This Wilted Kale Salad with Warm Mustard Shallot Vinaigrette and Spicy Butternut Squash Croutons is winter’s answer to a green salad! Loaded with nutrients and pops of color and SO much taste it’s dreamy as a side or plop your favorite protein on top and make it a meal. The squash croutons? Sure I know they aren’t croutons, but with a little finesse we get a subtle crisp to them that are better than any boring ‘ol bread crouton.
It’s winter and salads often become a distant memory for many. I get it, cold, crispy raw salads just aren’t that appealing to me either, when there’s a chill in the air. I crave warming, comforting and cozy. But, I have made a commitment to my daily #BFS (Big F&%$ing Salad). I find this practice is a great way to ensure I get a big blast of daily nutrients, no matter what!
This is a salad for the winter. With kale as the shining star, this is the perfect way to get in those nutrient-rich greens in the cooler months. Kale is exploding with disease-fighting phytochemicals and it’s one of my most favorite whole-food sources of cognition-boosting nutrition. Here’s what Max Lugavere has to say about kale:
Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are a top source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids which have been the focus of numerous recent studies.
In volunteers, supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin led to faster processing speed. 1http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108178 This effect was significant “even when testing young, healthy individuals who tend to be at peak efficiency,” wrote study authors.
In another study, human subjects with higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin did better on a test of working memory, while their brains seemed to be working more efficiently when observed under fMRI.2https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society/article/relationship-of-lutein-and-zeaxanthin-levels-to-neurocognitive-functioning-an-fmri-study-of-older-adults/128FA33729CB102A1DC5ACAAFF7D972D
Finally, lutein (found in egg yolks, spinach and kale) was associated with greater crystalized intelligence—the ability to use learned knowledge and experience—in older adults. 3http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnagi.2016.00297/full
References [ + ]
1. ↑ http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108178 2. ↑ https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society/article/relationship-of-lutein-and-zeaxanthin-levels-to-neurocognitive-functioning-an-fmri-study-of-older-adults/128FA33729CB102A1DC5ACAAFF7D972D 3. ↑ http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnagi.2016.00297/full
While I am very aware that the holidays, for most of us, usually means a bit more sweets than usual, maybe a tad more alcohol and probably a few other less-than-healthy choices, I also kinda resent the idea that we should all relegate ourselves to spending the entire month of January detoxing, cleansing or Whole-whatevering.
Obviously you guys know me and my mission well enough to know that people making healthier choices and mindful lifestyle changes is always something I can get behind no matter the circumstances and in fact, I constantly encourage this. But, I don’t love this idea of post-holiday shame or guilt, that many feel we should suffer, especially after one of the best and most special times of the year. It just isn’t healthy. I also don’t love the idea often promoted every January, that 30 days of “cleansing” is going to change our lives or fix our wrongdoings and come February we can just jump back into the “old ways of eating”. Done and done.
Once again, it’s that balance I so often talk about. It’s the sustainable lifestyle choices and habit-forming, everyday changes that will endure long term and elicit real shifts in our health and overall well-being and vitality, for the long haul. Sure, more veggies and less junk is what we are all doing right now and I am certainly not condemning that, but I will feel no regret for my holiday choices. I make no apologies for the amazing, “nutritionally imperfect” homemade food I enjoyed with my family or those extra few pieces of the dark chocolate candy that my father and I made together (using my great-grandmother’s recipe) – which may have snuck into my suitcase. So what, I had a few cocktails? I also don’t feel even the slightest bit bad about the extra (of course, gluten-free) refined-carbs that seemed to follow me everywhere these past two weeks. None of these choices were really all that bad. I know, simply put, that it cannot and will not undo all the hard work I have done the rest of the year and consuming those things (or more) under the premise that I will “undo” it in the New Year, feels just plain silly to me.
It’s pretty typical of me to start every day with a smoothie. It’s a big part of my morning rituals most days. On a typical morning I kick off my day with some sort of movement, whether that be yoga, the gym, a bike ride or a long walk. Smoothies are the best post-movement meal, they are the right amount of food to refuel and recharge me, they just get me and they work seamlessly with my lifestyle! Typically, I have my staple base ingredients that I always start with, but generally I let what is most in season and what I happen to have in my kitchen guide my smoothie adventures. It’s rare that this methodology fails me, but it is also definitely easy to get stuck in a smoothie rut, too.
