Asparagus Gazpacho // Detox Soup

Maybe because Summer is upon us and the weather is warming up, but I've been craving a super healthy cold soup. This is a raw food soup (minus the blanching of the asparagus) that is so clean simple and yet full of flavor. 

The combination of asparagus, sea salt, lemon and avocado is just heaven. Put that in a bowl and I'll eat it for lunch all week. 

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Every few weeks I let my system take a break from overly cooked foods or packaged goods. I like to eat live, raw, vibrant foods all day and then a heavier (maybe cooked) dinner later in the day.  It helps me feel so much lighter, cleaner, happier and more energetic. 

This dish is perfect for those light lunches. If you must have something with a bit more texture or heartiness, then add some cooked quinoa or maybe some flax crackers. 

I read something really interesting about asparagus awhile ago. It was a really interesting fact:

Recent research has underscored the value of careful storage and speedy consumption of fresh asparagus. The key scientific finding here involves respiration rate. Like all vegetables, asparagus doesn't instantly "die" when it is picked, but instead, continues to engage in metabolic activity. This metabolic activity includes intake of oxygen, the breaking down of starches and sugars, and the releasing of carbon dioxide. The speed at which these processes occur is typically referred to as "respiration rate." Compared to most other vegetables, asparagus has a very high respiration rate. At 60 milligrams of carbon dioxide release per hour per 100 grams of food (at a refrigerator temperature of 41°F), this rate is five times greater than the rate for onions and potatoes; three times greater than the rate for lettuce and tomato; and twice as great as the rate for cauliflower and avocado. Asparagus' very high respiration rate makes it more perishable than its fellow vegetables, and also much more likely to lose water, wrinkle, and harden. By wrapping the ends of the asparagus in a damp paper or cloth towel, you can help offset asparagus' very high respiration rate during refrigerator storage. Along with this helpful step, you will want to consume asparagus within approximately 48 hours of purchase.

Click here to read more about the health benefits of asparagus.

I topped the recipe with radishes for color and for texture. Radishes are also as nutritious (super high in vitamin C) as they are beautiful. I love radishes as garnish or texture for all kinds of dishes including salads, quinoa, rice dishes, soups and so on. Try dipping them in vegan ranch dressing or salt and enjoy raw. 

This soup is also great as an appetizer before a great big starchy meal - like pasta or rice. 

ASPARAGUS + AVOCADO GAZPACHO RECIPE 

yields 3 small cups of soup or 1 large bowl

INGREDIENTS

1 bunch/bundle or 1 lb asparagus (white/tough bottoms removed) 

1 whole avocado

1/2 tsp sea salt 

1 tsp vegetable bouillon 

1 small lemon, juice only

1 cucumber, chopped

1 handful watercress

1/4 cup shallots, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)

DIRECTIONS

+ Put the asparagus into a skillet with about 1/2 inch of water (don't forget to cut the tough ends off each asparagus stalk). Once the water gets hot/boils, it only takes about 2 minutes for the asparagus to cook (blanch). Then you'll want to quickly "shock" the stalks by putting them a large bowl of icy cold water (this keeps the color very vivid as well).

+ Drain and add the asparagus into a blender with the rest of ingredients.

+ Blend until smooth.

+ Garnish with olive oil, sea salt, pepper and watercress or chopped radishes. 

+ Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Kirantarun blog

If you make this recipe, please post it on Instagram or tweet it. I'd love to see it and hear your thoughts. Please tag #puremamas or @JuliNovotny in your post or tweet. 

Leave comments if you have anything to say or ask. I'd love to chat about it. 

Most importantly...enjoy and cheers to good health! 

xoxo

Juli

 

 

 

Kale Herb Salad + Spicy Tahini Dressing

Things have been so busy around here. There is something about being busy that not only results in my not eating enough hearty meals but sometimes not eating enough food in general, which is bad because as we health foodies know - the more food the BETTER when it comes to health. More food equals MORE nutrients for the body. 

Too much cereal or candy or dessert or meat might not be considered a healthy thing; but lots and lots of vibrant green veggies and fresh fruit is crucial when you're on a plant heavy diet. Needless to say, stress and not eating, makes me CRAVE kale. Kale is so healthy and full of antioxidants and fiber. It's dark color says it all. 

Herbs are also full of interesting health benefits and are one of my favorite additions to just about any meal - salads, tacos, fruit bowls, acai bowls, sandwiches, scrambles, thai food, fajitas, you name it.  

Kale is always best pre-marinated and chopped super fine. I love marinating a whole head of kale in juice of half a lemon juice and a Tbsp of olive oil. Just massage the mixture into the kale leaves and let it sit - either on the countertop at room temp for an hour or in the fridge. This softens the kale takes away the bitter overly crunchy taste and texture. 

When I'm really hungry I add rice. This time I added black rice. A little extra dressing is all you need when you add the rice to this salad. If you're not feeling as hungry just go for a chopped salad instead. 

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KALE HERB SALAD RECIPE

yields 2 large salads

INGREDIENTS

1 head dark kale, finely chopped and marinated (see notes above)

1 carrot, julienne peeled

1/3 large cucumber julienne peeled

3 cups arugula

2-3 Tbsp basil, finely chopped

2-3 Tbsp mint, finely chopped

2-3 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

3 Tbsp shallots, finely chopped

toasted sesame seeds

2 cups cooked black rice (optional)

DIRECTIONS

+ In a large salad bowl combine all chopped ingredients.

