Category: Summer

Sourdough Salad Pizza



Along with ice cream, chocolate, and burgers, pizza was definitely on my hit list when I started eating healthier. But like every single one of those foods, I have come up with a way of making them not only not bad for me, but actually good for me. If you live in the “pizza is junk food” world, this is the post for you, as I will single-handedly convince you that this universally loved indulgence can in fact, be nutritious.

It starts with the crust.

The pizza you’ll get at your local restaurant, in the freezer section of your grocery store, or out of the backseat of a teenage kid’s delivery car, is typically made with white flour. It also likely contains commercial yeast, the magical ingredient that makes dough rise quickly and predictably. There are of course other ways of making dough or crust, but these ingredients and methods can be more expensive and take more time. Most places stick to the quick and cheap, which almost always compromises our health. How do we make a healthier crust? The answer is fermentation!

Sourdough: what’s the big deal?
Sourdough is essentially fermented flour. And if you’re familiar with fermented foods, you’ll know that they are easier to digest, and contain far more nutrients than the original ingredients themselves. Sourdough bread is made by combining flour and water together with the natural yeasts that live on everything – our hands, our food, swirling around in the air – and after letting it hang out for a few days, you’ll have what’s called a “starter”.  This starter is added to a basic combination of more flour, water and salt, essentially inoculating it with all of the good bacteria and friendly yeasts. These organisms create lactic acid, which neutralize phytates, making nutrients more easily absorbed by the body. Lactic acid slows down the entrance of glucose into the blood stream, preventing the infamous glycemic index roller coaster. But my favourite of all, is that lactic acid helps break down the complex structure of gluten, making it far easier to digest. That means that people who have a sensitivity to gluten (except celiacs) can potentially eat sourdough bread without digestive upset, as the protein has been changed into a simpler arrangement that is easier to break down in the body.

Three cheers for that, eh?

Down below I’ve included the recipe for both sourdough starter and making pizza from that starter. I think sourdough pizza is a great place to begin because it is far easier to pull off than bread, in my experience. No matter if your dough gets a solid rise or not, you’ll still end up with a gloriously crisp, chewy crust that will your body will also thank you for.


Toppings: not just a pretty face
The toppings on a pizza will make or break the overall flavour, but also the potential health benefits. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that gobs of cheese and pepperoni are not the most health-supportive choices. So, see topping your pie as an opportunity to get creative, while sneaking in all of those veggies!

The best advice I can give you on this front, is to remember to prepare the toppings – meaning that they should be in the state that you’d enjoy eating them before putting them on the pizza. Since this style of pizza is cooked very quickly, things like garlic, onions, mushrooms, and greens are not going to change all that much in the oven. If you wouldn’t mow down on a bunch of raw Swiss chard, take those leaves on a tour of a hot skillet first. Mushrooms should be marinated or cooked beforehand (unless you like them raw), and onions, in my opinion should be caramelized. Things like olives, zucchini, tomatoes, capers, and bell peppers can be added raw since they are delicious eaten that way.

Sauce is optional, especially if you’re going to use juicy toppings, but if you are using it, keep it sparse and don’t let it sit on the dough too long, otherwise it will get soggy and sad. Pesto is a great alternative to traditional sauce, as is tapenade, roast veggie puree, romesco, chimichurri, and harissa.


And while we’re on the subject of health, did you know that pizza is THE perfect vehicle for salad? I discovered this a couple years ago when trying to make my healthy pizza even healthier. Instead of putting salad on the side, I thought, why not pile it on top? This delivers a fantastic textural contrast, while delivering that much-needed hit of freshness and bright acidity to cut the richness of the pizza. How is this not a thing?  I posted a shot on Instagram some time ago and it received a lot of positive feedback, so it seems like many of you are down with the salad pizza idea. It’s two of the world’s best foods combined, and that equals true tummy happiness.


Every summer I go to my friends’ cottage, just down the river from my own in the Thousand Islands. They are enthusiastic foodies and love to cook and eat good food as much as I do. They are also passionate about a plant-based diet, fermentation, pickling, and sourdough – all things healthy and delicious! Needless to say, this weekend has become the culinary highlight of my summer.

The only difference between this year and previous ones, is that this time I was able to talk myself into snapping a few pics during this process and waiting to eat! Not an easy feat for me, you must know, but well worth it if it inspires any of you to try this recipe.


Creating the sourdough starter
Although it may seem daunting, creating a sourdough starter, culture, or “mother” is far easier than you may think, and only requires three simple ingredients: water, flour, and a little patience. A starter takes about five days to develop, but perhaps more or less depending on temperature, humidity, and the type of flour you’re using. Nevertheless, it’s NOT complicated, and a very gratifying way to connect more to your food.

Here’s what you need:
4oz. / 115ml filtered water (un-chlorinated)
4oz. / 115g flour (choose whichever kind of grain-based flour you’d like – 100% rye and spelt are great choices)
a medium-sized glass container

1. Stir the flour and water together for about 30 seconds until it is a consistent batter. Cover the container with a tea towel, secure with a rubber band and set in a warm place.
2. After 24 hours, feed the starter with the same amount of flour and water. Stir to combine.
3. After another 24 hours, repeat with the feeding. By this time, you should see bubbles forming and smell something slightly sour. This is a good sign, and means that the wild yeasts are active. If there are no bubbles or sour aroma, keep feeding the starter and looking for signs of life.
4. After 24 hours, repeat with the feeding. By this time, you should see many bubbles of varying sizes and the aroma should be pleasantly strong.
5. Around day five, the starter should have doubled in size from day four, and is ready to use. If the starter has not risen, continue with the feeding program until it has. This process can take a few extra days if you’re in a colder environment. Don’t give up!

Storing your Sourdough Starter
If you would like to use the starter daily, then I recommend feeding it daily. Keep it at room temperature on your counter top so that you’ll remember to do so, and remove half of the starter each time so that there is always room for the fresh flour and water. If you would however like to store your sourdough for occasional use, keep it in the fridge where the fermentation process will slow down and will only require a feeding once a week.

To use again, simply remove the starter from the fridge about 12 hours prior to baking. Feed the starter to “wake it up” from hibernation. After about 12 hours from the last feeding, and once the starter is bubbly and smelling sour, it’s ready to go again!

Resources and Troubleshooting
There are so many resources for sourdough making out there, I’ll leave you with a few that I really like in case you run into any issues.
Cultures for Health
Nourished Kitchen
The Kitchn



I hope that this post puts you in touch with your inner baker, and that you commit to starting your sourdough culture TODAY. Through this miraculous process, you’ll be joining centuries of tradition, ritual, and connection. Not to mention that your pizza will suddenly be good for you. And that is the most important thing of all, amiright?

Happy fermenting, friends!
xo, Sarah B

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In other THRILLING news, I’m co-hosting a retreat in Bali this coming January! Wild Heart, High Spirit is a 7-day revitalizing retreat for women, aimed to restore balance, cultivate inner peace, and nourish the body from inside out. Learn to take care of yourself on a deep level, and feel empowered moving forward in your life beyond our week together. Join Mikkala Marilyn Kissi of Living Yolates and I for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on the enchanted island of Bali to connect with your wild heart and your high spirit! Click here to find out more. 

Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille – And my second Cookbook!



Ratatouille is one of those dishes that always sounds really good in theory: peak-season vegetables stewed together in a rich, tomato sauce with herbs and olive oil. How could this be anything but delicious? But whenever I’ve ordered it at a restaurant, my high hopes have been dashed with a pile of mushy vegetables that isn’t really a soup, or a stew or even a main dish.

After a farmer’s market blow out last week, I was preparing a bunch of veggies for the grill: eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and considering a tomato-basil salad for the side. As the veggies were grilling it dawned on me that I had everything I needed to make ratatouille. My first instinct was to run and grab the veg off the barbeque, but I stopped myself realizing the great potential of adding the grilled goodies to the tomato base instead of the traditional method of cooking everything together. Would this simple change-up make the difference and prevent mushy-ness? It was just crazy enough to work.


I got to caramelizing onions on the stove to create the base, then added garlic, tomatoes, lemon slices and balsamic. So far, so good. The veggies were beautifully charred and grill-marked when I went to check on them, so I pulled them off, gave them a rough chop and added them to the simmering tomato mixture. So far, so really good.

As I was contemplating how to make this a more substantial meal, I remembered that I had cooked lentils in the fridge. If you recall my slightly gripe-y post about restaurants halfway catering to vegetarians with dishes that were delicious but not all that “complete”, you’ll see how traditional ratatouille definitely falls into this category. The quickest fix and simplest solution is adding lentils, in those cases and this one. So without hesitation the pulses took the plunge and not only added protein and fiber, but gorgeous texture and colour as well. For the win!


The final result is something I am pretty stoked about and definitely making again. It’s a rich-tasting, chunky, hearty summer-in-a-bowl. My ratatouille may not have much in common with the classic version beyond its base ingredients, but I think that it’s far more filling and delicious. The grilled veggies prevent the mushiness from taking hold, as they miraculously hold their shape and tenderness while adding a bonus flavour layer of smokiness. If you don’t have lentils, chickpeas or white beans would make fabulous stand-ins. You can also leave the legumes out altogether, but they definitely turn this light side dish into a more complete meal.

To take my Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille over the top, serve it with plenty of olive oil drizzled over the top and a solid hunk of bread or toast on the side. This dish keeps well for up to four days in the fridge, or I imagine in the freezer for a few months. I’ve already made another batch for a future dinner – I can hardly wait for the next time I’m too tired to cook.



The next thing I’m going to tell you has been the second most difficult secret I’ve ever kept…I’ve written another cookbook!!! It’s called Naturally Nourished: Healthy, Delicious Meals made with Everyday Ingredients, and it will be available for purchase February 14, 2017.

