Tag Archives | salad

Warm Cabbage and Fennel “Salad”

Mister Wes and I always eat dinner at the island in our kitchen. Yes, we have a small dining room table just steps away but for whatever reason the island has become our spot. It’s our table/island for two.

When dinner is ready I take the pots, pans, dishes…whatever dinner is made in, do a 180 degree turn from the stove and plop them directly on the island. I grab some serving utensils, plates and silverware and dinner is served. Voila! And, clean up is a breeze. My leftover containers are in the kitchen island and the dishwasher is pretty much within arms reach of where Mister Wes sits. I clean up leftovers and he puts away the dishes. We make one hell of a team!

If you’ve been following me for a while or have attended a class you know that I LOVE salad. I’m not saying that to be the annoying health nut, nutrition coach over here. Seriously, salad is so damn good….if you can make a good salad that is. I’ve got to tell you, I can make a pretty kick ass salad. I had a cooking class student a while back tell me….

“your salad is better than movie theater popcorn.”

I almost choked on a piece of arugula.

Ok, I’m done bragging about my salad-making abilities. But, now that you have an idea of how much I love salad. Here’s the problem. I don’t love salad so much in the winter. When it’s cold and dreary outside I’m yearning for something warm and comforting. As much as I love salad, eating it in December feels kind of like getting a hug from Frosty the Snowman. Brrrr….

After enjoying some amazing dishes at Thanksgiving, come Monday my body was aching for something green. I’d had it with meat and gravy. I wanted green, crunchy vegetables NOW! When it came time to make dinner I looked in the fridge and the veggies were lacking a bit. But, in the far reaches there were a few things that I could do something with.

Cabbage, fennel, half a red onion, and parsley. Without too much of a plan I sautéed them together and then added some white beans I had sitting in the fridge. I served my creation alongside some delicious shredded pork shoulder that had been bubbling the oven for a few ours (recipe coming soon!). Mister Wes looked at his plate, looked at me and asked, “what’s this?” pointing at my veggie creation. My reply…

“Hmmmm…..how about a hot salad?” Mister Wes, “whatever it is, it’s good!”

Sure, officially it should probably be called a saute but “hot salad” sounds WAY more interesting. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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Warm Cabbage and Fennel “Salad”

Ingredients

1/2 tablespoon olive oil, butter or ghee (I used avocado oil which I’ve been experimenting with and really love it!)
1 small or 1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/4 head of cabbage, sliced into thumb thick ribbons
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced into pinky thick ribbons
handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 can (about 1 cup) white beans
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large saute pan or wide pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and saute, stirring frequently until it starts to soften, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the cabbage and fennel, another pinch of salt and stir until everything is well combine. Cover with a lid, lower heat just a tinge (especially if you have a hot stovetop) and let cook for 3-5 minutes. Check on it, give it a stir and cook another 3-5 minutes. Letting it sit without lots of stirring will let the bits on the bottom brown up a bit which is lovely.
  3. Taste your cabbage and fennel to check for doneness. You want it cooked but still retaining some crunch. Add the beans and cook a few minutes more until they are warmed through. Before serving stir in the parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.

Note: If you do dairy you could add some freshly grated parmesan on top. This dish can be served as a side with dinner or topped with a fried egg for breakfast!

Comments { 2 } · Posted on December 9, 2014 in Healthy Recipes

My Opa’s Cucumber Dill Salad

My Opa was a salad connoisseur. Just before dinner was to be served he would eagerly test the salad and then say, “it needs a little something!” Then, he would add more fresh herbs from the garden and add a splash of vinegar. He would taste again, add more herbs, a pinch of salt and maybe a touch more vinegar until it was just right.

He preferred sour and salty flavors. I distinctly remember he and I drinking the salad dressing at the end of a meal. Something, I still do….to the surprise of many a dinner guest!

If you drink your salad dressing you know it’s good!

Just as tomatoes and basil are a perfect match, cucumbers and dill are just meant to be together. Always. One of Opas favorite salads was cucumber dill and I always think of him when I make and eat it. It is amazing how certain foods and recipes bring back wonderful reminders and memories!

