Have you ever tried baking with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter? It is really tasty, healthy and easy to work with!
Extra virgin olive oil is such a healthy and versitile oil to both cook and bake with and it provides the body with so many immune boosting nutrients.
If you would like to learn more and get my recipe for this delicious apple, cranberry, basil and pine nut spelt pie please listen to the podcast I did with my friend Colin Kiel from EVOO Endevours here:
Try taking the pasta away from the Italians and I am sure you will live to regret it! Luckily there are so many healthy options being grown and produced in Italy that are a great alternativ to the refined white, wheat based pasta.
These products are being exported all around the globe and I can even buy some of them back home in my country of Norway at my local heath food store. So today I have a great vegeterian, healthy pasta dish for you!
Blood-sugar friendly whole grain spelt pasta.
I am a carbohydrate loving girl, but unfortunately my weight nor my blood sugar feels the same love, and being in Italy for a month with “Project Healthy in Italy” (read about it here) doesn’t exactly make it easier for me to stay away…
But luckily there are so many healthier alternatives to the white, processed wheat pasta at every corner. Italians are actually large producers of the healthy ancient grain spelt, and i love it! My body digests this so much better and the taste is fantastic.
So todays recipe is made with organic whole grain spelt orecchiette ( a type of pasta from Tuscany that looks like ears) and local produce that I bought at the market today.
Italy is famed for its’ zucchini vegetables and come in all shapes and sizes, so I simply had to make something with these beautiful and healthy vegetables. This recipe is vegeterian and vegan if you leave out the parmesan.
Spelt Orecchiettewith Summer Zucchini and Parmesan
Whole grain spelt pasta. (It does not have to be orecchiettie)
One green zucchini
1 clove of garlic
Parmesan ( Real Reggiano parmiggano and not the fake kind!)
Extra virgin olive oil
White beans, fresh or canned (optional)
How to: Cook the pasta as advised on the pack. In a pan, fry the chopped garlic with finely sliced zucchini. Add salt and pepper and fry until golden. Mix with the cooked pasta and add more olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Add parmesan and fresh basil. If you have beans (like I added in my dish because they we so beautiful), you can cook them with the pasta if fresh, or add to the zucchini mixture before adding to the pasta.
I am all about eating clean, fresh and unprosessed food no matter what your dietary goals are. I believe that if we eat food that is as close to its natural state as possible, and drink enough fresh water every day, we would all be well on our way to a healthier state of both body and mind.
This is one of the things that the Italians have understood and is part of why the country is the healthiest in Europe and first/second in the world. Read more about Project Healthy in Italy here.
My hope is that I can inspire and help you to make healthier choices every day that will result in you being a happier, healthier, and perhaps also a leaner version of yourself.
I have also made all the changes through my own lifestyle journey so I also “walk the walk”, and not just “talk the talk”! You can read more about my story here
Here are my 5 best tips for you to start your own kitchen makeover and to help you on your way to acheiving better, healthier and tastier cooking results!
5 Tips for a Healthier Kitchen and Tastier Food.
Throw out the refined, bleached table salt and get cooking with Himalaya salt and sea salt! This is so important. We need salt in our diets and I could simply never do without, but the kind of salt you choose makes a huge impact on both your body and cooking results. I have not had refined table salt in my kitchen for years and I find the taste to be horrible compared to healthy, natural choices as stated above. You get more minerals, and the taste is more rounded (natural) and stronger, so beware; you need less. Also a good reason to change the salt you cook with.
2. Trade in wheat for spelt flour. For all cooking and baking where wheat is needed I use spelt flour. It is an ancient grain that has really gained popularity the past years, especially in Scandinavia. It has a differant type of gluten than regular wheat and therfore more people, including myself, tolerate it. It has almost the same cooking and baking qualities as wheat does, and a nuttier, more exciting taste.
3. Use the right kind of fats. We need fat as well as salt, but make sure you use the right kind. (Fat is a huge subject so I will write a blog post in the future soley on this). But to break it down, extra virgin coconut oil for all things raw and not being heated (or where you don’t mind a coconut flavour), refined coconut oil without flavor for stabile frying and such, or extra virgin olive oil. If you eat dairy, butter is a good choice as the fatty acids are stabile due to the high content of saturated fats. I personally prefer olive oil.
