Cucumber Melon Mint Smoothie - The Clean Gourmet

Cucumber Melon Mint Smoothie

Cucumber is actually a melon so, technically, the name is redundant, but no one probably cares.  I love a good theme, and cucumber and cantaloupe fit the melon theme perfectly.

I love cantaloupe (like other melons) for smoothies because its mellow sugar and flavor let you still appreciate a good homemade nut milk, while the low acidity makes for a super creamy smoothie that could almost pass off as a milkshake.

If you can’t have dairy, sub the yogurt with coconut cream.  You can either buy a can of it or open a can of regular coconut milk and scoop out the solids (a.k.a. the cream) that have separated from the liquid.

Note: If your cantaloupe and cucumber aren’t frozen, I recommend adding a few cubes of ice or frozen nut milk.

Cucumber Melon Mint Smoothie

Serves 1-2 


⅔ cup nut milk (I love almond sesame milk from scratch for this smoothie) or grass fed cow’s milk

1 ½ cups cantaloupe chunks (ideally frozen)

½ medium cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks (ideally frozen)

1 teaspoon cold milled flaxseed

4 fresh mint leaves

½ teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder

⅓ cup yogurt or 1/4 cup coconut cream

1 Medjool date

Optional: 1 scoop protein powder (I use Tera’s Whey Grass Fed Plain)

What to do:

Place all ingredients in blender and run at high speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Serve immediately.


Greek Summer Vegetable Gratin - The Clean Gourmet

Greek Style Summer Vegetable Gratin (Plus a Bonus: Greek Style Lemon Potatoes)

I live in a very Greek neighborhood of Queens, but rarely go out to eat.  That’s not to say I’m not piqued by what I see in the specialized grocery stores in my area.  Seasonal produce, an entire wall of olive oils, SIXTEEN kinds of fresh feta, and ready meals that are not fried chicken and mushy macaroni salad, name a few examples.

This is usually a quick mid-week dinner, served alongside sautéed broccoli rabe or a simple salad with oregano and red wine vinaigrette.  However, if we want something heartier, I’ll also make some classic Greek style lemon potatoes.  Bonus! I’ve included said recipe below- no photo, but trust me, they’re delish😉.

Greek Style Summer Vegetable Gratin

Serves 3-4


⅓ cup quinoa (or ½ pound ground lamb, turkey, or beef for grain free/high protein version)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¾ tsp sweet paprika

¼ tsp ground allspice (ground clove is a good substitute)

¼ teaspoon crushed coriander

¼ teaspoon dried dill

⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper (I do about 6 turns on a pepper mill)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 small/medium yellow onion, small dice

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into rounds (cut on the bias if your carrots are skinny)

⅓ cup vegetable or chicken broth

14.5 oz can tomato sauce

1 tsp honey

2 medium zucchini or summer squash

1 small eggplant (I like white, Japanese, or Italian varieties)

Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped

For the topping:

2 eggs

½ cup grated Parmesan

⅔ cup 2% Greek yogurt

A few grinds black pepper

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook quinoa in 2/3 cup water with a pinch of salt.  If using meat, brown in a pan with a bit of oil over medium/high heat until fully cooked, breaking it up with a heat resistant spatula or wooden spoon as it cooks.  Scoop out with slotted spoon and set aside.

Assemble spices (salt, cinnamon, paprika, allspice, coriander, dill, black pepper) in a small bowl or cup and set aside.

Meanwhile, sauté carrots, onion and garlic with olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Once soft, add spices and sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add broth, zucchini, and eggplant, cover and simmer on medium for 10 minutes.

While the zucchini and eggplant cook, mix eggs, Parmesan, yogurt, and black pepper for topping in a small/medium bowl and set aside.

Add tomatoes, cooked quinoa (or meat), and honey and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, covered, until vegetables are just tender.

Pour into casserole dish and spread yogurt topping over stew.  (If your pan is oven safe, skip a step and pour the yogurt topping right over stew in the pan you’re cooking in.)

Place in preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes, until topping is set.  Sprinkle with a generous amount of parsley and serve.

Inspired by:

Greek Style Lemon Potatoes


2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthwise

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss all ingredients together in a baking dish and bake one hour, or until potatoes are fork tender.



