The Ultimate Rainbow Veggie Skillet

If you follow me in on Instagram, you have probably seen that I am pro hashtag eat the rainbow. The more variety of color we get from fruits and vegetables, the more antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals we are getting into our bodies. The more of these, the better. 

Give me all the vegetables!

Give me all the vegetables!

This recipe is a great way to get in tons of colorful vegetables into your diet. You don't need to use the same ones I used in mine, either; if you have some veggies in your crisper that are on the verge of losing their crisp, this is a great solution to prevent them from going into the trash (I know we've all been there!). 

I went an Asian direction with this dish, using sesame oil to cook the vegetables, and making a spicy, tangy almond butter & sriracha  sauce to throw on top. Super easy and so delicious. For added protein, you can put an egg on top, mix some beans in, or even eat this as a side with fish or chicken. 

The Ultimate Rainbow Veggie Skillet with Tangy Almond Butter & Sriracha Sauce

Serves 4
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes 
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
For the skillet

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium white or sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (or smaller, if you got mad knife skillz)
  • 1 large carrot, or 2 medium carrots, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used red, but any color would do)
  • 1 large broccoli floret, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 head of purple cabbage, cut into ribbons
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt 
  • 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup of cilantro, chopped; save a few some leaves for garnish 

For the sauce

  • 4-5 tablespoons of almond butter (or natural peanut butter, cashew butter etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons sriracaha
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of water, more for thinning


Directions:

  1. Heat a large pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat, and add sesame oil. 
  2. Add onions and cook 3-4 minutes until translucent.
  3. Add potatoes and sea salt and sauté for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes soften. You can cover it in between stirring, and the onions and potatoes will begin to "sweat", releasing a little bit of water. If the potatoes start to stick, add additional water as needed. You may need to cook a little longer, depending on how small the potatoes are chopped
  4. Add the carrots, peppers, and broccoli and continue to sauté until they reach your desired consistency.
  5. Throw in the cabbage and lemon juice and stir until everything is mixed evenly. Stir in the cilantro last and remove from heat.
  6. At some point while the veggies are cooking you can make your sauce. Whisk or mix together the almond butter, sriracha, tamari, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice until evenly combined. Add water to thin. If you like a more liquid type dressing, add more. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
  7. Portion your vegetable mixture into bowls or onto a plate, and drizzle sauce on top. Alternatively you can mix the sauce up with the vegetables in the pan. Serve with your choice of protein and top with some cilantro for garnish and enjoy!

What is your favorite way of incorporating a variety of vegetables into your diet?

50 Shades of Green Series: Watercress Salad with Cumin Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Hi loves! I'm backkkkkk! I guess I do a lot of this back and forth blogging but with a full time job and trying to have a life, things get busy. But I am back, and here to stay with some fun things to come! :)

Just in time for the exciting release of the 50 Shades of Grey film (although I hear it's really bad), I am starting a series here called "50 Shades of Green", where each month I will highlight the nutritional benefits of a green fruit or vegetable and provide a recipe to go along with it! This is to inspire you to get some more greens into your life and to also get you in the kitchen experimenting with some foods you may have never heard of or have been curious to try. I will do my darndest to ensure that the recipes I include here are easy and accessible. I will have tested and put my own spin on each one before sharing, so you can be sure it will be delicious and healthy! I hope you enjoy this series!

For the first shade of green, the spotlight is on Watercress, a leafy green that has landed the spot for number one superfood by the CDC based on its nutrient density (but of course, kale still holds a place near and dear to my heart).  Needless to say it is a nutritional powerhouse, and a gorgeous one at that! 

Watercress is one of the oldest leafy greens consumed by humans. It has a pungent, peppery, bitter, yet sweet flavor, along the lines of mustard or radish (they are in the same botanical family). Ideally, it is best consumed raw, steamed, lightly cooked, as tea, or juiced.

Nutritional Profile: Watercress is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron, and manganese. It also contains significant amounts of carotenoids (organic pigments), including lutein and zeaxanthin, which are two carotenoids that are particularly beneficial for eye and cardiovascular health.

Potential health benefits: Not only is this green delicious, but it has gained accolade for some of its healing qualities. In particular, it may accelerate liver rejuvenation and detoxification. In smokers, watercress has shown to detoxify a carcinogenic tobacco metabolite. It may also improve digestion by stimulating bile formation. 

Preparation: Preparing watercress for cooking/eating is quite simple. You simply trim the stems (you may also find it still with its roots and soil), rinse in cold water and dry on a dish towel or in a salad spinner. You should either use right away or you can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Doesn't this green sound like something you want to eat?! To be honest, until I began working on this recipe, I hadn't tried watercress myself! But I am so glad I did - it has quickly turned into a staple in our house.

The following recipe is so delicious and simple, and can be eaten as a side or as a meal, depending on your appetite. 

watercress2

WATERCRESS SALAD WITH CUMIN ROASTED SWEET POTATOES

watercress salad 1

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1-2 inch matchsticks
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 large bunch of watercress
  • 2 oz goat cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 avocado, cut into cubes (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat, toss sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Roast on upper rack until tender (30-35 minutes), tossing halfway through.
  2. On another rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or Silpat, toss walnuts with cayenne & 1/2 tsp olive oil. Bake on lower rack until golden brown (around 6 minutes). Caution: don't forget about the nuts in the oven! This happens to me all the time.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, honey, and one tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add watercress and toss to combine. Transfer to bowls and top with sweet potatoes, walnuts, goat cheese, and avocado. 
  4. Enjoy!
watercress salad 2

Have you tried watercress before? What are some of your favorite ways to use it?

Brunch Yourself with Reens Greensified Shakshuka

There are few things more enjoyable in NYC than (boozy) brunch with friends and loved ones. The omelettes, hashbrowns, pancakes, waffles, eggs benedict, huevos rancheros, etc. - how could you go wrong? However, brunch often involves long lines, sometimes days wasted, and perhaps more calories than you intended to consume. 

Don't get me wrong, I am almost always pro-brunch. In the dead of winter, though, you can often find me in my kitchen on a Saturday or Sunday morning trying to recreate some of my favorite brunch dishes to enjoy in the warmth of my own home. Not only do I avoid the frigid temperatures, but I save a little money and can control the ingredients. 

I don't know if Shakshuka is trending right now or what, but I've been seeing a lot of recipes lately for it, and I actually had a dream about making it the other night. So then I did. Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern tomato and egg dish often enjoyed in the winter. It's warming, spicy and delicious. The eggs make for a wonderful source of protein to start the day, and the tomatoes are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene, which may help prevent cell damage. I added some kale to the mix, of course, for a little extra green. You also only need one skillet, which is a win in my old Brooklyn apartment world of no dishwasher (besides my husband). So here's a mashup recipe that I created, inspired by the lovely people at Green Kitchen Stories, and the New York Times.

Reens Greensified Shakshuka

Serves 2-4 (depends on hunger levels)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or ghee)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used yellow, but any color would do)
  • 1 jalapeno (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 2-14.5 oz (or 1-28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • 1 cup kale, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-6 eggs, depending on your skillet size (I used 5)
  • cilantro, for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil/ghee over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until soft, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper and jalapeno. Add cumin, paprika, and cayenne, and combine until everything is evenly coated. Continue to cook 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, kale, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes.
  5. Gently crack your eggs evenly into the skillet over the sauce. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper.
  6. Place skillet in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until eggs are set.*
  7. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy! You can serve this with warm whole grain pita, or with avocado toast (which is what I did).

*Note: If you are not using cast iron, please make sure your skillet is oven safe. If not, you do not need to bake your eggs - you can simply cover the skillet you are using with a lid until the egg whites set.

Next time, I will invite some friends over and perhaps we'll also share some bottomless grapefruit mimosas. 

What are your favorite brunches to make at home?

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

Given that it is the first day of fall, I figured I'd make a blog comeback with a delicious pumpkin recipe. I know there are some pumpkin haters out there, and I admit that the pumpkin pie spice trend has gone a little far. That said, it's a warm and comforting flavor that has a time and place, especially in a nourishing and delicious breakfast in the fall! 

