It’s that time of year again when there seem to be cookies everywhere one turns. Although it’s fun to participate in holiday baking traditions, it can wreak havoc on your healthy routine, as most of the cookies that surround us are loaded with white flour, sugar and bad-quality fats.
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If you haven’t made a kale salad at home yet, here’s the perfect recipe to get you started. With roasted squash and the tahini dressing, it’s hearty enough to stand on its own as a light lunch, or a surprising addition to the dinner table. Plus, it’s super healthy, too.
Delicata squash contains the same health-promoting benefits of all winter squash varieties, and it’s high in beta carotene, antioxidants and vitamin C. Combine it with kale — another nutritional powerhouse with ample amounts of iron, calcium and chlorophyll — and you have a delicious fall salad you can feel great about eating. If you want to dress it up for a special occasion or a holiday meal, add some pomegranate seeds, a shower of shaved Parmesan, or a handful of toasted nuts.
As winter approaches us in North America, citrus fruits like mandarins, clementines and oranges of all varieties are just about coming into their full season. And it may be no mistake, as the extra vitamin C these delicious fruits pack in their bright, fresh flavor is just what we need to help get us through the cold season.
Sometimes, warm freshly baked bread for breakfast is all you want — ideally made from dough that doesn’t involve activating yeast or kneading. You want bread that’s mildly sweet, but not cakey like muffins or a banana bread, and goes perfectly with a cup of tea. This gluten- and dairy-free skillet cornbread fits the bill and also happens to be perfect for lazy mornings — especially if you have leftover cooked squash to stir into the batter. This bread can be enjoyed with a pat of coconut oil if you want to keep it free of any dairy, otherwise a little butter melted in is pretty good. The scallions added to the batter may make you consider serving this with dinner, and they can certainly be left out if you want to serve it with jam. Either way, be sure to enjoy it warm.
If you’re cooking for vegan and gluten-free friends or family this Thanksgiving, these tartlets are the perfect way to please everyone at the table. Unlike most desserts served on this holiday, this one is made without butter, sugar, cream and eggs. Instead the recipe calls for toasted nuts, whole grains, coconut oil, maple syrup and agar. Agar is a neutral-flavored seaweed that is used as a vegetarian gelatin; here, along with arrowroot, it gives great texture to the toasted almond filling.
With its festive fall flavors, this salad would make the perfect accompaniment to a Thanksgiving spread — especially if you’re looking for hearty vegetable-based dishes to serve to your guests. Spelt berries become plump and tender after simmering, giving the salad an interesting texture and an earthy whole-grain flavor that pairs well with bright, tart pomegranate, bitter greens and sweet roasted carrots. Perhaps the greatest thing about a salad like this is that it’s versatile and can be adapted to complement the rest of your meal. If you already have carrots on your menu, the roasted carrots can easily be replaced with other fall vegetables like squash or fennel. Or use rosemary or thyme in place of sage and add some toasted walnuts or pecans if you’re looking for something a bit richer. Robust salads like this one also stand up well long after being dressed, making them perfect for holiday buffets and leisurely meals.
Concord grapes may not what you might normally think of as a smoothie ingredient. But their musky, fruity and tart flavor pairs surprisingly well with the creamy texture of blended cashews and frozen bananas. Sweet and festive thanks to the rich purple color, this smoothie is perfect to serve as a healthy dessert or afternoon treat.
Chilly fall mornings call for piping hot breakfasts. This porridge fits the bill and the added spices make it all the more invigorating. If you’re looking to change up your morning oatmeal routine, give amaranth a go. Though it takes a few extra minutes to cook, its mild, nutty flavor and nutrients make it well worth the time. It also maintains a slight crunch after cooking. Although amaranth is one of the smallest grains around, it also happens to be one of the highest in protein. Topped with toasted pecans and chopped dates and served with a splash of almond milk, this breakfast is sure to keep you going until lunch time. Read more
Although it’s extremely difficult to pick a favorite recipe from my cookbook “At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well,” these brownies do stand out as one of the true winners. The idea of combining almond butter, dark chocolate and sea salt came to me on a car trip out of the city one weekend when I was craving something sweet and satisfying. The thought of those flavors combined in a vegan brownie was something I simply had to try. I wanted the brownies to be rich and nutty without being cloying; the flaky sea salt adds a lovely texture and helps balance out the sweetness. Dates blended with almond butter are the secret here for creating the fudgy texture. These brownies taste best when cold and also keep well in the fridge for a few days. I hope you get a chance to make them soon! Read more
If there were ever a time to add fruit to your green salad, the fall season would be it. The unbeatable juicy, crisp texture and tart-sweet flavor of freshly picked apples is the perfect contrast to robust fall greens and shaved fennel. Adding thyme, honey and toasted almonds gives an ambrosial element to the salad, setting it well apart from your average green salad. This is the kind of salad that encourages you to celebrate the colder whether and makes you forget about the summery salads you may be missing. Read more