Sweet Potato Spice Smoothie

Happy October! This month is characterized by crisp air, cooling temps, changing colors and happy hearts. It also marks the beginning of peak apple picking season and, lest we forget, pumpkin spice everything!

Always a bit of a rebel, I’m skipping the pumpkin patch and going tuber on all of you who are craving fall flavors and sweet treats but hoping to stay as healthy as possible before the holidays set in. Sweet potatoes, my favorite tuber, are a root vegetable which swells underground to store more nutrients to survive the cold, dry winter months and to provide energy for regrowth. Sweet potatoes literally swell with nutrients like beta-carotene which the body converts into vitamin A (retinol) and give these tubers their orange hue. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and eyes and to reinforce our immune system. Sweet potatoes are also loaded with vitamin C–a boost we all need this flu season–and several B vitamins.

Go on now, put down the pumpkin spice latte and try this fun Sweet Potato Spice Smoothie, bursting with fall flavors and the fuel you need to fortify your body before hibernation season hits.

Sweet Potato Spice Smoothie_MOARfit by Amy Rizzotto

Sweet Potato Spice Smoothie

{serves 2}

What You’ll Need:

  • ¾ cup sweet potato purée (canned)
  • ¼ cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 8 oz unsweetened almond milk (or use hemp, coconut or rice milk)
  • 4 oz apple cider
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup (optional)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp (or “a dash”) ground cloves
  • 1” fresh ginger, peeled
  • ½ tspn vanilla extract
  • ½ cup ice
  • 2 Tbs chia seeds

How to Make It:

  • Blend all ingredients except the chia seeds in a high speed blender until smooth.
  • Add more ice to thicken, or almond milk to thin out as desired.
  • Split into two portions and stir one tablespoon of chia seeds into each glass.

If you love this, try using the more conventional smoothie ingredient, pumpkin purée, or the less conventional but still delicious ingredient, butternut squash purée, instead. It’ll change the taste a touch but still be packed with immunity-boosting vitamins A and C. Bon apetit!


{Originally published on the Relay Foods blog, October 19, 2014.}

3 Simple, Healthy Recipes for an Easy Weeknight Dinner

My favorite meals involve simple foods whose delicious flavors speak for themselves. When you select fresh, seasonal produce you don’t need to get fancy with your seasoning and technique in order to make an amazing meal. These three recipes are easy to make and tasty to eat. Each features at least one superfood, including rosemary, Brussels sprouts and salmon.

Rosemary is a flavorful herb often used when cooking chicken and pork. It’s truly a superspice as it has been linked to stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation and improving digestion. These health benefits come from rosemary’s high nutrient density (vitamins A and C, several B vitamins and dietary fiber). Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds and has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, which may enhance concentration. 

Brussels sprouts are all the rage (and have been for the past few years) on the foodie scene. Beyond their culinary fame lies an incredible nutrition resume. Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable, a categorization that puts them in the good company of broccoli and cabbage. This superfood is a prime source of fat-soluble vitamins A, K and E, most of the B complex of vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, calcium, manganese and selenium.

Salmon is a yummy, fatty fish loaded with potassium, selenium and vitamin B12. More notably, however, it’s an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial for healthy brain function. One 3.5 oz serving contains about 230 calories and 25g of protein. The USDA recommends that all men and women over the age of 19 should get at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (or 0.37 grams per pound). This number goes up for more active individuals but the formula provides a good baseline.


Onto the recipes…

Simply Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 cups small white or fingerling potatoes
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2-3 Tbs fresh rosemary
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

How to Make Them:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Wash potatoes and halve lengthwise. Skin onion and cut into big chunks (eighths or even quarters).
  3. In large bowl, combine olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary (de-stemmed and roughly chopped) with potatoes and red onion. Toss until evenly coated.
  4. Spread into a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet. Roast for 35-40 min or until a fork goes in and out easily, but they aren’t mushy.

