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Food & Nutrition

Natural Foods Chef Shares Vegan Recipes at Chef Central

christine Ozekie

Elevated Existence attended a live demonstration at Chef Central in Parmaus, NJ, where natural foods chef and holistic health coach Christine M Okezie prepared an all-vegan, gluten free meal – right down to the mousse desert – that was truly delicious! Sponsored by Whole Foods and Bodum, Okezie shared the nutritional value of each dish, and handed out copies of all the recipes she made. The menu was as follows:  (See Recipes Below Article)

  • Mixed Greens Salad with a Creamy Lime-Fig Dressing
  • Creamy Mashed Cauliflower with Sage and Miso
  • Carrot Ginger Soup
  • Guilt-Free Chocolate Mousse

Okezie made all the dishes using a Bodum Bistro Electric Handheld Immersion Stick Blender, and shared her tips and tricks with the audience gathered there.

“Carrots are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, which protects against free radical damage,” she said. “Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to ensure you get enough antioxidants.”

She also explained cauliflower is low on the glycemic index and can help balance blood sugar. It’s also anti-inflammatory, packed with fiber and antioxidants, and can help with detoxification, according to Okezie.

One tip she shared for adding a creamy texture to soup without the dairy is to use a potato, which she added to the carrot and ginger soup, along with Kitchen Basics brand vegetable stock.

While making the fig dressing, she told the audience to be aware of bottled dressings, which can be loaded with toxic fats and poor quality oils. Making a dressing at home ensures its fresh and full of healthy ingredients – and it doesn’t take long with a blender.

“Figs are high in fiber, and a good source of potassium and calcium,” Okezie shared, explaining fiber is important in weight management because if fills us up. Also, apple cider vinegar (she used Bragg’s brand) is good for digestion, and was added to the fig dressing mixture.

While mixing the guilt-free chocolate mousse, which surprisingly is made with avocados and is completely raw, Okezie explained raw cacao powder promotes weight loss, has chromium to regulate blood sugar, and is rich in magnesium.

“When shopping for avocados, push in with your finger and if it dents a little, it’s ripe and you need to eat it within two or three days,” she shared.

The mousse is sweetened with agave, which is not only very sweet, but also low on the glycemic index and a much better option than sugar, but raw honey can also be used as a sweetener in the recipe, according to Okezie.

“Make sure the honey is raw and not heated or pasturized so it still contains enzymes and nutrients,” she said.

Another sugar substitute she recommends for any baking recipe is coconut palm sugar, as it can be substituted one for one, said explained.

For more information on Okezie, or her company Your Delicious Balance, visit her Website at www.yourdeliciousbalance.com. She offers a variety of health and nutrition coaching programs, cooking classes, personal chef services, and even cooking parties!

 RECIPES

Mixed Greens with a Creamy Lime-Fig Dressing
Yield: Approx. 1 cup

INGREDIENTS
1 5 oz package of mixed greens

Dressing
3 dried figs
Juice of 2 limes (3 tablespoons)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp mirin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup water
salt to taste

Directions
In a blender, blend dressing ingredients until smooth and creamy. When ready to serve, toss greens to coat with dressing.

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Creamy Mashed Cauliflower with Sage and Miso
Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 cauliflower, chopped into florets
6 medium garlic cloves, roasted
3/4 cup vegetable stock
3 tbsp sweet white miso
1 1/2 tsp ground sage

Directions
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and saute for 4 to 5 minutes until softened. Be careful not to brown the onions. Add cauliflower and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 10 to 12 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender.

Remove from heat and pour out remaining liquid. Add miso, garlic and sage. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

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Carrot Ginger Soup
Serves 6

Ingredients
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, small dice (1 1/2 cups)
2 pounds carrots, small dice
5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 medium potato, small dice (1 1/2 cups)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp ginger juice
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

Directions
In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions until softened about (3 to 4 minutes). Add carrots and cover. Cook on low heat to 5-7 minutes. Stir to prevent browning.

Add stock and potato. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Blend soup until creamy. Remove from heat.

Add lemon and ginger juice. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Garnish with oil.

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Guilt-Free Chocolate Mousse
Yield: Approx. 3 cups

Ingredients
4 ripe avocados
2/3 cup raw cacao powder
2/3 cup agave or raw honey
1/4 cup coconut milk or almond milk (as needed to reach desired consistency)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt

Directions
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. (This can be topped with almonds, toasted nuts, fresh strawberries, raspberries, unsweetened shredded coconut or sliced bananas).

 

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