These 4 Delicious Dishes Could Actually Make You Happier

Cookbook author, Rebecca Katz has both culinary, and nutrition training, so she knows how to make healthy food taste good. Her latest, The Healthy Mind Cookbook, features more than 120 recipes that optimize brain health, helping to boost your mood, improve your memory, and fight off disease. Here are four delicious dishes you can feel great about eating.
Avocado Citrus Salad Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 to 4 minutes, for variations 15 minutes

There’s fat, good fat, and great fat. Avocados fall
into the last category — full of brain-boosting vitamin E and a monounsaturated
fat that helps lower blood pressure, which can help lower the risk of cognitive
impairment. The same fat also serves to signal the gut and brain that satiation
is taking place, which keeps us from overeating. In this delicate salad, the
avocado acts as a creamy base note for the tart pop of the grapefruit, and the
perky citrus-ginger vinaigrette.


1 medium grapefruit or blood orange, peeled and segmented, with membrane cut away
Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tsp grated ginger
Sea salt
1/4 cup
extra virgin olive oil
4 cups loosely packed arugula or mixed greens
1/2 cup
shaved fennel or celery
1/4 cup
fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 avocado, sliced

1. When all the segments are
out of the grapefruit, squeeze the remaining juice into a small bowl and add more grapefruit
juice as needed to make 2 tablespoons. Add the zest, lemon juice, lime juice,
honey, ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and stir to combine. Slowly pour in the
olive oil, whisking all the while, and continue whisking until smooth. Transfer
to a small container with a fitted lid and shake well.

2. Mix the arugula, fennel, and mint in a large bowl.
Add a tablespoon or two of the dressing and toss. Top with the avocado and grapefruit
segments and drizzle with a little more dressing and a light sprinkle of salt. 

Variations: Make this salad heartier by adding
grilled shrimp
or salmon. Coat 8 ounces of peeled, deveined shrimp or salmon
fillet with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. On a grill or in a grill pan,
cook over medium high heat until just cooked and opaque, about 2 minutes for
shrimp or 3 to 4 minutes for salmon. 

Cook's Note: Oranges or tangerines will make a
lovely substitute for the grapefruit. 

Per Serving: Calories: 307; Total Fat: 22 g (3 g
saturated, 16 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 21 g; Protein: 10 g; Fiber:
8 g; Sodium: 345 mg 

Storage: Store in an airtight container in the
refrigerator for up 1 week.


Kale Quinoa Salad With Red Grapes

Makes 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Time: 20 minutes

Kale is quirky; with the right touch it shines like
an emerald and tastes delish, but if you ignore a few key steps it can resemble
Astroturf. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to get on kale’s good side. Once
it’s ripped and stripped, it loves a bath in olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.
This spa treatment breaks down the kale’s fibers, making it easier to digest
(the olive oil’s fat also increases the bioavailability of kale’s fat-soluble
nutrients). I’ve included mint, parsley, quinoa, cumin, and coriander in the
dish and added one additional surprise: red grapes. There’s something about
chomping on a sweet grape that’s just joyous, and the anthocyanins that give
the grape its deep color are also phenomenal antioxidants, with studies
showing they may enhance memory.

1 cup quinoa

tsp sea salt
1/4 cup
freshly squeezed lemon juice
tsp cumin
tsp coriander
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup
extra virgin olive oil
2 cups stemmed and finely chopped kale
1/4 cup
lightly packed chopped fresh mint
1/4 cups
lightly packed chopped parsley
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup
halved red seedless grapes, or 3 tbsp raisins

1. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse
well under cold running water.

2. In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon
of the salt to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa and cover. Decrease the
heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through,
until the quinoa is just tender. Remove from the heat and allow the quinoa to
rest for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

3. While the quinoa is cooking, whisk together the
lemon juice, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, cumin, coriander, red pepper
flakes, and olive oil together in a large bowl. Add the kale and give it a
quick massage with your hands. Add the quinoa, mint, parsley, lemon zest, and
grapes and toss lightly to combine. Serve at room temperature.

Cook's Note: When you make quinoa, rinse it well.
Quinoa is naturally coated with a bitter-tasting resin. To get rid of the
resin, put the grain in a bowl of cool water, swish it around with your hand,
and drain it in a fine-mesh sieve.

