Collard Greenz

Food, recipes and everything in between


Low Glycemic Gluten Free Veggie Pesto Pizza

As the parent of a daughter with T1 Diabetes, I am constantly in search of new ways to cook healthy, tasty, low glycemic recipes. Omitting gluten, particularly processed wheat is one great way to curb blood sugar spikes. As a family of pizza lovers, this is particularly challenging, the crust and sauce are high in carbs and gluten (tomato is naturally high in sugar and often sauce has added sugar). With the restriction of limiting meals to approximately 20 carbs (for my diabetic 2.5 yr old daughter), this is especially difficult, it means she can just about have half a slice, leaving her hungry and cranky for more!

I also have a pizza loving friend with rheumatoid arthritis who has certain other dietary restrictions. This planted a seed in my brain, why can’t I create a tasty pizza like meal that leaves you feeling satisfied and your hunger satiated, without blowing your dietary limitations simply by smelling the air in which the dish was made (a pizza parlor :P)!

Dietary restrictions for this recipe, no: gluten, dairy, egg, soy, corn, solanaceae botanicals (aka nightshades linked to being inflammatory for those with a solanaceae intolerance).

A note on night shades – plants belonging to this family produce an alkaloid compound called solanine that acts as a nerve poison on insects that try to eat them. It is believed to have inflammatory properties, possibly even toxic if eaten in large quantities. Solanaceae includes tomatoes, potatoes (but not sweet), peppers, chili peppers, pimentos, paprika, goji berries and eggplant (as well as tobacco). Fear not, nightshades are only a problem for a small number of people. Those who suffer from arthritis are sometimes advised to avoid nightshades. However, clinical studies suggest that this advice really only applies to people who have a sensitivity to solanine. For these folks, eating nightshades causes an inflammatory reaction—including joint pain. Most people are not sensitive to solanine. Many medical professionals refute (a) the characterization that nightshades are “inflammatory” and (b) the advice that everyone with arthritis should avoid them. In fact, nightshade plants are high in antioxidants which actually help reduce inflammation.  Chili peppers also contain capsaicin, a strongly anti-inflammatory compound.

Now back to the PIZZA

The dough is yeast based using whole grain un-processed brown rice flour and sweat potatoes. It has a crunchy flat bread meets savory tart like texture, with a sweet nutty taste. It would lend itself well to any number of savory toppings, not just the one listed in this recipe. Special tools: perforated pizza tin, pizza cutter, potato ricer

Ingredients for the crust

2 large sweet potatoes (about 14 ounces) (roasted in skins, then pealed and riced using potato ricer)

1/3 cup warm water (110*F)

2 tsp coconut nectar

One ¼ oz pack of active dry yeast

1.5 cup brown rice flour

1 tsp Kosher salt

3 tbps EVOO

Directions for the crust

Once potatoes are cool enough to handle after roasting, peal and rice them in potato ricer, you should have about 2 cups.

Whisk together warm water, coconut nectar and yeast in small bowl. Let sit until a small layer of foam develops at the top and the yeast is activated (3-5 minutes). If this does not happen, discard and try again.

Place potatoes, rice flour and salt in mixing bowl with paddle attachment (if using mixer), this can be done by hand but the dough is quite sticky so just be prepared. Mix on medium speed until just combined and produces a fine crumbly meal. Continue to mix on medium speed, slowly add EVOO until combined, then drizzle yeast mixture and continue mixing just until dough comes together (again it will be slightly sticky and tacky), you will need a spatula to help give a final stir to ensure everything is all combined. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until the dough rises by at least half (approximately 1.5-2 hours).


Remove dough on (rice) floured surface and work into a ball, you will need to add about 1/3 cup extra rice flour at this point to incorporate it into a workable dough by hand, but it will still remain sticky and tacky compared to gluten based doughs. Roll out to approximately 1 cm thick and place on perforated pizza tin (pre sprayed w oil and sprinkled with rice flour to ensure it doesn’t stick).


Place desired toppings on pizza dough, bake at approximately 500* F in pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes until it is crisp and lightly golden brown, remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before serving (burning the roof of your mouth is the worst!) 

