Quick Winter Squash and Chickpea Coconut Curry

Need a little comfort food? This creamy, vegan curry offers all the warmth and satisfaction of a slow-cooked meal but is ready in 30 minutes. Made with a combination of chickpeas, winter squash, broccoli, red peppers, and light coconut milk, this meatless dish is loaded with nutrient-dense ingredients and is a delicious way to warm up on a cold day.

Vegan chickpea, winter squash, broccoli, and red pepper coconut curry. GF, DF.

Vegan chickpea, winter squash, broccoli, and red pepper coconut curry. GF, DF.

Winter has hit me hard this year. The moment I stepped off my Sydney to San Francisco flight, my throat started to feel scratchy and within 24 hours I was nursing a nasty head cold, along with a hefty dose of jet lag. (Read more about combating a cold with food here).

The only thing that I’ve felt like eating during this epic bout of congestion are big, steaming bowls of soup. So, that’s what has been brewing in my kitchen. This nourishing recipe was born out of my craving for something extra warming and loaded with veggies. It takes just 30 minutes and is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan for those with dietary restrictions or simply looking to eat less meat in the New Year.

Offering a combination of plant-based protein, veggies, high fiber carbs and fat, this recipe is a meal all by itself however you can serve with brown rice or cauli-rice if you need a little something extra. Furthermore, you can mix and match veggies, depending on what’s in your fridge. Winter squash can easily be substituted for sweet potato and the same goes for broccoli and cauliflower. Carrots, eggplant, green beans, peas, and white potatoes also pair well with curry. Happy noshing, winter warriors!

Quick chickpea and veggie coconut curry made with broccoli, butternut squash, red bell peppers, curry powder and light coconut milk.

Quick chickpea and veggie coconut curry made with broccoli, butternut squash, red bell peppers, curry powder and light coconut milk.

Vegan Winter Squash and Chickpea Coconut Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper

  • ½ large white onion

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 2 cups winter squash or pumpkin

  • 15 oz (1 can) chickpeas

  • 1 tbsp canola oil

  • 2 cups broccoli florets

  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth

  • 15 oz (1 can) light coconut milk

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 4 tsp curry powder

  • Lime wedges

  • Fresh cilantro




Directions

  1. Slice the bell pepper and onion into thin strips.

  2. Crush and mince the garlic.

  3. Peel the squash/pumpkin and chop into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes

  4. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

  5. Add the canola oil, bell pepper, onion and garlic to a large pot and place on the stove. Turn the stove on to medium heat and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent.

  6. Add the squash/pumpkin to the pot, and sauté for another 3-5 minutes.

  7. Add the chickpeas, broccoli, broth, coconut milk, salt and curry powder to the pot.

  8. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin/squash is tender.

  9. Remove the lid and simmer for another 3-5 minutes uncovered to thicken the sauce.

  10. Top with finely chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

Serves 4.

Quick chickpea and winter squash coconut curry. The perfect dish to snuggle up with on a cold day. GF, DF, and vegan.

Quick chickpea and winter squash coconut curry. The perfect dish to snuggle up with on a cold day. GF, DF, and vegan.

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Made with a combination of quinoa, caramelized veggies, dried cranberries, and a creamy lemon dressing, this colorful dish offers loads nutrition and flavor! Make a big batch over the weekend and enjoy all week long as a vegetarian, gluten-free main or side.

Roasted veggie quinoa salad made with bell peppers, red onion, sweet potato and baby arugula, and topped with a creamy lemon dressing. Vegetarian, and gluten-free.

Roasted veggie quinoa salad made with bell peppers, red onion, sweet potato and baby arugula, and topped with a creamy lemon dressing. Vegetarian, and gluten-free.

Happy New Year, friends! After seven amazing weeks in Sydney, I am getting back into the blogging groove again, and this wholesome, delicious recipe is the perfect way to kick-off 2019.

But before I get into the recipe, I want to take a moment to talk about new year’s resolutions. Most of us make them, however, very few are actually realized.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

Aiming too high, inadequate knowledge or skills, and lack of support are just a few of the reasons why new years resolutions fail. Often the intention is there, but the execution is where many come unstuck. If you have a specific destination in mind, you need a thoughtfully-crafted roadmap to get there.

How To Get What You Want This Year

Whether you want to lose weight or learn to surf this year, every single goal you set for yourself should be S-M-A-R-T:

SPECIFIC: What exactly do you want to achieve? If you want to exercise more this year, how many days a week do want to exercise? What kind of exercise do you want to do? Does walking count as exercise, or do you want to do something more intense? Details matter.

MEASURABLE: How will you measure success? ‘I want to go to the gym twice a week’ is a good example of a measurable goal. Success = two gym sessions a week. Every goal needs a quantifiable outcome.

