Monday, May 11, 2015

Spaghetti Squash With Creamy Vegan Sundried Tomato Sauce, White Beans, and Crispy Kale

1/2 Large Spaghetti Squash
1/2 cups oaked cashews (overnight)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
1 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup white beans
3 leaves of kale

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp. Place face down on a baking sheet, and bake for 45 minutes. 

2. If you have a toaster oven or a double oven that can be heated to a different temperature, heat to 425 degrees for the kale. Break your kale leaves and place on a baking sheet, drizzling with olive oil. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until kale is crispy. Make sure to watch your kale so it doesn't blacken or burn. If you don't have another oven, wait until spaghetti squash is finished cooking, then increase temperature to cook kale. 

2. To make sauce, blend cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, sundried tomatoes, olive oil, and water until smooth and creamy. Transfer to small pot and heat for 1 minute, stirring to thicken.

3. Scoop out spaghetti squash with a bowl. Toss in beans as well as sauce until squash is covered. Crumble the crispy kale with your hands and sprinkle over bowl. 

This recipe is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free, and can be made paleo with the removal of white beans. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why You Always Need to Read Ingredient Labels + Roasted Tri-Color Carrots with Chickpeas & Kale

Hello everyone! I hope everyone is getting excited and gearing up for the holidays. While thinking about what I wanted to post on here, I decided to share a recent incident I had at Whole Foods that left me pretty enraged.

Here's a bit of background: I try to cook every meal at home, unless I am out for the day or have plans with friends. This includes when I go to work. I wake up every morning about an hour or so before I have to leave so I can not only cook breakfast, but prepare a lunch for myself as well.

This particular morning, I had to do some writing and also had a chiropractor appointment before work, so I was unable to cook myself any breakfast or lunch. I figured I would just stop by Whole Foods and pick up some clean-eating breakfast and lunch. When trying to think of the healthiest place to get food, I figured, why not Whole Foods?

Boy, was I wrong. It was actually a struggle to find any lunch there that looked light, clean, or plant-based. So I lowered my standards. I decided to look at a Turkey and Swiss Wrap that seemed promising— that is, until I read the label. Not only did the sandwich have added cane sugar, but it had corn syrup solids high up on the ingredient list. Corn syrup solids. In a turkey wrap. I don't even know where these sugars were added, whether it was the dressing, the tortilla, the turkey itself — it didn't say. But I was livid.

Personally, I don't prefer sugar in my sandwiches. But what made me the most upset is that this was happening at Whole Foods. It's one thing if you're going to Subway with the preconceived notion that your sandwich isn't going to be pure. It's a another thing to walk into one of the most well-known health food stores in this country and pick up a sandwich that not only contains sugar, but corn syrup. I'm sure most people aren't like me and don't read every single label on their food, so they go into Whole Foods thinking they are getting the cleanest and healthiest ingredients. Little do they know...

Anyway, in my disappointment, I tweeted at Whole Foods:

And then they responded this:

For those who don't know, HFCS stands for "High Fructose Corn Syrup." While HFCS is inevitably worse for you than sugar or or regular corn syrup, cane sugar and corn syrup are refined sugars, which means they too are bad for you. I was surprised to read that they allow corn syrup to be part of their ingredients.

Feeling deflated, this is what I said back:

And they responded with this:

Here's the thing. I notified them that it was at the Beverly Hills location, but I was in Brentwood today and the same sandwich had the same ingredients. I'm sure many other locations do as well. This just emphasizes to me that no matter where you go, even if the place claims to be healthy or all-natural, you have to check ingredients. There are a lot of claims out there, but it's up to you to make sure you are cognizant of the ingredients that go into these foods.

To prevent this post from being too melancholy, I've decided to included a super-clean and super-colorful recipe that's sure to brighten your mood!

