dairy free

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

The Perfect Spring Soup

Just because it’s almost Spring doesn’t mean soup season is over! This creamy, bright, lemony soup will blow your mind with it’s simplicity and deliciousness!

Also known as Avgolemono, this traditional Greek soup is a fun twist on chicken and rice soup. It has a secret ingredient that makes it extra luscious — eggs! No dairy, just eggs to create a creamy, velvety consistency.

The soup is topped with a generous amount of fresh dill for a herbaceous punch and black pepper for lil a kick.

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Can you put raw egg in soup?

YES! Slowly stirring in hot water tempers the eggs, sort of like chocolate, so that it doesn’t scramble. Instead, it cooks slowly at a lower temperature.

What is Avgolemono?

It’s a family of Greek sauces and soups where eggs/egg yolks are combined with lemon juice and hot broth to create a creamy sauce or soup.

What kind of rice is best for soup?

You can totally use white rice or even quinoa instead of brown rice. I just like the heartier texture of brown rice. Don’t worry about overcooking the grain, it adds to the creaminess.


Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt, divided
Pinch salt
¾ cup brown rice
1 bay leaf, optional
1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 qt low sodium chicken stock
4 eggs (2 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks)
¼ cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
3 cups spinach, optional
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup fresh dill

Instructions:
In a large pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add onion and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the rice, bay leaf (if using), chicken and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes (uncovered), or until both the rice and chicken are cooked.

Remove the bay leaf and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Use two forks to shred the chicken. Return the chicken to the pot along with the spinach (if using). Simmer until the spinach wilts, about 2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the 2 whole eggs, 2 egg yolks and lemon juice until smooth. VERY slowly pour in 2 cups of the hot broth while whisking constantly.

Stir the lemony egg liquid back into the soup along with the remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Simmer it gently for a couple of minutes. It will become creamy — MAGIC! Taste and add more salt if you think it needs it (depends on the chicken broth used).

Stir in lots of cracked pepper. Serve topped with lots of fresh dill, a drizzle of olive oil and more black pepper.


Tips and tricks for the perfect Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

  1. Slowly whisking the hot broth into the egg/lemon is the most important part! It’s not hard at all, just maintain a slow drizzle while whisking away.

  2. The chicken may cook faster than the rice. If so, you can just remove the chicken and continue to simmer until rice is cooked.

  3. The soup is very lemony and salt helps to balance it all out. Don’t be afraid to add more salt if you think it needs it. A drizzle of olive oil also helps balance the lemon.

  4. Don’t skip the DILL!!! It takes the soup to the next level.






Quinoa Veggie Egg Cups

Quinoa Veggie Egg Cups

Mix up your usual oatmeal or egg breakfast with these cute little egg cups. They’re the perfect easy, make-ahead, protein packed breakfast to whip up during your next Sunday meal prep!

Layers of seasoned quinoa and mixed veggies topped with an egg baked to your liking! The best part? You can use any grain or veggie that you have on hand. Just follow the general instructions and you’ll end up with a delicious, customized breakfast bite!

I used mushrooms and spinach but feel free to improvise with other veggies or, even better, use up leftover roasted veggies! Quinoa works great but leftover rice would work as well. The recipe makes 6 but can easily be doubled to make 12.

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How long does it take an egg to cook in the oven?

At 350F, it will take about 20 minutes depending on the oven, size and temperature of the egg. It’s done when the whites are mostly cooked through and yolk is still a little runny. The eggs will continue to cook as they cool. If you prefer solid yolks then bake for longer!

What’s a good substitute for quinoa?

For this recipe, you can use any leftover cooked grain. Think white rice, brown rice, millet, etc… Since the grain is mixed with egg, they should hold up just fine!

Are pastured eggs healthier?

YES! Pasture-raised, free-range eggs are fed better diets and are just way happier than chickens that are caked up and can barely move. You’ll notice the difference in the golden orange egg yolks compared to the pale yellow most people are used to. Not only do they taste better, but those yolks are loaded with way more vitamins and minerals.

