Citrus-Kissed Sweet Potato Hash Salad

This breakfast salad is one part left-overs, one part citrusy-goodness, and one part flawless sunny side up egg. Take last night’s roasted sweet potatoes and create something new in the morning by combining with organic baby spinach, and zesty orange-balsamic vinaigrette, and a surprise twist: granny smith apples.

These flavors sing together. Put an egg on it, and you’ve got all the protein (and brain-boosting choline) and beta-carotene rich veggie power you’ll need to get your day started on the right foot.

MIND diet foods: Leafy greens, other vegetables, olive oil


Citrus-Kissed Sweet Potato Hash Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Salad
Cuisine: Californian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large organic sweet potato, 10-12" (mine was 1 lb 4 oz)
  • ½ large red onion, diced
  • ⅓ cup (approx) olive oil, divided into 1 tbsp, 4 tbsp, 1-2 tsp
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 orange, zest and juice (2 tbsp orange juice, 1 tsp orange zest. You may have extra)
  • ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 green apple
  • 5 oz pre-washed organic baby spinach (about 6-8 cups loosely packed)
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 sprigs Italian parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. While the oven is preheating, wash and dry all produce, and prep the hash.
  3. Remove any eyes from the sweet potato leaving as much skin intact as possible.
  4. Dice the sweet potato (makes about 4 cups) and red onion (makes about 1 cup), then combine in a large bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper.
  5. On a large baking sheet, arrange in a single layer and roast for 25 minutes, turning about halfway through.
  6. While the potatoes roast, make the dressing. Whisk together 4 tbsp olive oil, orange juice, orange zest, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Slice green apple into thin slices or cubes (makes about 1 cup) and toss with a little bit of orange juice to keep from browning.
  8. In a large bowl, combine baby spinach, parsley, and dressing to coat.
  9. Fold in the apples.
  10. Heat 1-2 tsp olive oil in a pan on low heat.
  11. Divide dressed salad in 4 bowls.
  12. Slowly crack eggs into the frying pan to reduce egg white spreading and heat over low heat until whites become opaque (3-4 minutes). Season with salt to taste.
  13. Divide hash on top of the 4 salads, and top each with an egg.
  14. Garnish with any extra parsley or orange zest, if desired
Notes
If 40-45 minutes sounds like a long time to wait for breakfast, I hear you. I think this dish works best as a way to use left-over roasted sweet potatoes. You can even make the dressing a day ahead. That makes this dish more of a 5-to-10 minute assembly meal. Makes 4 servings of 1-2 cups each.

 

Sunshine Vegan Breakfast Salad

The bright and tangy, yet creamy and rich avocado-lime dressing contrasts with aromatically sweet mango, buttery avocado, raw almonds, and perfect blueberries in this sunshine-inspired breakfast salad. The bed of baby red butter lettuce makes a gentle base. Every bit of this unique breakfast salad sets you up for a great day.

The plant protein in the almonds keep blood sugar even, while the mango and blueberries provide polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to energize you. In recent research on brain health, leafy greens, nuts, berries, and olive oil all helped protect the brain against cognitive decline — and they’re all right here in this morning delight.

MIND diet foods: Leafy greens, olive oil, nuts, berries

 

 

Sunshine Vegan Breakfast Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Salad
Cuisine: Californian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium mango
  • 2 large limes
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 10 sprigs of cilantro
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 oz pre-washed baby red butter lettuce (about 6-8 cups, loosely packed)
  • 6 oz organic blueberries (about 1¼ cups)
  • ½ cup almonds
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Wash and dry all produce.
  2. Peel the mango, slice away two large "cheeks" of the mango and slice thinly lengthwise. It ends up being about 1 and ¼ cups loosely packed.
  3. Peel away the green of a lime, avoiding the bitter white pith, and mince (or use a zester) to make 1 tsp of zest (part of one lime), set aside.
  4. Cut the limes in half and juice to make 3 tbsp juice. Save the leftover lime halves.
  5. Cut the avocado in half, discard the seed, and peel away the skin. Use leftover lime halves to squeeze lime juice over the avocado to keep it from browning.
  6. Make the dressing. Using a hand-blender (or small blender/ food processor), combine half the avocado, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, and olive oil in a tall mixing glass, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 3 oz of dressing.
  7. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, mango, blueberries, and almonds with dressing. Plastic gloves help.
  8. Slice the remaining half of avocado widthwise.
  9. Divide salad and among 4 bowls, about 1-2 cups into each bowl. Top with avocado slices. Garnish with extra cilantro if desired.

 

Strawberrry and Pineapple Plate with Whiskey-Ginger Drizzle

It’s almost spring, it’s almost spring, it’s almost spring!

While I normally think of berries and summer in the same breath, the exception is strawberries. I know they’re available year-round, but in southern California, the best berries from local farms come out in late April, early May. I can’t wait.

The MIND diet calls for berries twice a week. Here’s a simple snack that gets elevated by a fancy drizzle. Honestly, I’d happily eat this with or without the drizzle, but it does add something so special and surprising.

Let me know if you give it a try!

 

Strawberrry and Pineapple Plate with Whiskey-Ginger Drizzle
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup whiskey
  • ½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp freshly shredded ginger
  • 1 tbsp pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup pineapple slices
  • 8 strawberries
  • Optional garnishes: pink Himalayan salt, mint
Instructions
  1. Combine whiskey, olive oil, vanilla, ginger, pineapple juice, and a pinch of salt. Let rest for at least 10 minutes, but 30 minutes or more is better.
  2. Arrange pineapple slices and strawberries on a plate, and drizzle liquid mixture over.
  3. Garnish with pink salt and mint leaves, if desired.

 

3 Ways to Thrive & Stay Sharp in 2018

You’ve survived the holiday season, now it’s time to thrive with wellness into 2018. Here are three ways to get going on the right path. The good news is that even adopting one of these ideas this week will do the body and mind good. So ease into a new habit, and if week one goes well, try another week. If that goes well, try adding another of these tips to your routine.

Eat a green vegetable today.

Broccoli, kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, arugula, and more. Take your pick. Put it in a salad or a smoothie, cook them up in a soup or a saute lightly in olive oil. Adults who ate at least one serving of leafy green vegetables a day kept the brain humming 11 years younger, according to a new study from Tufts University.

Take a brisk 40 minute walk.

The 2013 International Conference on Nutrition and the Brain’s dietary and lifestyle guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease recommend taking this brisk walk every other day. Aerobic exercise helps reduce inflammation and improves blood flow to the brain. It even protects brain cells. There are also heart health and overall weight management reasons to go for that walk. Maybe take it as an opportunity to catch up with a friend or a favorite podcast episode.

Eat more plant protein.

When it comes to protein, it is essential to get enough throughout each day. It can come from many sources, including plant and animal foods. It’s the mix of proteins you eat throughout the day that matter, not what you eat at one sitting. Aim to get some of your protein from plants. Nuts and beans will be your best bet. Almonds and pistachios are the two snack nuts that are highest in protein and fiber, or take your pick from a variety of beans such as black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, split peas, and more. Super healthy whole grains and pseudo-grains like quinoa, sorghum, farro, and barley, also offer up a little plant protein.

Which of these three simple choices will you commit to making today? Let me know in the comments!

Jeweled Holiday Acorn Squash

Come Christmas time, my family gathers at my parents’ home in southern California. There’s a single pomegranate tree in our backyard, and every winter my mom saves the best one for me. This simple side dish is a way to honor those jewels of winter. I always try to make something simple, seasonal, delicious and vibrantly healthy (and okay, I also want it to be photogenic). Ultimately, I want my loved ones to live long and healthy lives, so tasty yet ridiculously healthy food is my love language. Bonus: this dish is so simple, you won’t be stuck (or getting in anyone’s way) in the kitchen for long.

Tip: Use a circular ravioli or cookie cutter to remove seeds from each ring. This makes it easy to have a visually pleasing center cutout with clean edges.

Recipe

Curried Acorn Squash with Pistachios and Pomegranates

Prep: 15 min | Cook: 20 min | Rest: 10 min | Total: 45 min

Serves: 6

Ingredients

2 small acorn squash, 2-3 lbs each, cut into 1″ rings (about 3 rings per squash)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 cup pomegranate arils (1 small pomegranate; you may have extra)

1/2 cup pistachio kernels

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 400ºF for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and dry the produce. Remove pomegranate arils by quartering the pomegranate and loosening arils from the skin underwater in a large bowl; drain. On a large baking sheet, arrange acorn squash rings in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Add to oven and bake for 20 minutes, or to desired doneness (fork should easily pierce the skin). Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes, season to taste. Transfer to serving platter and generously garnish with pistachios and pomegranate arils. Serve immediately.

