Quinoa cucumber mint salad with black beans and serrano pepper


“There’s mosquitoes on the river Fish are rising up like birds
It’s been hot for seven weeks now,
Too hot to even speak now, Did you hear what I just heard?”

Well maybe not yet seven weeks, but it has been many weeks now of daily temps over 90F, and with the 4th of July and Fare Thee Well concert streaming potluck dinners to attend, it’s been a time to come up with easy to make and cooling, protein rich main dish salads…

ingredients:

  • 3/4 c quinoa
  • 1 can organic black beans, well rinsed
  • 2-3 medium cucumbers, thick sliced into half rounds or quarters
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 serrano pepper, diced, including seeds
  • 10-12 leaves spearmint, diced
  • 1 lime, squeezed for dressing
  • organic nonfat yogurt or feta cheese for garnish

instructions:

Rinse quinoa well, then place in 1 1/2 c fresh water with a dash of salt, bring to boil then turn heat down to simmer covered for 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Rinse beans well, chop and dice all vegetables and combine all. Dress with squeezed lime, and store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with organic nonfat yogurt or feta cheese for additional protein.

fennel & snap pea salad with black beans & serrano pepper


Blazing hot sunny days therefore time for easy light salads with some protein too!

ingredients

  • 1 medium fennel bulb, cut into thin slices
  • 3 medium celery stocks, chopped
  • 1-2 c of snap peas, cut into chunks
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, including seeds, chopped
  • 1 can organic black beans, well rinsed
  • 1 c or so of cooked quinoa
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 lime, squeezed, as dressing

IMG_8871 (1)Instructions

Chop all the vegetables except the avocado, rinse the beans, and mix all together well in a glass container with airtight lid. Dress with fresh lime and refrigerate until ready to serve. I’ll add the avocado right before serving… perhaps with a cold IPA at a picnic dinner.

carrot and sunflower seeds coconut balls for your sweet tooth


Dinner and dessert at my friend Sharon’s house led to my discovery of the Living Candida Free cookbook by Ricki Heller, PhD, RHN…. and thus to this, my first attempt making my own modified version of her Carrot Balls recipe. Yum! My guests and I devoured these fast, and I think even my hardcore chocolate loving, non-vegan, non-gluten free, unabashedly desert centered sister would like these. A lot.

ingredients:

  • 3/4t fresh ginger root, finely chopped
  • 1 c raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/8 t cardamon
  • 2 t ground flaxseeds
  • 2 T coconut for balls, plus additional 6-8 T coconut for rolling balls in.
  • 1 T plus 1t lemon zest
  • 2 t lemon juice
  • 2 t blackstrap molasses. Or 1 t blackstrap molasses plus 1 t maple syrup
  • 1-2 t water, as necessary or skip the water and increase the lemon juice
  • 6-7 T fresh finely grated carrot

instructions:

Using a food processor, finely chop fresh ginger root, then add sunflower seeds, spices, ground flaxseeds, and coconut. Process until medium fine. Then add finely grated lemon zest, lemon juice, and molasses until it just comes together as dough– it will be rather heavy. Add carrot and pulse to mix evenly. Don’t be frightened by its dense texture! Form into small balls, then roll each ball in a small bowl of the additional coconut to coat well. Refrigerate in an airtight tupperware type container until firm and chilled. Makes 18-20 balls, with 2-4 balls being a perfect dessert serving.

I made these using 1t molasses plus 1t maple syrup, and thought they were just a little too sweet when I tasted the dough after the second step, so I threw the 2 lemonquats I happened to have on hand into the food processor too! Next time I’ll try using just molasses and more lemon juice but no water to make them with a bit more zing. My guests and I all thought these were a great dessert. I think they’d be wonderful too for a light breakfast snack if I need a little energy before going to an early morning yoga class.

edamame and ricotta quinoa summer salad with hazelnuts and mint


Forecast for hot weather and two busy days ahead… calls for something easy, light and fulfilling too.

ingredients:

  • 3/4 c quinoa
  • 2 cups edamame
  • 1/2 c nonfat ricotta cheese
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 T fresh mint, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped

Instructions:

Rinse quinoa well, then cover with 1 1/2 cups fresh water and a pinch of salt, bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Drain any residual water. Meanwhile, cover edamame with water in a small pan, bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 5 minutes or just until tender, then drain. Stir ricotta cheese into cooked edamame and mix well. Chop all veggies. Combine everything except the hazelnuts and mix together well, store in airtight container in refrigerator. Serve cold or warm, topped with hazelnuts.

beet, carrot & ginger hot summer salad with ricotta & radicchio


IMG_4062I was standing looking over the beautiful produce and thinking about the weather forecast for the hot summer days ahead. What to make? “I want pasta”, the man next to me said to his companion. “Again?”, she asked. I’m not a big pasta fan- I don’t really ever do noodles. But the classic cheeses, olives, Italian spices…yum. And the ambiance created by those simple little red checkered table clothes, the good wine, yes. So there I stood, thinking of simple, red, and ricotta, and the desire for a hot summer salad. Here’s what I came up with– not Italian, but we enjoyed it! Next time I think I’ll serve it on baby spinach (to make it prettier, not so overly red).

ingredients:

  • 2 red and 2 yellow beets
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely grated
  • fresh ginger root, finely minced
  • 3/4c low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 small head radicchio
  • walnut pieces as garnish

instructions:

Cut off beet roots and tops (setting aside greens), then cut into 4ths. Place in pot with lid and just enough water to cover, bring to boil then turn down heat to simmer covered for about 15 minutes- until beets pass the fork test. When beets pass the fork test, remove from heat, drain, and rinse in cold water to arrest cooking. Use a sharp knife to peel away the beet skins, then chop into medium bite sized pieces. Return chopped beets to pan, then mix in ricotta while beets are still warm. Stir to mix well. Add chopped red onion, coarsely grated carrots, and finely minced fresh ginger root. I like the heat of the ginger, so I used 2 1/2 generous T of minced ginger (about 5 slim slices of peeled fresh ginger root.) Mix all together well, then transfer to glass serving dish with air tight lid (or cover tightly with plastic wrap). This gets even better after sitting and chilling for an hour, or next day; keeps in airtight container in refrigerator for 3 days. Serve cold- or warm- over radicchio with walnut garnish.

summer picnic salad- fava bean, carrot & yellow peppers with garlic & cooling mint


IMG_3984My most favorite time of day is early morning, especially cool early mornings on hot
summer days when the sky is soft blue, and the leaves are gently swaying on the willow tree beyond my back deck. I love enjoying my coffee as the sun stretches its morning reach. Knowing it was going to be a hot day yesterday, while I made coffee I also essentially made dinner, simply by turning on the stovetop burner for 5 minutes– no residual heat in the house for me! Another favorite time of day for me is enjoying a homemade picnic outdoors, which is so easy to do with a recipe like this.

ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup bulgur
  • 1 cup peeled fava beans
  • 2 medium size carrots, julienned
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh mint sprigs, diced
  • 1 lemon, juice and pulp
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • plain European style yogurt topping or feta cheese, if desired to add more protein.

instructions:

Place 3/4 bulgur in large glass bowl with lid, pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over it, stir well, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain any excess water. Using a small pan with lid, bring 1/2 cup water to boil, then reduce heat and steam fava beans for 4-5 minutes, until soft but not mushy. Drain, rinse in cool water, drain and set aside. Chop, dice and mince all remaining ingredients, using more garlic and mint as desired to add more heat and cool sweetness, respectively. Dress with squeezed lemon, and a little olive oil if desired. Stir all together well in airtight container with lid, then refrigerate. Tastes even better several hours after made as flavors meld.

 

hot summer salad with quinoa, tempeh, plumbs, mint, lime & pistachios


ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 package tempeh, cubed and sauted in 2 T olive oil
  • 3-4 large dark plumbs, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • fresh mint sprigs, chopped
  • 1 lime, juice and pulp
  • 1/2 cup pistachio nuts, as garnish immediately before serving.

IMG_2287instructions: Rinse quinoa very well. Bring quinoa just to a boil in 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt, then simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes until all fluid absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with fork, allow to cool uncovered. Saute chopped tempeh, allow to cool, then add to cooked quinoa. Chop all remaining ingredients, stir all together. Dress with juice and pulp of lime. This is naturally sweet, so I served it with tofu baked in a spicy ginger peanut sauce. Or if desired, press or finely mince 2-3 slices of fresh ginger root, add to 1/8 cup olive oil for dressing. Refrigerate in air tight container.