ACHIEVABLE & REALISTIC: Is it possible to attain your goal within the given time frame? Aiming too high is one of the most common reasons that resolutions fail. It’s okay to be ambitious, but you also need to be honest about what you can achieve.

TIME FRAME: Every goal needs a time limit. Specifying a time frame creates a sense of urgency, and makes a goal easier to measure.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let your new year’s resolutions fall by the wayside this year. Set S-M-A-R-T goals, rather than unrealistic ones. If you have a long-term goal in mind, create mini-milestones to keep you motivated. Baby steps matter, particularly when combined with consistency.

This easy roasted veggies quinoa salad makes a great vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free side or main dish.

This easy roasted veggies quinoa salad makes a great vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free side or main dish.

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

This recipe has become one of my favorites over the last couple of months and is the ultimate intersection of healthy and satisfying. Happy 2019!

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa

  • 2 red bell peppers

  • 1 medium sweet potato

  • ½ large red onion

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

  • ½ cup dried cranberries

  • ½ cup dry roasted or raw almonds

  • ¼ cup feta

  • 2 cups baby arugula

  • Salt + pepper

Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp tahini

  • 2 tbsp warm water

  • ½ lemon

  • 1 tsp honey

  • ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425℉/220℃. Line a large baking sheet (or two half sheets) with parchment paper.

  2. Slice the bell peppers and onion into ½ inch (1 cm) thick strips. Place both in a large mixing bowl.

  3. Slice the sweet potato into ½ inch (1 cm) discs and cut the discs into quarters. Add the sweet potato to the bell peppers and onion.

  4. Add the olive oil, salt and garlic powder to the mixing bowl, and stir until all the veggies are coated.

  5. Pour the veggies on the baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Insert the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20-25 mins or until the sweet potato slices are cooked through. Allow the veggies to cool.

  6. While the veggies are cooking make the dressing by juicing the lemon and combining the tahini, warm water, lemon juice, honey and olive oil in a small bowl. Whisk until well-combined. The dressing should be slightly thicker than honey. Add more warm water, if needed.

  7. Add the quinoa, roasted veggies, feta and cranberries to a large mixing bowl.

  8. Finely chop the almonds, and transfer the chopped almonds to the mixing bowl.

  9. Season the salad with salt and pepper, and gently combine the ingredients in the mixing bowl, being careful not to overwork.

  10. Right before serving, add the baby arugula to the quinoa mixture, and drizzle the salad with lemon-tahini dressing. Gently toss the salad with tongs or salad servers. Serve cold.  

    Serves 4.

Craving more healthy eats and treats? Check out my recipe page here.

Roasted veggie quinoa salad.png

Healthy Chocolate Mint Truffles

Sweeten your day with these healthy chocolate-peppermint truffles. Made with a combination of dates, oats, cocoa powder, and tahini, this simple, 6-ingredient recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free, and makes a delicious, edible gift, especially as old Saint Nick rolls in.

Healthy chocolate-mint truffles: The perfect GF, DF edible gift for the holidays.

Healthy chocolate-mint truffles: The perfect GF, DF edible gift for the holidays.

‘Tis the season. Can you believe it? Where did 2018 go? As we approach Christmas I am feeling extra grateful for all the adventures that 2018 has afforded us. And there have been many this year.

My first international trip of the year was to London to visit my dear friend, Luce, and her husband, Gus, who were at the time expecting their first baby. We sipped tea and ate crustless sandwiches in Fortnum and Mason, and cozied up inside watching the snow fall. It was such a lovely and worthwhile trip, even if it was only five days.

In 2018, we also attended the weddings of some of our most treasured friends in NYC, Santa Cruz, and Hawaii. All were fantastic, unique celebrations, laced with personal touches and thoughtfulness...as well as champagne! Few things in life get me more excited than bubbles and good friends.

Then there were the work trips to LA, DC, Sacramento and Austin. I was fortunate to speak at three professional events on nutrition innovation and startups this year and loved every moment of it. I’m hoping to do more speaking in 2019.

To top it all off we enjoyed some pretty dreamy holidays this year too. We explored Jerusalem and Tel Aviv together with my Mum and Dad mid year. After that we flew to Istanbul and had a terrific time exploring mosques and markets in Europe’s most populous city. Now, I am in the middle of a seven week trip to Sydney, my longest stint at home in roughly 10 years.

This year hasn’t been without it’s bumps. There have been surgeries, job changes and some pretty significant stress along the way, but I have so much to be thankful for. And that is largely my focus this Christmas.

The other big piece, of course, is the celebration. I don’t have a large family, but Christmas in my house is a big affair. As the annual visit from Saint Nick approaches, I felt like making something Christmasy and minty without the sticky mess of a candy cane. This is recipe is the end result and has been my favorite snack of late.

