Kale and Basil Pesto

Serves: Makes 16 servings

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (100 g) grated Parmesan cheese

3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 cups (25 g) basil leaves

2 cups (35 g) kale leaves

3 Tablespoons pine nuts

1/2 cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

To serve:

1lb whole wheat spaghetti

1-2 cups grape tomatoes

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

Extra basil

Instructions:

  1. Add the cheese, garlic, basil, kale and pine nuts to a food processor and pulse to combine.
  2. With the processor running, stream in the olive oil. Blend until fully incorporated.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss with cooked whole wheat spaghetti, fresh grape tomatoes and white beans. Garnish with extra basil.

Notes:

If you don’t have a food processor you can finely mince the basil, kale and garlic and whisk it with olive oil, Parmesan and salt and pepper for a more chunky version of pesto.

Summer Caprese Salad

Serves 8

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

2 cups balsamic vinegar

4 large ripe tomatoes

12 ounces fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced

Large bunch fresh basil leaves

Olive oil, for drizzling (about 1 tablespoon)

Large pinch kosher salt

Large pinch freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Measure the balsamic vinegar and pour into a saucepan. Bring it to a gentle boil over a low heat. Cook it until the balsamic vinegar has reduced to a nice thick glaze (but still pourable), about 15 minutes. Allow the reduction to cool to room temperature before you serve it.

When you are ready to assemble the salad, cut the tomatoes into thick slices. Arrange them on a platter, alternating them with the mozzarella slices. Tuck the whole basil leaves in between the tomato and cheese slices.

Drizzle on the balsamic reduction. Then drizzle olive oil in a thin stream over the top. Finally, sprinkle on salt and pepper.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Calories 140; Total Fat 9g; Protein 11g; Carbohydrate 5g; Fiber 1g; Sugar <1g; Sodium 200mg

Zucchini Lasagna Roll-ups

yield: 6 servings

prep time: 45 minutes

cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

3 large zucchini, trimmed (about 4 pounds), sliced lengthwise into 24 ⅛-inch-thick strips

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 pound ground chicken Italian sausage

1 cup part skim ricotta cheese

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1 large egg

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce, divided

2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided

Directions

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Lay zucchini slices flat in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each side with 1/4 teaspoon salt; let stand 15 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat.

In a medium bowl, combine sausage, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, basil and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread 1 cup marinara sauce onto the bottom of a 1o-inch oven-proof skillet; set aside.

Spread 1 tablespoon ricotta mixture evenly along each zucchini slice; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese. Roll up and place in the prepared skillet; repeat with remaining zucchini slices and filling. Top with remaining 1/2 cup marinara sauce and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.

Place into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lasagna rolls are heated through and the cheese is beginning to brown. Serve immediately.

See how this recipe is made:

 

 

Chickpea Sunflower Sandwich

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 3

Ingredients

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds (if salted, scale back on added salt)

3 Tbsp vegan mayo (sub tahini for a more earthy, nutty flavor)

1/2 tsp dijon or spicy mustard (if using tahini instead of mayo, use 1/4 tsp)

1 Tbsp maple syrup (or sub agave or honey if not vegan)

1/4 cup chopped red onion

2 Tbsp fresh (or 1 Tbsp dried) dill, finely chopped

healthy pinch each salt and pepper (to taste)

4 pieces rustic bread, lightly toasted (gluten-free for GF eaters)

optional: Sliced avocado, onion, tomato, and or lettuce for serving

 

Garlic Herb Sauce (optional)

1/4 cup hummus

juice of 1/2 lemon (~1 Tbsp)

3/4 – 1 tsp dried dill (or sub 2-3 tsp fresh)

2 cloves garlic, minced

Water or unsweetened almond milk to thin

 

Instructions

  1. Prepare garlic herb sauce and set aside.
  2. Add chickpeas to a mixing bowl and lightly mash with a fork for texture. Then add sunflower seeds, mayo, mustard, maple syrup, red onion, dill, salt, and pepper and mix with a spoon. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  3. Toast bread (if desired) and prepare any other sandwich toppings you desire (tomato, onion, lettuce).
  4. Scoop a healthy amount of filling onto two of the pieces of bread, add desired toppings and sauce, and top with other two slices of bread.
  5. Sunflower-chickpea mixture will keep covered in the fridge for up to a few days, making it great for quick weekday lunches!

