Liver-loving Green Smoothie

Liver-loving Green Smoothie

This is my go-to green smoothie when I’m feeling run down, or when I just need a pick-me-up. It’s a wonderful snack or light breakfast, tastes like a dream and makes a treat for the whole family. 

With liver-loving kale, ginger and flax, amazing fats and fiber (nuts, seeds and oats) – this smoothie feels like your favorite detox without the deprivation.

Liver-loving green smoothie

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 mins
Course: Drinks, smoothie, Snack
Servings: 2

Equipment

  • High-speed blender

Ingredients

  • 1-2 cup raw kale or 2-3 stalks
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup oats gluten-free if possible
  • 1/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews - soaked in water for 30 minutes or nut-milk
  • 1-2 inch ginger
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 2 cup water plus ice to thin out

Optional:

  • 1/2 apple
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp almond butter unsalted

Instructions

  • First soak raw cashews (or other nuts if using) in filtered water.
  • Wash & dry the kale (use the whole leaf, stalks and all!).
  • Add all the ingredients to your high-speed blender.
  • Blend until smooth. Sip & enjoy!

Notes

The recipe is listed with a prep time of 30-minutes because this includes soaking time for the cashews. 

Beet Pride Smoothie

Beet Pride Smoothie

Day 1 (Violet)

If you’re following me on Instagram, you’ll know that I created a 7-Day-7-Color smoothie challenge to celebrate Pride month and my intense love for color. Also, I love rainbows; and, we just got back from two weeks in Spain and despite all the amazing food there, I had a major hankering for smoothies!!

So, here’s how the challenge works.

Every day for 7 days, I create and post a smoothie recipe featuring a color of the rainbow. Today’s color is Violet, tomorrow’s is Indigo,…and so on and so forth (Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red)!

Stick with me here…there is a method to this madness. Because I typically stick to green smoothies, this challenge not only forces me to think beyond what’s possible, but also gets me to drink a variety of colors. Different colors = different antioxidants = a wider range of protective mechanisms for my body! I will write a more detailed post on that shortly.

So, feel free to join in on the challenge this week and tag #muxcooks and #7day7colorchallenge.

In the meantime, enjoy this powerful, vibrant and delicious smoothie that can be made in less than 10 minutes if you have a high-speed blender. That means it’s perfect for breakfast or as a snack; or if you just need a smile on your face. It’s got raw beetroot, banana, apple, pineapple, spinach, oats and chia seeds.

I’ve called it Beet Pride because, Pride month! – and also because the beetroot takes a center stage in this smoothie, and carries it off with style.

Recipe super-powers:

Hello Beetroot! Did you know that beets contain betacyanin, a potent antioxidant that not only gives them their epic reddish-purple pigment; but that’s also a big-time cancer-fighting agent? Beets are also high in fiber which seems to help lower cholesterol, make you poop regularly, AND protect you from colon cancer (1). Plus, they make everything look so darn pink and pretty. What’s not to love?

Beet Pride Smoothie

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Breakfast, Drinks, Snack
Servings: 3
Author: Mukta Gadkari

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 raw beetroot scrubbed and peeled if needed
  • 1/2 apple washed and chopped
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup spinach washed
  • 1/4 cup pineapple
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Instructions

  • Wash and prep all ingredients. If using a high-speed blender, chop the fruits and veggies into big chunks, and add to the blender (for a regular blender, you may need to chop them into smaller pieces). 
  • Add all ingredients in the blender along with 3 cups of water. 
  • Blend at a low speed at first, then higher until you get the desired thickness. Add more water or ice-cubes if needed. 
  • Drink immediately, or chill and drink within 24 hours. Enjoy!
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Duqqa (AKA “dukkah”)

Duqqa (AKA “dukkah”)

It was in 2005 that duqqa entered my life; when my dad decided one day to whip it together. I’d never even heard of duqqa, let alone taste it (don’t think he had either). “It’s Egyptian street food,” he said. I mentioned this to an Egyptian coworker the next day (who shot back, “It’s poor man’s food!”).

