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.

Banana Nice Cream Dairy-Free Frozen Treat

I pride myself on my omnivore status, and having a curious palate open to the world’s flavors. My take on a healthy balanced diet is quite inclusive. So when I tell you this is a vegan and dairy-free dessert, know that those qualities are mostly incidental. True, my body hasn’t had a decent relationship with dairy since I was a toddler, but I hold no grudge. Therefore, I give you a very simple and delicious “nice cream,” which is a vegan, dairy-free way to enjoy a creamy dessert that is 100-percent cream-free with no added sugars (none needed). There’s a good balance of fiber from the bananas, protein from the peanut butter powder, and natural sweetness from the bananas and vanilla extract.

I topped mine with freeze-dried blueberries I picked up on a whim from Trader Joe’s (brain-healthy berries!). I think a sprinkle of cinnamon and some dark chocolate nibs would also be delightful toppings. In our home, we’ve enjoyed this as breakfast, snack, and dessert. With a handful of wholesome ingredients, it is truly a guilt-free indulgence.

The one snafu could be the frozen bananas. Here are a few options:

  1. You can start with frozen bananas from the freezer aisle.
  2. If you eat bananas regularly, you know sometimes one or two can get too ripe before you can finish the bunch. These are great to break up into pieces and stash in the freezer until you have enough to make some nice cream.
  3. Or, you can buy a bunch of bananas for the singular purpose of making nice cream. If this is the case, you must wait for them to ripen (you can use the brown paper bag trick to speed up the process), then break into pieces and freeze.

Recipe

Prep: 1 min | Cook: 3 min | Total: 4 min

Serves: 2

Ingredients

2 medium-large ripe bananas, broken into 2″ pieces, frozen
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened
3 T peanut butter powder

 

Method

Combine bananas, vanilla extract, and half of almond milk in blender or food processor. Pulse to start to combine, about 1 minute. Add peanut butter powder. Pulse again, slowly adding more almond milk as needed to reach desired consistency (somewhere between ice cream and soft-serve). Enjoy immediately or return to freezer until ready to enjoy.

Vegan No-Sugar-Added Chocolate Pudding with Pistachios and Orange Zest

The Inspiration

First of all, I made this recipe with my septuagenarian parents in mind, as a naturally sweet and totally healthy dessert for the Thanksgiving table. However, my master taste-tester (aka my husband) also approves – he especially enjoyed eating a spoonful with a little bit of pudding, pistachio, and orange zest all together.

It Is So Easy

The prep is a snap, and most of this dish can be made well ahead of time. In fact, it’s advisable, since it is ideal to have the pudding chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This makes it pleasantly cool to the palate, and it also diminishes any latent banana aromas (which may seem strong right after blending ingredients).

This ABC pudding is kicked up a notch with chili powder + pistachios + orange zest #brainfood #healthy #noaddedsugars Click To Tweet

Pro Tips

The aromatic oils that arise from citrus zest are fragile, so it’s best to zest your orange just before serving. Bonus points if you zest directly into your dessert bowls at the table – since this helps get the most out of that magical spray that results from zesting, and is fun for your guests, too. If that’s not practical, it’s still nice to zest nearby your final product before serving.

Why it’s MDM-Approved

This recipe is MIND Diet Meals approved because it is bursting with healthy fats, antioxidants, and more fiber than you might expect (32% of the Daily Value in one serving of this smooth, creamy dessert!). There’s no need for any added sugars in this recipe because it gets its sweetness naturally from ripe bananas. There is no saturated-fat laden cream in this recipe either. It gets its creaminess from ripe avocados. While this dessert tastes great and looks beautiful, most of all it’s heart-healthy and brain-healthy, too. Healthy and delicious? That’s an MDM win.

Vegan ABC Chocolate Pudding with Pistachios and Orange Zest
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 8 servings
  • Serving size: About ½ cup
  • Calories: 165
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Unsaturated fat: 8g
  • Trans fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Sugar: 7 g (zero added sugars)
  • Sodium: 42mg
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: California
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 3 ripe medium bananas, peeled
  • 2 ripe medium California avocados, peeled and deseeded
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ½ cup pistachios
  • Zest from 1 medium orange
Instructions
  1. Prepare pudding: Blend all ingredients together until smooth, except pistachios and orange zest. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or until completely chilled.
  2. Prepare pistachios: Preheat oven to 350 F. Toast pistachios on baking sheet for 3 minutes. Toss, and bake for additional 3 minutes. Let cool and coarsely chop. Store in airtight container until ready to serve.
  3. Serve: Divide pudding into 8 dessert bowls, top with pistachios. Zest an entire medium orange (or two, if you love orange zest), and divide zest among bowls. Enjoy.
Notes
MIND diet foods: Nuts

 

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: 
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.

 

Super Simple Baked Beet Chips with Lemon Zest

beet chips in a single layerWho doesn’t love beets? They can’t be beat. Here is a super simple way to enjoy them as a crispy, savory snack founded on good quality basic ingredients like beets, olive oil, and lemon zest.

Beets are nutrient-packed, providing a good source of fiber, potassium, iron, and folate. To reap the benefits, try my simple recipe here, and then go check out these five additional ways to enjoy beets, plus tips for buying, storing and preparing them.

MIND Foods: Vegetables, olive oil

Yield: 6 servings

Time: 10 minutes to prep; 30 minutes to cook

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

3 large beets, washed, scrubbed and peeled, cut into 1/32” slices

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large lemon, zested

Kosher salt, optional

1 chive, thinly sliced, optional

3-ingredient Beet Chips = simple snack, super nutritious root veggie! #Recipe Click To Tweet

beet chips with lemon zest

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. To slice the beets, you may use a food processor, mandolin, or sharp chef’s knife. Place sliced beets in a large bowl and toss with olive oil. Spread sliced beets on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until crisp enough that edges have begun to curl and a little color has developed. Remove from oven, sprinkle sparingly with salt and garnish with lemon zest and/or chives. Allow chips to cool slightly before serving.

 

Notes

  • Using medium to large beets is recommended because the chips will shrink during baking
  • Trying thicker slices, e.g. 1/16” is also fine, though may require longer cooking time
  • Keep regular watch on chips after the first 10 minutes to avoid burning
  • Zesting a lemon and letting the zest rest encourages curling, which may be desirable for presentation 

 

Nutrition: 65 calories, 5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

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: 
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.