Breakfast Banana Split

It’s time to have some fun with our food!

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let’s start with this festive, tasty, KID-FRIENDLY Breakfast Banana Split. It’s got all of the fun of a classic banana split, yet it’s healthy enough to be acceptable for breakfast. That’s my kind of meal!

The idea for this recipe (if you can call it that) came to me while I was working out at the gym, as many of my great ideas do. I’m not sure what spurred it, sometimes things just pop into my head as I’m zoning out on the elliptical. But once I thought of it, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I needed to make a Breakfast Banana Split ASAP!

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let me tell you a little story to set the scene for this idea.

When I first moved to Santa Barbara almost four years ago, I hunkered down in my brother and sister-in-law’s casita for a few months until my job went from temporary to permanent. I had a pretty sweet little set-up there, a futon bed, a full bathroom to myself, and a little nook with a mini-refrigerator. I did not have a kitchen, but luckily my fam didn’t mind me popping into the house and whipping something up, especially if it involved me making something that there three young kids, my niece and nephews, would eat.

While I lived there, I took a little bit of a challenge upon myself. Like most kids, my niece and nephews were not huge fans of foods that held any sort of nutritional value, so my challenge was to find ways to make food that they would love to eat while secretly sneaking in some healthy fruits and veggies. My greatest success with them was when I made “breakfast popsicles,” which were basically a big batch of smoothie loaded with greens (and sometimes other veggies,) poured into popsicle molds and frozen overnight. I mean, what kid doesn’t want to eat popsicles for breakfast?

As soon as the idea came to me for these Breakfast Banana Splits, I knew they’d be one of these dishes that kids will just jump at the chance to eat in the morning. I don’t have any children of my own (yet) but I look forward to exercising my nutrient-hiding creativity once again, and I know a Breakfast Banana Split will be making a frequent appearance on our household menu.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

So here’s how it goes down: Banana sliced lengthwise, just like the classic setup. Heaps of plain nonfat Greek yogurt in place of the ice cream, because we’re making this acceptable for breakfast. Loads and loads of toppings (mostly healthy, some a little more indulgent.) Finally, we can’t forget the cherries on top!

The great thing about this Breakfast Banana Split is that it’s incredibly versatile. I decided to use toppings like flaked coconut, chopped pineapple, date caramel, strawberry jam, toasted nuts and cacao nibs, but you can really use whatever you like (or whatever you have in your pantry!) Some other ideas you could include are freeze-dried fruit, melted almond or peanut butter or hemp seeds. The possibilities really are endless.

Whether this is a true “recipe” or not, you have to admit it’s a pretty genius breakfast option, especially when you have finicky little ones.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

What are some ways you sneak nutrient-rich foods into your picky eaters’ diets?

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Breakfast Banana Split
Prep Time
10 mins
 

The classic soda fountain treat is given a healthy spin and turned into a delicious, kid-friendly breakfast. Who doesn't want dessert for breakfast?

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 1 serving
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 banana, peeled and split lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam, melted
  • 1 tablespoon date caramel (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 2 maraschino cherries
Instructions
  1. Place banana halves on either side of a sundae dish or larger, shallow bowl. Scoop Greek yogurt in between banana halves and add toppings. Don’t forget the cherries on top!

Recipe Notes

To make the Date Caramel (will make extra): Soak 20 pitted dates in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain and place in a food processor with 4 tablespoons water and 4 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Pulse until a smooth puree forms into a thick caramel consistency. Store any extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Breakfast Banana Split | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like:

Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara Sauce with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles

Is everyone completely sick of pumpkin yet?Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles | CaliGirlCooking.com

I sure hope not, because today I’m sharing the recipe for this Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara Sauce with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles, and it is all kinds of delicious.

Our lives are about to become a bit upended. The holidays are fast approaching, which means family visiting, kids out of school, and more parties and events than we can comfortably handle (but not like that stops us.) In a time of such indulgence and celebration, it’s important for us to stay rooted and focused on things that keep us sane, like home-cooked dinners full of nutritious foods, evenings spent at the kitchen table connecting with those who matter most.

This Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara Sauce with Papperdelle and Sweet Potato Noodles is the perfect, quick and healthy dinner to get us through these crazy times, to serve in those rare moments when we have a night with no open houses or company holiday parties. It’s full of nutrients, yet comforting and “homey” at the same time. The kind of meal your family will love without knowing it’s actually good for them!

Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles | CaliGirlCooking.com

The other great news is that this meal can be customized in sooo many different ways, for any sort of diet. It’s already vegetarian, but to make it vegan, just use a vegan pasta or omit the pasta altogether and double up on the sweet potato noodles. If you (or anyone in your family) is like my husband and needs some sort of protein with his meal, throw on a grilled chicken breast or shrimp. Gluten-free? Again, just sub in brown rice pasta or more sweet potato noodles. The possibilities are endless!

I also (shamefully) realized when getting this post ready that this is the first recipe I’ve shared here on CGC featuring spiralized vegetables. This is so crazy to me because we literally probably spiralize vegetables in some form or another for dinner at least one night a week. It’s usually in the form of zucchini, tossed with whatever vegetables we have on hand and some sort of lean protein.

There are endless possibilities for spiralizing, and if you’re curious about other ways you can use the technique, just head on over to Ali Maffuci’s blog, Inspiralized. She is the QUEEN of spiralizing and always has such great ideas. I’ve followed her for quite some time now and, although there are tons of options out there these days, hers is the brand of spiralizer we use. We’ve also bought it as a gift for just about everyone we know (ahem, Christmas is just around the corner!), and it’s always received rave reviews. If you need to pick one up for yourself and 20 of your closest friends, click here!

But let’s get back to this Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara Sauce with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles! Because I’m pretty sure you should just make it tonight for dinner. You might also already have most of the ingredients on hand. Canned, crushed tomatoes, pumpkin puree, sweet, potatoes, pasta…all items that are likely living in your pantry around this time of year. The only fresh items you’ll want to go out and grab are a couple of tomatoes and a big bunch of fresh basil. Dinner will be ready before you know it!

Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles | CaliGirlCooking.com

I used a deep sauté pan to make the sauce (this is the exact one I used, which I have to say is one of my FAVORITE types of cooking vessels to have on hand) so I could just throw in the sweet potato noodles and cooked pappardelle and serve everything out of the one pan. So easy!

I cooked the pappardelle until al dente, but I threw in the sweet potato noodles raw and just let them simmer in the sauce for a little bit.

Once you have the sauce cooked and the noodles added, simply serve as is or top with your favorite protein (meatballs, anyone?) A little crusty bread on the side never hurt either 😉

Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles | CaliGirlCooking.com

Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara Sauce with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles

15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

A healthy, quick and easy dinner to whip up during the busy holidays. Pappardelle and spiralized sweet potato noodles are tossed in a nutrient-packed pumpkin basil marinara sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 28-ounce can unsalted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup diced sweet potato (optional – I used the leftover “nubs” from spiralizing the sweet potato noodles)
  • 8 ounces pappardelle
  • 2 sweet potatoes, spiralized

Instructions

  1. In a large, deep sauté pan, warm olive oil over medium high heat. Once oil is warm, add shallot and garlic. Saute until mixture starts to turn translucent and fragrant (about 5 minutes) then add diced tomato. Stir to combine.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, pumpkin, red wine, brown sugar, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to pan. Stir to combine, then stir in basil and diced sweet potato (if using.) Bring to a heavy simmer, stirring occasionally.
  3. While sauce is simmering, cook the pappardelle. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add pappardelle. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until al dente. Strain immediately and set aside.
  4. Add spiralized sweet potato to the marinara sauce simmering on the stove. Let simmer for about 5 minutes, and then add pappardelle, simmering for an additional 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat and serve immediately.

Notes

Wine Pairing Notes: Marinara pairs wonderfully with many heavier red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or an Italian red such as Barbera or Sangiovese. In all honesty, this dish will probably pair best with whatever wine you use to cook with, so don’t go for the super-cheap stuff!

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Easy Pumpkin Basil Marinara Sauce with Pappardelle and Sweet Potato Noodles | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Pumpkin – it’s what’s for dinner!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like:

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Your Monday meals just got a whole lot better…

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

If the fact that I made these Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes multiple times in the span of a week isn’t a clear indication of why you should plan on making these TONIGHT, I don’t know what is.

