• 2 pounds fresh green beans, washed, trimmed and halved
• 3 cups vegetable broth
• ½ cup sunflower seeds
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. ground black pepper
• ½ cup vegan butter
• 1 small onion, diced
• 2 cups mushrooms, diced (button or cremini)
• 4 or 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
• ½ cup gluten-free or almond or chickpea flour for thickening
• 2 cups of crispy fried onions – you can use store-bought or make your own in an air fryer
Steam the green beans for 6 or 7 minutes, just until just tender, then plunge them into ice water to preserve color. Set aside.
In a high-powered blender, combine the sunflower seeds with 1 cup of the vegetable broth and blend on high until smooth. Blend in the remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth, salt, and pepper and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, mushrooms, and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and whisk to create a thickened sauce in the pan. Continue to whisk constantly for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the broth and sunflower seed mixture and whisk continuously for 2 to 3 minutes, until thickened. Turn off the heat as soon as the mixture gets thick – be careful. I happens fast and all at once.
Mix the green beans into the creamy mixture and immediately pour all into a 9 × 13-inch baking dish.
Top with a scant layer of fried onions and bake for 20-30 minutes.
Quick, easy, and incredibly delicious.
Make zucchini spirals, spaghetti squash, or quinoa or chia pasta and top with this delicious sauce.
Serve with a green salad and you have the perfect meal for any night of the week.
This sauce is great no matter what you put it on! Just have your veggies or pasta basically cooked when you start the sauce, as it is ready fast.
The “Alfredo” sauce Ingredients:
Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan, whisk until smooth.
Heat until sauce thickens and begins to boil, then stir in the spiralized zucchini, spaghetti squash, or pasta and remove from the heat.
Serve immediately, sprinkling with nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan.
This is one of the delicious vegan recipes included in "Don't Let the Memories Fade".
A few people have been asking me recently about whether it's okay to eat bread if you are working to protect your brain from inflammation. I do not eat bread any more. It's just too inflammatory for me, so I've come up with many other ways to enjoy the "sandwich" or burrito experience. This recipe is what I've been using, in addition to lentil tortillas. Both of these recipes are in "Don't Let the Memories Fade" along with many other great vegan, anti-inflammatory and tasty recipes.
I use these for so many things - like wraps, like burritos, even with peanut butter. They are a bit chewy, because of the yucca flour, but that's what makes them especially yummy for me. Very satisfying!
· 1 ½ cups yucca flour (make sure it’s not tapioca flour – that doesn’t work, and there are some brands of cassava or yucca flour that do not work. Because I’m in Ecuador, I don’t know N. American or European brands, so you may have to do some experimentation)
· ½ tsp. salt
· ⅛ tsp. garlic or onion powder
· ¼ cup olive or avocado oil
· ¾ cup warm water plus more if needed
Whisk together the flour, salt, and garlic or onion powder. Be sure they’re thoroughly mixed.
Add oil and ½ cup of the warm water to start. Knead with your hands and check the consistency – it should be like bread dough. If you need more water, add a bit at a time and knead again until thoroughly mixed.
Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and roll them into balls.
Roll each ball with a rolling pin between two pieces of parchment paper or silicone mats. You want them to be about ⅛-inch thick and about 5 inches in diameter.
If you have a tortilla press, this is the time to use it.
Otherwise, heat a safe non-stick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Do not add oil.
Cook each tortilla for 1-2 minutes per side, or until it begins to bubble.
Serve warm with your favorite ingredients.
These can be frozen – just put sheets of parchment paper between them in a freezer-lock bag so you can take out just one or two at a time.
*Note that with some brands of the yucca or cassava flour you may not end up with bread-like dough. However, even if it’s not perfect dough, you can make the tortillas by ladling the mixture like pancake dough into the pan. I’ve had to do it a few different ways depending on the flour available, and while the process can be a little frustrating, they always taste great.
Since I had a pet pig when I was a kid, I never really enjoyed bacon, although I admit I did eat it at times. Now I can’t bear to think of it, but I have to admit I enjoyed the salty crunch. So I started looking for something to replace that taste and texture and tried banana peel "bacon" but we just don't have organic bananas around that often.
A friend suggested I check out carrot bacon, so I went online to see what this was all about. The problem is that they all asked for liquid smoke, which I have never seen here in Ecuador. So I experimented without it. And I am pleased to say – win!
And no - Carrot breakfast strips do not taste like bacon. They taste like really yummy baked carrots.
I'd love to hear what you think.
· 3 or 4 carrots, depending on size.
(Here in Ecuador the carrots are short and fat, so I had to halve the slices to make them narrow like "bacon".)
· 2 tablespoons avocado oil
· 1 teaspoon garlic powder
· 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
· 1 teaspoon salt
* If you can get your hands on liquid smoke or liquid amino acids, I am sure they would add that extra umami flavor that some people crave, but these were just fine, thank you!
1. Rinse the carrots and slice lengthwise using a mandoline.
2. Lay the carrot strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Preheat oven to 320°F.
3. Stir the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl and then brush carrot strips on both sides.
4. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the carrot strips are wavy.
