The past few weeks have been cheery in our home. After finally finding a few herbal remedies to tame my inflammation (targeting the liver and gallbladder issues I was experiencing, on top of gut problems and a host of other random symptoms), I was able to step back and think clearly for the first time in a while. I was able to see my limitations, things I had tried, things I feared to try. I decided to dig myself out of the hole I had dug in the plant based realm, and focus on every real whole food (still plant based) – I went back to the basics. Less oils and sauces for the time being, trying to emphasize my consumption of (a lot of) whole fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains. And for the first time, a lot of (good) starch. It took only one day for me to feel the difference, and I am going on almost two weeks free of brain fog, filled with sustained energy, going hours without even thinking of food, and living pain free. The increase in whole plant food diversity and decrease in fancy food products has my mood skyrocketing and anxiety levels plummeting. I have eyes laced with happy tears, this feeling is so overwhelming to me that the gratitude I wish to show doesn’t feel attainable.
I wrote the paragraph above to (hopefully) bring hope to others searching for answers in their health journey, especially those with gut issues. It can be challenging, disheartening, and exhausting trying to figure out what is making your ailment “tick”. Each of us have our own slew of contributing factors to our health, some of us being more susceptible to small lifestyle tweaks thanks to unknown underlying factors within our bodies. So take heart, keep chugging along, and you might just wake up one day not knowing the cure but experiencing it – have faith.
To celebrate the good feels happening over here, Scott and I have been doing something we’ve longed to do for so long – cook dinner together! Before our meals were made separately, often mine earlier in the evening cause I was always so hangry and experiencing some sort of pain. But that is in the past, and this week we are three for three for cooking fun dinners together, playing music and hanging in the kitchen. (To Scott: It only took a few years bud – but we made it! Thank you for being so patient with me.) I’ve been cooking up batches of all sorts of beans, legumes, and grains to compliment our veggie loaded meals. You’ve seen quite a few on Instagram stories if you follow me over there, and got to watch me make this one too – minus the flat breads, which many of you were asking how I made so I’m really stoked to share them with you today.
This meal is perfect for a light dinner if you have big dessert plans for later. It also receives bonus point for only taking 15-ish minutes to prepare too. I use cooked beans in the crust – which lets be honest, the crust isn’t going to win any glamour shot awards on it’s own, this is all about the toppings in order to make it look beautiful. But it tastes so dang good, even if it is completely untraditional. This isn’t a flatbread you tear or hold, but one you approach with a fork and knife. The avocado pesto is my new favorite. I’m trying to focus on getting fats from their whole food sources, and this avocado makes the pesto so creamy and delicious. Plus it adds to the satiation of this meal tons. I’m also sharing my new favorite balsamic dressing which I toss the salad in here. It’s sweet and tangy and only three ingredients – woot woot! Plus the “cheesy” sprinkle on the tomato totally adds some flavorful fun with the addition of vitamins and minerals. I can’t wait for Scott and I to make different renditions of this one all summer, and hope you get to try and make a few yourself too! -xx
Makes 2 servings.
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons water
few pinches of salt
1 small garlic clove
1 large, rip avocado
2 handfuls of fresh basil leaves
salt & pepper
1 small garlic clove
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
MAPLE BALSAMIC SALAD
2 handfuls fresh arugula
2 handfuls fresh spring greens
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
“CHEESY” TOMATO SLICES
1 large, or 2 small, heirloom tomatoes
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
few pinches of salt
Begin by making the flatbreads. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
Combine the ingredients for the flatbread in a food processor or tall Vitamix blender. Puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times to keep the dough moving (it will be on the thicker side). Divide the dough into two mounds on the parchment lined baking sheet.
Using the back of a spoon or spatula, (patiently) smooth each mound out into a circle about 1/2 an inch thick. Neaten up the sides with your fingers so they are smooth and round. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top looks a bit dry and the edges are lightly crisp. Transfer gently to a wire rack to slightly cool.
While the flatbreads are baking, make the pesto. Wipe the food processor bowl clean (if used) and add the ingredients for the pesto to the bowl. Blend until smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides at least once. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
Combine the dressing ingredients in a shallow bowl and whisk together with your finger. Toss the salad greens and the dressing in a medium bowl with your hands, gently massaging the leaves for a few seconds. Set aside.
Mix the nutritional yeast, dried herbs, and sea salt in a shallow bowl and massage with your fingers. Thinly slice the tomato(s), place on a plate, and sprinkle evenly with the “cheesy” mixture. Set aside.
Assemble. Place the flatbreads each on their own plate to serve. Top with the avocado pesto, dressed salad, and tomato slices. Enjoy right away.
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