Healthy + Tasty Recipes For Brain Health

It’s never too early (or late) to start thinking about your brain health and the long-term impact of diet. Neurologist and culinary pro Dr. Ayesha Sherzai made it super simple to follow a 30-day plan for eating well with your brain in mind. In her best-selling book The 30-Day Alzheimer’s […]

It’s never too early (or late) to start thinking about your brain health and the long-term impact of diet. Neurologist and culinary pro Dr. Ayesha Sherzai made it super simple to follow a 30-day plan for eating well with your brain in mind. In her best-selling book The 30-Day Alzheimer’s Solution, a brain-health conscious cookbook and lifestyle program backed by science, Dr. Sherzai teaches how to make tasty, easy, and healthy food that supports brain health. These healthy and really delicious recipes (including a few sweet surprises) are designed to reduce brain fog and burnout, something we can all use a bit of these days. Ahead, try a few of her memory-boosting recipes for your weeknight or weekend meal planning.


DARK CHOCOLATE ORANGE PISTACHIO TRUFFLES


Excerpted from THE 30-DAY ALZHEIMER’S SOLUTION by Dean Sherzai, MD, PhD and Ayesha Sherzai, MD and reprinted with permission from HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2021.

NEURO 9 ITEMS: almonds, other nuts, flaxseeds

PREP TIME: 10 minutes plus 30 minutes of freezing

COOKING TIME: none

TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes

YIELD: 16 truffles

  • 1/3 cup sugar- and dairy-free dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 1 cup almond flour (more as needed)
  • 3 tablespoons monk fruit sweetener (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground golden flaxseeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Juice and zest of 1 large orange
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup toasted unsalted pistachios, chopped
  • Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

To create a double boiler to melt the chocolate chips, take a large saucepan, place it over medium-high heat, and add 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Then place a medium glass or ceramic mixing bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure it is not touching the water in the saucepan. Place the chocolate in the bowl and let it melt, stirring frequently with a spatula to evenly distribute the heat and help it melt faster. Once the chocolate is melted, remove from heat.

Combine almond flour, monk fruit, cacao powder, flaxseeds, salt, and orange zest in a mixing bowl. Add the almond butter and melted chocolate and stir until smooth. Adjust the consistency, if needed, with extra almond flour if too soft and runny or with a little orange juice if too dry and hard. You want it to feel like cookie batter, sticky enough to form into a ball.

Scooping the mixture with a teaspoon, form into small balls. Roll in chopped pistachios and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up before serving.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.

GRILLED TEMPEH SATAY WRAPS


Excerpted from THE 30-DAY ALZHEIMER’S SOLUTION by Dean Sherzai, MD, PhD and Ayesha Sherzai, MD and reprinted with permission from HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2021.

NEURO 9 ITEMS: tempeh, peanuts (a legume), Swiss chard, spring greens, herbs and spices

PREP TIME: 10 minutes

COOKING TIME: 15 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes

YIELD: 3 servings

FOR THE SKEWERS

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • EVOO spray
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha or other chili sauce of choice (or to taste), divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of ground turmeric and cumin
  • 1 8-ounce package tempeh, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium yellow squash or zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 wooden skewers, soaked in water

FOR THE SATAY SAUCE

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon liquid aminos or tamari sauce
  • Juice of 1 large lime (or to taste)

FOR THE WRAPS

  • 6 large Swiss chard leaves, trimmed (or 3 100% whole-wheat wraps)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 small cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 cups mixed baby spring greens
  • 2 tablespoons each of chopped fresh mint and cilantro
  • Whisk tamari, EVOO, sriracha sauce, turmeric, and cumin in a small bowl.

Place tempeh and squash in a mixing bowl and toss with the tamari mixture, coating evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and thread, alternating, onto the skewers. If time permits, let marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat, then reduce to medium-low. Add the skewers and grill, turning often, until golden and grill marks appear. You may need to spray the skewers with EVOO to keep them from sticking to the pan. Set aside.

Whisk all satay sauce ingredients in a small bowl until smooth, adding just enough water to get the desired consistency; adjust seasoning to taste and set aside.