Simply Roasted Sriracha-Maple Brussels Sprouts

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 cups Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 whole scallions
  • 2 Tbs Sriracha
  • 1 Tbs real maple syrup
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

How to Make Them:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Trim and halve Brussels sprouts. Skin onion and cut into big chunks (eighths or even quarters)–hopefully you already did this when you prepped the potatoes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine scallions (thinly sliced), Sriracha, maple syrup, olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix. Add Brussels sprouts and onions and toss until evenly coated.
  4. Spread into a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet. Roast for 35-40 min or until the Brussels sprout leaves turn a dark golden brown (almost burnt but not quite) and are easily pierced with a fork.


Simply Baked Apple Pecan Butter Salmon

What You’ll Need:

  • 12-oz thickly cut, fresh wild-caught salmon
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs apple pecan butter (plain apple butter or a homemade jam would work as well)
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Place the salmon in an oven-safe pan, skin side down.
  3. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, spread a thin layer of apple pecan butter on top and squeeze the juice of half a lemon on top.
  4. Bake for 15-20 min (time will vary depending on thickness), then remove from heat and let sit for 5 min before serving.


Best Kale Salad w/ Honey-Chipotle Dressing

Though I’ve made a number of kale salads in my time, I have to say this is my best kale salad yet. Let’s get real here–I eat kale raw. I’m talking fresh out of the garden. I realize, however, not everyone is as crazy for kale as me.

The best way to make kale a crowd pleaser is to dress it up. The Honey-Chipotle Dressing I created for this kale salad is sweet, smoky goodness. It was a great complement to the grilled skirt steak I made to go alongside it, and even better the next day as my lunch at work (I added a piece of grilled salmon–mmm mmm). And as you’ve learned from my Kale Caesar Salad, Honey-Ginger Kale with Carrots, and Sweet Sesame Raw Kale Salad posts, this supergreen is an excellent source of vitamins A and K, calcium, and disease-fighting antioxidants.

If you’ve never had a raw kale salad, now is the time to give it a try. It’s easy, delicious and oh-so good for you.

Kale Salad with Honey-Chipotle Dressing

Best Kale Salad

What You’ll Need:

(for the dressing)

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 Chili in Adobo sauce
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

(for the salad)

  • 2 bunches (or about 6-8 cups chopped) kale
  • 3/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds


  1. Mix all salad dressing ingredients together in your blender.
  2. Chop, wash and dry your kale–removing any of the really thick, woody stems. Add it to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Pour dressing over kale and massage into the leaves for a minute, or until well coated.
  4. Cover and let it refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours before you plan to eat (like I said, it was great the next day!)
  5. When you’re ready to serve, remove it from the refrigerator and add your cranberries and almonds (goat cheese would also go well if you’re so inclined).

Big thanks to my Big Guy for being the sous-chef on this recipe!

Pumpkin Spice Granola

I really thought my pumpkin obsession had subsided after eating one too many pumpkin-shaped Reese’s peanut butter cups on Halloween. I was truly convinced I’d moved on following my back-to-back pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin smoothie recipes. I was cured of my fixation–was until I caved and had an almond milk PSL (that’s a pumpkin spice latte for those of you haven’t been to a coffee shop in the last 6 weeks) this weekend. The flame was reignited and the inspiration instantly came to me–I would create my very own PSG (that’s Pumpkin Spice Granola), which it turns out was even better than that PSL.

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You’ve heard me rave about the nutritional powerhouse that is pumpkin, so I won’t inundate you with all those fun facts again. Okay well maybe just one sentence to reenforce this gorgeous gourd’s health profile. Pumpkin is packed with fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and a few grams of plant protein, and at only 50 calories per serving is a perfect balance to all that Halloween candy you’ve been eating (guilty as charged).

Without further ado, it’s PSG time!


Pumpkin Spice Granola

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (liquid or melted)
  • 3/4 cup (or half a 15 ounce can) pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean scraped
  • 1 Tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 inch ground fresh ginger
  • Optional: 1 cup dried blueberries, chopped dates or tart cherries

