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Archive for the ‘Salad’ Category

 

To my mind, kale is the rock star of all greens.  I integrate it into at least one meal a day and sometimes it’s as easy as simply stuffing a handful of it into our morning green smoothies.  Most times though I try and keep it intact in shape and form and celebrate its texture and flavor through both raw and cooked means.  I think it’s important to incorporate an abundance of raw foods into our diets, along with the cooked,  in order to provide the widest possible variety of nutrients so that we may not simply live but that we may thrive.    

 

Mediterranean Kale Salad

Ingredients:

1 bunch Lacinato/dinosaur kale, sliced into thin ribbons

¼ cup pine nuts [toasting optional]

¼ cup Kalamata olives, sliced

6 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated and cut into slivers

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

¼ cup olive oil [I actually use an omega 3-6-9 blend  for most raw dishes and/or salads that contains olive oil]

2 T fresh lemon juice and zest of one lemon

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Sea salt

Directions:

Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a large bowl or plastic bag and marinate at room temperature for at least 4 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.  The longer it’s allowed to marinate, the softer the texture of the kale will be.

Bring to room temperature before serving.

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Making faux tuna using garbanzo beans isn’t an idea original to me;  I simply modified the idea to mimic how I used to make the real deal.   It’s quick, easy and can be made nearly on the fly.  It also happens to be delicious and full of healthy and filling fiber.  Plus,  the vitamin C-rich red bell pepper helps your body absorb the iron found within the garbanzo beans more readily.  It’s an all ’round rock star of a sandwich filler.

 

Faux Tuna Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups garbanzo beans

¼ cup celery, small dice

¼ cup red bell pepper, small dice

¼ cup apple, small dice

¼ cup dill pickle, small dice

¼ cup fresh dill, minced

¼ – ⅓ cup  plain non-dairy yogurt [So Delicious Plain is my choice] or Vegenaise  [The amount depends upon how wet you like your salad]

freshly-cracked black pepper

sea salt

Directions:

Using a potato masher, mash the garbanzo beans in a large bowl.  You could use a food processor for this, just be careful not to over-process the beans.  You do not want a purée, but rather a coarse mash with texture.

Add the remaining ingredients to the mashed beans and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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This is a wonderfully quick and delicious autumnal whole grain-based salad.  It can be served at any temperature you wish, but is very nice when warmed.  I like to serve this over a pile of soft butter lettuce as a side dish to my gyros seitan for a hearty meal on a cold night.

 

Warm Bulgur Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup coarse bulgur

1 cup diced green beans

½ cup toasted pine nuts

12 dried apricots, cut into slivers

¼ cup mint, chopped

¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped

1 leek, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 leaves dinosaur kale, finely chopped

Lemon vinaigrette with oregano  

  • 1T lemon juice + 2T olive, flax or nut oil + 1 tsp oregano

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Bring 2½ cups of water or vegetable stock [If you want a more savory flavor] to a boil.  Add the bulgur, stir and cover.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once the grain is tender simply drain off excess liquid and set aside.

While the bulgur is perking away, over medium heat, sauté the green beans, leek, garlic and kale in a small drizzle of olive oil until tender.  Add the apricots and pine nuts.  Toss to combine.  Transfer the drained bulgur to a large bowl and add the sautéed vegetables, parsley and mint.   Pour as much of the lemon and oregano vinaigrette over the bulgur salad as you wish and mix well.   Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

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Red Quinoa Salad

Quinoa, though often called a grain, is in fact, a seed.  It is a fabulous source of protein and contains all essential amino acids.  The cold-pressed flax seed and walnut oils offer healthful Omega-3s, while the dried tart cherries are chock full of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins.  This salad is perfect for a light summertime lunch or as a side dish at a picnic or barbecue; I’ve actually eaten leftovers of it for breakfast.

Ingredients:

1½ cups organic red quinoa

1 bunch asparagus

2 oranges, sections cut into supremes

½ cup dried tart cherries

Juice and zest of one lemon

1 T flax seed oil

1 T walnut oil

Sea salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Chive blossoms, to garnish

Directions:

Add the quinoa to 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes.  Drain in a colander and cool to room temperature. 

Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with Chive or other edible flowery blossoms.

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Cherries, especially the tart variety,  are receiving a great deal of attention these days in the athletic world due to their ability to mitigate pain after exercise.  This little fruit is packed full of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins as well as the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are important to the health of your vision. They are also, interestingly enough,  a good source of the calming antioxidant, melatonin.

I use a great deal of fruit and vegetable juices in my cooking to impart both flavor and nutrients to our food, so when Cheribundi approached us and asked if we’d try out their cherry juice, we eagerly agreed.  This sauce, coupled with the yuba, was savory and sweet, tangy and lip-smacking good.   In short, it had umami.   The slaw, absolutely necessary for any mustardy Carolina-style barbecue-sauced dish, was the perfect fresh and raw accompaniment. 

 

Pulled Yuba in a Cherry Barbecue Sauce with Sesame Slaw

Ingredients:

1 cup tart cherry juice [I used Cheribundi’s Tru Cherry juice.]

