutrients and health benefits. Nutritional Highlights of Cauliflower:

  • High in vitamin C - immune support, cardiovascular support
  • Rich in antioxidant phytonutrients - help lower the risk of developing different types of cancer
  • Vitamin K - highly anti-inflammatory
  • Sulphur - anti-inflammatory, shown to kill cancer stem cells, helps detoxification
  • Vitamin B6 & Choline - two B vitamins important for brain health
  • Fiber - aids digestion

 

Cauliflower mash

 

This side dish has been one of my go-to's at home lately. My personal chef clients love it as well. It's comforting and doesn't leave you feeling stuffed. It makes a great dairy-free and low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes, especially for those watching their weight. It even tastes better, in my opinion.

I make a batch at the beginning of the week and then sauté or roast a ton of vegetables to go with it. Great for lunch, dinner, or snack.

Ingredients 

1 Tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil

1 yellow onion, sliced

1 large head cauliflower, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, mashed

1/4 - 1/2 cup water

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil (melted)

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Fresh herbs such as chives, parsley, or cilantro to garnish (optional)

Procedure

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large pan or pot. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add chopped cauliflower, garlic, and water (enough water to cover the bottom of the pan). Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and turn down heat to low. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking to make sure there is still liquid at the bottom of the pan. If water has evaporates, add a little more. Steam until cauliflower is slightly tender.
  3. Remove from the heat and place in a food processor or high-speed blender. Season with oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Blend until it reaches mashed potato consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning. Mix in herbs at this time if desired, or garnish with them.

Note: If you do not have a food processor or high-speed blender, you may mash cauliflower with a potato masher. Cauliflower might need to be cooked a bit more to make it easier.

Serves 2-4

What's your favorite way to prepare cauliflower?

 

 

 

Balsamic-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

balsamic brussels featured image

I don't know about you, but I LOVE brussels sprouts. They are currently in season and I just can't get enough of them. There are various healthy ways to cook brussels sprouts. You can roast, sauté, steam, or shred them and use in a salad. I like to roast them and play around with different seasonings.

Balsamic-glazed has been my go-to lately because it's such a simple ingredient that gives them so much flavor. Throw these tasty brussels sprouts on a salad, on a bed of lentils or grains, have with chicken or fish, or have them as a snack.

Ingredientsbalsamic brussels sprouts

1 pound brussels sprouts

1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Remove outer layer of leaves from brussels sprouts and cut in half. Rinse and drain. Place in a baking dish and drizzle with melted coconut oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and black pepper. Roast in oven for 15-25 minutes until tender, check at 10 minutes and give them a stir. Serve.

Serves 2-3

Creamy Carrot-Ginger Soup

carrot soup feature image

'Tis the season for a warm and comforting soup on a cold or rainy night. Vegetables and fruits have their seasons for a reason. When in season, they provide the most nutritional value, most flavor, and are cheaper. During fall and winter seasons, starchy vegetables are at their peak season to provide warmth and antioxidants that help us fight cold and flu symptoms. Starchy vegetables include: all types of squash, yams, beets, and carrots. Other warming foods include: ginger, mustard, garlic, and onion. To get the most out of your food, make sure you eat a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables every week.

This carrot-ginger soup is the easiest creamy soup you will ever make. It's dairy-free, gluten-free, and very anti-inflammatory.

Carrot soup

Carrot soup

Ingredients 

1 Tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil

1 medium onion, sliced

4-5 large carrots or 1 bunch of carrots, coarsely chopped

4 cups filtered water or vegetable broth

2-inch piece of ginger root, sliced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Sea salt to taste

Procedure

  1.  Heat coconut oil in a medium stock pot. Add sliced onion and pinch of sea salt. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally. Add chopped carrots and cook for another 5-8 minutes. Add sliced ginger and water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes, covered, until carrots are soft.
  2. Carefully transfer everything to a blender and blend until smooth (You may have to do this in batches if it doesn't all fit). Tip: Take off plastic part of blender lid and cover with a towel to avoid spilling. Place hand over towel before starting blender.If you leave the cap on, the soup will overflow because it is too hot.Once soup is blended completely, add lemon juice and pinch of sea salt. Taste and adjust as needed. Serve.

Serves 4-6

Spicy Avocado Soup

Spicy-avocado-soup_v2

I've been playing with my new Vitamix way too much. It's been weeks of soups, puddings, and smoothies. I have made variations of avocado soup before, but this one is my favorite so far. This is a perfect summer soup, creamy and refreshing. It's very easy to make and you don't need any fancy equipment. Any type of blender will do.

Ingredients

2 avocados

2 garlic cloves

2 green onions

1 cucumber, peeled

1 teaspoon tamari (can omit)

3/4 cup water or vegetable broth

1/2 cup fresh parsley or cilantro

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon coriander

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

juice of 1/2 lemon

pinch of sea salt

pinch of black pepper

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust flavor to your liking. Serve and garnish with cayenne pepper or fresh herbs.

Serves 4

Balsamic-Ginger Glazed Carrots and Chard

Balsamic-glazed-carrots

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Summer is one of my favorite seasons. I love going to the farmers market and being surrounded by all the wonderful colors of fruits and vegetables.

Have you seen those beautiful rainbow carrots yet? And the amazing varieties of cucumber? What about the juicy peaches and plums?

I can spend hours at the market just admiring (and tasting), but mostly, I go to get influenced to create new and delicious recipes. This week, I chose to make something different with carrots.

Carrots are available year round, but they have the most nutrients, freshness, and flavor when they are in season (fall and summer). They are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, fiber, and antioxidants (vitamin C and beta-carotene). They are anti-inflammatory, a good source of complex carbohydrates, and help cleanse the liver.

Ingredients

1-2 Tablespoons unrefined sesame oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan)

1 bunch rainbow carrots, washed and cut into 2-inch pieces

4 large leaves red chard, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1-inch ginger root, minced

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

juice of 1/2 lemon

sea salt

Procedure

  1. Cut off the large end of carrots. Cut carrots in half long wise, then cut into 2-inch pieces with a diagonal cut.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a large pan. Add carrots and a generous pinch of sea salt and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice and cook for another 5 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  4. Add chard and sauté for another few minutes until chard wilts. Serve.

Note: You can garnish with chopped herbs and/or seeds.