As you can imagine, the life of a food blogger is constantly filled with new recipe ideas to try and different flavor combinations to test out. This makes it a very rare occurrence that a certain meal appears on repeat in our house. I find we have an endless supply of leftovers sitting in the refrigerator, and once we finish one thing it’s immediately replaced by one or more new dishes that I’ve been fine-tuning and getting ready to be photograph-able in the very near future.

When the hubs and I sat down to eat my first go-around with these sweet potatoes (which actually included sweet Italian sausage crumbles instead of pancetta – also super tasty, might I add) we started reminiscing about how much we loved sweet potatoes, and how much better they were than good ol’ white potatoes.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Having both grown up with moms that were raised on the East Coast, we remarked about how, when we were little, there were always regular baked or mashed potatoes on the table, but never our sweet, creamy sweet potato friends. The horrors! I guess now we’re trying to make up for lost time by making these Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes on repeat. Life could certainly be worse.

But guys, seriously, I could make these Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes forever and ever and ever. They are soooo good. And also really darn healthy. Can I get an “Amen?”

The other great thing about these sweet potatoes is that they come together fairly quickly with just a little bit of planning. The longest part of the process will be baking the potatoes, but you could even do this on Sunday during meal prep for the week (the plain baked sweet potatoes will last in the refrigerator for a few days), or just turn on the oven and pop them in right when you get home from work.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Once you have your sweet potatoes baked, all that’s left is to whip up the white bean and pancetta filling and the sweet, garlicky bruschetta topping. For the beans, you have two options. I had batch-cooked some dried flageolets I had in the pantry a couple days before, so I simply reheated those in the same pan that I crisped up the pancetta in (hey, there’s nothing like a little leftover pancetta grease to really flavor up some plain ol’ white beans.) But, if you really want to make this a quick and easy meal and aren’t in to the dried bean soak and batch cook, simply use canned white beans.

If you do use the canned white beans, feel free to leave them as is, or add in some rosemary and garlic when you’re reheating them in the pancetta pan. This will leave you with an unbelievable flavor bomb when said white beans are combined with the bright and flavorful bruschetta topping on top of the creamy, roasted sweet potato.

The bruschetta is classic and comes together with just a few ingredients. It’s exactly what you would make for the classic Italian crostini topping: peak season tomatoes, sharp, raw minced garlic, fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil and dash of salt…and you’re set! No cooking required for this little step.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Once you have your sweet potato baked, your pancetta crisped, your white beans warmed and your bruschetta mixed, you’re ready to rock and roll. Slice open the sweet potato and mash it down just a tad to make an easy landing zone for the white beans and pancetta. Be generous here, no skimping on all of these mouthwatering flavors. Finish off your stuffed tater with a topping of tasty bruschetta, and you have a simple, light weeknight meal, perfect for any night of the week when a heavily-involved dinner just sounds like no fun at all.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, you’re my weeknight hero <3

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: Makes 4 servings

A healthy, Italian-inspired stuffed sweet potato recipe with a fragrant white bean and pancetta mixture and zesty bruschetta topping.

Ingredients

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 4 ounces pancetta (or crumbled Italian sausage, or even tofu if you’re so inclined)
  • 1 – 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 ½ cups homemade white beans)
  • 4 cloves garlic, separated (2 peeled and smashed, 2 minced)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups diced tomato (about 2 medium tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. First, bake the sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce each potato about four times with a fork and wrap individually in aluminum foil. Bake in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the potatoes feel soft to the touch. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Add pancetta to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat on your stove. Cook until pancetta just starts to turn crispy.
  3. Add white beans, the two smashed garlic cloves, and the fresh rosemary. Cook until mixture is heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Finally, make the bruschetta. Combine the two minced garlic cloves, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  5. Now it’s time to assemble. Slice each sweet potato in half and smash down slightly to make a good “cradle” for the toppings. Top generously with white bean and pancetta mixture and then finish off with bruschetta. Serve immediately.

Notes

Wine Pairing Note: This light dinner would pair well with a number of wines because of the multitude of flavors. A creamy Chardonnay, an herbal Sauvignon Blanc, or a light Pinot Noir would all be fantastic options with this meal.

