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.

 

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

Summery Farro Salad

The height of summer means stone fruit, and that includes cherries. Deep red cherries add a sweet, mildly tart and bright note to the nutty and earthy base notes of the farro in this whole grain salad. Pickled cucumbers and shallots add another dimension of contrasting flavor, texture, and temperature. The magic is in the medley and how all these flavors play together and in reaction to each other.

 

Recipe

MIND foods: whole grains, vegetables, nuts, berries

Prep: 10-15 min | Cook: 15-20 min | Total: 25-35 min

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

1.5 cups farro (here’s a 10-minute farro that’s good for busy weeknights)

1 medium-large cucumber, skin peeled in stripes, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, halved lengthwise again, and chopped (will be 1.5-2 cups when chopped)

2 medium shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (will be about a 1/2 cup loosely packed)

2 large handfuls of fresh red cherries, pitted and roughly chopped (about 30 cherries; will be about 1 cup roughly chopped)

2 T coconut vinegar

1 T fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup roasted and lightly salted pistachios, roughly chopped (reserve a small handful for garnish)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

Prepare farro according to package instructions. While farro is cooking, wash, dry and prep all produce. In a medium bowl, combine cucumbers, shallots and vinegar, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let marinate for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When farro is done cooking, thoroughly drain and then transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste. Fold in cherries, cucumber-shallot mixture and pistachios just before serving. Top with reserved pistachios. Enjoy.

Tip: Get the kids involved! Have kids wash their hands and help remove thyme leaves and cherry pits.

Pomegranate Mandarin Basil Champagne Spritzer

Nothing says holiday hospitality like being greeted with a champagne cocktail. Even better for all you discerning hosts and hostesses out there, its easy to put artisanal homemade love into such a concoction *ahead of time* (read: less hassle on the day-of). So you can feel like this is something special you’ve done for your guests (which it is), without having to add it to the juggling act on the day of a get together. This is not a sugary headache in the making. It is naturally mildly sweet with a balance of tartness and herbaceousness. If you try it, please let me know!

Basil plant + pomegranate fruit
Basil plant + pomegranate fruit
fresh pomegranates, I picked from the Central Valley orchards
fresh pomegranates, I picked from the Central Valley orchards
Patron orange liqueur
Patron orange liqueur
Mostly pomegranate arils, with some pith, membrane, and peel
Mostly pomegranate arils, with some pith, membrane, and peel
Pomegranates and mandarins and simmering
Pomegranates and mandarins and simmering
Syrup consistency
Syrup consistency
Add basil
Add basil
Stir basil in for about a minute
Stir basil in for about a minute
Strain
Strain
Resulting in about half a cup of syrup
Resulting in about half a cup of syrup

Pomegranate Mandarin Basil Champagne Spritzer
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Excellent fresh ingredients are at the heart of this - fresh pomegranates (from my mom's tree), mandarin oranges, and basil. I can imagine trying to sub in rosemary for the basil, for an earthier fall flavor, but my basil plant is still going strong and smells amazing (perks of living in California), so that's what I used. No good cocktail is overly sweet, so if that's what you're looking for, you've come to the wrong place. This cocktail is mildly sweet, sufficiently tart, and has a touch of herbaceousness. These are real flavors, no added sugar to mask or enhance poor ingredients.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 medium pomegranate, yields a cup pomegranate arils, plus extra arils to use as garnish - keep this reserved to the side; keep some membrane, pith and peel reserved,
  • 1 seedless mandarin orange, quartered and then each quarter halved
  • 1 cup fresh loosely packed basil leaves, rinsed, dried and roughly chopped or torn
  • optional: 1 oz orange liqueur (I used Patron Citronge orange liqueur premium reserve 80 proof)
  • optional: 1 mandarin for peels of zest as garnish
  • optional: basil leaves for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat water over medium heat until simmering.
  2. Add pomegranate arils, membrane, pith and peel.
  3. Stir with wide wooden spoon, carefully crushing arils to release juice without splattering, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add mandarin pieces and continue to simmer and crushing with back of wooden spoon to release juices, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Continue to stir occasionally, smashing arils and mandarin pieces as needed, until reduced to a syrup consistency, about 3-5 minutes more.
  6. Add basil and stir for about a minute to infuse flavors.
  7. Strain to produce about a half-cup of liquid.
  8. If using, add orange liqueur to strained liquid and stir.
  9. Cool until use.
  10. To serve, add a tablespoon of syrup to champagne flute, top with champagne, garnish with fresh pomegranate arils, basil leaf, mandarin zest. Enjoy.

 

Eggstravanza with Garam Masala Hummus & Pomegranate Baby Kale Salad

yummy runny eggsSometimes experimentation pays off. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s good to go into the kitchen with an open mind; a loose framework helps. That’s what I did today, with delicious results. After spending some time brainstorming in pajamas (it is Saturday, after all), I hit up two stores for supplies, and came back to get cooking. It’s a good thing Fred doesn’t mind waiting for breakfast. We had coffee before any of this, obvs. There are limits.

I took advantage of some beautiful seasonal pomegranate, but the rest of the ingredients can be found year-round, including a few “shortcut” ingredients like bottled sesame sauce and pre-mixed garam masala. After pomegranate season closes in January, I’d swap in strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or even table or concord grapes.

garam masala hummus is the bomb dot com. we've got your easy #recipe right here. via @minddietmeals @maggiemoonRD Click To Tweet Pomegranate arils are a star in every dish they grace. #pomegranate #babykale #salad #recipe via @minddietmeals @maggiemoonRD Click To Tweet

eggstravaganza
Food Safety Tip

I used large AA organic cage-free eggs, but I’m not in an at-risk group. To get rid of any food safety concerns about undercooked eggs, you can use a pasteurized whole egg. As far as I know, eggs by Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs is the only option on the market right now.