Sometime last year I met the firecracker of a woman, Tess Masters. Tess, AKA “The Blender Girl”, is my smoothie guru, my smoothie sherpa, she is my smoothie Jedi Master and I, her young Padawan. OK you get it, Tess knows her way around a blender. (But you probably remember me telling you all that last year). Without exaggeration I can tell you that any time I have tasted a smoothie Tess has made or whenever I have recreated one of her recipes, I always find myself thinking ‘Ahhh! This is so good and so simple, why didn’t I think of this?’ I have learned some of my favorite smoothie recipe tricks from her. Basically most of Tess recipes come with a built in hand to forehead whack – each one just so brilliantly simple, yet so creative, that you too will be thinking ‘DUH, what haven’t I been doing this all along?’, as you sip on one of the tastiest smoothies you’ve ever had.
If you hadn’t guessed it, she’s at it again. My friend, Tess, has put out another incredible collection of recipes: The Blender Girl Smoothies – 100 Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Paleo-Friendly Recipes. The Blender Girl Smoothies book is based on The Blender Girl Smoothies app that launched in October 2014.
In case you haven’t heard, it has been unbelievably hot here in Southern California, as of late! I know, I know, for those of you already dealing with overnight frosts and possibly even snow, I know you don’t want to hear about it. But, with temperatures near (and over) 100º for what seems like nearly two weeks – I am pretty much over it.
The worst part is that I have absolutely zero desire to eat or cook in this heat. Nothing is appetizing to me and in turn, when I am not properly nourishing my body with the healthy nutrients and other good things that it needs, I am left feeling tired and totally lacking in energy – it’s a vicious cycle.
Since a couple of scoops of freezing cold ice cream, as good as it sounds, isn’t an appropriate meal nor does it contain a bit of anything healthy, I decided to come up with a green smoothie, on the fly, that would satisfy those cravings but actually provide some sustenance.
Before you jump ahead and read the ingredient list on this cake and get pissed at me for adding a vegetable to your dessert – please, please hear me out and give it a chance! This cake is life changing. It is creamy, thick, rich and so decadent.
I know I tell you guys this all of the time, but the true litmus test to a successful gluten-free dessert or baked good that I create – is the reaction of my husband. As a man that literally can and will eat just about anything, the gluten-free treats that I get so excited for are oftentimes totally unappealing to him. He likes traditional sweets, the sweeter the better – that man most times would prefer a cookie from a tube, than a less than perfect homemade gluten-free cookie fresh from the oven. The same also goes for (and usually more-so) the vegan creations I develop. I can’t blame him though – he literally can eat anything, no food intolerances, no responses or reactions. Just a stomach of steel!
The thing is, when I can create something gluten-free, that isn’t made with refined sugars, that uses an alternative to cream and butter that he actually goes nuts for – nothing makes me happier and that’s how I know I’ve created something amazing. He really loved this one and he cannot stop talking about it, he actually ate a piece for breakfast today. That’s a WIN!!
I’ve been obsessed with cashew cream cakes a while now, I love the versatility and how it appeals to all eaters, vegan or not. The No-Bake Vegan “Cheesecake” I made last summer is something I have made for many of our friends and every single one has always been impressed that the creaminess is all from soaked cashews.
This cashew cream cake has the perfect amount of subtle mint flavor, both from the fresh mint and the mint extract and the chocolate of the crust and the chocolate chips on top compliment it so well. I love serving it with a little whipped coconut cream on top. Plus, rather than the beautiful green color coming from an artificial dye, it comes from some fresh baby spinach! Whether you want to believe it or not, there isn’t a bit of flavor from the baby spinach – just a beautiful, fresh and natural green hue. Read the rest of this entry »
Most of the time, as of late, I am struggling to believe it’s mid-November. Sure the calendar says so, there are lots of holiday decorations at the stores, I even saw the pictures from the first snow my family and friends got earlier in the week in NY. But, being my first year here in Southern California – the excessive sunshine and warmer temperatures are making it really hard for me to believe we are just a few weeks out from Thanksgiving. I have been a tad concerned that it would be hard to get into the holidays this year, with this new drastic change in lifestyle and scenery.
