Grain-Free Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies • Cook Love Heal by Rachel Zierzow

Grain-Free Deliciousness

Grain-Free Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies are chewy, moist, and delicious! They are not overly sweet, using maple syrup and dark chocolate chips as the only sweeteners.

This recipe does not use any gluten-free mixes that often contain refined starches, xanthan gum, and bean flours (which can be bitter and/or difficult to digest). Almond meal or flour is used in place of any grain-based flours making these cookies more nutrient-dense, grain-free, and gluten-free.

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies • Cook Love Heal by Rachel Zierzow

Only 7 Simple Ingredients in Grain-Free Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grain-Free Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies have only 7 ingredients.

There is an option to add baking soda. They get slightly puffier, but I can’t really tell the difference. I’d just leave it out if you like a nice, dense, chewy cookie!

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies • Cook Love Heal by Rachel Zierzow

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24-30 cookies
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted grass-fed butter or virgin coconut oil
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups almond flour or almond meal
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet or dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat and add butter or coconut oil. Heat until just melted (it should not start to fizz or bubble), then remove pan from heat. Whisk in maple syrup.
  2. If mixture is not too hot, whisk in egg and vanilla. If mixture is too hot, transfer to a mixing bowl and whisk in egg and vanilla.
  3. Add almond meal, baking soda (if using), and sea salt. Mix until well combined.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Using a rubber or silicone spatula, put cookie dough into a storage container and refrigerate until firm, about an hour (or overnight).
  6. Preheat oven to 350 °F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Take cookie dough out of the refrigerator and place walnut-sized balls onto lined baking sheet about ½ inch apart. Gently flatten out cookie dough to desired shape. The cookies will not spread out much since they are made with almond flour. Just make the number of cookies you'd like and save the rest of the dough in the refrigerator for the next time you need some more cookies!
  8. Bake 12 minutes and carefully rotate cookie sheet 180 degrees. Bake another 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. This will help them to firm up. Using a metal spatula, place cookies onto cooling rack or large plate.
  10. Store extra cookies in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies • Cook Love Heal by Rachel Zierzow

Try More Dessert Recipes on Cook Love Heal:

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Truffles (vegan, gluten-free)

Golden Milk Latte with Turmeric and Cardamom

Pistachio and Rose Petal Coconut Ice Cream (vegan, GF)

Chocolate Coco Truffles

Gluten Free and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Golden Milk Latte with Turmeric and Cardamom

Golden Milk Latte Recipe • Cook Love Heal by Rachel Zierzow

From the Ayurvedic tradition, Golden Milk Latte is a warm and comforting drink that is anti-inflammatory, is beneficial to the nervous system, and gives a boosts the immune system. Skip the coffee or hot chocolate just this once and try a Golden Milk Latte!

What Kind of Milk Works Best?

This version of Golden Milk Latte uses a combination of coconut milk and almond milk. Feel free to try different kinds of milk in this recipe (about 4 cups total), according to what you prefer. I find that coconut milk gives a natural sweet taste and the creamiest texture due to its high fat content. The combination of coconut milk and almond milk makes each serving lower in fat, but still has the sweet, creamy taste.

If you want to get a foamy texture like a commercial latte, you’ll need to use a milk frother.

photo of golden milk latte in white cup with saucer by Cook Love Heal by Rachel Zierzow

What Makes Golden Milk Latte a Healing Drink?

According to Ayurveda (the traditional Hindu system of medicine based on the idea of balance in bodily systems), golden milk reduces excess vata in the body. Basically, the main characteristics of the golden milk latte – warming, mildly sweet, heavy, and creamy – are perfect for balancing out excess vata (dryness, roughness, and coldness).

Golden Milk Latte gets its vibrant color from turmeric, a powdered spice that is anti-inflammatory, fights tumor growth, and helps combat depression.

And just the act of sitting down to enjoy a warm cup of anything works to reduce excess vata by calming the nervous system and making you feel more grounded.

What about Ashwagandha?

This Golden Milk Latte recipe includes Ashwagandha, a medicinal herb made from powdered roots and leaves of the Withania somnifera plant. Ashwagandha has become well known beyond Ayurvedic medicine in recent years for its healing properties, such as increasing energy levels, soothing the nervous system, balancing out cortisol and testosterone levels, and more.