This book was a major departure from the first cookbook, and a true response to the feedback I’ve received from you. Some readers found the ingredient lists from the first book too daunting, expensive, or unfamiliar, so the recipes from this next one can all be found at a discount grocery store! I wanted to remind everyone (including myself) that we all have access to fresh, healthy food in our supermarket, and that by preparing it consciously with simple techniques, we can make incredibly tasty meals every day on any budget. I absolutely loved creating this book as it pushed myself to the creative limits. I am so proud of the recipes and I know you’re going to love them as much as I do!


I’ll keep you all updated as far as pre-orders go and my book tour. Thank you all again for inspiring me to write this book!

All love,
Sarah B

Show me your Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille on Instagram: #MNRratatouille

5-Ingredient Magical Fudgesicles


Fudgesicles were a mainstay in the freezer of my childhood, and my go-to sugar fix if the cookie jar was empty. Since we’ve been blessed here in Copenhagen with a warm spring and early start to the summer season, day after day of blue skies and sundresses has jumpstarted my summer food fantasies. I felt like revisiting the frosty, chocolate-y pops that were such a relief in the sweltering heat, but this time, with a healthy plan of attack.

In my cookbook, I made a killer ice cream from avocados and cashews. Knowing how creamy and delicious this combination was, I wanted to recreate a similar base, with dates as the sweetener and raw cacao powder as the chocolate element.

So, I made a couple versions of these fudgesicles, since I wanted to eat more be thorough. The first experiment was with just cashews and avocado. The results were pretty delicious but pretty expensive, and a few of my taste-testers found the ice cream bars a little dry in the mouth. For the second version I scaled way back on the cashews and used coconut milk to enhance juiciness while maintaining creaminess. I also upped the cacao. Because chocolate. It was a perfectly balanced combination, and the version I am presenting you with today. The magical version.

These are so lusciously creamy, sinfully rich-tasting – the kind of thing you put in your mouth and kind of can’t believe what’s happening. Vegan, almost raw, and full of whole food ingredients, they are also downright filling! They make a fabulous mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up, especially with the raw cacao component, a deliciously effective, energy-boosting food. Dress them up with your favourite add-ins, or keep it simple and enjoy them as the five-ingredient bliss bars that they are.


Cashew News!
I was snacking on some cashews the other day (as one does) and offered some to a friend of mine, who declined. Her reason? Cashews are “so fattening”. Wait a minute, what? who started this ugly rumour?!

Maybe this is news to you too, but cashews are actually one of the lowest-fat nuts out there. Weighing in at only 67% fat, next to almonds at 76%, hazelnuts at 86%, and macadamia nuts at 93%, cashews rank pretty low on the scale – and let’s keep in mind that 66% of the fat in cashews is the heart-healthy, monounsaturated variety. Rejoice!


And while we are clearing up misconceptions, cashews are not technically nuts, but seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, an edible fruit native to South America. Cashew trees are in the same botanical family as mango and pistachio. The multi-step process to make cashews edible is quite involved, and typically includes steaming the whole seed pod, removing the outer shell, drying, and skinning. The inner shell layer of the cashew nut contains a caustic resin that can cause significant skin rashes, and is toxic if ingested.

The “raw” cashews that you purchase at a grocery store health food shop are not typically raw, just not roasted. Because of the steaming step in conventional cashew processing, cashews cannot be considered a “truly raw” product. “Truly raw” cashews are available on specialty websites and in some health food stores, but at a premium since separating the cashews from their shell without the nut coming into contact with the resin is time consuming and must be done by hand.

Cashews are an excellent source of the mineral copper. Copper helps our body utilize iron, eliminate free radicals, and build bone and connective tissue. It is also an essential component of a wide range of enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) which aids energy production and antioxidant defence. One-third of a cup of cashews delivers over 100% of your recommended daily intake of copper.


A high-speed blender is recommended for this recipe, but if you don’t have one make sure you blend until the mixture is as smooth as possible. You can add water to thin the mixture if it is too thick to blend, but keep in mind the more water you add, the less creamy the bars will be – more crystalline. No matter what, they will taste amazing. Because they’re magic.

The fudgesicle recipe below is unreasonably delicious as-is, but it can act also as a base for you to flavour as you like! You can add toppings after removing the fudgesicles from their mold too. This involves melted raw or regular chocolate and your creative spirit! Dip or drizzle the chocolate over the frozen bar, and sprinkle away. MAGIC WANDS. This would make a very popular activity at a kid’s birthday party. Or my birthday party. Stop looking at me like that.

I’ve included some options for both flavourings and toppings to inspire you, but these are merely suggestions. I know all of you super enthusiastic foodies out there will come up with some stellar combos. Let me know in the comments if you do!


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In other very magical news, my latest Cody app video series is now online! This one is all about my favourite subject: SNACKS!!! Super-Charged Snacks to be exact. And every recipe is brand-new, incredibly delicious, and of course über healthy. If you haven’t seen the Protein-Rich Cacao Brownie video on my Facebook page yet, go have a look! You can preview all of the recipes here and purchase the plan too (it’s on sale!).


Thank you so much for your ongoing support of My New Roots!

Big love and gratitude,
Sarah B.