Good for Your Gut Health: Plant-Based Recipes

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If you have gut health issues, you’ve definitely wondered, “What should I eat?” 

Meet your new best friend/cookbook: Good for Your Gut: A Plant-Based Digestive Health Guide and Nourishing Recipes for Living Well. Written by registered dietitian and bestselling author of Eat More PlantsDesiree Nielsen, this guidebook was made for you.

Understanding how our gut impacts our overall wellbeing has grown to the point that better digestive health is essential for everyone—not just for those with digestive conditions. In Good for Your Gut, you’ll learn how to fuel gut health with anti-inflammatory plant-based foods and lifestyle strategies for a holistic approach to health and wellness.

Good for Your Gut

Featuring more than ninety illustrated, plant-based recipes created to protect, heal, or soothe your gut, Good for Your Gut explains the gut health and mind-body connection and offers strategies to heal your gut when it’s imbalanced.

The recipes are packed with flavour and delicious to eat (even if you don’t suffer from digestive distress). 

Recipes are divided into Protect, Heal, and Soothe categories to address three core areas of digestive help.

For example, the Creamy Mushroom Lentil Toast and Cherry Pie Nice Cream are high in fibre and/or fermentable FODMAPs to support elimination and a healthy microbiome to protect gut health. 

The Pumpkin Oat Pancakes and Lentil Niçoise offer gluten-free and low FODMAP recipes to support those with IBS, intense bloating or gluten intolerance and celiac disease to Heal the gut. And the Curried White Bean Dip, and Mango with Salted Coconut Cream are gluten-free and easy-to-digest recipes for the most irritated guts, helping to Soothe and help those dealing with significant digestive issues to build up a tolerance to plant-based eating. 

The book also offers foundational principles of good gut health: how the gut works, everyday gut issues such as constipation and reflux and how best to handle them, and Desiree’s core nutrition philosophy and what the science says about how to eat to protect your gut.

She deep dives into therapeutic lifestyle and nutrition as well–the gut microbiome and gut-brain connection, common digestive conditions, and low-FODMAP dietary guidelines and how you can put these into practice if you’re suffering.

To whet your appetite, Desiree has generously shared four of her recipes with us. We guarantee you’ll love each and every one!

Chickpea Omelette with Curried Sweet Potato and Spinach

Chickpea Omelette with Curried Sweet Potato and Spinach

Serves 4

When I was transitioning to a plant-based diet, dairy substitutes came easy to me, but I could not figure out how to recreate my favourite egg-based dishes. Then some genius figured out that chickpea flour—a staple in many South Asian kitchens—would work. Chickpea flour offers filling protein and plenty of minerals to make it a truly nutritious substitute. This omelette is one of my favourite breakfasts and it also transitions into a terrific dinner. Once you master it, you can stuff this omelette with any of your favourite fillings—from spinach and tofu feta cheese to roasted red peppers and onions.

Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and chopped into ¾-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp avocado oil, divided,  plus  more  for the pan
  • ¾ tsp curry powder, divided
  • ¼ tsp garam masala              
  • ¼ tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 4 cups packed baby spinach

Chickpea Omelette

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric 
  • 1¼ cups water

Tip: You can make these omelettes ahead of time, which makes them great for meal prep. Keep the roasted vegetable mixture separately in an airtight container in the  fridge. Store the omelettes, separated by parchment paper to avoid sticking, in a large airtight plastic bag in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat the omelettes in a nonstick skillet, covered, for a minute or so.

1.  Roast the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potato and red onion with 1 Tbsp of the avocado oil, ½ tsp of the curry powder, garam masala, and salt. Spread the vegetable mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, ensuring that the red onion is not close to the edges of the sheet to avoid burning. Roast until the sweet potato is fork-tender, 23 to 25 minutes.

3.  Toss the spinach in the same bowl with the remaining 1 tsp avocado oil and ¼ tsp curry powder, and a pinch of salt. Place the spinach on top of the vegetable mixture and roast for 2 minutes more to wilt the spinach.

4.  Make the chickpea omelette: In a medium bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, salt, baking powder, and turmeric. Whisk in the water and let sit for 10 minutes to hydrate the flour.

5.  Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat and brush with a bit of avocado oil. When the oil is hot, pour ⅓ cup of the batter into the pan. (You should hear it sizzle. If the pan is not hot enough, it might be harder to flip the omelette.) Cook for about 1 minute. You’ll see little bubbles on the surface, and it should look dry. Carefully run a spatula under the edges of the omelette, flip, and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer the omelette to a rack lined with parchment paper or keep warm in the oven. Cook the remaining 3 omelettes.

