Loaded Sweet Potato and Black Bean Nachos

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced medium

3 medium poblano peppers, deseeded, destemmed and diced medium*

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced medium

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

10 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, do not drain

½ cup water

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 bag tortilla chips

Nacho toppings: shredded cheese, diced avocado, salsa, sour cream, chopped cilantro

*Note: I recommend using gloves when deseeding the poblano as it can be spicy

In a large pot, add the olive oil, onion, poblanos, sweet potato, salt and pepper. Place over medium high heat and cook, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, for 10 minutes to 12 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent and even lightly caramelized.

Add the garlic and spices and stir until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.

Add the can of black beans (including its liquid) and the water. Cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, until most of the liquid is evaporated. You will see bubbling, but it will be sputtering and sound almost dry!

Remove from heat. Stir in the lime juice.

Place tortilla chips in an even layer on an aluminum foil lined sheet tray.

Set an oven rack to the upper middle position and turn your oven to broil.

Sprinkle shredded cheese over the chips, ensuring each chip has cheese on it!

Place chips under the broiler until cheese is just melted. This will happen very fast! You may need to rotate your sheet tray halfway through. Total time could be around a 30 seconds to a minute depending on your broiler.

Remove sheet tray and dollop sweet potato and black bean mixture atop cheesy chips. Dollop over sour cream, avocado, salsa and cilantro.

Dive in! Repeat process with any leftover chips.

Tip: the sweet potato and black bean mixture also works well over rice, served with eggs, spooned into tacos, etc.

Braised Arctic Char with Sauteed Spinach and Ginger Garlic Caramel Sauce

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

Yield: 2 servings

Arctic Char and Ginger Garlic Caramel Sauce

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

½ cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon white miso

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1 medium shallot, peeled and diced small (1/4 cup)

1½ tablespoons minced garlic

1½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

½ to 2/3 pound arctic char, cut into 2 equal sized pieces

1 scallion, thinly sliced on a bias

Optional: 2 portions of cooked rice or grain of choice for serving

Add the sugar to a 3-quart heavy bottom saucepan. Shake pan to distribute the sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place over medium-low heat. Let cook until sugar is melted and a light caramel color is achieved. If you notice that one side of your pan is cooking faster than the other, rotate the pan for even cooking. If your caramel starts to smoke, that’s okay, you can pick the pan up off the heat and swirl the caramel around if some of the sugar is still in the process of melting. You can also lower the heat if it’s cooking too quickly in areas.

Carefully add the chicken stock (away from you), it will bubble up and may sputter and steam.

Next, add the white miso, oyster sauce, oil, shallot, garlic, ginger and black pepper.  Stir continuously, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the caramel has gone into solution/dissolved. (You can also use a whisk, initially, to break up the miso.)

Adjust the heat to achieve a simmer.

Add the arctic char pieces, skin side up. Adjust heat to maintain and slow/lazy simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Flip char and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Turn off heat and transfer Arctic char to a plate. Remove skin if desired.

Set sauce aside. If the remaining sauce looks too thick (for spooning over final dish) thin with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.

Sauteed Spinach with Garlic

3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

9 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed three times and dried

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (2 teaspoons), divided

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

While the Arctic Char is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over high heat until hot. Working quickly, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, swirl the pan to distribute the oil, then add ⅓ of the spinach followed by the 1/3 of the garlic, a pinch of salt and some pepper.

Using tongs, flip the spinach in the pan every few seconds to cook evenly, keeping the spinach from clumping together, so that the water can evaporate properly. This entire cooking process should take no more than one minute.

Transfer the spinach to a parchment-lined sheet pan, spread it out, then cook the remaining 2 portions of spinach in the same manner.

To serve, divide rice or grain (if using) among shallow bowls. Top with spinach and spoon over some reserved sauce. Place Arctic Char on the spinach and finish with a few sliced scallions.

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1¼ cups French green Puy lentils, rinsed and picked over for stones

1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed plus 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 medium dried bay leaf

3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced small

3 medium stalks celery, diced small

1 large red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cored and diced small ­

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon chili powder

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup unsweetened ketchup

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes

¼ cup water

4 toasted hamburger buns

Add 3 cups of stock, lentils, bay leaf and the 1 crushed garlic clove to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer lentils for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from heat, drain lentils and discard bay leaf and crushed garlic clove.

In a medium saucepan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, onion, celery, bell pepper, salt and pepper. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and lightly caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the last tablespoon of olive oil, chopped garlic, chili powder and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute to cook off the raw flavor of the tomato paste.

Add the Dijon mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, dark brown sugar, vinegar, fire-roasted tomatoes and water in addition to the drained lentils. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, until mixture has thickened to sloppy Joe consistency.

Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on burger buns.

Note: you might want to offer spoons for this recipe – it can get a little sloppy!

Spice Roasted Cauliflower with Coconut Rice and Thai Style Sauce

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 2 servings

Coconut Rice:

1 cup Jasmine Rice, rinsed until the water runs clear

¾ cup full fat coconut milk

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Rice Cooker Version:

Add rice, coconut milk, salt and 1 cup of water to a rice cooker. Cook on regular white rice setting. Fluff with a large fork before serving.

Stovetop Version:

Add rice, coconut milk, salt and ¾ cup water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a large fork before serving.

Thai Style Sauce:

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

7 large garlic cloves, peeled

30 large thai basil leaves

1 medium bunch fresh cilantro

1 thai chili

3 tablespoons minced lemongrass (remove outer layer of lemongrass to access the tender inner layers)

2 scallions, light and dark green parts only

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

5 ounces full fat coconut milk

Combine all ingredients except the coconut milk in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add coconut milk and blend until combined.