These taste really good with tofu scrambled with onions, spinach, and mushrooms.
A kinder, gentler breakfast that is also good for your brain!
I have a recipe I use for vegan bolognese - it's a tiny bit different than this one, but I thought it would be fun to post this enthusiastic young woman's video to our recipes this week. And I learned something new! Instead of using vegan parmesan atop the spaghetti, you can use ground almonds with sea salt! Guess what I'll be making next time we have pasta!
This is a recipe I've been playing with for years. Endless variations, and why not?
Broccoli is one of the best foods you can eat for your brain, so I use it a lot. This salad base is excellent because it not only uses broccoli, it also incorporates garbanzo beans and nuts or seeds, so you are boosting the nutritional value with every bite.
And this is one of those recipes where you can "cook once, eat twice" - a big bonus!
For the Basic Salad
· 1 head of broccoli, finely chopped
· 1 can garbanzo beans (or 1 ½ cups cooked from dried)
· 1 cup shredded carrots
· 1 bunch chopped green onions
Variations to add:
· ½ cup toasted sliced almonds
· ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
· ½ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds
· ½ to ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro
· ½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
For a curry-flavored dressing:
· ¼ cup tahini
· Juice of ½ large lemon
· 1 clove garlic, minced
· 1 tsp. yellow curry powder
· ½ Tbsp. freshly grated ginger (or if you don’t have – you can use ½ tsp. powdered)
· ½ tsp. ground turmeric
· ½ tsp. salt
· 1 or 2 tsp. maple syrup (if you like a little sweetness)
· Freshly ground black pepper
· 2 to 4 Tbsp. warm water, as necessary, to thin dressing
Whisk all the ingredients together and pour over salad – toss to mix.
For a simple lemon and oil dressing:
· ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
· 1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
· ¼ cup cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
Combine the sea salt and lemon juice in a small jar with lid, shake vigorously to mix well. Add the olive oil.
Voila! A great basic dressing – you can add a little garlic powder or thyme or rosemary depending on your taste.
The dressing lasts about 3 days in the fridge.
Mix and enjoy.
This salad keeps well up to 5 days I the fridge, but if you plan on using it for more than a couple of days, add the nuts and seeds on serving day so that they stay crunchier.
This is a featured recipe in the book, which is now available for pre-order, at Amazon.com.
Official release date is September 12, 2020, what would have been my mom's 82nd birthday.
Prep time for this very easy dish is about 30 minutes, cooking about 30 minutes
· 2 eggplants
· 2 Tbsp. olive oil
· 1 onion, diced
· 2 garlic cloves, minced
· 1 red bell pepper, chopped
· 1 red chili pepper, finely chopped
· 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
· 1 tsp. smoked paprika
· 1 tsp. sweet paprika
· 1 can chopped tomatoes
· 1 tbsp. tomato paste
· 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Wash the eggplants and cut them into ¼ inch slices. Arrange on a baking sheet and season on both sides with salt. Set aside for about 20 -30 minutes, until the salt pulls the water out of the eggplant.
In a large pot over medium heat, pour 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté the onion for 2 mins, then add the minced garlic and cook together for another 1-2 mins.
Add the chopped red pepper and finely chopped chili peppers. Sauté for about 4 minutes stirring constantly.
Dry the eggplant with paper towels and cut into cubes. Add it to the pan with remaining tablespoon of oil.
Stirring occasionally, continue cooking for approximately 10 minutes. While the mixture is cooking, add the lemon juice, season with paprika powder and freshly ground black pepper .
Add in the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, stir and bring to a boil.
Cover and cook for another 15 minutes until the eggplant is soft.
If necessary, you can add a few tablespoons of water to reach desired consistency of the sauce.
Taste test for salt - but generally you don't need to add any because the eggplant will have absorbed some from the water-extraction.
Serve over whole grain rice or gluten-free pasta or, for extra veggie goodness, over spiralized zucchini and/or carrots. Garnish with parsley.
This luscious creamy soup is high in protein thanks to the chickpea flour and nut milk (almond or soy) and the broccoli. You're also getting brain-nurturing fats in the olive oil and coconut milk.
Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the vegetables for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onion, carrots and celery have softened.
Sprinkle the flour onto the vegetables and cook another 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
Slowly add the vegetable broth and plant milk, stirring continuously to avoid lumps.
Add the coconut milk and nutritional yeast and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning per your preference.
If you like a smoother soup, use an immersion blender when all is done.
Simple Cabbage Kimchi
Besides being amazing for the brain, fermented foods are also good for the immune system. Check out THIS ARTICLE.
I love kimchi because I like spices. It is also very easy and is ready in just a couple of days, although it does take some time to chop and prepare. You’ll want to use gloves to mix this because of the red pepper.
· 1 head Napa cabbage (2 pounds or so)
· 1/4 cup iodine-free sea salt or pink salt
· Filtered water
· 1 tbsp. grated garlic
· 1 tbsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
· 1 tsp. sugar
· 3 tbsp. water
· 1 to 5 tbsp. Korean red pepper flakes. I only use 2 tbsp. because it's pretty hot. If you can’t get these just use regular red (chili) pepper flakes
· 8 oz. daikon or Korean radish, peeled and cut into matchstick size pieces. I can’t get this here in Ecuador all the time, so have just used regular radishes. It works okay; just be sure they are solid.
