Zoodles with Veggies & Goat Cheese

Noodles made from veggies are a big thing these days, and for a good reason: they are an easy and delicious way to add more vegetables into your diet! Today I'm sharing three tips for making these "noodles" taste good PLUS a recipe that I've been digging lately.

In order to make veggie noodles you will need a spiralizer (I highly recommend this one or this one) or a vegetable peeler. A few stores are starting to sell pre-spiralized veggies - I've seen them at some Whole Foods. You can also order them online (check out Hungry Root).

Here are my tips for making veggie noodles actually taste good:

1. Add plenty of herbs and spices - Veggie noodles don't have much flavor by themselves, so make sure you are spicing 'em up! You can use fresh herbs (basil! cilantro! mint!) or a dried blend (I like the 21 Spice blend from Trader Joe's).

2. Add healthy fat - Veggie noodles have become popular because they are low in calories and lighter than traditional pasta. Which means you shouldn't be afraid to add some hearty, healthy fats to your meal! This can be cheese, like I've done below, or avocado, peanut sauce, etc. If you eat meat, I imagine chicken or turkey sausage would also be a great way to make the dish more satisfying.

3. Add heat - While you can totally enjoy your zoodles raw, I find they taste more similar to pasta and are much more satisfying when gently warmed.

Zoodles with Veggies & Goat Cheese // vegetarian option, gluten free

Ingredients:

- 1 zucchini

- 1 cups veggies of choice (I've used leftover grilled veggies, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms)

- Olive oil

- Garlic

- 1/4 cup goat cheese

- 3/4 cup protein of choice (I've done this with both tempeh and shrimp)

Instructions:

1. Make your zoodles. You can do this using a spiralizer (I highly recommend this one or this one) or a vegetable peeler.

2. Prep & cook your veggies. Chop up your veggies and saute in a large pan with garlic and olive oil (if you used leftover grilled veggies you can skip the garlic and olive oil and just warm them up).

3. Add in your protein. Add your protein to the pan and cooked to desired done-ness.

4. Add in your zoodles. These go in the pan at the end! They really just need a few minutes to warm up - you don't want to over cook them as they will get mushy.

5. Plate it up! Place your cheese on your plate. Top with the zoodle mixture from your pan and stir. The cheese will melt and make a creamy, delicious sauce. Add salt, pepper and more herbs/spices to taste. Enjoy!

 

Have you tried zucchini noodles? What are your tips for making them taste amazing?

Carrot Cake Smoothie + April Newsletter

Hi everyone!

Those who know me know I LOVE smoothies.  In my mind, there's not much that can beat a good homemade smoothie - sweet, creamy, and nutrient dense.  Unlike bottled or purchased smoothies that are often packed with strange ingredients and added sugars, homemade smoothies are 100% customizable and can be the perfect healthy indulgence.  

Except for during the winter months, I usually have a smoothie for breakfast.  They are quick to make and an easy way to get fruit, veggies, protein, and healthy fats in a portable form.  I LOVE to eat my smoothies with a spoon, which makes the health drink feel indulgent, almost like a bowl of ice cream.  Since the weather is warming up, I'm excited to get back on my smoothie game!

My favorite blend of the moment combines the natural sweetness of carrots and bananas with the richness of almond butter and warmth of cinnamon for an absolutely delicious spring morning treat.  Maca gives you a little boost of energy and the protein means this smoothie will keep you full for hours.  Seriously, this drink is the bomb!  And so so so easy to make - just a few seconds in a blender and you are done.

Carrot Cake Smoothie - Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Soy Free

Ingredients:

- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

- 1/4 cup carrot juice (if you have a high powered blender you can substitute a handful of chopped raw carrots)

- 1 ripe banana

- 1 tsp maca

- 1 TBSP almond butter

- dash of cinnamon

- 1 scoop plain or vanilla protein powder or 1 TBSP hemp seeds (optional)

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to your blender and let it go until smooth. Drink and enjoy!

Expect many more smoothie recipes in the coming month (not only because it is getting warmer out, but also because I just got a Vitamix!!). 