Ingredients for the topping

3 cups kale

½ large zucchini

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

3 medium shallots sliced into fine rings (or 1 red onion)

¾ cup toasted pine nuts

1 tsp coconut nectar

1/3 cup EVOO

S&P to taste

Dairy option (I made one with, one without): 1 cup mozzarella or grated pecorino, ½ low fat ricotta

 Directions for the topping

*Tip – prep the toppings while dough is proofing

Sauté kale and zucchini until wilted (about 5 minutes), remove from heat. Place in food processor along with coconut nectar, EVOO and 1/4 cup of water, process until green pesto like sauce texture. Return to heat and add dash of S&P to taste. The coconut nectar ensures the greens are not bitter.

Separately sauté shallots on low until they are very soft and caramelized (about 15 minutes). Remove from pan and briefly fry chopped garlic in olive oil until the aroma is sweet and nutty but color still pale this only takes about 2 minutes. Otherwise, it will burn and result in a sharp bitter taste. Remove garlic from heat.

To assemble the pizza: Place green sauce on dough, then sprinkle caramelized shallots, toasted garlic and toasted pine nuts, lastly sprinkle with cheese if using.


Serve with mixed leaves salad in a lemon & EVOO dressing.

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Hot and Spicy Egg Drop Broth

Nothing soothes a sore throat quite like hot broth. This dish is ready in minutes and is incredibly comforting, soothing and tasty. 

Ingredients (serves 2):

1 cube good quality low sodium chicken stock

2L water 

1 cup chopped fresh spinach 

1 cup peas

2 stalks sliced spring onion 

1 cup sliced pan fried mushrooms 

2tbps sweet chili dipping sauce

1tbsp shrirachi sauce   

1 small packet thin egg noodles 

2 eggs


Simmer water and stock cube on medium heat for about 5 min until dissolved. Add vegetables, chili sauces, noodles and simmer for additional 5 minutes or until noodles just cooked, stirring occasionally. Lastly, add eggs to broth and let them soft boil in the simmering broth. Serve immediately. 

The silky smooth texture of the just cooked egg and velvety just broken soft yolk mixing with sweet and spicy broth is nothing short of fantastic & scrumptious.  


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Persian Chicken with Nutty Rice Pilaf

I have been on a real Middle Eastern kick in when it comes to food inspiration these days. This recipe is perfect for a healthy mid-week dinner that is quick and easy to make.

Ingredients (feeds approx. 4):


Marinate the chicken in the following ingredients ideally for at least 20 minutes before roasting, or better still, prep a night in advance and marinate in the refrigerator over night.

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (use breast if you prefer white meat)

2 tbsp. EVOO

1/3 cup pomegranate molasses

2 tbsp. za’atar

dash of salt and cracked black pepper to taste

marinaded chicken - Copypomegranate molas


1 tbsp. each: turmeric (a natural anti-inflammatory & preservative) & smoked paprika

1 tsp. cumin

2 cloves garlic and 1/2 onion minced

1 large carrot and 1/2 zucchini shredded

3/4 cup toasted walnuts and pumpkin seeds

3 cups basmati rice

2 tbsp EVOO

dash of salt and cracked black pepper to taste

toasted nuts - Copy


Place chicken in roasting dish in 375* preheated oven. It will take about 25-30 minutes for the chicken to be cooked, the oven temp is slightly high so the chicken gets a little charred and golden brown on top. Once it’s just cooked through, tent loosely in foil and let it rest for about 5 minutes so juices can return to meat to ensure it does not dry out.

Meanwhile, once chicken is in the oven, prepare the rice in a large non-stick sauté pan – not a pot – this will enable the rice to caramelize and evenly cook to ensure it retains a nice fluffy texture, nobody likes gloopy rice mush. Heat EVOO in pan, fry spices for about 1 minute, add shredded veggies and minced garlic/onion, sauté until soft for about 2-3 minutes, then add a bit more EVOO if necessary, add rice and sauté the rice in the spice & vegetable mixture for an additional 3-5 minutes, this step is crucial to ensuring that the rice absorbs the nutty sweet flavor of the spices, vegetables and olive oil and it’s well worth taking the extra couple of minutes to do so. Add 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock. Let simmer on medium low heat stirring occasionally, once all of the liquid is absorbed, add a bit more stock. The idea is not add too much liquid too quickly nor to over-stir. Once the rice has simmered for about 20-25 minutes and absorbed all the liquid, it should be cooked. Firmly press rice mixture down in an even layer, let it remain in pan once liquid is absorbed so it may get golden and slightly crisp on the bottom. Once ready to serve, stir in chopped dill, toasted walnuts & pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds & lemon zest. Serve along side the pomegranate roasted chicken.

