I’m trying to eat healthier these days.
I’ve looked into a lot of weird diets – paleo, keto, blahblah, eat less carbs, stop eating bread. In all my reading, I’ve come across some awesome recipes, some less than awesome recipes (avocados in breakfast shakes? HUGE no. Dat grease though. ugh) and a few new foods that I probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise. In combination with exercise, I definitely FEEL better than I did a year ago, which is pretty important.
Regarding the new foods front. Maybe you, too, are trying to get healthier but you, like me, have the terrible affliction: a monster sweet tooth. My sweet tooth, particularly my affinity for chocolate, could probably fell a lesser human. It’s not good.
Enter the Chia seed.
These little bitty seedies look like this. You buy them in a bag at Whole Foods that looks like this. (You can probably buy them elsewhere, but Whole Foods is convenient for me, so…) They’re a bit on the pricey side – usually like $8 a bag or so – but that bag will last you for weeks, so it’s worth it.
You can do stuff like toss them in smoothies or bake them into bread – they have a TON of fiber and healthy fat and don’t taste like much, but I feel like that doesn’t quite use them to their full potential. The cool thing about chia seeds is that they can absorb 12 TIMES THEIR WEIGHT IN LIQUID. They turn from these little black pellets into a cool gelly substance that’s reminiscent of pudding.
Hmmm….pudding?? We can work with this.
This is a delicious and healthy remix on traditional pesto. Spinach is one of the world’s healthiest foods because of its high concentration of nutrients for the calories it contains. Vegetarians and vegans in particular benefit from the high iron content in spinach.
This recipe yields a large amount of spinach pesto. I like to cook a big batch of brown rice pasta and freeze it. Feel free to modify the amounts as you see fit.
1 Bag of cut spinach (washed and ready to eat) OR 2-4 fresh bunches of spinach
¼ Cup Chopped Walnuts
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 Cloves of fresh garlic (depending on what plans you have for later)
1/3 Cup fresh basil
The best way to prepare this recipe is in a food processor, but a blender will do just fine. Combine all of the ingredients and blend together. I find if you are using a blender, it’s easiest to make this slowly by blending together small amounts of spinach and olive oil and then adding the other components. Blend together until a smooth consistency is reached. Once blended, it can be mixed with pasta and does not need to be heated. Excess pesto can be frozen and defrosted to use in the future. If you are adding this to pasta, I always like to freestyle and chop up whatever veggies I have available to add (e.g. diced red peppers, celery, carrots, greens like kale or swiss chard) to up the healthy factor.
A NOTE ON SPINACH – While eating organic CAN be expensive I do want to note that spinach is among the Dirty Dozen due to its high contamination of pesticides. If possible, try to purchase organic spinach from a local produce store or farmer’s market in season. To learn more about the Dirty Dozen please visit this link http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/faqs/food/what-are-the-dirty-dozen-and-the-clean-fifteen/