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Healthy Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup

Healthy Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup

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 […]

Asparagus Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

Asparagus Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

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 […]

Socca: Sweet, Savory, Simple

Socca: Sweet, Savory, Simple

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 from chickpea flour, Socca is usually served hot and enjoyed as is.  It can be enjoyed as a simple flatbread, or can even be used as a pizza crust, taco shell, or crepe with your favorite jam!

 

dukkah
Ingredients for Socca: chickpea flour, cumin, and fresh rosemary

The Truth About Food Reactions

Millions of Americans each year suffer from food allergies and reactions to foods.  So, if this flatbread alternative is calling your name, you are not alone! Many even mistake the difference between a food allergy and a food sensitivity.

When our immune system responds to a food substance (a protein), that is a food allergy. Symptoms can be minor, such as itchy eyes or a runny nose, although other symptoms can be much more severe. The most common food allergies, causing almost 90% of food reactions annually, are: dairy, eggs, seafood, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, and wheat. Food allergies should always be taken seriously. Whether you are at a restaurant or family gathering, informing others about your food allergy is important.

Food intolerances, on the other hand, are not life threatening, but they are unpleasant. A sensitivity occurs when our body cannot properly digest a food substance. Some examples, gluten, the protein commonly found in wheat, or lactose, the sugar in milk. Symptoms can range from abdominal cramping to diarrhea, and even migraines.

Think you may have a food allergy or sensitivity? Talk to your doctor first. He or she may recommend a blood or skin test to determine if it’s a food allergy. Food sensitivities are not as easy to determine. Health professionals may suggest keeping track of your symptoms in a food log and taking part in an elimination diet to narrow out the food triggers. For more information on food allergies and sensitivities, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

 

dukkah
Dukkah fresh out of the oven drizzled with olive oil

In this recipe….

I decided to make Socca as a light and healthy pizza with sauteed mushrooms and fresh arugula. The options for toppings are endlesss! If you prefer to go dairy-free, use a little drizzle of olive oil or a cheese alternative. To make the batter savory, add in your favorite fresh or dried herbs and spices. Socca is simply a 1:1 ratio of chickpea flour to lukewarm water for the batter.

 

 

Socca: Simply Sweet and Savory

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Makes 1 to 2 thin pancakes

Serving Size: 1 Socca flatbread

Socca: Simply Sweet and Savory

Use socca as a pizza crust, taco shell, and even to serve with your favorite dip or spread!

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (half for the batter)
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional add-ins: fresh rosemary, thyme, cumin, garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Prior to cooking, whisk together the chickpea flour and water, one tablespoon of olive oil, and any additional herbs and spices. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Once the batter is ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees F.*
  3. Place a large (10-12 inch) cast iron skillet on the middle rack of the oven to heat up.
  4. Carefuly remove the hot skillet from the oven and swirl one tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. Slowly pour in the batter evenly to cover the bottom of the hot pan.
  5. Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the batter is cooked through in the middle and the edges are slightly crisp. The batter should resemble a thick pancake. Drizzle additional olive oil on top to prevent dryness, optional.
  6. * If you prefer cooking on the stovetop, cook the socca on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes each side.

Notes

Socca is a great alternative carbohydrate choice for anyone with food allergies and sensitivities. Thanks to the simple ingredients of only chickpea flour and water it is naturally free of gluten, dairy, nuts, and soy.

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Dukkah: The Ultimate Spice Mix

Dukkah: The Ultimate Spice Mix

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 […]

Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

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 […]

Artichoke and Spinach Pesto Pita Pizza

Artichoke and Spinach Pesto Pita Pizza

Pita sandwiches are a classic lunch staple. This soft, whole grain bread as a pita pizza with artichokes and pesto gives it a new look that is healthy and in season!

 

Spring is such a beautiful time of year! Flowers are just starting to bloom and baseball season is almost here (go Sox!). Let’s not forget the other fantastic season starting in March. Yes, it is time for the delicious and stunning artichoke to peak! I personally enjoy them in all forms, such as in dips, salads, and pasta dishes. So, why not step it up and throw it on a pizza? And to go a step further, why not as a pita pizza?

 

pita pizza
The artichoke, a nutritious spring favorite!

 

The Perfect Pita

Most pizza doughs can be made with refined white flour, providing very little nutrition. Pita bread, on the other hand, can provide a minimum of 6 grams protein and 3 grams of fiber with under 200 calories per bread serving. In addition, this wholesome pita bread is naturally trans fat and cholesterol free!  Recently, I signed up for a pita recipe contest held by Toufayan Bakeries, and was so impressed with the generous samples provided.  I was blown away by the numerous varieties like garlic, sweet onion, and even low carb to name a few.

There is more to pita than just the pita pocket. The versatility of this healthy, whole grain bread is endless. Try pita in your favorite quesadilla recipe, to serve with your favorite dip, or yes as a pizza!  We all love pizza, but not so much the mess involved when kneading the dough. Half the time we end up with flour all over the floor or in our hair!  I found that using pita bread, such as the Toufayan Bakeries’ delicious version, as a single serving pizza was simple, healthy, and less messy.

 

pita pizza
The many flavors of Toufayan Bakeries’ Pita Bread

For this recipe….

Out of the several flavors, I decided make several pizzas using the whole wheat, garlic, and sweet onion for my pita pizza. Since each pita makes one serving, forget arguing over toppings to share! Each loaf packs in an excellent source of protein and fiber with no saturated or trans fats.

These pita pizzas also make it much easier to sneak in your daily servings of vegetables. Pair them with your favorite protein and sauce and voila! For this pizza, I used artichokes and a spinach-basil pesto (with hemp seeds and almonds) to keep it seasonal. Not to mention, artichokes are also a nutrition powerhouse lending high amounts of Vitamin C, Magnesium, and dietary fiber (7 grams to be exact). Not a fan of artichokes? Feel free to try other spring favorites, like asparagus and green peas. Whichever you choose, you’ll still gain the nutritional benefits of  the pita bread alone!

pita pizza
Pita Pizza topped with Spinach-Basil Pesto

 

 

“I received free samples of Toufayan Pita mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Toufayan Bakeries and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

Artichoke Pesto Pita Pizza

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4-6 pita loaves

Serving Size: 1 Pita Pizza

Artichoke Pesto Pita Pizza

Feel free to substitute for different toppings as desired. Other great options? Shallots, asparagus, and lemon zest!

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 medium sized whole pitas, such as Toufayan
  • Spinach Basil Pesto*
  • 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts (or fresh artichokes if preferred), drained, rinsed, chopped
  • 3-4 small radishes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh thyme leaves, optional
  • Spinach Basil Pesto:
  • 4 cups raw spinach leaves
  • 3 whole cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about half of a lemon)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup unsalted almonds
  • 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup shredded or grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Set aside pita loaves on a greased or parchment paper lined pan.
  3. Make the pesto:
  4. Combine pesto ingredients in a large food processor and pulse until well blended. Set aside.
  5. Spread the pesto evenly on the pitas, about one tablespoon each pita (there will be leftover pesto).
  6. Top the pitas with the toppings as desired.
  7. Place the pitas in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until feta has started to melt and pita is hot.
  8. Freeze the remaining pesto for up to 3 months.
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3-Step Mediterranean Style Buddha Bowl

3-Step Mediterranean Style Buddha Bowl

Want to get more balance in your diet? This simple 3-step Mediterranean buddha bowl is bursting with colorful vegetables, healthy proteins and fats, and filling whole grains! The name is catchy, but really what is a buddha bowl? This dish got its name because it is overstuffed with […]

No Bake Almond Bars with Berry Chia Jam

No Bake Almond Bars with Berry Chia Jam

Delicious almond bars topped with a berry chia jam rich in antioxidants and healthy fats! Did I mention it requires no baking? Nowadays we all want something simple and convenient. I get it! With our busy lives, we are all on that one mission to find […]

Roasted Mushroom Tacos with Pineapple Miso Dressing

Roasted Mushroom Tacos with Pineapple Miso Dressing

Try a plant based twist for Taco Tuesday! These King Oyster mushroom tacos with a pineapple miso dressing make a unique, Asian inspired meal the whole family will enjoy!

Let’s “taco bout” it! Taco Tuesday has become very popular on social media lately and for good reason. Tacos are, as we know, delicious, but they are also extremely versatile.  Whether it is vegetarian, gluten free, or dairy free, tacos can meet your dietary needs. The basics of a taco include your choice of protein, vegetables, and toppings. Another plus? Taco dinners are affordable! This simple-to-make meal consists of tortillas that can average under $3 for a pack ranging from twelve to even thirty count. Any leftover tortillas can easily be frozen and used for a quick weekday meal. Did I mention these mushroom tacos took less than 30 minutes to make?

“Tastes Like Chicken”

Most traditional ingredients in tacos are of Mexican cuisine.  I wanted to try a fun take on tacos by using King Oyster mushrooms that I had recently purchased at the local asian market. If you are not familiar with King Oyster mushrooms, these are your new favorite meat alternative! Some will say they taste like chicken, or even scallops. I first tried them with pasta over the summer for a seafood substitute; let’s just say I fell in love.

King Oyster mushrooms look just as they sound:  they are a “king size” version of the oyster mushroom. Don’t let the funny appearance fool you, once sliced, they look like scallops or white meat. Unlike other mushrooms with a woody-textured stem, you can eat the entire king oyster mushroom. Try these delicious mushrooms in any dish you choose. Instead of tacos, they are excellent in pasta, stir fries, soups, and even as a side with your favorite meat dish.  The food blog, The Kitchn, has an excellent article for more about King Oyster mushrooms.

 

mushroom tacos
Is it sliced King Oyster Mushrooms or scallops?

 

Mushroom Tacos for a Plant-based Taco Tuesday!

Mushrooms are an excellent source of protein for a plant-based, meat free meal. Did you know these fabulous fungi rich in vitamins and minerals are also immune-boosting? High in Selenium and Niacin, mushrooms are being studied for their potential use in fighting inflammation and strengthening our immune defense system.

For this recipe, I roasted the mushrooms to bring out more flavor. If you prefer not using your oven, sauteeing makes them just as tasty.  For an asian inspired meal, I topped the mushroom tacos with antioxidant-boosting red cabbage and carrots. Regular green cabbage can also work here to give it a crunchy texture with additional nutrition benefits. I used a miso dressing balanced with sweet pineapple instead of avocado. Miso gives it a nice umami taste, but if you do not have miso, feel free to use more plain yogurt for a creamy texture. Personally, I absolutely love mushrooms.  If you can’t stand mushrooms (I know you are out there!) feel free to try it with beans or tofu as a lean protein and plant based substitute.

 

Roasted Mushroom Tacos with Pineapple Miso Dressing

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4

Serving Size: 2-3 tacos

Roasted Mushroom Tacos with Pineapple Miso Dressing

Ingredients

  • 8-12 ounces King Oyster Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (or any mushroom variety of your choice)*
  • Olive oil to taste
  • 10-12 small corn or flour tortillas (if gluten sensitive, make sure certified gluten free)
  • Optional toppings: red cabbage, carrots
  • Pineapple Miso Dressing:
  • 3/4 cup frozen or fresh pineapple chunks
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (if gluten sensitive, use Gluten Free certified Tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon Miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, stems removed
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (replace with dairy alternative if vegan preferred)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place the sliced mushrooms on a sheet pan or cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil and black pepper. Do not add salt just yet because it will cause the mushrooms to shrink. Feel free to add salt after cooking.
  2. Roast for 20 minutes or until desired level of roasting.
  3. While the mushrooms cook, place all of the ingredients of the dressing in a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  4. Warm the tortillas in the oven while the mushrooms have a few minutes of cooking remaining.
  5. Once the mushrooms and tortillas are ready, fill the tacos with the mushrooms and add any toppings of your choice (I used cabbage and carrots) and the dressing.
  6. For a complete and balanced meal, serve with a side salad or non-starchy vegetable of your choice.

Notes

* King Oyster Mushrooms do not require removing the stem. If you are using other mushrooms, I would recommend removing the stems as other types have a woody texture.

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Crispy Baked Cara Cara Orange Tofu

Crispy Baked Cara Cara Orange Tofu

A new takeout alternative is here! Try this healthy and delicious Crispy Baked Cara Cara Orange Tofu for your next restaurant craving! Are you a fan of Chinese food takeout on the weekend?  Join the club! Making your own favorite recipe with healthy modifications saves you money […]


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