My favorite brand is Happy Egg Co. Runner up is Vital Farms. Both can be found at most grocery stores.

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Quinoa Veggie Egg Cups

Makes 6

Ingredients:

For the quinoa crust:
¼ cup quinoa (or about 3/4 cup leftover cooked quinoa)
1 egg
1 tsp dried oregano
¼  tsp salt

For the filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup spinach, packed
1 cloves garlic, chopped (or sub 2 tsp garlic powder)
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup crumbled feta, optional
6 eggs

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 6 or 12-cup muffin tin with 6 parchment muffin cups or grease well with coconut oil.

Add the quinoa to a small pot with ⅓ cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let it cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach, garlic and salt and cook for 1 more minute, or until the spinach has wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the feta, if using.

Add the egg, oregano and salt to the quinoa and mix thoroughly to combine. Diving the mixture in heaping tablespoons between the 6 muffin cups.

Divide the veggie mixture in an even layer on top of the quinoa, leaving room for the egg on top. Crack an egg on top of each one. Sprinkle each egg with some salt, if you’d like.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the eggs are set and cooked to your liking. Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container in the fridge. To reheat, pop a couple into the microwave until warmed through, about 15 seconds.

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Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Quinoa Veggie Egg Cups

  1. Make sure to leave enough room for the egg on top when you’re layering the quinoa and veggies. If not, the egg will spill over and it will be a messy clean up!

  2. If you aren’t using muffin cups, make sure to grease really well or else it will be very difficult to get them out. Use muffin cups if you have them!

  3. TASTE! Make sure you taste the veggies to make sure the salt level is good.

  4. Bake the eggs to your liking. They will continue to cook a bit after you take them out of the oven. I like mine underdone with a runny yolk!

Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

This Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew is loaded with some of my favorite cozy spices to use this time of year. The coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika combo will warm you up from the inside out! The bites of sweet dates and salty olives combined with the spicy broth is to die for! BONUS — it’s loaded with immune-boosting foods to keep those nasty winter bugs at bay.

Lentils and chickpeas are my favorite legumes to use as plant-based options for dinners and lunches. While I love eating local, grass-fed, pasture-raised, etc… meats a few times a week, I try to make the majority of my meals plant-based for simplicity, affordability, and variety. The moment I tested out this chickpea stew, I knew it was going to be a weekly staple.

It’s super easy to throw together — simply sauté some onions and garlic, add your spices and chickpeas, mash them up a little to thicken the stew, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until done, voila!

I make a ton of stews this time of year because they keep well in the fridge or can be frozen for an easy meal. Make a double batch and freeze half, you won’t regret it!

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Whats the difference between a soup and a stew?

Soups have much more liquid, whereas stews are meats, legumes, and/or veggies that are simmered with enough broth to cover/cook until everything is tender and the broth is reduced and turned ‘saucy’. Yum!

How do you make a vegetarian stew?

Swap the beef, poultry or pork with some good old reliable legumes! Sauté your aromatics and spices/flavors, add the protein and liquid and simmer until everything is tender and liquid has reduced.

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Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

Serves 4

Ingredients:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp red chili flakes (optional)
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 medium sweet potato, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1 heaping cup)
2 cups water
1 cup packed chopped kale
½ cup chopped pitted green olives
¼ cup chopped dates (or dried apricots or golden raisins)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Chopped toasted almonds, for garnish

Instructions:
In a large pot, warm the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric and red chili flakes (if using) and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly, to toast the spices.

Stir in the chickpeas, then use a fork to mash about ⅓ of them up. Stir in the sweet potato and water and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the greens, olives, and dates and simmer, uncovered, for 5 more minutes.

Serve with rice or quinoa and garnish with cilantro and almonds. This is also delicious with a dollop of plain yogurt!

Tips and Tricks for the perfect Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

  1. Make sure to mash 1/3 - 1/2 of the chickpea to help release their starches and thicken the stew (thanks Alison Roman for the tip!).

