Summer is almost here and so are our busy schedules! Try this Healthy Lemonade with Berries and Lavender to de-stress and relax the mind! With the warmer weather coming, this lavender lemonade will be your next favorite summer refreshment or cocktail! Read on to learn more about the […]
This all-time favorite dip is getting a makeover for grilling season! Try this new recipe for my Grilled Tofu and Shrimp Skewers with Hummus Marinade! I received free samples of Sabra Hummus mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe […]
This light, yet hearty roasted fennel and barley salad paired with a citrus dressing will keep you feeling satisfied this spring season!
The whole truth about whole grains
Whole grains are getting a bad reputation recently thanks to the hard-to-miss gluten-free food trend. But health experts can all agree, if you are not truly sensitive or allergic to gluten, or have a diagnosis for Celiac disease, why miss out on these chewy and nutritious grains?
Celiac disease is a serious and unfortunate autoimmune disease that affects about 1% of Americans. While gluten sensitivity is not something to take lightly, it is more difficult to truly diagnosis. Gluten sensitivity can cause very uncomfortable symptoms, such as fatigue, joint pain, and gastrointestinal symptoms. If you think you could be sensitive to gluten, I highly recommend seeking your physician or Registered Dietitian for professional advice, as there is a ton of misinformation from celebrities and the internet these days. If you are one of the three million Americans with Celiac disease or have a sensitivity, aim for delicious whole grains that are naturally gluten free, like quinoa, brown rice, and amaranth.
Whole grains, whether with or without gluten, are a carbohydrate-rich nutrition powerhouse! These beautiful plants are loaded with fiber, folate, minerals like selenium and phosphorous, and protein, making them a must-have for your daily meal routine. Barley, the grain used in this roasted fennel salad, is one of the best sources of fiber among other whole grains. Packing in almost 8g fiber and 6g protein per 1/4 cup serving, this grain will make your stomach satisfied! Feel free to visit the Whole Grains Council for an excellent nutrition breakdown and background on whole grain nutrition.
Roasted Fennel and Barley Salad
My experience with roasted fennel has mainly been mixed in pasta or as a side dish with other vegetables. Fennel, in my opinion, is the main star! This vegetable has flavors of anise and licorice which makes it an excellent food pairing. Flavors from citrus and chives in the dressing make a refreshing sidekick to this all-star fennel. To save time in this recipe, roast the fennel while the barley is cooking. Or, if you prefer, cook the barley ahead of time (say yes to meal prep!).
Just like oats and rice, barley comes in multiple forms. Pearl barley, the most common type, is smoother and softer due to the outer hull being removed. With the outer part removed, the cooking time is shorter. Compared to the smoother pearl barley, hulled barley (hence the name) is the other type you’ll see at stores. This type of barley, thanks to being in its true whole grain form has more fiber. For more about barley, check out these helpful cooking tips and recipes by The Kitchn!
- 2 Fennel bulbs, largely chopped, stems removed
- 1 cup barley, uncooked (makes 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked barley)
- 3 cups water or low sodium vegetable stock
- 1/3 cup goat cheese or feta, crumbled
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- Juice of one medium orange, zest of the orange is optional
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prepare the barley by combining the barley and liquid (water or stock) in a 3-qt saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook covered for 50-60 minutes or until tender. If you prefer, cook the barley ahead of time to reduce total cooking time for the recipe. Store chilled in a covered container if preparing more than two hours before.
- Once the barley has been cooking for at least 20 minutes, spread the fennel on a baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 30 minutes or until desired browning occurs.
- While the fennel is roasting, prepare the dressing by whisking together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Once the barley and fennel are both done, transfer both items to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until the barley and fennel are thoroughly coated with the dressing.
- Optional: Top with more chives and walnuts.
Put those nutritious vegetable scraps to good use this Earth Day! Try this Healthy Spring Vegetable Lasagna and learn more about ways to reduce food waste! I am very happy to introduce you to a new colleague of mine in the food blogging world! Jenna Gorham, a […]
For a healthy take on a traditional favorite this Passover, try this vegetarian matzo ball soup with inflammation-fighting turmeric and fresh dill!