4. Use lots of fresh herbs and garlic! The past months I have really gotten into using fresh herbs in my cooking. Fresh garlic is also a staple. They are so healthy and packed with flavour. Mint is great for the digestion and is surprisingly delicious in salads and savory dishes. I also use coriander and basil all the time.
5. Add fresh citrus juice for flavour. I have also been using a lot of fresh citrus juice for my cooking and flavoring. A crucial part of flavour balancing is actually acidity. Acids can also replace the need for salt and really make a dish “pop”. Acids also help aid in digestion and help balance your blood sugar. I use lime, lemon and sometimes orange juice if I need a sweeter, more round acidic flavour. My favorite marinade is fresh orange and lime juice, olive oil, dried oregano, dried chili flakes, salt and garlic.
Happy cooking! I would love to hear from you what you think!
I hope your ready for another healthy Italian recipe! (Read all about Project Healthy in Italy here)
Apricots and peaches are in season and I just had to make a healthier version of the Italian apricot and olive oil cake. I love the way Italians cook with healthy olive oil instead of milk products and unhealthy, refined fats.
You can add sambuca which is normally done and top with flaked almonds but I choose to make the recipe with pine nuts for a twist (and because I forgot to buy almonds in the store!) 😉
My version may be denser than the original recipe as it does not contain self- raising cake flour and white refined sugar, but it is really moist, filling, tasty and a lot healthier than the original version.
I hope you give it a try!
Spelt Apricot and Olive Oil Cake- Torta all’olio e albicocche
220 grams (1 1/3 cup) sifted white spelt flour
2, 5 dl. (1 cup) acacia honey
250 ml (1 cup) unsweetened almond milk
1 ts. vanilla extract or 1 ts vanilla powder/seeds from one pod
Zest from one lemon
1 tbs. lemon juice
100 ml (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil
½ ts. salt
4 ts. baking powder
1 handful pine nuts
How to: Sift all the dry ingredients in a bowl and dissolve the honey in the almond milk by warming slightly on the stove. Add vanilla, lemon juice, olive oil and zest. Mix together. Beat the eggs slightly and add to the liquid (make sure it is not hot!) before mixing into the dry ingredients. Mix until the batter is smooth.
Grease a cake pan with olive oil or coconut oil, or line with parchment paper. Add the batter. Slice the apricots and layer on top together with the pine nuts.
Bake in the middle of the oven at 180 Celsius (350- 360 Fahrenheit) for about 40 – 50 minutes. Time varies so take care to make sure it does not burn. Cover with tin foil or parchment paper to keep from browning to much while baking if needed.
In light of Project Healthy in Italy ( read all about it here) I will be sharing healthy Italian recipes with you here on my blog. If there are recipes that I really love but aren’t as healthy as I like, I will be re-doing them and giving them a healthier twist.
For example I never use wheat and always spelt flour as it is more nutritious and doesn’t make me bloated or leave me feeling ill, such as wheat does. Spelt is an ancient grain that really has become popular again!
I love foccacia and decided I wanted to develop my own recipe using spelt. This foccacia is fantastic and really easy to make!
Recipe below picture…
My spelt foccacia is soooo addictive!
(For the dough)
1 kg white spelt flour (about 8 cups) (not whole grain)
9 dl warm water (about 3, 6 cups)
2 tbs. honey
1 ts. salt (Himalaya salt)
1 pack dry yeast
2 handful coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
How to foccacia: Mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl before adding the chopped dried tomatoes and dry ingredients. Mix to a smooth dough with a spoon. The mixture is suppose to be very wet and pourable.
Let proof in room temperature for 1 hour. Pour the dough into a partchment lined baking tray and and with (oiled fingers) make holes for the oil to settle into. Pour oil over the dough and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Let proof another 30 minutes before baking in the middel of the oven at 200 celcius (390 farenheit) for 30- 40 minutes. Let cool before slicing.