rice w dill

rice & chicken


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I had a craving for Middle Eastern Mezze and my husband and I decided to half cheat/half cook an easy at-home version. Though we have a plethora of tasty restaurants representing food from all over the world, our neighborhood is lacking in the Mezze department. Mezze is a word of Persian origin that loosely means “taste” and that’s exactly what it is – a tasting of a large number of dishes. We were not trying to replicate the robust flavor sensations delivered when eating freshly made Mezze found on the streets of Marrakech or Beirut (I have tried the likes of these on some of my travels and wouldn’t know where to begin!) but in a pinch, when craving a falafel, this dinner really works.
Traditional Mezze
Morocco mezzeIf you want something on the table quickly, I strongly believe that there is nothing wrong with using a bit of assistance in the form of semi prepared ingredients, particularly if they are healthy and all natural. I have made each of these things from scratch, but in the interest of time and product delivery, this assisted at home meal really hits the mark. Although this is a rather carb high meal, it also happens to be fairly low glycemic (excluding the flat-bread), so when eaten in moderation, it shouldn’t spike BGL too highly after eating, an added bonus if you are a diabetic.
On the menu:
Grilled halloumi
Tomato and cucumber tabbouleh
Grilled flat bread
Pitted olives – Kalamata are my favorite, I love the juicy sweet taste and meaty texture
Lots of freshly squeezed lemon and glugs of EVOO
Quick At-Home Falafel Wrap & Dolmas
  • Falafel mix from a box – this is convenient and only takes minutes to prep. My favorite brand is Casbah All Natural.
  • Hummus – I love Trader Joe’s as it’s very smooth and there is not too much garlic or tahini.
  • Dolmas – these should not be too acidic and are best when they contain pine nuts and raisins, search for options preserved in EVOO not canola or brine.
  • Halumi cheese, you only need to grill it for about 30 seconds per side to get it nice and golden.
  • I made tabbouleh using a bit of leftover cooked quinoa that I had in the fridge instead of bulgur, dill, parsley, lemon, EVOO all mixed with super sweet, juicy, local, vine ripened tomatoes and cucumber, the combo is a summer-time classic that I adore using in abundance while both of these ingredients are in season
  • Tzatziki – made from yogurt, freshly squeezed lemon, EVOO, grated cucumber, salt & pepper

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Low Glycemic Multi-seed & Nut Loaf

Over the weekend I experimented with gluten free flour in an attempt to produce a loaf of something that would not spike my LO’s (a T1D) blood sugar after breakfast. Certain low glycemic wraps and grains also work well for breakfast options, but I wanted more flexibility as a low carb/low GI wrap every morning gets old fast even if the filling changes every day! This recipe is not only great for diabetics, it’s super healthy and versatile. It toasts very well and lasts for a few days.

Regardless of whether you are a diabetic, we are all afflicted by the dawn phenomenon. The body works to produce extra glucagon in the early morning hours – the hormone that triggers the production of glucose, the effect of which raises blood sugar – in order to mitigate against going into hypoglycemic shock before breakfast, after having not eating for several hours during the night. My LO tends to wake up on the high side of normal for her age/weight bracket, so it’s especially important that her breakfast is as low glycemic as possible. She craves and desires carbs so I am constantly in search of good low glycemic index carbs that work well in the AM. Whole wheat/grains that gluten based – including breads and cereals simply don’t work for breakfast, they are ok later in the day though…. hence the use of gluten-free flour in this recipe.

The flour I used resulted in no spikes whatsoever and the end product was surprisingly tasty. My husband said that it ‘tasted healthy’ but once I sprinkled a bit of coconut sugar on the slice he promptly devoured it, as did my LO, so it couldn’t have been that bad!

seed bread 2

Ingredients: Pre-heat oven to 350*F

2 cups all purpose gluten free all purpose flour (mine is made from garbanzo flour, potato starch, sorghum flour and fava flour)

1 and 1/4 cups buttermilk (in a pinch mix 1 cup milk with 1tbsp white vinegar, let curdle & sit for 5 mins)

2tbsp coconut sugar

1tbsp baking soda

1/2tsp salt

1 egg

1/3 cup EVOO

1/3 cup each: sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, ground pistachio or other ground nut

2tbsp chia seeds

Combine all dry ingredients, mix through flour sieve.