Remove the grilled tempeh and squash from the skewers and divide among the Swiss chard leaves. Top with the onion, cucumbers, and baby greens and drizzle with the sauce. Scatter mint and cilantro over the filling and roll up tightly. Cut each wrap in half and serve.

SWEET POTATO BEAN BURGER


Excerpted from THE 30-DAY ALZHEIMER’S SOLUTION by Dean Sherzai, MD, PhD and Ayesha Sherzai, MD and reprinted with permission from HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2021.

NEURO 9 ITEMS: flaxseeds, oats, black beans, herbs and spices

PREP TIME: 15 minutes

COOKING TIME: 30 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes

YIELD: 4 servings

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and pith removed, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle adobo sauce (not the pepper)
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup canned no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Oat flour or cornmeal, to dust

OPTIONAL GARNISHES: Tomatoes, sliced; Avocado, sliced; Pickles, sliced

Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave on high until tender (7 to 10 minutes), turning over halfway. Scoop out the flesh, mash roughly, and set aside to cool. Alternatively, steam or roast the sweet potatoes.

Mix flaxseeds with the water in a small bowl and let the mixture thicken, 4 to 5 minutes.

Place lime zest and juice, cumin, paprika, onion, jalapeño, garlic, chipotle sauce, and oats in a food processor and pulse until ingredients begin to come together. Add black beans and cilantro, season to taste, and pulse a few times to incorporate.

Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and shape into four patties with wet hands, as mixture will be sticky. Dust the patties with some oat flour and place in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Arrange the chilled patties on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, then flip over and continue baking for another 5 minutes.

Recipe Notes

  1. Serve on a sprouted whole-wheat bun or on a bed of greens with Cashew Ranch Dressing (page 207).
  2. For some crunch, add 2 to 3 tablespoons soaked sunflower seeds to the burger mixture.

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT CRUST WITH BERRIES

NEURO 9 ITEMS: hazelnuts, pistachios, berries

PREP TIME: 30 minutes

COOKING TIME: 10 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes

YIELD: 16 servings

  • 3 cups roasted unsalted hazelnuts
  • 8 large medjool dates, pitted (9 if they are small)
  • 3 tablespoons cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of sea salt

FOR THE COCO-HAZELNUT BUTTER

  • 3 cups roasted unsalted hazelnuts
  • 4 tablespoons cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons monk fruit sweetener (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

TOPPINGS: Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, pistachios (crushed), and mint leaves

Place raw hazelnuts in a food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse until they are processed into a meal. Place the meal in a dish and set aside.

Place the dates in the food processor and process until small bits form a ball. Stop the processor and add the cacao or cocoa, salt, and half of the hazelnut meal. Pulse until mixed together. Continue adding the hazelnut meal little by little until the dough gets more formed and sticks together.

Once you have a dough, line an 8-by-8-inch (for a thicker crust) or 11-by-7-inch (for a thinner crust) baking dish with parchment paper and press the mixture into the dish to make an even layer. Place in the refrigerator or freezer to harden into a crust.

FOR THE COCO-HAZELNUT BUTTER: Preheat the oven to 350°F and add hazelnuts to a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes just to warm the natural oils and loosen the skins. If raw, roast for a total of 12 to 15 minutes. This will make it easier to blend into butter.

Remove hazelnuts from the oven and cool slightly. Then transfer to a large kitchen towel and use your hands to roll the nuts around and remove most of the skins. You want to get as much as possible off for a creamier butter.

Leaving excess skin behind, add hazelnuts to a high-speed blender. Blend on low until a butter is formed, about 8 to 10 minutes total, scraping down the sides as needed.

Once the hazelnut butter is creamy and smooth, add the cacao or cocoa powder, monk fruit sweetener, vanilla, and salt and blend well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more vanilla if desired.

TO ARRANGE: Take the hazelnut crust out of the refrigerator or freezer and roughly spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the coco-hazelnut butter over the crust (the goal is to make the fruit stick to the crust). Arrange the berries in any pattern you like. Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the butter on top of the fruit (you may need to warm it up slightly to make it drizzle at this point). Sprinkle crushed pistachios on top and place mint leaves around. Serve by slicing squares diagonally.

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