Anyhow, I remembered duqqa out-of-the blue a decade later, while teaching a class on basic nutrition. Inspired to share a traditional and simple nutritious snack, I looked up the recipe and duqqa’s humble origins.

Duqqa (also dukkah, pronounced doo-ah), which means “to pound” in Arabic, is a wonderfully nutrient-dense nut and spice blend. It’s usually made with hazelnuts, sesame seeds, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper, and eaten as a snack with bread (typically pita) dipped in a good extra virgin olive oil. Sounds simple, but in reality, duqqa’s crunchy texture and savory flavor adds a “wow” factor to just about anything. Try it on scrambled eggs, roasted veggies, salads, soups, avocado-toast or wraps….just try it already!

And, it’s so versatile.

Don’t have hazelnuts? Use almonds, pistachios or whatever nut you have on hand. No cumin? Try it with toasted fennel seeds. Want another twist? Throw in dried mint or oregano or basil if you like. [Note: Za’atar is another spice blend, which seems to consist of thyme, oregano, sumac and sesame seeds. If anyone knows the technical difference between duqqa and za’atar, please share in the comments below.] There are countless variations to duqqa out there, so get creative!

In any case, for this version, I used this recipe by rosichops. It seemed easy enough and had the shortest list of ingredients; which is always a win. Whatever recipe you use, start with a small quantity that you can store in an airtight container and a cool dry place, and finish within a week or two. Toasted nuts (like the ones in this recipe) have a tendency to get rancid, which damages the healthy fat content, and no one wants that.

Recipe superpowers:

Hazelnuts contain healthy monounsaturated fats, which give it tremendous cholesterol-lowering properties (also lowering the risk of heart disease); good amounts of protein and fiber, which together work wonders for maintaining blood sugar levels; and high amounts of copper, which is required for the body’s production of a key antioxidant enzyme “superoxide dismutase” (SOD). Antioxidants help clean up the free radicals that cause cell damage – so this is all good news! Be sure to store raw hazelnuts in the fridge or freezer as they can get rancid (damaged) quick.

Sesame seeds – Talk about good things coming in tiny packages! Sesame seeds are touted for their rich protein (excellent amino acid) content; as well as lignans (a polyphenol found in plants), which are potent antioxidants that have shown to inhibit the body’s production of cholesterol, and in some cases even lower it! Sesame seeds also contain other important nutrients like fiber, monounsaturated fats, B vitamins and a whole host of minerals including magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and calcium (rivaling the amount found in milk)! Finally, some of sesame seeds’ incredible benefits include relieving constipation (and overall digestive health), nourishing the intestines, stimulating blood circulation and soothing the nervous system.

Cumin seeds – Used extensively in Indian, Middle-Eastern and Mexican cuisines, cumin has a distinct savory flavor but also doubles up as a digestive aid. Cumin’s benefits include stimulating the pancreatic enzymes which optimize digestion, liver detoxification and nutrient assimilation; carminative properties, which means it keeps the tooting at bay; and anti-cancer properties, thanks to its antioxidant and liver-detox enzymes. Cool stuff, huh?

Duqqa (AKA dukkah)


Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 24

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste

*use organic ingredients whenever possible

    Instructions

    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and bake for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant. While the nuts are still hot, pour them onto a tea towel. Fold the towel over them to cover, and rub vigorously to remove the skins. If you can’t remove all the skins, don’t sweat it and move on. Set aside to cool.
    • In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until light golden brown. Pour into a medium bowl as soon as they are done so they will not continue toasting. In the same skillet, toast the coriander and cumin seeds while shaking the pan or stirring occasionally until they begin to pop. 
    • Transfer to a food processor, hand blender or mortar & pestle. Process or crush until finely ground, then pour into the bowl with the sesame seeds. 
    • Place the cooled hazelnuts into the food processor, hand blender or mortar & pestle, and process until finely ground.
    •  Stir into the bowl with the spices. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well.
    • Serve with crusty whole-grain, sourdough or pita bread and good quality extra virgin olive oil. 

    Sprinkle everywhere like pixie dust, and enjoy with your loved ones!

    References:

    “Dukkah” (Rosichops). In All Recipes Blog. Retrieved from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/79684/dukkah/

    Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.