CULVER CITY, Calif. - Laura Lea Goldberg is a holistic chef, but her attitude on food couldn't be any more mainstream.
"I'm trying to get people away from these very strict ideas of health because that's when people won't do it," said Goldberg.
She's right. Going at healthy eating with a negative perspective or a scare tactic point of view usually backfires. Most will quit before too long. Goldberg's idea? Incorporate healthy ingredients in some of our favorite foods.
"It's so funny, I don't have kids but most of my recipes are beloved by children," Goldberg said.
Start with dessert first. Try a chocolate breakfast pudding of avocado, chia seed, cocoa powder, vanilla, nut butter and coconut milk.
And while she's a fan of all kinds of bread, she made gluten-free soaked-cashew tahini bread.
"I want my readers to become their own health guru and the only way to do that is to listen to your body," Goldberg reminded.
She feels our bodies should embrace all the food groups. When it comes to animal products think of having them in small doses, like condiments.
One example? Her pepperoni pizza.
And believe it or not, Goldberg uses both quinoa and lentils in her crust for good reason. Not only does it make you feel full, it also aids in digestion.
"I love dairy products but they can slow things down. This is really going to make you feel full after just a few slices. It's also amazing for your digestive system," Goldberg said about her pizza.
The recipes from her new cookbook can be made in a blender with ingredients most have in their pantry. Sound, solid foods that some feel should be forbidden are instead offered in modest amounts.
She urges people to stop with dieting. Instead, listen to your body.
"Theres no one size fits all," reminded Goldberg.
From The Laura Lea Balanced Cookbook:
Quinoa Lentil Pepperoni Pizza
Yield: Two oval pizzas approximately 14" x 9", 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 6-8 hours plus 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 cup dry red lentils
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
10 Minute NY Chunky Pizza Sauce Pizza sauce to taste
3-4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese or cheddar
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
4 ounces pepperoni
1/4 cup black olives, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Add quinoa and lentils to a large bowl and cover with at least 1 inch water. Soak 6-8 hours, then drain in a fine-mesh colander (one where the quinoa won't fall through the holes), rinsing thoroughly with cold water until the water runs clear.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Grease each piece of parchment paper with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Add quinoa, lentils, 1/2 cup water, remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper to a food processor and puree until completely smooth, approximately 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides as necessary with a spatula. *Note: I have an 11 cup food processor. If yours is small, you may need to puree in batches.
Turn half of your dough (2 rounded cups per pizza) onto the center of each baking sheet. Use a spatula to spread in a thin, evenly layer, approximately 1/4 inch thick. *Note: this dough does not spread like traditional dough, so it will retain whatever shape you put it in.
Bake crust for 18 minutes, remove from oven and turn heat to 450 degrees F.
Allow par-baked crust to cool 5 minutes. Add an even layer of shredded mozzarella/cheddar, then parmesan, then pepperoni, then olives and red pepper flakes, if using. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted completely and bubbling. Pizza will keep tightly sealed in the refrigerated for three days.
10 Minute New York Chunky Pizza Sauce:
Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 ounce canned diced tomatoes
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons honey
Optional: 1/3 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped or 1 teaspoon dried basil
Heat a large sauté pan to medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant (approximately 20 seconds). Add remaining ingredients and turn heat to low. Cook, stirring, 3-4 minutes to heat ingredients thoroughly. Taste for salt and pepper. Will keep refrigerated in a tightly sealed container for 1 week, or frozen for 3 months.