Broccoli with Cumin and Mustard Seeds

broccoli with cumin and mustard seeds

Broccoli with Cumin and Mustard Seeds
serves 2 generously

This has been one of my go-to ways to make Indian-inspired broccoli for years. For people used to Indian dishes, it gets you a lot of that flavor without tons of ingredients or long cooking. For people not used to Indian cooking, it’s a fresh, non-intimidating way to be introduced to these flavors. Black mustard seeds are easily found at an Indian grocery store, but you can also find them in the bulk section of some health food stores like Whole Foods. Whole spices add more flavor and texture and last longer in the pantry than ground spices. Whole spices can also take this high level of heat without burning, so I think they are worth keeping at home.

1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon red chile flake
salt to taste

  1. In a large skillet with a lid, bring 1/4 cup water up to a simmer. Add broccoli, a pinch of salt, and cover. Let broccoli steam for 30 seconds or until bright green. Remove broccoli from skillet and wipe out skillet if necessary.

  2. Heat skillet on medium high and add grapeseed oil. Add black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and red chile flake and stir until seeds start to pop and sizzle. Add broccoli back to the pan and saute to finish cooking and incorporate spice oil. Season with salt to taste.

Green Bean Fries

green bean fries recipe

Green Bean Fries recipe
serves 2

This became a go-to side dish for my personal chef clients because it’s an easy way to add a green vegetable to a meal and it’s such a crowd pleaser! It’s possible to make these oven roasted “fries” with regular green beans, but the result is so much better with haricots verts, the skinny French kind. They usually come already trimmed in a 1 lb bag so this dish literally couldn’t be any easier unless I came over and roasted it for you.

1 lb haricots verts, stem end trimmed
1/2 teaspoon avocado oil
sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 and line 2 half sheet trays with parchment paper.

  2. Toss haricots verts with avocado oil and sprinkle with salt. Spread out evenly on sheet trays so they aren’t overlapping too much.

  3. Bake for 25 minutes or until browned to your likely. Serve immediately or reheat in the oven or toaster oven to maintain crispiness.

Sauteed Sweet Plantains

sweet plantains recipe

Sauteed Sweet Plantains recipe
serves 2

Inspired by Cuban-style sweet plantains called maduros, these sauteed sweet plantains make a perfect side dish to salty or savory dishes like black beans and rice or roasted meat. Unlike maduros, they are not deep-fried, only lightly sauteed in coconut oil so the end result is a bit lighter. You’ll want to find the ripest plantains you can: yellow plantains that have turned black on the outside. Yellow plantains with black spots can also be used, just know that your final dish will be slightly starchier and less sweet. Green plantains are very starchy and not sweet and should not be used here.

2 very ripe plantains (blackened on the outside)
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
pinch of salt

  1. Peel plantains by slicing off the very ends and making a long, shallow slice down the side of the plantain through the skin only. Then peel off the skin like a jacket. Slice the plantains on a bias into 1/4” thick coins.

  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium and add coconut oil. Saute plantains (in batches if necessary) for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Then add the maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice, and salt and stir to coat evenly. Let the maple syrup cook down until each plantain has a very thin, sweet, sticky coating on the outside. Remove to a plate and let cool slightly before serving.

Spinach Gomae

spinach gomae recipe

Spinach Gomae recipe
serves 6

This Japanese-style preparation of greens has become one of my go-to ways to cook up a batch of greens for the week.  This recipe is traditionally made with spinach, I use all kinds of greens, especially the tops of veggies like beets, turnips, and radishes that come in my CSA. I'll cook thin stems like spinach but skip woodier ones like kale or collards. Although boiling seems to have gone out of fashion in the health-sphere, this method tenderizes the greens while removing their bitterness and perhaps increasing the bioavailability of some nutrients.  If you don't have a suribachi or mortar and pestle.  You can buzz up the sesame seeds in a spice grinder or blender or simply leave them whole.

2 lbs spinach or leafy greens, washed
4 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted in a pan
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1. Bring a large pot of salted water up to a boil.  Add spinach/greens, pushing down and let cook for 2 minutes only.  Strain and run under cold water.  Squeeze out extra liquid and place on a cutting board.  Run your knife through it a few times and place on a platter.

2. Take toasted sesame seeds in a suribachi or mortar and pestle.  Grind sesame seeds until they crumble but you still have a little texture.  Add maple, mirin, tamari and sesame oil and mix together.  Drizzle over spinach to taste.

