Healthy Recipes

Sarah B’s Balinese Gado Gado

First of all, hello you. It’s been a while. I can hardly believe that the holidays are behind us and even the whole of January. What happened?!

Well, before I launch into the recipe, I just wanted to update you all on a couple things.

I need to start by saying that the Wild Heart High Spirit Bali Retreat was, without a doubt, one of the coolest projects I’ve ever had the pleasure to work on. Mikkala Marilyn Kissi and I welcomed and held space for 16 women to totally transform, and come out on the other side of seven days, new humans. We all landed back into our physical bodies, rediscovering the euphoria of movement and breath, the taste of real food, the feeling of laughter in our cells, sun on our skin, smiles in our hearts. I could go on forever about how deeply moved I feel about the whole thing, but I will just say thank you to everyone who came, and that we are going to do another one very, very soon. There are a few photos from the retreat at the bottom of this post – I hope you enjoy, and join us next time.

Also. Cookbook tour. It’s happening. Naturally Nourished officially lands in North America February 14th and I am close behind. I’ll be visiting New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. There are more details at the bottom of this post and on my Events page, so please have a look. For all other countries, please stay tuned!

Now, it’s recipe time.

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If you’re a vegetarian traveling through Indonesia, gado gado will save your life. It’s the dish that is on every single menu, a veggie-loaded, protein-rich salad drenched in the most flavourful, luscious peanut sauce that you’ve ever tasted. Combining raw and slightly steamed or blanched vegetables and bean sprouts, it is typically served with fried tofu or boiled eggs and prawn crackers, but so easily made vegan. The first time I traveled to this part of the world, I ate gado gado so often, that I almost grew tired of it. Almost.

What was my initial meal to celebrate the return to the magical island of Bali this time? Naturally, gado gado, and it did not disappoint. There is something incredibly satisfying about the dish, something that grabs a hold and makes you coming back for more – I believe it is the exquisite balancing act of flavours and textures. The veggies are light and tender (never mushy!), the sprouts are crunchy and fresh, but the true magic lies da sauce. It hits all the notes with its creamy, rich, salty, sweet, acidic, toasty and spiciness. While eating it you’re coming up with ways to justify pouring it on everything (Rice? Yes! Spring rolls? Obviously! Roasted veggies? Of course! Bean salad? Why not?!). Of all the dishes I taught during my retreat cooking classes in Bali, this is the one that the ladies really went wild for. Because sauce.

I will mention that I am taking major liberties with the traditional recipe, keeping my version vegan and soy-free, and switching out the peanuts for more health-supportive almonds. I realize that this is akin to making pasta out of vegetables (i.e. not at all pasta), but we often and readily make allowances for the promise of something healthier, so just roll with me on this one, okay? Thanks.

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But Sarah, what’s wrong with peanuts?
You may recall me tackling this subject before, but for those of you who are hearing just learning that peanuts and the things made with it are less-than-awesome, let’s recap! Although there are a lot worse things you could be eating, there are also plenty of healthier choices than peanuts, and here’s why.

First of all, peanuts are a bit of an odd duck plant. Not a true nut, but a bean in fact, peanuts grow underground in their thin-skinned pods, which come into direct contact with the surrounding soil. Because this soil is often moist and warm, it presents the ideal environment for fungus to proliferate. Now, it’s not the fungus that is the issue in this case, but the poison it releases, called alflatoxin, which is a cancer-causing agent that attacks the liver. What is the most shocking news, is that the highest levels of alflatoxin aren’t found in big brand peanut butters, but in the peanut butter ground fresh in health food stores.

Second of all, conventionally-grown peanuts are sprayed with very high levels of pesticides and are one of the most contaminated crops in the North America. They are also often genetically modified.

Thirdly, peanuts contain very high levels of Omega-6 fatty acids, an essential fat that we consume too much of in general. Ideally, Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats should be consumed in a 3:1 ratio (like the ratio found in hemp seeds!), otherwise inflammation erupts in the body.

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If you’re a serious peanut and peanut butter lover, there are a few things you can do. For starters, find a brand of peanuts that have been grown organically in a dry environment (New Mexico for instance). Dry environments mean drier soils, which means less fungus. Make sure the nuts you are buying are very fresh and raw, since the word “roasted” cruelly translates to “deep fried”. Dry-roasted are okay since they don’t use oil in the cooking process, but these nuts are typically old.