½ cup dried sour cherries

¼ cup yellow mustard

¼ cup Dijon mustard

½ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup dark brown sugar

3 T tomato paste

1 T Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chili garlic sauce

1 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper

6 oz dried bean curd sheets [1 package]

Peanut oil

Directions:

Add a drizzle of peanut oil to a pan and heat over medium.  Add the tomato paste and spread around the pan to caramelize and rid the paste of the tinned flavor.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the yuba and dried cherries, and bring to a low simmer.  Cook for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

While the sauce is simmering, soak the sheets of yuba in hot tap water to hydrate.  Once pliable, drain and roll into a tight bundle.  Cut into small shreds across the roll. 

Add the shredded yuba and dried cherries to the sauce.  Mix well to incorporate and set aside to marinate.  The longer you leave it, the more flavor the yuba will absorb.  To serve, simply return to the heat and warm through.  I served this sandwich-style on a toasted ciabatta bun.

 

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Sesame Slaw

Ingredients:

snow pea pods, julienned

red bell pepper, julienned

apple, julienned

golden beet, shaved with a vegetable peeler

tahini

fresh lemon juice and zest

dark sesame oil

black sesame seeds

Directions:

I did not include amounts because it depends upon how much you wish to make.  I simply added equal portions of each fruit and vegetable ingredient and then used a 2:1 ratio of tahini to lemon juice as the dressing with a few drops of dark sesame oil added.  Season with sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.  Garnish with sesame seeds.

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We went nettle picking recently on a local organic farm and walked through a gorgeous pasture full of blooming dandelions.  We gathered up quite a few of the beautiful flowers and decided to work them into a meal.  The petals are fairly sweet, while the green of the flower is slightly bitter.  I figured integrating them into a salad full of cooked sweet vegetables would be perfect; and it really was.

Golden Beet, Fennel and Grilled Pear Salad with Dandelions

Ingredients:

1 bunch golden beets with tops [Clean the tops well in cold water and chop into pieces.]

1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly

1 pear, cored and cut into wedges

a handful of organically-grown dandelion flowers

vegetable broth

olive oil

Directions:

Peel and cut beets into wedges.  Place in a pan and cover with broth.  Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until fork-tender. [Keep an eye on the level of liquid, you may have to replenish.]  Remove the beets and transfer into a bowl that can accomodate the entire salad once made.  Add the washed and chopped beet greens to the same pan and add more liquid if needed.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Drain and add to the bowl with the beet root.

Wipe out the pan and add a drizzle of olive oil.  Add the thinly sliced fennel bulb and sauté until slightly softened.  This should take 5-7 minutes.  Add fennel to the salad bowl.  Add the dandelion flower tops to the pan and sauté briefly.  Add to the salad bowl.

Heat a grill pan on medium high heat and add the pear wedges.  Cook until each side has grill marks.  Add to the salad bowl.  [You may want to cut the pears into smaller pieces, if so, let them cool atop the vegetables so that their juices fall into the bowl and are not wasted.]

Toss the cooked fruit and vegetables and season to taste with sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.  Either serve warm or at room temperature.  Garnish with fennel fronds.

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We spent part of this past weekend in a cow pasture on an organic produce farm in the bucolic Nisqually Valley near Olympia, Washington.  The reason we, and a dozen or so others, were there was the offer to join a  nettle-picking with our local Co-op.  The full spectrum was represented in our motley crew of foragers; freegans, vegans and omnivores; college students,  post-grads and free spirits; Germans, Japanese and garden-variety American mutt.  Yet, as diverse as we were, we were also a collective that was solidly unified in our desire to gather greens from the Earth in order to feed ourselves well. 

This Earth Day has me thinking about that pasture and the salad of diversity that grew there.  It was thriving with plants that we, as Americans, have declared war upon after deciding they were intruding upon our plasticized lives.  It’s a funny thing that we humans do.  We give something a name and so, therefore, it must be.  We have these teeth that are in the same position, spacially, as a carnivore’s fangs so let’s call them canines.  Would you depend upon these mock canines in a true tooth and nail fight to the death with a carnivorous foe?  We have this plant that is disorderly and won’t bend to our will so, therefore, we declare it to be a weed and seek to destroy it. 

Food for thought, literally.  Happy Earth Day.

 

 

Chilled Nettle Soup

This is a very nice and light springtime soup.  It’s packed full of phytonutrients and antioxidants that’ll nourish your body and set your mind to daydreaming of sunshine and the season’s bounty.

Ingredients:

1 cup blanched nettle leaves, packed [You could substitute spinach.]

2 cups vegetable stock

1/8 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg

sea salt, to taste

freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Add blanced nettles to a blender along with the stock.  Blend until smooth.  Add nutmeg and season to taste.  Chill in the refrigerator or serve at room temperature.  [If you want a thicker soup, you could add some of the soft interior of a fresh baguette and blend along with the greens, as you would in a gazpacho.]

 

 

Apple Dandelion Slaw

Along with nettles, we picked dandelion flowers and greens.  I wanted to incorporate them into this weed-based meal and this is what I came up with.

Ingredients:

1/2 an apple cut into matchsticks

2 flower’s worth of organic dandelion petals

4 large organic dandelion leaves, cut into a chiffonade

2 tsp raw sunflower seeds

fresh lemon juice

sea salt, to taste

freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Simply toss all ingredients together and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the slaw.

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