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Fettuccine Faux-Fredo

As I have shown on my site, I try to lead the way on experimenting in the kitchen, trying to figure out new ways to make healthy versions of not-so-healthy classics. Sometimes we get stuck on milk and cheese and butter as the only ways to make something velvety and creamy. But cannellini beans are a surprisingly buttery and creamy substitute! Without the fat and cholesterol of heavy dairy, they’re also loaded with fiber and nutrients. Ummm… perfecto!  

This fettucine faux-fredo uses cannellini beans (or you can use white beans) as the base of the sauce, and I also added tons of extra flavor with nutritional yeast, a little parmesan, garlic, and herbs. Cannellini beans are full of antioxidants, they're rich in fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins. They're a great vegetarian protein option, and they have a buttery mild flavor. How about the fact that almost everyone has a can hiding in their pantry? Easy peasy my friends!

This recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make and is a great go-to weeknight meal when you're busy but still want something healthy and yummy to eat. Making extra is a must, as pureed beans can last a few days in the fridge. Just be sure to add more water if the sauce gets too thick the following day. Heat up with a fresh batch of pasta and you're all set!

FETTUCCINE FAUX-FREDO
Serves 4

  • 1 lb. gluten free brown rice fettuccine, or your favorite type of fettucine
  • 2 cans low sodium cannellini beans (or white beans)
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender, bout 10-11 minutes, or as directed on the package. Once cooked, reserve a few cups of the water the pasta has cooked in, then drain the pasta and set aside.

To make the sauce, rinse and drain 2 cans of low sodium cannellini beans. Peel 4 cloves of garlic.

Once your ingredients are prepped, to a high-powered blender or food processor, add the drained beans, 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock, 4 cloves of garlic, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon oregano. Puree the mixture until a smooth sauce forms.

Pour the sauce into a large pan over medium heat. Make sure the pan is big enough to hold the pasta and the sauce, as you will add the pasta to the pan. Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water to the sauce. Heat the sauce until it is bubbly and thick, and the flavors come together, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce. Toss well and make sure all of the pasta is covered. If you need to thin the sauce, you can add more of the reserved pasta water.

Plate the pasta and generously garnish with flat leaf parsley. 

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Polenta Tots

Tots served with baked crusted fish. You can find the full recipe  here .   Photo by   Vanessa Stump .

Tots served with baked crusted fish. You can find the full recipe herePhoto by Vanessa Stump.

I know most of you reading this post are above the age of 7, but come on! Who doesn't love a tot? Anything mini and bite-sized is somehow always satisfying. They may be tasty, but traditional tater tots have way too much sodium and oil and definitely don't have much nutritional value. I was trying to think of fun twists on the classic tater tot, and I came up with these polenta tots. Polenta is an inexpensive product, and contains B vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin E. While it is starchy and should be eaten in moderation, it's a great alternative to heavy potato-based side dishes. 

These polenta tots are easy to make, and they are always a crowd pleaser... especially for little guys. You can serve them along with breaded and baked fish or chicken, or on their own with a fun dip (how about warm marinara?) for a fun afternoon snack or party appetizer!  

POLENTA TOTS

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 18-ounce sleeve organic polenta, cut into 1-inch rounds, and then diced into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup liquid egg whites
  • ¾ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Lightly spray the foil with olive oil spray.

Cut the polenta into 1-inch thick rounds, and then cut each round into bite-sized squares, roughly the size of tater tots.

Add the cut polenta tots to a bowl. Add ¼ cup of liquid egg whites to the tots, and toss until the polenta is well coated. Add ¾ of a cup of finely grated Parmesan and a pinch of black pepper to the polenta, and gently toss until the polenta is coated in cheese.  

Place the coated polenta bites onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake the polenta for 12 minutes, or until firm and golden brown.

Evette and I try out the polenta tots on set!

Evette and I try out the polenta tots on set!

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Tuna Tartare With Avocado And Baked Wonton Chips

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Sometimes we all need to treat ourself to a classy plate of food.  When I'm in the mood for a special treat that's loaded with healthy fat and brain boosting omega-3's, I go no further than tuna tartare. This tuna tartare is made even better with the addition of creamy avocado and crunchy wonton chips.  Don't let the word "chips" fool you... these wontons are lightly coated with coconut oil spray, and they are baked instead of fried. You get the same satisfying crunch as a fried wonton, but without all the excess oil, fat, and calories. 

This recipe couldn't be easier. The trickiest part is not eating the tuna straight out of the mixing bowl before you get it onto the plate to serve to your guests.

Tuna Tartare with Avocado and Baked Wonton Chips

Serves 2-4

  • 3/4 lb. grade A tuna, about 1.5 inches thick, diced in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon or 10 sprays of liquid aminos
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, white or black
  • 5 wonton wrappers
  • coconut oil spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chia seeds

Special Equipment: one 2-3 inch ring mold

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Start by dicing your fresh Grade A tuna steak in half, lengthwise.  Dice the two halves so that you have small, bite-sized pieces of tuna.

In a bowl, add your tuna, liquid aminos, and sesame oil.  Let the tuna marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  

In a separate bowl, add your diced avocado, finely diced jalapeno, flaxseed oil, and freshly grated ginger.   Gently mix everything together; be careful not to break up your avocado too much.

Cut 5 wonton wrappers in half diagonally so that you have 10 wonton triangles in total.  Place the wonton triangles on a baking sheet. Spray each side of the wonton with coconut oil spray.  Sprinkle the wontons with a dash of ground cumin, followed by a dash of chia seeds.  Place the wontons in the oven for 3-4 minutes, take them out and flip each wonton over.  Bake the wontons for another 3-4 minutes until they are brown and crispy on both sides. Watch them carefully as they bake; they can burn easily.  

To assemble the tuna tartar, start by placing a ring mold in your serving dish.  Place the avocado mixture in the bottom of the mold, and top with the tuna. Sprinkle the top of the tuna with sesame seeds.  Lift the ring mold up and you will be left with a perfect mound of avocado and tuna.  Repeat the process, and use the rest of the avocado, tuna, and sesame seeds.  Serve with the baked wonton chips.

Enjoy scooping up each delicious bite!

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