Eggstravanza with Garam Masala Hummus & Pomegranate Baby Kale Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Brunch
Cuisine: New American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A perfectly soft-boiled egg sits on a bed of baby power greens, atop an English muffin spread with garam masala hummus. Pomegranate arils are everywhere, and that's a good thing. The egg is garnished with smoked Spanish paprika and chickpea aquafaba foam.
Ingredients
Garam-Masala Hummus
  • 15.5 oz can chickpeas beans, aka garbanzo beans (I used Sprouts Market Organic Low Sodium Garbanzo Beans), drained, liquid reserved
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ⅓ cup sesame sauce
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 T garam masala
  • 1 large lemon, zest and juice
  • 5 sprigs Italian parsley, leaves separated and roughly chopped (may reserve a few whole leaves for garnish)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Salad
  • 2-3 cups baby kale, loosely packed
  • ¾ cup parsley leaves, loosely packed (5-7 springs)
  • 1 small pomegranate, arils removed to produce at least ½ cup (you may have extra)
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T garam masala hummus (from hummus made with recipe above)
  • Salt to taste (optional)
Other
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 whole grain English muffins
Instructions
Hummus
  1. Combine all ingredients except chickpea liquid and parsley in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.
  2. Taste before seasoning with any salt or pepper. Season to taste. Flavors may melt together and develop more after resting.
  3. Cover and let rest in refrigerator.
  4. This recipe makes about 1.5 cups of hummus, so you're going to have extra, which is awesome. It's great on sandwiches, as a veggie dip, and on top of fish. Freeze anything you can't use up within a few days.
Salad & Eggs & Toast
  1. While the hummus is resting, wash and dry all produce.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  3. Combine dry baby kale and parsley in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, and hummus, whisk until smooth, and set aside.
  4. Bring medium pot of salted water to roaring boil over high heat.
  5. While water is heating, trim the top and bottom off the pomegranate, score the sides every 2-3 inches, then submerge the fruit in a large bowl of water, pry the fruit open using the scored marks.
  6. When water is at a roaring boil, carefully add eggs and boil for 4 minutes exactly. Remove eggs and let cool slightly at room temperature.
  7. While eggs are cooling, separate the English muffins and toast in oven, face up, for 3-5 minutes or to desired doneness (check periodically to avoid burning), remove from oven and set aside.
  8. Carefully peel eggs (if they break, it'll be messy) once they are cool enough to work with.
  9. Whisk reserved chickpea liquid (aquafaba) until it forms a foam, less than a minute.
  10. Dress the salad; dressing may need a refresher whisking if it has separated.
Plating
  1. Divide English muffins on two plates. Spread with hummus. Add a small handful of the salad on top of the hummus. Top with eggs.
  2. Dollop the chickpea foam on top. Garnish with paprika and parsley.
  3. Add more salad to the plate as a side dish.
  4. Dig in, it's going to taste great.

 

5 Times Brain Health was in the Spotlight at the Year’s Biggest Nutrition Meeting (Plus Recipe!)

The largest global gathering of who’s who in nutrition just wrapped a successful four days of updates on the latest nutrition science and trends, and brain health was in the spotlight like never before. The conference is hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is dubbed the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE). Here are five ways brain health stole the show.

  1. The top mind of the MIND diet research was at FNCE. That’s right: Martha Clare Morris, PhD, Rush University Medical Center, and MIND diet research lead presented on the closing day of sessions. 
  2. For the first time ever, the President’s Lecture was devoted to nutrition and how foods can help or harm the brain. 
  3. Awesome RDs who contributed recipes to The MIND Diet book were taking the meeting by storm. Here are just a few: Sharon Palmer, Amy Gorin, and Christy Wilson.
  4. The MIND Diet book visited with booths featuring MIND diet approved brain-healthy foods: Oldways Whole Grain Council, Dole Chopped SaladsNut Health, PulsesWild Blueberries, Blueberry Council, CA Strawberries, Red Raspberries, and Olive Oil.
  5. The MIND Diet book itself appeared in cameos with some superstars we’re pretty lucky to be friends with, like fellow authors of healthy eating books, and a group of Columbia University nutrition alumni.

This year’s FNCE meeting was in Boston, and between the waterfront convention center, daily seafood dinners (and some lunches), and the brain nutrition lectures, you won’t be surprised that I was inspired to share a delicious seafood recipe along with this post (bonus MIND foods: berries, leafy greens, and olive oil).

Salmon and Blueberry Salad with Red Onion Vinaigretteblueberry-council-salmon-and-blueberry-salad

Warm salmon, red onions, and blueberries make a sweet and savory pairing in this salad. It’s perfect for lunch or dinner.

MIND foods: Olive oil, fish, leafy greens, berries

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 35 minutes to prep; 25 minutes to cook

Difficulty: Easy

 

Salmon-Blueberry Salad Ingredients

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced in half rings

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets, cut crosswise in 4 portions

6 cups lettuce leaves, torn into bite-size pieces

1 cup fresh blueberries

 

Directions

1. In a microwaveable cup, combine onion, red wine vinegar, half the salt, and half the pepper; cover loosely with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 1 minute. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until onions turn pink, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat grill or broiler. Brush 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on both sides of the salmon fillets; sprinkle with remaining . teaspoon of salt and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper. Grill or broil salmon, skin side down, until just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Divide lettuce leaves among four dinner plates and place salmon in the center. With a slotted spoon, remove onions from vinegar; scatter onions, along with the blueberries, over and around the fish. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into the vinegar mixture. Drizzle vinaigrette over salmon.

Nutrition: 290 calories, 16 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 30 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

Recipe and image courtesy of U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council