Golden Milk Latte
 
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Author:
Cuisine: Ayurvedic
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk, full fat (Thai Kitchen brand recommended)
  • 2 cups almond milk (or water or milk of choice)
  • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger or 3 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Ashwagandha powder (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch fresh black pepper, finely ground
  • generous pinch sea salt or Himalayan salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together all ingredients.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then turn to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. If using fresh ginger, transfer golden milk to a blender and blend until smooth. If you'd like your latte to be extra foamy, blend a little longer or use a milk frother.
  4. Serve warm with a sprinkle of ground cardamom.
Variations
  1. Try some different spices, such as nutmeg, allspice, or cloves.
  2. If you can't find cardamom, substitute with a large pinch of ground cloves.

Golden Milk Latte Spice Mix

Try making a large batch of the spice mixture in this recipe so that you can make single serving batches of golden milk latte with 1 rounded teaspoon spice mix, 1 cup of your favorite kind of milk, a dash of vanilla extract, and about 1 teaspoon sweetener of choice.

Here is a scaled up version of the spice mix that makes about 32 servings:

1/4 cup ground ginger
1/4 cup ground turmeric
2 tablespoons ground cardamom
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons Ashwagandha powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt

Store the spice mix in an airtight glass jar in the pantry (away from light and heat) and it should stay fresh for a month or two.

More Ayurvedic, vata-calming recipes on Cook Love Heal:

Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry (V, GF)

Quinoa Kitchadi with Vegetables, Turmeric, and Ginger

Coconut Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

 

Mediterranean Pasta with Broccolini, Artichokes, and Fresh Basil

photo of Mediterranean pasta with broccolini, artichokes, and fresh basil on white plate

Mediterranean Pasta Dish Full of Fresh Vegetables and Herbs

This Mediterranean pasta dish is loaded with fresh vegetables and herbs, like artichokes, zucchini, broccolini, tomatoes, fresh basil, and if you wish, olives or capers. If you’d like to make this into a complete meal, you can add some protein likes cooked chickpeas, cooked white beans, or chicken.

Winter Substitutions for Fresh Basil and Tomatoes

Although I often make Mediterranean Pasta with Broccolini, Artichokes, and Fresh Basil in the summertime when fresh tomatoes and basil are in season, it is also a nice holiday dish because of the vibrant colors. You can just substitute sun-dried tomatoes and parsley if tomatoes and basil aren’t available. Here is a brand of sun-dried tomatoes I like.

closeup photo of Mediterranean Pasta with broccolini, artichokes, and fresh basil

Italian Cooking Class at Con’ Olio this February

On February 5, 2020 I’ll be teaching an Italian coking class for Valentine’s. I hope you can make it! My cooking class calendar is listed here.

Mediterranean Pasta with Broccolini, Artichokes, and Fresh Basil
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces penne or bowtie pasta (Jovial brand GF variety recommended)
  • sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 1 cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and quartered
  • 1 bunch broccolini, stems and flowers, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), sliced or ½ cup baby tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas or cannellini beans or 1 cup cooked, cubed chicken (boneless breast or thighs)
  • spring or filtered water (if needed)
  • ½ cup fresh basil or parsley (chopped)
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, sliced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed (optional)
Instructions
  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil with ½ teaspoon sea salt. Add pasta and stir with a wooden spoon. Bring back to a boil, then turn to medium low and boil for recommended time on package (about 8-12 minutes). Test for doneness a little before you think it’s ready to prevent overcooking. Drain pasta in a colander and rinse with a little cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  2. Heat large sauté pan over medium heat for about a minute. Add olive oil, onion, and a generous pinch of sea salt. Sauté for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, zucchini, and artichokes and sauté a few minutes more.
  4. Add broccolini and sundried tomatoes and sauté about 1 minute, or until broccolini is bright green. If using fresh tomatoes, wait to add those in with the fresh basil.
  5. Add chickpeas or chicken and a splash of water, if needed, to prevent sticking.
  6. Add cooked pasta and gently stir to combine with vegetables.
  7. Turn off heat and garnish with fresh basil. Sprinkle with olives and/or capers if desired.
  8. Serve with a side salad.

