Top 13 Healthy Recipes of 2013

Goodness. This week has been a crazy one! Would you believe that I just started my Christmas shopping?! Yeah… I need to get better about that next year! Anyways, today I thought I would share my favorite recipes from the blog over the last year. Some of these recipes we have made a several times since I’ve posted them! Feel free to try them and add any of these dishes to your regular meal rotation – especially those looking to start off the new year on a healthier note. Since they are all healthy (ie. Dietitian approved) you can’t lose!

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Vegan Lentil Stew with Roasted Squash and Kale

Peppermint Macaroons 3

Dark Chocolate Mint Macaroons

Larabar in Jar

Homemade Larabar in a Jar

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Vegan Sweet and Sour Tempeh Kale Stir-Fry

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Overnight Chia Oats

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Superfood Bowl with Spicy Kale and Tempeh

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Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

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Spicy Tofu Curry

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Vegan Coconut Cream Cups

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Harvest Hot Toddy

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Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

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Pomegranate, Walnut, and Squash Salad

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Vegan Apricot Coconut Granola

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Vegan Apricot Coconut Granola

Do you have a favorite breakfast food? If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you may already know that my absolute favorite breakfast food is oatmeal. However, I am also a big fan of oats in another form… granola! Just like oatmeal, granola can be modified in a multitude of ways so you can never get bored. Use good ingredients and it can be a super healthy breakfast option that comes together in minutes. To mix things up, I added dried apricots to this mix and loved how it turned out! They pair really well with the coconut. Even if you aren’t normally a breakfast eater, you could easily eat this as a snack on its own or else topped with a little milk. Either way, it will be sure to satisfy your hunger as this granola is fulled with fiber, healthy fat, and protein.

Granola

Vegan Apricot Coconut Granola 

(Adapted from “How to Make Great Granola” from The Kitchn – Serves 5-7)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (can sub almond milk)
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups dried apricots, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except apricots in a large bowl. Stir until oats coated well with oil mixture.
  3. Spread oat mixture onto a baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove granola from oven when evenly browned. Once cool, stir in apricots. Serve!

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Vegan Coconut Cream Cups

Happy Monday! Hope you had a lovely fall weekend. To start your week off on a sweet note, I thought I would share this simple vegan coconut cream cup recipe with you. The inspiration for these came for those ultra sweet, gooey mallo cups that I used to love when I was younger. Have you ever tried one before? They are like Reese’s cups but stuffed with marshmallow cream and coconut instead of peanut butter. So delicious! Of course, now that I’m a dietitian, I can’t have any sweet treat without thinking about how I can create a healthier version at home. Although these are still technically a dessert, they are still better than the packaged version with a lot less sugar, loads of ultra dark chocolate, and a bit of healthy fat from the creamy coconut filling. These make for an easy to prepare, fun dessert that is perfect for guests with diet restrictions since they are vegan, gluten free, and paleo-friendly. (You’d never guess it by the way they taste!) If you aren’t a big fan of dark chocolate, feel free to substitute milk chocolate instead.

coconut cups

Vegan Coconut Cream Cups

(Makes 8)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup canned coconut cream, chilled
  • 2 bars of chocolate (3.5 oz each – I used Trader Joe’s 85% Cacao Chocolate Lover Bars)

Directions:

  1. Mix maple syrup, shredded coconut, and coconut cream together in a small bowl. Place in the fridge to firm while preparing the chocolate.
  2. Create a double boiler by filling a small saucepan halfway with water. Fit a glass mixing bowl over top and bring water to boil. Melt chocolate bars in bowl.
  3. Place 8 cupcake papers in muffin tin. Pour 1/2 of the melted chocolate in the muffin cups. (Should be just enough to cover the bottom.) Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes until hardened.
  4. Take out of the freezer and place 2 tablespoons of the coconut cream in the chocolate cups. Place back in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the freezer and cover with the rest of the melted chocolate. Place in the freezer to chill until firm. Peel away from the paper cupcake liners and enjoy!

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Roasted Pears with Cinnamon and Almond Butter

I can’t believe we are already halfway through the week! After such a lovely long weekend catching up with my Memphis friends who came to town to run the Chicago Marathon, it was tough to head back to work. Do you know what can make the work week better though? These simple, oven roasted pears with cinnamon and almond butter! We have been picking up pints of pears at the market over the last couple of weeks that have been so juicy and sweet; just can’t get enough of them. I knew they would be delicious in a dessert dish without the need for added sugar. So, I baked up a few for a healthy, vegan, gluten-free, paleo-friendly dessert that is super simple to make.