My Opas birthday was earlier this month and to celebrate Mr. Wes and I had cucumber dill salad for dinner – with cucumbers and dill from our garden. Opa would have been so proud!

There is really nothing shocking or surprising about this recipe. It is simple and straightforward, but always delicious. I like it sour, like Opa did, and so I often add more white vinegar to taste. Adding the yogurt gives it a creamy texture which is lovely. We don’t do much dairy so I usually leave it out and it’s still delicious.

Enjoy those summer cucumbers!

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Ingredients

2 medium cucumbers
1 small shallot, chopped. About 1 tablespoon
1-2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt, as needed
pepper to taste
handful dill, chopped
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (regular or Greek style works), optional

Instructions

  1. Slice the cucumbers paper thin into a serving bowl. If you have one, a mandolin works best. Toss with a generous pinch of salt and set a side. The salt will help draw some of the water from the cucumbers and prevent your dressing from getting watery.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the shallot, vinegar, olive oil, pinch of salt, pepper, dill and yogurt (if using) in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Once the cucumbers have had a chance to sit for at least 5 minutes you want to drain out the water. You can do this by just tipping the bowl sideways, holding your hand over the cucumbers and letting the water run out. Or, you can strain the water out with a fine mesh sieve. I like to give the cucumbers a gentle squeeze to get out any extra water.
  4. Put the cucumbers back in the bowl and add the dressing. Add only about half the dressing at first, taste and add more as needed. Enjoy!
Comments { 2 } · Posted on July 30, 2014 in Healthy Recipes

Farmers Market Fresh: Beet & Horseradish Slaw

Beets – you either love them or hate them. If you already love them, welcome to the club! If you hate them chances are you’ve had the misfortune of encountering the canned kind on a restaurant salad. I agree. That version is less than stellar. I’m here to convert the haters into total beet-lovers so they can join the club and reap all the benefits. Because not only is this club delicious, it will do amazing things for your health! Here are just a few reasons to put beautiful beets back in your diet.

Beets are Back!

  1. Love Your Liver: Your liver works 24/7 to keep to you clean and clear of toxins that enter your body. So, it’s important to give it a little love! Beets have long been used for medicinal purposes because of their ability to stimulate and liver’s detoxification processes.
  2. Beets for your Heartbeat: Beets are generally very supportive of the blood and circulation. Specifically, they contain important phytonutrients such as betanin and isobetanin and key nutrient choline that can inhibit inflammatory markers linked to heart disease.
  3. Grab the Greens: The most nutritious beets are those with the greens still attached. Cut them off as soon as you get home or they will begin to wilt. The greens are highly nutritious and shouldn’t be discarded. They are rich in folic acid, especially important for healthy development of the fetus during pregnancy. They are also an excellent source of vitamin K for strong bones and vitamin A for good eyesight and healthy skin. You can sauté with garlic them, add them to soups or use the tender greens in a salad.

Beet and Horseradish Slaw

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 to 1 ½ pounds beets, scrubbed
1 spring onion
1 tablespoon fresh horseradish (jarred works as well. Read the label to ensure the only ingredients are horseradish and water.)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 sprig tarragon, minced (optional)
¼ cup parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Grate the beets on the large grating insert of your food processor. (You can also use a box grater. If you grate them by hand rubber gloves can be very handy!) Scrape grated beets in a large bowl.
  2. Peel the horseradish and grate it finely in the food processor or on a box grater. Add to the beets.
  3. Add the olive oil, vinegar and herbs to the beets and horseradish. Combine well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions: This slaw can be eaten with crackers, on a sandwich, with grilled meat or alongside a hearty green salad. When in season grated carrots are a nice addition to this dish and replacing the horseradish with ginger gives it a refreshing bite.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on June 26, 2014 in Healthy Recipes

Raw Kale Salad with Toasted Nuts

Spinach and broccoli were the sweethearts of the green vegetable world for quite a while. But, there’s a new kid in town, and you need to make some room for him in your fridge.

