Many folks say eating “clean” (aka non-processed foods) is time consuming, difficult, and expensive, but I say it’s pretty darn simple – and actually easier on our wallets! By shopping on the outside borders of the grocery store and not the inner aisles where processed foods lurk, you’ll be able to find a slew of local, organic, and in-season veggies, fruits, meats, organic dairy products, and even some funky stuff like kombucha (fermented tea), hemp milk, and kefir (probiotic-enriched drinkable yogurt).
The best thing is even the pickiest of eaters can eat a clean meal. Clean doesn’t have to mean bland. Uses spices, vinegar, oils, and fats (yes, FATS!) to enhance flavors. Sprinkle some real cheese (not the shredded variety) on veggies, grill peaches with cinnamon for a fruity dessert, or serve burgers or tacos in a lettuce boat. Make it fun!
Here are 10 of my tried-and-true favorite recipes for eating clean. Best of all? They all take about 45 minutes or less and use 10 ingredients or less! Perfect for a week-night meal win!
1. Black Bean & Salsa Soup
- 5 cans black beans
- 1 jar salsa
- Pinch salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes
- Puree 3 cans of black beans in blender.
- In a saucepan, add pureed beans and 2 cans of beans.
- Stir in salsa and cook on medium for 15-20 minutes.
- Serve with a dollop of yogurt or organic sour cream, tortilla chips and/or avocado.
2. Chicken White Bean Chili
- 6 cans cannelloni beans, drained
- 2 cups low-sodium, cage-free chicken broth
- 1 package of low-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 to 2 pounds chicken, cooked
- Pinch salt, smoked paprika, pepper and garlic
- Optional: green peppers, jalapeño peppers, onions, or corn
- Puree 4 cans of beans with a little broth.
- In a sauce pan, add pureed beans, two cans of whole beans, cream cheese, cooked chicken, spices, and broth.
- and et simmer on medium for 15-20 minutes.
- Stir occasionally and let cool/thicken for 10 minutes before serving.
3. Cauliflower or Oat Crust Pizza
Cauliflower Crust Ingredients:
- 1 head cauliflower (or 3 cups riced cauliflower)
- 1 egg
- 2 cups shredded cheese (Parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar)
- Pinch salt, garlic, cumin, basil, oregano
- Clean dish towel
Directions/Assembly for Cauliflower Crust:
- Remove florets from cauliflower (try to remove all stems) and steam in microwave in a clean dish towel or cheese cloth for 4 minutes. Cauliflower rice can be an easier alternative.
- Let cool for 10-15 minutes before handling. Then squeeze and wring out the cauliflower into a bowl to remove moisture.
- Add cauliflower to cheese, egg, and spices and blend together.
- Roll into a “dough ball” and flatten using hands on a greased pizza pan.
- Cook for 10 minutes until golden brown and then add toppings.
- Cook for another 8-10 minutes and serve immediately.
Oat Crust Ingredients:
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2 eggs
- 1/8 cup extra virgin coconut or olive oil
- Pinch salt, garlic, cumin, basil, and oregano
Directions/Assembly for Oat Crust:
- Add oats, spices, egg and oil and mix with hands.
- Flatten with hands on a greased pizza pan.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and then add toppings.
- Cook for another 8-10 minutes and serve immediately.
4. Three Ingredient Cookies
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 2 bananas
- Pinch cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips or raisins
- Optional: chopped nuts, chopped apples, pureed pumpkin, or pitted/chopped dates
- Add all ingredients together and form “cookies” on a greased baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until oats are golden.
- Let cool and serve!
5. Chocolate Banana “Nice” Cream
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Optional: nuts, chocolate chips, coconut milk or cream, strawberries, or blueberries
- Freeze bananas the day or night before.
- Remove frozen bananas and placed into blender with milk.
- Add peanut butter and blend again until smooth.
- Add optional toppings and serve immediately.
6. Fruity Ice Pops
- 2 cups fruit (kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
- 2 cups coconut water or milk
- Chop fruits into small 1/2-inch pieces and add to coconut water/milk.
- Place mixture in freezer-safe ice pop molds and freeze for 4-6 hours until solid.
- Serve and enjoy!
7. Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bowls
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 cans salt-free tomato sauce
- 1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta
- 2 cups cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan)
- Pinch salt, pepper, basil, oregano, pepper
- Optional: cooked sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, or onions
- Bake squash in oven on 400 for 40-45 minutes until golden.
- Cool and slice open. Remove the seeds.
- Scrape sides of squash into a bowl.
- Layer squash, tomato sauce, cottage cheese/ricotta, meat or optional veggies until ingredients run out.
- Top with cheese and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
- Let cool completely before serving.
8. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 ripe banana
- 1/2 cup organic yogurt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cups rolled oats
- Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth.
- Serve and enjoy. Top with whipped cream if desired.
9. Carrot, Parsnip, or Sweet Potato Fries
- Carrots, potatoes, parsnips, or sweet potato (or a mixture!)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Smoked paprika, sea salt, and garlic, to taste
- Slice vegetables 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
- Grease baking pan and space veggies apart evenly. Season and stick in oven.
- Bake at 250 for 20-30 minutes and then rotate veggies.
- Bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden/crispy (watch for burning!)
- Serve immediately with hummus or homemade ranch dip.
10. Mediterranean Chicken Zoodles
- 2 pounds grilled chicken
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- Using a spiralizer, spiralize zucchini into thin ribbons.
- Slice grilled chicken, slice tomatoes in half, and place ribboned zucchini in a skillet.
- Add balsamic vinegar and sauté for 10 minutes, or until zoodles are soft.
- Top with feta and serve immediately.
As you can see, from ice cream, ice pops, and cookies to creamy soups, pizza, and lasagna, we have a healthy, wholesome alternative to just about everything on the “no-no” list. My daughter and supportive husband (thanks, babe!) do without a lot of packaged goods, fast food restaurants, and candy or junk food. We don’t consider ourselves deprived because we find alternatives to our favorites. Serving up “clean” fare without chemicals, preservatives, and added sugars can mean more prep work, cooking from scratch, and carefully reading labels, but the outcome is oh-so satisfying!
What are your favorite “clean” meals?
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