On my run to the beach yesterday morning, I passed by a home with a huge tree with beautifully vibrant leaves, falling so haphazardly all over their yard. The tree was more bare than not. I was mid-run and had a really great stride going, but I had to stop and take it all in. Snap a photo or two. It’s the little things in life, this like, that I may have once took for granted, that can now literally stop me dead in my tracks, leaving me with an immense amount of gratitude. I wonder how many people pass that very tree in a day, not realizing just how special it is. It is maybe one of just a few trees like it in our entire neighborhood. Only the second that has caught my attention.
Read the rest of this entry »
Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Cleanse Day 5 to me!! I am feeling super great today. Tons of energy, my skin is clearing up and I just feel lighter and more grounded, all at once.
I am never one to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, honestly I don’t think I ever have outside of possibly a grade-school classroom shindig. Since everyone was posting photos of their green clothes, green beer and green-filled parades and whatever else green you can think of, I was inspired to take a run first thing this morning enjoying all of the beautiful greenery around Southern California right now. The grass is vibrant, the trees are blooming and there is a wonderful aroma in the air. I am trying to get into a regular running routine, now that I have such incredible views to keep me inspired. Even though it will be a slow start getting my body used to the idea of running and everything that goes with it, I have to start somewhere.
After this morning’s run, I was craving another green smoothie. I was super happy with the green smoothie I made the other day, but wanted to play with some of the other amazing ingredients I picked up at the farmers market earlier this week. There is a local organic apple farmer that had tons of delicious apples, but he also had some beautiful and super flavorful Asian pears, the large round yellow skinned ones, I believe they are Hosui. I grabbed a couple of those and anticipated adding them to a fresh crisp salad, but then was inspired to add some to this morning’s smoothie.
Besides the beautiful green hue, this smoothie was full of flavor and was nice and creamy, with just the perfect amount of sweetness. If you don’t have an Asian pear, just go with a medium apple, of your favorite variety. If you wanna add 1/2 an avocado instead of the banana, like my last smoothie, go for it, you may just want to add another date. if it is lacking sweetness.
Are you celebrating (did you celebrate) St. Patrick’s Day? If you are on the cleanse, did you eat something green today? Hope you have all been following along with my cleanse on my Facebook page, where I have been sharing what I am eating for each meal.
[print_this]Spring Cleanse – Asian Pear Green Smoothie – Gluten-free, Vegan + Sugar-free
makes 1 large serving or 2 small
- 1 cup organic non-dairy milk or water (I used 1/2 coconut milk and 1/2 water)
- 1 cup organic baby spinach
- 1/2 large organic Asian pear, cored and diced (or 1 whole small/medium, mine was pretty big)
- 1/2-inch piece of organic ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 organic banana (preferably frozen)
- 1 organic Medjool date, pitted
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- A few ice cubes
Add all of the ingredients to your blender (in the order above) and process until smooth and creamy.
* I know it is repetitive on the “organic”, but it is especially important to consume organic produce when cleansing. All of my ingredients, included the flax and cinnamon were all organic.
Today is day 3 of my 7-day Spring Cleanse and I have to be honest that the second half of yesterday just kinda sucked. I had a terrible pounding headache, that started out not so bad and just got worse as the day went on, then my tummy got involved a little, too. I just felt crazy worn out. Oh yeh, and there has definitely been an excess of mucus. (sorry, gross I know, but I am all about sharing) However, hubby and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather here in Long Beach last night and we took 2+ mile walk around out new neighborhood, down to 2nd Street and I got myself an iced herbal tea unsweetened. It feel great to get out and move and I needed that, but boy when I got home was I ready to hit the hay. I was in bed and ready for sleep before 10pm. I didn’t sleep super great since I was dealing with the headache, but when I woke today at 6am I was feeling a lot better.