Baharat Spiced Lamb and Sorghum Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers - The Clean Gourmet

Spiced Lamb and Sorghum Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers

Sorghum is a gluten free grain that has yet to gain in popularity, but should be.  It’s a round grain that looks a lot like Israeli cous cous and has a mild enough flavor that it makes a seamless whole grain alternative.  Sorghum does take a while to cook, so I recommend soaking it overnight, like you would beans, before cooking.  If you have a pressure cooker, use it to prepare perfectly tender sorghum in a fraction of the time.

Of course, if you’re not into exotic ingredients or can’t conveniently access sorghum, cous cous or rice will sub just fine in this recipe.  But PLEASE, try the sorghum!  Like most things, you can buy it online.


Since I cannot stand wasting food, I macerated the tomato guts with a bit of balsamic vinegar and salt to make a dressing/topping for a side salad, along with some ribbons of zucchini, which is so abundant this time of year🙂.

Spiced Lamb and Sorghum Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers

Serves 4-6


4 bell peppers, cut vertically in half, gutted and blanched 3 minutes in boiling water

4 beefsteak tomatoes, tops removed and gutted

1 cup sorghum, soaked overnight (or 2 cups cooked Isreali cous cous or rice are fine substitutes)

1.5 pounds ground lamb

½ medium red onion

2 cloves garlic

1 bunch broccoli rabe, well cleaned and roughly chopped

1 ¾ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon Cinnamon

1 tablespoon Ground cumin

1 tablespoon Baharat spice mix

½ teaspoon Garlic powder

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped

Panko mix:

⅔ cup panko

1.5 tablespoons harissa paste or 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

Zest of 1 lemon

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Prepare a baking dish with oil or parchment.  Arrange tomatoes and peppers in the dish, hollow side up.

Cook sorghum in boiling water 40 minutes, until tender, and drain. (I like to use a pressure cooker at 10.5 psi for 9 minutes.)

Brown lamb in skillet, breaking up with a wooden spoon.  Remove meat with a slotted spoon into a medium bowl and set aside.  Discard grease, but do not wash out the pan.

Add onion and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes, then add garlic and broccoli rabe and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.  Season with salt, cumin, and baharat.  Add lamb, sun-dried tomatoes, and parsley.

Combine panko mix ingredients in a small bowl.  Stuff peppers and tomatoes with lamb mixture and top with panko.

Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.


Pasta with Leek, Pancetta, and Cashew Cream - The Clean Gourmet

Pasta with Leek, Pancetta, and Cashew Cream (Dairy Free)

This is one of the easiest things I make- easily done in 20 minutes, start to finish.  It’s pretty, too.

Instead of dairy cream I make a quick cashew cream.  The cashews can be soaked in cool water during the hours while at work, ready to go by dinnertime.  Otherwise, soak them for for 20-30 minutes in very hot water for times when planning ahead doesn’t work out.  Unlike almond milk/cream, cashew cream does not need to be strained, so it’s really just a matter of throwing soaked cashews in a blender with a bit of water and running it on high.

Try to find the thinly sliced big rounds of pancetta, otherwise just use prosciutto.  You really want those satisfying bites of umami scattered in your bowl, not the minced up pancetta that’ll just blend in with everything else.

As with any nut based sauce, cashew cream thickens with time, so if you’re making this knowing it’s going to sit for a bit before being enjoyed, add a little more of the broth at the end than is called for, up to 1/2 a cup.

Pasta with Leek, Pancetta, and Cashew Cream

Serves 2


½ cup cashews

⅔ pound pasta (I used Jovial brown rice casarecce)

½ tablespoon olive oil

½ tablespoon butter (or neutral oil, such as avocado oil, for 100% dairy free version)

1 medium/large leek, white part only, small dice

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 ounces thin pancetta rounds or thinly sliced prosciutto

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)

¼ cup broth or water

Salt and black pepper

Fresh thyme or chervil, to serve

What to do:

Make cashew cream:

Soak cashews in cool water for 2-5 hours (or 20-30 minutes in hot water if you haven’t planned ahead).  Drain cashews and blend on high setting with 1 cup water and ⅛ teaspoon salt.  Set aside.

Prepare the pasta:

Bring salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions.

