Filed under: Honest Kitchen
Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Pad Thai Your Whole Family Will Love!

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Keeping the family happy and healthy isn’t always easy. But there are some dishes that everybody can agree on, including mom (the health food fan). I have made this pad Thai dish a few times, playing around with measurements and different ingredients. It’s a fun dish to perfect because who doesn’t love a good pad Thai? Sometimes I crave this dish but most Thai restaurants use soy sauce, which isn’t gluten-free. So making it at home has been a wonderful treat!

I love my variation because it’s not only gluten-free but it’s also dairy and meat free. Fish sauce is a great tasting addition to the sauce but it’s not vegan. If that doesn’t matter to you, then start with 2 Tablespoons of it. You can play with different sweeteners as well. Egg (cooked alongside the tofu) is also a common addition to this dish if want to add that as well.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Pad Thai 
Serves 4-6
Ingredients:
  • 8 oz pad Thai rice noodles (cooked according to package directions, immediately rinsed with cold water)
  • 2 Tbsps coconut oil, divided
  • 8 oz or 1/2 lb tofu, cut into small strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 – 1 cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped
  • lime wedges

For the sauce:

  • 2 Tbsps organic chili sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsps organic sriracha sauce (gluten-free)
  • 2 Tbsps tamarind paste
  • 6 Tbsps palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsps mellow white miso
  • 5 Tbsps tamari (gluten-free) or soy sauce (not gluten-free)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
To serve:
  • 1/2 zucchini, sliced thin with a knife or peeler
  • 1 large carrot, sliced thin with a knife or peeler
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
Directions:
  1. Preheat frying pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Cook the tofu and garlic until browned on the bottom (about 3 minutes). Add a sprinkle of tamari to give it a browned look and saltier taste. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, tossing often, until browned.
  2. Meanwhile, place the rice noodles in a bowl of super hot water (my sink faucet gets the water very hot). Let sit for about 7 minutes while you’re making the sauce.
  3. To make the sauce, blend all of the ingredients in a blender on low/medium until smooth.
  4. In a large saucepan/frying pan combine the tofu, soaked noodles (discard the water), and 1 cup of the sauce. You can also add cooked veggies of your choice, but that’s up to you. Heat on medium until noodles are warm and everything is well cooked.
  5. Add the scallions, mung beans, cilantro and toss just to get it wilted. Add more sauce if needed. Top with shredded zucchini and carrots, additional herbs and peanuts. Lime wedges are wonderful for extra tang.

VARIATIONS: You can add fried eggs to this dish as well. Or you can even add a Tbsp or two of fish sauce to the sauce. I made it once with peanut butter as well. Use this as your foundation and play around with it. Your family will love it. You can add grilled broccoli or other vegetables as well. 

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Have you ever made a gluten-free and/or vegetarian version of other popular Thai dishes? Share your recipes in the comments!  

 

~ Juli Novotny of Pure Mamas 

Heart Healthy Foods You Should Be Eating

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We love when foods are healthy for our bodies and taste great, too! Since February is American Heart Month we want to give you a list of heart healthy foods to incorporate into your diet year-round.

One of the best ways to take care of your body, including your heart, is to eat a well-balanced diet. Consuming lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is key for heart health. Try to eat these foods as close to their natural form as possible, which allows your body absorb nutrients without too much added fat or salt.

Check out our list below to find out why these foods are so heart healthy!

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Vegetables and fruits: Okay, so this is a bit broad, but veggies and fruits are typically high in fiber, vitamins, and nutrients, while being naturally low in fat, making them insanely good for your heart! Eating a high fiber, low fat diet is known to lower your risk of heart disease. Plus, vegetables and fruits are high in phytonutrients, which repair damaged cells. This is an essential function to prevent heart disease, according to WebMD. You can find phytonutrients in most foods we consider to be healthy — vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains. So eat up!

Soy: Some experts have suggested that a diet high in phytoestrogens (present in soy) explain the low incidence of estrogen-related cancers and heart disease in Asian women, who typically consume a diet high in soy. Eating soy protein in place of meat is a heart-healthy choice since soy contains less saturated fat than red meat. Whenever possible buy certified organic and non-GMO soy products.

Seafood: Most seafood is a great replacement for red meat since it’s high in protein and low in unhealthy fats. It is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which research shows to decrease the risk of abnormal heartbeats, decrease triglyceride levels, and slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque. But when buying seafood, avoid fish known to be high in mercury and PCBs, which are linked to memory problems in children, thyroid problems, and possibly cancer. You can do this by buying wild caught fish, and more importantly research which fish are safest to eat where you live.