Ingredient notes:

*Mirin is a Japanese cooking wine.  I buy Eden Foods brand at Whole Foods.  Many cheaper brands are often filled with corn syrup.  If you can't find it, I'd add an extra teapsoon of maple syrup and a teaspoon of rice vinegar.

*Tamari is a Japanese-style soy sauce that's gluten-free.  Use any kind of soy sauce you like.  If you are watching your sodium, simply use less or try a low-sodium version or Coconut Aminos.  

Grilled Fingerling Potato Salad

grilled fingerling potato salad recipe

Grilled Fingerling Potato Salad recipe
serves 4-6 as a side dish

Grilling potatoes is a great way to modernize the potluck classic of potato salad.  Instead of a cold, creamy dish, we’ll serve this warm and amp up the smokiness of grilled potatoes and the brightness of the vinaigrette. Try using a grill pan or roasting the potatoes at 425 for 25 minutes if you are cooking indoors.

1 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes
1/2 lb haricots verts or green beans
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1 lemon (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water up to a boil.  Add fingerlings and cook until just barely cooked through—you actually want them slightly undercooked.  Use a fine mesh strainer or tongs to remove potatoes so you still have simmering water.  Rinse potatoes quickly in cold water to cool down until you can handle them and cut them in half vertically.

2. Whisk together vinaigrette: combine grapeseed oil, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, oregano, mustard and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Toss about 1/3 of the dressing.

3. To simmering water, add haricots verts or green beans and let cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender.  Drain and rinse under cold water, shake off all excess and put in a serving bowl.

4. Grill marinated potatoes cut side down until grill marks appear, about 3 minutes.  Remove to serving bowl and toss with haricots verts and about 1/2 of the remaining dressing.  Taste and season for more salt and add more dressing as desired.  Save any extra for salads or other items for the grill.

This recipe is part of the Here's to Your Health event series sponsored by Here and presented at Mariano's in Summer 2018.  Find more details here

Collard Greens and Carrots

Low FODMAP vegetable recipe

Collard Greens with Carrots recipe
serves 4 as a side

I created this recipe as a low FODMAP side dish for those in my community that follow this diet.  Regardless of what type of diet you follow, you'll like this healthy green side dish to make one of those most nutritious veggies out there--collard greens--taste tender and balanced.  Plus it cooks up in only a few minutes.  FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides And Polyols and they are a collection of short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in foods naturally.  They aren't unhealthy in and of themselves but some folks with digestive issues like IBS are particularly sensitive to them and doctors recommend steering clear of these foods during a flareup.  The bummer?  FODMAPS are in some of the best foods out there like onions, garlic, beets, avocado and honey.  So this recipe was created specifically with low FODMAP veggies and seasonings.

Watch the how-to video for this recipe on my YouTube channel.

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins 1/4" thick
1 bunch of collard greens, stemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1-2 inches)
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons of maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons of tamari (soy sauce)

1. Heat a large saute pan and drizzle in olive oil.  When oil starts to shimmer, add carrots and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Then add chopped collard greens and stir.  Add 2 tablespoons of water (more if necessary) to create steam to help the greens wilt and cook evenly.  Saute for about 3 minutes, longer if you want them to be softer and less bitter.  

2. Drizzle maple syrup and tamari evenly over the veggies so you don't get a clump of flavor all in one spot) and stir to combine.  Taste and add more tamari or salt if desired.  This can store in the fridge for 3 days for a side dish you can add to any meal.

Horta (Greek Greens)

horta recipe

Serves 4-6

This recipe is adapted from the one used in my Global Healing Kitchens: The Mediterranean class.  Dark leafy greens are a staple in Mediterranean cooking with freshly-picked wild varieties often favored.  Horta is a Greek dish often made with boiled dandelion greens (which we use in class) and simply seasoned with fresh lemon and extra virgin olive oil, along with salt and pepper. But this method works with any kind of green and is a great side dish to any meal.  It’s often served cold, but works as a hot dish as well.  Make this your go-to method for preparing things like beet greens and radish tops before you consider throwing them in the trash.

3 bunches assorted dark leafy greens, chopped into 1-inch pieces (ex: kale, beet greens, chard)
salt to taste
1 lemon
2-3 tablespoons of best extra virgin olive oil

1. Bring a large pot of salted water up to boil.  Add greens and cook for 2 minutes, longer for extra bitter greens and shorter for tender ones. 

