Category Archives: Salad

SAN-J GLUTEN FREE ASIAN DRESSINGS

San J Dressing Collage

San-J is a favorite brand in this gluten-free Asian household.  Their Thai Peanut Sauce has been a staple in our fridge for years as has their Szechuan Sauce & Terriyaki Sauce.

That being said, I was excited to try their new salad dressings (which they sent to me free of charge).  The flavors are good basic Asian flavors:

While admittedly HIGH in sodium, I am a fan of these dressings.  I used them on seaweed salad and to lightly marinade some cucumbers (they tasted best after only marinading 30 minutes…when left overnight they became too salty).  I did however cut the dressing with a bit of rice wine vinegar because I like a more “vinegar-y” dressing and I also added some red pepper flakes to the cucumbers.

Using the dressings on a regular salad produced a great result.  My favorite 2 dressings were the Tamari Peanut and Tamari Ginger since they had more flavor than the Tamari Sesame.

Some more good news…San-J has Reduced Sodium Tamari now…yay!!!  HOPEFULLY they will come out with Reduced Sodium Travel Packs soon (I keep the travel packs in my car for when I go out to Asian restaurants).

San-J graciously shared a recipe for one of their favorite ways to use the Tamari Peanut Dressing…

TAMARI PEANUT PASTA WITH ZUCCHINI

Created by: Amie Valpone

INGREDIENTS Serves 4.

12 oz. whole grain spaghetti
1 Tbsp. olive oil (eliminate if water sauteing)
1 large zucchini, diced
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 Tbsp. San-J Tamari Peanut Salad Dressing Sub out for either ginger or sesame dressing and add 1Tbs. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
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PREPARATION

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Then, drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (eliminate if water sauteing). Add the zucchini; cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add white beans, garlic, sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper; cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from heat; add bean mixture to the spaghetti along with San-J Tamari Peanut Salad Dressing and mix well to combine.

Serve warm and top with sesame seeds.

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Recipe courtesy of San-J. www.san-j.com

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Product Reviews, Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

RECIPE REDUX – Most Memorable Summer Meal

I first learned about a group called the Recipe Redux through a blog I follow called Jeanette’s Healthy Living.  The recipe Redux was founded by registered dietitians and I knew I wanted to take part in it when I read what they are all about…

“As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux is focused on taking delicious dishes, keeping them delicious, but making them better for you.  The group was founded “[O]n the belief that healthier eating should always taste delicious. As the Latin term ‘redux’ means to revisit or reinvent, we are reinventing the idea of healthy eating with a taste-first approach. We aim to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover.”
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Once accepted into the group I received my first assignment which was to blog about our ‘Most Memorable Vacation Meal.’ The challenge was to make the meal healthier.

As I thought through the vacations in my life and the wonderful meals I have had, one truly did stand out.  It may seem overly simplistic, however this meal was truly a standout to me.  Last summer we went on a Disney Cruise on the Disney Dream (click HERE to read my post about it).  The crew was so overly accomodating to my vegan diet and to the dietary restrictions my daughter lives with on a daily basis.

Disney owns their very own island called Castaway Cay in the Bahamas and the first day we spent on the island the crew sent my daughter’s and my meals for the day onto the island.  When we went to pick-up our lunch at the designated restaurant, both my daughter and I were amazed by what they prepared for us.  They provided my daughter (5 years old at the time) with 3 meals to choose from and made me the most gorgeous ENORMOUS fruit platter.

It was HOT HOT HOT that day and the fruit was perfectly ripe and gorgeously displayed.  I could not have imagined a more perfect meal.  Whole food, bursting with flavor, naturally cooling to the body…the perfect summer meal…a meal I couldn’t even possibly make healthier.

What is your “Most Memorable Vacation Meal” and have you taken the time to re-create it as well as make it healthier?



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Filed under Appetizers, Breakfast, Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Recipe Redux, Recipes, Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian

LENTIL SALAD IN A BELL PEPPER BOWL

I couldn’t for the life of me come-up with an interesting name for this meal, but that doesn’t mean that this meal doesn’t rock…because it does.  This salad in a pepper bowl covers all the bases; protein, complex carbs, and vitamins galore not to mention the fact that you eat the bowl…no dishes!!!