Roasted Tri-Color Carrots with Herbed Chickpeas, Kale, and Pan-Fried Tomatoes

5 carrots (a mixture of orange, yellow, and purple)
1/2 cup chickpeas
2 cups of kale
3 medium tomatoes
1 small lemon
Garlic powder
Dried parsley
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss chickpeas with olive oil and a generous dash of cumin, garlic powder, paprika and dried parsley. 
2. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Spread carrots out on sheet, leaving room for chickpeas, and drizzle with olive oil. Place chickpeas on baking sheet as well, making sure they are evenly spread.
3. Place baking sheet in oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes, until carrots are tender and chickpeas are crispy.
4. While carrots and chickpeas are roasting, heat olive oil in a pan. Slice tomatoes and lemon thinly, and saute in the pan with kale, evenly coating kale with olive oil. 
5. When carrots and chickpeas are finished, place on top kale and tomato mixture. Season with olive oil and lemon as needed. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dining Out and Healthy Eating + Kale & Quinoa Salad with Vegan Green Goddess Dressing

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a happy and healthy week.

First off, I wanted to let everyone know that I will now be a contributing nutrition and wellness writer for Bustle! I'm very excited to have a venue to write and research about all things healthy! You can read my articles here.

Something I have been thinking a lot about lately is how to manage eating out at restaurants. I find it important to balance my passion for clean eating with my desire to try many different types of food, as I am still a foodie at heart and get great enjoyment out of trying different things. I have always believed in balance, in both the mind and body, and in what you are actually consuming. If something sounds delicious to me, I'm not going to deprive myself and let myself suffer. But where do you draw the line?

I'm sure many people who strive to eat as cleanly and healthfully as possible run into this issue when eating out with friends. I have NEVER been one to deny myself something delicious just because it is bad for you, but this should only be happening on occasion. I don't want to let my healthy habits fall by the wayside because I am constantly out with friends indulging in rich foods. The problem with this though, is that being a healthy eater often comes with the stigma of being a picky eater.

What do you do if your friends all want to eat somewhere, but you have dietary restrictions? It's pretty common to hear people mocking vegans or people who are gluten free, even though there is validity in them choosing not to eat those foods. I definitely don't want to be difficult when I'm out with people, but I also have been realizing I shouldn't forego my personal health just to appease people.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a case of me not wanting to eat a piece of cake because I'm worried about my weight (not that anyone should be judged for that either). The problem is the negative stigma attached to wanting to eat cleanly consistently. I live a pretty on-the-go lifestyle, and it would be unrealistic for me to dictate every place we went to eat. I have just been thinking about the judgment that comes along with trying to put the best foods into your body, and that you shouldn't have to feel shamed for trying to eat purely. Most importantly, I feel that all of these issues would be solved if we had a greater number of healthy and clean food options that could appeal to a majority of people. But until then...

Kale & Quinoa Salad with Vegan Green Goddess Dressing and Avocado


1/3 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups kale, chopped finely
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup cooked lentils
1/2 avocado

For Dressing:

1/4 raw soaked cashews
Juice of 1 small lemon
5 basil leaves
2 small cloves of garlic
2 stalks of green onion
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Cook quinoa and lentils according to package instructions. Chop kale and tomatoes.
2. Massage kale gently with olive oil.
3. Blend dressing ingredients until smooth.
4. Toss all ingredients together with dressing, and top with sliced avocado. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dietary Labels + Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpea Croutons

Hi Everyone!

I've been getting so much positive feedback on my Instagram, and it has been so fun, but now I am trying to stick to my promise and post on the blog more frequently.

One question that people ask me a lot is "Are you vegan?" or "Are you vegetarian?"and I thought it would be appropriate to address this in this specific blog post because I am posting a very vegan recipe. The answer to these questions is no, I am not vegan or vegetarian, but it is more complex than that. I think the correct answer is I am a "clean eater" or follow a "plant-based" diet.

More often than not, I cook vegan food at home. This is because I tend to buy whole, plant based ingredients that don't include animal products or dairy. But this isn't because I specifically am a vegan or vegetarian. It's because I feel my best eating these foods, and they are oftentimes the cleanest and most nutritious (and I happen to love the way they taste).

