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When you think “clean eating” you probably envision a sad salad or bland smoothie, but that’s going to be a thing of the past with this new cookbook. In Unicorn Food ($20), Kat Odell proves you can eat the rainbow without any artificial colors or flavors — and it can taste amazing too. Odell’s a renowned food and travel writer who pioneered the highly Instagrammable, brightly-colored eats she coined “unicorn food.” But unlike most colorful food that’s loaded with artificial colors and sweeteners, Odell has taken a more natural approach. Odell relies on red beets, purple cabbage, yellow bee pollen, golden turmeric, green spirulina, and Blue Majik (edible algae) to offer radiant, almost neon splashes to her food.

Despite being the mother of Unicorn Food, Odell wants you to know she is not great at yoga and has never been to Burning Man. Rather, she felt inspired to create unicorn food after moving from Los Angeles to New York. In Manhattan, Odell quickly discovered she had less access to the fresh and healthy food she was accustomed to, so she improvised. First, she made her own nut milk, simply because she preferred the taste. Then she added some natural, health-boosting (and colorful) supplements and called it “unicorn milk.” Eventually, unicorn food was born.

Her goal with this cookbook is to make “beautiful, delicious, nutritious, and fun foods (and drinks) for the average human looking to slant his/her diet a bit more towards wellness.” The nice thing about this cookbook — besides being like, really pretty — is that the ingredients are easily accessible and can be found at chain grocers like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or Publix (or online). Plus, it’s approachable for the beginner cook. You can confidently go in knowing that if Odell could master all of these recipes in her tiny New York City kitchen, you can too.

So we tried it. We gave Odell’s hot green smoothie a shot, because how can a smoothie be hot? Isn’t that soup? She modeled this recipe after a wellness cafe in Santa Monica called Kye’s Ayurvedic One-A-Day. Odell is hooked on this bright green drink and often starts her days with it because it’s an easy way to “stock up on green things.”

At first, this did taste like soup, but the more we drank it, the more the sweetness of the coconut oil and cashews came out, and the more we loved it. This hot smoothie transitions well into the cold and rainy fall weather, and it’ll keep you full until lunch.

The hot green smoothie

(Serves 2 )


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 5 asparagus stalks, ends trimmed
  • 1 1/4 cups filtered water
  • 4 large kale leaves
  • 2 Swiss chard leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, preferably organic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt


1. Heat the coconut oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the asparagus and stir to coat in the oil, then add 1/2 cup of the filtered water. Cover and cook until the asparagus begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the kale, Swiss chard, and spinach, cover, and cook until the greens have wilted slightly and are bright green, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

2. Stir in the parsley and cilantro, cover, and let rest, 2 minutes. Transfer the green mixture to a high-powered blender and add the cashews, lemon juice, salt, and remaining 2/4 cup of filtered water. Blend until smooth, about 45 seconds.

3. Pour into mugs and drink immediately.

Looking for more colorful recipes? Check out our DIY recipes!

(Photos via Nicole Franzen and AJ Meeker and recipe via Unicorn Food by Kat Odell)

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