Since we took that long walk last night, I decided to skip a morning workout today to give my body the rest I think it is craving right now. I may try to get a run in later today depending on my energy level. Cleansing and detoxing is a lot for your body to go through and you have to read your body’s cues on what it is craving (besides the sweets and salty snacks). This morning I was craving rest and something very green! With St Patrick’s Day just two days away, I found myself inspired to make the first smoothie of the cleanse, this creamy green smoothie! Since I am consuming most of my fruits and vegetables cooked, the only time I will eat raw is first thing in the morning, when I feel like my digestion hasn’t been taxed yet and can take on the task of breaking it all down. Since a smoothie basically does a lot of that for you, I felt like that was an even better way to enjoy some raw.
From what I know of cleansing and what I have personally been through, I know that once (if) you can get past day 3, the worst is over. Your body will have detoxed from many things by the end of 72 hours and you shouldn’t be going through withdrawals or any of that sort of thing. So hopefully today is a little easier than yesterday.
Feel free to change this up however you’d like. Any apple type will do, but please only include the skin if you are using a certified organic apple. And please still wash it well. You could also use kale in place of the spinach if you wish. Also, I included ground flaxseeds to help with the thickness of the smoothie but also for their many benefits, like omega-3 essential fatty acids and fiber. If you don’t care for avocado, go with 1/2 banana instead. Have fun with the recipe and make it your own.
If you have been joining me on this cleanse, how are YOU feeling? Experiencing any detox side effects? Hope you have all been following along on my Facebook page, where I have been sharing what I am eating for each meal.
[print_this]Creamy Green Smoothie – Gluten-free, Vegan + Sugar-free
makes 1 large serving or 2 small
- 1 cup organic unsweetened non-dairy milk or water (I used almond milk)
- 1 cup organic spinach
- 2 organic Medjool dates
- 1 organic medium apple – cored, skin can be left on, if organic
- 1/2 organic avocado
- 2-inch organic piece ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 or 4 ice cubes
Add all of the ingredients to your blender (in the order above) and process until smooth and creamy. Serve with an apple slice and a sprinkle of cinnamon or a cinnamon stick to get real fancy!
* I know it is repetitive on the “organic”, but it is especially important to consume organic produce when cleansing. All of my ingredients, included the flax and cinnamon were all organic.
Happy New Year Everyone!! Is everyone as excited to welcome 2013 as I am? We have a lot on schedule for this year and at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve it all felt very real! We are still in the middle of packing up our house for the big move to California. The moving truck comes on Friday and our house closes in just over a week and we have been working like crazy to wrap up all of the end of year loose ends with the business and to go through the house room by room to decide what is making the move, what can get donated and what can be sold. It has been an arduous few weeks with the holidays squished into the middle of it all, but it was a welcomed distraction during such a stressful time.
A few days after Christmas we had an emergency scare with our dog Seri, when she got into some gum with Xylitol in it. As you can imagine, this definitely aded to the stress. You can read a little about it here. I do plan to do a post here on Tasty Yummies about our experience, as well. I would like to share my story and get the word out about how dangerous and highly xylitol is for dogs, since the I feel that not enough dog owners know. I am so grateful for the other food bloggers that have mentioned it, otherwise I wouldn’t have known to act quickly. I consciously do not keep it in the house, but I didn’t know it was hidden in so many common things. I was unaware we even had it in the house. She is thankfully (and very luckily) OK now, but it was a very rough few days, my body actually broke out into a full on cold in the middle of it. I could feel I had been fighting it for a few days and I guess the stress of worrying about my baby just brought it on full force.
With our pooch being back home with us now and yesterday officially ending the holidays and making this move our only focus, the stress of it definitely hit me like a ton of bricks last night. I am not at all a person stricken with anxiety in the least, I consider myself to be mostly calm, but wow, is this move testing me on that. You always hear people say that a big move is one of the most stressful things you can ever go through. They aren’t kidding.
I have been trying to find as much time to cook as I can in this time, since like my yoga it is one of the most calming and soothing things to me. I made a huge pot of chicken pho when my cold was in it’s full force and it was so perfect! I also made a big feast on New Year’s Eve for hubby and I. Yesterday we had dinner with my family at my parents house and since I am now in full-on clean out the fridge and pantry mode, I decided to come up with a salad inspired by what is in season and in my fridge!