That being said, I love eggs, include Greek yogurt in a lot of meals, and really have eaten many types of meat in my lifetime. I don't believe in food labels, and I instead believe in listening to your body and educating yourself on the types of foods that are best for you. Mental health plays a role in your body's health, and for me, restricting myself isn't the way to do it. If being vegan is right for you-- go you! I applaud you, because eating plant-based foods really makes me feel amazing. And if you love cheeseburgers, go you too! (Just try to make sure your beef is free range and grass fed :) ).

So back on the topic of being vegan, I have become obsessed with making vegan cheeses and dressing using soaked cashews. It's amazing how creamy these nuts can taste! I have become especially obsessed with making vegan Caesar salad. It really tastes like the real deal to me.

Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpea Croutons


5 cups of kale
8 baby cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chickpeas
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
Garlic Powder

For dressing:
1/2 cup soaked raw cashews
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
Juice of 1 small lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle olive oil over chickpeas and toss with a sprinkle of paprika, cumin and garlic. Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy.
2. Massage kale with olive oil until soft. Chop cherry tomatoes into halves.
3. Blend all ingredients of the dressing until smooth. If dressing is too thick, add olive oil to thin it out.
4. Toss all ingredients with the kale and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Chocolate Pumpkin Maple Almond Cups with Crushed Pistachio

Happy Fall! With the arrival of autumn come all things pumpkin, and I'm not complaining! I'm a huge fan of fall's nutritional superfood, especially because it can be prepared both savory and sweet. I recently whipped up some Pumpkin Quinoa, but I couldn't resist using this seasonal squash for a dessert treat.

Every since I discovered Kaleifornia Love's vegan and refined sugar-free salted caramel cups, I have been experimenting with different types of fillings, and I swear each time it gets better and better. Today,  I present to you: Chocolate Pumpkin Maple Almond Cups with Crushed Pistachios.

I love desserts like these because they satisfy your sweet tooth, but you can still feel guilt-free! All the ingredients are all-natural and pure, and you get the added health benefits of the pumpkin. Plus, they are ready in less than 30 minutes and don't require any baking.


4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
4 tablespoons pure cocoa powder
2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup (1 for chocolate, 1 for pumpkin filling)
4 tablespoons raw almond butter
3 tablespoons pure pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons pistachio hearts

(Yields 4 servings)

  1. Combine coconut oil, cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon maple syrup in a bowl. 
  2. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill the bottom of 4 liners with half the chocolate mixture. Freeze for 5 minutes until solid.
  3. Blend pumpkin, almond butter, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup until smooth. If the mixture looks too loose, blend in more almond butter until it is more solid.
  4. Remove muffin tin from the freezer and top with pumpkin mixture. Then top the pumpkin mixture with the remaining chocolate so pumpkin mix is completely covered.
  5. Blend pistachios for a second or two until they are in pieces. Sprinkle over chocolate in the muffin tin.
  6. Freeze for about 20 minutes or until cups are hardened. Let thaw for a few minutes before eating, and refrigerate to keep.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Kale Me Maybe Round-Up: July/August Part 2

As I mentioned last week, since I have been actively posting on Instagram,  I am going to be updating my blog weekly with roundup of what I have been cooking.

I also just had the idea of including relevant food policy and health news on these weekly posts as well, so we can all stay up to date on relevant nutrition research and policy changes.

A big story this week was CVS's decision to stop selling tobacco in their pharmacy. To me, this is a huge step in the healthcare world, as it seems completely ironic that a place that is supposed to cure you from sickness would sell a product known to cause illness and death.

Another story I found interesting came from research at Tufts University that found that your brain can be trained to prefer healthy food over unhealthy food. While I can vouch from experience, it's nice to have scientific research that backs this up. You can read more about the study here.

Now onto the recipes:

Kale Salad with Soft-Boiled Egg and Cracked Pepper

Place an egg in water in a small pot. Heat until water is boiling, then turn off the heat and let egg sit in the water for 6 minutes. Then rinse egg with cool water to stop cooking. While your egg is boiling, massage kale with olive oil between your hands. Finely chop two garlic cloves until it is almost made into a paste. Toss kale with garlic, squeezed lemon and Parmesan cheese, and top with the soft boiled egg and cracked black pepper.