It turns out that matzo ball soup, one of the most traditional and simple dishes at Passover, is not so simple! There are many factors involved in making the perfect matzo ball. First, the weight of the matzo ball. Are you a fan of the fluffy floater, or the dense sinker? Personally, I absolutely love matzo balls and will eat them either way! Another factor to consider is the type of broth, which will have a major effect on flavor. In my home, our broth of choice is vegetarian, and that means adding lots of spices and fresh herbs to give it more taste.
Perfecting the Matzo Ball
Growing up, my family was not particularly religious–my mother came from a Christian household and my father from a Jewish one. Our holidays revolved around family traditions like decorating the christmas tree, dying easter eggs, and yes, making matzo ball soup. Traditions at home always included a delicious holiday meal, as food was always a focus. My mother was an extremely intelligent and successful woman that was a pioneer in the medical field. She also made some very unique (and delicious) matzo balls. Instead of small matzo balls in a soup, my mother would make ostrich egg sized matzo balls with Mrs. Grass’ noodle soup mix.
This spring, I decided to finally make my own matzo ball soup with the same Jewish American Cookbook that my mother used during my childhood. Instead of using matzo ball mix like we did growing up, I decided to make mine from scratch. After some researching, I came across an amazing article online about the basics of matzo ball making by Serious Eats. There is a true technique to making a fluffier matzo ball if you are not a fan of the dense version. This blew my mind! The trick is using either seltzer water or baking soda (or a combination of both). Also, simmering the matzo balls in broth instead of water will add in more flavor. I used these different techniques in my recipe and I was really impressed!
Turn it up with Turmeric!
To spice up the traditional matzo ball recipe, I decided to add in turmeric for a hint of color and additional nutritional benefits. You may recognize turmeric in Indian dishes such as curry, yellow rice, and even tea. There’s a reason it is starting to pop up more and more in our favorite foods. This magical spice may delay the effects of aging and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. More specifically, preliminary studies have shown that it may reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes, and help fight inflammation. Even with ongoing research showing promising results, don’t go overboard with turmeric supplementation. Using the spice in cooking is a healthy way to sneak in the anti-inflammatory benefit. Just as I did with this soup broth, sprinkle it in your favorite stews, rice dishes, and even scrambled eggs. If you are feeling bold, try it in a smoothie!
Over the summer, several brands issued a recall of their ground turmeric, because of concerns over traces of lead. I highly recommend a high quality turmeric that is certified organic and free of contaminants. For more information, visit the FDA’s website for product recalls and food safety alerts.
In this recipe…
The trick to matzo balls is to have the right consistency. To set the mixture, place the blended matzo batter in the fridge for at least a half hour. To save time, I prepped the vegetables for the soup while the matzo batter was cooling in the refrigerator. Once ready, the matzo balls are best when cooked separately from the soup broth. This keeps the matzo balls from absorbing too much of the soup broth and preventing a cloudy, starchy broth. Some recipes call for boiling them in water, but I felt the broth gave a better flavor. This soup can easily be adapted based on your preferences, whether it is using chicken broth instead of vegetable stock, or making denser matzo balls without the baking soda. For those of you celebrating Passover, I wish you a very Happy Passover and a very delicious matzo ball soup!
- 1 cup matzo meal
- For the Matzo Balls:
- 3 whole large eggs plus 1 egg white
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 3-4 tablespoons oil oil or melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, optional
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, optional
- 10 cups water (or half of liquid using vegetable broth for more flavor, about 4-5 cups)
- Vegetarian soup stock:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or butter
- 10 cups water
- 2 celery stalks, trimmed and sliced
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
- To make the matzo balls:
- Stir all of the matzo ball ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set the mixture.
- Once matzo balls are ready, in a large pot bring 10 cups of water or vegetable broth to a boil.
- Using a cookie scooper or small spoon, scoop out mix and roll with wet hands to make a one-two inch ball. This prevents the mixture from sticking to your hands.
- Slowly place into the boiling water. Once all of the matzo balls are in the pot, reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes, covered. The matzo balls should be soft all the way through (use a fork to test).
- Once cooked, turn off the heat.
- For the Soup:
- While the matzo balls simmer, it is time to prepare the soup.