· 4 medium scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
· Cut the cabbage lengthwise through the stem into quarters. Cut the cores from each piece. Cut each quarter into 2-inch-wide strips.
· Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit. Then add enough water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top of the cabbage and weigh it down with something heavy and let it stand for an hour and a half or two.
· Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 or 4 times. It's important to get all the salt and brine off the mixture. Set aside to drain in a colander for 15 to 20 minutes.
· While that’s draining, make the spice paste. Add the garlic, ginger, sugar, and water and stir into a smooth paste in a large bowl. Stir in the red pepper. Set this aside until the cabbage is completely drained.
· Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and add it to the spice paste. Add the radish and scallions.
· Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. This is where you need gloves, because those red pepper flakes can be pretty hot!
· Pack the kimchi into a 1-quart jar. Press down on the kimchi until the brine (the liquid that comes out) rises to cover the vegetables, leaving at least 1 inch of space at the top. Seal the jar.
· Let it ferment for 1 to 5 days. Place a shallow bowl under the jar to help catch any overflow. Like sauerkraut or any other ferments, you want to keep the kimchi out of direct sunlight, at cool room temperature. Let it sit for 1 to 5 days. You will also see bubbles – open the jar and let the gases escape – but you don’t need weights because you are going to keep pressing down on the veggies with a spoon to make sure they stay submerged.
· You can taste the kimchi every day and stop the fermentation whenever you feel it is the right taste for you. Just be sure to use a clean fork or spoon every time you try it and be sure to submerge the vegetables each time.
· Move the jar to the refrigerator to stop the fermentation. Let it sit for another week in the fridge for best taste, although you could eat it right away.
There are also dozens of recipes for kimchi online – and plenty of videos to help in case you’re a visual learner.
This recipe was developed specifically with the idea to help boost the immune system, which is essential to a healthy brain.
With zucchini, onions, garlic, mushrooms, quinoa, beans, and lots of spice, this covers nearly every requirement for a brain and immunity-boosting meal.
And - all of the ingredients are EASILY available in Ecuador and any place I've ever lived. It's also incredibly easy to make, especially if you used canned black beans.
Easiest Brain Booster
Makes 4 generous servings
4 medium zucchini squash = I like two green and two yellow for color, but whatever you can find
2 medium ripe tomatoes
1 large or 2 small onions
3 to 4 cloves garlic
220 grams (8 oz) thinly sliced mushrooms - any kind will do and a mixture is even better
2 tbsp. Coconut oil for frying
4 tsps. Curry
2 tbsps. Turmeric
1 tsp. back pepper
2 tbsps. Ground ginger, or a good 1 inch piece of fresh ginger grated
1 tsp. paprika (I like Hungarian but whatever you have – add more to taste)
1 lemon, juiced
Quinoa and Beans
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked black beans
1 to 1.5 tbsp. Olive oil for flavoring mixture
Salt to taste
Lemon pepper or regular pepper – whatever you have, to taste
If you’re using dried beans, obviously you will have had to soak and cook them ahead of time. If using canned beans, one can is sufficient – you will just be adding them to the quinoa once it is cooked.
Cook the quinoa. It takes around 20 minutes so if you’re a slow sous chef, cut up the veggies first. If you’re speedy, cut them up after you start the quinoa. It takes about 20 minutes.
Cut up all the veggies. I cut the zucchini lengthwise, then halve them again and slice the quarters into ½ inch pieces. Tomatoes - into 8 pieces each or so. Cut the onion into slivers to soak up the spices and oil. Crush garlic and ginger if you are using fresh ginger. Thin slice the mushrooms.
Put the coconut oil in your wok or similar pan, heat it just to warm then add the turmeric, curry, pepper, paprika (and ginger if you’re using dried). Stir up the spices with a wooden paddle or spoon until they are aromatic, then throw in the onions.
Cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until the onions are just heading to soft. Then add the garlic and if using fresh ginger, add that now. Mix well and continue stirring to release all the aromatics. You want the onions to be semi-soft.
Now add the zucchini and continue stirring, until the zucchini is just bordering on tender. Add the tomatoes, stir a couple of times. Then add the mushrooms. Keep stirring and add salt to taste. Just before all the veggies are at your desired level of “doneness”, add the lemon juice, also to taste.
I add just enough to brighten up the dish and lift all the spices, but this is definitely a “to taste” thing.
I put any extra lemon juice in with the quinoa and black beans.
Now that the veggies are basically done, your quinoa should be ready. Add the beans to the quinoa along with the salt and pepper and olive oil. The remaining lemon juice can go in here if you like.
Serve the quinoa and rice on the bottom of flat soup-like bowls and cover with your veggies.
Served with a small green salad with purple onion, cucumber, lime and cilantro, you have a high protein, nutrient rich meal full of antioxidants and immune boosters
This is excerpted from my book, “Don’t Let the Memories Fade – a Holistic Approach to Preventin Dementia and Creating a Healthy, More Vibant Future”