6.  To serve, divide the roasted vegetables among the omelettes along one side and fold over.

Plum and Radicchio Salad with Tahini Yogurt Dressing 

Plum and Radicchio Salad with Tahini Yogurt Dressing 

Serves 4

This salad is full of flavourful Mediterranean ingredients like bitter radicchio, tart plums, crunchy walnuts, and creamy yogurt. We really do not eat enough bitter vegetables because our palettes tend to be overly used to salty and sweet foods. Bitter greens such as radicchio and rapini stimulate digestion and are a wonderful balm for someone who craves sweets. Mint adds another layer of flavour to this special salad and helps to soothe the gut.

Tahini Yogurt Dressing

  • ½ cup coconut yogurt 
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp organic cane sugar
  • ½ tsp ground sumac
  • ¼ tsp red chili flakes

Plum and Radicchio Salad

  • 1 small head red radicchio, finely shredded
  • 4 firm black or red plums, pitted and sliced
  • ¼ cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced into ribbons

1.   Make the tahini yogurt dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cane sugar, sumac, and chili flakes. If needed, add 1 to 2 Tbsp water for desired consistency. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. (It makes a great veggie dip.)

2.   Make the plum and radicchio salad: In a medium bowl, toss the radicchio with half of the dressing. Layer the plums, walnuts, dates, and mint over top of the radicchio. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Caramel Shortbread Bars 

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Caramel Shortbread Bars 

Makes 16 bars

These bars are a decadent, satisfying treat made from wholesome ingredients like almond flour and peanut butter. Inspired by millionaire bars, the cookie base is made from protein-packed almond flour and the caramel layer is melt-in-your-mouth decadence. Even with the three layers, these bars are quite simple to make and well worth the bit of extra effort. Yes, low-FODMAP treats can be zero compromise.

Shortbread Base

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ½ cup refined coconut oil
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt

Caramel Layer

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract 
  • Pinch of salt

Chocolate Layer

  • ¾ cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips (at least 70% cocoa)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil 
  • Flaky sea salt (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with coconut oil. Cut a length of parchment paper long enough to line the bottom of the pan with extra hanging over the sides.

2. Make the shortbread base: In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Evenly press the mixture into the baking pan and lightly prick the base all over with a fork. Bake until the edges start to firm up and turn golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes while you prepare the caramel layer.

3. Make the caramel layer: In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt. Spread the caramel mixture over the shortbread base, then place the baking pan in the fridge while you prepare the chocolate layer.

4. Make the chocolate layer: In a small pot, bring 2 inches (5 cm) of water to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the chocolate chips with the coconut oil in a small heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the simmering water. Ensure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.

5. Gently and continuously stir until the chocolate and coconut oil are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes to thicken slightly. Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the caramel layer. Sprinkle some flaky sea salt over the chocolate, if using. Place the pan in the fridge until firm, about 30 minutes.

6. Remove from the pan using the parchment paper overhang. Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Chickpea Umami Burgers 

Chickpea Umami Burgers 

Makes 6 burgers

I turned to the power of umami to make what I think are my most delicious burgers yet. The word umami in Japanese roughly translates to “savoury deliciousness,” which comes from a few amino acids naturally found in foods like sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and soy sauce. Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts and flaxseed help fight inflammation, while soluble fibre from beans and oats help regulate digestion and support beneficial bacteria in the gut. These soft, squishy, flavourful burgers are sure to be a hit with the family.

  • 2 cups tightly packed baby spinach
  • 1 medium shallot, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup raw walnuts
  • ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and patted dry
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) no-salt-added chickpeas (or 3 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • ½ cup gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp onion powder 2 Tbsp water, more if needed
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp gluten-free tamari Zest of ½ lemon

For serving (optional)

  • Gluten-free buns 
  • Spring salad mix 
  • Vegan mayonnaise 
  • Olive tapenade

1. Place the spinach in a colander over the sink. Slowly pour boiling water over the spinach to wilt it. Let sit to cool.

2. In a food processor, add the shallot, walnuts, and sun-dried tomatoes. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the chickpeas, rolled oats, nutritional yeast, flaxseed, cumin, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, water, 2 Tbsp of the olive oil, tamari, and lemon zest. Carefully squeeze all of the excess water from the spinach and add to the food processor. Pulse until about half the mixture looks like a paste, but you can still see plenty of distinct ingredients. You should be able to form a nice patty with ease. If the mixture is crumbly, pulse a bit more or add 1 to 2 Tbsp water, a bit at a time.

3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Place the burgers in the pan and cook until a golden brown crust forms on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. The burgers will be soft and pleasantly squishy when warm, but they will firm up as they cool.

4. Serve the burgers with or without buns, layered with greens, a bit of vegan mayonnaise, and some olive tapenade, if using. 

Tip: If you want a more traditional, firmer burger texture, add ⅓ cup gluten-free bread crumbs. These burgers can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before cooking.

See also…Healthy Comfort Food Hacks

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