- Heat a 4 quart pot with the olive oil on medium high. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sautee for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Do not brown the vegetables. Add the garlic and turmeric and sautee for 30 seconds to one minute until fragrant.
- Pour in the water and add the salt and bay leaves. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until vegetables are soft and the broth is flavorful. Adjust the salt and spices to your liking.
- Once the broth is ready turn off the heat and remove the bay leaves.
- Slowly spoon in the matzo balls into the broth using a slotted spoon. Toss in the fresh dill and let the soup cool down for a few minutes before serving.
Don’t forget the sides this Easter! Try this nutrient-packed Asparagus Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing for your next holiday feast! Move over mixed greens! Aspargus, a spring vegetable favorite, is the new salad star! This shaved asparagus salad is light and filling, and paired with a […]
Try a delicious, gluten and dairy-free flatbread for your next sweet treat or savory meal! If you’re craving a pizza, crepe, or taco shell, Socca is simply satisfying! This delicious and versatile flatbread, originally from the regions of France and Italy, is naturally gluten, dairy, and nut-free. Made […]
Does your kitchen need spring cleaning? Try this simple and versatile recipe for Dukkah!
Move over fairy dust! Dukkah, a delicious Egyptian blend of nuts and spices is pure magic! This versatile topping combines a sweet, savory, and nutty taste all in one. Use it as a crust on on your favorite protein. Or, try it sprinkled on roasted vegetables, eggs, dips, or even popcorn! The options are endless!
Clean out your pantry!
Do you have any nuts or spices hiding in your back shelf just waiting to be eaten? Perfect! Even though Dukkah is most commonly made with hazelnuts and sesame seeds, other nut and seed varieties are also welcome. The most popular spices used are cumin and coriander seeds, which really come to life when toasted! For this recipe, I chose to use the original ingredient, hazelnuts for their amazing taste and nutritional benefits.
Filberts, another name for hazelnuts, are an excellent source of good-for-you unsaturated fats, calcium, and magnesium. Magnesium, in particular, is found mostly in leafy greens, whole grains, and of course, nuts, and many Americans are not getting enough of this magnificent mineral. The daily recommended intake for magnesium ranges from 320mg per day for women and 420mg for men. In just a one ounce serving of hazelnuts, you’ll get 46mg of magnesium!
Why fuss with getting enough? Long term research (such as NHANES, the Nutrition and Health Examination Survey) has supported the idea that magnesium can aid in muscle contraction, building strong bones, and lowering the risk for heart disease, but also has suggested that Americans are not getting enough magnesium.
Here are some other sources high in magnesium:
- leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collard greens
- dark chocolate
- other nuts such as cashews provides 82mg in a one ounce serving
- legumes (peas, chickpeas, lentils, and beans)
This beautiful and exotic spice blend is usually served with olive oil and flatbread, but there are many other ways to use dukkah. Try it as a coating on your favorite meat, fish, or vegetable. Or, in the mood for a savory snack? Top it on popcorn or your favorite dip! This heart healthy recipe is simple and takes only 10 minutes!
- 2/3 cup hazelnuts, unsalted
- 1/3 cup sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- Pinch of sea salt
- In a small or medium cast iron or non-stick skillet, using no oil, heat pan to medium high.
- Add the hazelnuts to the pan and toast them, about 3-5 minutes stirring frequently to prevent burning. Empty into a bowl and set aside.
- Next, toast the seeds and spices in the pan, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the remaining ingredients to the bowl of hazelnuts.
- Transfer the bowl of nuts and seeds to a mini food processor or high powered blender. Pulse until coarsely ground.
Kathryn Pfeffer-Scanlan MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and recent transplant to Boulder, CO. After working as an inpatient dietitian for almost five years in Boston, she is expanding her expertise in the health and wellness industry. Katie is passionate about cooking and food photography, sharing her culinary adventures on her food blog, One Hungry Bunny, and exploring her new Rocky Mountain surroundings. Follow Katie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Craving cabbage for St Patrick’s Day? Rather than serving it with its famous sidekick, corned beef, try stuffed cabbage with protein packed pulses instead! These stuffed cabbage rolls are mixed with green lentils and brown rice as a healthy, plant-based meat subsitute to corned beef. Topping […]