It’s kale — that shriveled and slightly archaic looking, leafy green veggie all over the market right now. Kale is incredibly nutrient-dense with a long list of powerful health-promoting properties.

Here are three (of like 3,000!) reasons to get more of this glorious green on your plate:

  1. Cancer killer: Kale contains more than 45 different antioxidants, which put up a big fight against cancer. So fill up to promote breast, ovarian, gastric and prostate health.
  2. Beautiful bones: One cup of kale delivers an amazing 1,367 percent of your RDA for vitamin K. This vitamin strengthens bone and is important for bone clotting. Now, here’s the kicker….calorie for calorie kale contains more calcium than milk! Plus, the calcium from kale and other leafy greens is more easily absorbed and utilized in the body.
  3. Delicious detox: Kale is a great source of fiber, aiding in healthy digestion and elimination. Plus, it helps your liver detoxify so you can better clear toxins from your body.

Now that you’ve jumped on the kale train, visit your local market and pick up some kale and a bunch of fresh radishes. Then, make this ridiculously simple salad for dinner tonight. If you have leftovers, don’t worry, it’s even better the next day!

Raw Kale Salad with Toasted Nuts

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 large head kale
1 bunch of radishes, sliced
2 medium carrots, shredded
2 tablespoons extra virgin, olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ tablespoon of tamari (San-J brand preferred)
drizzle of toasted sesame oil
pinch of salt to taste
¼ cup hazelnuts or filberts, roughly chopped (any toasted nut or seed of your choice will do!)

Instructions

  1. Wash the kale leaves thoroughly and blot dry with a paper towel. Cut tough middle rib out of each leaf. Stack 3-4 leaves on top of each other, roll longwise and cut into thin strips. Then cut those strips in half.
  2. Place kale in a large bowl and pour in the olive oil, lemon juice and tamari. Massage the greens with your hands until evenly coated, about 5-6 minutes. Get those muscles working! Cover and place in the fridge and let marinate for between 2 hours and over night. This will tenderize the kale. It can be eaten fresh as well. It will be more crunchy, but super delicious!
  3. To toast the hazelnuts heat a medium pan over medium heat. Add the chopped nuts and toast, tossing every 30-45 seconds so they don’t burn. Toast for a total of about 3-5 minutes. They should just start to get some color and become fragrant.
  4. When ready to serve, add in the sliced radishes, shredded carrot and top with the toasted nuts. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on June 10, 2014 in Healthy Recipes

Asparagus – for salad, side or super quick lunch

It’s here, it’s here! Asparagus season is here!

Our farmers market moved outside earlier this month and beautiful asparagus was on display at several stands. I was like a kid in a candy store (or, more accurately, a food nut at the farmers market) and dove right in picking out two big bunches. A few shoppers may have seen me skipping back to my car….

If you haven’t brought asparagus into your kitchen yet you MUST pick some up right away. Asparagus is a super special veggie with a pretty short-lived season so it’s now or never my friend! If you live in California you may have seen these beautiful green spears as early as February and will enjoy them at least until June or July. In the colder east coast our season is from May until July. Local, in season asparagus is tender, crisp and juicy and can even be eaten raw. If you remember it as tough and stringy you likely got asparagus at the grocery store which flew in from a faraway land. Not good! Check out your farmers market and get your local asparagus today!

As I mentioned, asparagus is a super special veggie – let me tell you what I mean. Asparagus is a great source of inulin, a substance that is not digested in the stomach. Instead, it makes it’s way to our large intestines where it supports the growth of good bacteria. By helping out those good guys we support healthier digestion, improve nutrient absorption, and can lower the risk of colon cancer. Plus, asparagus is loaded in vitamin K, important for bone health and blood clotting and vitamin B1 for proper energy production and nerve health.

Listen up ladies! Asparagus is rich in folate. That important nutrient that you need to load up on if you’re pregnant. Get it in!

If the health benefits don’t have you convinced, let me leave you with this. Asparagus is one of the easiest veggies to prepare. With about 5 strokes of your knife, a hot pan and some healthy fat you’ve got a fantastic side dish in 5 minutes. Yeah, I’m a sucker for convenience too!