 

pinterest photo of Mediterreanean pasta dish

Try some other Mediterranean/Italian recipes on my blog:

Fresh Arugula and Fig Salad with Citrus Dressing and Marcona Almonds

Italian Chickpea Soup with Fusilli Pasta

Raw and Grilled Zucchini Salad with Fresh Mint & Lemon

Caponata (Sicilian-style summer vegetables)

Almond-Orange Biscotti with Chocolate Drizzle

 

 

Wild Rice Pilaf with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Orange Balsamic Drizzle

wild rice pilaf with roasted vegetables in wooden bowl

Wild Rice Pilaf is a Nutrient-Dense Holiday Dish!

If you’re needing something to bring to a holiday party or have on hand for lunches, try this Wild Rice Pilaf with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Orange Balsamic Drizzle. It is nutrient-dense, plant-based side dish that is as delicious as it is beautiful.

Whenever November rolls around I am ready to make this dish. It is full of so many fall and winter ingredients that I look forward to having the whole year long!

Wild rice pilaf is hearty and flavorful with baby arugula and pecans added at the end for freshness and crunch. Serve as a side dish or spoon into baked acorn squash halves.

wild rice pilaf in acorn squash halves

What exactly is Wild Rice?

Wild rice is the fruit from a grass from the Zizania genus and is technically not related to rice. It was a traditional staple food of many Native Americans and was considered a gift from the Great Spirit. Read below an excerpt from Eden Foods’ story about wild rice.

Wild rice is not just a traditional food, or source of income for Native Americans. It is a gift from the Great Spirit, and a sacred component of their culture, honored in their ceremonies and embedded in their way of life. Wild rice stands are also a vital part of the ecology of thousands of lakes and rivers. As the grain ripens and during harvesting, some of the grain falls into the lakebeds, reseeding the beds for next year’s harvest. The rice stands provide a unique habitat for thousands of waterfowl, fish and other wildlife who rely on it as a food, and they are an important nesting haven.

Wild Rice Pilaf with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Orange Balsamic Drizzle
 
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Wild rice pilaf is hearty and flavorful with baby arugula and pecans added at the end for freshness and crunch. Serve as a side dish or spoon into baked acorn squash halves.
Author:
Recipe type: Holiday Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10-12 servings
Ingredients
Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pilaf
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup yellow or red onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
  • 3 cups water or vegetable stock
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 2 cups sweet potato, ½ inch cubes
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pecan pieces, toasted
Instructions
Vinaigrette
  1. In a medium bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together first 5 ingredients, then whisk in olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Set aside.
Pilaf
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F and line sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Heat medium saucepan with a lid over medium heat for a minute. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, celery, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt, and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Gently stir in wild rice being careful not to break the grains. Add water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover and turn to low. Let simmer for 45 minutes, then turn heat off and let sit with the lid on for 15 more minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, toss sweet potato cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Spread evenly on sheet pan and roast for 15 minutes, or until starting to brown. Turn sweet potatoes with a spatula halfway through to prevent burning. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  5. Place rice into a large bowl and toss with roasted sweet potatoes, baby arugula, parsley, dried cranberries, and toasted pecans. Plate wild rice pilaf on a platter or shallow bowl and drizzle with vinaigrette just before serving.

 

How to Make Variations on this Recipe

Feel free to vary the vegetables and nuts and use what you have on hand. I have tried this recipe with roasted cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccolini, and butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes and really loved it. Instead of pecans, you could use toasted pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) or walnuts. Let me know in the comments how you made yours or share a photo on Instagram with #cookloveheal tag.

wild rice pilaf wth roasted vegetables
Wild Rice Pilaf with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes, Broccolini, Carrots, and Cauliflower – I made this version without the dressing

Taking the time to make nourishing meals during the holidays will help to keep you and your loved ones healthy throughout the cold winter months. Here is a collection of healthy holiday recipes from my blog that I put together last year. Enjoy!

Roasted Veggie and Black Bean Tacos

photo of two roasted veggie and black bean tacos on corn tortillas

Tacos are a Great Anytime Meal!

Living in Texas the past 23 years has taught me one thing for sure… Tacos can be eaten any time of day, and they make an especially good breakfast! Roasted Veggie and Black Bean Tacos are nutrient-dense and plant-based, and loaded with flavorful veggies, so try them the next time you need a taco fix!