In a medium pot or high sided sauté pan, sweat leeks and garlic in olive oil/butter mix over medium heat.  Try to avoid any browning.

Reduce heat to low and add pancetta/prosciutto to pot, twirling them so they cook up into little bundles.

Add cooked and drained pasta, cashew cream, salt, black pepper, and lemon juice to pan with leeks and prosciutto.

Remove pan from heat, taste, and adjust for salt and pepper.  Loosen sauce with broth or water and finish with fresh thyme or chervil just before serving.



Creamy (Creamless) Summer Corn Soup

This soup is a celebration of summer corn- with few ingredients the creamy, sweet corn flavor really is what it’s about.  Adaptable for a fancy first course, a simple summer dinner, or a side for summer grilling, Creamy Corn Soup is a handy chameleon to have in your recipe bank.

This weekend, it was a simple Sunday dinner, accompanied by a Boston leaf, radish, and walnut salad.  I also made a quick sea bean chutney to dollop into the soup, as well as seared tempeh cubes for light protein.

For another winning dinner, drop in some seared okra chunks and serve it alongside this pork dish.


Creamy (Creamless) Summer Corn Soup 

Serves 2-3


1 tablespoon butter or avocado oil (or better yet, half of each- butter for flavor, avocado oil for cooking properties)

1/2 onion or 1 large shallot

1 whole clove garlic, peeled and quartered

2 ears corn

1/3 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 1½ cups florets)

⅛ teaspoon dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh thyme

4 cups water

¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

⅛ teaspoon white pepper or finely ground black pepper

Fresh thyme, for serving
What to do:

Remove kernels from corn cobs.  Do not throw out the cobs!

Sweat onion and garlic in butter/oil. Add corn kernels, cobs, cauliflower, thyme and water.  Season with salt and pepper and simmer 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Remove corn cobs from soup, as well as thyme sprigs if using fresh.  Blend soup in high speed blender until very smooth.

Pour into soup bowls and sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Serving suggestions:  Top with a dollop of green bean chutney (pictured); chili seasoned seared tempeh cubes; seared okra chunks; or make it a side for roasted/grilled pork loin.


Breakfast Beets with Yogurt - The Clean Gourmet

Breakfast Beets with Yogurt

This is the sweet breakfast for savory breakfast fans, but a healthier, yet satisfying alternative for those who prefer a sugary start to their day.

Personally, I don’t tolerate much sugar, including fruit, first thing in the morning, but beets have a low/moderate effect on blood sugar (a.k.a. glycemic load).

If you exercise often, then I highly recommend regularly incorporating beets into your diet, as they’ve been shown to aid in muscle recovery, thereby boosting future performance.

For a dairy-free version, replace the yogurt with a drizzle of cold-pressed flaxseed oil.

Breakfast Beets with Yogurt

Serves 2


3 medium beets, steamed until tender and cut into quarters

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

1 teaspoon unhulled sesame seeds

Juice of 1 lemon

⅛ teaspoon salt

⅓ cup whole Greek yogurt (dairy-free version: 1 tablespoon cold-pressed flaxseed oil)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

Chopped toasted nuts and seeds (pictured: pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds)

What to do:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve immediately.


Saffron Braised Purple Artichoke (Carciofo Viola Brasato allo Zafferano)

Spring is fleeting and in full force, so besides asparagus, ramps, and sunchokes,  I’ve been reveling in artichokes.  So far, this is my favorite way to enjoy them.  It’s a twist on this recipe, but more simple to prepare.

Don’t let the long cooking time dissuade you.  In fact, the long cooking time makes the recipe that much easier and more forgiving.  You can get the dish going before the rush of dinner prep and forget about it until it’s time to eat.  Simply set and forget- all you need to worry about is flipping the artichokes a couple of times during cooking.  I also love to make this on lazy Sundays as an appetizer that everyone can gather around, sopping up the juices with fresh bread while marveling at how soft and flavorful the leaves are- all that normally unattainable meat comes right off!