Made with a combo of dates, tahini, cocoa powder, oats and peppermint extract, this festive, 6-ingredient recipe is gluten-free, dairy free, vegan and SO easy. These delicious, chocolatey bites are packed with fiber and healthy fats, and offer just the right amount of sweetness without going over the top.

Merry Christmas, friends! May it be your best yet.

6-ingredient chocolate-mint truffles made with tahini, dates, oats and cocoa powder. GF, DF.

6-ingredient chocolate-mint truffles made with tahini, dates, oats and cocoa powder. GF, DF.

Healthy Chocolate Mint Truffles

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Deglet Noor dates, pitted

  • ¼ cup old fashioned oats (more about the health benefits of oats here)

  • 6 tbsp tahini

  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

  • 1 tsp peppermint extract

Directions

  1. Add the dates, old-fashioned oats, tahini, cocoa powder and maple syrup to the food processor. Process on high until the ingredients form ‘chocolate dirt’.

  2. Line a baking tray or tupperware container with parchment paper. Take a small handful of ‘chocolate dirt’ and press together to form 1-inch balls. Place the truffles on the parchment paper and refrigerate until firm.

Makes approximately 30 truffles.

Find more delicious eats and treats here.

 
Healthy chocolate-mint truffles made with tahini, dates, oats, and cocoa powder. The perfect healthy snack for a chocolate-lover or a delicious edible gift!

Healthy chocolate-mint truffles made with tahini, dates, oats, and cocoa powder. The perfect healthy snack for a chocolate-lover or a delicious edible gift!

Reduced-Sugar, Gluten-Free Banana & Zucchini Muffins

Craving banana bread? Enjoy a miniature version with this gluten-free banana muffin recipe! Sweetened with bananas, these quick and fluffy muffins contain less added sugar than the average baked good, but taste just as delicious. Pair with your morning coffee or eat them all alone as a snack. Either way, these muffins won’t last long!

Gluten-free banana and zucchini muffins made with Greek yogurt.

Gluten-free banana and zucchini muffins made with Greek yogurt.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks over here. Two weekends ago I was in DC for the National Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition (aka FNCE) with 10K other dietitians. It was a wonderful, hectic trip filled with loads of catch-ups and learnings.

This year Sonja Goedkoop and I presented at FNCE for the first time on nutrition innovation. I was humbled by the response we received and encouraged by the interest in innovation! (More on FNCE coming soon to the blog).

After FNCE I had a day at home in SF before flying to the Big Island of Hawaii for the nuptials of two good friends. The Big Island is an interesting place, offering everything from lush rainforests to volcanoes, and beaches. During our five days on the island we hiked, swam, sunbaked, and celebrated.

Now that I’ve returned to terra firma, I’m back in the kitchen and loving it! This week I whipped up this batch of banana muffins and they disappeared almost as quickly as they were produced. Made with gluten-free flour, mashed bananas, Greek yogurt, and zucchini, these babies are fluffy, moist and, offer just the right amount of sweetness. They’re also ready in under 30. Happy baking!

Reduced sugar, gluten-free banana-zucchini muffins. Great for breakfast or as a snack/dessert!

Reduced sugar, gluten-free banana-zucchini muffins. Great for breakfast or as a snack/dessert!

Reduced-Sugar, GF Banana & Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 extra ripe medium bananas

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup grated zucchini (1 medium zucchini)

  • ⅓ cup canola oil

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

  • ⅓ cup brown sugar

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • ¼ tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉/180℃, and line a muffin tin with baking cups.

  2. Mash the bananas with a fork in a large mixing bowl.

  3. Add the eggs, grated zucchini, canola oil, Greek yogurt, and vanilla to the bowl. Stir until well-combined.

  4. Pour the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into the mixing bowl. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until all the ingredients form a smooth-ish batter.

  5. Use an ice-cream scoop to transfer the muffin batter into the muffin cups.

  6. Bake the muffins for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of a muffin. Allow the muffins to cool slightly before removing them from the muffin tin.

Makes 12 muffins.

Find more delicious eats and treats here.

 
 
Reduced-sugar, gluten-free banana and zucchini muffins.

Reduced-sugar, gluten-free banana and zucchini muffins.

Middle Eastern Chicken Meatballs with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

This recipe is inspired by my love of Lebanese food. Made with lean ground chicken, turmeric, cumin, and parsley, these easy baked meatballs are packed with Middle Eastern flavors, and (surprisingly) loaded with veggies. Whip them up as a high protein snack or serve them over salad--there are so many things you can do with this gluten-free, dairy-free recipe!

Turmeric-infused chicken meatballs, made without eggs, dairy or gluten.

Turmeric-infused chicken meatballs, made without eggs, dairy or gluten.

