For Ella Woodward, simplicity reigns.
This means a plant-based diet free from gluten, dairy, refined sugars and anything processed. The lifestyle choice for the author of the new Deliciously Ella: 100+ Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-Based, Gluten-Free Recipes ($20) isn’t just a aesthetically driven one, but rather a commitment driven by some very real medical concerns.
When she was 19 years old, Ella was diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, a rare illness that left her bed-ridden 95 percent of the time.
Ella calls herself a former “sugar monster.” Out went a diet that revolved around pints of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream and spoonfuls of Nutella. In came the motivation to start a food blog and develop new recipes like sweet potato brownies, butternut squash risotto and quinoa and turmeric fritters.
As Ella’s diet stabilized, so did her symptoms—the blackouts, heart palpitations, unbearable stomach issues, chronic pain and constant headaches were gone and she was able to go off her medication completely.
We were struck by one recipe that’s so simple it’s hardly a recipe at all—just a very, very good suggestion. Take portly Medjool dates, pry them open, stuff their bellies with almond butter and a dusting of raw cacao powder. (Attempt to) wait an hour while they chill in the fridge. As Ella says, “This may not be the most complicated recipe in the book, in fact it may well be the simplest, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the best! It’s sweet and satisfying and oh-so-delicious. The caramel-like dates complement the creamy almond butter so well—it’s a match made in heaven.”
- 12 Medjool dates
- 12 teaspoons organic nut butter
- Optional: a sprinkling of organic raw cacao powder
- Peel the dates open, without totally cutting them in half, and remove the pits.
- Place a small teaspoon of organic nut butter and a sprinkling of organic raw cacao powder where the pit was and push the 2 halves of the date together again.
- Place the stuffed dates in the fridge to firm up for about an hour and then enjoy.