+ Dress the salad with the spicy maple tahini dressing (recipe below)

Spicy Maple Tahini Dressing

yields 1/3 cup dressing

INGREDIENTS

3 Tbsp roasted tahini 

3 Tbsp tamari

2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

1 tsp hot chili sesame oil

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp maple syrup 

handful of mint leaves

DIRECTIONS

+ Blend all of the ingredients listed above in a high speed blender until creamy and smooth. 

+ Serve immediately. 

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If you enjoyed this recipe please share it on instagram. I'd love to hear your feedback and see all your wonderful photos. #puremamas on twitter or instagram. I'd love if you liked PureMamas on Facebook as well. 

Happy weekending!

xoxo - Juli

Making Acai Bowls at Home

Acai bowls are kind of all-the-rage right now. Acai is emerging as an incredible superfood - from Brazil - and breakfast staple. It's a food crazy I'm personally excited about because it's a healthy one (as opposed to donuts and cupcakes). 

My version of the acai bowl doesn't include Sambazon; instead it's a frozen creation that uses acai powder of choice. But of course, if you have Sambazon frozen already and don't want to invest in the powder form, then go ahead and sub that. 

I also post the recipe on my instagram account a few weeks ago which is something I do from time to time, so let's connect on Instagram as well. 

I'm also on snapchat as puremamas - and there I talk about what I'm eating and fun healthy plant-based food tips. Last week was kale - how to best store it with lemon juice, etc. 

The best part of these bowls are the toppings. I love to add whatever is in season and most fresh at the time. But you can add:

kiwis

bananas

berries

mango

guava

cinnamon

vanilla

coconut sugar

granola

coconut

pineapple

papaya

etc.

I recommend berries right now. They are so sweet and perfect. 

Acai Bowl Base Recipe

yields 1 large bowl or 2 smaller ones

Ingredients

2 frozen really ripe large bananas

1/2 cup any other frozen fruit

1/2 cup water or almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup acai powder + Tbsp more

Garnish

granola of choice

fruit, chopped

coconut shreds, etc. 

Directions

+ In a high speed blender, add frozen bananas, fruit and liquid of choice. Blend until bananas are totally smooth. 

+ Add vanilla and acai powder. Blend again. You'll have to use a spatula to scrape the sides a few times. It will be a thick mixture. 

+ Pour acai mixture into a large bowl.  Sprinkle with toppings/garnish of choice. I used Purely Elizabeth's gluten-free granola. 

+ It's nice to add a little protein to this as well like hemp seeds or a even a protein powder can be added for added calories and nutrition. 

Enjoy this and I hope it becomes a staple for your family as well. 

If you make it and enjoy it, please leave a comment; I'd really appreciate it. Or better yet take a pic and tag me in it over on Instagram or Facebook. #PureMamas

 

 

Microbiomes + Probiotics + Skin Health

Probiotics are a huge rage right now. Whole Foods Market experts call it a "Culture Craze": whether shoppers are seeking gut health or go-for-it flavor, fermented foods and probiotics are growing like good bacteria – and they’re not just for hippies anymore. Fiery picks like kimchi and gochujang will continue to gain steam, while innovative options like chiogga beet kraut and non-dairy tonics will add variety. 

SweetGreen's {vegan} Umami Bowl

I have been talking so much lately about my pet peeve when dining out: the only vegan options are "we can leave off the cheese". That's true, if the cheese is the only part that's not vegan, then just leave it off the dish. But I'm sure the dish was created with that cheese in mind; taking it away would ruin the essence of the entire dish. 

That being said, I often eat vegetarian at restaurants because otherwise the food doesn't taste that great. My dream would be for almost every restaurant to have just one dish on the menu that catered to vegans; I would be awesome to see a cashew cheese or a special avocado dressing or a faux meat option that was made for those not eating meat or dairy. One day my dream will come true. 

But thankfully, for now, at least some restaurants are on top of this and do care about their vegan customers. sweetgreen's has a new Spring Menu which includes a dairy and meat free Umami Grain Bowl that is designed just for us dairy- and meat-free eaters. Hooray!

Even more exciting - they are sharing this fun recipe with us here today. You can get creative on how you roast your mushrooms and tofu. And of course you can play around with the bowl ingredients as well. One of my favorite things is mixing cooked/roasted with raw for variety of textures and flavors (super fresh and early with more oily and rich/salty). Try adding some toasted nuts if you feel up to it as well. 

UMAMI GRAIN BOWL

organic quinoa + farro

swiss chard

pea shoots

roasted mushrooms

red onion

spicy sunflower seeds

roasted organic tofu

miso ginger sesame dressing (below)

Chop everything into a bowl and add the miso sesame dressing. 

Miso Sesame Ginger Dressing Recipe

Ingredients

2 Tbsp Sweet White Miso Paste

2 Tbsp Tamari or Soy Sauce

1 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar

½ tsp Sesame Oil

¼ cup Warm Water

2 Tbsp Mirin

1 Thumb Sized Piece of Ginger, Peeled and Minced 1

Garlic Clove, Smashed and Minced

Directions

Combine all of these ingredients in a blender, blend on low until smooth, and increase speed to medium while adding: ½ cup Grape Seed Oil Taste this and make adjustments to your own taste.

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