FAB UP YOUR LIFE
Make these *delish* healthy snacks while in quarantine!
Quarantine is the perfect opportunity to up your cooking game—so why not experiment in the kitchen? Although time spent indoors may have you craving all the comfort food, try to resist the urge. Healthy snacks leave you feeling full and energized as you work from home—and keep your immune system strong. The following collection, curated by professional chefs (many of whom are teens!), is both nutritious *and* delicious.
Low-Carb Pizza Bites
Food blogger Angelica Arias produced a low-carb version of the popular dinner dish—dig in!
Ingredients (yields 4 servings):
- 4 portobello mushrooms
- 1/2 cup pizza or pasta sauce
- 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 4-5 cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp fresh basil (plus more to garnish)
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Coat mushrooms with avocado oil.
- Spread sauce on the bottom side of each mushroom.
- Sprinkle cheese throughout all mushrooms.
- Top with tomatoes and basil.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Garnish with more basil.
Cauliflower Cheesy Breadsticks
Arias' recipe features cauliflower, which is formulated with memory-enhancing choline (making it an ideal snack for school hours!).
Ingredients (yields 4 servings):
- 1 cauliflower head
- 1 egg
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Remove cauliflower florets from stem. Pulse in a food processor or chop into very small pieces.
- Put cauliflower in a bowl and cover with a towel or paper towel. Microwave for 2 minutes to soften.
- Using a cheesecloth or paper towels, squeeze cauliflower as much as possible to drain all water out until cauliflower is dried.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place drained cauliflower back in bowl. Add the rest of ingredients and mix well together.
- Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread cauliflower mixture over parchment paper and create a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Make sure it's evenly spread and not too thin.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until crust is golden.
- Slice crust into breadsticks as wide as you wish. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with your favorite marinara sauce.
Gabriel Lewis, a contestant on MasterChef Season 8, puts a spin on the classic snack with pesto, an ingredient filled with heart-healthy fats. Pair it with your fave movie for the perfect evening indoors!
Ingredients (yields 2 servings):
- 1/2 oz fresh Italian basil
- 1 bunch curly parsley
- 1 cup olive oil
- 3 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 ice bath, comprised of 1 cup ice and 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 3 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
- Bring a pot of water to a simmer. Place herbs in water and cook for 15-20 seconds until the bright green color gets a bit darker. Remove and immediately place in ice bath until cool.
- Remove from bath and squeeze as much water as you can out of herbs. Place in a blender with oil and blend for 2-3 minutes, 60 seconds at a time so the blender doesn't overheat.
- Once oil looks dark green and has a bit of stram, over a bowl, pour oil in cheesecloth and let set until all oil drains out. You can keep this oil so you don't have to make a new batch every time. Store in an airtight container, as it can last a few months.
- In a pot, add 2-4 tbsp oil and set to a medium/high heat. Test oil with a few kernels. When they pop, add the rest of the kernels in an even layer and cover with lid.
- Shake pan until kernels start to pop, and reduce heat to medium. Continue shaking until all kernels are popped, and remove from heat.
- Toss in 1-2 more tbsp oil, enough to give the popcorn a green tint. Sprinkle with seasoning mix, and finish with a few sprinkles of Parmesan.
Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Recipe developer and founder of The Banana Diaries Britt Berlin created this healthy treat, formulated with antioxidant-rich peanut butter and fiber-filled granola. Although you may be lacking natural sunlight while spending time indoors, this dish will give you energy for days.
Ingredients (yields 12 bars):
- 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
- 1/3 cup peanuts
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Make sure that the dates are soaked for 4-6 hours prior to making the granola bars. If you need to soften dates faster, you can boil them in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper and an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Sprinkle oats onto baking sheet along with peanuts, cinnamon, and sea salt.
- Toss oats and peanuts together. Place baking sheet into oven to toast for 7-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
- In a large food processor, blend dates until smooth. Add in peanut butter and vanilla, and puree until smooth.
- Once oats are cooled, place them in a large bowl. Add in dates/peanut butter mixture.
- Use your hands to mix oats into dates/peanut butter mixture.
- Once granola bar batter is cool, add in chocolate chips and mix until well-combined. This ensures that they don't melt.
- Press granola bar batter into the 8x8 parchment-lined pan, and place in freezer for 1-2 hours.
- Remove from freezer and slice into 16-20 bars.
- Store in fridge for 7 days or in freezer for up to a month.
Protein Powder Fig Bites
Neko Masi, a contestant from MasterChef Junior Season 7, boasts a recipe with figs (rich in fiber) and extra protein to encourage bone and muscle strength. Take a bite before going out for your daily run!
Ingredients (yields 18 bites):
- 2 cups dried figs
- 1/4 cup dried dates or raisins
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1-2 tsp honey or agave, to taste
- 1 scoop protein powder, chocolate or vanilla
- 1/2 cup oats
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup almonds, or a different nut of your choice
- Dark chocolate chips, to taste (optional)
- In a food processor, combine figs, dates or raisins, sweetener, and vanilla until well-mixed and pasty.
- Add almonds until they are finely-chopped in the paste.
- Mix in protein powder and salt (you can also add in dark chocolate chips here if you wish), and form small balls with the mixture by rolling in your hands. If the mixture is too sticky, you can dust your hands with a touch of protein powder. If it isn't sticky enough, you can wet your palms a little for easier rolling
- Store in the fridge for up to a week as long as they're sealed.
What's your go-to quarantine recipe? Comment below!