This month begins a collection of healthy and tasty recipes I’ve either tried or created.  When I made big changes to my diet last year, I didn’t want to lose the creativity I enjoy when I cook. To my delight, I’ve found a lot of resources, and some great recipes.  If you have recipe or recipe blogs you’d like to share, please post via the Comments section at the bottom of this posting.

Rice Pilaf With Pistachios, Almonds and Spices

If you like rice and are intrigued by the Middle East, try this recipe from the New York Times.  For rice, I recommend using brown basmati. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan if you use water or vegetable broth.

11 Avocado-Based Smoothies

This great article by the Huffington Post reminds you to not be “Weirded Out.” Avocados provide healthy monosaturated fats, and add a tasteless, creamy texture to smoothies and help to satiate you. Now that the weather is warming up, try a smoothie for your breakfast, lunch or snack! You will be pleasantly surprised.

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

This “peanutty,” delicious Thai-inspired soup was created by Brianne, the creator and blogger of Cupcakes and Kale Chips. The things former chemical engineers can come up with!

Since we are heading into summer and winter squash is not readily available, consider using sweet potatoes in lieu of butternut squash. This recipe all works well with pumpkin and other hard winter squash (think hubbard, delicata, etc.).

Coconut Black Rice Breakfast Pudding

My former pilates teacher told me about My New Roots, a fabulous whole foods blog by Sarah Britton. Her recipes are unique, creative, and great for you. Being gluten-free, I was grateful to find a breakfast recipe that gets me off my daily oatmeal or smoothie regimen. Thank God for variety!

Pad Thai

Our family has discovered the wonderful flavors of Thai food in our quest to find healthy, gluten-free recipes. There are many Pad Thai recipes on the web, and this authentic version was created by Thai Table. Be careful with Americanized recipes – many are loaded in sugar. This authentic recipe skips the sugar, and is yummy.

Baked Tofu

If you want to vary the flavors of your tofu, try baked tofu! Tofu soaks up flavors from any ingredient, and is a great, healthy protein source. We use baked tofu in our Asian dishes. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sell great ready-made alternatives, but beware – they are high in sugar, and often contain regular soy sauce, which contains wheat gluten.

The internet has a variety of baked tofu recipes. Check these other recipes at Food.com.

Homemade Salad Dressing

It’s salad season! Dr. Mark Hyman recently posted a great photo on homemade salad dressing, Salad Dressing 101. Mix it up!

  • Start with 1/2 cup oil (olive, grapeseed, avocado, walnut, sesame, peanut)
  • Whisk in 1/4 cup of your favorite vinegar or acidic juice (balsamic, lemon juice, champagne, organ juice, rice vinegar)
  • Add your favorite flavors. For Italian, simply add crushed garlic, black pepper, unrefined sea salt and oregano. Other add-ins: 1 tsp – 1 TBSP dijon, avocado, honey, jam, ginger, tahini, herbs, soy sauce/tamari, poppyseeds, peanut butter, shallots. The list is endless!

Quinoa Pilaf (serves 4-6)

I played with this recipe to create something “different” when asparagus season started last spring.
2 Cups Quinoa, rinsed
4 cups water
Unrefined sea salt – 1/2 tsp
1 lemon, zested a juiced
1 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 oz. dried mushrooms
1 cup water
6 Jerusalem Artichokes/Sunchokes, peeled and chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 stalk fresh garlic scapes, minced)
1 Vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 pound asparagus, chopped
Pinch of Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper

  • Add dried mushrooms to 1 cup of boiling hot water. Let steep for 1 hour. Drain juice and save for another recipe.
  • Chop up reconstituted mushrooms.
  • Add quinoa to 4 cups of salted boiling water. Bring to a boil, and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Drain. Add lemon zest and set aside.
  • Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add enough olive oil to coat the pan.
  • Fry garlic until golden.
  • Saute each vegetable separately until browned, and set aside in a casserole dish as they are cooked.
  • Mix all vegetables together once they are all cooked, and add quinoa, herbs and lemon juice.
  • Serve warm.

As summer progresses, substitute cherry tomatoes, sauteed eggplant, zucchini, even summer squash. Buon appetito!