Top 5 Foods for Heart Health

We all know that February is American Heart Month—I mean, it’s bisected by Valentine’s Day for Pete’s sake! Though there may be a plethora of heart-shaped candies and adorned cards still floating around out there, I’ve decided to join the efforts of the American Recall Center to bring you some heart-healthy nutrition advice before our collective attention shifts toward other things.

First, some scare tactics. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death and a major cause of disability here in the USA? According to the CDC, more than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease annually. Fortunately, most contributing factors to heart disease are not genetic which means we get a say in whether or not we or someone we love falls victim to this awful disease.

Diet plays a huge role in heart health. Make this month the jumping off point for better eating habits to benefit your ticker. You can start by weaving more of my Top 5 Foods for Heart Health into your diet.


Top 5 Foods for Heart Health


No. 1 – Cinnamon

Cinnamon is more than a sweet staple in my culinary arsenal, it’s a super-spice with superpowers! Just one daily teaspoon of antioxidant-rich cinnamon helps reduce artery-clogging fats in the bloodstream, helping prevent plaque build-up. According to recent research, it may also work to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels by as much as 26%. I like to sprinkle this on unsweetened yogurt, homemade toast with almond butter, a sliced apple, and into my morning oatmeal or smoothies.

No. 2 – Nuts

Nuts—like unsalted almonds, cashews, and pistachios—are very high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and fiber. Monounsaturated fats may help reduce levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Walnuts are an excellent plant-based source of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid which helps fight cardiovascular disease. Nuts are an easy-to-pack, non-messy snack. I always have small plastic baggy of almonds in my bag to ward off hunger pangs between meals!

No. 3 – Avocados

Another source of monounsaturated fats are avocados. Who doesn’t love this delicious fruit? Yes, it’s a fruit. Like nuts, avocados can lower levels of LDL cholesterol, and what’s more, may increase levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Add some nutrient density to your smoothies with ¼ avocado per serving, or make some homemade guacamole and layer a thin smear of that goodness on a piece of whole grain toast. Top with a pinch of red pepper flakes for some kick!

No. 4 – Whole Grains

Speaking of whole grains, the soluble fiber found in whole grains like faro, brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal actually binds to the cholesterol in your meal and drags it kicking and screaming out of your body. Take that LDL! An easy way to start your day off right, especially in these colder winter months, is a hearty breakfast of rolled oats with fresh fruit, chopped nuts, almond milk, and cinnamon—that’s three Top 5 Foods for Heart Health in one tasty bowl!

No. 5 – Tomatoes

No list for heart-healthy foods would be complete without tomatoes. Tomatoes are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins A and C, and folic acid. They renowned for another anti-oxidative substance called lycopene. Lycopene is phytochemical and pigment that gives tomatoes their vibrant color. Lycopene has been linked to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, reduced risk of stroke, decreased inflammation in the body, and decreased LDL cholesterol. In an average diet, tomatoes account for over two-thirds of lycopene consumption but you can also get it from other fruits and vegetables like watermelon. Though out of season unless you live in warmer climates, try my Peach Gazpacho and Fruit Salad with Ginger Lime Dressing for more lycopene in your life.


Check out for more information on how you can help yourself and those around you have a healthier heart starting today.

Chickpea, Quinoa & Kale Taco Salad + Radicchio Wraps = Super-Bowl

Step up your lunch game with this vegan, gluten-free, Meatless Monday superfood taco salad recipe. Try saying that ten times fast.

If you’re underwhelmed or unsatisfied by your attempts at green salads, don’t throw in the towel on healthier habits. Salads don’t have to be all rabbit food. In fact, adding healthy whole grains, nuts or seeds and legumes to the mix will increase satiety (that feeling of, one, I’ve had enough and, two, it was downright tasty) and decrease the desire to graze after the meal. The fiber, healthy fats and proteins these ingredients bring to the table help improve digestion, stabilize blood sugar and nourish your muscles and mind.

Healthy Taco Salad Wraps

All of the nutrient-dense ingredients (kale, quinoa, chickpeas, etc) in this upgraded taco salad fit into those three categories of superfood add-ons. If you take it a step further and replace your tortilla strips or flour wrap with radicchio leaves, you’re kicking it up to a whole new level of good-for-you. The magenta hue of radicchio comes from a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory pigment called anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are members of the same family of phytochemicals found in teas, honey, wines, fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil and cocoa–all of which have received a lot of well-deserved positive buzz from the health and nutrition field. The cherry on top–as well as the moderation factor–are a few coins of baked plantains. It’s amazing how a little something special can take a salad from boring to a monumental taste-bomb of deliciousness.