MIND diet foods: Vegetables, olive oil, nuts, berries

Coconut Sorghum with Warm Curry and Delicata Squash

This is a summer-to-fall transitional dish that firmly plants its flag in the I-want-it-to-be-fall camp. Earthy whole-grain sorghum and delicata squash make it decidedly so. Still, in the heady early days of October, many areas of the country will still be going through intermittent warm spells, which means fresh flavors like cucumber, baby spinach, chives, and mint are all still welcome. The warm (and anti-inflammatory) spices of curry, chili, and ginger are enveloped by a blend of coconut and almond milks. (Using a little bit of full-fat coconut milk and a lot more almond milk means great flavor with a ton of calorie savings).

Ready for fall, but still feels like summer? This coconut sorghum and squash dish with cucumbers and mint has got you covered! #minddiet #brainfood @simplysorghum Click To Tweet

Tip: Sorghum isn’t always easy to find! Your best bet is to stop by your local Whole Foods, or to order directly from Bob’s Red Mill.

 

Recipe

MIND foods: Leafy greens, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olive oil

Prep: 15-30 min | Cook: 1 hr 10 min | Total: 1 hr 15 min

Serves: 4

 

Coconut Sorghum

1 cup dry sorghum, rinsed

3/4 cup coconut milk

2 1/4 cups almond milk (I used this unsweetened almond milk with a touch of coconut milk)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Curry

1 T olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 T curry powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp chili powder

3/4 cup coconut milk

2 cups almond milk

3 T rice wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Squash

1 medium delicata squash

1 T olive oil, and a little more to oil the sheet pan

Pinch of curry powder

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Base and Garnishes

4 cups baby spinach, lightly packed (I used a pre-washed product)

1 8-inch cucumber,  cut into rounds or thinly sliced with mandolin

2 T marcona almonds

2-3 chives, finely chopped

10-15 mint leaves, torn or cut into strips just before eating

Optional: Red chili flakes

 

Method

Prep. Wash and dry all fresh produce. Preheat the oven to 375F. Measure out all ingredients.

Make the sorghum. Combine all Coconut Sorghum ingredients with a large pinch of salt in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat to a simmer and cover for 50-60 minutes, or until cooked to desired doneness.

Meanwhile, make the curry. Heat oil in a large saucepan – non-stick if you have one – until hot. Add onions and stir occasionally until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and spices and stir constantly for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add liquids (coconut milk, almond milk, mirin), and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower to a simmer for 30 minutes or to desired thickness. Season to taste.

While sorghum and curry simmer, make the squash. Lightly oil a medium sheet pan. Cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut into 1-inch half-rings. In a large bowl, toss squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, and curry powder to coat. Arrange on sheet pan in a single layer. Roast for 5-6 minutes on one side, flip over and return to oven to roast another 5-6 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces through the flesh. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.

Plate. Make a bed of baby spinach. Spoon coconut-sorghum over greens. Place delicata squash on top. Drizzle with curry (any extra can be served on the side). Garnish with cucumbers, almonds, chives, and mint. If using red chili flakes, sprinkle a pinch over dish or serve on the side for individuals to use to taste. Enjoy.

Tip: One 13.5-ounce can of coconut milk will be enough for this recipe; simply divide between sorghum and curry recipes.

Tip: Once served, guide guests to stir their ingredients around as the warm ingredients will wilt the spinach and infuse it with curry flavors.

Fig & Fennel Citrus Salad

This simple salad is aromatic thanks to the fennel, bright thanks to the orange segments, peppery thanks to the arugula, earthy and sweet thanks to the figs, and pleasantly tart and complex thanks to the raspberry-balsamic vinaigrette. There’s no sugar added – or needed – due to all the big vibrant flavors. You’ll enjoy the medley of tastes and textures while meeting your veggie quota for the day (read: fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, folate, vitamin E, and more).

 

 

Recipe

MIND foods: Leafy greens, vegetables, berries, olive oil

Prep: 10-15 min | Cook: 5 min | Total: 15-20 min

Serves: 4

Salad Ingredients

4 cups baby arugula, lightly packed (I used a pre-washed product)

1 medium bulb fennel, stalks trimmed and discarded, reserving fronds

1 medium orange, supreme segments (I used a Tangelo orange)

6 California mission figs, quartered lengthwise (substitute: your favorite fresh fig)

Raspberry Vinaigrette Ingredients

1 cup frozen raspberries

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onions

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Reserved orange juice, to taste

 

Method

Wash and dry all fresh produce. Combine all dressing ingredients, except orange juice, in a food processor or blender until smooth; season to taste. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. (You will have extra dressing to enjoy for the rest of the week!) Meanwhile, quarter your fennel bulb. Cut out the tough root and heart with a diagonal slice and discard. Thinly slice the remaining white bulb on the diagonal to make thin strips. To supreme your orange, cut off the top and bottom, then with one flat side down securely on the cutting board, slice away the remaining peel. Cut flesh-only segments out of the orange. Squeeze the juice out of the remaining orange core and reserve. Optional: taste dressing and add orange juice, slowly, to taste.