Cauliflower:

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into ½ -inch slices, lengthwise

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1½ teaspoon ground cumin

1½ teaspoon ground coriander

1½ kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup toasted, salted cashews

Add cauliflower to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle over the grapseed oil and toss to combine. Sprinkle over spices, salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on an aluminum-lined sheet tray. Arrange an oven rack to the upper middle position and set the oven to broil. Wait until the heating element is hot and then place the sheet tray in the oven and broil for 5 to 6 minutes, or until lightly charred. Flip cauliflower and continue broiling for an additional 4 minutes, or until charred.

To serve, add coconut rice to a bowl. Top with cauliflower and then a healthy drizzle of sauce and some cashews.

Level your dish up by adding a fried egg on top and a dash of your favorite hot sauce or chili oil.

Cranberry and Coconut Gluten Free Granola Bars

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 1 (13×9-inch) container

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, toasted*

1½ cups toasted, salted almonds

1 packed cup roughly chopped dates

¾ packed cup dark brown sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup toasted, salted sunflower seeds

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 300ºF.

*Place oats (evenly spread) on a sheet tray and transfer to the oven until lightly toasted, approximately 15 minutes

Create a foil sling (for easy removal of the granola bars) to fit into a 9×13-inch pan. Lightly spray the foil with nonstick spray.

Add almonds to a food processor with the blade attachment and process until very finely chopped. (No visual chunks remaining)

Transfer processed almonds to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Add dates, brown sugar and salt to the food processor (no need to clean it out) and process until the dates are finely chopped. With the processor running, stream in the vanilla extract, water and melted butter. Process until a smooth thick paste is formed. Set aside.

Add the toasted oats, cranberries, sunflower seeds and shredded coconut to the large mixing bowl that contains the processed almonds. Stir to combine. Add the date paste (be sure to scrape the bowl and blade of the food processor to get every last drop!) to the bowl. Mix ingredients thoroughly using your hands, squeezing and folding the mixture to ensure it’s thoroughly combined.

Evenly distribute the granola mixture into the prepared pan. Press down the mixture to make sure it’s compact and evenly distributed. Transfer to oven and bake for 25 minutes. It will be very lightly toasted.

Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 1 hour so the mixture can firm up.

Once cool, transfer the granola bar to a cutting board and cut into squares and enjoy!

Harissa Braised Chickpeas with Potatoes and Spinach

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced small

3 large carrots, peeled and diced medium

3 celery stalks, diced medium

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated on a Microplane

3 tablespoons harissa, plus more to taste

1 pound potatoes (your choice), cut into ½-inch cubes

1 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas (do not drain)

4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

1 (16–ounce) bag frozen spinach (loose leaf, not a block)

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

½ cup plain Greek yogurt, sour cream or crème fraiche

Add the olive oil, onions, carrots, celery, salt and pepper to a 5.5 quart Dutch oven or small pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the garlic, lemon zest and harissa. Stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the potatoes, chickpeas (with their liquid) and stock. Cover and increase the heat to high to bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, approximately 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the frozen spinach until fully incorporated and thawed. Stir in vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper and additional vinegar.

Serve in bowls topped with a dollop of yogurt and, if you’re game, stir in additional harissa.

Seared Chicken Thighs with Coconut, Tamarind and Spiced Vegetables

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 teaspoon neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil

2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed and pat dry

2 tablespoons minced garlic, grated on a Microplane

2 tablespoons minced ginger, grated on a Microplane

2 teaspoons cumin seed

1 teaspoon coriander seed

1 teaspoon brown mustard seed

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

3 large carrots, peeled and medium diced

3 medium delicata squash (2 pounds), ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1/3-inch half moons

1 (5.4-ounce) can coconut cream

3 tablespoons tamarind concentrate

1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

½ cup fresh cilantro leaves

Season the chicken all over with 1 teaspoon of salt.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle-lower position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Open a few windows and/or turn on the oven hood/fan; it might get a little smoky!

Heat a heavy 5.5 quart Dutch oven over medium-high until hot, then add the oil. It will most likely start to smoke. Swirl the pan to distribute the oil and place the chicken thighs skin side down in the pan. Cook until the skin turns golden brown, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Remove chicken and transfer to a plate, skin side up.

Reduce heat to medium. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, mustard seed, turmeric, cayenne and black pepper. Stir continuously until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the onion, carrots, squash and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and place the chicken atop the vegetables, skin side up.

Transfer to the oven and cook, uncovered, until the thighs reach an internal temperature of at least 175 degrees, approximately 30 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, add the coconut cream, tamarind, brown sugar, lime juice and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt to a small bowl. Stir to combine until the brown sugar and salt have dissolved. Set aside.

After 30 minutes, remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Transfer the chicken to a plate, skin side up. Stir the coconut tamarind sauce into the vegetables.

To serve, add a scoop of vegetables to a shallow bowl. Top with cilantro leaves, followed by a chicken thigh (skin side up).

Bulgur Porridge with Cardamom, Chia and Mango

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

1 cup bulgur

¼ cup chia seeds

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup coconut cream or heavy cream

2 teaspoons orange zest (1 medium orange), grated on a Microplane

Toppings: shredded coconut, toasted cashews, mango, banana, drizzle of coconut cream

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. 

In a medium bowl, combine bulgur, chia seeds, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and dark brown sugar.

Once water is boiling, whisk in bulgur mixture and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring frequently with a spatula, for 15 minutes, until bulgur is cooked through and softened.

Add coconut or heavy cream and orange zest and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, divide porridge among 4 bowls and add toppings.