Nutrition Information (without sauce, bread or toppings)

Serving size: 1/3 of recipe Calories: 311 Fat: 16g Saturated fat: 1.7g Carbohydrates: 26g Sugar: 7.3g Sodium: 107mg Fiber: 9g Protein: 11.5g

Cucumber, Watermelon and Arugula Salad

Number of Servings: 8

Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups

Yield: 11 cups

Start to Finish: 25 min

 

Ingredients

4 cups chilled seedless watermelon cut into small chunks

4 cups baby arugula

1 medium seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 cup thinly sliced red onion (1 large)

1/2 cup snipped fresh mint

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine watermelon, arugula, cucumber, red onion, and mint. If desired, cover and chill for up to 1 hour.
  2. For vinaigrette, in a screw-top jar combine vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Cover and shake well. Pour vinaigrette over watermelon mixture; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and walnuts.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 159 cal., 12 g fat (2 g sat. fat), 6 mg chol., 10 g carb., 209 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 3 g pro.

Easy Quinoa Salad

yield: serves 4

prep time: 10 minutes

total time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients

FOR THE DRESSING:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 large lemon)

1 tablespoon golden balsamic vinegar or champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or honey

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

 

FOR THE SALAD:

2 cups cold cooked quinoa

2 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped

1 cup chopped cucumber

1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes

1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped

2 green onions, sliced

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

 

Directions

First, make the dressing. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, maple syrup or honey, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, and green onions.

Drizzle salad with dressing and gently stir until salad is coated with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve.

Avocado Tacos

Ingredients

  • 3 medium ripe avocados
  • Juice of 2 fresh limes
  • 1 lb. ground protein of choice (chicken, turkey, veggie crumbles, lean beef)
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
  • Homemade taco seasoning (or use store bought packet):
    • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
    • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/8 tsp onion powder
    • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/4 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • diced tomatoes
  • pico de gallo
  • cilantro
  • olives
  • shredded cheese
  • avocado
  • Combine spices well, you will only use about half of this mix per pound of meat, or to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut avocados in half, brush with fresh lime juice, sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
  2. Brown meat with the onion in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Once cooked through, drain well.
  4. Add homemade taco seasoning (I add a sprinkle at a time, and taste test until it’s right) and 1 Tbsp hot water.
  5. Simmer for 1-2 minutes until flavors combine.
  6. Scoop hot meat into avocados.
  7. Top with pico de gallo, cilantro, green onions and any other toppings you desire!

Easy Pico De Gallo

Easy Pico de Gallo Recipe

2 servings

Ingredients

5 roma tomatoes diced

1/4 yellow onion diced

1/4 cup Cilantro minced

1/2 jalapeno pepper minced, seeded if you want a more mild taste

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 cloves garlic minced or pressed

salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into a large bowl.
  2. Mix and season with salt, to taste.
  3. Cover and place in fridge until ready to serve!

 

Mango, Avocado and Black Bean Salad

Mango, Avocado and Black Bean Salad

6 Servings

Ingredients

15 oz. canned, no-salt-added black beans (1 can), drained, rinsed

2 avocados halved, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 mangos cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 small red or white onion (about 1/4 cup), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 or 1/2 jalapeño pepper, stems discarded, seeded, finely chopped

3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro (chopped)

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

Directions

Combine the black beans, mango, avocado, onions and jalapeño pepper. Do not mix until you add the dressing.

Combine the lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, chili powder, black pepper and salt together in a jar with a secure lid, shake together until mixed well and pour over the mango and avocado mixture.

Toss gently to coat and serve.

Cooking Tip: You can serve this with crunchy vegetables like cucumbers and/or jicama, cut into ¼ inch slices and used like chips.

