Archive for the ‘Green Hills’ category

Health Starts Here Cooking Class at Whole Foods Green Hills Salud! with Chad Sarno

February 29th, 2012


By now everyone has heard of the Engine 2 Diet and its Plant-Strong plan focusing on meals of fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and whole grains. The bestselling book, The Engine 2 Diet, by Rip Esselstyn has been in the news and is seen in every Whole Foods which has developed a healthy eating guide based off the diet plan called Health Starts Here.

Health Starts Here is a program developed by Whole Foods and is an offshoot of the very popular Engine 2 Diet which has been proliferated lately by the movie Forks Over Knives. Helath Starts Here follows what is called a four-pillar approach to food:

Whole Food

Eat whole, unprocessed foods.

We believe that food in its purest state — unadulterated by artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings, and preservatives — is the best tasting and most nutritious food available.


Eat a colorful variety of plants.

No matter what type of diet you follow — including those with dairy, meat or seafood — reconfigure your plate so the majority of each meal is created from an abundance of raw and cooked vegetables, fruits, legumes and beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Healthy Fats

Eat healthy fats.

Get healthy fats from whole plant sources, such as nuts, seeds and avocados. These foods are rich in micronutrients as well. Work to eliminate (or minimize) extracted oils and processed fats.

Nutrient Dense

Eat nutrient dense foods

Choose foods that are rich in micronutrients when compared to their total caloric content. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals.

The diet emphasizes the use of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. It also makes a strong case against the use of added oils encouraging all fats come from those already found in foods such as nuts and cooking using vegetable broth as a replacement where oil is typically used such as sauteing.


Chef Chad Sarno Health Starts Here Whole Foods

Chef Chad Sarno gives a Health Starts Here cooking demo for Salud! at Whole Foods Green Hills

We were invited to a Health Starts Here event by Whole Foods Green Hills culinary demonstration that was instructed by Chad Sarno. Sarno is a classically-trained chef and a co-founder of the Health Starts Here program. He has owned vegetarian restaurants in London, Turkey and the US.

The demonstration class focused on dishes that could be made quickly and preparing ingredients in bulk to make the prep quicker. Cooking enough beans for a week’s worth of meals. Making sauces in portions to be used for many dishes as well as full dishes that could be kept in the refrigerator for easy lunches.

All of the meals prepared used no oil and no salt. In place of salt Sarno had created as seasoning mixture he calls Wicked Good Spice and Seed Blend, a mixture of sesame, sunflower seeds, flax and nutritional yeast. Instruction was given in making your own almond milk as well as a basic white sauce. The quick and simple Kale Avocado Salad was one of the most surprising dishes created. Kale, tomato, avocado, onion and the juice of a lemon made a very flavorful and satisfying salad without need for any extra seasonings. Quick and simple it can be kept in the refrigerator for a grab whenever the craving came.

I could easily go on about the dishes but it’s best to just give you some recipes. Give these a go and don’t worry about the omission of salt or oil where you may be accustomed to adding them. They’re unnecessary. The flavors pop in these.


Wicked Good Spice and Seed Blend

1/2 C Sesame Seeds, dry toasted
1/2 C Sunflower Seeds, dry toasted
1/2 C Golden Flax Meal
1/2 C Nutritional Yeast
2 TBS Onion Powder
1/2 TBS Chipotle Spice
1 TBS Garlic Powder
Black Pepper

Toss all together and store in shaker or air tight container. Great all purpose seasoning.



Kale Avocado Salad - Engine 2 Diet - Whole Foods Market Health Starts Here - Chad Sarno

Kale Avocado Salad

Kale Avocado Salad

This is a very simple, quick and delicious dish. Completely raw.

1 head of kale, any variety, shredded
1 large tomato
1 1/2 avocado, chopped
2 TBS red onion, green onion or leek, finely diced
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of cayenne

In mixing bowl, toss all ingredients squeezing as you mix to wilt the kale and creaming the avocado.  Serve immediately.



Basic White Sauce

1 C raw cashews, soaked (or tofu)
1 1/2 onion diced & steam fried in veggie stock
2 garlic cloves
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 1/2 Cup low salt vegetable stock
3 TBS Nutritional Yeast
Pepper to taste

Saute onions and garlic with stock and steam fry until onions are translucent. Add to blender with soaked cashews, soy/nut milk and rest of ingredients and blend adjusting thickness to desired consistency. Add fresh herbs to finish. Sauce will reduce and continue to thicken on its own with time. Use as a base for any other sauces.



Chad Sarno has a return visit planned for Salud at Whole Foods Green Hills with a class on vegan cooking. The class is set for sometime in April/May. I’ll post dates and more on it when information becomes available.



Noodles & Company

April 25th, 2011

Noodles & Company has opened a new location in the strip center adjacent to The Mall at Green Hills. For those not familiar with Noodles & Company it is a fast casual restaurant serving pasta bowls that are freshly prepared.  All items are $5.95 for a large or $4.95 for a slightly smaller portion.

We have visited Noodles & Company in Denver on many occasions previously and are very happy to have a location now in Nashville giving us another vegan option.

I received a VIP (read: let us use you for training purposes) invite to a pre-opening event this past Saturday. My sidekick foodie was our 5 year-old daughter who is a pasta-lover. I checked the website beforehand to make sure I knew what was vegan friendly. There is a selection of nine items on the menu that either are vegan or can be made vegan with a simple omission. Tofu is an option to be added to any entree.

  • Indonesian Peanut Saute
  • Japanese Pan Noodles
  • Chinese Chop Salad with no wontons
  • Penne Rosa with no cream and no cheese
  • Pasta Fresca with no cheese
  • Whole Grain Tuscan Linguine with no cream and no cheese
  • Spaghetti with no cheese
  • Cucumber Tomato Salad
  • Tossed Green Side Salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Upon entering we were greeted, asked for our names for the invite list and given a menu. While talking with the greeters, about 2 minutes,  no less than 10 people walked in the door only to be turned away when told it was invite only. Most seemed a little angry. I told the employees we were vegan and was quickly and happily handed a vegan menu, not something you get much of around here.  Usually when we tell a server that were vegan it’s typically followed by a blank stare and, “What does that mean?”

I had already decided to get the Japanese Pan Noodles and the kid just wanted a pasta so she decided to get Pasta Rosa. We added tofu to each, of course. Our food was served quickly and looked great. The one issue was the kid could not eat hers. It was far too spicy and I wished I had known it would be such an overpowering heat before she had ordered. A little spice doesn’t bother her but the Penne Rosa was far too hot for her. We packed it to go. The Japanese Pan Noodles was very tasty and not over-sauced. The dish was served with flavorful, seared tofu and fresh, crispy sprouts which my daughter thoroughly enjoyed picking from my plate. The noodles were a bit overcooked but I expect that to be worked out as this was, of course, a training session. I had planned on eating only half and boxing the rest but it was gone before I knew it.

The remainder of the Penne Rosa was reheated and eaten the day after our visit and tasted just as fresh as when it was served in the restaurant. I only wished I had some more of the Japanese Pan Noodles to munch on at the time. I plan another visit this week and I’ll likely try the Indonesian Peanut Saute or the Bangkok Curry. You’ll be seeing plenty of me at Noodles & Company in the future.

Noodles & Company
2116 Green Hills Village Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37215
(615) 383-7740

Japanese Pan Noodles

Japanese Pan Noodles with Tofu

Penne Rosa with Tofu

Little Nashveggie with Penne Rosa