Healthy Taco Salad Bowl

Raddichio-wrapped Quinoa Kale Taco Salad w/ Spicy Avocado Dressing

Makes 6 servings

What You’ll Need

For the Quinoa Kale Taco Salad:

  • 1 small head of radicchio
  • 1 cup dry red quinoa
  • 6 cups chopped kale (stems removed)
  • 2 cups chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup corn (canned or frozen works)
  • 1/4 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

For the Spicy Avocado Dressing:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

For the Plantains:

  • 1 plantain
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

How to Make It:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Slice plantains into coins 1/8″ thick and toss in olive oil and sea salt. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet and lay out a single layer of plantain coins. Bake for 20 min.Turn oven to broil and cook another 5 min, or until light golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
  3. While the plantains bake, cook quinoa according to package directions. When it’s done, set it aside to cool.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the kale leaves in boiling water for 1 min, then remove from heat, drain and let cool.
  5. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender, mixing until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  6. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, kale, chickpeas, corn, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, onion and fresh cilantro. Pour dressing on top, to taste, and toss until everything is well coated.
  7. Peel a few leaves of radicchio to line your bowl or layer your plate with. Scoop about 1 1/2 cups of the salad into your bowl or onto your plate. Garnish with a few plantains and enjoy!

Pumpkin Power Cookies (V) (GF)

With December upon us pumpkin fever will soon be coming to an end. Well, I don’t know about you but I’m not ready for that yet. In an attempt to keep my pumpkin love affair going until the well runs dry, I’ve got yet another pumpkin-themed recipe for you.

This recipe for Pumpkin Power Cookies is vegan, gluten-free and low on the glycemic index thanks to the wonders of coconut palm sugar, the latest sugar alternative to hit grocery stores. Made from the crystallized sap of coconut palm trees, this natural sweetener contains potassium, iron and vitamins and may help stabilize blood pressure and regulate spikes in blood sugar. Best of all, it can be used 1:1 to replace the sugar a recipe calls for and even acts like sugar in baking (meaning it creams well with butter and all that jazz).

I’ve raved about the benefits of pumpkin (fiber + vitamins A/C) before but it’s been a while since I’ve used this soapbox for a good old-fashioned dark chocolate speech. Here goes…

I used very dark chocolate (100% cacao) in this recipe. It’s not sweet and it’s not for everyone. Whether you go the vegan chocolate route or choose to opt for something a little milder (say 70-85% cacao), quality dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. It is also choc-full (I couldn’t resist) of antioxidants. Studies show that this dark beauty may even help lower bad LDL cholesterol, protect you from sun damage and lower blood pressure.

These cookies will not only satisfy your sweet tooth but are also a great pre-workout snack with 14g of gluten-free carbs to fuel your fire, heart-healthy fats and a few grams of protein (which you don’t want much of pre-workout anyway). At only 110 calories a pop, try munching on two 2-3 hours before your next workout and feel the pumpkin power!

Pumpkin Power Cookies

Pumpkin Power Cookies

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¾ cup organic pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • ½ tbs ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-oz very dark chocolate (70-100%), coarsely chopped or chips
  • ¼ cup pecan pieces (optional)
  • ¼ cup cup dried tart cherries (optional)
  • ¼ cup  unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

How to Make Them:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine rice flour, oats, baking soda, sea salt and spice.
  3. In another mixing bowl (preferably that of a standing mixer), combine pumpkin, sugar, coconut oil, flaxseed and vanilla.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients (2) to wet (3) and mix on medium speed (or with a brisk whisk) until combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chunks and any of the optional ingredients until evenly distributed throughout.
  6. Drop rounded tablespoons onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Flatten each mound slightly with a spoon or fork, leaving about 1 inch between each cookie.
  7. Bake for 14-16 minutes.
  8. Move cookies to a wire rack and cool completely (otherwise the might fall apart).

Yields 20 cookies.

Nutrition Info: 

With all the fixings – 110 calories; 6g fat; 2g protein;  14g carbs

Without the optional ingredients – 88 calories; 4g fat; 1g protein; 12g carbs

Source: Self Nutrition Data

Lemon Ginger Apple Butter for your Meatless Monday (GF) (V)

As the saying goes, an apple a day keep’s the doctor away. The old adage is more than just a common cultural phrase, it’s a health claim backed by science. According to one of my favorite NYT columns, Well, consuming apples is linked to a decreased risk of stroke. Apples are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, which may be effective for those with high blood pressure. Like other colorful fruits, apples contain a number of antioxidants and  phytonutrients, including the flavonol quercetin, which has been associated with reducing inflammation in the body.
Bitten Apple
The best part about apples, in my opinion, is that unlike berries and (my personal favorite) pomegranate seeds, they are relatively inexpensive. And at this time of year, it’s easy to source them locally–or better yet, pick your own!
After a recent trip to Stribling Orchard in Markham, VA I was left with a bounty of apples in need of a purpose. Since my slow-cooker is my chosen culinary best friend this fall, I decided to give apple butter a whirl. The result is a deliciously lemon-ginger spiked treat, perfect atop your Sunday morning pancakes or cup of plain yogurt.

Lemon-Ginger Apple Butter 

What You’ll Need:

8-10 medium to large apples

zest of one lemon

juice of one lemon

1 inch grated fresh ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 cup Demarra cane sugar

How to Make It:
1. Wash and core apples, then rough chop them (leaving skin on).
2. Fill a 5 quart slow-cooker with your apples then toss together with lemon, zest, spices and sugar.
3. Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours.
4. Blend the cooked apples until smooth with a hand blender or in a food processor.
5. Let cool then serve immediately or give canning a try to preserve your pickings all winter long.

Cherry-Goji Overnight Oats

With all the buzz overnight oats have been getting these days, I felt obliged to give them a whirl. I also wanted to use this as an opportunity to test out how my gut would react to a little Greek yogurt. It’s been nearly two years since I’ve had any dairy but the health benefits of Greek yogurt in particular have left me constantly lusting for its low-cal, high-protein, calcium-and-B Vitamins-packed goodness. I’m happy to report that it did not upset my stomach in the least–must be all those gut-friendly probiotics in there, which not only help regulate digestion but also strengthen your immune system.


While Greek yogurt was the most exciting ingredient for me, the real spotlight ought to be shined on the oats. According to the FDA, all that soluble fiber found in oats lowers LDL cholesterol (aka the bad kind). The antioxidants found in the goji berries, dried cherries and oats themselves have anti-inflammatory properties, making them an excellent choice for athletic, active folks like you and me. Muscle soreness, see ya later! 

When you add nutritional rockstar chia seeds into the mix you’re getting a higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. Omega-3s have been linked to health benefits related to conditions including cancer, IBS, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. One tablespoon contains 18% of your RDA for calcium, tons of fiber and potassium and 4 g of protein. What can I say? Good things come in small packages.

Finally, I can’t let you get to the recipe without a quick reminder of how great maca powder is. If you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon yet, it’s time. Maca is rich in B-vitamins and minerals like calcium, zinc and iron, all of which are essential to proper muscle and energy metabolism function. Ladies suffering from PMS or menopause, this should be your go-to for holistic health. And let’s not leave out the men. Maca powder is said to increase testosterone, boosting your libido and endurance…The list of benefits goes on and on. For more ways to incorporate this Peruvian delight, check out my Top Five Greenies post for some go-to smoothies that’ll jumpstart your morning.

Cherry-Goji Overnight Oats

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 6 oz nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 8 oz unsweetened vanilla hemp milk
  • 2 tbs raw honey
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tsp maca powder
  • 3 tbs chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1/4 cup tart dried cherries (unsulphured)

How to Make Them:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Enjoy with your tea or coffee the next morning!

Makes 4 servings and will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Raspberry Rose Water Popsicles

Many moons ago, I was having afternoon tea in Paris with one of my dearest friends. This particular cafe was known for its incredible desserts so who was I to turn down a golden opportunity for indulgence? The treat I selected was an oversized raspberry macaroon filled with rose water cream and adorned with fresh ripe raspberries. It has lingered on my palette in some small way ever since, bubbling up into my memory from time to time and bringing a smile to my face and hankering to my stomach.


Years later I am finally honoring that moment of gastronomic bliss with a healthier nod to my all-time favorite. My Raspberry Rose Water Popsicles are packed with antioxidant-rich raspberries and are gluten and dairy-free. Summer is winding down so enjoy these chilled delicacies before fall settles in!

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tbs rosewater
  • 6 oz plain unsweetened coconut yogurt
  • 4 oz coconut milk
  • 1 heaping cup frozen rasberrries
  • 1 really ripe banana

How to Make Them:

Blend all ingredients together and pour into popsicle molds. Leave in your freezer overnight and enjoy!

Tomatillo Spicy Green Salsa

I don’t know what it is about summer, but all I want to cook these days is food with spicy, Latin American flavors. Perhaps I just want to embrace the sweltering heat and fire up my body’s natural cooling system–a.k.a. get my sweat on. As a result, I’ve become mildly obsessed with trying out different gazpacho and salsa recipes. And with farmers markets in full flourish the available ingredients are bountiful, fresh and packed with flavor.

Most recently I taste tangoed with a curious little fruit and member of the tomato family: the tomatillo (or “little tomato” in Spanish). To me, tomatillos look like miniature paper lanterns. They have this thin, veiny husk and it’s like unwrapping a present when you reveal the brilliant lime-colored gem underneath.


Beyond their aesthetic appeal, they are incredibly good for you. Packed with fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and K, and antioxidants, these low-calorie beauties will help keep your body fit as a fiddle from the inside out.

Without further ado, the recipe….

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 medium tomatillos
  • 1/4 sliced sweet onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1/2 poblano pepper
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro


How to Make It:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450F
  2. Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeño  and poblano on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Dust with salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat.
  3. Bake at 450F for 15 min or until skin on tomatillos and peppers start to caramelize and bubble.
  4. Let cool then seed your jalapeño and poblano (unless you want it suuuuper spicy). Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor with one cup of fresh cilantro. Process until smooth.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 30 min then serve.


This is delish on homemade fish tacos or drizzled over a piece of grilled flank steak. It can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to three months.

Vegan Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup

Soups are normally a fall and winter staple in my diet, but having recently purchased a Vitamix I couldn’t help but try out one of my favorite recipes in my new toy. This recipe incorporates nutrient-dense carrots and sweet potatoes. These orange superstars contain alpha carotene, which protects against cancer, and beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A and helps prevent age-related macular degeneration. Almost all orange whole fruits and veggies may also have an anti-inflammatory effect, which is great news for all my runners and high-intesity athletes out there whose fitness takes a toll on their joints. Best of all, this recipe is incredibly easy to make and economical.

Vegan Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup

photo (2)

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 lb carrots, chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Jamaican All-Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (double down if you like it spicy)
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 carton (or 32 oz) organic vegetable stock (low sodium)

How to Make It:

  1. Heat oil in a large (5-6 qt) saucepan over medium heat. Add onions sautéing 5-7 min or until tender and translucent.
  2. Add garlic, all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne and salt and pepper, cooking for another 2-3 min.
  3. Add sweet potatoes and carrot.
  4. Add vegetable stock, bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 15 min. The potatoes and carrots should be easy to pierce and pick up with a fork but not falling apart.
  5. Finally, use a standing or hand blender to purée the mixture in your saucepan until smooth.
  6. Adjust your seasoning for spice and saltiness. Serve hot and enjoy!

I poured this mixture into canning jars making it an easily transportable lunch for the office. Pair it with a side salad or some roasted veggies for a delicious, gluten- and dairy-free midday meal.

Soba Noodle Stir-Fry w/ Sirloin, Shiitake Mushrooms & Goji Berries

Goji berries are a Himalayan superfood used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to safeguard the liver, prevent macular degeneration, improve sexual function and fertility, boost the immune system, increase circulation, and promote a long and happy life. These lofty health claims are rooted in facts. These sweet/tart berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly the carotenoids beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin helps protect your eye’s retina by absorbing blue light and may decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over 65.

Also  known as wolf berries, goji berries are my new favorite ingredient to add to salads (a great addition to my Sweet Sesame Raw Kale Salad), smoothies, and stir-frys. Speaking of, I recently tried them in a Soba Noodle Stir-Fry featuring sirloin strips, shiitake mushrooms, green swiss chard and carrots. They provided a delicious tangy, sweet surprise to an otherwise straight foreword stir-fry.


What You’ll Need:

  • 6 oz buckwheat soba noodles
  • 1 tbs grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup green onions (thinly sliced)
  • 6 oz sirloin steak (cut into thin strips – against the grain)
  • 2 cups shiitake mushroom caps (sliced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 cups green swiss chard (washed)
  • 2 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbs peeled fresh ginger (grated)
  • 1 tbs Frank’s Red Hot sauce (or Sriracha)
  • 1 tbs sesame oil (separate from first)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps toasted sesame seeds


How to Make It:

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions (no need for salt or oil here). Drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. Combine rice vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, fresh ginger, and Frank’s Red Hot in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Set aside.
  3. Heat grapeseed oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and stir-fry 1 min. Add carrots and stir-fry another 2 min. Add mushrooms and garlic, stir-fry 1 minute. Add swiss chard and stir-fry 2-3 min until greens wilt.
  4. Move veggies to the periphery of the pan. Season your sirloin strips with a little salt and pepper then add them to the center of the skillet. Cook for 2 min (sliced thin, your sirloin will cook fast over high heat so be careful not to overdo it).
  5.  Add vinegar mixture to steak mixture, cooking and stirring constantly for 1 min. Stir in noodles, sesame oil, and salt; cook for 1-2 min until noodles are thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Food Allergy-Friendly Dinner Party

Times have changed and now it seems that almost everyone I know has a food allergy or sensitivity of sorts. Personally, I’m a card-carrying lactard. Despite my handicap, I’d still call myself a foodie – I just have to work harder on occasion! Due to my dietary shortcomings, all of the recipes on my blog are dairy-free, many are vegan, and from time-to-time they’re also gluten-free. The recipes below fall under all three categories and, as always, involve ingredients thoughtfully selected to boost your immune system and improve your overall health. Some of the nutritional rockstars in these recipes include:

Ginger: alleviates menstrual cramps; relieves an upset stomach; and has many other natural beauty and homeopathic applications

Coconut Milk: vitamins C, E and many of the metabolism-friendly Bs; magnesium, phosphorous, iron and potassium; may help combat heart disease and age-related diseases because of its high antioxidant content (for more info click here)

Garbanzo Bean Flour: see my post on Sweetly Salted Nut Butter Power Cookies

Turmeric: may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, melanoma  and many other kinds of cancer; is a natural liver detoxifier (aka a hangover must); and may even play a role in fat metabolism. Need more convincing? Here’s a list of 20 benefits of this superspice.


Starter: Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad w/ Pine Nuts

Entrée: Red Lentil Coconut Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach, served with Thyme-Infused Garbanzo Bean Flat Bread

Dessert: fresh seasonal fruit topped with shredded unsweetened coconut and dark chocolate bits

Wine Pairing: Vouvray or your favorite white wine

I wrote a blog on the first recipe earlier this week – click on the link above for details. As for the entrée, keep on reading.


Red Lentil Coconut Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach


What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups red lentils, well washed
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes w/ juice
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (to garnish)

How to Make It:

  1. In a large skillet, sauté onions in coconut oil until soft. Add garlic, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cayenne and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 1-2 min until aromatic. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil, breaking up any large chunks as you stir.
  2. Add carrots, lentils, coconut milk and broth to your slow cooker. Spoon skillet mixture into slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir in lemon juice and spinach leaves and continue cooking on high for last 20 min.
  3. Just after adding the spinach, in a medium skillet, sauté shallots in 1 tsp of coconut oil and a pinch of seas salt over medium heat for 3 min. Add shiitake mushrooms and cook for 2 min at medium heat then turn heat to low and cook another 8-10 min until tender and golden brown.
  4. Spoon soup into bowls and top with 1 tbs of thinly sliced green onions and 2 tbs of sautéed shiitake mushrooms.

Thyme-Infused Garbanzo Bean Flat Bread


What You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/3 cups garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbs dried thyme
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbs olive oil

How to Make It:

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and thyme. Slowly whisk in water. Let  mixture sit at room temperature for 30 min while oven pre-heats to 350 F.
  2. Place 9″ x 16″ cast iron griddle in oven while it heats. (You can also use a 10″ cast iron skillet here to make a more doughy version, akin to pizza crust).
  3. When batter is ready, whisk in 1 tbs of olive oil. Use the other 1 tbs to coat the griddle. Pour batter onto griddle and bake on center rack for 45 min to an hour (depending on the oven). The flatbread should be firm but chewy. Be careful not to burn. Carefully loosen flatbread from griddle with a spatula and let cool. Cut into strips and serve alongside your soup.

Finally, a great big thanks to my good friends and fellow yogis, Caroline and Jess, for being my test kitchen guinea pigs and great company!