Thanks to the natural health experts at Bastyr University, who have generously sponsored this series, the ninth challenge of our Working on Wellness Series had us learning plant-based recipes in a Cooking for Healthy Living class at the Bastyr University campus in Sorrento Valley.

While we both cook professionally we thought that the class would be a great way to reignite some creativity in our kitchens. Classes take place on Tuesdays and are designed to help participants connect to their health with whole-food, plant based cooking. The sessions are led by Noelle Parton and volunteer nutrition students and are hands-on opportunities to learn cooking techniques, explore the health benefits of various cuisines and ingredients, and of course have some fun in the kitchen.

Here’s what you can expect

Each class has a unique theme. The class we attended covered how to prepare Indian-inspired vegan chana masala, chapatis, and cilantro chutney. Cooking stations accommodate 4 to 6 people comfortably, making it a great activity for friends to do together, but you will feel comfortable to make new friends if you were to go alone.We found it was a lot of fun and engaging to learn in a group setting.

The recipes were simple but still introduced new techniques, most exciting of which was learning how to roll out and cook chapatis. The unleavened flat bread also known as roti is torn by hand and used in lieu of a serving utensil with Indian curries. Chana masala is a classic savory chickpea-based dish that has a hearty onion and tomato base with a hint of ginger and jalapeño. Finally, the bright herbaceous and slightly sweet flavors of the easy cilantro chutney brought the meal together.

Recipe cards for the class are provided, but the instructors and volunteers were great at sharing different shortcuts that demonstrate how you can take recipes and make them your own. The classes were also accommodating to different dietary considerations, even in an experimental phase: One participant was gluten-free, and although the nutrition instructors had never tried making gluten-free chapati, they were open to testing it and seeing how it would work.

Overall, the class was great motivation to give plant-based eating a boost this month, and the chana masala left both of us inspired to recreate the dish at home.

Cooking classes only cost $25 per and upcoming themes include plant-based Italian where you’ll learn how to make a creamy polenta, tomato sauce, and a Tuscan white bean and kale soup on November 12; and a healthy holiday party meal with quinoa and cranberry stuffed acorn squash, shaved Brussels sprout salad with pomegranate vinaigrette, and an eggless nog on December 10.

Here's the full Cooking for Healthy Living schedule:

November 12 Plant-Based Italian

December 10 Healthy Holiday Party

March 10 Vegan Southeast Asian

April 14 Healthy Tamales!

May 12 Vegan BBQ

Join Maria and Olivia on their journey to wellness when they focus on how to improve their sleep starting Novemeber 1. Follow along and share your experience using #EdibleSDWellnessChallenge and tagging Edible San Diego.

Instagram: @ediblesd | Twitter: @ediblesandiego | Facebook: @ediblesandiego

About Our Sponsor

The nutrition faculty at Bastyr University is on a mission to support the local community through health and nutrition education. Bastyr University opened its campus in San Diego in 2012, while the main campus in Washington State recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. Bastyr is a global leader in evidenced-based natural health education, and the local campus located in Sorrento Valley offers two nutrition degrees: Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Culinary Arts (BSNCA) and Master of Science in Nutrition for Wellness (MSNW).

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