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Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Sweet potatoes on sweet potatoes…

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Mediterranean Smashed Avocado Toast

Hands up all my avocado toast lovers!!Mediterranean Smashed Avocado Toast | CaliGirl Cooking

I am so excited to share this Mediterranean Smashed Avocado Toast with you today because it’s SUPER easy and the tastiest of tasty…It’s one of those dishes where you take a bite and think, “How can something so simple be so good?” This dish is basically the poster child for my mantra of consuming as many high quality, unprocessed whole foods as possible. When you use only the best for the 5 ingredients involved (yep, you heard that right, just 5 – unless you’re going to make me count the salt), this toast will feel indulgent while it’s really an incredibly healthy treat.

But before we get to that, how was everyone’s weekend? Our June gloom never lifted on Saturday, which made it a bit of a greyish day for my “Bridal Shower 2.0,” but there was lots of both indoor and outdoor space at my sister-in-law’s house so everyone was able to gather round comfortably and we had a blast. I’ll be posting some photos to Instagram in the next couple of weeks so be sure you’re following me to see all of the fun!

That shower marked the end of our “pre-wedding” events so now we just have the big day ahead of us! Yes, we are officially 47 days away. I can hardly believe it’s so close already. We’ll ease into it comfortably though, since we have three weddings to attend before ours. This last month and a half is going to fly by insanely quickly!

All the more reason for us to have some super simple and healthy recipes like this Mediterranean Smashed Avocado Toast to have in our back pocket. So I have to admit, I modeled this recipe after a dish that one of my absolute favorite bakery cafés makes here in Santa Barbara. Our Daily Bread is the “corner bakery” right down the road from our house, and it’s the cutest little spot to grab a basic yet delicious bite to eat, coffee or fresh loaf of bread. I love little gems like these. We go there fairly often when we don’t want a HUGE breakfast but still want something slightly substantial, or if we have just a little time before work on a weekday. Their Smashed Avocado toast is spot on, and you’ll get a fairly good idea of what all it entails when you read through this recipe.

Mediterranean Smashed Avocado Toast | CaliGirl Cooking

So let’s get to that recipe! As I mentioned, this Mediterranean Smashed Avocado Toast has five, just FIVE ingredients (plus a gimme.) All you need is:

  1. The best loaf of sourdough bread you can find, preferably fresh and local, ‘cuz that’s how we roll.
  2. A perfectly ripe avocado
  3. One big, juicy, red tomato
  4.  Extra-virgin olive oil (again, extra points if it’s local!)
  5. Dukkah – This is an Egyptian condiment made up of a blend of herbs, nuts and spices. Lucky for us, we don’t have to search far and wide for it – Amazon to the rescue!

The gimme: a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt.

That’s it! Five main ingredients, no cooking involved (unless you count toasting your bread) and you have an incredibly delicious, nutritious breakfast, lunch or snack (it could even pass as dinner on a super-hectic day!) to enjoy in less than 10 minutes. Let’s do it!

Mediterranean Smashed Avocado Toast | CaliGirl Cooking

So, do me a favor and don’t skip on past this recipe because, well, we all know you have YOUR favorite version of avocado toast. Trust me on this one, you do not want to miss the gloriousness that is Mediterranean Smashed Avocado Toast. It is sooooo good!

Start becoming friends with your local avocado and tomato farmers now, because once you make this once you’re going to be hitting them up for the goods all throughout the summer. You’ve been warned!

Mediterranean Smashed Avocado Toast

10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Makes two toasts

Avocado toast is taking the world by storm, but this one tops them all. We take the classic avocado toast and add tomato, feta and dukkah to give it a Mediterranean spin.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of fresh sourdough bread
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tablespoon dukkah
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sprinkle of Maldon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Toast the sourdough slices to desired doneness in a toaster or in the oven.
  2. While making the toast, scoop the avocado out of its skin into a small bowl and mash up with a fork to make it easily spreadable.
  3. Spread the avocado onto the sourdough toast. Top with tomato slices then sprinkle on crumbled feta.
  4. In another small bowl, whisk together the dukkah and olive oil. Drizzle this combination over the assembled toasts. Sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy immediately!
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Mediterranean Smashed Avocado Toast | CaliGirl Cooking

Maybe I’ll just marry this instead 😛

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