At our house we have tacos for breakfast more than any other time, but on weekdays they usually consist of some leftover beans, avocado, and cilantro. Sometimes we will sauté a little zucchini, mushrooms, or onion on the side. On the weekends, we get more elaborate and roast some veggies or make a homemade salsa.

Vary Your Toppings

Don’t worry about following the recipe exactly. Use whatever veggies you have on hand, such as yellow squash, butternut squash, sweet corn, or other kinds of mushrooms.  I also love to top my tacos with homemade ume pickles. The possibilities are endless!

Make a Big Batch of Beans

You can make a big pot of homemade black beans once a month and freeze the leftovers in quart-sized ziplock bags. Once a week, take out a bag to thaw and reheat it with a little olive oil and salt to freshen it up. Sub pinto beans for black beans if you prefer.

If using canned beans, I’d take the time to sauté some onions and garlic, add the beans (that have been drained and rinsed), season with some sea salt, add a little water, and simmer for about 10 minutes to let the flavors blend. Beans right out of the can have no taste and usually need to be softened up too.

photo of two roasted veggie and black bean tacos on corn tortillasPlease Pass the Salsa!

For me, salsa is optional. For others, a taco isn’t a taco without a spicy salsa! Here are some of my favorites if you’re into salsa!

No-Nightshade Verde Sauce

Salsa Doña, a creamy green salsa made with roasted jalapeños and garlic (inspired by my favorite Austin taco chain Tacodeli)

Classic Pico de Gallo, a chunky fresh salsa with tomatoes, onion, peppers, cilantro, and lime.

Cassava Tortillas are a Grain-Free Alternative

Have you tried Cassava tortillas? If you’re looking for a grain-free or corn-free tortilla, give them a try. There are at least 2 brands available in my area but I think the Siete brand Cassava tortillas are my favorite. They are much more expensive than corn tortillas but they are super delicious and will not break apart (tapioca flour makes them more pliable). Stock up when they go on sale and store extra packages in the freezer.

Roasted Veggie and Black Bean Tacos
 
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We love to make these tacos for breakfast in the fall and winter, but you can also serve them for lunch or dinner! Make extra veggies to have on hand at your next meal as a side or to make more tacos.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 tacos
Ingredients
  • 1 medium zucchini, small dice
  • 1 medium sweet potato, small dice
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • ½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked and seasoned black beans
  • 1 package non-GMO corn tortillas, El Milagro brand recommended
  • 2 ripe avocados, sliced or cubed
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line large sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, toss together zucchini, sweet potato, and sweet corn, drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Spread vegetables onto prepared sheet pan and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Toss veggies to make sure they cook evenly and return to the oven for 10 minutes more. Check again and remove from oven when edges are starting to turn golden brown. If you have too many veggies for one sheet pan, you can do them in batches.
  4. Place roasted veggies back into mixing bowl and mix in fresh cilantro. Cover and set aside.
  5. In a small to medium saucepan, heat up black beans with a tablespoon of olive oil. When black beans are soft, mash with a fork or potato masher. Add a little water if needed. Season with a little sea salt if needed.
  6. Heat a cast iron skillet (or nonstick skillet) over medium heat for about a minute. Add a few drops olive oil and place tortilla on hot skillet. Using a pancake spatula, flip tortilla every 10-15 seconds to heat up evenly on both sides. Remove to a plate or a tortilla warmer and make sure to cover with a clean towel or pot lid. Repeat with as many tortillas as you need for your meal, about 2 per person. Tortillas can also be kept warm in a 200 degree oven by placing in an ovenproof dish (like a pie plate) and keep covered with foil.
  7. At the table, pass around the tortillas and each person can fill their tacos with roasted veggies and avocado. Garnish with a squeeze of lime.
Variations
  1. Substitute some other vegetables, such as sweet corn, winter squash, red onion, or yellow squash.
  2. Add some fresh baby arugula or some finely shredded green cabbage on the top of each taco.
  3. Use pinto beans instead of black beans.
  4. Serve with cassava tortillas (Siete brand) if you prefer them to corn tortillas.

Share Your Roasted Veggie Tacos

Enjoy making your Roasted Veggie and Black Bean Tacos! Share your taco photos on Instagram with hashtag #cookloveheal so we can benefit from each other’s creative ideas.

