Mini Pumpkin Spice Banana Buckwheat Muffins


Guys, I’ve slipped up.  It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted and I have about 3778493 recipes to share with you.  Ok maybe not quite that many, but I need to stop letting life get in the way of  my food-sharing.  Nothing is more important to me than bringing you delicious recipes to make your days a little bit tastier. I’m going to try harder, starting with these adorable mini muffins.  They’re naturally gluten free thanks to buckwheat flour, naturally sweetened with ripe bananas and a touch of maple syrup, and bursting with pumpkin spice flavor.  I didn’t have any mini-muffin wrappers on hand when I went to bake these, so I made my own out of parchment paper.  It’s super easy and actually is a great wrapper because it’s non-stick so you don’t loose one bit of these tasty goodies!


Let’s see…they make your house smell amazing while heating up the kitchen on those cold fall days, they are all sorts of healthy, and who doesn’t like a fresh baked muffin?!  I don’t think I need to sell these little guys any more – brighten up your morning with a few of these bite-sized muffins.  Oh – that’s the best part.  Because they are mini, you can totally have more than one and not even feel bad about it 😉


Mini Pumpkin Spiced Banana Buckwheat Muffins

yields 30 mini muffins


1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats (use gluten-free if necessary)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

3 Tbsp maple syrup

3 Tbsp almond butter

4 ripe bananas (the spottier the better!)

2 flax-eggs*

2 Tbsp ground flax seeds

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice mix



Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Line a two mini-muffin pans with parchment paper** (or you can use regular mini muffin tins).

Whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, dry flax-seeds, and pumpkin spice.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the bananas, flax-eggs, almond butter, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and gently mix until just combined.  Top with extra oats and coconut sugar, if desired.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon into each muffin tin and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before storing.

*1 flax egg = 1 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 Tbsp water and allowed to sit for 5 minutes to ‘gel’.

**to make muffin tins out of parchment paper, cut the parchment paper into strips about 3×4″ and gently press them into each muffin hole.

Smoky Black Bean Zucchini Burgers

These burgers tho.  O.M.G.  If you are looking for a wimpy, dry, puck-like veggie burger than you can stop reading now.


Ha.  Like anyone is looking for that.  These burgers are juicy and flavorful; basically everything you want out of a good burger.



It was my birthday earlier this month and I was craving a big ol’ burger with all the fixings.  I’m talking mile high and stuffed with my favorite condiments: caramelized onions, avocado, (tempeh) bacon, and sweet potatoes (in any form).  Now in the past, I’ve had some disappointing veggie burgers and sadly I’ve made some disappointing veggie burgers.  It’s hard to make a “meaty” texture that doesn’t taste grainy and remains tender on the inside.  Too much flour and the burger not only dries out, but it starts to taste more like a whole grain patty than a burger.  Not enough flour and the burger won’t hold it’s shape and you’re left with a pile of mush.  Both have happened to me.

This time I went for a minimalist approach, using only black beans, zucchini, and flax seeds as a base.  Perfection!  They came out crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside.  The zucchini adds an extra level of moisture that helps keep these burgers from drying out and with a few Tablespoons of ground flax seed keeps everything together without the use of extraneous flours.  After the addition of chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin, these burgers truly are one of the few perfect veggie burgers I’ve made/tasted.  I’m super happy with how they turned out and ate these babies for a week straight.  Whip up a batch, lay out your favorite burger toppings, and dinner (or lunch!) is served veggie style 🙂


Black Bean Zucchini Burgers

3 cups cooked black beans (about 2 cans)

1 cup grated zucchini*

1/4 cup finley diced red onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp ground flax seed

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cumin

dash cayenne pepper (optional)

salt and pepper, to taste

*if the zucchini is organic leave the skin on, otherwise peel


  1.  Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mash 2 cups of the black beans.
  2.  Place the zucchini in a dishtowel and squeeze as much liquid out of it as possible.  Place in a bowl.
  3.  Add the mashed beans, onion, garlic, flaxseed, and spices the the bowl with the zucchini and mix until well combined. Add the cup of whole black beans and gently fold in.
  4.  Form into 6 patties and place on the lined baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, flip the burgers, then bake another 10-15.
  5.  To freeze: cool patties completely on a cooling rack, then place in a air-tight container.