Everyone absolutely LOVED this salad, which made me so happy! It is full of beautiful vibrant colors and bright fresh flavors. If you can’t find baby kale, you could also use arugula, baby spinach, field greens, frisée, endive, etc.
I am starting to pack up my kitchen stuff today, so this may be the last recipe post you see for a while. We will be temporarily staying with my parents for a few weeks while we fly out to California to find a house and get everything in order. Hopefully I will have some time to cook for and with my parents in that time.
What are you most looking forward to in 2013?
- 2-3 small/medium organic sweet potatoes, cleaned well and cut into 1-inch cubes, I leave the skin on
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 5 cups organic baby kale (or arugula, baby spinach, field greens, frisée, endive, etc.)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 small organic pomegranate, seeded – you are looking for about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of seeds
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, plus some fresh orange zest
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 2 small cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
(I didn’t need all of this dressing, so use as much as you’d like and then store the rest in a sealed container in the fridge for other salads)
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, thyme, onion powder, salt and pepper. Spread into a single layer on a baking pan and roast for 20-30 minutes until they start to brown and are tender. Set aside to cool.
While the potatoes are roasting make the dressing. Whisk all of the ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasonings, as needed.
After the sweet potatoes have cooled a bit, layer those on top of the baby kale in a large serving bowl, add the green onions, toasted pine nuts, and top with toasted pine nuts and pomegranate seeds. Toss with the dressing just before serving (you may not need all of it, so add slowly). Grate a little fresh orange zest on top as you are serving.[/print_this]
This time of year, I am taking in all the green that I can, while it is still here. Sure the fall is the most colorful time of year around here, but the winters in Buffalo are long, cold and definitely lacking in greenery and fresh local produce.
What better way to celebrate the remaining green and fresh flavors of the summer than a simple dip featuring two of my favorite flavors – roasted garlic and fresh raw kale! I grabbed some beautiful local garlic and kale from the farmers market, and let those be the start and I created my recipe from there.
This hummus is simple to put together and it is filled with layers of incredible flavors. And as with any hummus, this one would be great with rice crackers, tortilla chips, fresh raw veggies, on pizza, in wraps or sandwiches or heck, even just by the spoonful.
This post was originally shared on the Free People Blog BLDG, as part of my ongoing series.
[print_this]Roasted Garlic & Kale Hummus – Gluten-free + Vegan
Makes approximately 2-3 cups
- 1 bulb of fresh garlic
- 1 large can (25 ounces) organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup tahini, well stirred
- 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt
- 1 small bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped, about 2 to 3 tightly packed cups
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- Red pepper flakes or black pepper
Start by roasting your garlic. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel away the outer layers of the skin from the garlic bulb, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Place the head of garlic in the center of a small piece of foil. (You can also place it in a baking pan or muffin tin covered with foil). Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over the top, using your fingers to make sure the garlic head is well coated. Close the foil around the garlic tightly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft and tender. Take it out of the oven and allow it to cool so you can touch it. Using a knife or a fork, press down on each clove to squeeze the garlic out of the skin.
Make your hummus. Reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid, rinse and drain chickpeas. Place chickpeas and reserved liquid in a food processor. Add in the kale, freshly squeezed lemon juice, tahini, roasted garlic, salt and a little freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes. Process until smooth. I drizzle in just a bit of olive oil while its processing, it makes it even smoother and gives it a nice, subtle taste. Sprinkle a bit of red pepper flakes or smoked paprika and drizzle a bit of olive oil on top when serving. Serve with your favorite gluten-free goodies like rice crackers, tortilla chips, raw veggies, or serve it on a sandwich, in a wrap and more. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week. [/print_this]
This past Saturday was the first pickup day for our CSA share from Porter Farms. Besides getting delicious, fresh, seasonal, local organic produce directly from the farm, if that isn’t exciting enough, another enticing benefit is getting foods that I have never cooked with before. There is nothing more fun than playing with an ingredient you aren’t familiar with, creating a new recipe and treating your taste buds to a brand new experience. The first week was supposedly one of the smaller weeks, since it is early in the season, but I thought the bag was loaded. We got green romaine, green leaf, Boston and red leaf lettuces plus bok choy, kohlrabi, Swiss chard and green onions. I have been eating salads like crazy, it’s Wednesday night and we still have so much stuff left. It’s exciting!
