Saturday, April 30, 2011

Creamy Kale Salad

I have been eating a lot of kale lately either cooked, raw in salads, juices, or smoothies, cultured with other veggies, or occasionally as kale chips. It’s a nutritional powerhouse. Just one cup of raw kale has only 33 calories and far exceeds the recommended daily value for vitamins A, C, and K. And it doesn’t stop there. The basic nutrition data can be found here.

The creamy kale salad below is made with a dressing I whipped up on a whim. Actually the idea came to me in yoga class. I know I’m supposed to be focusing on class, but I get so many ideas when I’m lying on the mat : ) The mango and milk (coconut) reminded me of a lassi so I added cardamom, but it can easily be left out.

The dressing is mild and a little tangy from the mango and lemon juice. If it’s made thick enough, it could even be used for a dipping sauce for fruit or vegetables.

Creamy Kale Salad

1 avocado, sliced, pitted and flesh removed

1 mango, peeled and chopped

¼ cup coconut milk

1 T lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

½ t cardamom (optional)

small bunch kale, washed, dried and stems removed

1 small red pepper, coarsely chopped

½ medium red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

Combine the first six ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency.

Tear the kale into large pieces, then chop it finely in the food processor. Transfer to a large bowl.

Process the peppers and onions into fine pieces as well, then add them to the kale.

Add the avocado/mango dressing to the salad and mix well.

Serve on a bed of salad greens, wrapped in lettuce leaves, as a side salad, as a condiment in a veggie wrap, or on top of a crusty bread.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vegan American Chop Suey

I had no idea what to call this dish until I saw it prepared. American Chop Suey immediately came to mind. The “meat” in this dish is shiitake mushrooms combined with onions and herbs. This is a pungent, clean-tasting sauce that works well with the lighter, less-starchy quinoa (actually quinoa-corn) pasta.

I actually added at least double the parsley than I call for below, but it may be too much for you. Experiment to see how much you can handle. If not concerned about keeping this vegan, a sprinkle of freshly grated cheese would go nice here too.

Vegan American Chop Suey

2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms (about 15-20), rinsed then soaked in 2 – 3 cups of boiling water

grapeseed or olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced

vegetable broth concentrate to taste (I like to use Better than Bouillon)

¼ c fresh parsley, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

sea salt and pepper

chopped thyme to garnish

1 box of quinoa pasta, cooked

Allow the mushrooms to soak in boiling water until fully rehydrated. Drain and save the water. Slice the mushrooms.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven or fry pan until medium hot, then add the onion and sautee until soft.

Add the mushrooms and sautee an additional 3-5 minutes, then add ¼ cup of leftover mushroom water to the pan and allow it to reduce for a few minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and add the parsley and garlic. Process until finely chopped.

Transfer the mushroom mixture back to the pan. Add ~1/2 teaspoon of broth concentrate (or to taste) to the remaining mushroom water then add it to the pan and mix well.

Season with salt and pepper. Add the hot, cooked pasta to the pan and mix well. Garnish with chopped thyme.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Comfort in Cauliflower and Millet

Since I got the original recipe for this dish from a client of mine who found it in the newspaper, I’ve made it three times. She had never tried millet, so I made it and brought it to our next meeting. It’s currently one of my favorite recipes. One, because I adore roasted cauliflower (which is one thing I changed with this recipe), and another, because I’ve never really cared for mashed (white) potatoes but like the idea of them as comfort food. This beautiful concoction, though, has the look and feel of mashed potatoes, but tastes even better, is much higher in protein, and provides all the benefits of a cruciferous vegetable, including fiber.

As mentioned, the original recipe called for boiling the cauliflower, however, I decided to roast it instead. I also substitute almond or nut milk for the soymilk and use it to replace the water, but any milk would work. I also recommend adding the caraway seeds. It adds a nice taste to the mild flavors of the millet and cauliflower.

Mashed Cauliflower and Millet

½ c uncooked millet, soaked for several hours and rinsed

1 c water

1 head cauliflower

1T grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon caraway seeds

½ to ¾ cup almond or other milk

Freshly ground pepper and nutmeg

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bring the water and millet to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until cooked, ~10-15 min. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, cut cauliflower into florets, coat lightly with the grapeseed oil and sprinkle with caraway seeds and a little salt. Transfer to a baking dish and roast in oven until tender, ~30 min. Transfer to a food processor.

3. Add the cooked millet and milk to the cauliflower. Blend until they reach the desired consistence, then add pepper and nutmeg to taste. Add nutritional yeast flakes if desired.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chocolate Oat Pancakes

It’s not that often that I take the time to make pancakes for breakfast, but when I’m craving them, I give in. If they’re made from scratch using healthier alternatives to white flours and sugars, they can actually be both delicious and nutrient dense.

I think it must have been a full moon when I was craving the pancakes below, which is why I made them chocolate : ) You can even add chopped walnuts, pecans, or berries to the batter to add more fiber and enhance the flavor, texture, and nutritional value. Rather than the microwaveable options that provide little or no nourishment, try serving these to your kids with real maple syrup that will also pack in the minerals. They’ll think they’re getting a treat for breakfast!!

Chocolate Oat Pancakes

1 cup whole grain spelt flour (optional: replace 2 – 3 T of the flour with oat bran or ground flax seed)

1 cup oat flour

2 T unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ c plus 1 T sugar, such as sucanat or turbinado

1 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1 t salt

1.5 cups almond or other milk

4 T melted butter or grapeseed oil

2 eggs, beaten

2 t vanilla

In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Combine the wet ingredients then gently fold into the flour mixture until well incorporated. Allow the batter to sit a few minutes.

Melt 1 teaspoon butter (or use grapeseed oil) in a skillet over medium heat. For each pancake, pour 1/3 cup of batter into skillet. Flip when the batter is set around the edges and the center is bubbling. Cook until the bottom is brown and the center is cooked. Serve with butter, maple syrup, fruit or yogurt.