Combine all wet ingredients, stir into dry ingredients, lastly add seeds/nuts. The batter was a bit on the wet side. Save 1tbsp of the mixed seeds/nuts to sprinkle on the top.

Bake for approx. 40 minutes until tester comes out dry.

seed bread 3

The loaf has a crunchy exterior and slightly sweet, nutty, dense interior. The density was as a result of the bean based flours, in the future I might use a bit more flour and slightly less buttermilk for a more traditional bread-like texture. Either way it was a success! If you have any other low glycemic breakfast ideas, tips or suggestions, please let me know :)

seed bread

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Humble Meat Pie

There are so many variations on this humble combination. Across the pond it’s a staple dish – shepard’s pie or cottage pie – that I grew to love after spending several years living in the UK. It’s a comfort food classic and always a crowd pleaser, perfect for mid-week dinners. I lightened mine up and also used flavors I grew up with – Italian sausage with greens. This dish is low carb, low glycemic and super healthy. It also packs a punch with the chili and garlic spiced sausage.
sausage pie
1.5lbs lean chicken Italian or chorizo sausage (to make this dish meat-free, I like using veggie based sausage Field Roast)
2 cups chopped kale and spinach lightly blanched
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
2.5lb sweet potato (I also make this dish with roasted and pureed butternut squash instead of sweet potato, both work really well)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
Start with sweet potato – Slice into quarters and roast w skins on in 350* oven for about 45 minutes until soft.
While roasting the potatoes, prep the sausage filling for the casserole. Remove meat from casing. Sauté minced onion until soft, add garlic and sausage meat until browned. Add white wine and water to deglaze and create a sauce. Italian sausage tends to be full of flavor, spices and salt (including the meat-free varieties) so I don’t find it necessary to season the sauce.
Once potatoes are roasted, purée into a smooth paste in food processor with the skins, this adds flavor and extra nutrients. Add 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup evoo, pinch of salt and pepper. If using butternut squash instead of sweet potato, once roasted, removed flesh from skin and roughly puree with a fork.
To assemble the casserole, place a layer on smashed sweet potatoes on the bottom, top with meat sauce, then add chopped and blanched greens, followed by a top layer of the smashed potatoes. Sprinkle with grated parmesan, asiago or other hard salty cheese.
(check this recipe out for another Anglo/Italiano fusion creation).

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No more boring healthy meals

Farro risotto, roasted zucchini squash w caramelized red onions, roasted chick peas and spicy beet relish 

  Trying to convince my husband and daughter to eat more vegetables is a daily challenge, especially a meal without any meat, shock horror I know 😝

This is a very easy midweek dinner ready in about 35-40 minutes. It’s super healthy and packed with palate pleasing flavors and textures. Don’t be put off by the number of components, they are all easy to do and most can be prepped once the zucchini and onion are in the oven. 

Feeds 4

Firstly, slice 2 large zucchinis and 1 small red onion, drizzle in evoo, sprinkle w salt and pepper, roast in moderate 350* oven for about 35 minutes until soft and lightly golden. 

In a separate pan, roast 1 can pesto coated chickpeas for about 20 minutes, once veggies have been in for about 15 minutes. The chickpeas should be slightly crunchy but still smooth and buttery on the inside, not hard or dried out. 

Once the vegetables are in the oven, cook 1 cup dry faro according to package instructions until al dente, I opt for whole grain fast cooking option which takes about 12 minutes. Faro is an excellent low glycemic index grain with a sweet nutty flavor that won’t spike BGL – an added health benefit for diabetics. 

While faro is cooking prep spicy beet relish. Grate 1 large beet and 2 carrots, sauté in new pan on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes with evoo, salt, pepper, 1/2tsp chili flakes, add 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup ketchup and 1 cup water, let simmer on medium heat for about 5 minutes. (ps if you like beet, check out my MIL’s fabulous beetroot pie)
While beets are simmering on stove and veggies finishing in oven, sauté quarter of an onion and 2 cloves garlic until soft in pan, add al dente faro along w 2tbsp pesto and zest & juice of 1/2 lemon, lightly sauté until grains are slightly caramelized which will lend an extra nutty texture, flavor and crunch.
To assemble the plate, place faro on bottom, top with pesto chick peas and roasted zucchini and onion, serve w warm spicy beet relish. The contrast of the nutty faro, smooth inside & crunchy outside of chickpeas along w sweet roasted veggies and spicy relish really results in a full burst of flavors and will excite skeptical palates! 


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