If there was a queen of the superfoodie set, Julie Morris would be it. As the NYT bestselling author of not one but now four superfood-based cookbooks, Julie’s an expert at working the most nourishing (and unexpected!) of ingredients into recipes that impress. Strawberry basil smoothies? Yes please. Mint-chip “milkshakes?” Bring it. If we didn’t know her recipes were filled with ingredients like tomatoes, watercress, and cashews, we’d never know the difference – she’s that good.
We asked Alexa Gray of Super Food Super Life to sit down with Julie for a chat about her latest book, Superfood Snacks. Read about Julie’s inspirations and make this insane recipe for spirulina-filled peppermint patties…
Wherever you are on your health journey, Julie meets you there. Whether you are a beginner or a certified naturopath, there is something in Superfood Snacks for everyone. Through over 100 recipes, Julie is showing us how to satisfy cravings in a healthier way. Craving salty foods? Julie suggests your body is actually craving minerals, especially calcium. These kind of invaluable details are woven throughout the book and can help you make better choices about snacking!
Alexa GRAY: Julie, what inspired you to write Superfood Snacks?
Julie Morris: So many of us make wonderful healthy steps in our lives, but sabotage our best efforts because of unhealthy cravings. Those little things – the the cookies here, the bag of chips there – have a tendency of sneaking in and really adding up. I have nothing against treats – in fact, quite the opposite: I think they’re absolutely important, and this book is actually all about treating yourself. Having worked has a superfood chef for years, I know that there’s a whole world of healthy tricks to make our favorite treats satisfying on every level, and that’s what I wanted to share in this book. The recipes found within are snacks that go a step beyond just guilt-free – they are truly craveable foods that actually enhance our body, in a myriad of ways. It’s very exciting.
AG: Why is learning about superfoods so important for our generation?
JM: I see superfoods as more of an eating ideology than a strict definition: eating with nutrient-density in mind. For decades now, we’ve increasingly lost touch with the true purpose of eating: to nourish. As a result, our health as a culture has plummeted, our weight has skyrocketed, and we have a higher rate of largely preventable diseases like heart disease than ever before. So much of this is due to the empty calories that are ubiquitous in packaged food. We eat them, but we are not truly satisfied. When we consume highly nutrient-dense foods, we are responding to our cravings on a very core level. We’re giving the body the vitamins, minerals, amino acids etc., it is actually asking for. We feel better, we end up eating less, and we better avoid disease.
AG: What are some of your top superfood picks?
JM: This is a very hard question! Every superfood has its own unique set of benefits to offer. In the realm of making snacks, I often reach for hemp seeds/powder to boost protein; goji berries to add vitamins and promote a healthy immune system; spirulina to sneak in condensed green nutrition; and chia seeds to boost fiber and omega fats (the seeds taste like nothing, so why not?). I also love cacao for its minerals and unsurpassed antioxidants… and because it’s chocolate!
AG: What is your favorite recipe from the book?
JM: An even harder question – I really don’t have one, because it’s all about what I’m craving at the moment. When I’m in the mood for something savory, the Pizza Kale Crisps are pretty ridiculous. Then there’s some really good chocolate treats that I love too, like the Salted Chocolate-Maca Ice Cream Bonbons – they are the best, and made of such good ingredients! I also make the Avocado Nori Crostini all the time at home, because it’s so fast and always hits the spot. The book has so many fun things to make!
AG: What makes this book different than your others?
JM: Unlike Superfood Kitchen, which is about using superfoods in all kinds of meals, and Superfood Smoothies or Superfood Juices, which narrowed in on their respective individual food groups, this book focuses 100% on snacks. Quick fixes, feel-good treats, and little bites and munchies. Like my other books, there is a strong superfood focus, but in this one we talk a lot about how to satisfy cravings, in the most delicious of ways.
AG: What are your top three health tips?
JM: One – eat when you’re hungry. Hunger isn’t random, it’s a request from the body, and it’s easier to make great choices when hunger feels like a tickle as opposed to an earthquake.