Cheesy Roasted Chickpeas


Chickpeas are on of those super versatile ingredients that are easy to transform into different dishes from breakfast to dessert and everything in between.   One of the simplest ways to enjoy these little beans is roasting them for a quick and healthy snack.  I already have recipes posted for savory spiced and maple cinnamon roasted chickpeas, and today I’m sharing my recipe for these cheesy roasted beans.  Let’s be honest; give me anything covered in cheese and I’m one happy girl! Only nowadays I’m trying to keep my dairy consumption to a minimum, so I sought out a dairy-free way to get these crispy, crunchy, cheesy bites!


Instead of cheese I used nutritional yeast.  It has an amazing cheesy flavor while also adding a ton of vitamins, minerals, and additional protein!  But don’t just take my word for it, make these for yourself and tell me they don’t remind you of cheese-its…:)

Oh,  how cute is this new cutting board I got for my birthday?!


Cheesy Roasted Chickpeas

3 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2 cans rinsed and drained)

2 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp coarse ground sea salt

pinch black pepper

pinch cayenne pepper (optional)



  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil, then parchment paper.
  2. Gently dry the beans by laying them out on a towel (or paper towel) and gently rolling them around.  Place in lined baking sheet and spread out into one layer.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and gently roll them around to evenly coat.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast and roll around again to evenly coat.  Add more salt/yeast per taste.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.  Allow to cool completely (they will crisp up as they cool).


Hearty Greens and Red Quinoa Buddha Bowl


This past Monday was my birthday!  Which actually sortave sucked because it was a Monday and I worked from 7am till 8pm.  Oh well, my logic was I would celebrate all week and weekend long to make up for the terrible placement of my birthday falling on arguably the worst day of the week.  As it turned out, it wasn’t so bad!  I have a bunch of amazing friends and family who really made my day quite enjoyable.  Although there is one thing that was really annoying.  My apartment complex started repaving it’s parking lots yesterday, so everyone had to part like a million miles away (ok maybe 100m across the street but STILL).  The worst part was they were doing all sorts of sanding, sweeping, ripping, and spraying which left me in a giant chemical and dust induced allergy coma.  I’m always in and out of the apartment all day between appointments and it really caught up with me.  I had made this amazing hash-brown crusted quiche for my birthday dinner along with a giant pan of roasted veggies and I couldn’t even eat it because I was pretty sick 🙁  The good news is I did have this satisfyingly delicious Buddha bowl for lunch.

I made my first Buddha bowl last Thursday and have been hooked ever since.  Guys, it is so damn good!!  And no, I didn’t make up the term “Buddha bowl”.  Some hipster did, as it’s described as:


Buddha bowls, sometimes referred to as glory or hippie bowls, are hearty, filling dishes made of various greens, raw or roasted veggies, beans and a healthy grain like quinoa or brown rice. Sometimes they also include toppings like nuts, seeds and dressings for added texture and flavor.

(Yes, I looked up the definition of Buddha bowl.  Pretty cool I know)


Anyway, I want to live in a on of these bowls.  There is something so comforting about combining hearty grains, beans, and greens all swimming in a creamy sauce. More Buddha please 🙂  I stumbled upon my first Buddha bowl recipe on the Minimalist Baker’s site and it was love at first bite!  I’ve made them a few ways since, however this is by far my favorite way (currently anyway) to enjoy these grainy bowls.  Packed with chickpeas, red quinoa (which is crunchier than white quinoa and let’s face it, prettier), caramelized onion leafy greens, roasted butternut squash, and all topped with a hummus dressing.  If you can’t get down with giant bowl of all that goodness, I don’t think we can be friends.  Kidding, but seriously at least give it a try!


Hearty Greens and Red Quinoa Buddha Bowl

adapted from this recipe by the Minimalist Baker

serves 4


1 bunch dino kale, deveined and chopped

1 bunch swiss chard, chopped

1 onion, sliced thin

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste


1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and diced

1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tsp dried sage (optional)

salt and pepper, to taste


1/2 cup hummus

1/4 cup water + more, as needed

salt, to taste


2 cups cooked red quinoa

3-4 cups cooked chickpeas



Add the onions and olive oil to a large pot/pan and cook over medium-low heat until caramelized and translucent (about 10-15 minutes).  Add the garlic and cook another few minutes.  Slowly add the greens and cook until tender (about 5-7 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 400.  Line a baking pan with parchment paper and spread the diced squash out evenly.  Drizzle with oil then sprinkle with dried sage, salt, and pepper. Gently toss to evenly coat.  Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until edges are brown.