Roasted Vegetables

You can use any vegetable of choice, but pictured here are red and purple potatoes, corn, green beans and white onion. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place vegetables on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes and top with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Quinoa and Cucumber Salad 

Spiralize half a large cucumber using Blade A. Toss with white beans, sundried tomatoes, quinoa, artichoke hearts and green onion. To make dressing, blend a scoop of Dijon mustard, half a chopped shallot and a splash of white vinegar and olive oil.

Poached Egg on a Rosemary Hash

Rosemary hash: caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, wilted arugula and sundried tomatoes topped with dried rosemary. To learn how to poach an egg, check out Mark Bittman's suggestions here

Green Smoothie Breakfast Bowl

Blend strawberries, kale, frozen banana, and almond milk. To get the tie-dye effect, blend one batch with more strawberries and swirl two mixtures together. Top with chopped walnuts, shredded coconut and strawberries.

"Detox" Salad Bowl

Ingredients: Massaged kale, shredded or spiralized carrots, cherry tomatoes, green onion, avocado, assorted micro greens, quinoa and lemon. 

Mocha Frappuccino

Blend one cup of coffee with a frozen banana, vanilla almond milk and a large scoop of unsweetened cocoa powder. Top with cacoa nibs. 

 Superfood Salad with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette

Arugula topped with cooked sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes, avocado, assorted microgreens and chia seeds. To make dressing, mix the juice of a lemon with olive oil, white vinegar, and dried thyme. 


Heat sauce over medium heat with some fresh arugula, and crack two eggs directly into the sauce. Sprinkle with red chili flakes, cumin and parsley, and then cover. Cook for about 3-5 minutes until egg is cooked but yolk is still loose. Optional: eat with Greek yogurt. 

Spiced Vegetable Frittata

Saute kale, two garlic cloves, half a medium chopped onion, chopped mushrooms and halved cherry tomatoes until onions are translucent and kale is wilted. While vegetables are cooking, scramble two eggs with thyme, oregano and paprika. When vegetables are cooked, spread them on the pan evenly and cover with egg mixture. Keep on low to medium heat until eggs are cooked, and top with Parmesan cheese. 

Warm Kale and Sweet Potato Salad with Mustard Balsamic Vinaigrette 

Spiralize a sweet potato using Blade B. Cook sweet potatoes with chopped onion in a pan with olive oil on medium heat until onions are browned and sweet potato becomes soft and crisp on the edges. Toss with massaged kale, chickpeas and hemp seeds. To make dressing, mix finely chopped garlic or garlic paste with Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar. 

Zucchini "Fettuccine" with "Creamy" Sundried Tomato Sauce

Spiralize two zucchinis using Blade C. Cook in a pan on medium heat with olive oil until zucchini is soft. To make sauce, blend a handful of sundried tomatoes with a big scoop of Greek yogurt, chopped garlic (one to two cloves), olive oil and a splash of white vinegar. Pour over zucchini on low heat and toss. 

Garlic Beet Noodles with Wilted Beet Greens

Spiralize three beets, and save the greens. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. While beets are cooking, toss beet greens with chopped shallots and garlic. Toss all ingredients together and top with cracked black pepper and olive oil.

Crispy Sweet Potato and Onion Hash topped with a Fried Egg and Crispy Kale

Spiralize sweet potatoes and white onion using Blade A. Place on a large baking sheet along with kale. Drizzle with olive oil and cook at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, fry an egg with olive oil in a small pan until whites are cooked and crispy but yolk is soft to touch. When vegetables are done, place sweet potato and onion on a plate. Top with the fried egg, and crunch the kale in your hands so you are able to sprinkle over the entire dish. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kale Me Maybe Round-Up: July/August Part 1

Hi Everyone!