How to Make It:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats and raw pumpkin seeds.
  3. In a blender, blend together the coconut oil, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves until smooth.
  4. Pour blender mixture over your dry ingredients and stir until evenly coated
  5. Spread the mixture on a lipped baking sheet, pressing it down to evenly cover all the way to the edges.
  6. Bake for 1 hour, gently turning the granola with a spatula every 15 minutes. Flip in sections so that you’re sure to keep some tasty clumps. Also make sure you move some of the granola from the edges to the middle and from the middle to the edges about halfway through cooking so that it cooks evenly.
  7. After an hour, turn the oven down to 300°F and cook another 15 -25 minutes. You’ll know it is done when it is dry to the touch and piece left to cool on the counter turns crispy. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
  8. If you’re adding dried blueberries or cherries, stir them in while the mix is still cooling.
  9. Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Kale Caesar Salad for your Meatless Monday (V) (GF)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Kale is where it’s at. All my fellow health-seekers out there already know the deal, but if you haven’t heard the good word on this super-veggie, listen up. Like its cruciferous cousins in the brassicacaea (say that three times fast) family—bok choy, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage—kale contains high concentrations of Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, important for safeguarding those peepers, and Vitamin K, essential for bone health and blood clotting. It is also a rockstar when it comes to phytochemicals and essential minerals like magnesium and calcium, which are especially crucial for us gals as we age and start to lose bone density. All of these healthy bits and pieces combined make Kale a key food in diets geared towards cancer prevention.

Clearly, this isn’t my first kale rodeo—exhibit A: Honey Ginger Carrots and Kale, and more recently, exhibit B: Lentil, Barley and Kale Soup—but my latest attempt to keep kale interesting and appealing is a winner for worker-bees in search of a healthy packed lunch. Top it off with some roasted chicken or your favorite type of beans and you’ve got a satisfying meal that will keep you full and energized all the live long day!


Kale Caesar Salad

What You’ll Need:

  • 6 cups chopped organic kale (bulky stems removed)
  • Roasted Garlic “Caesar” Dressing:
    • 1 1/2 tsp anchovy paste
    • 1 tbs capers
    • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
    • 3 tbs olive oil
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 1/2 cups spinach
    • 1 small head roasted garlic (plus 1 tsp olive oil for roasting)
    • salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It:

  1. Garlic first. Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel off the outer layers of a whole garlic bulb but leave the skins of the individual cloves intact. Cut off the top quarter of the garlic heads, exposing as many cloves as possible. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil over the exposed cloves and massage to coat. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed.
  2. While the garlic is roasting, clean kale leaves thoroughly and pat dry. Remove woody stems and rough chop into bite size pieces.
  3. In a small food processor, blend together anchovy paste, capers, Dijon mustard, olive oil, lemon, spinach and roasted garlic (note: use a small fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins). Taste for saltiness and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.
  4. In a large bowl, pour dressing over kale and massage for a minute until all leaves are coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to overnight.
  5. Serve with a wedge of lemon and an extra dose of freshly ground pepper.

Pumpkin Spice Bread for your Meatless Monday (DF)

If you missed my last Meatless Monday post for Vegan Pumpkin Soup, then you also likely missed me gushing over this fall gourd’s health benefits. Pumpkins get their orange hue from beta carotene which your body converts into vitamin A–essential for good eye sight and a healthy heart–as well as disease fighting vitamin K and powerful antioxidants. Like last week, the recipe I’ve created for you today uses canned organic pumpkin. According to  Greatist, one cup of  the canned stuff has 7g of fiber and 3g of protein—that’s more than two times the fiber and 50% more protein than pulling it fresh from the pumpkin patch. Mixing in a hearty portion of raw pumpkin seeds will add a powerful dose of essential minerals including zinc, potassium and magnesium—great for muscle recovery and healthy bones, hair and skin!


I don’t have to tell you how tasty Pumpkin Bread is, but mine amps up the health factor without compromising on texture and flavor. I made some simple swaps, including coconut oil and apple sauce instead of butter, to make it dairy-free and more figure-friendly. The result is a moist, seasonal bread that can be treated like dessert or a special breakfast treat.


