This amazing article was written by Nicole, a holistic nutritionist with a strong belief that it is possible for everyone to discover how good their body is designed to feel. Nicole works in partnership with her clients to achieve a lifestyle that is both balanced, fulfilling and nourishing. Go check out her fantastic blog with healthy recipes, or follow her on Facebook!
Got to admit here, even as a holistic nutritionist – I still have an undying love for…
There. I said it. And I know I’m not alone.
Thank goodness I know enough to kill any urge of reaching for fast food french fries and potato chips, because I know how terribly those foods make my body feel and the ingredients are definitely not “nutritionist-approved”.
Healthy eating should never equal deprivation. I tried that when I was just a newbie on the scene and I can assure you, it did not work well for me, and it doesn’t really work well for anyone. It’s so important to build a healthy relationship with food and dissociate guilt with what you choose to eat.
When I get a craving for my undying love, aka potatoes, do I reach for a piece of kale instead? Not normally. While I shut down emotional eating like J.K Rowling shuts down Twitter trolls, I’m all about balance, when you’re in the mood for some comfort food – make the healthiest dark version, that will not only hit the spot, but will provide you with nutrition that your body won’t hate you for tomorrow.
I’m not saying if you’re feeling like ‘something’ carrot cake, to just eat a plain ol’ carrot. Make something like these Turmeric Carrot Cake Bites.
When it comes to a desire for something potato, it’s best to make it yourself.
I’m in love with these Kimchi Fries. A fine example of when nutrition meets up with the latest street food trends.
Kimchi Fries might sound weird at first, but they’re blowing the minds and taste buds of food extraordinaires worldwide. The combination is more delicious than the initial thought of adding a spicy fermented cabbage blend on top of some already perfect french fries.
This combo is gut healthy, and the recipe I’m about to share is also gluten-free, guilt-free and totally vegan.
Health Benefits of Kimchi
Kimchi, if you’re not familiarized – is a fermented food and a traditional side dish in Korea. Typically made with napa cabbage, radish, scallion, garlic and ginger along with Korean chili and hot red pepper. The simple and natural process of Lacto fermentation encourages bacteria to feed on sugar/starch, creating lactic acid. The process preserves food and beverages to extend their shelf life.
While fermentation was essential before we had the ability import/export food year round, and refrigerate, a main reason fermented foods are becoming popular – and are outright trending right now – is because the process does more than just preserve. Fermentation also creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, B-12, trace minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and various strains of probiotics.
The benefits of kimchi are so great thanks to the process of fermentation. But the main thing to remember is that lactic acid promotes the growth and maintenance of a healthy intestinal flora; which advocates a healthy gut and strong immunity! Adding fermented foods such as kimchi, turmeric sauerkraut, water kefir (and turmeric water kefir) or upgraded honey garlic to your routine is an easy way to promote optimal digestion, and support your overall health and well-being.
Not to say all kimchi fries are created equal, the nutritional problem with this trend is that these typical french fries provide only empty nutrients and don’t really make the perfect match for all the benefits of kimchi.
Here are some of my most concerning thoughts on our beloved french fries
#1 cheap and inflammatory oils are used (vegetable, sunflower, safflower, canola, corn, peanut, soy)
#2 questionable and concerning levels of sodium are added
#3 it only takes potatoes, oil and salt to make a fry but that’s not all that is being used. (There are 19 ingredients in McDonald’s French Fries)
Cooking methods also matter. Deep fried foods are influential enough to trigger the pleasure centres of the brain – a huge reason as to why it’s hard to just have one french fry. But the mere thought of deep frying weirds me out. Considering that this oil is continuously re-used until a point of rancidity, with many restaurants only completely changing their deep fryer oil once a week…
Uh. No thanks!
Let’s get into this healthified recipe for some Kimchi Fries, add this to your meal planning for this week. Oven-baked sweet potato and regular potato fries paired with a butternut squash sauce that tastes cheesy but is totally vegan (and versatile). These loaded Kimchi Fries are also topped with crispy tempeh, avocado, green onions and hemp – are you drooling yet?
