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 […]
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 […]
This comforting white bean chili is light in calories and big in flavor! Rich in cauliflower and immune-boosting mushrooms, this hearty recipe gets its warmth from the delicate spice blend, Ras el Hanout!
I knew I was in the mood for chili when the temperature in Boulder dropped to a high of 6 degrees (the lowest it has been for December in years). When chili comes to mind, most of us probably think of tomato-based versions with black and red kidney beans. These are also delicious, but I wanted to make a lighter and warming white chili this time. What better way to warm up a white bean chili than with Ras el Hanout!
Wait, what is Ras el Hanout?
Ras el Hanout is a beautiful North African spice blend of sweet and savory spices, like nutmeg, cloves, pepper, and paprika. Since it is not a common seasoning to have in the kitchen, you can easily make your own blend with spices and herbs you most likely already own. Check out this recipe from Food.com and more information about the blend in one of my favorites, The Kitchn blog and feel free to play around with these spices based on your taste preference.
This chili packs in so much flavor from this blend, that you will not miss the salt! I usually add a small pinch of sea salt to my soups because I am cooking with low sodium broth. For this recipe, I used regular vegetable broth and did not add salt. If you are trying to watch your sodium intake, I highly recommend a low sodium broth and adding more garlic in place of table salt.
What makes this white bean chili so healthy?
Most chilis we see in restaurants (or even tailgate parties) are saturated with excess shredded cheese and grease from ground meat sitting on top. Cheese is still an optional topping here, but in moderation of course! Who doesn’t love cheese? The broken pieces of cauliflower and mushrooms will lend a similar taste to ground meat. If you prefer meat, aim for lean meats such as ground chicken or turkey (still just as good). The fiber and protein-rich white beans will also keep you satisfied for hours. For some great tips on a healthy chili swap check out Eating Well’s article here.
Besides being healthy, this chili is also extremely easy to make! The majority of the cooking simply consists of simmering these delicious spices and flavors. Prior to simmering, the vegetables and proteins are sauteed with the spices for up to a minute. This brings out its aromatic components. The soft texture in this recipe is created by a handheld immersion blender. If you don’t own one of these amazing gadgets, feel free to use a masher or place in a blender in small batches.
As the holidays are nearing their end, now is the best time to aim for some lighter, yet flavorful foods. Eating MORE of the right foods than focusing on eating LESS overall should be a habit all year round. With only 20% of resolutions actually succeeding, those crash diets are not going to last. Be good to yourself and don’t deny the foods you enjoy. As we have all heard, everything in moderation is key, right?
Whether your resolutions consist of trying yoga, eating less meat, or being more organized, I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year!
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium Cauliflower, cored and chopped
- 1 mild chili pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 8oz white mushrooms, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Ras el Hanout spice blend*
- 2 15oz cans white beans (pinto, Northern White, chickpea)
- 4 cups of vegetable broth (or chicken broth if preferred)
- 1-2 scallions chopped, optional
- Shredded cheese of your choice for topping, optional
- Heat olive oil on medium high heat in a non-stick pan or skillet. Cook the onions until slightly softened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, cauliflower, mushrooms, and chili pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until cauliflower is softened.
- Add the spice blend and cook for 30 seconds to a minute until fragrant.
- Pour in the beans and vegetable broth and let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft.
- Once the chili is cooked through, use an immersion blender to puree some of the cauliflower. If an immersion blender is not available, feel free to use a masher or transfer portions of the chili in a blender to give it the thickened consistency of a ground meat chili.
Ras el Hanout is a blend of spices as mentioned previously in the post. Please adjust with the spices of your liking. These spices include: nutmeg, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, and clove. If cheese is not part of your diet and you would love to have that cheesy taste, try topping it with nutritional yeast (good source of B12 for a bonus).
Instead of white potatoes, why not try these healthy latkes with vitamin-rich sweet potatoes and zucchini? Use those leftover “zoodles” for something other than pasta! Potato latkes had always been a family staple at my household growing up. I remember the big jar of Mott’s applesauce […]
The holiday season can keep us busy with endless shopping and cooking in the kitchen. Try this easy recipe for a healthy winter vegetable frittata with heart healthy salmon, Delicata squash, and kale! I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love having breakfast for […]
Fudgy and rich chocolate avocado brownies replacing butter with heart-healthy fats! Try these healthy brownies for your next holiday party or a fun night in with your family!
When I first heard about avocado brownies I was skeptical. Green avocados mixed with chocolate made me think of something out of a Dr. Seuss book! Then I realized, replacing butter with these heart-healthy fats is a healthier options and pretty creative to be honest.
Most of us have only had avocados in the most amazing dish ever created, guacamole! However, the uses for avocados are endless. For example, a sandwich spread, a creamy sauce for pasta or vegetables, and even topped with an egg in the oven. Now that the low fat craze and misleading facts about fats are behind us (very sad for us dietitians to learn about) people are becoming more intrigued by these majestic, green beauties.
My Baking Adventures
I eat avocados almost everyday whether it is for breakfast with an egg scramble or later in the day with a salad. In dessert however, this is a first! The kitchen is slowly becoming my second home as I share with you my cooking adventures. Baking? It is still a complete mystery to me and part of that is due to fear. For the upcoming New Year, I hope to explore more in the baking world and learn about the basics behind it. A family friend and successful chef for the online program at the Escoffier Culinary Academy, Tom Beckman, suggested How Baking Works, a book about the science and fundamentals of baking. And yes, I added this to my Christmas wish list!
Brownies are trendy again!
There are so many varieties out there today. Of course, avocado, but there are also sweet potato, beets, and black beans sneaking into brownie batter (these will be my next brownie adventure!).
After exploring the internet, most recipes for avocado brownies used melted chocolate and up to a cup of sugar. I really wanted to cut down on the sugar since the chocolate chips were sweet enough, and in reality, we do not need so much sugar in our diets. One of the best recipes that I was inspired by was from the blog, Half Baked Harvest. The pictures are beautiful and the brownies look absolutely decadent!
I decreased the amount of granulated sugar by using all natural maple syrup in addition to the recipe. If you prefer cake-like brownies, I would add in an extra egg. These brownies are fudgy and with less structure as I used only a 1/2 cup of flour.
These brownies can be gluten free if you substitute almond flour for the whole wheat flour. To make them vegan, use flax eggs for the whole eggs, and be cautious with the chocolate chips (make sure you use dark chocolate). I hope you enjoy these avocado brownies and good luck not eating the whole pan at once!
Feel free to swap in different toppings such as nuts or seeds, dried fruit, or even coconut shreds. These brownies are good for up to a week in the refrigerator or a few months in the freezer.
- 2 medium, ripe avocados skin and pit removed (halve the avocado and scoop out with a spoon)
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup raw granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or cacao nibs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set aside a lightly greased 8 x 8 baking dish.
- In a food processor, add the avocado, maple syrup, and sugar. Blend well. Then add the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix well so that all of the ingredients are blended together. Make sure to scrape the sides for any remnants.
- Gently add in the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa and mix well.
- Turn off the processor and remove the blade. Stir in the chocolate chips using a spoon or spatula.
- Spread the batter into the pan evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until done. Test the middle of the batter with a knife or toothipick to make sure nothing sticks.
- Remove from heat and let cool before cutting into squares. Enjoy!
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.