Alton Brown serves up a simple and tasty recipe to boost the brain with a logical side


From popular TV cooking shows to his own stage show to his thought-provoking social media comments, Alton Brown never seems to be at a loss for words. While many people have 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 may apparently have an encyclopedia-like reminder of why and how the tastiest food gets to the plate, he appreciates that the food on the fork can supplement overall brain health. In partnership with Neurvia and their experts, this brain-boosting recipe could become a staple of the week.

Recently, FoodSided spoke to Alton Brown about his partnership with Neurvia and how it supports his brain performance. After doing the research, Brown takes a well-rounded approach to “enhancing the brain.”

The old adage that people are what they eat continues to evolve. While mom’s mantra of eating your veggies may have been ingrained in dinnertime conversations, the reality is that adults need to put mindful eating back on the table. While there may not be a dessert promise to eat this side of kale, adults can appreciate the connection between food and the brain.

For Brown, turning 60 was when he started thinking about his brain, how food supports his lifestyle, and what his brain needs. Although he admitted that these questions weren’t at the forefront of his mind, the shift in mindset from “what can I do for my brain” to “my brain is there to serve me seems like the first step towards building that better brain.

Anyone who knows Brown appreciates his extensive knowledge. He shared that research showed he needed to find a recipe that ticked all the boxes. In collaboration with experts from Neurvia, the idea was to create a dish that would contain the most brain-supporting foods in a single recipe. Brown mentioned that he was “slowly adding things”. The resulting dish is not only brain-boosting, but also full of flavor without getting too complicated.

Although this recipe is packed with kale, parsley and other ingredients, Brown said the recipe can be customized. Put plainly, Brown said, “I’d rather someone eat some of these ingredients than give them all up.”

Whether home cooks get an extra helping of kale, choose to omit the feta, or throw in a few extra cherries, this brain-boosting recipe from Alton Brown could become a staple of the week. Instead of staring at the pantry and hoping for inspiration to emerge from the necks of the brain, one bite at a time might make that synapse work a little faster.

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

Alton Brown Kale and Quinoa Bowl with Salmon

Preparation time to serve: 1.5 hours

What to buy:

  • 1 bunch lacinato or “dinosaur” kale, stems removed and cut into ribbons (about 4 ounces, stem)
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems removed and coarsely chopped (1.5 ounces)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lemon, zested and squeezed (If you don’t get 2 tablespoons of juice, add enough water to get that amount.)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain 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 fillets (about 5 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil

What to do:

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

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


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