When I got home from the market I stared at my two bunches of asparagus on the kitchen counter and thought, “this sure is A LOT of asparagus for two people!” So, I decided to create a dish that could be eaten hot or cold so I could easily eat it as a quick lunch. What resulted was a delicious spring dish that could be served as a vegetable side, a room temperature salad or a grab and go lunch. Win, win, win!

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Asparagus and Bean Salad with Lemon Ginger Aioli 

Serves 3-4

Ingredients
½ tablespoon organic extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon shallot (you can also use a yellow onion)
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 bunch asparagus, about ½ pound, cut into pinky finger length pieces
1 cup chickpeas (rinsed and drained if canned)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon tarragon (or other fresh herbs you have on hand)
1 teaspoon parsley
sea salt
freshly grated lemon zest (from organic lemon!)

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot (if using) and sauté, stirring occasionally 2-3 minutes until it begins to soften and become translucent. Lower heat if shallot begins to brown.
  2. Stir in coriander and sauté about 1 minute more until the spice becomes fragrant.
  3. Add asparagus pieces and stir until well combined with the shallot and coriander. Cook the asparagus, stirring occasionally, for a total of about 4-5 minutes until it just starts to become bright green. Add the chickpeas and stir until well combined. Cook about 3-4 minutes more until the chickpeas are cooked through and the asparagus is green and still has crunch.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice, tarragon and parsley. Season with sea salt to taste. The lemon juice should release any yummy bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Put asparagus and bean salad in a serving bowl and garnish with lemon zest. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: This salad is perfect warm, room temperature or cold as a leftover for lunch. It can also be combined with a grain like wild rice or quinoa to extend it or make a heartier meal. Also delicious with tuna, topped with a soft boiled egg or added to a homemade broth for soup. When asparagus is out of season substitute in another veggie like broccoli, summer squash or turnips. To make it even snazzier you can finish it off with toasted hazelnuts or almond slivers!

Inspired by Wild Apple Magazine

Lemon Ginger Aioli

Ingredients
½ cup cashews, soaked in water 2-6 hours
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon white miso paste
1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
3-4 tablespoons water
sea salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In a blender combine cashews, ginger, lemon juice, miso paste, flaxseed oil and 2 tablespoons of the water. Blend until well combined. Add more of the water and blend again if it needs to be thinned out more. You can adjust the consistency to your liking my adding more or less water.
  2. Taste and add sea salt to taste. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: You can easily adjust the seasoning of this dressing by using other ingredients such as toasted sesame oil instead of the flaxseed oil or tamari instead of salt. If you don’t have cashews or forgot to soak them you can use the same amount of tahini in place of the cashews.

Serve the aioli dressing alongside the asparagus bean salad so everyone can add the right amount to their liking. Store the aioli in a glass container for 3-5 days.

Inspired by Heather Crosby, YumUniverse.com

 

Comments { 1 } · Posted on May 21, 2014 in Healthy Recipes

Gingered Cabbage and Carrot Slaw

I typically serve a big salad with every dinner. We skip salad plates and usually just eat it right out of a big ceramic salad bowl we received as a wedding gift. It’s become such a habit that I always forget to give dinner guests salad plates and I have to stop myself from diving fork-first into the bowl. You know your friends are considered family when they are invited to eat directly out of your salad bowl.

Yes, we keep it classy on the homestead!

Since delicate greens aren’t quite in season yet I’ve been relying on heartier veggies to create fresh and crunchy salad concoctions. Using things like cabbage, carrots, fennel and Brussels sprouts as bases for salads means salad leftover end up being lunch the next day instead of compost. I made this Gingered Cabbage and Carrot Slaw on a Friday and we ate from it the rest of the weekend! Plus, using your food processor saves a ton of time and your knuckles will be happy that they are not coming into contact with the box grater. THAT is never a good thing!