To prepare the sauce, slowly whisk the water and hummus together.  Add more water until desired consistency is reached.

To assemble: Toss everything in a bowl and top with sauce!

Buckwheat Almond Butter Waffles with Cinnamon Apple Compote


It’s been ages since I’ve made waffles for breakfast.  Ever since the start of summer, I’ve pretty much had a smoothie in the morning.  Quick, cool, refreshing, healthy, delicious.  Bam.  Everything I want out of breakfast when the temperature is going up to some ungodly number in the afternoon.  That’s all changing as the weather is starting to transition to fall.  It’s cool in the mornings, breezy during the day, and quite pleasant.  I know there are still going to be a few 90+ days before fall really hits, however my body is obviously telling me it’s time put smoothies on a back burner to warmer, heartier fair in the morning.  Enter these waffles.


I’ve been craving waffles ever since the first 70 degree day a week or so ago, and knew that this long weekend would be the perfect time to indulge. The real trouble became what kind should I make!?  Lucky for me I had my answer built in because I went apple picking the day before and there is no way I could avoid making some sort of apple something with 7 pounds of fresh picked fruit staring me in the face.  With apples in mind, I made the base of these waffles buckwheat giving them a rich, nutty flavor complimented by added almond butter and cinnamon to the batter.  The topping is a warm saute of apples, cinnamon, and maple syrup.  With a sprinkling of roasted walnuts these waffles are truly out of this world!  Naturally gluten-free, oil-free, dairy-free, and egg-free, you can eat these bad boys guilt-free and welcome fall in a delicious fashion 🙂


Buckwheat Almond Butter Waffles with Cinnamon Apple Compote

These grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, oil-free waffles will fill your house with an amazing fall aroma of cinnamon sugar apples while filling your belly with a bunch of happiness!


yield: 4-5 large waffles, depending on your waffle iron


Buckwheat Almond Butter Waffles:

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 1/4 cup almond milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar – room temperature

1 Tbsp ground flax seed + 3 Tbsp water

1/4 cup almond butter, melted

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla

extra oil or spray for the waffle iron

1 recipe cinnamon apple compote (recipe follows)

handful roasted walnuts (optional)


*To make these nut free, use any seed butter of your choice (or replace with oil) and a non-dairy nut-free milk such as coconut milk


  1. Whisk the ground flax seed with 3 Tbsp water.  In a separate bowl, stir the vinegar in with the almond milk.  Allow both to set for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, flax mixture, almond butter, maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp vanilla.
  3. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, mixing until just combined.  Do not over mix! Let the batter sit for 10 minutes before making the waffles.
  4. Cook according to your waffle maker.


Cinnamon Apple Compote

2 large apples diced, any variety (about 2 1/2 cups diced apple)

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup water


Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and add the apple slices and cinnamon.  Saute for a minute or two on medium then turn down to low.  Add 1/2 the water, vanilla extract, and maple syrup.  Stir and cook with a lid on, stirring every few minutes.  After 5 minutes, check the apples and add more water if necessary, one tablespoon at a time, until apples are fork tender.  Serve warm.




Chickpea Salad


Earlier this week we had a hint of fall weather – or at least temperatures just under 80.  After the past few weeks of 100+ heat with humidity, it was a welcomed break!  I know I say this all the time but fall rocks.  However, we’re not quite there yet and the temperatures are steadily creeping back up into the mid to upper 90’s.  *Sigh* I guess we’ll have to wait a few more weeks.  Until then I’ll probably stick with my rule of at least one smoothie a day (seriously necessary cool-down and super delicious) as well as giant salads and anything that does not involve turing the oven/stove on.  Enter this chickpea salad.  Quick, easy, COOL, and does not require any sort of heated surface to prepare.  Checks all the boxes, and it’s also delicious!  But some things should go without saying 🙂

I have to admit, I haven’t been buying bags of dry beans, soaking, and cooking them in bulk like I usually do.  Like I said, I don’t want to turn the stove on.  So I’ve been cheating and buying canned beans.  Shhhhhh!!! In all honesty, can you blame a girl?  I plan on going back to my bean prepping process as soon as the temperature stays steadily under the boiling point.  Until then I’ll enjoy the rest of summer by going on walks/runs in the sunshine, coming home from work at 8 and still having some sunlight, and most importantly, eating all the delicious seasonal produce with minimal cooking preparation.  Who’s with me 😉


Chickpea Salad 

Who needs chicken…this chickpea salad is every bit as delicious and packed with all the added benefits of eating beans.  It takes less than 5 minutes to throw together so I recommend doubling the recipe and sharing it with friends and family, or simply having leftovers for lunch the rest of the week.  

2 cans chickpeas or 4 cups cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup diced sweet pepper

1/4 cup diced celery

2 Tbsp chopped chives

1 clove garlic, minced fine

1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard

1/3 cup mayo*

salt and pepper, to taste

optional additions:

1/2 cup diced grapes

1/4 cup toasted pecans


*use vegan mayo to make this entirely plant based



  1.  Rinse and drain the chickpeas.  Gently dry by spreading out on a paper towel or dishtowel and gently rolling the tops with another towel.
  2.  Crush the chickpeas with a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon.  You want them roughly crushed, not totally flat.
  3. Add all the ingredients to a bowl, and mix until combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Spicy Refried Black Beans


I’m a huge fan of Mexican food: burritos, tacos, fajitas, I love it all!  Growing up I used to hate Mexican night, just because it always meant I had to wash a million different bowls for all the different toppings.  We had a dishwasher but my mom always insisted on using nice pottery bowls to put the various ingredients in, meaning lots and lots of washing.  Now I make a point to use dishwasher safe plates and utensils on Mexican night and I’m one happy girl!

Besides the heaps of dirty dishes, I never liked canned refried beans.  They always tasted like tinny gruel to me.  Luckily I’ve discovered the perfect refried bean recipe that is easy to make and will blow any pre-made refried beans out of the water. I created this recipe out of desperate need to find uses for all the hot peppers growing in my garden.  This year my dad went a bit crazy, planing over 4 varieties of spicy peppers and they are producing like crazy!  I love the spice of these beans with sweet corn, grilled and cut off the cob 😉

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Spicy Refried Black Beans

2 cans black beans, or about 4 cups cooked black beans + 3/4 cup black bean cooking water

4-6 spicy peppers of your choice (depending on how much heat you like)*

1 yellow onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

* make sure you taste a small piece of the peppers you are using to see how hot they are.  The heat of a hot pepper is determined by the conditions and soil that they are grown in, so even the same type can have vastly different heat levels.


  1.  Carefully dice the hot peppers, trying to avoid touching the seeds.  If the peppers are super hot, the seeds will burn your hands.
  2.  Add the oil and diced onion peppers to a pan and saute until onions are translucent.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
  3.  Add the black beans, juice from the can and all if using canned beans, and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the cumin and salt.
  4.  Cook at a simmer uncovered, stirring every few minutes, for 40-50 minutes, or until most of the water evaporates and the beans have a thick consistency.


2 Ingredient Chocolate Soft-Serve

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With temperatures in the upper 90’s the past week, I’ve been eating smoothies like a fiend.  Sometimes I’ve been having 2 a day!  There’s nothing better in the heat than diving into a giant, cold, refreshing smoothie.  Lately I’ve been making a watermelon cherry chia smoothie with homemade almond butter that’s to die for.  If you’ve never tried freezing watermelon and using it in smoothies you need to asap.  It’s my secret to making creamy, frosty, vanilla-y shakes that are out of this world!  Why watermelon adds a vanilla flavor to smoothies I don’t know, but I just go with it.  Or maybe it’s because I also add vanilla extract.  Whatever.  Point is frozen watermelon is delicious and you should get on that trend.

Now that I’ve gotten totally off topic, let’s go back to what this post is really about.  Because as it turns out, there IS something better (or at least on the same level) as diving into a giant, cold, refreshing smoothie in the heat of summer.  Chocolate soft serve.