Since my Instagram has really been taking off in the past month, I thought I would start posting weekly roundups of my recipes for those who have maybe missed a few. Since I have a lot of catching up to do, this post is going to have double the amount of posts I will normally do, but I am going to make this a weekly thing.

That being said, I'm still going to post full blogs with in-depth nutrition information and detailed recipes. This is just going to be a supplement to my normal posts.

If anyone wants more details on the recipes or has any questions, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments, and I would be happy to answer! Feel free to share your favorite dish as well.

A Mexican-Inspired Kale Salad with "Creamy" Avocado Lime Cilantro Dressing  


Massage kale with olive oil by kneading leaves together with your hands. Toss with black beans, chopped sweet onions, cherry tomatoes and chopped carrots. 

To make dressing, blend half an avocado with a scoop of Greek yogurt, a bunch of cilantro and the juice of two limes.

Spiralized Zucchini "Spaghetti"

Spiralize two zucchinis and cook in a large pan with olive oil until soft. Toss with tomato sauce, sauteed onions, mushrooms and lentils.

Lemon Vegetable Frittata 

Saute chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes, kale, mushrooms and potatoes. Scramble two eggs and pour over vegetables. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until eggs are fully cooked. Sprinkle with rosemary, parsley, paprika and lemon. 

Avocado Pesto Quinoa

Pesto: Blend half an avocado, two cloves of garlic, a handful of arugula, fresh basil leaves and a generous splash of olive oil. Mix into cooked quinoa with chopped cherry tomatoes and green onion. 

Lemon Zucchini "Fettucine" 

Spiralize two zucchinis with the thick blade. Toss in a large pan with olive oil along with garlic, arugula and cherry tomatoes. Top with squeezed lemon and dried parsley. 

Spicy White Bean Skillet

Saute chopped onions, tomatoes and kale in a large pan until onions are browned and translucent and kale is wilted. Add in white cannellini beans and toss with a large scoop of Greek yogurt and your hot sauce of choice (I used Trader Joes Red Chili Pepper Sauce).

Taste the Rainbow Breakfast

Chop two mini purple potatoes and then soften in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Saute chopped potato, onions, garlic and kale in a pan. When vegetables are close to done, make a little space for an egg and crack into your crevice. Cook until whites are done and yolk is runny. Top with cracked black pepper.

Vegan Candy Bar Oatmeal

Cook steel cut oats and mix in two big scoops of unsweetened cocoa powder, a teaspoon of coconut oil, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a splash of pure Grade B maple syrup. Top with unsweetened shredded coconut and 100% pure pure baking cocoa or cacao nibs.

Green Eggs (And No Ham)

Saute arugula, parsley and green onion in pan. Scramble with two eggs and then top with avocado slices and a sprig of cilantro. Slice cherry tomatoes in half and put around plate for garnish and to mix with egg when consumed. 

Avocado Toast with Cherry Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and Chili Flakes

Balsamic Kale Salad

Break cauliflower into pieces and roast at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden. Massage kale and toss with cauliflower, sliced red grapes, chopped sweet onions and chopped walnuts. Top with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

Fried Duck Egg on a Spiralized Sweet Potato Hash with Crispy Sage

Chop up sweet onions, garlic and a few sage leaves. Saute in olive oil and set aside. Spiralize a sweet potato and cook with olive oil, covered on medium heat for about five minutes. Toss with your previous mixture and set aside on a plate.Then cook a duck egg on medium heat until whites are cooked and yolk is firm but still runny with touch. Top plate with finished egg and garnish with some cracked black pepper.

Coconut Curry Zucchini Noodles

Spiralize two zucchinis. Mix with green curry sauce (I used Trader Joe's) and shredded unsweetened coconut. For an extra kick, eat with Sriracha. 

Balsamic Lentils & Chickpeas with Goat Cheese

Saute mushrooms and onions until onions are browned. Mix with cooked lentils and chickpeas, and pour balsamic vinegar over the mixture on low to medium heat. Cook for a minute or two to absorb flavor, and then top with crumbled goat cheese. 

Any Instagram posts not pictured here will be included in upcoming full-length blog posts!