A few weeks ago I was talking to my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher after school about food and recipes…an almost daily occurance between the two of us (my daughter knows to keep playing when we get on the subject of food, because we are GUARANTEED to be there for a long while) and she mentioned that the last time she was at Trader Joe’s they made a yummy salad by mixing together pre-cooked lentils and bruschetta.  Um, yum!

I think I might be single-handedly responsible for purchasing all of Trader Joe’s bruschetta.  While I can make my own, this product has saved me so much time and the flavor is amazing.  What is NOT amazing is the amount of olive oil they add to it.  Rest-assured, I have a solution for this problem.  When I buy the bruschetta I put it in the coldest part of my fridge for a day and all of the olive oil floats to the top and solidifies a bit making it quite easy to skim-off and throw in the trash can (better the trash can than my arteries!).

I have been eating this like crazy and it is now a staple in my fridge.  I took the liberty of adding some rice to the salad and really enjoy the results.

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INGREDIENTS

1 container Trader Joe’s Bruschetta (oil skimmed off)
1 box Melissa’s Steamed Lentils
1 bag Trader Joe’s Frozen Rice Medley* OR Frozen Organic Brown Rice

*Trader Joe’s Frozen Rice Medley contains barley which is not gluten free

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Cook the frozen rice by placing it in a glass bowl (NOT in the plastic as the directions suggest) and microwaving for 2-3 minutes.

Mix together the rice, lentils, and bruschetta (including all of the juice).

Cut the top off of a bell pepper and remove the seeds.  Spoon the lentil salad into the prepared bell pepper and enjoy!

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For a printable version of this recipe click HERE.

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Grains, Main Dish, Product Reviews, Quick, Quick Tips, Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

“UN” TUNA / CHICKEN SALAD

As many of you know, I am the only vegan in my household.  While the rest of my family eats less meat than they used to, they do eat meat.  Lately my son has been on a chicken salad sandwich kick.  When I was younger I made a mean tuna fish sandwich (mean to the tuna, right/?!?!) and I remember the flavors well.

This is my vegan version of tuna / chicken salad and I enjoy it so much that I have been eating it for lunch and snacking on it like crazy.  In an attempt to drastically reduce the amount of mayonnaise used, I made a sauce with some of the chickpeas and let me tell ya…you won’t even realize that there is only 2 Tbs. of Vegenaise in this entire creamy recipe.

INGREDIENTS
 
2  15 ounce cans chickpeas (Eden Organics Low Sodium BPA free)
1/3 cup dill pickle juice
2 Tbs. Vegenaise
½ cup onion, finely diced
½ cup celery, finely diced
½ cup dill pickles, finely diced
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard

Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

Place 1 cup of the chickpeas in the food processor with the pickle juice and Vegenaise.  Blend until very smooth (you may need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times).  Pour the chickpea/pickle/mayo mixture into a bowl.

Place the remaining chickpeas in the food processor (no need to clean it) and pulse until it reaches the texture you desire; I prefer chunky.

Combine the chickpea/pickle/mayo mixture, texturized chickpeas, chopped onions, celery, and pickles in a bowl and fold together gently.

NOTE – The mixture will firm-up a bit once it has been refrigerated.

Serve over toasted bread, crackers, on top of salad, etc.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.


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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Quick, Recipes, Salad, sandwich, Vegan, Vegetarian

MINTED CITRUS SALAD

It is the height of citrus season here in California.  A few weeks ago I went to the farmer’s market on Friday and couldn’t help but bring home a huge variety of citrus.  Blood oranges, tangerines, Cara Cara’s (one of my new favorites), and some of the sweetest grapefruit I have ever had followed me home.  It was a gorgeous day and nothing sounded better to me for lunch than a nice plate of citrus.

One of the vendors was selling gorgeous mint, so naturally that needed to come home with me too.

INGREDIENTS – serves one

Grapefruit
Cara Cara orange
Blood orange
5-6 large mint leaves, in a chiffonade (click HERE for a “How To”)
2-3 large Medjool dates, soaked in water just to cover for 15-30 minutes
 

Cover the dates in filtered water.

Cut the rind from the citrus being careful to remove all of the pith while preserving as much citrus meat as possible.  Once the skin and pith is removed, slice the citrus horizontally.  Plate the prepared citrus by alternating varieties.

Pour the dates and soaking water in the high speed blender and blend until smooth.