2. Strain greens and discard liquid.  Press greens if you need to so there’s not too much water left on them.  Transfer greens to a serving bowl.  Add fresh lemon juice to taste along with a healthy drizzle of your best extra virgin olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary.

Note: The greens should last for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Spicy Sesame Black Kale

spicy sesame black kale recipe

Spicy Sesame Black Kale
serves 2-3

Kale went from boring to exciting to boring again.  With this recipe, I wanted to liven up this cruciferous vegetable staple with some of my favorite Asian seasonings including tamari and gochujang sauce.  The sweet flavor of maple syrup (and the gochujang if you use it) help counteract the bitterness in kale.  Sesame seeds add a little texture and calcium to this side dish.  I love the pop of both black and white.  If you can't find gochujang, use sriracha or your favorite hot sauce.  

drizzle of avocado or grapeseed oil
1 bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon tamari (soy sauce)
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
salt to taste
Asian hot sauce to taste (I like K-Mama Gluten-free Gochujang Sauce)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1. Heat a large saute pan and drizzle in oil.  Add lacinato kale and a generous sprinkle of salt and begin to wilt.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl or mug, combine maple syrup, tamari, dijon mustard and toasted sesame oil together and whisk with a fork.  Drizzle over greens and stir.  Let cook 1-2 more minutes.  If greens look dry or raw, add a teaspoon or two of water.

3. Taste for salt and plate.  Drizzle with hot sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  

Black Pepper Peas and Roasted Asparagus

black pepper peas and roasted asparagus

Black Pepper Peas and Roasted Asparagus
serves 2-4 as a side dish

To make this ultra-springy side dish, I used my quick-roasting asparagus method.  Instead of roasting for the 20-25 minutes that most recipes call for, I only roast them for 6-10 minutes depending on the thickness.  I find this keeps them sweet and vegetal but also crispy and easy to cut through.  Longer cooking times make asparagus too stringy for me to enjoy.  The sauteeing of the peas is really to defrost and season them, which happens very quickly.  I add the rice vinegar to the peas to give them a little tart punch.  Keep in mind that acidic ingredients like vinegar will turn bright green vegetables an army green (see photo).  If you are serving this at a dinner party, add the vinegar right before serving if you want to keep that glorious green color fresh.

for roasted asparagus:
1 bunch asparagus, 2-3 inches of woody stems trimmed off
drizzle of grapeseed oil
sprinkle of salt

for black pepper peas:
dollop of ghee or drizzle of olive oil
pinch of red chile flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
salt to taste
loads of black pepper

1. On a parchment-lined sheet tray, toss asparagus with oil and salt and roast for 6-10 minutes at 450 degrees.

2. While asparagus is in the oven, heat a medium skillet.  Add ghee or oil and saute red chile flake and garlic for 30 seconds.  Add peas, water, and rice vinegar and saute until peas are warm, about 2 minutes.  Season generously with black pepper and salt.

3. Top asparagus with peas and serve.  Serve alongside a protein or add edamame, fava beans or cooked quinoa to make a vegetarian entree.  

Gingery Baby Bok Choy

Gingery Baby Bok Choy
serves 2-3

This is one of my favorite ways to serve baby bok choy and makes a great side dish for an Asian-style meal.  Unlike other greens, the baby bok choy still retains crunch after sauteing while getting super juicy.  Bok choy is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which is known for its cancer-fighting properties and high amounts of Vitamin K, Vitamin C and beta-carotene.  Baby bok choy is much leafier and more mild than (adult?) bok choy which can be very spicy.  I also think it's adorable when sliced vertically so you can see the beautiful branches at its base.    

drizzle of grapeseed oil
2-inch piece of ginger, sliced into thin matchsticks
4 heads baby bok choy, sliced vertically into 1/4s
salt to taste

1. In a large skillet, heat grapeseed oil and saute ginger matchsticks for 1 minute.  Add half of the baby bok choy, spreading it evenly around the pan.  Add a sprinkle of salt.  Let cook on high without moving around to let it develop a seared finish, about 2 minutes.  Stir and saute until wilted but still crisp, about 2 minutes.  Remove to a serving bowl.  Repeat with other half.  

Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed Cauliflower
serves 3-4

Steamed cauliflower?  Gag noise.  Steamed cauliflower that's pureed and blended with chives, garlic and nutritional yeast?  Amazing!  Try this as a side to a protein or underneath vegetables and sauce as if it's polenta.  Feel free to play around with the flavor profile by adding different herbs or even vegetables.  This mash freezes great too so save the leftovers for another night.

