kid-friendly · Recipes

Can’t wait to make this tasty Broccoli Toss!

What a week!! I had a crazy, crazy time at work, and I’m ready for some easy food. I was reading Parents Magazine on the train in this morning and saw this Crunchy Broccoli Toss, and I just know Georgia would love it. She loves beans, edamame and “trees!” (as she calls broccoli — which is funny because so did my little brother when he was a tot). Anyway, I can’t wait to make this and I just wanted to share it with you, too. Happy Weekend!

broccoli toss


Lemony Pasta with Sweet Sausage

Inspired by how easy it was to make pesto using an avocado, I decided to hunt around for more ways to create creamy, guilt-free pasta sauces. This one really ramps up the taste of fresh lemons and can easily be customized for a household with vegetarians and meat eaters, like mine. I just sauteed some chicken sausage in a small skillet to the side and added it to Mark’s portion, and then ate mine plain (which was just delicious!) You could try whatever sausage is your favorite, too.

This dish comes together quickly and can easily be doubled by buying two packages of pasta and using the entire package of sausage links. There’s so much sauce that you could probably stretch it across a doubled portion!

I’ve made avocado pesto many times before, but this recipe and its creative ingredients come to us courtesy of the “Food to Run For” blog, which happens to be written by someone with whom I went to high school (small world!)

To start, set the pasta on to boil. You can make the sauce and saute the sausage while it cooks.

In a blender, combine two avocados, the juice and zest of two organic lemons, a touch of garlic, 3 tablespoons of hummus, a splash of olive oil, torn basil and between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese.

Meanwhile, slice the sausage into quarter sized pieces and cook over medium heat with no oil until browned.

When the pasta is done, toss it into a big bowl, reserving at least a cup of the pasta water to mix with the sauce in the blender. After blending the sauce and the pasta water, pour into the bowl with the pappardelle and stir to mix.

Top with freshly grated parmesan and hand-torn basil. Add the sausage if you’re using it, or eat it as-is, with a glass of white wine.

Lemony Pasta with Sweet Sausage

Serves 4 Time: 30 minutes


  • 1/2 package sausage (I like Trader Joe’s Mango Chicken Sausage; use whole package if doubling recipe)
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s lemon pepper pappardelle (use 2 if doubling recipe)
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 bunch of basil (reserve some for garnish)
  • 3 TBSP edamame hummus (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • juice and zest of 2 organic lemons
  • olive oil
  • grated parmesan cheese (at least half a cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced


Blend avocados, basil, hummus, lemon juice & zest, olive oil, garlic and half the parmesan in a blender until smooth.

Cook pasta and drain into a large mixing bowl. While pasta is cooking, saute sausage (sliced into pieces) over medium heat in a non-stick pan and set aside.

Add a dash of the pasta cooking water to the blender and spin one more time; add sauce to hot pasta and mix. Top with sausage or serve it on the side to stay veggie friendly.

Serve garnished with freshly grated parmesan and torn basil leaves.



‘Creamy’ vegan pesto with edamame & roasted zucchini

This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite vegan chefs, Chloe Coscarelli of Cupcake Wars fame. I made it my own by adding sauteed soybeans and mini zucchini, and by using lime juice in the pesto. Yum!


  • 1 lb. pasta (I love Trader Joe’s garlic-basil linguine, but I’ve also made this with egg noodles!)
  • 1 package frozen edamame (soybeans), cooked and shelled
  • 1 zucchini, chopped, or 1 package baby zucchini, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive Oil
  • salt & pepper


Set a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. (I never salt water for pasta, but you certainly can.)

Meanwhile, chop the zucchini and set aside, and boil the frozen edamame according to package directions, either on the stove top or in the microwave. Set aside.

While waiting for the pasta to boil, make the pesto! In a blender or large food processor, combine 2 pitted & peeled avocados, juice of 1 lime, most of the basil (reserve some for garnish), garlic cloves, half a cup of olive oil, and a generous dash of salt and pepper. Process until smooth.

While the pasta is boiling, sautee the shelled soybeans and chopped zucchini in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until browned and fragrant. Salt lightly. Remove from heat.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water, and toss with the pesto in a large stainless steel bowl. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water to loosen the pesto and help it grip to the linguine. (Note: If you use the Trader Joe’s Garlic Basil Linguine, you’ll need two packages).

Serve the pasta topped with the zucchini and edamame. Garnish with fresh basil. Voila!

You’d never know by the taste of this creamy dish that there’s no dairy in the sauce. It tastes rich, silky and indulgent.

Side note: If you do have leftovers, don’t be alarmed that the sauce will turn darker because of the avocados.

Avocado makes an amazing substitute for heavy cream and other thickening dairy products like sour cream or cream cheese. I use them in smoothies, pasta sauces, muffins and more. They’re not only a great vegan option for baking, they are packed with dozens of essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium and folic acid, as well as the kind of heart-healthy “good” fats you want to boost in your diet. They also provide a concentrated source of energy for the body, so if you’re a distance cyclist like me, or any other type of endurance athlete, avocados are excellent fuel.

Need more evidence in favor of avocados? Check out this great recipe for an Avocado Lime Cheesecake Tart.

Recipe & Photo: