Brazen Kitchen’s Top 10 Recipes of 2013

Forget the gym. Forget counting calories. Start off 2014 with these healthy, delicious dishes.


From where I stand, 2014 seems to be off to a wonderful start, polar vortex and all. For many, this is the season of fresh starts. This is the year that you’ll make steps toward that goal of a full and deliciously lived life. I am your biggest supporter! And as a first nudge toward that goal, I’m sharing with you the top reader recipes of 2013.

All of these dishes are stealthy healthy. I say stealthy because they don’t taste like what you may view as “health food.” My mission is to exorcise that bad memory and replace it with dishes you will crave. Once you get the highly processed, artificial-ingredient-infested, refined fat- and sugar-boosted food out of your repertoire, you will be surprised at how your cravings change.

I exaggerate not. I get twitchy if I don’t get enough greens for a long stretch of time. It sounds unbelievable, I know, but just give it a try. The days of calorie-counting, logging “points” and feeling deprived are over. Here are 10 recipes that will help you get your taste buds going!


1. Raw cheesecake with chocolate ganache

There’s no better way to say “I love you” to yourself than with this treat. It’s a no-bake cake without refined flour and sugar; it comprises good satisfying fat and is fiber-rich and protein-packed. This always is a hit — whether served at dinner parties or potlucks. People remain surprised when you tell them what’s in it — or what’s not.



2. Mashed potato quinoa puffs with Sriracha mayo

I had you at mashed potatoes. Then you were powerless at puffs. These are as good as they sound. Potatoes have been much-maligned, but when done right, they actually are a great source of potassium. How can you go wrong with mashed potatoes that you must eat with your hands? Add quinoa for some protein, plus fiber and the goodness of greens — and you have the perfect handheld food.



3. The best salad dressing ever

Salad haters, this is your salvation. It certainly was mine. This actually makes me crave salads. And everyone knows I’m the last person to say that.



4. Sweet-potato quinoa puffs

This sweet-potato version of the above mentioned mashed-potato quinoa puffs are just as good and packed with complex carbohydrates. My kids accept this as dessert on a good day. Serve puffs with black beans and rice, and you have a party on your plate.



5. The best veggie burger ever

I think veggie burgers are one of the things that give plant-based food a bad name. You cannot replace something like the hamburger, which has such a strong cultural identity and has been ingrained in our taste buds for such a long time. But stick with me on this veggie burger! I ask you to suspend disbelief. Don’t expect it to taste the same as a burger. Instead, let me introduce you to a new flavor-packed patty that is unlike any you’ve ever tasted — yet just as satisfying. I’ve packed in as much umami as I could. What’s umami? The fifth taste — that savory taste that is hard to pin down and often the element that is missing in vegetable-based dishes. I’m not asking you to give up burgers altogether, but consider replacing one of your burger meals with this to start. Expand your taste horizons.



6. How to eat avocado on toast like a boss

This is the recipe that Thug Kitchen (warning: rated R) called “f***ing legit.” It’s one of my personal favorites as well. I love avocados — they embody all the things that “good fat” offers.  Avocados never go bad in my house, and this is one of the ways I most often prepare them.



7. The best drunken sandwich ever

What did I just say about avocados? Another one of my favorites. This is grilled cheese, but it’s amped up with avocados and Sriracha. I’m salivating just writing about it.



8. Chia pudding parfait

Is it dessert? Is it breakfast? Is it a snack? It’s all three! The chia seed deserves all the trendy accolades it’s getting these days. Here is a delicious and easy intro on how to prepare the superfood.



9. Five-minute fudge brownies

The worst time for many of us who are trying to be nutritionally righteous is the middle of the night, when the monster in our belly suddenly wakes up and tries to make us eat the stash of ice cream. This is your antidote to that. It only takes five minutes to make this brownie recipe. Good news: You can keep your angel wings, even if it felt like you sold your soul to the devil while eating the brownies.



10. Pumpkin caramel pie

How fitting is it to start and end a list with pie? Thanksgiving usually is the time of year when we just give up all hope, chuck the whole year and just eat our way to the New Year. This pie redeems some of that — and makes you a winner at the Thanksgiving table. But you don’t have to wait ’til Thanksgiving to make it. In fact, make this right now.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and tasty New Year!

Categories: Brazen Kitchen