Two – really listen to your body and how it reacts to what you eat. There is no perfect road to health and everyone is different – you already have the answer of what the best foods are for you! Keep a food journal for a couple of weeks that includes what you ate and how you felt 30-60 minutes later. It is like a crystal ball into good habits!
Three – be a health opportunist. Look for ways you can boost whatever you’re eating with just a little more nutrition. Eating hummus? Sprinkle some chia seeds on top. Having a smoothie? Blend in a handful of goji berries. Craving chocolate? Pick a higher cacao content. Every boost counts – nutrition is a collective game.
AG: What inspires you to eat your best?
JM: Personally speaking, it’s the simple basis of how I feel. I’ve been at the place where my health was way out of whack due to my food choices, and I never want to go back there. These days, if I don’t eat well, I always notice a difference. But when I keep a healthy practice, I feel awesome. Awesome is how I want to live my life! And that’s all the inspiration I need.
Julie Morris’ spirulina PEPPERMINT PATTIES
makes 24 patties / 12 servings
1 cup dried shredded coconut (unsweetened)
¼ cup agave nectar (or honey, maple syrup or sunroot sweetener)
1½ tsp peppermint extract
6 drops liquid stevia
½ tsp spirulina powder
1 batch Basic Superfood Chocolate
Basic Superfood Chocolate:
½ cup solid cacao butter, chopped into shavings
5 Tbsp cacao powder
dash sea salt
2 Tbsp agave nectar (or honey, maple syrup or sunroot sweetener)
For the Basic Superfood Chocolate:
Heat a small saucepan over very low heat. Add the cacao butter and stir to slowly melt into a liquid. The moment all of the shavings have melted in the saucepan, remove it from the heat.
Add the cacao powder and salt to the mixture, and use a whisk to thoroughly mix the ingredients. Mix in the agave nectar. To keep the chocolate warm for dipping, leave it in the warm pan — if it begins to solidify , simply place the pan over low heat to re-melt the chocolate.
If you want to use the chocolate later, pour it onto a ceramic plate and leave it in the freezer for 30 minutes until it has hardened, then use a dull knife to snap off shards of chocolate. Place them in a resealable container or bag until you are ready to use the chocolate again.
For the peppermint patties:
In a food processor, combine the coconut, agave, mint extract and liquid stevia. Process for several minutes, until the coconut has broken down and a coarse paste has formed. Add the spirulina and process to mix in. Stop the machine and form the mixture into a ball.
Line a flat surface with a one foot-long piece of plastic wrap. Place the peppermint ball in the middle of the wrap, along with any excess oil that may have separated in the bowl, and cover the ball loosely with a second piece of plastic wrap.
Use a rolling pin to flatten the ball into an even ¼-inch-thick slab. Use a 1½-inch diameter round cookie cutter to cut the dough into rounds. Place the rounds on a plate lined with parchment paper. Remove any excess dough, flatten it again, and form it into rounds to use up all of the dough. Cover it loosely, and freeze for 30 minutes.
Once the patties are chilled, melt the chocolate gently in a small saucepan over very low heat. When the chocolate is fully liquefied, remove it from the heat. Leave the chocolate in the warm pan — if it begins to solidify, simply place it over very low heat again to re-melt.
One at a time, place a cold patty on top of a fork. Submerge the patty in the melted chocolate, then quickly remove. Tap the fork against the pan to shake off any excess chocolate and transfer to a large plate. Repeat with the remaining patties. If there is any chocolate left over, drizzle it on top of the patties to create decorative stripes.
Return the patties to the freezer, and freeze until the chocolate has set, 20 to 30 minutes. The patties will remain solid at room temperature but will soften, and are best when served cold. Wrap the patties and store them in the refrigerator, where they will keep for several weeks.
Tip: If you don’t have a small cookie cutter on hand, use a bottle cap instead! Or, simply use a knife to slice the “dough” into 1 1/2-inch squares.
Reprinted with permission from Superfood Snacks © 2015 by Julie Morris, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Oliver Barth