But the best alternative of all? Other nuts! Like almonds. Almonds are high in vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that makes our skin look radiant, and helps protect again heart disease. Almonds have been proven to help lower cholesterol, the risk of weight gain and diabetes. They have about half the amount of Omega-6 fats that peanuts do, along with fewer calories. I snack on almonds and almond butter whenever I can, and have successfully replaced peanuts with this healthier option. I hope you’re inspired to do the same!

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The cool thing about this dish is that you can make it any time of year with seasonal veggies and prepare them the way that suits you and the outdoor temperature, while keeping the sauce exactly the same. I like to eat veggies almost entirely raw in the summer, and include things like cucumber, green beans, radish, and lettuces. In the winter however, gado gado is truly the prefect cold-weather salad since everything can be slightly cooked and enjoyed warm. For this version, I chose two kinds of cabbage, kale, carrots, sweet potato, and freshly sprouted mung beans. An improvement I’ve made since teaching this recipe at the retreat was tossing the still-warm vegetables in virgin coconut oil – best decision. This adds a whole other layer of flavour and creaminess, plus adds even more richness, which need this time of year. Did I mention there’s also sauce?!

There are a couple ways of making my version of gado gado sauce. The best method, for sure, is roasting your own almonds and making your own fresh nut butter. The flavour will truly blow your mind if you go in this direction. But! If you are pressed for time and / or don’t feel like going through the rigmarole, you can totally use store-bought almond butter. Just make sure that it is unsweetened and made from roasted almonds, not raw. We want the full depth of flavour here – raw almond butter is too mild and will be overwhelmed by the other sauce ingredients.

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Here are some shots I took during the retreat in Bali. It was beyond magical.
If you’d like to stay updated about the next one, please sign up for our newsletter and be the first to know once we announce!

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And now for the book tour! I am so insanely excited to get on the road with my latest cookbook, Naturally Nourished, which you can preorder here. I’ll be in New York City and Toronto first, and tickets for the events in those cities are now available. Check the Events page, Instagram and Facebook for the remaining cities, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. See you soon!

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February 20th
My New Roots x The Aerie Collective: WisdomShare
“Turning Your Creativity Into a Career”
Spend an evening with Sarah for an inspiring presentation about how she has grown her food blogging passion into a thriving career.
Her book is available for purchase & signing.

Click here for tickets and more details


February 21st
My New Roots + Food52 Livestream

Tune in to Food52’s Facebook at 3pm EST, for a live broadcast of Sarah Britton demonstrating two of her favourite recipes from her new cookbook Naturally Nourished.

Live event link: www.facebook.com/food52


February 21st
My New Roots + Jessica Murnane + Julia Turshen
A very special night of inspiring conversation + a celebration + great women in food! Join us for the launch party of two beautiful & brilliant new cookbooks: Sarah Britton’s Naturally Nourished and Jessica Murnane’s One Part Plant With the conversation led by the highly acclaimed author & chef, Julia Turshen. Come for the bites, drinks, and book signings by all three women – stay for the good times & (selfies)!

Click here for tickets and more details


February 22nd
My New Roots + Amy Chaplin + The Finch: Plant-based Dinner Celebration
We’re thrilled to invite you to a very special dinner collaboration at Michelin-starred restaurant The Finch, celebrating two fantastic women in food. Join us for this inspired & intimate gathering.

Click here for tickets and more details


TORONTO


February 24th
My New Roots x The Aerie Collective: WisdomShare
“Turning Your Creativity Into a Career”
Spend an evening with Sarah for an inspiring presentation about how she has grown her food blogging passion into a thriving career.
Her book is available for purchase & signing.

Click here for tickets and more details


February 25th
Naturally Nourished Book Launch at Appetito!
We’re very happy to welcome you to join us for an excting interview with Sarah, Q&A, recipe tasting from the cookbook, book purchasing & signing.

Click here for tickets and more details


February 26th
My New Roots + The First Mess: Cookbook Celebration Gathering
Together with Sarah, Laura and an incredible community we would love to invite you to meet, feast & celebrate in their cookbook launch!

Click here for tickets and more details

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