Recipe Friday: Cooking With the Clean Fifteen

April 26, 2013 | Written By:

Meet the “Clean Fifteen,” the conventionally grown produce items with the lowest occurrence of chemicals, and try out some recipes!

They say that an “apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but some apples aren’t all 100 percent good for you. This week, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its latest Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, including the “Dirty Dozen,” the list of fruits and vegetables with the highest numbers of pesticide residues.

The 2013 Dirty Dozen:







Sweet bell peppers

Nectarines (imported)



Cherry tomatoes

Hot peppers

EWG also added notes for summer squash, kale and collards, which didn’t reach Dirty Dozen- levels of contamination but were found to have traces of harmful pesticides, including some that have technically been off the market for decades.

Although the effects of pesticides on the human body are still largely unknown, they have been linked to a variety of ailments, from skin and lung irritation to hormone issues to cancer.  This news can prove especially disconcerting for parents who are working diligently to foster healthy eating habits in their children. Organic produce is expensive, not always available in certain areas and not always in season. But the news isn’t all gloom and doom – with the Dirty Dozen comes the “Clean Fifteen,” the produce items with the lowest occurrence of chemicals, making them safe, more affordable (and delicious!) alternatives to organic versions of the Dirty Dozen.

Meet your Clean Fifteen for 2013:






Sweet peas (frozen, since they’re more readily available)








Sweet potatoes


*If avoiding GMO corn is a priority for you, it is advisable to still buy organic in this case.


From roasted asparagus to guacamole to fruit salads and salsas, there are tons of colorful and delicious snacks and meals to be made that kids will love! We’ve shared a couple favorites below.

Frozen Mango Pops (via Whole Living)

You’ll Need:

  • 6 cups thawed frozen mango

  • 1/4 cup light coconut milk

  • 2 Tbsp orange juice

  • 2 Tbsp honey (optional, to taste)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

How to Make It:

  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.

  2. Fill ice-pop molds and freeze.

Asparagus Hummus (via Cookin’ Canuck)

You’ll Need:

  • 3/4 lb. asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 (14 oz.) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained & rinsed

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)

  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp asparagus cooking water (see instructions)

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

  • 1/8 tsp salt (or more, to taste)

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

How To Make It:

  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat.

  2. Prepare a bowl filled with ice water.

  3. Add the asparagus pieces and cook until the asparagus is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Just before the asparagus is finished cooking, scoop out 1 tablespoon of the cooking water and set aside.

  4. Drain and immediately plunge the asparagus into the ice water to stop the cooking.

  5. Transfer the asparagus to the bowl of a food processor, along with the garbanzo beans, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, reserved cooking water, cayenne and salt. Blend until combined.

  6. With the processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Process until smooth.

  7. Serve with whole wheat crackers, pita and/or raw vegetables.

Enjoy your Clean Fifteen!

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