10 Brain Food Recipes to Boost Your Mood

Did you know the foods you eat can boost your brainpower and mood? Here are 10 brain food recipes featuring seafood, greens, nuts and beans.

10 Brain Food Recipes to Boost Your Mood | Truffled egg with smoked salmon and greens

Did you know the foods we eat can affect not only our physical bodies but our state of mind? We had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Drew Ramsey on our latest podcast, author behind 50 Shades of Kale (yes, that’s right!) and a psychiatrist focused on how food can do good for our brains and boost our moods. Recipes that are good for our brain are called “brain food” and spoiler alert: brainfood recipes are delicious too!

Dr. Ramsey’s latest cookbook, Eat Complete, has some amazing stories of people who saw significant improvement in their anxiety or depression by simply changing what they ate. What foods are brain food? Dr. Ramsey has a little motto that we love: seafood, greens, nuts, and beans. It’s an easy way to remember how to incorporate brain food in your diet! Here we’ve compiled a list of our favorite brainfood recipes with seafood, greens, nuts and beans below — and check out our A Couple Cooks podcast Brain Food episode to hear more from Dr. Ramsey’s inspiring interview.

And now…our top brain food recipes!

Seafood: One of our favorite ways to eat shrimp, these grilled shrimp skewers are simple to put together and perfect for grilling season. The shrimp is drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with herbs, and grilled for just 6 to 7 minutes. Serve with veggie skewers and Pesto Quinoa for a full brain food meal!

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Greens: This hearty stew with lentils and loads of nutrient-dense kale is a delicious way to get your greens. Sprouting lentils makes them easier for your body to digest the nutrients. Sprouted lentils are sold dried in stores (we found ours for this one at Whole Foods), or you can also sprout lentils at home. This soup recipe uses sprouted lentils along with kale, tomato, onion and carrot to make an unexpectedly delicious, totally nutritious and super hearty stew. That’s brain food for sure!

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Seafood: Another favorite way to eat shrimp is this Mediterranean-style baked with tomatoes and feta cheese. This brain food recipe can be made in just 30 minutes. Onion, garlic and tomatoes are simmered in a skillet, then the shrimp is added and baked in the oven until pink and tender. Garnish with fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon!

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Greens: This bowl is all about eating greens in the most delicious way possible. Fresh greens, sauteed kale and broccoli, and fluffy quinoa are all smothered in a savory yogurt lemon sauce. You won’t find a more delicious brain food bowl!

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Seafood: Here’s a final brain food recipe for shrimp! This time the shrimp are grilled with a dusting of cumin and paprika. Then, they’re  tossed into a zesty salad with sweet mango, crunchy veggies, and cashews. To top it all off: a creamy cilantro dressing similar to our popular Healthy Green Goddess Dressing.

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Beans and Greens: This beans and greens meal can be whipped up in just 30 minutes! It features white beans, mushrooms and spinach cooked up in a delicious saute, and quick cooking bulgur wheat. The bulgur wheat doesn’t even require any “cooking”: pour over boiling water and let it sit until the brains are plump. Add a dippy egg, and the yolk brings together this brain food meal with a rich sauce.

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Nuts and Greens: You can knock out two of your brainfood requirements with this soup! It’s nutrient filled and savory-sweet, featuring sweet potatoes, spinach, peanut butter, and a dollop of mild harissa.

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Seafood: Salmon is one of our favorite brain food dinner recipes, since it’s so fast to cook into delicious dinners! This 10-minute baked salmon recipe is an ultra quick dinner, paired with a bright green chimichurri sauce. This one’s perfect for a weeknight rotation.

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Beans: These refried black beans are seriously simple, and you can use them in many ways to make fast and easy dinner recipes. Simmering the beans with garlic brings big flavor, and this brain food recipe is ready in just 15 minutes. Serve these refried black beans with eggs, in refried bean tacos with chipotle tahini sauce, or in our authentic Mexican homemade sopes.

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Nuts: And now, for something sweet! These raw brownies are a wholesome dessert made primarily of walnuts and almonds, with a few Medjool dates for some sweetness. If this is brain food, we’ll have another!

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Related: Stress-Reducing Avocado and Quinoa Bowl | How to Reduce Stress with Food

Finally, below is an excerpt of a brain food recipe from Dr. Drew Ramsey’s book, Eat Complete: his Brain Food Salmon and Eggs! And as always, we’d love to hear what you think of these brain food recipes: let us know in the comments below!


Brain Food Salmon & Eggs

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Did you know the foods you eat can boost your brainpower and mood? Here are 10 brain food recipes featuring seafood, greens, nuts and beans.



  • 1 shallot or 1/2 red onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 pasture-raised eggs
  • 2 teaspoons truffle oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 8 ounces watercress
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic or cider vinegar
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon


  1. Thinly slice the shallot or red onion.
  2. Coat a large skillet with half of the olive oil and warm it over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet, drizzle with the truffle oil, and sprinkle with paprika. Cook 3 to 4 minutes until the whites are cooked through but the yolks are still soft.
  3. While the eggs are cooking, prepare the watercress. Coat a separate large skillet with the remaining olive oil. Add the shallot or onion and cook to 2 to 3 minutes until the shallot starts to soften. Add the watercress and cook for 1 minutes until wilted. Sprinkle with the vinegar.
  4. Divide the mixture among four plates and top each with an egg and 2 ounces of the smoked salmon. Serve immediately.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Smoked Salmon, Brain Food, Brainfood, Watercress, Greens, Eggs, Truffle Oil, Gluten Free, Healthy

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Fernando @ Eating With Your Hands
    May 26, 2016 at 1:26 am

    Loving the book’s title haha

  • Reply
    Aimee @ Food Banjo
    May 26, 2016 at 10:18 am

    I love that there are a few shrimp recipes on here! And that sweet potato soup sounds so tasty!

  • Reply
    May 26, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    These all look so insanely delicious!

  • Reply
    May 26, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    I’m anxious to try any of the shrimp recipes! They sound

  • Reply
    May 27, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    I’ll definitely have to check out Eat Complete- and that kale pesto white bean dip.

  • Reply
    Kristi Rimkus
    May 30, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Definitely have to try the kale pesto dip. The motto is certainly easy enough to remember. I’ll have to check out the book. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    May 31, 2016 at 2:45 am

    Hey guys! I really loved that you featured Dr. Ramsey. Great podcast by the way. I’ll be buying his newest book when I’m back in the US this summer. In the meantime, can you provide a link to his eggs and smoked salmon recipe he mentioned on the podcast?! I couldn’t find it with a quick search online.

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