A quick reminder - if you have not done so already, sign up for my monthly newsletter!  In each issue I will include tips, tricks, and easy plant-based recipes.  I will also be sharing exclusive invites to my upcoming events and special promotions for my newsletter subscribers.  I'm bursting with excitement for all the great things planned for April!! Click here to sign up!

Simple Spiced Butternut Squash Soup (RECIPE)

Hi all and happy Monday!  I've got a SOUPer simple recipe for you today (see what I did there??) - it involves just 7 ingredients, minimal hands on time, and is highly adaptable. 

Roasted butternut squash is the star of this soup show.  It never ceases to amaze me just how delicious vegetables are when roasted with a tiny bit of olive or coconut oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.  

Think of this less as a recipe and more as a formula.  Feel free to substitute another squash or root vegetable for the butternut (I'm planning on trying carrot next).  Not a fan of spice?  Leave it out.  Don't have lemon? Lime will do just fine.  No coconut milk in the house? Try unsweetened plain almond or soy milk. 

Simple Spiced Butternut Squash Soup - Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Nut Free

Ingredients:

1/2 large butternut squash, seeds removed (about 4 cups)

1 TBSP Coconut or olive oil 

1 cup vegetable broth

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

1 tsp garam masala *

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Squeeze of lemon


Instructions:

Rub cut side of butternut squash with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 375 until soft all the way through (at least 30 minutes).  Allow to cool for a few minutes before handling.

Scoop the flesh of the cooked butternut squash into your high speed blender or food processor (you should have about 4 cups of squash).  Add vegetable broth, coconut milk and garam masala.  Blend until smooth.  Add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.  Before serving, re-heat and add a squeeze of lemon. 

*Note: Garam Masala is a common Indian spice mix.  I love to keep it in the house because it makes seasoning a pinch (I'm on a roll with these puns today).  If you don't have the mix, you can find an easy recipe for it here.


It's been bright, but chilly here in New York.  This soup has been a perfect, cozy lunch - warming me up without weighing me down.  I hope you enjoy it!

Superfood Energy Bites

While traveling in Thailand a few years ago, I discovered a few different places selling raw energy bites with spirulina, which were absolutely delicious.  I had made my own energy bars with spirulina in the past, but was never happy with the taste.  Upon tasting versions that I loved during my travels, I knew I had to try making my own again.  These delicious morsels are now on regular rotation in my kitchen.  Packed with superfoods and healthy fats, a few of these bites make the perfect snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you full for hours.

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Superfood Energy Bites - Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup raw nuts (I used half walnuts and half cashews)

1/2 cup hemp seeds

1/4 cup chia seeds

2/3 cup raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa

1 heaping cup dates

2-3 TBSP spirulina

1 t turmeric

Generous pinch of sea salt

2-3 TBSP melted coconut oil

2 TBSP pure maple syrup or raw honey

1 TBSP bee pollen (omit for vegan version)

Instructions:

Process nuts and seeds in your food processor and process until well ground.  Add the remainder of the ingredients and process until mixture begins to stick together.  You can shape these into balls and roll in additional seeds (like I did in the photo above) or press into an 8x8 pan and slice into squares.  Tip: if you are opting to slice into squares, place your pan in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to allow the bars to firm up (this will make them easier to slice).   Store in the fridge for up to one week, or freeze to keep longer. 

 

For nutrition nerds like me, here are some fun facts on the superfoods that make these bites so healthy:

- Chia seeds- These tiny seeds are an excellent source of fiber (which helps you feel full longer) and protein, and they are the richest known plant source of omega-3 fatty acids (good fats!).

- Raw Cacao - Raw cacao is the number one source of magnesium of any food on the planet, contains 314% of your recommended daily intake of iron per serving, and has the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world.  Yes, chocolate can be a health food!

- Coconut oil - Coconut oil is a raw saturated fat containing mostly medium-chain fatty acids that the body can metabolize efficiently and convert to energy quickly, which makes it a great option for athletes.  Coconut oil is also considered to be anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial.