When I saw the beautiful purple kohlrabi in the first bag of veggies, I literally squealed with glee that in the first week I was already presented with a food I had never cooked with. It’s like those silly game shows on the food and cooking channels where they get a basket with a bunch of random, secret ingredients. The only difference is, besides my hubby there is no one to judge the results of my experiments. That is until today, when a good friend of ours, Jim (aka Jammer) called to stop by about a quick design job he needed Mark to help him with. We’ve been trying to make dinner happen with Jammer for a while now, so Mark told him he should stay for dinner. While the boys chatted design, I cooked away on a meal I wasn’t sure Jammer would be too into. Vegan, gluten-free Sloppy Joes with a kohlrabi slaw on the side. Yup, after really thinking about what I was going to serve him, I definitely realized he might never come back for dinner again.
I carried on, made my meal, took my photos and called the boys down. Jammer exclaimed he had a steak a few hours earlier and wasn’t terribly hungry so he would probably only eat half a sandwich and a little slaw. Before I cook look up again, his entire sloppy joe was gone and the salad had disappeared completely. Jammer couldn’t say enough good things about both and even went on to tell me and I quote ” I was afraid of that salad at first, but it was f*cking good.” So there you have it folks. (Jammer insisted that I quote him on this and that I share it with my readers.)
Never heard of kohlrabi? Kohlrabi is a member of the brassica family, those nutrient-dense cabbages (as well as kales, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower) whose phytochemicals are highly regarded for their antioxidant properties. Kohlrabi grows in both pale green and purple varieties. It tastes slightly milder than a broccoli stem and can be eaten raw or cooked. Think about kohlrabi as what you would get if broccoli and cabbage were to make a baby. Additionally, if you can get your kohlrabi with the greens attached, cook them as you would turnip greens or kale. I saved mine and plan to do something with them in the next day or two.
This slaw is crisp, fresh and bright and loaded with tangy flavor from the vinaigrette. The garlic scapes that I grabbed at the Lexington Co-Op in the morning were the perfect crunchy addition. If you don’t have garlic scapes, thinly sliced scallions would be absolute wonderful, too. The sweetness from the cranberries and the nutty crunch from the walnuts finished the slaw perfectly, the perfect final harmonious ingredients to pull it all together into a sweet song for your mouth. I cannot wait to see what is in this week’s CSA share. So exciting.
Do you like cooking with new ingredients? What has been your favorite new food you have tried recently?
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon stoneground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 small green or purple kohlrabi, cleaned, peeled and cut into matchsticks, about 2 cups
- 1/4 head of savoy cabbage, sliced as thinly as possible, about 1 cup
- 1 stalk of celery, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic scapes, very thinly sliced (you could also use green onions)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
- Salt and black pepper to taste
In a small bowl, mix together the vinaigrette ingredients with a whisk until well combined. Set aside.
In a large serving bowl, add all of the salad ingredients except the cranberries and walnuts. Toss gently to combine, the pour over some of the vinaigrette, you may not need it all, go conservative to start, you can always add more. Toss well to coat the entire salad with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle the cranberries and walnuts on top, salt and pepper to taste and serve.[/print_this]
I absolutely love veggie burgers, but finding good ones that aren’t overly processed and loaded with chemicals, fillers, preservatives and other junk, is really hard on its own, but then add in the additional challenge of finding them gluten-free, it’s damn near impossible. Since I have cut processed foods out of my diet, whenever I want a veggie burger, I have been enjoying organic garden herb burgers from Sunshine Burgers that are not only gluten-free, but they only have 5 ingredients, sunflower seeds, brown rice, carrots, herbs and salt, that’s it. I am quite impressed with how delicious they are, but as with everything, I get bored and I want to figure out how to make my own, since, I really hate buying packaged foods.