Roasted Pears

Roasted Pears with Cinnamon and Almond Butter

(Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 pears, cored and sliced in half
  • 4 tablespoons almond butter
  • Additional cinnamon for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish, combine coconut oil, water, cinnamon, and vanilla. Spread over the bottom of the pan.
  3. Set pears cut-side down in the baking dish. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until softened.
  4. Pull dish out of the oven and turn the pears cut-side up. Place 1 tablespoon of almond butter in the hollow of each pear. Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
  5. Serve warm! Sprinkle with additional cinnamon for serving.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Pumpkin is one of the quintessential foods of fall. Just take a peek at Pinterest and you’ll see that the pumpkin craze has just about taken over! In the past, I have purchased canned pumpkin for adding to baked goods, oatmeal, etc. However, this weekend, I wanted to try making my own. Little did I know it would be so easy!

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To make your pumpkin puree at home, all you need to do is buy a pie pumpkin at the store or farmers market. That’s right – make sure it is marked as a pie pumpkin and not just a regular jack-o-lantern one as those are just terrible for cooking. To make my pumpkin puree, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, cut my pumpkin in half, scooped out the seeds, and placed it cut side down on a cookie sheet. I baked it for about 30 minutes or until it started to brown. After removing from the oven, I let it cool a bit and then scooped out flesh from the insides. I put the pumpkin flesh into bowl of the food processor, added 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, and pureed it until smooth. So simple! I then used that to make this delicious smoothie for breakfast the following day.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

(Serves 1)

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut cream (or sub almond/soy milk)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • 2 dates, soaked overnight to soften
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Serve chilled. I enjoyed mine with a cup of coffee and a handful of roasted almonds. 🙂

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Vegan Lentil Stew with Roasted Squash and Kale

Whenever fall starts to settle in, I get the strongest craving for soup! Last week, I was feeling tired of packing salads for lunch, so I whipped up this stew. I incorporated some of the squash I roasted over the weekend and tossed in a few leaves of kale for color. Red lentils serve as a perfect, creamy base since they love to soak up any liquid you use when cooking them. The more liquid you add, the soupier they become. When serving this stew, I tossed some fontina cheese on top, however, if you want to keep it vegan, just leave it off. It made very tasty leftovers for lunch!

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Lentil Stew w/Roasted Squash and Kale (Vegan, Gluten Free)

(Serves ~4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup cubed, roasted squash (I used butternut and delicata – just chop into bite size pieces, toss in salt/olive oil, and bake until browned)
  • 3-4 large kale leaves, chopped
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine lentils, water, and broth in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and partially cover with lid.
  2. Simmer until almost all the liquid is absorbed, ~20 minutes.
  3. Toss in kale, garlic, salt, and garam marsala. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Toss in roasted squash and cook 1-2 minutes, continuing to stir.
  5. Serve!

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What is your favorite fall soup?

Vegan Mocha Mousse

Can it be time for another Recipe Redux already?! I admit, the 21st sort of snuck on me this time… oops! However, I still have a really simple and tasty recipe to share with you all today. The one thing I love about this recipe redux is that I get to experiment in the kitchen a bit as I create a dish for each theme. The theme for this month’s round up of recipes was raw/no cook desserts. At first, I wondered, how in the world do I come up a recipe that doesn’t need baked?! After a bit of mulling and perusing our pantry, I created this dessert.
This recipe for mousse is super simple with only 4 ingredients. With just a little planning ahead, you can make this in a matter of minutes. For the best consistency, you’ll want to chill the canned coconut cream overnight as well as soak the dates. Feel free to add berries like I did or a variety of other toppings like shredded coconut, nuts, nut butter, etc. It could also make a delicious parfait if layered with fruit and perhaps some granola.
vegan mousse

Vegan Mocha Mousse
(Serves 2-3)
Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup coconut cream (keep coconut water for another use)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
  • 3/4 cup dates, soaked overnight

Directions:

  1. Put canned coconut cream in fridge to separate overnight. Put dates in a small bowl and cover with water. Place in fridge to soak overnight.
  2. When ready to prepare mousse, add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until mixture becomes fluffy.
  3. Chill for an hour or so to stiffen a bit. Serve with berries or toppings of your choice.

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