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Gingered Cabbage and Carrot Slaw

Ingredients

For the salad
handful of parsley
2 medium carrots, peeled
1/4 of a head of green cabbage, cut in half
1/2 an apple, chopped

For the dressing
Juice of 1 lemon (lime juice would work too)
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (optional, depends on how sour you like it)
1 drop DoTERRA ginger essential oil (you can also finely grate fresh ginger, use about 1/2 tablespoon and add more if needed)
salt and pepper to taste
drizzle of organic extra virgin olive oil (about 2 teaspoons)

Instructions

    1. Add the parsley to the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. You don’t have to remove the parsley from the food processor. You’re basically going to build your salad in the food processor. Add grating insert and the grate carrots. Then, remove the grating insert and replace with the slicing insert. Slice the cabbage into the carrots and parsley.
    2. Put the prepared vegetables into your serving bowl and add the apples. Toss until well combined and set aside.
    3. In a small bowl mix the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar (if using), ginger and a generous pinch of salt. Whisk until well combined and pour over the slaw. Mix the slaw until well coated. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. The salt and acid will help soften the cabbage a bit and draw out some of the water. Shortly before serving drizzle the olive oil on top and add some freshly grated pepper. Toss and serve. Enjoy!

Are you on Facebook? Then make sure you are a Home Cooked Healing fan! All fans will be entered in the Sassy Saltbox Giveaway. Drawing will take place April, 1 2014!

Comments { 0 } · Posted on March 18, 2014 in General, Healthy Recipes

Totally tasty turnip slaw

It is sad that many fall and winter vegetables get a bad rap. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beets, celery root and parsnips often get passed over for  prettier, flashier produce. The next time you’re at the farmers market or grocery don’t breeze past these seasonal standbys!

Here’s why. Winter is also described as the dreaded “cold and flu season.” But, we forget that nature knows exactly how to take care of us to help prevent sniffles, sneezes and sore throats. Many of the veggies available this time of year are packed with the vitamins and minerals you need to support your immune system and fight off winter illness.

Think oranges are your best and only source of flu fighting vitamin C? Not so! Many of our winter green vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and spinach have more vitamin C than an orange in addition to lots of other amazing nutrients to balance blood sugar, boost energy and support healthy blood pressure. Other winter veggies like beets and parsnips are packed with vitamin A and other minerals that your immune system needs in order to put up it’s strongest defenses.

For a recent cooking class I was challenged to use turnips. My client had a field of turnips and wanted some more inspiration to use her growing stockpile. I have to admit that I’d passed over these guys more often than not at the market but was excited to create a simple and delicious way to use them.

Turnips are a very typical winter root vegetable. This time of year they are usually white with some red-purple color at the top where the greens grow. You can use them as a replacement for potatoes in a hearty stew or cook and blend them into a creamy soup with cauliflower. I think they are especially delicious raw!

If you know me at all you know how much I love salad. But, this time of year eating a green leafy salad is just not appealing to me. When I came across making a turnip slaw I was excited about being able to put a salad-dish back on the dinner table that matched the season a bit more than green leaves.

Turns out this salad keeps VERY well. You can store any leftovers in a jar and take them to work with lunch the next day. You might have to add a pinch of salt or splash of vinegar because the flavor can subside a bit when it sits.

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I used my spiralizer for to cut my turnips. This is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets EVER! What it does it quickly turn any firm vegetable or fruit into a fun spiral shape. You can spiralize zucchini into “pasta,” potatoes for roasting or carrots, beets, turnips, apples and more for salads and other food decor. Every time I’ve used the spiralizer at a cooking demo or class people go nuts over it and vow to buy one right away. If you use a large fruit or vegetable you will end up with a never-ending spiral. What I like to do is then cut the spirals a few time with a knife to make eating a little easier and less messy 🙂 If you don’t have a spiralizer you can shred your turnip on the larger holes of a box grater.