Beautiful pumpkins at the Grand Army Farmer's Market in Brooklyn.

Beautiful pumpkins at the Grand Army Farmer's Market in Brooklyn.

Let's not forget, too, that pumpkin (not the spice) is a nutritious fruit, high in beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), which is an antioxidant that may reduce our risk for cancer. Pumpkin is also a good source of fiber; one cup of mashed pumpkin puree has only 49 calories and 3 grams of fiber! It's a very versatile fruit and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. 

Today, I managed to get some pumpkin in at breakfast with overnight oats. Overnight oats are the bombdotcom, especially if you are pressed for time in the morning (which I almost always am). Basically, you combine whole rolled oats (not steel cut or quick oats), with equalish parts liquid and whatever else you want, and let it sit in a container in the fridge overnight. Then you add your desired fixin's in the morning and you eat it. Super easy to make and clean up.

These are basically the things I combined last night in a mason jar to make the oats.

Then I shook it all up.

masonjarpumpkinoats.jpg

In the morning, I poured it into a bowl and added some of my favorite toppings.

Hemp seeds, sliced banana, almond butter, cacao nibs, shredded coconut.

Hemp seeds, sliced banana, almond butter, cacao nibs, shredded coconut.

Please see the full recipe below!

Pumpkin Spiced Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup hemp milk (you can use almond, regular, rice, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup whole rolled oats (I use these)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin purée (you can use canned, just make sure there are no other added ingredients or sugars, or you can make it yourself)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (optional)
  • Topping ideas (optional): shredded coconut, sliced banana/other fruit, cacao nibs, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, almond/nut butter, sunflower seeds, goji berries

Preparation

  1. In a mason jar or other resealable glass container, combine hemp milk, oats, pumpkin purée, chia seeds, pumpkin pie spice, and maple syrup.
  2. Seal the jar/container and shake shake shake it up! Make sure you shake well so the chia seeds don't stick together.
  3. Store in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 3 hours).
  4. In the morning, add toppings of your choice and enjoy the delicious flavors of fall!

ReensGreens Goddess Dressing

As you guys know, I am pro-DIY salad dressings. While I do often enjoy a good vinaigrette, sometimes I crave a creamy textured dressing, which is super easy to create at home.

Enter the avocado. I'm avocado obsessed. Avocados are not only a source of healthy monounsaturated fats (read: heart healthy), but 1 avocado contains a whopping 14 grams of fiber (about half the daily recommended amount), and 975 mg of potassium, which is more than double that of a medium sized banana. Avocados also offer the perfect creamy texture to just about anything. 

Photo cred: www.talkingfood.me

Photo cred: www.talkingfood.me

I was making salad and tacos the other night, so I decided to make an avocado based dressing to throw on top of both. It's sort of similar to the dressing on the Kale Salad recipe previously posted, but with a creamier, more liquid texture and a few different ingredients. I hesitated to post it at first b/c I sort of made it up as I went along (I have a habit of doing that), but it was too good not to share.

A sprouted corn tortilla topped with ground turkey, sautéed kale, grassfed cheese, greek yogurt, avocado dressing and a squeeze of Sriracha sauce.

A sprouted corn tortilla topped with ground turkey, sautéed kale, grassfed cheese, greek yogurt, avocado dressing and a squeeze of Sriracha sauce.

ReensGreens Goddess Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled (click for quick video on how to do it)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, washed thoroughly
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp himalayan salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 water for thinning
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced
  • 1/2 shallot, finely diced

Preparation:

  1. In a blender or bullet, combine the avocado, cilantro, lime, cumin, chili powder, and salt and blend. Add water for thinning to reach desired dressing consistency.
  2. Pour mixture into a medium bowl, and stir in jalapeño and shallots and combine until evenly distributed. 
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste.

As I said, this worked great on a simple salad, and also on tacos! So versatile. This will likely become a staple for us.

Baby spinach, baby kale, chopped red bell pepper, avocado dressing and goat cheese.

Baby spinach, baby kale, chopped red bell pepper, avocado dressing and goat cheese.

What is your favorite thing to do with avocados?!