I’ve always loved Middle Eastern food. I remember requesting Lebanese food for dinner as young as five years old. It was one of many cuisines on the dinner table growing up in Sydney.

Our local Lebanese restaurant was nothing fancy. It was a dimly lit place with long strings of beads hanging from the door frame. However, the dishes were fresh and fantastic. To this day, I still think about the kibbeh, and the soft rounds of Lebanese bread from that shop.

I am no Lebanese Grandma, but after testing many variations of this recipe, I can confidently say that these lean chicken meatballs are fresh, flavorful and delicious. Toss over greens, add them to a grain bowl, or eat them all by themselves-- these gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo and freezer-friendly bites are worth the effort! Bon appétit!


Middle Eastern Chicken Meatballs with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

IMG_2403.jpg

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • ½ lb white mushrooms

  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 1 lb (455g) ground chicken

  • Cooking spray

Dressing:

  • 6 tbsp tahini

  • 8 tsp lemon juice

  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 3 tsp honey

  • ¼ tsp garlic powder


Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425℉ (215℃).  

  2. Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray.

  3. Finely chop the mushrooms (or pulse a couple of times in a blender/food processor).

  4. Finely chop the parsley.

  5. Add the parsley, mushrooms, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and ground chicken to a medium-large mixing bowl. Mix until well-combined.

  6. Roll the chicken mixture into 1-inch balls, and place on the greased sheet pan.

  7. Insert the sheet pan into the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165℉ (74℃). While the meatballs are cooking, combine the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, water, and, honey in a small bowl. Whisk until well-combined.

Makes 24-26 1-inch meatballs.

Hungry for more? Find additional quick and healthy recipes here.

 
 
Quick Middle Eastern chicken meatballs with lemon-tahini dressing. Delicious and nutritious!

Quick Middle Eastern chicken meatballs with lemon-tahini dressing. Delicious and nutritious!

Beet, Orange, and Feta Salad with Yogurt Mint Dressing

Bring your salad game to a new level with this sweet, salty, and crunchy salad combo! Made with beets, oranges, feta, and mint, this delicious dish offers a fresh take on a classic combination and adds a healthy dose of color to the table.

Easy beet, orange and feta salad with light and creamy mint dressing.

Easy beet, orange and feta salad with light and creamy mint dressing.

It’s citrus season in America, once again. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve watched summer berries and stone fruit slowly disappear from the supermarket and citrus, apples and pears take their place. I always feel a little sad to see fresh bluebs leave the shelves, however, I’m excited to embrace Autumn produce.

There’s something wonderful and underappreciated about the versatility of citrus, especially oranges. They add a sweet and acidic pep to any salad, come in an array of colors, and are affordable and abundant. Oranges are also full of vitamin C and a decent source of fiber to help fight off cold-weather bugs, and keep your digestive system healthy. (Get the full rundown on cold-fighting foods here).

Last week I picked up navel and blood oranges from the supermarket and, threw together this delicious beet and orange salad. Fresh mint and juicy orange segments cut through the earthiness of the beets, and greens to create a balanced, flavorful mix. Feta brings saltiness, and almonds add crunch to round out this easy, healthy recipe. Enjoy!

Healthy beet, orange and feta salad with yogurt mint dressing. Gluten-free and vegetarian.

Healthy beet, orange and feta salad with yogurt mint dressing. Gluten-free and vegetarian.

Beet, Orange, and Feta Salad with Yogurt Mint Dressing

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 3-4 cups baby greens

  • 2 tbsp red onion

  • 2 oranges

  • 1 cup cooked beets (I used these ones)

  • ¼ cup feta

  • 2 tbsp almonds

Dressing:

  • ⅔ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt

  • 4 tsp lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tbsp fresh mint

  • 2 tsp honey

  • ¼ tsp salt


Directions:

  1. Arrange the baby greens on a platter or in a salad bowl.

  2. Thinly slice the red onion, and scatter over the greens.

  3. Peel the orange, removing all the white pith. Cut the orange into segments, and scatter over the greens and, red onion.

  4. Slice the beets into wedges roughly the same thickness as the orange segments. Add the beets to the salad.

  5. Crumble the feta over the salad.  

  6. Roughly chop the almonds, and add them to the rest of the salad ingredients.

  7. Finely chop the fresh mint.

  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the mint, lemon juice, olive oil, honey and, salt. Drizzle the dressing mixture over the salad (you might not need all of it). Enjoy!

Serves 4.

Find more delicious, healthy recipes here.

 
Quick beet and orange salad. Add a protein to make it a full meal!

Quick beet and orange salad. Add a protein to make it a full meal!

 
Beet, Orange, and Feta Salad with Yogurt Mint Dressing.

Beet, Orange, and Feta Salad with Yogurt Mint Dressing.