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Raw Turnip Slaw with Carrot and Parsley

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

2 medium raw turnips
1 small/medium carrot
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon honey or real maple syrup
Handful of parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the chopped onion in a small bowl and cover with warm water. Set aside. This will draw some of the spice from the onions so they become more mild.
  2. Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and honey until smooth in your salad serving bowl. Set aside.
  3. Peel the turnip and carrot and grate or spiralize them into the serving bowl with the dressing. Toss until well combined and season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on November 26, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

The Power of Food and Cooking (Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad with Lime Vinaigrette)

*This is an oldie, but a goodie from September, 2013*

This weekend I was reminded how much food and cooking can spread love and create connections between people. Our wedding was this past Saturday and people traveled from all over the world to celebrate with Wes and I. It was nothing short of incredible and our hearts were so full of love and gratitude.

First Look

One of the greatest gifts was having my dear friends and family around to keep us fed and nourished during the days leading up to our wedding. There was an army of amazing women flitting around my kitchen making scrambled eggs for breakfast, incredible salads for lunch and warming stews for dinner. Not only did they cook but they also did the dishes and put away leftovers! They have since left but I’m reminded of their presence when I find bowls in the cabinet for the water glasses.

These mouthwatering meals were not only essential for keeping us fueled but they created time and space for incredible conversation, connection and laughter. Despite some of the chaos, spending time in the kitchen seemed to provide a sense of calm and a place where complete strangers came together and left as friends. I was so grateful to have these ladies take care of me.

The food love didn’t stop in my kitchen! I had asked friends and family members to bring different desserts for our wedding reception to add to the homey feel of the day. I was stunned at the amazing desserts people created in their kitchens to share with us and our guests. People couldn’t wait for the cake cutting before they starting grazing on the fragrant pies, tarts and cookies!

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Today’s recipe is Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad with Lime Vinaigrette and comes from a dear friend of mine in California. We made this together at a special event in Napa and again here before she left on Monday. She fed Wes and I all week long long with warming beef stew and scrumptious salads. (Jamie, you can come back to visit anytime!) It reminds me very much of how cooking not only feeds our stomachs, but also our hearts and souls. If you have the opportunity to cook or share a meal with someone, do it! It is an amazing gift.

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Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini
3 ears of corn, shucked
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup freshly slivered basil leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (1-2 limes)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon honey (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Using a mandolin slice the zucchini into thin ribbons. Place in a fine mesh sieve and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Toss and place the sieve over a bowl. This helps to release some of the liquid from the zucchini so your dressing doesn’t become watered down.
  2. Meanwhile, use the mandolin to remove the kernels from your corn. Simply run each ear over the blade longwise. You’ll want to adjust your slicer a little thicker than for the zucchini. Notice that you may need to run the back of the cob over twice since it those kernels tend to be a bit thicker.
  3. Place the corn, tomatoes and basil leaves in a large serving bowl. Give the zucchini a gentle squeeze to remove any remaining liquid and add to the corn mixture.
  4. In a small bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, a pinch of salt and honey (if using). The honey adds a touch of sweetness which can easily be omitted if you like. Drizzle half the dressing over the salad, toss and taste. Add more dressing if needed and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: This salad holds up well in the fridge for 2 days so it’s a good idea to make a double batch and store it for lunch or dinner the next day.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on September 19, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

A Salad Double-Whammy

It’s often assumed that because I work in the food and health field I only order salad when I eat out at a restaurant. Au contraire! This may come as a surprise but I hardly ever order salad at a restaurant. Why? Because most restaurant salads are HUGELY disappointing, tasteless and completely lacking any imagination. Does anyone really enjoy a pile of iceberg lettuce, barely ripe cherry tomatoes and dried up slices of cucumber? It makes sense that you would douse that in calorie-laden ranch dressing! That’s the only thing that can make a salad like that remotely palatable.

Ok, so maybe I’m being really hard on restaurant salad selections. But, please know that salad shouldn’t be an afterthought and it can taste totally incredible, be completely satisfying and…. (drumroll please)……ridiculously easy to make!

I recently made the green salad I’m sharing with you today at the farmers market. One of my cooking class students stopped by to say hello and told me how she had been making some of the recipes (which always makes my heart happy). But then she said,

Tanya, you make salad taste better than movie theater popcorn!

And then, I almost passed out.

