Almond-Coconut Rice Crispy Bars

This no-bake recipe is based on the Peanut Butter & Honey Rice Crispy Treats from “The First Forty Days” by Heng Ou. They are crunchy, sweet, salty, and nothing short of addicting. Feel free to play around with your favorite nut butters, seeds and dried fruit. Just keep in mind that they are best eaten cold. (I like them right from the freezer!)

Easy Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

As with many roasted veg recipes, use this idea as a general guideline. Feel free to play with the spice mixture—use regular sweet paprika for the pimentón, or even add a pinch of cayenne if you want a little heat. Cumin, coriander and chili powder would also be fun to play around with! If your oven heats really evenly you can bake two sheet pans at a time on the top and bottom. If your oven is unevenly heated (like mine! :), then bake one sheet pan at a time in the center of the oven.

Vinaigrette Basics

Vinaigrettes are really so simple and flexible.  All you need is vinegar, oil and seasonings. Feel free to play around with various vinegars, and take note as to whether or not you like yours more or less acidic. Too acidic? Just add a tablespoon of oil. Not acidic enough? Add a teaspoon of acid.  Et voila! Try making 2 different dressings on Sunday to make your weekday salads that much easier (not to mention more delicious!)  

Grain-Free Banana Bread

This is an easy, simple recipe and makes a healthy snack or grab-and-go breakfast for the whole family. You can use your food processor, but a large bowl and a little elbow grease also works just fine. Feel free to stir in your favorite banana bread “goodies”— nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips, etc. This makes 4 mini loaves, 1 large loaf, or 1 dozen muffins.

Easy Glazed Brussels sprouts

My fabulous mentor back in Berkeley, Emily Su, taught me this simple, and super quick method. Just a touch of butter and maple syrup (or honey) really make for an everyday celebratory side to pair with most any protein. All-time favorite combination: glazed Brussels sprouts, mashed sweet potatoes and roasted chicken (yes, organic rotisserie chicken from the store would be perfect here!)

Spiced Meatballs

These are like the falafel of meatballs. And as much as I love falafel, legumes can be challenging for myself and many of my clients to digest. ***In steps the ever versatile and affordable, high quality, pastured, grass-fed or or organic ground meat of your choosing. I love the soft texture of dark meat turkey, but these are honestly a crowd favorite with lamb or beef, as well. for crispier meatballs, brown them on all sides in a non-stick skillet, and shorten the baking time to 6-8 minutes (but I honestly never have time to brown them, and love the all-bake method). Just giving the meatball purists out there the option!

This recipe was adapted to be gluten free and bake-able from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Smokey Quinoa & Black Beans

This is one of those seemingly odd recipes that ends up being totally delicious and super simple. I found the original over at Oh She Glows, a plant-based blog that’s full of super flavorful and playful vegetarian and vegan recipes. I was skeptical of A) Just throwing everything in the pot at the same time and B) of the PINEAPPLE! But I’ve got to tell you—it comes together in a snap, and the pineapple, smokey paprika and coconut aminos totally work. I’ve been making this for clients topped with tons of cilantro and chopped tomatoes, but have also used it as a filling for tacos with handmade tortillas and avocado.

No Bake Granola Bars

Working for clients with sugar-addicted kiddos has inspired me to test lots of sweet, yet nutrient-dense snacks. It’s quite a challenge to compete with the wildly sweet things kids obsess over, but these have passed the test for several awesome kids I know, and they’re even super fun to make with them! I found the original recipe here, on the Minimalist Baker blog. She is totally awesome, and I highly recommend following—they send out fun recipes every few days. Their version was a bit sweet for us, so I toned down the dates. If you want sweeter, start off with a couple more dates! My favorite combination has been apple-sweetened dried cranberries with orange zest, but the possibilities are endless!

Tangy Cucumber Salad

Cucumbers! Napa cabbage! Sweet new onions! Crunchy, cooling produce is abundant just in time for the heat, and Summer is indeed the perfect time for this simple, sweet and tangy salad. This is a great side dish for fish, chicken or even grilled steak, and you can easily double it up for a crowd. If you can’t find uncured onions at your farmers market or CSA, seek out a sweeter variety of white onion.

Coconut Turmeric Chicken

Cooking for clients following the Autoimmune Paleo Diet is inspiring me to create dairy and seed free versions of some of my favorite recipes.  (This was my take on the Chicken Tikka from last month.)  Marinating this for several hours is key so that the lime, coconut and spices really penetrate the meat.  Since the marinade takes about 5 minutes to throw together, I like to marinate the chicken in the morning so that it’s ready to grill for dinner. (No props or styling for this photo—this is a real-life meal for a client!)

Seared Tuna with Smashed Cucumbers & Ume Vinaigrette

Bright, crunchy and so ready for a warm Summer night, this AIP recipe is satisfyingly savory and has a real umami hit from the ume vinegar. Ume vinegar is made from umeboshi, cured Japanese plums, and is a great agent in ramping up saliva production (which is an often-forgotten and hugely important part of our digestion!). Clients following an Autoimmune Paleo diet can’t eat any seeds, legumes, grains, dairy or nightshades, so I’ve used deep red sumac* powder in place of any seedy spices to crust the tuna. Sumac is a berry common in Middle Eastern cooking, and even grows right here in New England. *NOTE: If you’re still in the restricted phase of AIP, you may want to skip the sumac altogether.

Grilled Chicken Tikka

My former boss, private chef Emily Su, calls this 5-minute chicken because you could marinate it for as little as 5 minutes. They used to make it for quick staff meals at Chez Panisse, and she taught me how to prepare it for her private clients back in California. It’s been a favorite ever since, and it’s always the first thing I grill each Spring. If you want a little more heat, feel free to add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the marinade.

Kale & Cabbage Slaw with Pistachio Vinaigrette

Yes, this is another kale salad, but it also has my absolute favorite cruciferous cousin as a co-star! Rich in Vitamin C and sulfur, cabbage is known to boost the immune system and fight infection. The dressing is satisfyingly creamy sans dairy, and the parsley helps keep it a lovely shade of green. If you eat dairy in moderation, you can peel any nutty, aged cheese over top to finish (however it’s fabulous without).

Spring Asparagus & Kumquat Relish

This is one of my all-time favorite early Spring recipes. It is so bright, clean and colorful and pairs really well with grilled or seared chicken or halibut. This was a popular dish at Chez Panisse, and I've continued serving many variations for clients over the years. It's really fun to play around with this relish—adding chopped toasted almonds or hazelnuts adds a great crunch, and you can even swap out the kumquats for diced Meyer lemon (peel and all). 

Gluten Free Quiche

This quiche makes an incredible breakfast or afternoon snack, and offers you the ability to use almost any vegetable combination you'd like.  It's also a great way to use all of those random bits of cheese you may have collected in your fridge.  Make sure to use grass-fed and organic dairy products when at all possible. If you want to skip the yogurt just replace it with two more eggs. Although perfectly delicious without meat, clients also love just a little Maine bacon, sausage or ham added to the filling.