Keep it Healthy: When using canned beans, drain and rinse under cold water for a minute to remove some of the sodium.

Tip: You can also enjoy this in a sandwich or wrap. It is a great dish to bring to potlucks or picnics.

Tip: This salad will keep in the refrigerator for a few days and the flavors keep improving.

 

Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas

Servings: 10 – 12

Ingredients

5 lb / 2.5 kg pork shoulder (pork butt), skinless, bone-in (4lb/2kg without bone) (Note 3)

1 onion, chopped

1 jalapeno, deseeded, chopped

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 oranges, juice only (or sub with 3/4 cup fresh orange juice)

Rub

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder, rub in salt and pepper.
  2. Combine the rub ingredients then rub all over the pork.
  3. Place the pork in a slow cooker (fat cap up), top with the onion, jalapeño, minced garlic (don’t worry about spreading it) and squeeze over the juice of the orange.
  4. Slow Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 6 hours (or 1h 30 m in an electric pressure cooker on high. If using stovetop pressure cooker, please see notes).
  5. The meat should be tender and falling off the bone. Remove from the slow cooker and let cool slightly. Then shred the pork using two forks.
  6. Skim off the fat from the juices remaining in the slow cooker and discard the fat. Then if you are left with a lot more than 1 1/2 to 2 cups of juice, then reduce it (either in the slow cooker on the sauté setting with the lid off, or in a saucepan). The liquid will be SALTY, it is the seasoning for the pork. Set aside.

To Serve

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large non stick pan over high heat. Place shredded pork into the pan, drizzle over some juices. Wait until the juices evaporate and the bottom side is golden brown and crusty. Turn and just briefly sear the other side – you don’t want to make it brown all over because then it’s too crispy, need tender juicy bits.
  2. Repeat in batches (takes me 4 batches) – don’t crowd the pan.
  3. Remove pork from skillet. Drizzle over more juices and serve immediately (if you are using defrosted carnitas, this is not applicable as the juices are already on the meat – see Note 4c).
  4. If you are reheating the carnitas (Note 4), then flip and cook the other side briefly just to warm through. I really recommend only making one side crusty and leaving the other side juicy and moist.

Recipe Notes

  1. If you are using a piece of pork that is not the size I use, you MUST reduce the salt accordingly. If your pork is more than 1 lb / 0.5 kg larger or smaller than the prescribed size, ensure you adjust the other ingredients accordingly as well, not just the salt.
  2. To make this in the oven, add 1 cup of water to the braising liquid. Place in 325F/160C oven for 2 hours, covered, then roast for a further 1 to 1.5 hours uncovered. Add more water if the liquid dries out too much. You should end up with 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid when it finishes cooking.

If you make this recipe in the oven, you could skip the pan frying step because you will get a nice brown crust on your pork.

  1. Use pork with the skin removed but leaving some of the fat cap on. The fat adds juiciness to the carnitas!
  2. Taco Fixing suggestions: Diced avocado or make a real proper Guacamole, Pico de Gallo or salsa. Also try pickled red onion, cabbage, lettuce, tomato,
  3. MAKE AHEAD:
    1.  For overnight or up to 3 days, the best option is to shred the meat without pan frying, keep the juices separate, refrigerate, then pan fry to make it golden and reheat the meat, pouring juices over while it is browning per recipe.
    2.  To brown the meat ahead, the meat actually holds up pretty well in terms of staying crispy. It’s even pretty good refrigerated overnight – but a) is definitely better. Keep the juices separate and pour it over just before reheating the pork. You can reheat in the microwave, quickly reheat in the pan or if you have loads, in a foil covered roasting pan in the oven at 180C/350F for around 8 – 10 minutes.
    3.  To FREEZE: This holds up great in the freezer. Pour the juices over the pulled pork (pre browning) and store in ziplock bags or airtight containers. Freeze in small batches for convenience. To use, defrost completely before following the recipe to brown the pork.
    4. STOVETOP PRESSURE COOKER – use a rack to elevate it from the base OR add 3/4 cup of water. Then once the pork is cooked, remove it then simmer to reduce to around 2 cups of liquid.