  2. Some canned chickpeas are way creamier while others can be a bit mealy and dry. You definitely want CREAMY to thicken up the stew. I love the 365 brand from Whole Foods. If you cook your chickpeas at home (this yields the best chickpeas by far), then use 4 cups cooked chickpeas!

  3. Toasting the spices enhances their flavor, so don’t skip that step! But be careful not to burn them — stir it constantly and make sure there is still some oil in the pot. If not, add a glug.

  4. You still want the final product to have some liquid/sauce but not so much that it’s like a soup. Keep reducing the liquid (or add some) until it seems right.

  5. Make sure you taste and add salt/spices/maybe some lemon juice until you like it!

German Apple Tart

German Apple Tart (Apfel Schnitten)

One of my favorite fall activities is wandering amongst the apple trees with Mt. Hood in the background and a hot apple cider in hand. There are so many amazing apple orchards in Hood River with beautiful views of the mountain, it’s magical!

We obviously came home with an abundance of apples and the only logical thing to do is to bake a healthy apple treat, am I right? This one was inspired by my momma! When we were kids, my mom would always make these German tarts with whatever fruit was in season. In the fall/winter it was apples or pears and in the summer it was peaches or plums (my fav).

The original dough is a super simple tart dough, but loaded with refined sugar and flour, so I ‘health-ified’ by substituting almond flour and coconut sugar. The texture came out soo good — crispy yet slightly chewy and delightfully nutty!

Pre-bake

Pre-bake

Post-bake :)

Post-bake :)

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What is a German Apple Tart?

I asked my mom what the German name was for the recipe and she said ‘Apfel Schnitten’. I googled it and a ton of different looking recipes came up. We called it German apple tarts as kids so that’s what I’m calling it! Essentially it’s just a pie-like crush topped with fruit and nuts and baked until golden.

Which apple is best for baking?

I prefer using tart apples like Granny Smith, Empire, or Elstar but a sweeter variety like Honey Crisp works well too. You want to use an apple that is firm and crisp. A lot of it is just personal preference.

How do you make an apple tart?

It’s simple! Just throw together a basic dough, roll it out, top it with seasonal fruit + nuts and bake until golden. It’s the perfect vehicle for vanilla ice cream :)

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German Apple Tart

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup almond meal
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 small apple, cored, thinly sliced
1 egg, whisked (egg wash)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp chopped hazelnuts (optional)

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 325F.

In a bowl, mix together the almond meal, coconut sugar, coconut oil, egg yolk, vanilla and salt. Use your hands to knead the dough to make sure everything is evenly mixed. Form it into a ball.

Place the dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet and press into a square shape. Use a rolling pin (or wine bottle!) to roll the dough out until it’s about ¼-inch thick.

Layer the apples on top of the dough and gently press them down. Use a brush (or a paper towel or napkin) to spread a thin layer of the egg wash on top of the apples (helps them get nice and brown). Sprinkle with cinnamon and top with chopped hazelnuts, if using.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges of the dough are deeply golden.

Serve warmed topped with vanilla ice cream! I also enjoy it for breakfast cold or warm with plain whole milk yogurt on top!

Tips and Tricks for the perfect German Apple Tart

  1. If you don’t have a rolling pin or wine bottle you can just use your hands to press out the dough, it just won’t be as uniform.

  2. Don’t press the apples into the dough too hard, just gently so that it makes contact. When it bakes, the apples will stick!

  3. The egg wash helps the apples to get a little golden, but you can skip this step, it doesn’t change the flavor.

  4. I used homemade almond meal (just almonds blended in a food processor). You can use store-bought almond meal or the finer almond flour (haven’t tried with almond flour but it should still work).

  5. I made the recipe to serve 4, but you can easily double it for a crowd!

  6. Store in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat in the oven or microwave.

  7. This will keep in the fridge for 1 week, but I promise it won’t last that long!