As part of my master’s program at the University of Western States, I have been exposed to a wide variety of interesting nutrition perspectives and extremely intelligent faculty and students. Because the emphasis of the program is nutrition, one of my classes actually assigns us to try new foods and recipes each week, preferably foods that provide significant health benefits. In other words, I get graded partially on making new healthy and yummy foods and commenting on my successes and failures with their prep. My coursework does get more scientific than just browsing for new recipes and cooking them up, but recipes and cooking are at the core of delivering nutrients to our bodies so it’s important that we have access to methods and ideas that best serve our nutritional interest. It’s also well established in the research that delivery of nutrients is best through food opposed to supplements.
Before I get myself into a rabbit hole about whole foods vs. supplements, I would like to introduce you to a recipe that is PACKED with nutrients but also reminiscent of a childhood favorite. This recipe is from one of my classmates and fellow holistic health coach, Nicole McPherson, from Australia. She is also a biomedical scientist and co-producer in a great podcast called Paleo Geeks. She also was assigned to create and try healthy recipes and this was one such contribution.
This recipe includes nutrient-dense sweet potatoes, creamy avocado, protein-rich beef and a delectable arrangement of Mexican spices. It is grain-free and gluten-free. Switch out the beef for black beans, and you have yourself a vegetarian option as well!
Whole Foods Nachos
Serves 2-3 people
2 large sweet potatoes
8 oz organic mince meat (grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken or turkey will do!)
1 large avocado, ripe
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 small brightly coloured lettuce/handful of lettuce leaves
Small tub of organic coconut yoghurt, or raw cream
Bunch of fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped finely
Mexican spices – powdered cumin, coriander, chilli, garlic, paprika and oregano
Handful of pitted black olives, sliced
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 lemon or lime, sliced into wedges
1/2 cup water or beef/chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Drizzle of olive oil
1. Thinly slice sweet potatoes (a peeler or food processor on the slice setting works well) and place on a baking tray. Melt the coconut oil and coat the potatoes. Place in a 350 degree F oven until brown and crispy. Toss regularly throughout cooking to prevent burning and ensure even cooking.
2. In a pan, brown the mince, onion and capsicum and add the spices, salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup water or broth and simmer until reduced. Set aside.
3. Roughly chop the tomatoes and lettuce, and mix with the sliced olives in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Set aside.
4. In another bowl, mix the smashed avocado with salt, pepper, lemon/lime juice and chopped coriander. Set aside.
5. To assemble your nachos, take a plate of crispy sweet potato chips and layer with mince mixture, guacamole, salad and yoghurt/raw cream.
6. Enjoy your nacho feast!
Transforming recipes for comfort foods and childhood favorites into their most healthy form is something I love doing. Please leave a comment below if you have a favorite recipe that needs a face-lift! I’d be up for the challenge and I know your tummy and body will be thankful.
In Health and Vitality,