Taco fixings set up to make tacos including yellow squash, corn, green beans, cilantro, guacamole, scrambled eggs, sauteed red onions, and pinto beans
Make Your Own Tacos Kids’ Cooking Class – Summer 2019

Coconut Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

Curry is a Great Post-Holiday Reset

When Thanksgiving has come and gone, try this flavorful Coconut Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry which will reset your digestion and put an end sugar cravings!

This one-pot meal is a crowd pleaser and reheats well. You can serve by itself or with some jasmine or basmati rice.

This Curry is Packed with Digestive Spices and Nutritious Vegetables

Coconut Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry is mildly spiced with fresh ginger, turmeric, cumin, and just a pinch of cayenne pepper, and is loaded wth vegetables, including sweet potatoes, onion, carrot, celery, and zucchini. Getting enough cooked sweet vegetables into your meals is important for stabilizing blood sugar and preventing the urge to grab for sweet treats after dinner.

Vary Your Ingredients to Make a Different Curry Each Time

One reason I love this recipe is that you can vary the vegetables – use butternut or kabocha squash instead of sweet potato, broccolini instead of zucchini, leeks instead of onion, and so on. Use what you have on hand to make a unique version of this recipe until waiting until you have every single ingredient to start making it!

Also, consider leaving the chickpeas out if you want a vegetable curry to go alongside baked chicken. Just substitute an extra cup or two of vegetables.

Coconut Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Curry
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups sweet potato, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1-2 cups cooked chickpeas (with cooking
  • broth, if homemade)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or water
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 cups lacinato or curly kale, destemmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add coconut oil and sauté onion, carrots, and celery with a generous pinch of salt for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add sweet potato, zucchini, garlic, ginger, spices, chickpeas, and vegetable stock. Simmer about 5 minutes, then add coconut milk.
  3. Season with a teaspoon sea salt and a few grinds black pepper.
  4. Add kale (if using), bring back to a gentle boil, then simmer until vegetables are fork tender.
  5. Add a little more sea salt and black pepper to taste.
  6. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.
  7. Serve with fresh jasmine rice or quinoa.

Coconut and Sweet Potato Curry at yoga retreat I catered this fall.

 

Another slightly different version of the curry with different proportions of vegetables.

Some other curry recipes to try:

Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry (V, GF)

Indian Cauliflower and Green Pea Curry

 

Summer Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Lemon-White Balsamic Vinaigrette

arugula, fennel, and nectarine salad on fancy white plate

Summer Salads Are Cooling

It is mid-August and the weather is hot in Austin, Texas! We make a salad at least once a day to help us stay cool. We are in love with Summer Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Lemon-White Balsamic Vinaigrette as it is cooling, crunchy, and full of flavor!

Summer Nectarine and Arugula Salad Goes Well with Italian Menu

This summer arugula salad was born the other night when we were having a friend over for dinner and needed something to go with baked white fish and butternut squash risotto. In the fridge we had some baby arugula, baby tomatoes, a little fresh fennel, fresh basil and mint, and a lemon.

As I put the salad ingredients together, I saw a nectarine ripening on the counter, and wondered if it would go with the other ingredients. It turns out it was the perfect complement to the basil and mint, and the sweetness of the nectarine balanced out the bitterness of the arugula.

The third time I made this salad I added some organic feta cheese which made it look extra beautiful. If you’d prefer, you could put some toasted sliced almonds, pistachios, pecans, or homemade croutons on top of the salad instead of the cheese.

fennel and nectarine salad on fancy white plate

Add Fresh Herbs to Arugula Salads for Flavor

In addition to arugula greens, this salad has fresh basil and mint. The herbs on my back porch are doing great, thanks to daily watering and a burlap shade structure (from Costco) my husband hung over part of the deck. It’s just enough to block some of the harshest sun in the afternoon.

Lemon-White Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the dressing, I used a white balsamic vinegar to go along with some lemon juice and olive oil to make a simple vinaigrette. But feel free to use any high quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil combination you like. I think a dark balsamic would work well here, as would a flavored white balsamic vinegar like lemongrass-mint or peach. I especially like the balsamic varieties at Con’ Olio. The sweetness of the dressing helps to balance out the bitterness of the arugula.

