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Blue Diamond Growers

This nutrient-packed berry smoothie holds two secret ingredients: Almondmilk and spinach.

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  • Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

    This recipe was developed by celebrity dietician and author Ashley Koff for Almond Breeze. She topped it with crumbled Nut Thins to add crunch, but it’s also good without the crackers.


    1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

    1 yellow onion, sliced

    1 teaspoon sea salt

    4 cups cauliflower florets (1 medium head of cauliflower)

    3 cups Original Unsweetened Almond Breeze almondmilk

    3 cups broccoli florets, finely chopped

    1 tablespoon onion powder

    1 teaspoon dried organic ginger

    2 servings (about 30) Nut Thins, crumbled (optional)


    Add oil, onion and salt to a large saucepan; sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes, adding a couple of tablespoons of water throughout the process to avoid from burning.

    Add cauliflower and almond milk; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover for 10 minutes, or until florets are soft.

    Add in half of the broccoli.

    Pour mixture into the jug of a high-powered blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Return to pot.

    Stir in remaining broccoli, onion powder and ginger; cover and cook for another 10 minutes, until thickened.

    Pour into bowl, top with Nut Thins crumbles; serve immediately.

    Makes 4 servings.

    Recipe courtesy Ashley Koff.

  • Berry Smoothie

    Ashley Koff uses this basic smoothie recipe to pack a lot of nutriernts into a quick breakfast or afternoon snack.


    1 cup Original Unsweetened Almond Breeze almondmilk

    1 teaspoon honey

    1 teaspoon coconut oil

    1/2 cup frozen raspberries

    1/2 cup frozen blackberries

    1/2 cup of whole natural almonds

    One handful fresh spinach

    Juice of half a lemon


    Blend all ingredients until smooth. Garnish with additional berries.

    Makes 2 servings.

    Recipe courtesy Ashley Koff.

These almond-packed recipes fit any diet

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2014 - 1:11 pm

March is when the real diet battle begins. Sure, you made those New Year’s resolutions to eat better and lose weight. But how did that go?

Celebrity dietician Ashley Koff knows this scenario all to well.

“It’s better to do small, simple things rather than jump into a diet drama,” Koff said during a visit to Sacramento. “People try to go all vegan or eat no meat; they don’t stick with it. But if you take small steps, you can do a lot to cut your calories and sugar intake.”

Koff keeps particularly busy during March, National Nutrition Month. She makes appearances nationwide to promote healthy, smarter eating as well as keep up with her work as a dietician and nutritionist.

Koff serves as nutrition advisor for the “22 Day Challenge,” which attracted international attention in December when Beyoncé and Jay-Z went vegan for 22 days. Celebrity trainer Marco Borges, a friend of Jay-Z, is the founder of 22 Days Nutrition and inspired the famous couple to try a plant-based diet.

In her role, Koff provides nutritional guidance to help people find simple ways to be more plant-based and teaches how to avoid common mistakes.

In developing these recipes, Koff reached for almondmilk. Made from almonds, this versatile product can substitute for dairy in a wide variety of recipes.

For Sacramento-based Blue Diamond Growers, Koff developed several new recipes including a nutrient-packed Berry Smoothie and Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup, using Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze almondmilk. For more almondmilk recipes, click here.

Koff likes this swap because it offers calorie savings every time. Almondmilk has a lot less calories than milk. One cup of unsweetened Almond Breeze has 30 calories; one cup of 1 percent milk has about 100.

“Look at what you do every day,” Koff said. “That’s where you have the biggest chance of impact. If you swap out dairy for almondmilk in smoothies or lattes, for example, you cut calories and sugar. And you’ll actually get just as much calcium from almondmilk.”

Almondmilk smoothies are a good “fast food” that’s not only quick but healthy, she added. They’re easy to digest, too.

“Liquids really have a benefit in the morning or late afternoon,” Koff said. “I love smoothies. I add almonds for extra protein. Liquids also are a very easy way to get a concentrated amount of phytonutrients.”

These ideas taste good, too, she said, which is important. “Nobody will stick with a nutritional change if it doesn’t deliver on taste.”

Call The Bee’s Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.

Read more articles by Debbie Arrington

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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