If you’re really afraid of anchovy, add a couple of whole green olives instead to get a similar salty/savory element.   That said, you really don’t taste anchovy in the end result- it just adds a nice umami flavor that balances the mellow sweetness of saffron.  So, I recommend you go for anchovy if you’ve ever enjoyed a Caesar salad or strive to become a centenarian


Gorgeous purple artichoke interior

Saffron Braised Purple Artichoke

Serves 4


2 artichokes, ideally purple or “sangria” variety

3-4 tablespoons high quality, good tasting olive oil

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1/2 anchovy fillet

1 greenhouse beefsteak tomato (the best way to enjoy fresh tomato in the spring), sliced 1/4″ thick

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

2/3 cup dry white wine

good pinch saffron

a few grinds black pepper

1 lemon, cut into wedges

handful minced parsley

What to do:

Halve artichokes and remove pith.

Warm olive oil in a medium or large dutch oven and gently sauté garlic and anchovy over medium heat until garlic is golden.  Add tomato and salt. Continue to cook until tomato begins to soften and anchovy is mashable and incorporated into the sauce, about 5 minutes.

Add artichoke, white wine, saffron and black pepper.

Cover and simmer on lowest flame (ideally with a flame tamer) for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, flipping two or three times during cooking.  The artichokes should be starting to fall apart and, even then, you can keep it on another 30-40 minutes if you’re not quite ready to serve them.

Adjust for salt and finish with a good squeeze of lemon and some minced parsley.

Serve with a glass of wine and the highest quality crusty bread for soaking up those juices.

2016-02-04 14.11.29

Banana Oat Bran Protein Muffins (GF, sugar free)

This is a real muffin.  As in, not a breakfast cupcake.  As in, not that wolf in sheep’s clothing you see at Starbucks or your local bakery.  This muffin is barely sweet and is full of protein and fiber, so you avoid a morning insulin spike and imminent sugar crash, followed by sudden hunger pangs.

2016-02-04 14.11.07

There are 10 grams of protein within a modest 191 calories per muffin.  Not that I’m into calorie counting, but just to give you an idea…

Fluffy and deceptively flourless, these muffins have a gluten-free and highly nutritious base.  Just plant protein, coconut, oat bran and flax (if you’re celiac, make sure the oat bran is certified gluten free, as oat products are often cross-contaminated with wheat).

I love oat bran and flax, because they are extremely high in soluble fiber, a gelling agent that removes cholesterol from the blood stream and makes you feel full for a very long time.

Banana Oat Bran Protein Muffins - The Clean Gourmet

High quality protein powder, combined with MCTs (a.k.a. medium chain triglycerides, a.k.a. metabolism supporting fats) in the coconut gives you energy and keeps your blood sugar stabilized.

These muffins are gently sweetened with bananas and raisins.  No sugar or liquid sweeteners added. If you do prefer a sweeter muffin, feel free to add a tablespoon or two of honey to the batter, or just put a smear of your favorite fruit preserves.

Banana Oat Bran Protein Muffins (GF, sugar free)

Yield: 9 muffins


1 3/4 cups oat bran

¼ cup ground flax

¼ cup Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Vanilla Protein Powder (or other protein powder, preferably without stevia)

¼ cup shredded coconut

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup raisins or 1/3 cup dried currants

1 cup milk or nut milk, room temperature

1 egg, room temperature

3/4 cup mashed very ripe banana, from about 1 1/2 bananas (don’t need to mash if you use blender for liquid ingredients)

2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened or melted

Optional: 1-2 tablespoons honey, if you prefer a sweeter muffin

What to do:

Heat oven to 400º. Line a muffin tin with 9 muffin cups. Whisk together oat bran, flax, protein powder, coconut, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and raisins/currants in a medium/large mixing bowl.  Whisk together remaining ingredients in a smaller bowl, or simply blend in a blender to get an extra smooth consistency and not worry about mashing your banana!  Add wet mixture to dry mixture and fold until fully incorporated.  Fill muffin cups with batter until almost full.

Bake 20 minutes, or until a knife poked in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in muffin tin 15 minutes and remove.  Store at room temperature for one day and in the refrigerator for up to five days. (These are also very freezer-friendly!)

Banana Oat Bran Protein Muffins - The Clean Gourmet


Sweet and Smoky Rosemary Pretzel Mix - The Clean Gourmet

Sweet and Smoky Rosemary Pretzel Mix

The holidays aren’t over yet!  Whip this up for 2016 New Year’s Eve bash or make it for you to keep all for yourself.