Summer Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Lemon-White Balsamic Vinaigrette
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: New American
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 5 ounces baby arugula (about 5-6 handfuls)
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or sliced
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, sliced
  • zest of 1 or 2 lemons (yellow part only)
  • 2 nectarines, pitted and sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes, halved
Dressing
  • juice of 2 lemons (~6 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions
Salad
  1. In a large prep bowl, toss together arugula, fennel, basil, mint, and lemon zest.
  2. Using tongs, lightly dress salad with some of the lemon-white balsamic vinaigrette (below).
  3. Place salad onto individual salad plates or one large salad bowl or platter.
  4. Decorate the salad with nectarines and tomatoes. Drizzle with a little extra dressing, if desired.
Dressing
  1. Whisk together lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil (drizzle in slowly), a couple large pinches of sea salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
Variations
  1. Add some crumbled feta cheese, cubed fresh mozzarella, or some kind of toasted nut (sliced almonds, pistachios, or pecans) to the top of the salad along with the nectarines and tomatoes.

Other Summer Salads from Cook Love Heal

Raw and Grilled Zucchini Salad with Fresh Mint & Lemon

Baby Arugula Salad with Berries and Lemongrass Mint Vinaigrette

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

 

Fresh Arugula and Fig Salad with Citrus Dressing and Marcona Almonds

 

Bon appétit!

Raw and Grilled Zucchini Salad with Fresh Mint & Lemon

Raw and grilled zucchini salad with fresh mint and lemon

The other night we were having friends over for dinner and I needed to make something quick and easy to go with butternut squash risotto and grilled portobellos.

I remembered this Raw and Grilled Zucchini Salad from a class I taught at Con Olio this spring that is really fresh, tasty, and quick to make. It’s the perfect salad for your menu when you have extra zucchini and tomatoes on hand– maybe you are experiencing this right now!

You won’t need a fancy spiralizer for the raw zucchini. Just use a simple vegetable peeler to make wide strips. Cut them to whatever length you’d like, or leave them long. They will wilt a little bit once dressing is added.

Feel free to experiment with other simple dressings like a balsamic vinaigrette using a white or traditional dark balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.

Raw and Grilled Zucchini Salad with Fresh Mint & Lemon
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegan/Vegetarian
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 2½ pounds mixed zucchini and yellow summer squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, torn
  • 1 cup Italian parsley, destemmed
  • 2 cups baby tomatoes, halved
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted
Dressing
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Light a grill or preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Using a wide vegetable peeler, thinly slice one-third of the zucchini and summer squash into ribbons, set aside in a medium bowl and refrigerate.
  3. Slice remaining zucchini and summer squash into ¼-inch diagonals or rounds and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill zucchini and squash over high heat until lightly charred, 5 minutes (or roast on a sheet pan for 15-20 minutes, turning zucchini halfway. Return to the large bowl.
  5. Add the squash ribbons, mint, parsley, and tomatoes and toss.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Toss the dressing with all of the salad ingredients. Serve on salad plates and garnish with toasted pine nuts.

I hope you love making the Raw and Grilled Zucchini Salad!

Here are some quick links to some other summery salad recipes on cookloveheal.com:

Baby Arugula Salad with Berries and Lemongrass Mint Vinaigrette

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

 

Fresh Arugula and Fig Salad with Citrus Dressing and Marcona Almonds

Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew-Dill Dressing

Bon appétit!

 

Caponata (Sicilian-style summer vegetables)

Bursting with fresh summer flavors, Caponata is one of my favorite dishes to make when eggplant, tomatoes, and basil come into season.

I first tasted Caponata at a class on Italian side dishes at Cook Like An Italian led by Monica Pesoli. She cooked each main ingredient separately, then simmered them together with white wine vinegar and fresh herbs. Caponata is full of distinct flavors that go perfectly together.

More recently, I’ve been going through Lidia Bastianich’s 2017 cookbook Lidia’s Celebrate Like An Italian and discovered her Caponata recipe. The recipe below is based on the one in her book. You can serve it as a side dish (warm or chilled) or as an appetizer (after it is cooled, chop into small pieces and serve on crostini).