1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
1/2 clove garlic
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
generous sprinkle of salt and pepper
1/4 cup+ unsweetened almond milk
salt to taste
1 bunch chives, finely chopped

1. Steam cauliflower until soft, 5-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and blot off extra moisture with a clean kitchen towel.  

2. Add cauliflower to food processor with garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Puree until smooth with just enough almond milk to make blend.  Taste and season with salt and top with chives.

Maple-Mustard Brussels Sprouts

Maple-Mustard Brussels Sprouts
serves 2-3

Roasted Brussels sprouts are great on their own, but the addition of sweet maple syrup and pungent grainy mustard makes them perfectly balanced.  Be sure to turn your oven up high and use a high-heat appropriate oil--like grapeseed or avocado--to get them to crispy perfection.

1 lb Brussels sprouts, cut in half
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
generous sprinkle of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450.  On a parchment-lined sheet tray, toss brussels sprouts with oil, maple syrup and mustard and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 20 minutes, tossing once or twice, until browned and crispy.


dukkah recipe

makes 1/2 cup

Dukkah is an Egyptian spice and nut blend that's often served with flatbread an oil.  It's a great way to add flavor and crunch to salads, sautéed vegetables, soups and more. It takes about 10 minutes to make and I promise you'll find tons of uses for this nutty, sweet and cooling flavor blend.     

1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup cashews
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1. Toast pistachios and cashews in the oven at 300 for 8 minutes.  Remove and let cool.

2. Meanwhile, in a dry skillet, toast coriander, sesame, cumin and fennel seeds on low just until fragrant, 2 minutes. Cool.

3. Combine the spices with the nuts and rough chop or pulse in the food processor.  Store in a sealed mason jar at room temperature for up to a month.

Mushroom Walnut Pate

Mushroom Walnut Pate
makes about 3 cups

This "pate"--or let's be real "spread"--is unbelievable rich and meaty.  Combined with green apples, arugula and a whole grain bread, it makes my favorite vegetarian sandwich.  There are a couple of steps here, but they are all actually easy and this comes together pretty quickly.  Back when I had my food blog Urban Chickpea, this recipe was one of my most circulated and reposted.  I've simplified the original version here--fewer ingredients, but the same knockout taste.  I like it best on whole grain crackers or bread or served simply as a dip to celery sticks.

1 cup French green lentils
3 cups water
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried Herbes de Provence
1 8-10 ounce package of cremini mushrooms (about 3 cups), thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry sherry (or 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar)
2 teaspoons of kosher sea salt

1. Rinse the lentils until the water runs clear. Add them to a large pot and cover with the water. The stock should be about 2 inches above the lentils; add water if it’s not at that level. Bring up to a boil and then simmer until the lentils are fully cooked, about 30 minutes.

2. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. On a sheet tray, spread out the walnuts and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes.

3. Heat up a large saute pan and add the oil. Saute the onion over medium-high heat with a pinch of salt until it is soft and golden brown. Then add the minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the sliced mushrooms with another pinch of salt and saute until they are brown and much of the liquid has evaporated. The whole mixture should be soft and look caramelized. This is key to the richness of the recipe, so don't hurry the cooking of the mushrooms and onions.  Then add the dry sherry, using it to scrape off any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat.

4. In the food processor, pulse the walnuts until finely ground. Then add the cooked lentils (drained from their water), the mushroom mixture and the 2 teaspoons of salt. Puree until smooth. Taste the mixture and add salt until it tastes perfect. Then add two extra pinches of salt. It will taste too salty warm, but once it cools, it will taste perfect again. The palate perceives salt differently in hot and cold food.

5. Spoon mixture into a loaf pan, mold or tupperware and cover with plastic wrap. Then place a similarly-sized container on top and weigh it down to press the pate. (optional)  Chill in the refrigerator for several hours.  Invert on a plate to serve as an hors d’oeuvre or spread on bread for your sandwich.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries

chipotle sweet potato fries

Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries
Serves 4

3-4 sweet potatoes (2lbs)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
generous sprinkle of salt

1. Preheat oven to 425. Slice sweet potatoes into large wedges (8-12 per potato). On two parchment-lined sheet trays, toss sweet potatoes with oil, chipotle powder, cinnamon and salt. 

2. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, tossing lightly half-way through.  You want them to be tender and browned on the outside.