What You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup raw cane or coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup liquid coconut oil
  • 4 oz apple sauce
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cans (15-oz each) pureed organic pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

How to Make It:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the flours, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
  3. In your mixer’s bowl, beat together the sugar, molasses, coconut oil, apple sauce, eggs, and vanilla. Add the pureed pumpkin and mix until combined. Lastly, add the dry ingredients a little at a time, whipping until smooth.
  4. Fold in the toasted pumpkin seeds by hand then transfer the contents into a non- stick 8.5″ x 4.5″ loaf pan and 4 small ramekins or 12 cup cupcake pan, filling two-thirds of the way in whichever pan(s) you choose. If your pan is not non- stick coat it with butter and flour.
  5. Bake for 1 h 20 min, at which point a toothpick stuck into the middle of the loaf should come out clean. Let cool for at least 20 min before slicing. If you went with muffin tins, up the temperature to 325 F and bake for only 35 min (the same clean toothpick test applies).

Vegan Pumpkin Soup for your Meatless Monday (GF)

‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin bread (recipe to come), pumpkin smoothies (recipe to come) and, my personal favorite, pumpkin soup!  As iconic a fall staple as apple-picking and Halloween, pumpkins and pumpkin products are abundant this time of year. The orange gourds are packed with beta carotene which your body converts into vitamin A–essential for good eye sight and a healthy heart–as well as disease fighting vitamin K and powerful antioxidants. Pumpkin can definitely be deemed a superfood.

The recipe I’ve created for you today uses canned organic pumpkin. Chances are some of you out there may experience a certain skepticism for anything that comes out of a can. Before you throw the fresh-food-is-better book at this one consider this: according to  Greatist, one cup of  the canned stuff has 7g of fiber and 3g of protein—that’s more than two times the fiber and 50% more protein than pulling it fresh from the pumpkin patch. Topping this semi-sweet soup with a sprinkle of raw pumpkin seeds will add a powerful dose of essential minerals including zinc, potassium and magnesium.

I’ll have more pumpkin-perfect recipes later this month, so stock up on your canned pumpkin and spices now!


What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 – 15oz cans organic pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked chipotle chile flakes
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 tbs tahini
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

How to Make It:

  1. In a large pot or casserole dish, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic (both coarsely chopped) and sauté until translucent (about 5-7 min). Add spices and cook another minute.
  2. Add 3 cups of vegetable stock and bring mixture up to a simmer.
  3. Add two cans of pumpkin purée and maple syrup, stirring to combine.
  4. Remove mixture from heat and pour it into a blender. Blend until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add blended soup back to your pot and mix in one cup of coconut milk. Taste for seasoning and adjust according to taste. (Note: if you want to thin this out, add another cup of vegetable stock at this point).
  6. Bring mix back to a simmer and serve immediately, or remove it from the heat, let cool, and store in your fridge for up to a week (or 1-2 months in your freezer).
  7. Serve with a spoonful of the optional coconut milk/tahini blend (whisk together the tahini and coconut milk until smooth) and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds for a little more flavor and texture.

Post-Workout Recovery Fuel: The Golden Rule

Diet crazes may come and go, but one macronutrient has always remained largely unscathed by the mainstream fitness and nutrition media.

Protein is an essential part of our daily diet, forming the structural basis of our muscles, skin, nails and hair, amongst other functions. True, this macronutrient is mighty important, but the hype it gets and the marketing power that is thrown behind protein powders and other supplements could make you think the entire American population is suffering from protein deficiency.

That is just not the case. In fact, most of us get more than enough protein through our regular daily food intake—including vegetarians and savvy vegans.

For most people, the RDA for protein intake is 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (2.2kg/1lb). If you’re an athlete or someone performing high-intensity physical activity (e.g. training for a marathon), you should bump that RDA up a few notches to 1.1-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (Williams 2006).  In other words, a 135 lb woman should consume between 68 to 86 grams of protein, while a 180 lb man should target 90 to 195 grams. When we get too much protein, excess is converted into carbohydrates or fat and can stress the liver and kidneys. Eventually excess protein substrate is doomed to be a waste, excreted through urination.

 Clif_Amy Rizzotto 1

The ideal food intake breakdown for athletes is to get 25-35% of your calories from fat, 15-20% from protein, and 55-60% from carbohydrates. For the sake of comparison, the once very popular ZONE Diet encourages a 30:40:30 ratio, or double the amount of protein according to RDA standards and not nearly enough carbohydrates to fuel your muscles’ glycogen stores for exercise. While these ratios are helpful for me as a nutrition coach, most people just want to be told how much protein they need after a workout.

