6 Healthy Recipes That Actually Taste GOOD

In a world saturated with complex recipes and exotic ingredients, it’s easy to be blinded by all the bells and whistles thrown into cooking these days. And, as much as we train our tastebuds on interesting flavors, it’s important to remember the natural properties and elements that make each dish so enriching.
That’s why we enlisted holistic health coach Jennifer Hall Taylor of Buckwheat To Butter to show us a thing or two about Northern California's bounty and how to craft delicious (and healthy) creations out of what's fresh right now. After all, we have no shortage of seasonal selections at our disposal. From a refreshing shake that will have you doing double-takes for dairy (you won't find it!) to a salmon poke that will have guests going back for thirds, the six recipes that follow do not suck. Actually, we're pretty sure they will blow your mind.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Meet Jennifer Hall Taylor of Buckwheat to Butter. Taylor is a certified holistic health coach and will be whipping up six super tasty summer recipes, all with winning health properties.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Millet Polenta with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes and Dill
Serves 4

"Millet is one of the most underused grains that we could all be eating more of. It is gluten-free, very easy to digest, and is the least allergenic grain out there. It has more essential amino acids than any other cereal grain and is full of vitamins and minerals. It can be tricky to get the texture right when cooking — one minute too long and it can go from a fluffy, couscous-like texture to mush. When intentionally cooked to a soft texture, it takes on the creaminess of polenta.

"In-season tomatoes barely need a thing done to them, and this 10-minute sauce highlights their freshness. Tomatoes are 95% water and full of vitamins. Dill has a very slightly soporific effect, so this dish should help relax the body and mind as much as it nourishes."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
1 cup millet
4-5 cups organic low-sodium vegetable broth or water
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1-1.5 lb small cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped dill
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse the millet under cold water in a sieve over the sink. Place the wet millet in a large, dry heavyweight saucepan over medium-high heat and toast, stirring occasionally, until the grain is fragrant and golden.

2. Add the broth or water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce heat, and simmer undisturbed for 20 minutes.

3. Uncover the pot and simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed and the polenta is thick and creamy. About 20 minutes. You may need to add more liquid if the grain is absorbing it but hasn’t gotten creamy. If so, add liquid half a cup at a time.

4. When the polenta looks to be in the last 10 minutes of cooking and has started absorbing most of its liquid, start the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once the oil is simmering, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, bring the heat up to high, and cook, shaking the pan back and forth frequently, until the tomato skins burst and the juices run into the pan, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the dill and remove from heat.

5. When the polenta is finished, taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Spoon into bowls and top with the tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. I like this with a side of spicy arugula dressed with nothing but very good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Hibiscus and Rose Petal Iced Tea

"Rose petals have been used therapeutically — in teas, herbal remedies, and beauty products — all over the globe, from Siberia to Florence, to India. In the ancient practice of Ayurveda, rose is useful in the summertime for its ability to simultaneously stoke digestive fire and cool both body and temperament. Hibiscus flower is similarly effective in regulating body temperature, and both flowers are said to help create a glow in the skin — both when used topically and internally — probably at least in part because they are both incredibly high in Vitamin C. Hibiscus has a slightly astringent, tart flavor that reminds me of cranberry, and that same deep, fuchsia hue. This is my favorite herbal tea to drink when I’m overheating — physically, mentally, or emotionally — or really anytime I want to hydrate with something other than plain water."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
3 tbsp dried organic hibiscus flower
1 tbsp dried organic rose petals
4 cups boiled water
1 tsp raw honey (optional)

1. Place the flowers in a large pitcher, jar, or tea pot and pour just-boiled water over the top.

2. Cover with a small plate or lid and let steep for 10 to 20 minutes.

3. Strain the tea through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl or another clean pitcher and chill until ready to drink. Can be made up to 3 days ahead of time.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Summer Squash Noodles With Basil-Hemp Pesto & Nasturtium Flowers
Serves 2

"Summer squash is in the Cucurbita family along with cucumber and shares many of the same cooling and healing effects with its watery cousin. I love to eat them raw as a light, cooling, alkalinizing substitute for pasta. This pesto has the creaminess of an alfredo sauce from the hemp seeds (an amazing source of Omega-3 fatty acids) and all the brightness of summer from the basil. The nasturtium flowers are just a beautiful, seasonal pop of color but they have the added value of being a strong tonic for the blood and of having a reputation for arousing sexual appetite."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
2-4 firm, medium-sized zucchinis or summer squash (no bigger than 6 inches long)
1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
A dozen nasturtium flowers (optional)

1. Using a sharp knife or a mandoline, slice each zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices — about 1/8-inch thick. Working one slice at a time, cut each piece into thin "noodles," no wider than the width of fettuccine. You want the noodles to be as close to the same size as possible. Place in a bowl and set aside.