I have yet to meet someone who does not like ice cream.  Now I love all kinds of ice cream, hard, soft, and blended in milkshake form.  Today is all about soft-serve, and how you can whip up this delicious treat with only two ingredients.  You read correctly, two ingredients.  It’s fast, easy, and super healthy.  To spare you the suspense this frozen dessert is made with frozen ripe bananas and cocoa powder.  That’s it!  What’s the trick?

  1.  Make sure you are freezing super ripe bananas.  You want those banana peels to be very spotted, almost black, before freezing so they are super sweet.
  2. Choose a high-quality cocoa powder.  Because there are only two ingredients in this recipe, make them count!  The cocoa really shines here so choose a brand that delivers in the flavor department.
  3. Use a high-speed blender.  I know all of you don’t have a high-speed blender, but it really makes a difference.  I use my vitamix at least once a day and can’t imagine my life without it.  You can use a food processor, however you won’t quite reach the utter smooth, creamy, light texture that a high-speed blender achieves. (don’t get me wrong, it will still be amazing 🙂


That’s it!  You don’t have to be a gourmet chief or cheat on your diet to enjoy this treat!  Personally I hate “diets”.  This ice cream is my diet.  Get on my level!!!


Two Ingredient Chocolate Soft Serve

serves one

2 frozen, super ripe bananas

2-3 Tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 tsp vanilla extract (optional)


Add everything to the base of a high-speed blender and starting on the lowest setting, blend using the stick to move everything around.  Slowly increase the speed until a smooth, even consistency is achieved.  Pour in your favorite glass/bowl and enjoy!

Grain-free Pesto Pasta and Meatballs with Sauteed Garden Veggies


Have you seen the zoodle craze going around the food blog world right now?  This popular trend of taking a zucchini and using a spiralizer or peeler to make long, thin “noodles” as a healthy low-carb alternative to pasta seems to be just about everywhere.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love myself a good plate of zoodles.  I even have multiple recipes for zoodle dishes!  However, when you crave pasta, don’t think a big bowl of spiralized zucchini is going to cut it.  Because at the end of the day, they are simply zucchini; tasty in their own way, but not worthy of filling the pasta stomach pang.  Enter garbanzo bean noodles.

I found this brand of pasta, Banza, made out of garbanzo beans a few months ago.  It was love at first bite!  Here is a grain-free, low-carb, high-protein alternative to pasta that actually has the taste AND texture of regular pasta.  Winning!  The first time I made this past winter, I whipped it up with some meatballs and opened a jar of my homegrown, homemade sauce from last summer.  The dish was everything you want out of a pasta bowl and more!

Now that it is summer (and I am currently out of my jarred sauce from last year and impatiently awaiting my tomato plants to start producing!), I opted to whip up a batch of pesto from my rapidly growing basil plants and sauté some garden-fresh zucchini and farmers market tomatoes.  Of course I lined my plate with fresh cut chard and kale from my garden before piling up the pasta, which you don’t have to do.  But let’s be real…we everything tastes better with kale 😉

I promise that when I say “swap your regular wheat pasta with this healthy low-carb, high-protein bean pasta – you won’t be able to tell the difference”  I mean it! This stuff is the real deal, and when combined with my pesto, meatballs, and sautéed garden veggies – you got yourself a total show-stopper meal!


Grain-Free Pesto Pasta and Meatballs with Sautéed Garden Veggies

serves 4

1 box Banza pasta

1/2 batch basil-hemp pesto (recipe follows)

8 classic meatballs, heated (recipe follows)

1 recipe sauteed garden veggies (recipe follows)

chopped raw kale and chard, or greens of choice for plating – optional


Cook the pasta according to instructions on the box.  Drain and return to the pot.  Add the pesto and meatballs, stir well.  Plate the pasta and meatballs on greens if desired, then top each plate with a healthy portion of sauteed garden veggies.  Enjoy!

**I was not paid to advertise for Banza, all opinions are my own.


Basil-Hemp Pesto
2 cups loosley packed basil leaves

1/3 cup hemp seeds, toasted*

2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil + more as needed

2 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper, to taste

1/3 cup pecorino romano cheese

*to toast the hemp seeds, line a baking pan with tin foil and spread the seeds out flat in one layer.  Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until seeds are golden brown.


Add the basil, hemp seeds, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil to the base of a high speed blender and process until smooth.  Add the cheese last and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add more oil if a thinner consistency is desired.