I decided I wanted to experiment with making homemade lentil burgers. I had seen quite a few recipes in different cookbooks and online, and I was excited to see if using lentils as opposed to brown rice or other grain-based fillers, would hold up better and not fall apart. In my experience, that seems to be the biggest challenge with homemade veggie burgers. I was also excited to finally have a good reason to use the delicious toasted gluten-free breadcrumbs that I picked up when I was in Colorado earlier this year. The company that makes them is called, Outside the Breadbox and I found them by visiting Granny’s Gluten Free Zone in Loveland. I need to email them about having them shipped to me, they are THAT good. Finally I decided this is the recipe where I would use the beautiful dried Greek green lentils that I picked up a few weekends ago at the Greek Festival here in Buffalo. By the way, a little side note about me, most people buy souvenirs like t-shirts or key chains to remember certain events or trips, not me, I buy food, ingredients, cooking tools, etc. What better way to remember a place or a day then by remembering and recreating the food or cuisine. If a taste or a smell can’t take you back somewhere, I don’t know what can. I have actually been stopped at security in an airport before trying to take olive oil in my carry-on. (oops) Obviously you can make your own homemade breadcrumbs and use those, too.
Now that I have played around with this recipe, I am excited to make it again and again, there are so many variations you could take on the recipe. You could play around with different lentils, change-up the fresh herbs, add in some crumbled feta or other cheeses. Maybe try adding in some sunflower seeds or gluten-free rolled oats or shredded vegetables like zucchini or carrots. I think as long as you adjust your moisture content and breadcrumb content to account for the different ingredients, the sky is the limit with this recipe. Obviously if you aren’t gluten-free you can use your favorite gluten-containing, toasted breadcrumbs.
I served mine on a Rudi’s gluten-free whole grain hamburger bun. This is definitely the best packaged gluten-free roll I have found, yet. I am sure I can make a better gluten-free hamburger roll at home, but I have yet to experiment with a recipe. That is on my to-do list for this summer. If you have a recipe to share, send me a link.
** Vegans – if you don’t want to mess with packaged egg replacers, do some looking around online, there are ways to use even more ground flax-seeds mixed with water to create a paste that acts as an egg replacer. I have done something similar with a pizza crust recipe, so I know it works. The general ratio is 1 tablespoon of ground flax-seed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water = 1 egg, but do some looking around for recipes and do some experimenting. It’s pretty incredible.
Gluten-Free Lentil Burgers
Makes 8 burgers
3 1/4 cups cooked green lentils (follow package directions to cook)
4 large local farm fresh brown eggs (**to make vegan, use your favorite egg replacer or make a flax-seed egg substitute, see above)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium onion, grated with box grater or diced very small
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground flax-seed (you can skip this if you don’t have any on hand, it isn’t necessary to the recipe, just a nice way to add in some Omega-3 essential fatty acids and even more fiber)
1 cup toasted gluten-free bread crumbs
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Cook your dried lentils according to package directions and allow to cool slightly. Combine 3 cups of the cooked lentils, eggs and salt in a food processor or sturdy blender. Puree until well blended and mostly smooth. Put the mixture in a large mixing bowl and add remaining whole lentils, onion, garlic, fresh herbs and black pepper. Stir to combine. Add in the ground flax-seed and then begin adding in the breadcrumbs slowly, a little at a time and stir to combine. You may not need all the breadcrumbs and you may need more, so go slowly so you can get the consistency right.
You should have a moist mixture that you can easily form into patties. If you need more moisture, you can add more egg or a bit of water. If it needs to be drier you can add more breadcrumbs. Form eight – 3-1/2 to 4-inch patties and set on a plate.
Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add two patties at a time and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the face down side begins to brown and get a crispy crust on the outside. Flip the burgers and allow to cook on the second side for another 8 to 10 minutes until browned and crisp, add more oil as you cook the additional burgers, if you need to. Remove the finished burgers from the skillet and serve, or if cooking the remaining patties allow the cooked patties to cool on a wire rack while you finish. You can store the uncooked patties in the refrigerator for up to a week, so pull them out whenever you are ready for a quick bite.
Place the cooked lentil burger on your favorite gluten-free roll and top with your favorite toppings. We kept it simple and just went with lettuce from our garden, tomato slices and a slice of organic swiss cheese. These burgers are so good, you could also just skip the roll and serve on their own, topped with your favorite things or served over a bed of baby greens.