Let’s dive in.
Healthy Kimchi Fries
Makes 3-5 servings
1-2 medium organic sweet potatoes*
1-2 organic russet potatoes* (red, yellow, yukon)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup Butternut Squash Sauce (from this Butternut Squash Macaroni) *see recipe below
1/2-1 cup organic raw kimchi (I used Live Organic Food Dandelion Kimchi)
1/2 block (125 g) organic tempeh
1 ripe avocado, cubed
4-6 green onions, sliced
Hemp hearts, to garnish
It is best to make the Butternut Squash Sauce beforehand, see the recipe below
Set your oven to 425 degrees F and wash your potatoes well, leave the skin on and evenly slice into your desired french fry shape, keep the sweet potato separate as the two cook differently.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. First, toss the sweet potato fries into a large mixing bowl, drizzle over 1/2 of the melted coconut oil and season well with Himalayan salt and pepper (plus any other desired spices), toss well to combine, ensuring all of the sweet potato fries are coated with the coconut oil and seasonings.
One-by-one, line your prepared baking sheet with rows of sweet potato fries. The key to getting crispy sweet potato fries, not soggy ones, is ensuring that they do not touch during the cooking process.
Leave a very small amount of space between each lined fry and set aside.
Repeat this step with your regular potato fries, regular potatoes are more forgiving if they slightly touch.
Pop both trays of fries in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, keep a close eye as each oven will vary with heat/cooking time.
Once the fries have lightly browned, remove, gently flip and then cook for another 20-30 minutes until crispy and evenly browned. I often find sweet potatoes take longer than regular in this process.
Set your cooked fries aside to cool and crisp up some more while you prepare the other Kimchi Fry toppings.
Chop your tempeh into tiny bite sized pieces and heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of coconut oil then add the tempeh. Cook for 5-8 minutes, season with Himalayan salt and toss until browned and crispy. Set aside.
Dice your avocado and green onions and get ready to assemble!
Arrange your fries on a platter, pour some of your creamy Butternut Squash Sauce over the fries, use a fork to distribute your gut-healthy kimchi over the platter, then garnish with your crispy tempeh, cubed avocado, green onions and a sprinkle of hemp hearts
Serve and enjoy! Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Lasts 4-5 days.
-This recipe is versatile, instead of making the butternut squash sauce you could simply add guacamole, salsa, organic sour cream, crispy tempeh, green onions and kimchi as another spin-off.
-You are not limited to potato fries, you can also do this with root vegetables like: carrot, parsnip, rutabaga, beets and celery root
-In both the United States and Canada, potatoes are often irradiated to prevent sprouting, to learn more on irradiation, check out this article – this is why I recommend organic, whenever possible – especially for potatoes.
Butternut Squash Sauce
1 fresh butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2-3 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ medium Spanish onion, chopped
3/4 cup unsweetened vegetable broth (or water)
1 tablespoon sprouted spelt flour or gluten-free flour (for thickening)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast, or more to taste
2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoonHimalayan salt and black pepper
½ teaspoon fresh turmeric root, grated or ¼ tsp turmeric powder
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Add chopped squash to a bowl with melted coconut oil, salt, and pepper, mix well to evenly coat.
Spread squash evenly on a baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes, uncovered, until tender.
Meanwhile, prepare the cheese sauce on the stove top. Add 1 tbsp coconut oil to a medium pot and sauté the chopped onion over medium-high heat until fragrant and lightly browned.
In a separate bowl, whisk together veg stock and flour until all clumps are gone. Pour into the pot with the onion and whisk well.
Stir in remaining ingredients; nutritional yeast, dijon mustard, garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Whisk over low heat until thickened (about 5-7 minutes or so).
In a blender, blend the pot of sauce with 1 1/2 cups of the roasted squash (save extra roasted butternut squash for salads)
Store extra Butternut Squash Sauce in mason jars, store in fridge or freezer for long-term storage.