Be warned though- this crunchy snack is super addictive and will go FAST, thanks to the satisfying combination of sweet and salty, followed by a subtle kick of smoky spice.

To up the nutrition, I recommend using Newman’s Own spelt pretzels. If you’re gluten free, don’t let that stop you- gluten free brands, such as Gratify or Glutino, work perfectly.

Note: If you don’t have flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, reduce salt to 1 teaspoon.  For smoke lovers, up the smoke factor by substituting half the salt with smoked sea salt.

More importantly: I strongly recommend serving with rosemary gin martinis or a good IPA;).

Sweet and Smoky Rosemary Pretzel Mix


300 grams (about 3 cups) small pretzel twists, preferably unsalted

250 grams (about 2 cups) mixed nuts

4 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil

5 tablespoons organic sugar crystals

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

3 tablespoons minced rosemary

1 1/2 teaspoons flaky sea salt (such as Maldon or fleur de sel)

What to do:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Weigh/measure pretzels and nuts and mix in a large bowl.

Melt butter or coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat or in a small bowl in the microwave.  Stir in sugar, maple syrup, cayenne, paprika, rosemary and salt.  Pour over pretzels/nut mixture and incorporate with a large spoon.

Spread onto lined sheet pans and bake for 40 minutes, stirring at least once, until glaze is set.  Remove from oven and let cool completely on pan before serving or storing.

Sweet and Smoky Pretzel Mix - The Clean Gourmet



Best Ever Vegan Mac - The Clean Gourmet

Best Ever Vegan Mac

Best Ever Vegan Mac - The Clean Gourmet

I’ve been holding onto this for a while now, but I’ve been getting a lot requests for the recipe lately, so it’s time to share!  Most of my clients are dairy-free (I’ve actually been avoiding dairy as well in order to cut back on inflammatory joint pain), which means comfort food that they can enjoy within their dietary restrictions is a very important part of my repertoire.  Vegan mac is definitely a “go-to”.

This mac satisfies all kinds of cravings, with a super savory sauce and crunchy topping, but it’s very nutritious.  Instead of cheese, butter and flour, the sauce is made of cashews, nutritional yeast and spices (turmeric!!).  Thus, instead of empty carbs and loads of saturated fat, you get protein, fiber, anti-inflammatory anthocyanins and healthy fats!

Bring this to your next football party or serve it to vegetarians at your Thanksgiving dinner with a side of cranberry sauce😉.


Do not skip the cauliflower!  Cauliflower is not a randomly added vegetable.  It has a deep umami flavor that makes the mac more “cheesy”.

Since the sauce is nut based, you’ll need to thin it out quite a bit with pasta water, as it will thicken over time.  If you accidentally throw out the pasta water, don’t worry, you can use regular water or broth to thin.

Best Ever Vegan Mac:

Serves 6

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small/medium head cauliflower

12 ounces pasta (brown rice pasta is best for gluten-free, as it’s thicker than quinoa or corn based ones)

1 cup pasta cooking water

½ cup parsley, finely chopped (can make extra for garnish)

salt and pepper, to taste

For the vegan “cheese” sauce:

1½ cups raw cashews, preferably soaked 2-3 hours and strained

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon sweet paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard

panko or crumbled potato chips

turmeric and paprika, for garnish

Heat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

Blend all of the ingredients for the “cheese” sauce in a blender until smooth, about a minute.

Sweat shallot and garlic in a large pan. Add cauliflower with ½ cup water, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook until just tender.

Cook pasta in salted water until it’s about a minute undercooked. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and strain.

Mix the pasta, cauliflower, parsley and “cheese” sauce.  Place in oiled 9×9 baking dish.  Place in oven and bake until crispy, about 20 minutes:

Best Ever Vegan Mac - The Clean Gourmet

Remove from oven and, if using panko, top with panko and spray/drizzle with oil.  Place under broiler for 2 minutes, until browned.

If using crumbled potato chips, skip the panko/broiler step and just sprinkle the top with chip crumbs just before serving.  Dash the top with turmeric, paprika and parsley to garnish.

Best Ever Vegan Mac - The Clean Gourmet