Pomegranates transform humble, roasted sweet potatoes into a dish perfect for entertaining.
Eggs deliver a nice dose of vitamin B12, which has been linked to improved memory and a lower risk of cognitive decline later in life. And there’s something about sunnyside-up eggs that make me smile. Here we bake the eggs in little ramekins filled with a sautéed mix of chard, onion, garlic, parsley, and olives, with tomatoes on top.
Scientists have promised that someday little nanobots will act like tiny microprocessors in our brains, helping to make us smarter. Why wait? We already have a teensy legume that does that. Ounce for ounce, lentils pack an amazing quantity of brain boosters, including iron, which is essential to the function of the myelin that supports quick information gathering. It’s a myth that to prepare lentils you have to soak them overnight; just a quick rinse will do. You can substitute fennel, which is a good digestive aid, for the celery to add more depth to the flavor.
Packed with 45 varieties of antioxidant flavonoids, kale delivers outstanding amounts of brain-enhancing vitamin K (for memory), vitamin A (for learning), and vitamin C (for mood). The anthocyanins that give the sweet red grapes in this recipe their deep color are phenomenal antioxidants that may also enhance memory. The olive oil’s fat increases the bioavailability of kale’s fat-soluble nutrients.
Chicken is absolutely loaded with tryptophan, which can boost mood and help sleep come easier. It’s also high in vitamin B3 (a.k.a. niacin), which the Chicago Health and Aging Project found may slow cognitive decline. Here we take chicken thighs and jazz ’em up with a tantalizing minted chimichurri. The scent of mint has been shown to increase alertness, and the taste is perfect for waking up chicken and other meats.
Cooking delicate scallops quickly over high heat prevents moisture and flavor loss. By searing deeply on one side, you’ll allow the scallops to develop a crisp golden crust. Then all you have to do is flip them to allow the skillet to “kiss” the other side. Don’t be afraid to use a hot pan.
Sautéing apples enables you to cook them through without dehydrating them like baking or roasting does, and it allows the apples to maintain their shape and not get mushy. Serve with plain yogurt, a drizzle of cream, or a crumble of goat cheese.
Sautéing these sturdy vegetables over medium-high heat caramelizes their natural sugars, developing rich color and flavor. For additional pizzazz, toss and coat with various seasonings at the end, such as fresh lemon juice and herbs, or a tablespoon of butter and minced garlic.
Braising hearty greens helps make them tender, and finishing them with a splash of vinegar brightens their flavor. Play with different combinations by switching up your oils and acids: Instead of olive oil and vinegar, try coconut oil and brown-rice vinegar, or ghee and fresh lime juice. Other nice flavor additions include grated fresh ginger, crushed garlic, or minced jalapeños.
The turmeric in this dish adds a beautiful color to the sauce. You can sub Swiss chard or kale for the collards, but reduce the cooking time slightly because they are more tender.
You can use any firm white fish for this recipe, including corvina, Alaska pollock, catfish, or haddock. For an easy side dish, take advantage of the fragrant golden oil remaining in the pan: Add a handful of dark leafy greens to the oil after you have removed the fish, and sauté briefly to wilt.
Tandoori chicken is a classic at most Indian restaurants. We wanted a recipe that would provide the signature bright red color without food coloring — or a special tandoor oven. Marinate the chicken beforehand and then roast all the ingredients together on one pan. Serve with brown rice and your favorite chutneys. This recipe has been adapted from Raghavan Iyer’s book Indian Cooking Unfolded.
This dish is great alongside grilled meats or fish. Freshly grated coconut adds rich flavor, but if you don’t have fresh coconut, look for frozen grated coconut at Indian or health-food markets to use instead. If you have only dried coconut, soak it overnight in 1/4 cup coconut water.