Caponata (Sicilian Style Summer Vegetables)
 
Caponata is the perfect Italian dish to make when eggplant, tomatoes, and fresh basil are in season. Enjoy as a side dish (warm or chilled) or appetizer (chopped and served on crostini).
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium eggplant, ½ inch cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, ½ inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, peeled, seeded, cut into ½ inch squares
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup pitted green olives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons organic sugar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat large sauté pan over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add ¼ cup olive oil, then add eggplant in a single layer. You can do two batches if all of the eggplant does not fit in a single layer. Sauté eggplant, letting it turn golden brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large prep bowl.
  2. Add remaining ¼ cup olive oil, and repeat with zucchini. Remove zucchini with a slotted spoon (to leave oil in the pan) to the bowl with the eggplant.
  3. Add onion and celery to the pan and sauté about 5 minutes.
  4. Add red bell pepper, raisins, olives, capers, pine nuts, sea salt, and red pepper flakes and sauté until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, white wine vinegar, and sugar (if using). Simmer until liquid has evaporated and tomatoes are well incorporated.
  6. Add fresh herbs and toss together.

 

 

The last few summer menus I made with caponata included:

  • Wild salmon, polenta, caponata, and grilled broccolini
  • Pacific rock cod with capers and white wine sauce, risotto, caponata, and caprese salad
  • Ocean perch with white wine sauce, basmati rice, caponata, and caprese salad

Photo of eggplant dish caponataPhoto of Italian meal with caponata

Some other summertime dishes you may want to try:

Provençal Vegetable Soup with Tomato-Basil Pesto (Soupe Au Pistou)

Grilled Halibut in Cedar Wraps

Baby Arugula Salad with Berries and Lemongrass Mint Vinaigrette

Asian Mushroom Lettuce Wraps (V, GF, soy-free)

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

 

Summertime Buckwheat Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing

 

Buon appetito!

 

Pistachio and Rose Petal Coconut Ice Cream (vegan, GF)

Photo of pistachio and rose petal coconut ice cream

Coconut ice cream is a delicious non-dairy dessert

Pistachio and rose petal coconut ice cream is a non-dairy treat that is easy to make. All you need is a blender and an ice cream maker. In addition, this sweet and cooling dessert is the perfect ending to a spicy Thai or Indian meal.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pistachio and Rose Petal Coconut Ice Cream (vegan, GF)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (115 g) palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • 2 cans coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 cup pistachios, toasted (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon dried rose petals or rosebuds
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom seed
Instructions
  1. Place ice cream maker canister in the freezer 1-2 days before making ice cream.
  2. Heat sugar and 1 can coconut milk on low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a blender, combine sugar mixture, second can of coconut milk, pistachios, rose water, and almond extract until smooth. This is your ice cream base. Refrigerate mixture for several hours or overnight.
  4. Set up ice cream maker (make sure paddle is inside the canister) and pour the chilled ice cream base into the canister. Turn on the ice cream maker and freeze until volume has doubled and it has a texture similar to soft serve. This will take about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Place ice cream into a quart-sized plastic deli tub or gelato container. Put in the freezer if you are not going to eat immediately.
  6. When ready to serve, set ice cream container out on the counter for about 5-10 minutes before trying to scoop it into bowls. Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of dried rose petals, cardamom, and pistachios.
Note:
  1. Instead of garnishing with rose petals try drizzling with pomegranate syrup. It's delicious!

Sourcing ingredients

Coconut milk- I prefer to use Native Forest or Whole Foods 365 brand full-fat coconut milk for taste, fat content, and texture.

Rose water is available at Mediterranean and Middle Eastern markets. I get the Corta brand of Rosewater from Phoenicia bakery in Austin.

Cardamom- If you are able to find whole cardamom pods, lightly crush the pods, remove the seeds, and grind to a coarse powder in a mortar and pestle. Otherwise, you can use pre-ground cardamom. It will be much finer than that you grind yourself, so you won’t need much when sprinkling on for garnish.

Dried rosebuds- I used dried rose buds from the bulk section at my local food coop. However, you can make your own dried rose petals if you grow your own roses that are not sprayed with chemicals. A couple of days in advance, place your rose petals in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Let petals air dry until they are dehydrated.

Enjoy!

Try some other vegan and gluten-free dessert recipes on my blog:

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Truffles (vegan, gluten-free)

Chocolate Coco Truffles

Winter Fruit Salad with Pomegranate and Coconut

 

Almond-Orange Biscotti with Chocolate Drizzle

Gluten Free and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

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