Lightly drizzle the citrus with some of the date syrup and sprinkle with mint.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Dessert, Fruit, Gluten Free, Raw, Recipes, Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian

COOKING WITH SIRICA – Barbecued Portobello Sandwiches

Another great recipe post from Sirica…

Even before my husband and I went vegan we avoided certain animal products, pork being at the top of that list.   So one of the dishes that I truly have missed is a pulled pork sandwich with lots of creamy coleslaw and pickles. A couple of months ago I was craving BBQ so I started working on this recipe and after a few attempts, it is perfectly delish and vegan!

SANDWICH INGREDIENTS – Serves 2-3***
2 portobello mushrooms cleaned, stemmed and thinly sliced
½ white or yellow onion thinly sliced
1 Tbs. olive oil
½ – ¾ cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (I use Amy’s BBQ sauce, some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and a little maple syrup)
2-3 sandwich buns Earth Balance butter spread

***Note: Since writing up this recipe, I have experimented with this dish and have added a handful of diced baby bela mushrooms (or crimini) to the mushroom onion mixture. Made a huge difference, much more meaty texture!

COLESLAW
3 cups green cabbage shredded
1 cup red cabbage shredded
½ cup carrot shredded
1 Tbs. red onion diced
1 Tbs. red bell pepper diced (optional)
½ cup veganaise
½ tsp. of Dijon mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
1-2 Tbs. vinaigrette dressing (I like Girard’s light champagne dressing)
½ tsp. agave nectar or sweetener of choice (maple syrup would work also)
Salt & pepper to taste
 

Depending on your preference you can either remove the gills from the mushrooms or leave them. Stem and thinly slice mushrooms.

Thinly slice onion.

Sauté onion and mushrooms in olive oil on medium for 10 minutes till tender. Pour out any excess moisture/water from pan before adding BBQ sauce.

Add sauce and simmer for another 10-15 minutes until thick. Be careful to add the sauce slowly, you can always add more later.

While mushroom onion mixture is simmering, prepare coleslaw. Combine Vegenaise, mustard, lemon juice, vinaigrette and sweetener of choice, adjust according to your liking. Toss dressing with cabbage, carrot, onion and bell pepper.

Toast buns under broiler for a minute or two then top with Earth Balance butter spread.

Assemble sandwich on plate with a good serving of mushroom mixture on bun topped with coleslaw. Serve with more coleslaw on the side with a few pickle slices.

Enjoy!

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Cooking With Sirica, Guest Blog, Kid Friendly, Main Dish, Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegan, Vegetarian

MEXICALI CHOP – With Crunchy Tortilla Strips

I came upon this recipe for Mexicali Chop Salad recently on Vegetarian Times website and thought I would share it with you.  This recipe is courtesy of Real Food Daily…a restaurant I have yet to try, but hope to soon!  I think this salad would make a wonderful meal paired with my Baja Corn Chowder and topped off with my Mexican Wedding Cake Bites.

Ann Gentry who is the chef-owner of Real Food Daily in the Los Angeles Area wrote this about her recipe, “When Real Food Daily first opened, I used to sneak away to a nearby Mexican-inspired restaurant for a black bean–and-corn salad with guacamole, chips, and a beer.  One day, I realized I could make my own version.”

Extra Dressing will keep for one week in the fridge.

INGREDIENTSServes 8

TORTILLA STRIPS

1 1/2 tsp. canola oil

3 6-inch corn tortillas

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. maple crystals or sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

 

DRESSING

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup lime juice

1/4 cup chopped green onion

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Pinch cayenne pepper

 

SALAD

1 head romaine lettuce, sliced (8 cups)

2 medium tomatoes, chopped (2 cups)

1 avocado, diced (1 cup)

3 celery stalks, sliced (1 cup)

1 cucumber, seeded and diced (1 cup)

1 cup fresh or frozen, thawed corn kernels

3/4 cup cooked pinto beans

1/2 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, rinsed, drained, and sliced

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1. To make Tortilla Strips: Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush oil on tortillas. Cut in half, then cut into 1/8-inch-wide strips. Spread on baking sheet. Combine chili powder, maple crystals, and salt in bowl. Sprinkle chili powder mixture over strips. Bake 15 minutes, or until crisp. Cool.

