Archive for the ‘Greens’ Category


Staples to begin the 10-Day Clean Eating Challenge

A friend recently told me she is going to take some time to eat foods that are both clean and vegan.  She said she has done this before and ended up feeling fabulous. I’ve decided to accept the clean eating challenge for 10 days, beginning this Thursday, April 13. Today I ventured to Whole Foods and stocked up on lentils, greens, grains, walnuts, berries and other staples that will help me to cook vegan, clean food that is also yummy. I also bought some organic flour and yeast, because I’m going to be making bread.


In case you’re unfamiliar with what clean eating is, it basically means you avoid processed foods and eat whole foods. I’m vegetarian, not 100% vegan, so I’ll also be adding the vegan component to my challenge.

Join me in the 10-day vegan, clean-eating challenge!


* I will take a break from the challenge Easter Sunday, but be back at it the following Monday.


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Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

Sweet Potato Corn Chowder
with Black Beans and Spinach

While researching the foods of Native Americans, corn kept appearing as a common ingredient. Other vegetables eaten by early Native Americans included sweet potatoes, squash and beans.  I thought about making a fry bread, which seems to be a popular Native American recipe, but decided instead to make a chowder. I used ingredients that would have been available to Native Americans hundreds of years ago.

The chowder turned out great. I put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and cooked it on low for about five hours. Native Americans might have left it stewing over a fire for a while and gotten the same effect.  This is a heart-healthy, gluten-free, vegan dish. Enjoy.

Sweet Potato/Corn Chowder with Black Beans and Spinach

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into square chunks
1 cup frozen baby corn
½ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh baby spinach
½ onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. cilantro
1 tbsp. parsley
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt & Pepper

  1. Place all ingredients except spinach and black beans into crock pot.
  2. Cook in the crock pot on low heat for about 5 hours.
  3. About 15 minutes before serving, stir in the black beans and spinach.

Makes 3 servings.

* This is week 1 of my “quest” to make a vegan recipe from every state in the U.S. during 2015. Since there are 50 states and 52 weeks, the first week is a Native American recipe and the last week will be a holiday recipe. Inspiration for my quest came from Chris Guillebeau and his recent book The Happiness of Pursuit. Check them out!

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Snacks for your game day celebration don’t have to be fat-laden dips and deep fried. Appetizers can be both healthy and delicious. What’s better than guacamole when watching the game? It’s good-for-you when paired with whole wheat crackers or tortilla chips (especially if you use low-sodium organic corn chips). If you like spinach and artichoke dip, I have a recipe for one that replaces all of the saturated fat with healthy fats, but doesn’t short you on deliciousness. I’ve included several healthy and yummy appetizers below! Enjoy!


Delicious and easy to make.

4 ripe avocados
2 cloves garlic, minced  OR 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 purple onion, diced fine
1 ripe tomato, seeded and diced fine
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, stems removed OR 1/2 tbsp. dried cilantro
½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. lime juice
Dash of cayenne pepper
Low-sodium salt & pepper

1) Peel avocados and remove pits. Mash with potato masher or fork until only slightly lumpy.
2) Blend in other ingredients.
3) Serve with tortilla chips

Note: In a pinch and short on ingredients – avocados mashed with garlic powder, salt & pepper will still make a tasty dip.


Chickpea Spread

Hearty and Yummy

2 15 oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Chickpea Spread

Chickpea Spread

½ red pepper, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tbsp. Vegenaise
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. chopped chives
salt and pepper

1) In large bowl, mash chickpeas. Can be chunky, but there should be no whole chickpeas left. I used a potato masher.
2) Add diced red pepper and stir.
3) In small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over chickpea mixture and blend together.
4) Serve with blue corn tortilla chips or your favorite crackers.


Cranberry Salsa

Deliciously different

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 orange, sectioned and chopped
2 tsp. grated orange rind
½ medium green pepper, chopped
1-2 jalpeno peppers, seeded and chopped fine
½ cup sugar
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (dried ok if no fresh on hand)
1/8 tsp. salt

1) Mash cranberries with a potato masher (or use a food processor) until cranberries are coarsely chopped.
2) Stir in remaining ingredients.
3) Cover and chill at least two hours.
4) Serve with sweet potato chips or your favorite tortilla chips.


For the spinach artichoke dip recipe and other healthy Greens recipes, check out the new cookbook Fifty Shades of Greens at www.fiftyshadesofgreens.com



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GreensCover_pngWhile working on the cookbook Fifty Plates of Greens, I experimented with different recipes and ate a lot of greens. I have found that I love greens! The more greens you eat, the more you like them. Any trip to the grocery store now includes a purchase of some kind of greens. I usually buy what looks good and fresh: kale, mustard greens, bok choy, collards. If all other greens look wilted, I can usually count on finding some pretty good organic baby spinach greens. And spinach is so versatile.

Here is a recipe from my just released heart-healthy cookbook Fifty Plates of Greens. It is now available in pdf format. All recipes are vegan, low-fat, and designed to promote good health. What’s more, most of the recipes are gluten-free, and the few that aren’t include gluten-free substitutions. The majority also consist solely of whole food ingredients, sure to please anyone trying to eat a “clean” or unprocessed foods diet. And since none of the recipes contain added sugar, cheese or butter, they are ideal for anyone watching sugar intake or trying to control weight.

Check it out. I think you will find some recipes you will love.

Rustic Kale Soup with Cauliflower, Carrots & Barley

(if following a gluten-free diet, substitute brown rice for the barley)

10-15 kale leaves
1 ½ cups chopped cauliflower
2 large or 3 small carrots, peeled and
½ cup (uncooked) barley
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 leek, white & light green, sliced
1/3 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 quarts low-sodium vegetable broth
½ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. smoky paprika (or any paprika)
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. celery flakes or celery seed
2 bay leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

Rustic Kale Soup with Cauliflower & Barley

Rustic Kale Soup with Cauliflower & Barley

1) In large kettle on medium-high heat, add a couple tbsp. of olive oil and the onion and
leek. Saute about 5-7 minutes.

2) Next add the cauliflower and carrots. Saute about another 5-7 minutes.

3) Add all spices to the kettle. Stir in the chopped celery. Add more olive oil, as needed.

4) Meanwhile, cook barley according to package directions in a separate pot.

5) Chop the kale leaves and remove the stem. Add to the main soup pot. Stir for about 5
minutes. The greens will cook down. Add the garlic.

6) Pour in the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about
20-30 minutes. Add the barley when it’s tender.

 Makes 4-6 servings.

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Greens Cookbook in the Works!

Mustard Greens with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Mustard Greens with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Leafy green vegetables not only contain enough vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber to make them the star of any dinner table, they also add so much flavor. It seems like people everywhere are starting to discover greens. I’ve been working for the last six months on a cookbook featuring 50 greens recipes from 14 different types of greens. These 50 recipes are:

  • Low-fat
  • Heart-healthy
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • About 95% clean-diet friendly
  • Sugar-free
  • Delicious

Let’s all enjoy the holidays and start the year with new recipes for a healthier life. Be watching for the cookbook. I hope to have it out by Christmas, at least in a pdf version, with a kindle version to follow.

Below is one of the recipes from the cookbook to give you an idea of the types of recipes it will contain. Happy cooking and eating!

Mustard Greens with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Two medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks One bunch of mustard greens, cleaned and chopped (about 4 cups, raw)
½ cup pumpkin seeds
1 ½  tsp. paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. turmeric
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1) Prepare sweet potatoes and arrange on an olive oil greased baking sheet. Pour a couple of tbsp. of olive oil over them and sprinkle 1 tsp. of paprika over them. Place into a pre-heated 400 degree oven. After 10 minutes, turn the sweet potatoes so they can brown on both sides. Then return to oven and bake another 10-15 minutes. They should be fork-tender but not mushy.

2) Meanwhile, in a deep skillet, heat 1/2 tbsp. olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and toast them. They will need about 7 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove to a bowl.

3) Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to the same skillet you used for the pumpkin seeds. Add the greens. They will reduce in size considerably as they cook. Stir in the garlic powder, turmeric, red pepper flakes and remaining paprika over the greens. Let them cook on medium to medium-high heat for about 8-10 minutes.

4) Add the roasted sweet potatoes and pumpkin seeds to the skillet with the greens and stir together.

Four side servings.

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Risotto with Brussel Sprouts

Risotto with Brussel Sprouts

The other day, I experimented with ingredients while making a risotto, and it turned out really delicious. I love brussel sprouts and wanted to incorporate them into the risotto. They seemed to pair nicely with the apple and the pistachios.

Risotto makes a delicious vegan main dish. It’s perfect when you want to impress someone (including yourself).

Risotto with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apples and Pistachios

3/4 cup Arborio rice
1 ½ cups roasted brussels sprouts, cut into thirds
½ tart apple, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp. roasted shelled pistachio nuts, halved
2 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
¾ cup white wine
2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp. parsley
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
½ yellow onion, chopped
3 shallots, peeled and chopped
Olive oil

1) Place 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in deep sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and sauté about 5 minutes. Add chopped shallot and sauté another 5 minutes.
2) Add all spices and apples. Saute another 5 minutes.
3) Add rice and ¾ cup vegetable broth. Stir and keep an eye on it until broth absorbed – a few minutes.
4) Add another ¾ cup broth and sauté until broth absorbed.
5) Add ¾ cup white wine and sauté until absorbed.
6) Stir in Brussels sprouts.
7) Add ½ cup vegetable broth and stir until broth absorbed.
8) Stir in pistachio nuts.
Makes 3 main dish servings or 6-7 side servings.

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Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

If you believe a few of my friends, green smoothies:

  • Keep you from getting sick (even when everyone in your house has the flu);
  • Reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease;
  • Extend your life;
  • Prevent cancer; and
  • Cleanse your body.

Friday night I was out with friends and one of them starting talking about green smoothies. She didn’t want to invest in the high-powered blender and the weekly bags of produce needed to make them, so instead she goes to a local health-foods market (Ellwood Thompson in Richmond, VA) every day and purchases one custom-made at their green smoothie bar. She said they put a whole head of Kale, carrots with greens attached, celey, apples and more, all into their gigantic blender.

Veggies for Green Smoothie

Veggies for Green Smoothie

I was sold. So Saturday I went straight from the gym to Ellwood Thompson and perused the menu, settling on just the basic green smoothie. I was amazed at all of the raw veggies going into my smoothie! It had kale, spinach, carrots, celery, an apple and more. The taste was pleasant – a little peppery, slightly sweet, and maybe it’s my imagination, but I would say it tasted “green.” The large one was $6.50, but I figure the veggies alone cost close to that (they fit a LOT of green leafy veggies into that smoothie).  Plus, if it really provides all of the fabulous benefits my friends claim, it’s worth it.

I will definitely go back to Ellwood Thompson for another green smoothie.

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I had broccoli raab for the first time a few years ago at an Italian restaurant. It was absolutely delicious, and I’ve gotten it at the same restaurant almost every time I’ve gone in there since that first time. But I had never been able to recreate it at home until now. It’s actually pretty easy to make. And in addition to being delicious, broccoli raab offers all of the health benefits you would expect from a leafy green vegetable, including helping to prevent cancer.

Tasty Broccoli Raab

Broccoli Raab with Garlic and Olive Oil

Broccoli Raab with Garlic

One large bunch of broccoli raab
8 cloves of garlic, minced
Generous amount of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. of crushed red pepper
Salt & pepper

1) Wash broccoli raab and trim off its tough ends. Cut it into pieces about 2-3 inches in length.

2) Bring a large kettle of water to a boil. Add a tbsp. of olive oil. Add the broccoli raab. Boil about 4-5 minutes, then drain.

Boil briefly before sauteeing.

3) In a deep skillet, add minced garlic into a few tablespoons of olive oil and saute for about a minute. Add the drained broccoli raab and saute about another 5 minutes. Stir in crushed red pepper, salt & pepper, and more olive oil, if needed. Vegetable is ready when it is tender.

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It’s Fall. Time to get your favorite casserole dish out of the cabinet, find a great recipe or two, and whip up some warm, soul-soothing comfort food. A casserole can feed a large group for a night, or a small group for several nights. Leftovers are great! And with the holidays around the corner, it’s probably a good idea to find some interesting recipes and try them out!

Spinach, Artichoke and Brown Rice Casserole

Spinach, Artichoke and Brown Rice Casserole

You won’t be dissapointed with this one! If you like a spinach, artichoke dip, you will love this casserole. It combines spinach, artichokes, fiber-rich brown rice and other nutritious, delicious ingredients. So it’s super healthy and low-fat, unlike the cheese and butter-laden dips served at many restaurants. This casserole can be either the main dish or a side dish. I hope you enjoy it.

Spinach, Artichoke, and Brown Rice Casserole

  • Spinach, Artichoke and Brown Rice Casserole

    Spinach, Artichoke and Brown Rice Casserole

    1 ½  cups cooked brown rice

  • 3 cups spinach, washed and
    stems removed
  • 1 can (14 oz.) quartered artichoke
    hearts, drained
  • ¼ cup fat free or
    reduced fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 weight watchers mozzarella
    cheese stick (or ¼ cup low fat mozzarella cheese)
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella
    cheese (topping)
  • ½ cup water sliced water
    chestnuts, slices cut in half
  • 1 cup cream of mushroom soup (I used organic)
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened almond
    milk (or skim milk)
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp. marjoram
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • ½ tsp. celery salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Smart Balance
    (butter substitute)
  • 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1)    Put rice on to cook (according to directions), or cook in advance.

2)    In a large skillet, add onion and Smart Balance. Cook about 5-8 minutes, until onion is mellow.

3)    Add olive oil and garlic. Saute a minute. Then add spices.

4)    Add artichoke hearts and water chestnuts. Saute another minute or so.

5)    Add cream of mushroom soup, almond milk, and Greek yogurt. Stir everything together.

6)    Rough chop the spinach. Add to the mixture and stir in until wilting.

7)    Add 1 ½ cups of the cooked brown rice to the mixture and stir together. As a last step, cut the Weight Watchers mozzarella cheese stick into small pieces using kitchen scissors (1/4 inch or less) and stir into the mixture.

8)    Pour mixture into a medium-sized casserole dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese.

9)    Bake in 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Will brown on top and be totally delicious!

Makes 4-5 substantial side dish servings.

Spinach, Artichoke and Brown Rice Casserole

Spinach, Artichoke and Brown Rice Casserole

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This weekend I went to the Farmer’s Market, and my favorite farmer had greens on sale. I bought a bag of mixed greens, a bag of spinach and a bag of arugula (3 bags was the deal). But then he threw in a fourth bag of spinach for free! So I had a lot of greens and needed to figure out ways to fix them.

I also purchased some pumpkin linguine from a fresh pasta stand (Bombolini). The pumpkin variety is seasonal for Fall, in case you didn’t figure that out. Anyway, the pasta lady advised not to serve the pumpkin linguine with a tomato based sauce. Since I had all those greens, I figured it might be a winning combination, and it was! I have made it twice already. It’s delicious, inexpensive, and so good-for-you too.  And did I mention it’s easy to make? Really simple!

Greens and Garlic...yum!

Greens and Garlic...yum!

Pumpkin Linguine with Greens, Garlic and Olive Oil

Fresh pumpkin linguine, enough for two (you can use any pasta you have, but the greens go well with pumpkin)

6 to 8 cups of greens (choose spinach, baby mustard greens, arugula, or a mixture), wash and remove stems. Chop larger leaves.

6 to 8 cloves of garlic, diced

1 cup of your choice of mushrooms, sliced (optional)

¼ cup of olive oil (add extra if you like)

1 ½ tsp. Oregano

1 ½ tsp. Basil

½ tsp. red pepper flakes (or to taste)

Reduced sodium salt (to taste)

Cooking up some greens!

Cooking up some greens!

1)    Cook pasta according to instructions.

2)    Meanwhile, heat part of the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add diced garlic. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. You only need to sauté it a minute. Add the spices to the garlic while it’s sautéing.

3)    If including mushrooms, add them next. Saute with the garlic a couple more minutes.

4)    Add in the greens. Take a ladle or two of boiling water from the cooking pasta and pour right over the greens. It won’t take long for the greens to wilt. The quantity will appear to reduce greatly.

5)    Add in the rest of the olive oil and toss with the hot, drained pasta.

6)    Serve with a little parmesan cheese, if you like. Or forego the cheese and have a delicious vegan pasta meal.

Serve with a green salad and crusty whole grain bread. Delicious healthy meal for two.

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Pumpkin Linguine with Greens, Garlic and Olive Oil

Pumpkin Linguine with Greens, Garlic and Olive Oil

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