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Video: Comfort foods with a healthy twist

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    >>> they say you are what you eat so we lightened up your favorite comfort foods to help you look and feel better.

    >> we're doing it without sacrificing flavor. peggy is a registered new transiti nutritionist.

    >> what does that mean?

    >> we take a whole food approach to everything. real foods and whole foods to make you feel your best every day.

    >> we're making it. very few ingredients. sweet potatoes , brown rice flour and very very simple ingredients.

    >> what i'm going to get you to do first is we have seeds here that are brown. mix it up. what it does is it acts as a binding agent. so let that sit for about a minute and we can scoop in sweet potatoes . so here's a spoon here. scoop that one in and i'll start mashing. sweet potatoes are high in a type of vitamin a so high in antioxidants. great for your skin and body. we'll add in brown rice flour. so it's going to bind everything together.

    >> binding.

    >> and we have our omega 3s and fiber and then we have brown rice flour. what we're going to do is -- you can just smoosh it.

    >> how would this be with a regular potato.

    >> we're getting more fiber. sweet potato is higher in vitamin a.

    >> there we go.

    >> so what you have is a dough. wipe your hands there. you're going to roll it out with flour and you take a board scraper and you put little pieces.

    >> about an inch?

    >> about an inch wide. and stir it in boiling water and cook it for a few minutes. while that's training, we have coconut oil . it's more stable at a high heat temperature.

    >> would you do olive oil ?

    >> olive oil or any oil you want. i like the flavor of the coconut oil . sage leaves to that as well.

    >> sage.

    >> and we'll add hazelnuts.

    >> so that's not just on top.

    >> we can add it on top. i'm going to add some to the pan. anyway you want to do it.

    >> do you have to put the garlic.

    >> put it right in there.

    >> you want to cook it down.

    >> okay. in the interest of time.

    >> it's longer than the three minutes.

    >> i can eat it fast. you can take your hazel nut and put it on top.

    >> it looks beautiful. and finish it off with a mojito. and double chocolate.

    >> thank you so much. recipes at today.com. we're back in a moment. this is "today" on nbc. .

    >>> we have learned so much this morning about brooke shields . mostly that she can tie a cherry stem in a knot with her tongue.

    >> there you are right there.

    >> and it's a legit knot.

TODAY recipes
updated 8/26/2013 10:00:01 AM ET 2013-08-26T14:00:01

Recipe: Sweet potato gnocchi

  • For gnocchi
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), baked until tender
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoons ground chia seed stirred into 2 Tbsp warm water
  • For garlic-sage sauce
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 20 small whole sage leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • For the garnish
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted then chopped

Mix the chia seeds with water and let sit for a minute or two. To make the gnocchi, scoop the sweet potato from the skins into a mixing bowl. Mash very well. Add salt, chia mixture, and enough flour to yield a soft but not sticky dough (start with 3/4 cup and add the rest if needed). Divide the dough into fourths and roll each out into a 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) log, dusting hands with flour if needed. Cut crosswise into 1-inch (2.5 cm) lengths. Let rest while you make the sauce.

To make the sauce, heat the coconut oil in an 8- or 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add sage leaves and fry until crisp and darkened. Remove from oil and place on plate. Add garlic to the oil, stir to make sure all garlic is under the surface, then remove from heat. The heat of the oil will cook the garlic, but keep it from burning. Add sage back into pan.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in salted, boiling water for 5 minutes, then lift them out with a spider and place into the skillet of sauce. Toss to coat. Garnish with hazelnuts.

Calories per serving: 387 calories

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

Recipe: Double chocolate coconut quinoa cookies

  • 4 large VERY RIPE bananas
  • 1 cup quinoa (cooked)
  • 2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas in bowl with a fork and add vanilla and maple syrup. Add remaining ingredients (less chocolate chips). Stir until well combined then stir in chocolate chips. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (or grease baking sheet with coconut oil) and drop batter on to cooking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Recipe: Raspberry watermelon mojito (non-alcohol)

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup watermelon, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup mineral water
  • 4 sprigs mint
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Add raspberries and watermelon to blender, and blend until smooth and liquid. Add to martini shaker with mint and lemon.  Shake, shake, shake, then pour into two separate glasses half way full, top with mineral water and enjoy!

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