Per Serving: Calories: 281; Total Fat: 16 g (2 g
saturated, 11 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 32 g; Protein: 6 g; Fiber: 4
g; Sodium: 325 mg

Storage: Store in an airtight container in the
refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Triple Greens

6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

A frittata is an Italian omelet but, unlike the French version,
you don’t have to figure out how to do that funky half-flip with the eggs in
the pan. Frittatas bake, and in Italy they’re often eaten at room temperature:
they really are a good on-the-go food. The eggs are also a great binder for the
greens, which include kale, chard, and spinach. Add some red bell pepper,
marjoram, thyme, and feta, and you’ve got a super protein hit for lunch on the
go — just the thing to keep your brain working optimally throughout the day.

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
Sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup tightly packed, finely chopped kale
2 cups tightly packed, finely chopped chard
2 cups tightly packed, finely chopped spinach
Freshly grated nutmeg
10 organic eggs
2 scallions, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 oz crumbled feta

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 6 by 8-inch
baking dish.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When
it’s shimmering, add the bell pepper and a pinch of salt and sauté for 3
minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant,
about 30 seconds. Stir in the kale and another pinch of salt and
continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Add the chard, spinach, and one more pinch
of salt, sautéing until the greens are wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add a few gratings of nutmeg, stirring to

3. Whisk the eggs, scallions, marjoram, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon
of salt, and the pepper together in a large bowl. Lay the cooked greens along
the bottom of the prepared dish and top them with the crumbled feta. Pour the
egg mixture over and bake until the eggs are just set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Per Serving: Calories: 169; Total Fat: 12 g (3.5 g
saturated, 6.5 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 6.5 g; Protein: 8g; Fiber: 1
g; Sodium: 388 mg

Storage: Store, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for
up to 2 days.      

Salad With Olives & Mint

Make 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: Not applicable

One of the great things about traveling is that it
gets you out of food ruts. When you’re in a different part of the country or the world, it’s hard to ignore local fare. When an eighty-year-old nonna
 puts a strange salad in front
of you, what are you going to say — “No?” I remember the first time I saw this
salad in Italy. My initial reaction was, “Oranges with cracked pepper?
Really?!” And yet this combination, and another one I saw with oranges and
olives, really kicked up an incredible sweet-salty mouth pop that was
impossible to ignore. Clearly the combo left an impression, because I’ve
reprised it here with my own touch, adding almonds and mint. Maybe it was more
than an impression; let’s call it inspiration — just the type of culinary
experience that primes the pump of creativity.

4 cups tightly packed baby arugula or mixed greens
2 oranges, peeled and segmented, with membrane cut away
12 pitted Kalamata olives, rinsed and sliced
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
4 tbsp Orange Pomegranate Vinaigrette (see
2 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
Freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (optional)

Put the arugula, oranges, olives, and mint in a
large bowl and toss gently to combine. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and
toss again. Scatter the almonds, a few generous grinds of black pepper, and the
goat cheese over the top.

Variations: Substitute toasted walnuts for the
almonds. Use a variety of oranges, such as Valencias, blood oranges, or

Per Serving: Calories: 274; Total Fat: 21 g (4.5 g
saturated, 16.5 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 14 g; Protein: 4.5 g; Fiber:
3 g; Sodium: 422 mg

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Makes about 1/2 cup
Prep Time: 5
Cook Time: Not applicable

A little song, a little dance...this is
sweet and sour doing a delightful tango on the taste buds, with the intense
tartness of the pomegranate molasses magnificently mollified by the orange’s
mellow sweetness. This vinaigrette partners delightfully with just about any
salad that happens to sashay its way.

1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
tsp sea salt
tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup
extra virgin olive oil

Put the orange juice, lemon zest, lemon juice,
pomegranate molasses, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine.
Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking all the while, and continue whisking
until smooth. Transfer to a small container with a fitted lid and shake well.

Cook's Note: You can substitute balsamic vinegar if
you don’t have pomegranate molasses.

Per Serving: Serving Size: 1 tablespoon; Calories:
136; Total Fat: 14 g (1 g saturated, 11 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 4 g;
Protein: 0.10 g; Fiber: 0.12 g; Sodium: 200 mg

Storage: Store in an airtight container in the
refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Reprinted from The Healthy Mind Cookbook: Big-Flavor Recipes to Enhance Brain Function, Mood, Memory, and Mental Clarity. Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Katz. Photographs © 2015 by Maren Caruso. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

More from Diet & Nutrition

R29 Original Series