Nuts: Walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds contain healthy amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower the risk of heart disease and other heart issues.

Red wine: Red wine can be heart-healthy if consumed in moderation because of it contains flavonoids — a powerful antioxidant believed by scientists to reduce coronary heart disease. If you have a cocktail a couple times a week, think about switching to red wine. We recommend you buy organic red wine because it’s healthier (fewer pesticides) and more eco-friendly. And dryer red wines are your best bet for a healthy dose of antioxidants. But watch your portions: a 4-ounce glass is all you need to reap the benefits.

Tea: Many teas also contain flavonoids called flavanols. Green tea contains the most flavonoids — you may have heard of this particular one, it’s called ECGC and is more powerful than vitamin C. The flavonoids in green tea have been shown to lower bad cholesterol and when consumed daily can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Dark Chocolate: The darker the chocolate, the more flavonoids it contains. Eating dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and increase blood flow to the heart. However, keep in mind you’ll also be eating some sugars and fats, so you might need to cut out something that day to balance your calorie intake.

 

Take heart in knowing these foods (and drinks!) are key for a healthy life!

 

How often do you think about heart health? What do you eat, or do, to keep your heart healthy? Tell us in the comments.

 

 

 

Smoothies With Spices

Smoothies With Spices

Who doesn’t love a good smoothie?! It’s one of the easiest snacks or meals you can make. Just pop a few items in a blender with some liquid, blend for 30 seconds, and you’re done. We like combining fruits, veggies, and healthful spices in one drink — not only do spices add nutrition, but they are a great way to add more flavor without adding more calories to your smoothies.

It’s easy to find good smoothie recipes — there are so many on blogs, social media sites, health Web sites…. Or, if you’re a culinary risk taker, create your own concoction by experimenting with ingredients you have on hand. The key to a good smoothie is the right balance of fruits and veggies. If just starting out, try a 3:1 ratio of fruits to vegetables and gradually adjust your drinks to include more greens. Adding ice and an organic apple makes it much more palatable and quite delicious, too!

Here are some of our best smoothie creations using healthful spices:

Apple Cinnamon Smoothie

Apple Cinnamon Smoothie

This smoothie provides plenty of fiber but tastes like a dessert! Cinnamon is a known anti-inflammatory and some studies have shown it can lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet organic apples, like Fuji, pink lady or honey crisp
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups organic almond milk
  • 2 organic dates, pit removed
  • 1/2 cup ice

Directions

Wash and slice apples into 2-inch chunks for easy blending. Remove pits from dates and slice into four pieces before tossing into mix. Add cinnamon and almond milk to blender. Throw in some ice to make this like an apple milkshake! Blend for about 30 seconds.

 

Cayenne Veggie Smoothie

Cayenne Veggie Smoothie

Turn up the heat with this cayenne pepper smoothie. Cayenne pepper can be used for heart conditions like poor circulation, and to help prevent high cholesterol and heart disease, according to WebMD.  The pineapple gives this smoothie a tropical flavor and sweetness.

Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic spinach
  • 1 cup frozen organic pineapple
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 organic apple, sliced
  • Handful of ice

Directions

Wash spinach and apple. Slice apple into small pieces so it’s easier to blend. Add all ingredients to blender. Blend for 30 seconds. Add more ice to finished drink if you want it very cold. Enjoy!

For more healthy drinks try our Everyday Green Smoothie and Watermelon Slushy. And share your smoothie recipes with us in the comments! 

This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary/health changes, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.

Sweets for Your Sweet: Strawberry Roses & Chocolate Desserts

Whether you go all out for Valentine’s Day or just enjoy the day like any other, we can all appreciate how sweets are a big part of celebrating your love. Namely, chocolate.

And we guarantee that these decadent chocolate recipes from our blog will make your holiday meal complete. To dress-up the desserts for Valentine’s Day, try your hand at carving edible roses out of strawberries — just see our simple tutorial below! The extra-special touch will melt hearts.

Chocolate Recipes That Say “I Love You”

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Milk Chocolate Custard: This raw chocolate dessert is made with good-for-you cacao and avocado. And did we mention it’s AMAZINGLY tasty and decadent?!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies: Guilt-free and gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookies would pair well with almond milk on ice. Yum!

Dark Chocolate Mint Pears: Combine this fiber-rich fruit with heart-healthy dark chocolate for a feel-good Valentine’s Day treat.

Thanksgiving desserts

Banana Cacao Pudding Tart: This raw nut-free tart is pure chocolate-y goodness.

Organic Chocolate Bark: We made this for the holidays, but chocolate bark could just as easily be made for Valentine’s Day. Enjoy this while sipping on some eco-friendly wine.

 

A Sweet Twist on the Traditional Red Rose

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Personal touches make everything a bit sweeter. We love these beautiful strawberry roses — they make a great addition to a chocolate dessert or glass of champagne. You can even put them on bamboo skewers or eco-friendly straws to create an edible bouquet.

There are quite a few tutorials on Pinterest that show how to carve strawberry roses. We watched a couple YouTube videos and studied a couple blog posts for a culinary crash course in carving skills. Some chefs start at the top of the berry, but we found carving the bottom first produced prettier flowers. Also, the smaller the paring knife, the easier it is to make the rose.

Don’t worry if the first few are a bit tough to make; simply enjoy them as a snack. After some practice, you’ll totally get the hang of this fruit art. (The medium-sized plump strawberries make the best flowers!)

Here’s how we made these:

Step 1: Wash the organic strawberries.

Step 2: Place the berry on your counter or cutting board and carve the bottom petals with your knife pointing slightly toward the berry’s center.

Step 3: Use the leaves and/or stem to hold the berry while carving another row of petals. Complete it in one of two ways: Keep carving petals, or when there’s not much strawberry left, carve in a spiral until you reach the center.

Step 4: You might need to press a bit on top of the berry to make the “petals” fan out.

Enjoy!

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What dessert are you making for Valentine’s Day? Share your recipe in the comments! 

Hummus-Inspired Garbanzo Burgers Pack Nutrition, Flavor

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Ever feel like just having carrots and hummus for dinner? It’s a delicious snack for sure, so we turned it into a burger! And since February is American Heart Month, we figured it’s the perfect time to offer-up a meat-free meal.

Legumes are typically low in fat and contain no cholesterol. They are also high in folate, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Eating more servings of protein-and-fiber-packed legumes, like garbanzo beans, instead of meat is a heart-healthy choice!

Legumes are also very affordable. Whether you buy them by the can or in bulk, you can find many organic varieties.

This hearty garbanzo burger patty doesn’t need a bun, but feel free to serve it on your favorite bread or wrapped in collard green leaves. We enjoy them topped with microgreens and guacamole. The lime in the guacamole provides some vitamin C, which helps repair and maintain bones, cartilage, teeth, and can protect against cardiovascular disease, according to WebMD. Vitamin C also helps our bodies absorb iron, which is found in the garbanzo beans.

See the recipes below for a healthy meal that will satisfy both your hummus and burger cravings!

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Garbanzo Burgers

Serves about 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cans organic garbanzo beans
  • 3 Tbsp. organic cold pressed olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. organic Tahini
  • 1 large organic carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped organic Italian parsley
  • 2 large cloves organic garlic, minced
  • ½ cup organic yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. organic garbanzo flour (optional)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t want some spice in the patties)
  • 2. tsp. organic coconut oil for cooking (optional)
  • Microgreens for serving

Directions

Blend beans and olive oil in a food processor. Leave mixture slightly chunky so you can see some of the beans—this way you get a variety of textures in each bite! Scoop into large mixing bowl. Add the rest of ingredients. Garbanzo flour is optional. If the patties are staying together, feel free to leave it out. But it they have too much water, you’ll need to add something like garbanzo flour to hold them together. Mix with clean hands and shape into patties.

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Heat some of the coconut oil in a skillet. Once oil is melted and pan is hot, drop in patties. Let brown on both sides before cooling on a paper towel or rack. You can also bake these, but they can get a bit dry so you have to time them carefully. Place patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper so they don’t stick. Bake at 325 degrees for 12 minutes or until warmed through.

Serve patties on a bun, or better yet, in washed collard green leaves. Or serve alone with microgreens and guacamole.

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Guacamole

Serves about 6

Ingredients

  • 2 medium organic avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions

Slice avocado in half, remove pit, and scoop out insides. Juice the lime, then add the minced garlic and sea salt. Mash with a fork until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

What are your favorite meat-free recipes? Share them with us in the comments!