It’s certainly a high bar, but I have to agree. With a few pantry staples and some fresh ingredients a salad can be an incredibly satisfying and delicious meal or snack.

Here are my 4 essentials to making a killer, “better-than-movie-theater-popcorn” salad. There is no reason to eat another mediocre salad EVER again!

1) Fresh – It goes without saying that using fresh, seasonal ingredients is essential for a radically amazing salad. In the spring and summer use fresh baby greens. In the fall and winter cabbage and kale make wonderful hearty salads. Adding fresh herbs will also give your salad a little something extra. Visit your local market and farmers to get the best quality produce possible. Or, grow your own! It’s about time to plant kale so you have it in time the fall and herbs are super easy to grow in pots on your windowsill.
2) Sour – As a kid I would drink the salad dressing out of the salad bowl because I loved the sour, vinegar-y taste. Now….I still do that on occasion 🙂 There are so many different types of vinegars to experiment with – from fancy balsamic to simple white vinegar. Lemons and limes are some of my favorite additions as well. You can also add sour taste with different types of mustard. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
3) Sweet – For the longest time I thought that fruit had no place in a green salad. But, I’ve since changed my mind. Adding a some chopped apple or dried cherries adds a wonderful sweet taste to your salad that can be unexpected. Plus, by adding a little sweetness to your meal you’re less likely to crave the sweets after dinner is done.
4) Crunch – Crunch is key for completing your salad. I toast nuts and seeds ahead of time and store them in glass jars. Then, all it takes is a little sprinkle! They are a great alternative to croutons and pack a big nutritional punch. If they are missing from a salad Mr. Wes immediately asks “where are my nuts!” Yes, that one is always good for a laugh.

And now, on to the recipes!

The great thing about salad is that you can totally make it up. These recipes are just guidelines. You can add in any kind of fruit, shredded carrots, different herbs, fruit, nuts, seeds, whatever!

Cabbage and Greens Salad with Tamari Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Serves 4

Ingredients
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ tablespoon tamari
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
½ teaspoon maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon mustard (Dijon or grain mustard work well)
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
3 handfuls mixed salad greens
¼ medium cabbage, red or green
1 green onion, white and green parts chopped
1 tablespoon chopped herbs of choice (thyme, chives, tarragon all work well)

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add pumpkin seeds and toast, stirring or tossing the seeds frequently so they don’t burn. The seeds should begin to puff up and brown slightly. When most of the seeds have started to brown, turn off the heat and add the tamari. (The tamari will make the pan sizzle loudly and steam will rise – don’t be afraid! This is totally normal). Start stirring the seeds immediately with a wooden spoon so they are fully coated in the tamari. Within a minute or two the tamari will have dried up. Put the seeds on a plate or platter in a single layer so they can cool.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust flavor as needed. For more depth you can add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  3. Cut the cabbage in half and then cut one of the halves in half again (so you have two quarters and one half). Finely slice one of the quarters using a mandolin or sharp knife. You can run your knife through the cabbage once or twice after slicing it if the slices seem too long. If you want more cabbage or your cabbage is a bit small slice the other quarter. Reserve the remaining cabbage for another use.
  4. In a large salad bowl combine the mixed greens, cabbage, green onion and herbs. Add half the dressing and toss until well combined. Taste the salad and add more dressing if necessary.
  5. Before serving sprinkle with a handful of the toasted pumpkin seeds. Store remaining seeds in a jar. They will keep for weeks and are a great addition to any salad instead of croutons! Or, as a snack as is.  Enjoy!