This question always prompts my Golden Rule for Post-Workout Recovery Fuel: consume 10 grams of protein within one hour of intense physical activity for improved muscle repair.

Ideally, your post-workout snack or meal would fit into that 25-35%:15-20%:%55-60% ratio of fats:proteins:carbs. Most Clif bars fit the bill when you’re on the go with 45g carbs (5g of which are dietary fiber), 10g protein, 5g fat, and only 250 calories. And if you’re looking for something lighter—maybe saving room for that brunch in a couple hours—Clif Builder’s Snack Size are my go-to. The still have that 10g grams of protein your body needs, are a mere 130 calories, and provide a good source of iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium, as well as vitamins A, C, E and K and many of the B vitamins that are so essential to our metabolism.

I’m a big fan of Clif bars not only for their impressive nutritional profiles but also because of the company’s ethos. Clif is a 1% for the Planet member, they use 100% recycled materials for their packaging, and their bars never contain ingredients like artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, or trans fats.

Please keep in mind that these kind of bars should not be viewed as a regular meal replacement. Whole grains, fruits and veggies, beans and other sources of lean protein are essential to a well-balanced, healthy diet. That said, they are definitely a MOARyoga-approved, convenient way to fulfill the protein needs of your muscles in that one-hour post-workout window.

Williams, Melvin H. Nutrition for Health, Fitness and Sport: 8th Edition. McGraw-Hill. May 2006.

White Asparagus & Shiitake Mushroom Salad w/ Balsamic Reduction

In need of an idea for a quick summer salad that tastes delicious? I was too. Salad’s can get boring, especially for those of us that eat them on the regular. It’s important to change up the ingredients to keep your interest (and this healthy habit) alive and well.

On my first trip ever to the AdMo Harris Teeter, I was inspired at the sight of white asparagus. The pale sister of glowing green asparagus, white asparagus is rare to find fresh in the US. Luckily, I caught the tail-end of prime asparagus season and seized the opportunity to snag this porcelain beauty.

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This spring treat boasts a pretty impressive nutritional profile. Not only does Asparagus provide a natural liver detox, it is fortified with folate and vitamins E, A, and C to help protect you against heart disease. Folate, or B9, has also been linked to cellular regeneration (aka healing power). Vitamin E is shown to help fight Type II diabetes, and vitamins A and C will steel you against certain types of cancer and cataracts. Asparagus also contains potassium (as does its green cousin the avocado), which helps lower blood pressure and may reduce LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad kind).

Having selected my star ingredient, I decided to pick up some yummy shiitake mushrooms and arugula to round out the salad. For dressing, I decided to go sweet and simple with a balsamic reduction. The mild white asparagus paired nicely with the earthiness of the mushrooms, bitter bite of arugula, and sweet finish of balsamic.

Give this easy recipe a whirl for yourself, and if you aren’t lactose-intolerant or vegan, a hit of pecorino romano shavings would be delicioso!

Warm White Asparagus & Shiitake Mushroom Salad:

(Serves 4)

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 bunch white asparagus (substitute green if unavailable)
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 5 oz arugula (or 1 bag/box)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup good balsamic vinegar (for the reduction)

How to Make the Salad:

  1. Thoroughly wash your mushrooms, asparagus and arugula (unless pre-washed).
  2. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat. Add your asparagus, spreading it into a single layer, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 min or until al dente (you can get a fork in but the spear doesn’t slip right off). Remove from heat and slice into 2 inch pieces.
  3. Simultaneously with step 2,  heat another large saucepan with  2 tbs olive oil over medium heat. Add your mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until mushrooms begin to brown, or about 5 min. Remove from heat but leave the pan on your stove. Add your arugula to the same pan and give it a quick warm up for 1-2 min.
  4. Plate immediately, starting with the warm arugula as your base and equally dividing the asparagus and shiitake between four plates.
  5. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction (recipe below) and enjoy!

How to Make the Balsamic Reduction:

  1. Pour your balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn down the heat so that the boil reduces to a simmer.
  3. Stir occasionally and allow to simmer until the vinegar has reduced by at least half – though I liked to let it go longer for a thicker consistency.
  4. Allow to cool then drizzle over your plated salads to finish.

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

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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.