2. Place the basil, garlic, hemp seed and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until well combined. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream through the feed tube until pesto reaches desired consistency. You want it to be thin enough to easily toss with the noodles but not at all runny. Taste and adjust salt as needed.

2. Spoon about half of the pesto over the noodles and toss with your hands until each noodle is well coated. Add more pesto as needed. You will likely have some left over which will keep in the fridge for a week. Add lemon juice and zest and toss again. Divide noodles into bowls and season each bowl with lots of black pepper and a few torn nasturtium flowers.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Green Bean, Sugar Snap, Nectarine Salad With Pink Peppercorn Kefir Dressing
Serves 4

"This dish simultaneously heats and cools the body, energizing it, nourishing it, and promoting detoxification. Kefir lends the tang you get from buttermilk-based dressings with the added bonus of being packed with probiotics. Pink peppercorns have a mild heat and an almost citrusy flavor. They’re great to eat in the heat as they promote perspiration — your body’s air conditioning and an essential part of your natural detoxification process. Marrying potassium-packed green beans, the slight diuretic effect and blood-sugar stabilizing properties of fresh peas, and the cleansing nature of raw nectarines results not only in a powerfully nutritious dish, but one whose texture and flavor combinations make it worthy of any lunch or dinner party."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
2 ripe, firm nectarines
1 cup kefir
2 tbsp pink peppercorns, plus extra to garnish
1 large shallot
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Big pinch of salt

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl or sink.

2. When the water is at a rolling boil, drop the peas in and cook until bright green, about 30 seconds. Remove the peas with tongs or a slotted spoon and plunge into the ice bath to stop the peas from cooking. Remove the peas from the water and let drain in a colander over a bowl or sink.

3. Bring the water back to a boil and repeat the same steps with the green beans. The beans will want just a little longer to cook but no more than one minute. You want them to be bright green, just cooked through, and not at all limp. They should have some snap to them still. Remove from ice bath and let drain in a colander.

4. Slice the beans and peas into thirds on a diagonal and put in a salad bowl. Working one at a time, cut the nectarines in half and use the tip of a small knife or your fingers to pry the pit out. Cut each half into thin slices and add to the peas and beans.

5. In the bowl of a food processor, mix the kefir, peppercorns, vinegar, shallot and salt and process until well combined.With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend for about 30 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

6. Pour half of the dressing over the salad and toss until everything is well-coated. Taste and add more dressing as desired. Any leftover dressing will keep for a week in the fridge.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Chocolate Cashew Shake
Serves 2 to 3

"Refined sugar is one of the most corrosive things in our modern diet. Getting sugar from fruit, like dates, is the best option. The fiber present in fruit slows the release of the natural sugar into the bloodstream, so that you don’t experience the rapid spike of insulin (sugar high) and subsequent drop in blood sugar (major crash) that you get from something like a candy bar.

"The natural sugar in fruit also comes packaged with the fruit’s vitamins and minerals, so you aren’t just getting empty calories. Add the protein and good fats from cashews, the high magnesium and mineral sulfur content of raw cacao (read: beautiful skin, strong nails and hair, healthy liver, strong bones, happy brain, and great mood), and the energizing effect of maca root, and you’re hard-pressed to find a healthier sweet that tastes this good."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
8-10 pitted deglet dates or 4-5 pitted medjool dates
2 heaping tbsp raw cacao
2 tsp maca powder
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 cups cold filtered water
Pinch of flaky sea salt
Ice (optional)

1. To make the cashew milk, combine the cashews and water in a Vitamix or high-speed blender and blend on highest setting until completely smooth. Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a jar or bowl and set aside.

2. To make the smoothie, place all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until well combined. Add ice to make it extra cold and a little thicker. I like to put this in a glass in the freezer for 2-3 hours to make a semi-frozen, spoonable stand-in for ice cream that doesn’t leave me feeling overly full or sluggish.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Salmon Poke
Serves 2

"As soon as the weather gets warm, my raw-fish intake goes up. Wild Salmon is one of my all-time favorites. Aside from being a powerhouse of protein, B12, Vitamin D, and Omega-3s, wild salmon — particularly from Alaska — tests lower than many other popular fish sources for environmental contaminants. I like to use Nama Shoyu in place of regular soy sauce. Nama Shoyu is unpasteurized, leaving living enzymes and beneficial bacteria intact, so it’s a great source of probiotics and prebiotics. This dish is great as an appetizer or a main dish — I sometimes even find myself craving it for breakfast."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
1 lb sashimi grade wild salmon, skin removed
3 green onions, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup Nama Shoyu*
2 tbsp gomasio or furikake
Juice of half a lime
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup white onion, very finely diced
1 tbsp hijiki
*Nama Shoyu contains gluten. If you are gluten-sensitive, use gluten-free tamari instead.

Using a very sharp knife, cut the salmon into cubes about 1/2-inch to 1-inch thick depending on your preference. Combine the salmon with all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix. Cover and let chill in the fridge for at least an hour, and up to 24 hours, before serving.