0,75 dl (about 1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic (grated)
1 ts dries oregano
1 ts. dried tyme
1 ts. dried rosemary
How to: Grate the garlic and mix eveything together. Set aside for the foccacia.
*Sea salt flakes (Maldon) for sprinkling on top before baking.
Today I am going to share with you one of the recipes that I developed for my plant based cooking exam. I recieved top scores for these so you can rest assure they taste great!
There are a few steps but they are so fun to make and look great. They may remind you more of a french looking macaron or a whoopie pie. To save time, you can skip making your own chocolate and simply melt some high quality chocolate for dipping. But here is the full recipe for your holiday cooking…
1 cup whole grain spelt flour
3 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut sugar
1 tbs. finely ground coffee/ espresso
2 espresso flax eggs ( 2 tbs. ground flaxseeds and ½ cup brewed espresso)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil (room temperature, but not melted)
Lemon chocolate dip
1/ 2 cup pistachios (toasted)
Sift all the dry ingredients including the ground coffee into a bowl and mix together. Combine the ground flaxseeds with the brewed espresso and vanilla extract to make the flax eggs. Let sit for about 5 min until it thickens. Add and mix into the dry ingredients. When combined, work the coconut oil into the mixture until dissolved.
Place the cookie dough on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and using your hand or a rolling pin flatten the dough until it is about 0,5 cm thick. Bake for 5 min. at 180 degrees.
When baked use small cookie cutters to make the cookie sandwiches and let cool on a rack.
When cool dip half of the cookie in melted chocolate and sprinkle finely chopped pistachios. Leave to set in a cool place.
Espresso cashew cream
½ cup soaked cashews
1 tbs. water
1 tbs. espresso
½ ts. vanilla extract
1 ½ tbs. maple syrup
Pinch of salt
Soak the cashews overnight in a bowl of water. Blend the cashews in a blender or food processor with the water, adding more if needed. It should have the consistency of whipped cream. When smooth add the rest of the ingredients. Add more honey if desired.
Are you like me; you like to have your cake and eat it too? That is why I had to develop a guilt-free chocolate cupcake using healthy and clean ingredients!
These cupcakes are “low gluten” meaning there is only a smaller amount of gluten in them and a different kind of gluten as I only use spelt flour. The gluten in spelt is different from the gluten found in wheat. Therefore if you are gluten sensitive, like me, your body can handle spelt much better.
I have also used almond flour to get a rich and moist texture and I only use coconut sugar or an organic maple syrup when making sweets as they are not refined, have more nutrients, are more blood sugar friendly and taste great as well.
The frosting is made from soaked cashews so they are dairy free as well and when combined with fresh orange juice and zest the taste is amazing. 🙂 I hope you enjoy!
I love crackers for an easy savoy snack and of course they are essential for cheese and cracker evenings with wine! But the store bought kind are full of refined wheat, sugar, unhealthy fats and other additives, so I decided to develop my own healthy recipe using all natural ingredients and wholemeal organic spelt flour.
Great for your blood sugar, body and tastebuds! This recipe is from my latest book Carina’s Healthy Kitchen.
Yummy and healthy homemade crackers. Food styling and photo: Carina Hultin Dahlmann
1 cup (150 grams) whole grain spelt flour
½ ts. garlic powder
½ ts. onion powder
1 ts. salt
¾ cups water
4 tbs. olive oil
4 tbs. dried thyme, oregano or basil.
Sift all the dry ingredients and mix well together before adding the wet ingredients. Using your hands, or a kitchen machine, form into a smooth dough.
Place the dough on a sheet of parchment paper and using a rolling pin roll the dough thinly making sure it is not thicker than approximately 3 m.m.
Use a knife or a cookie cutter (for round crackers) and make lines in the dough for where you want to snap the crackers after they are baked. I use a cookie cutter and stamp out the crackers completeley before baking. This results in a professional looking cracker.
Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt before baking.
Bake on a roasting tray at 200 degrees celsius for 10- 15 minutes until crisp and golden. Let cool and then snap crackers into shape if you’ve used the knife method.