2. To make Dressing: heat oil, garlic, cumin, coriander, sugar, and salt in saucepan 2 to 3 minutes over low heat, or until garlic begins to sizzle.

3. Blend remaining Dressing ingredients with garlic oil in blender until smooth.

4. Toss together all Salad ingredients with Tortilla Strips and 1/4 cup Dressing.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

Top image of Mexicali Chop courtesy of kathrynlovett.com

Image of Ann Gentry courtesy of VegNews.com

Bottom image of Mexicali Chop courtesy of VegetarianTimes.com

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Recipes, Salad, Salad Dressing, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

GUEST BLOG – Julieanna Hever and Chef AJ

I am always looking for fun ways to dress kale because it is soooooo good for you, but can be a very strong taste on its own.  The other day I received a blog post in my inbox from The Plant-Based Dietitian (I am a subscriber) and it was an episode of The Chef and the Dietitian wherein they demonstrated how to make Chef AJ’s  “Hail to the Kale” dressing.  I decided to give it a try and loved it so much that I contacted Julieanna and Chef AJ to see if they would allow me to share the recipe with all of you.  Both were so responsive despite the fact that they were out of town at Vegetarian Summerfest (I would have LOVED to be there too!).  This is an absolute winning recipe!

Before we get to the recipe, I want to give you some background on Julieanna Hever and Chef AJ…

Julieanna Hever, M.S., R.D., C.P.T. , The Plant-Based Dietitian, is a passionate advocate of the miracles associated with following a whole food, plant-based diet.  Julieanna is the nutrition columnist for VegNews Magazine, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition, and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking (click here for more info).  Julieanna maintains a private practice in Los Angeles and lectures throughout the U.S. As co-producer and star of the “infotainment” documentary, To Your Health, Julieanna interviewed a host of the plant-based world’s most respected doctors and researchers to bring this important information to a broad audience.  As Executive Director of EarthSave, International, Julieanna has had the opportunity to bring nutrition to the forefront of efforts to improve the current global health crisis.  To learn more, visit Julieanna at her website (click here) and her blog (click here).

Chef Abbie Jay (otherwise known as AJ), is a graduate of The Living Light Culinary Arts Institute and has been a vegan for 30 years.  At the age of seven she received an Easy Bake Oven as a gift and hasn’t stopped cooking since.  Teaching both vegan cooking and raw food prepartion, AJ’s passion is showing people how to incorporate more fresh, organic fruits and vegetables in their diets in ways that are easy, delicious and fun.  Chef AJ is also the author of the book, Unprocessed (which I can’t wait to review for you!).  She especially loves showing others how to make decadent, delicious desserts with out using white sugar, white flour or artificial ingredients.  Chef AJ, has cooked for many celebrities, and has volunteered at The Braille Institute for 2 years teaching healthy cooking to the blind who have lost their sight due to type II diabetes.  Many of her students have decreased their need for insulin through switching to a healthier diet.  One of her creations, Rockin’ Nut Crunch, will soon be sold at Whole Foods Market.

I also learned a new tip from Chef AJ in the video episode (click here) which has been a HUGE time-saver for me when prepping the kale from my garden (my latest harvest is in the picture above…it is the most gorgeous greenish-blue!).  She shows us a really fast and simple way to remove the hard center stem from the kale.  How did I not know this before?

You must make this dressing…it is that good!

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INGREDIENTS – Enough to dress two heads of kale

1 cup raw almond butter (unsweetened and unsalted) *
1 cup coconut water
¼ cup fresh lime juice and zest
2 cloves garlic
Fresh, peeled ginger (approx. 1” or ½ ounce)
2 Tbs. low sodium tamari
4 pitted dates (soaked in water if not soft)
½ tsp. red pepper flakes **
* I used a combination of almond and cashew butter
** I used ¼ tsp. since I served it to children

 

Place all ingredients in the blender (I used my Vitamix) and blend until smooth…it’s that simple!

When the dressing is nice and smooth pour some over your prepared kale and sprinkle with chopped nuts.  Since I made a smaller salad, I did not use all of the dressing.  To store the remaining dressing, I poured it into a mason jar and placed it in the fridge.  I ended up using it as a dip as well…it was great with all kinds of crudités (carrot, celery, cucumber, belle peppers, etc.)