Classic Meatballs

1 lb free-range ground beef

1 lb free-range ground pork

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese

2 large eggs

1/2 cup breadcrumbs*

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

*I make my own breadcrumbs from two slices of sprouted bread.  I simply bake the bread until it is dry, then break it up and add it to a food processor to turn into breadcrumbs.  For a grain-free version you can sup almond flour for the breadcrumbs


Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Line a rimmed baking pan with tin foil.

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix by hand until just combined.  Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls either by hand or with a melon scoop.  Place in the lined baking pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before storing the leftovers.  These keep in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.



Sautéed Garden Veggies

2 small green zucchini, organic skin-on

2 cups organic cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp fresh chopped basil

2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley

1 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano

1 Tbsp fresh chopped chives


Add the oil and onions to a pan and saute over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about a minutes.  Add the zucchini and tomatoes, turn the heat down to medium low, and cover the pan.  Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring every few minutes or so until veggies are tender.  Add the fresh herbs and cook another minute, then season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm.

Grain-free Spring Primavera Pasta with Almond-Chard Pesto



It’s finally feeling like spring!  The trees are in full bloom and the temperature has been getting over 60.  Not every day, but the important part is winter has officially ended. Of course this morning I had to scrape frost off my windshield, but minor detail.  If my kale seedlings can handle the weather (little guys are sitting on my deck getting ready to go in the ground tomorrow!!), then I’m ok with it.  Gardening season is right around the corner which means fresh home-grown produce is within site.  I seriously LOVE gardening and vegetables.  Of course my jobs get in the way of my gardening time.  Maybe I should have my clients help dig up the garden, carry bags of dirt, and plant for their workouts?  It’s probably one of the best workouts around AND super productive!  As a fitness professional, I’d say that’s a win-win 🙂




So back to this dish.  Pure heaven.  Green goddess pasta. Food for the soul.  There is something super comforting about pasta, and ever since I gave up your traditional wheat pasta there has been a void in my life that I haven’t been able to fill.  I recently started eating sprouted grains, therefore sprouted flour pastas, but I found they are not quite the same as your regular pasta.  A few weeks ago I discovered Banza pasta and haven’t looked back!  It’s a pasta made out of garbanzo bean flour making it high protein and high fiber, so nothing not to love.  And to my delight it has the perfect pasta texture!  I swear you could fool anyone with this stuff.  It looks, feels, and tastes like regular white pasta but it’s so much better for you.  Yes, I’m a bit of a health freak 😉

Not only is the pasta itself super healthy but it’s filled with all my favorite spring veggies; asparagus, peas, broccoli, and mushrooms, while dressed in a tantalizingly delicious almond-chard pesto.  Using swiss chard to make pesto yields a very light, slightly sweet sauce that I love to use when I want the flavors of the actual dish to shine through.  Basil pesto, kale pesto, and others I make have a much stronger flavor that are delicious in their own right, but tend to mask the brightness of the fresh seasonal veggies.  Also it’s sortave badass to say you made pesto out of swiss chard.  One of the best conversations starters, you’re welcome.


Grain-Free Spring Primavera Pasta with Almond-Chard Pesto

1 box banza pasta (or 8oz pasta of choice)

1 lb broccili florets, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 lb baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 cup spring peas (frozen or fresh)

1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces

olive oil



1 recipe Almond-Chard Pesto (recipe follows)



  1.  Add the onion and about a tablespoon of olive oil to a pan and saute over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and a dash of salt.  Saute, stirring often, until the mushrooms sweat out and all the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.
  2. While the mushrooms are cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add the banaza pasta and cook according to directions on the pot.  With 3 minutes left in the pasta cooking, add the broccoli, asparagus, and peas to the water.
  3. Drain the contents of the pot then add them back into the same pot and stir in the mushrooms and pesto.  Serve warm.



Almond-Chard Pesto

2 cups chopped swiss chard leaves

1/2 cup almonds, toasted

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/8 tsp sea salt

dash cayenne pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese



Pulse the almonds and garlic in the base of a food processor or high speed blender until a crumbly texture forms.  Add the lemon juice, swiss chard, and olive oil. Blend until smooth.  Add the salt, pepper, and cheese last and blend until just incorporated.