-Spirulina - Spirulina consists of about 70% protein, the highest concentration of protein found in any food!  Not only that, but it is also a complete protein source (which means it contains all eight essential amino acids).

- Turmeric - In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is considered a whole body cleansing herb and has been used for centuries to reduce inflammation.

- Hemp seeds - Also known as hemp hearts, hemp seeds are another complete protein source and are easily digested and absorbed by the body.

Source of nutritional info (besides what I have collected in my brain over the years): David Wolfe's Longevity Warehouse  (which is a GREAT resource if you are interested in learning more about superfoods). 

 

Hope you have a sweet and sunny Saturday!

A Secret + Chamomile Scented Fig Bars

Let me let you in on a little secret: I have a huge sweet tooth.  I do looooove kale and green juice, but I also really, really like sweet things.  

You are probably thinking “Wait a second Emily, aren’t you a health coach?  Isn’t sugar bad for you?”  to which I will respond Yes and YES!! (!!!!!)

Without getting into too much science and data, here’s the deal with sugar:  sugar is a carbohydrate (energy!) and is found in a lot of foods: of course the white granular stuff, but also most fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, and pretty much any packaged food (tomato sauce, bread, soda, the list goes on).  

When sugar is processed two things usually happen: 1) the fiber is stripped away and 2) the sweetness is concentrated way beyond what we would ever find in nature.  When you consume this type of sugar, you get a jolt of energy as the highly concentrated sugar hits your bloodstream, but then crash as there is no fiber to help slow the absorption of the sugar.  Which causes you to crave more sugar to get another boost of energy, and so on and so forth.

The good news is that foods with natural sugars (fruits and sweet vegetables) usually contain plenty of fiber, which slows the absorption of the sweet stuff giving you more steady energy and fewer cravings. 

These fig bars are filled with natural sugars, but also tons of fiber and a decent dose of protein, which in my mind makes them a perfect dessert or afternoon pick-me-up.  A dessert that you can feel good eating?  Now that’s sweet!

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Chamomile Scented Fig Bars - Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free

Makes 16 bars

Note:  This recipe is highly adaptable.  Don’t like pecans? Try walnuts.  Out of almonds? Try cashews.  No chamomile tea in the house?  I bet Rooibos or Chai would be equally delicious. 

Crust:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup mixed raw nuts (I used almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts)
  • 1 cup raisins or dried figs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • generous sprinkle of sea salt

Filling:

  • 2 cups dried figs, soaked in warm water for at least 15 minutes (save the soaking liquid)
  • 1/4 cup strong, steeped chamomile tea
  • 1/4 cup soaking liquid 
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil

Topping:

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. Grease a 9x9 pan with coconut oil.  Place 2 cups of figs for the filling in a bowl and cover with warm water.
  2. Make the crust:  Add nuts to your food processor and pulse until corse.  Add the rest of the crust ingredients and process until well combined and the mixture begins to stick together.  Pour the mixture into your greased pan and press it down until it equally covers the bottom of the pan.  Place the pan in the freezer to firm up while you make the filling.
  3. Make the filling:  Drain the figs that have been soaking (but save the soaking liquid!).  Add figs, chamomile tea, and coconut oil to the food processor and process until smooth.  Slowly add the soaking liquid (you may use a little less or a little more depending on how soft your figs were) - you want the mix to be smooth but thick, pudding consistency.  When done, empty the contents of the food processor on top of the crust and use a spatula to spread the filling out evenly across the crust.  Place the pan back in the freezer to firm up while you make the topping.
  4. Make the topping:  Pulse the ingredients in the food processor until roughly chopped and well combined.  Spread generously on top of the bars and gently press the topping in so it sticks to the filling.  Place back into the freezer for about 15 minutes (bars should be firm but not frozen) and then slice. 

You can keep these bars in the freezer or in the fridge.  They will get very firm in the freezer (almost like an ice cream cake - yum!); they will be more mouse-like if you keep in the fridge.  Both ways are incredibly delicious.

I can’t wait for you to try these bars - my family LOVED them and could not believe that they were made with all good for you ingredients.  A perfect treat!