 Sesame-Ginger Rice Noodles with Cucumbers and Carrots

 Serves 3-4

Ingredients
8 ounces rice noodles
1 large English cucumber
2 medium carrots
3-4 green onions (scallions), white and green parts chopped
1/3 cup tahini
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
juice from half a lemon (you can skip the rice vinegar and use a whole lemon instead)
1 tablespoon white miso paste
2 teaspoons tamari (San-J brand recommended)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup water
cilantro or parsley to garnish
salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil, add the soba noodles, according to the package directions. You want them to have a bit of a bite. Be careful not to overcook them! Drain and rinse under cold water. Put noodles into a large serving dish or bowl.
  2. Peel the cucumber and then cut in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds inside with a spoon. Thinly slice each cucumber half so you end up with “c” shape pieces. Add the cucumber to the noodles.
  3. Peel the carrots, cut in half and thinly slice them similar to the cucumber. Add the carrots to the noodles and cucumbers. Add the green onion as well.
  4. In a food processor or blender add the rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, miso paste, tamari, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Give it a spin to start combining everything. Add a bit of the water and blend again. You don’t want your dressing to thick or too thin. Continue adding water until you have a nice creamy consistency. Try the dressing and add salt to taste. You can also add more tamari, sesame oil or lemon juice if it needs a little more flavor.
  5. Pour half the dressing over the noodle mixture and toss with tongs. Add more dressing if needed. The noodles and veggies can thin out the flavor a bit so have a taste and add more salt or other dressing ingredients if needed. Enjoy!
Comments { 2 } · Posted on August 5, 2013 in General, Healthy Recipes

Beet Slaw with Horseradish

Beets – you either love them or hate them. If you already love them, welcome to the club! If you hate them chances are you’ve had the misfortune of encountering the canned kind on a restaurant salad. I agree. That version is less than stellar. I’m here to convert the haters into total beet-lovers so they can join the club and reap all the incredible benefits. Because, not only is this club delicious, it will do amazing things for your health! Here are just a few reasons to put beautiful beets back in your diet.

1.     Love Your Liver: Your liver works 24/7 to keep to you clean and clear of toxins that enter your body. So, it’s important to give it a little love! Beets have long been used for medicinal purposes because of their ability to stimulate and liver’s detoxification processes.
2.     Beets for your Heartbeat: Beets are generally very supportive of the blood and circulation. Specifically, they contain important phytonutrients such as betanin and isobetanin and key nutrient choline that can inhibit inflammatory markers linked to heart disease.
3.     Grab the Greens: The most nutritious beets are those with the greens still attached. Cut them off as soon as you get home or they will begin to wilt. The greens are highly nutritious and shouldn’t be discarded. They are rich in folic acid, especially important for healthy development of the fetus during pregnancy. They are also an excellent source of vitamin K for strong bones and vitamin A for good eyesight and healthy skin. You can sauté with garlic them, add them to soups or use the tender greens in a salad.

I recently made this recipe at my local farmers market and it was a big hit! The lovers AND haters were big fans of this salad and everyone was amazed at how quick and simple the recipe is. The memorable response was a couple who stopped by once the crowd had subsided a bit. The woman asked for a sample and in the same breath told me how she really didn’t care for beets. She took a hesitant spoonful, paused, nodded and took another bite. Her response….”this is actually pretty good!” Her husband was stunned and said,

“I’ve been married to this woman for 30 years and I’ve NEVER seen her eat a beet before!”

What can I say folks…I’m here for all your foodie firsts! 🙂

Raw Beet Slaw with Horseradish

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 to 1 ½ pounds beets, scrubbed
1 large or 2 small spring onion
1 tablespoon fresh horseradish, or more if you like it spicier (Jarred works as well. Read the label to ensure you recognize the ingredients and it’s free of flavorings and oils.)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 sprig tarragon, minced (optional)
¼ cup parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Grate the beets on the large grating insert of your food processor. (You can also use a box grater. If you grate them by hand rubber gloves can be very handy!) Scrape grated beets into a large bowl.
2. Peel the horseradish and grate it finely in the food processor or on a box grater. Add it to the beets and mix until well combined.
3. Add the olive oil, vinegar and herbs to the beets and horseradish. Combine well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions: This slaw can be eaten with crackers, on a sandwich, with grilled meat or alongside a hearty green salad. When in season grated carrots are a nice addition to this dish and replacing the horseradish with ginger gives it a refreshing bite. You can store this salad, covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Photo from HERE

Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Mark Bittman
Comments { 0 } · Posted on June 21, 2013 in Healthy Recipes