Alton Brown serves a simple, tasty brain boosting recipe with a side of logic

Alton Brown for Neurvia, Neurvia
Alton Brown for Neurvia, Neurvia /

From popular food television shows to his own stage show to his thought-provoking commentary on social media, Alton Brown seems never to be at a loss for words. While many people learned the science behind food and cooking from Good Eats, the reality is that Brown has a breadth of knowledge that many people envy. While he might seemingly have an encyclopedia-like recall of the why and how the best tasting food arrives on the plate, he appreciates that the sustenance on the fork can supplement overall brain health. In partnership with Neuriva and their experts, this brain boosting recipe could become a weeknight staple.

Recently, FoodSided spoke to Alton Brown about his partnership with Neuriva and how he is supporting his brain performance. After doing the research, Brown is taking a well-rounded approach to “brain better.”

The old saying about people are what they eat continues to evolve. Even though mom’s mantra of eat your veggies might have been ingrained into dinnertime conversations, the reality is that adults need to put mindful eating back on the table. Although there might not be a promise of dessert for eating that side of kale, adults can appreciate the food and brain connection.

For Brown, turning 60 was the timing where he started thinking about his brain, how food supports his lifestyle, and what does his brain need. While he admitted that these questions were not previous forefront in his mind, the mindset change of “what could I do for my brain” versus “my brain is there to serve me,” appears to be the first step towards building that better brain.

Anyone familiar with Brown appreciates his depth of knowledge. He shared that research showed that he needed to find a recipe that checked all the boxes. Working with experts at Neuriva, the idea was to create a dish that was going to pack the most brain supporting food in a single recipe. Brown mentioned that he “slowly adding things to it.” The resulting dish is not only brain booster but also full of flavor without becoming overly complicated.

While this recipe is bursting with kale, parsley and other ingredients, Brown said that the recipe can be customized. Put plainly, Brown said, “I would rather someone eat some of those ingredients than give up on all of them.”

Whether home cooks get an extra helping of kale, choose to omit the feta, or add a few extra cherries, this Alton Brown brain boosting recipe could become a weeknight staple. Instead of staring at the pantry and hoping that inspiration emerges from the cervices of the brain, one forkful at a time could make that synapsis work a little more quickly.

Here’s how to make Alton Brown’s brain boosting recipe from Neuriva.

Alton Brown’s Kale & Quinoa Bowl with Salmon

Serves 4 Prep to Serve Time: 1.5 hours

What to Buy:

  • 1 bunch lacinato or “dinosaur” kale, stems removed and cut into ribbons (about 4 ounces, stemmed)
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems removed and roughly chopped (1.5 ounces)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced (If you don’t get 2 tablespoons of juice, add enough water to get that amount.)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 4 ounces firm feta cheese, divided
  • 1 cup (3.5 ounces) walnuts, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups cooked white quinoa
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Two 1-inch thick, skin-on salmon filets (around 5 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil

What to Do:

  • Toss kale, parsley and shallots together in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Puree the remaining olive oil, the lemon juice and zest, garlic, yogurt, 2 ounces of the feta, a third of the walnuts and the salt in a food processor.
  • Pour the dressing over the greens, then fold in the quinoa, along with the rest of the walnuts, the cherries and the remaining feta.
  • Cover and refrigerate at least an hour.
  • Wrap the salmon filets completely in paper towels while you heat a large cast iron skillet (a heavy stainless steel pan will do in a pinch, but avoid non-stick for this), over medium high heat for 5 minutes.
  • When the skillet is hot, season the filets with the salt. Add the oil to the skillet and carefully tilt to evenly cover the bottom. When the oil shimmers, slide the filets in, skin-side down, pressing each filet firmly down with a flexible spatula or fish turner to ensure contact.
  • Reduce the pan heat to medium low and cook for 3 minutes, then cover the skillet and cook another 2 minutes.
  • Carefully flip the filets, replace the cover and cook for another minute, or until done to your liking.
  • To serve, slice each filet in half, place atop the kale & quinoa and enjoy.

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What are your favorite ways to create a strong mind, body, food connection. Do you find that food and healthy eating impacts how your body feels and reacts?