Feeling Your Best and B-ing Happy
If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a million times - take your vitamins! Whether these words were spoken by our parents, our grandparents (the phrase usually accompanying a wagging finger), our doctors, or our favorite health podcast hosts, it’s long been understood that maintaining a good vitamin and mineral balance within the body is so very important for each and every physical function! Whether that’s muscle repair, hair growth, cell regeneration, or mood stabilization, vitamins and minerals act as part of the core foundation for the body to not just survive, but thrive!
That being said, with winter blues setting in for many of us around the world, turning our attention to boosting brain health will be key to helping us feel our best over the coming months. In a recent blog, Dr. Bisleen identifies these top five nutrient deficiencies as being linked to mood disorders and sub-optimal brain function: omega-3s, magnesium, iron, zinc, and at the top of the list - B-vitamins.
So what if I told you that you could support your mood and your brain all while diving head first into some delish plant-based foods? Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place. Below are two amazing recipes for B-vitamin rich dishes! Loaded with leafy greens (B9, vitamin C, iron), chickpeas (B6, magnesium, iron), and a mac sauce starring vegan-favorite nutritional yeast (B1, B2, B3, B6, AND *panting* B12!), you will find yourself on the path to GABA-greatness this new year. Happy cooking!
Vegan Mac and Cheese with Chickpea Pasta and Sautéed Spinach
This rich, plant-based, nut-free mac and cheese is sure to satisfy all of your comfort food cravings this winter! Chock-full of B-vitamin-rich ingredients and protein pasta married with a creamy consistency like no other vegan mac, this is sure to become one of your go-to recipes for the coming months! 2 servings.
3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
8 oz chickpea pasta (shape of choice)
¼ cup pasta water
For the sauce:
1 ½ cup yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
¾ cup carrots, peeled and diced
½ small yellow onion, diced
2 tsp Dijon mustard, or regular yellow mustard
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
¾ cup full-fat coconut milk, or other unflavored plant milk
A dash of smoked paprika and turmeric powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp vegan butter, optional
Toppings: toasted bread crumbs, red chili flakes
- First, peel the potatoes, carrots, and onion. Cut into small pieces, about an inch thick, and boil or steam until very tender, about 15-20 min. Drain.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the chickpea pasta, stirring occasionally until the pasta is cooked to your liking (will depend on pasta shape and package instructions). Drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, combine the cooked potatoes, carrot, onion, mustard, nutritional yeast, turmeric, smoked paprika, salt and pepper, and coconut milk in a blender. Blend until smooth - it will be relatively thick. Add some more plant milk or pasta water if the sauce is too dense.
- Once the pasta is drained, add olive or avocado oil to the hot pot, and saute the spinach until wilted, about 3 minutes.
- Add the cooked pasta into the pot with the spinach, and pour the sauce in as well. Stir to combine. Add in the pasta water if the sauce gets too thick. Add the vegan butter for additional richness and depth of flavor, if desired.
- Top with toasted bread crumbs, red chili flakes - or hot sauce if you’re feeling wild! Enjoy!
Bonus B-Vitamin-Rich Recipe! - Lemony Kale Hummus
This delicious hummus is sure to impress all of your friends and family! Tangy and bright lemon pair with satisfying olive oil, warming spices, and vitamin-packed leafy greens to create this tasty dip that will be the star of any party! Makes 2.5 cups of hummus.
½ cup steamed baby kale
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Juice of ½ of a small lemon
½ tsp garlic
¼ cup fresh, chopped parsley
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp salt
Pepper to taste
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp plant milk, optional
Toppings: olive oil, parsley, lemon zest
- First, steam 2-3 cups of baby kale, or whatever kale you have on hand! About 5-10 minutes. You want the leaves to be tender and easy to chew.
- In a food processor, add the drained chickpeas, cooked kale, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Blend until smooth. There may be some visible chunks of kale or parsley - that’s okay! Add plant milk or extra olive oil if you wish to have a thinner, smoother consistency.
- Scoop into a dish, and top with olive oil, parsley, lemon zest, and extra pepper! Enjoy along with fresh veggies, crackers, pita, or your favorite chip!