To plate, toss or gently layer arugula, fennel, fennel fronds, citrus, and figs. Drizzle with dressing. Season to taste. Serve immediately.

Tip: Using a funnel, pour the finished dressing into a squeeze bottle to make it easier to handle.

Tip: Reserve some of the fig pieces, orange segments, and fennel fronds, and place as deliberate garnishes to add appeal to your dish.

Trailblazer: Strawberry Almond BarNana Pop Mix

Trail mix is all about on-the-go snacking, so while I generally favor fresh fruit, when it comes to trail mix, it’s just not in the cards. But my problem is that I find most dried fruit too sweet since all the sugar in fresh form is concentrated down (don’t even get me started on the dried fruit that even adds sugar!). Anyway, I am happy that I’ve found some great dried fruit options that aren’t too sweet.

I recently tried BarNana organic chewy banana bites at a nutrition conference, and it was love at first bite. (This was sort of surprising since the little brown lumps don’t look all that appealing, but give them a try, you might like them, too!). They’re simply dehydrated bananas coated in banana powder so they don’t stick to your fingers (brilliant!). What I like about them is that unlike a lot of dried fruit, they’re not too sweet (my palate doesn’t prefer too much sweetness so this is perfect for me). Same goes for freeze-dried strawberries, actually. They’re pleasantly tart more than anything else. To this mix, almonds and popcorn add volume, crunch, protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

Recipe

Trail Mix with Freeze-Dried Strawberries, Almonds, Popcorn and Chewy Banana Bites

Prep: 5 min | Total: 5 min

Serves: 4

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Boom Chika Pop popcorn (or air-pop your own)
  • 1 1/2 cups Kroger Simple Truth Freeze-Dried Strawberries (or your preferred brand)
  • 32 almonds (about 1/3 cup)
  • 8 BarNana organic original chewy banana bites

 

Method

Divide evenly into 4 resealable snack containers. If you can find a snack container with two compartments, divide popcorn and almonds into one side, and the dried fruit on the other. This will help prevent soggy popcorn.

 

Nutritional notes: 130 calories per serving, zero added sugars, potassium- and vitamin A-rich, and a good source of fiber.

MIND diet foods: Whole grains, nuts, berries

Trailblazer: Goji Matcha Cacao Pop Mix

There is a complex yet delicate herbaliciousness to both goji berries and green tea. Combine them with the pleasant bitter notes in dark chocolate, and you get a lovely nuanced marriage of rhyming flavors. Contrast those flavors with a simple base of popcorn which also adds great texture, volume, and fiber. This polyphenol-powered trail mix has high quality indulgent ingredients, yet keeps them in proportion so you don’t have to worry about going overboard on calories or too many added sugars.

Recipe

Trail Mix with Goji Berries, Matcha Dark Chocolate, and Popcorn

Prep: 2 min | Total: 2 min

Serves: 4

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Boom Chika Pop popcorn (or air-pop your own)
  • 4 squares Vosges Super Dark 72% Dark Chocolate with Matcha Green Tea, Spiraling, and Cocoa Nibs, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Navitas organic goji berries

 

Directions

Divide evenly into 4 resealable snack containers.

 

Nutritional notes: 100 calories per serving, 3 grams of added sugars, vitamin A-rich, and a good source of potassium and fiber.

MIND diet foods: Whole grains, berries

 

Trailblazer: Beet’stachio Goji-Pop Mix

Anyone else notice all the new-fangled trail mixes available on the shelf these days? Premium ingredients come with a premium price. But you can enjoy all the on-trend healthy flavors of the moment, hand-pick your own filling ingredients, and manage your calories and portions, all by doing a little bit of prep work at home. It’s painless, I promise. The hardest part is waiting to get munching.

Recipe

Trail Mix with Beet Chips, Pistachios, Goji Berries and Popcorn

Prep: 2 min | Total: 2 min

Serves: 4

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Boom Chika Pop popcorn (or air-pop your own)
  • 12 Rhythm beet chips (or bake your own)
  • 60 pistachios (about 1/3 cup of kernels)
  • 3 tablespoons Navitas organic goji berries

 

Directions

Divide evenly into 4 resealable snack containers.

 

Nutritional notes: 125 calories per serving, zero added sugars, vitamin A-rich, and a good source of potassium and fiber.

MIND diet foods: Whole grains, vegetables, nuts, berries