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Books, Guest Blog, Nuts, Raw, Recipes, Salad, Salad Dressing, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

JACKPOT – All Hail Kale

I feel like I hit the jackpot…let me explain.  At the moment my favorite restaurant meal is the All Hail Kale salad at Veggie Grill with grilled (not blackened) tempeh.  The other day I was craving it and thought, “Why not Google ‘All Hail Kale Veggie Grill Recipe?'”  Well, what do you know…the recipe was on the web!!!!!!  JACKPOT!!!!  It looks like preparing this salad is a bit involved, so I will still buy it when I go to Veggie Grill, but I am so excited to make it for BBQs and parties this Spring and Summer.

I found the recipe on gardenstotables.com:

Since obviously we at GardensToTables are big fans of using the plants we grow or get at the farmers’ market to their highest potential, we talked to Ray White, operating partner and “grillin’ guru” for The Veggie Grill, and he was kind enough to share the recipe for their very popular All Hail Kale. Those who’d like to experience The Veggie Grill will find four locations in Southern California – with more to open in the next few years. (Click “read more” for recipe.)

Photo of Ray White Courtesy of behindthefoodwordpress.com

I myself had never done any research into the founders of Veggie Grill, so when I saw this post I decided to Google Ray White.  I found a very interesting interview of Ray on Behind the Food.  Who knew that Ray White and Tanya Petrovna started Native Foods together???  To read the interview click here.

Without further ado, here is the recipe…

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INGREDIENTS – serves 8

6 bunches kale
2 cups quinoa, cooked
2 cups corn salsa (recipe below)
2 cups red cabbage
8 oz walnuts
3 cups Ginger Papaya dressing

Ginger Papaya Vinaigrette (1 1/4 quarts)
1 oz fresh ginger root
1 cup lime juice
1 ½ cups fresh papaya
½ cup rice vinegar
1 Tbs. sea salt
3 cups canola oil
1 ¼ cups evaporated cane juice

Corn Salsa (1 quart)
8 cups Roma tomatoes
1 cup red onion
½ cup cilantro
1 cup roasted corn
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 oz. lime juice

Kale:

Remove spines from kale and chop into 1″ squares. Rinse kale in cold water and  dry. Place kale in 3″ rectangular container add dressing and Quinoa, toss thoroughly, make sure all kale is coated. Refrigerate overnight

Ginger Papaya Vinaigrette:
                   
Peel ginger root and papaya, combine with all ingredients to blender (except oil) blend until smooth. Slowly drizzle oil while continuing to blend until dressing emulsifies, add to container and refrigerate

Corn Salsa:

Chop cilantro, in large bowl combine all ingredients and mix well

Finished Kale Salad Procedure:

To prepare salad add 4 cups marinated kale to plate, swirl 2 ozs raw chopped cabbage around kale, topped with 2 ozs corn salsa, 1 oz walnuts and drizzle 2 ozs dressing topped with shredded carrot

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For a printable version of this recipe click here.

1st photo of the All Hail Kale salad courtesy of vegan.com 

2nd photo of the All Hail Kale salad courtesy of  blogs.ocweekly.com

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Filed under Gluten Free, Raw, Recipes, Restaurants, Salad, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

FRESH MEX CORN SALAD

I am so happy that Spring is here!  Although it isn’t quite April yet, we definitely are experiencing the “showers” part.  Now that Spring has arrived, the amazing produce Spring brings has started making its way into farmer’s markets and the grocery stores…yay! 

While I do cook this salad slightly, it would be very good completely raw as well.

INGREDIENTS

6 cups freshly cut corn (I used 8 small ears)

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

½ head cilantro, chopped

1 ½ cups jicama, diced

1 lime

1 tsp olive oil

½-1 tsp ground cumin

salt to taste

pepper to taste

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Pour the tsp of olive oil into a pan.  Over medium heat lightly sauté the onions and peppers for 2 minutes (you want to maintain their crunch).  Add the corn and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.

Squeeze in the juice of the lime and turn off the heat.  Salt and pepper the mixture to taste.  Sprinkle in the cumin and mix well.  Add the cilantro and jicama and mix thoroughly.

Let the freshness of the ingredients speak for itself.  Do not overpower the salad by adding too many spices.

This salad tastes phenomenal accompanied by flavorful black beans…I ate this for lunch three days in a row!

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Gluten Free, Main Dish, Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian