Courtesy Kari Brunson

This Former Dancer-Turned-Food-Entrepreneur Shares Two Recipes to Fuel Your Day

When she was a corps member with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Kari Brunson pretty much ate the same thing for breakfast and lunch every single day: a big bowl of oatmeal in the morning, and then after class it might be a bar and yogurt, an apple, some turkey. She kept it simple. "I don't think it was about restriction—it was more about safety," she says. "It was food I knew worked well with my body and kept me going all day."

After rehearsals finished, she'd experiment with far more elaborate meals for dinner. She ended up falling so in love with cooking that at just 26, in 2009, she retired from ballet and launched a culinary career. Today she co-owns both the plant-focused Juicebox Café and a plant-based ice cream shop called Frankie & Jo's in Seattle.


But she still loves an oatmeal breakfast, and the flexibility it offers to load up with fiber, protein and healthy fats. She shared two of her favorite oatmeal recipes—one for dancers with a sweet tooth and another for those who want more of a savory start to their day.

Go Savory: Oats With Miso and Kale

  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup water or nut milk
  • 2 tsps coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 1 tbsp chickpea miso
  • 1 cup lacinato kale, torn
  • 1/4 avocado, thinly sliced
  • sprinkle of sesame seeds
  • 1 green onion, very thinly sliced (light and white parts only)
  • hot sauce or pickled red onion to taste (optional)

Directions: Combine oats, water or nut milk, coconut oil and sea salt and simmer for 7–10 minutes. Stir in tamari, flax and miso. Top with kale, avocado, sesame seeds and green onions.

Makes 1 bowl of oatmeal.

​Go Sweet: Oats With Peaches, Seeds and Cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup water or nut milk
  • 2 tsps coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsps grade A maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup full-fat yogurt ("I like organic Greek or coconut yogurt with no gums")
  • 1 peach, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsps unsalted seeds or nuts
  • 2 tbsps unsweetened nut butter

Directions: Combine oats, water or nut milk, coconut oil and sea salt and simmer for 7–10 minutes. Stir in flax, cinnamon and maple syrup. Top with yogurt, peach, seeds and nut butter.

Makes 1 bowl of oatmeal.

Brunson's Top Tip: Meal Prep

"If you want to eat intentionally, having things prepped will help you create balanced meals quickly when you're tired and just want to grab whatever's convenient."

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July 2021