The Youngest Culinary Nutrition Expert Meets The President!

Can the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program take you all the way to the White House?

Just ask eight-year-old Braxton Young, whose quinoa-crusted spinach tofu pie was one of the winning recipes in the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge contest thrown by the White House.

In July, Braxton flew to Washington to attend a lunch hosted by Michelle Obama, which honoured him and his fellow healthy chefs from across the United States. Way to go, Braxton!

Braxton learned his culinary prowess from his mom Kim, who was one of our scholarship recipients in the Fall 2014 CNE program. Kim joined the Culinary Nutrition Expert program to heal both herself and her family with delicious food.

The combination of Kim working with her son, practicing her knowledge from the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program, and doing one-on-one consulting with our own Fundamentals of Nutrition instructor, clinical nutritionist Josh Gitalis, helped Braxton heal his digestive problems, seizures, Tourette’s and insomnia. Once his health issues were resolved, Braxton got to work in the kitchen. He created his recipe for the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and won!

This photo of Braxton meeting President Barack Obama melted our hearts. This is awesome!

Healthy Lunchtime Challenge

Kim is one proud momma.

“To see Braxton step into the White House as a healed, empowered, amazing 8-year-old leader who shared his story with the media, President Obama, Michelle Obama, and other kid leaders was absolutely amazing,” she says. “The experience at the White House was one of the proudest moments I’ve had as a mom. Not only because we were able to meet the President and First Lady, but because I watched my son be recognized for becoming a healthy food leader.”

When we asked Braxton what it was like to meet the president, he said: “It was great. He was nice, tall and looked like me.”

Braxton’s winning recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, kid-friendly, full of health-promoting ingredients and absolutely delicious. For more recipes from all of the young foodies, you can download the free Healthy Lunch Challenge e-cookbook.

Quinoa-Crusted Spinach Tofu Pie

And now, we’ll turn it over to Braxton to tell you about his recipe:

“This recipe is delicious and has my two favorite vegetables: carrots and spinach. I created it for kids like me who are allergic to dairy, nuts and gluten. But, even if you don’t have an allergy, you’ll love it too!

I started cooking with my mom when I was two. But, then I stopped cooking because food started to make my stomach hurt. Last year we met Dr. Josh who helped me realize I was allergic to gluten. I used to have seizures and bad asthma, but now that I’m not eating gluten, my seizures and asthma are gone. Now I love to cook and eat healthy food. A lot of other kids don’t eat very healthy lunches in my school and unless I have smelly eggs in my lunchbox, they want my healthy food.”

Quinoa Crusted Spinach Pie

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 4

Ingredients
For the Crust
  • ¾ cup cooked red quinoa, drained well
  • 2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
For the Spinach Filling
  • ⅓ cup of tofu (approximately ⅓ block of tofu)
  • 8 ounces of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of your favourite non-diary milk
  • ½ cup carrots, shredded
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • pinch of pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Place a few layers of paper towel on a plate. Then cut tofu into small cubes and place on plate and press with another towel allowing the paper towel to soak up the water. Place tofu on a baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with salt. Put in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. While tofu is cooking, prepare your spinach filling. Heat a skillet to medium high then sauté your onions in coconut oil for 2 minutes. Add carrots and cook for another minute. Pour maple syrup (optional) over carrots and onions and continue to cook for another 30 seconds.
  4. Add baby spinach and garlic powder and cook until wilted and there is no extra liquid in your pan. Add thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for another 30 seconds and set aside in a bowl to cool.
  5. After tofu is finished cooking, add to the spinach bowl and place in the refrigerator so it can cool quickly.
  6. While your spinach filling is cooling, make your crust. In a small bowl add cooked quinoa, salt, olive oil, egg and buckwheat flour. Mix well. Add baking powder and mix again. Place in 4 mini quiche dishes and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. After your crust is finished cooking, whip two eggs in a small bowl. Remove spinach filling from refrigerator and add the eggs and milk. Stir quickly for another 30 seconds.
  8. Remove quinoa crusts from oven. Pour spinach pie mixture over the four mini crusts. Reduce oven to 400 F and bake for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown.