THE KITCHEN DIVA: A toast to your health

By Angela Shelf Medearis

While Zevia is a healthy and delicious drink, it’s also great as a nutritious, zero-calorie ingredient in drink recipes, snacks, main course dishes and desserts. (Depositphotos)

One of the best things about writing a food and recipe column is the opportunity to introduce my family, friends and readers to something new. I also enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and products.

Recently, I discovered a wonderful line of naturally sweetened, zero-calorie beverages called Zevia. It’s one of the first drink brands focused on healthy versions of sodas (14 different kinds), energy drinks (grapefruit, mango ginger, raspberry, lime and kola), sparking water (lime, blackberry, Mandarin orange and cucumber lemon), as well as a line of mixers, organic teas and Zevia Kidz.

So, what is Zevia Kidz? It’s got the fizz of soda and the tangy sweet flavor of juice, but somehow it’s neither. It keeps all the good stuff and leaves out all the bad with zero sugar and nothing artificial. Zevia formulas also are certified non-GMO, vegan, kosher, color-free, gluten-free, keto and paleo-friendly. I served the Zevia Kidz to children ages 3 to 10, and they loved the taste and the colorful Disney characters on the cans.

Zevia is the brainchild of founder and CEO Paddy Spence, a key figure in the natural food industry for more than 25 years. Paddy and his wife quit sugar 18 years ago, and since then he has completed in numerous triathlons and marathons. Zevia is the official soda of the CrossFit Games, an event that has banned bigger brands high in sugar content. You can find Zevia at thousands of grocery stores.

While Zevia is a healthy and delicious drink, it’s also great as a nutritious, zero-calorie ingredient in drink recipes, snacks, main course dishes and desserts. Use it to create a light, crispy batter for the Zevia Orange Cauliflower Poppers, as the salad dressing base for the Quinoa Salad and to give a wonderful strawberry flavor and sweetness to the batter for the Strawberry Almond Cobbler. It’s the perfect way to cut calories to create a “new you” in the new year!




1 quart oil

1 head cauliflower

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon rosemary

Dash cayenne pepper (optional)

3/4 cup Zevia Orange Soda

1/4 cup Zevia Tonic

2 egg yolks, beaten


  1. Heat 1 quart oil in a deep-fryer or saucepan to 375 F.
  2. Cut cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Combine flour, parsley, sea salt, garlic powder, thyme, rosemary and cayenne in a bowl and mix.
  4. Whisk together orange soda and tonic water with egg yolks.
  5. Dip cauliflower into egg mixture, then in dry ingredients until coated.
  6. Deep fry batches of cauliflower until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Pat dry on paper towels. Makes one batch.





1/2 cup Zevia Orange Soda

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 avocado

1 teaspoon garlic


Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa

1 orange, cut into pieces

1 grapefruit, cut into pieces

1 lime, juiced

1/2 avocado, diced

1/4 cup feta

1/4 cup diced red onion


  1. Combine all salad dressing ingredients in a food processor and pulse until consistency is smooth.
  2. Cook quinoa and let cool.
  3. When cool, add to a bowl with remaining salad ingredients and top with Zevia Orange cilantro dressing. Makes 4 servings.




1/2 cup unsalted butter

4 cups hulled strawberries

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup Zevia Strawberry soda

1 teaspoon almond extract

1-2 teaspoons liquid stevia to taste (if desired)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk of choice


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Melt butter in a 9 by 13-inch pan in the oven while it’s heating.
  3. In a saucepan, bring strawberries, cinnamon, 1/4 cup of strawberry soda, and almond extract to a boil. Stir and let reduce for 5 minutes, adding stevia if desired.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly whisk in milk and remaining 1/2 cup of strawberry soda, until fully combined to form a batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan of melted butter without stirring.
  6. Add in the strawberry mixture on top of the batter without stirring.
  7. Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy! Makes 8 servings.


Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her website is Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis.


© 2021 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis