Indian Summer hot days and quickly cooling evenings, plentiful summer squash and ripe figs were my inspiration for this turn of season main dish salad. Bright yellow and deep green, the sweet figs and tart lime, the crunch of the seeds– yum! This is a full and satisfying healthy meal, with good protein from the tempeh and pumpkin seeds, lots of vitamin C, A, and K from the yellow peppers and kale, minerals potassium and calcium from the figs, magnesium and zinc from the seeds.
12 oz tempeh, cubed
1-2 medium yellow crooked neck squash, coarsely chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 bunch kale
1 small red onion, chopped
about 6 black mission figs, thinly sliced and halved
1/2 cup raw or dry roasted pumpkin seeds
1 t black mustard seeds
1/4 inch fresh ginger root, minced
1 lime, juice and pulp
black pepper to taste
Pour 2 T olive oil into skillet and heat over medium flame. Stir black mustard seeds until they begin to pop, then add cubed tempeh and saute until lightly browned. Set the tempeh aside in a casserole dish with lid. Add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet and saute the coarsely chopped yellow squash and minced ginger root for 3 minutes or so, then add the chopped yellow pepper, a splash of white wine or water, reduce the heat and simmer covered for 2 minutes until squash and yellow peppers are bright and softened, but not mushy. Add this to the tempeh.
Cut the thick stems from the kale, then cut the leaves lengthwise in half, roll and slice into thin ribbons. Place kale in large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a scant 1/8 t salt, then massage the kale with your hands for about 3 minutes to soften it.
Mix the tempeh with squash and yellow peppers into the softened kale, adding in your chopped red onion and pumpkin seeds. Lastly gently add the sliced figs. Dress with juice and pulp of lime. Refrigerate in covered casserole dish. Serve chilled or warmed.
Well I’ve got bowls of fresh picked tomatoes, zucchini, and now also several new-to-my-garden varieties of hot peppers ripe and ready to harvest. And it’s still too hot to cook. Well then, I haven’t had a wonderful bowl of gazpacho since I took a trip to Tulum, Mexico many years ago. Looking at my favorite old cookbooks from my young adulthood and early vegetarian cooking years– Moosewood cookbooks by Molly Katzen, The Good Herb by Judith Hurley, The Greens Cook Book– also a quick look online, I found unappealing gazpacho recipes that rely on V-8 or tomato juice. Not for me. I wanted most of my gazpacho ingredients to be fresh from my own vegetable and herb gardens.
Lemon Drop peppers are both spicy hot and citrus tangy, super tasty
My Serrano peppers are ripening too
I used a mix of my varieties of red tomatoes, having devoured most of the tasty Sun Golds– mostly consumed in the garden as I watered
I decided to get out the blender, begin coarse chopping and dicing, creating my own recipe as I chopped. The result was delicious, every bite as wonderful as my happy memories of a meal shared in a Mexican ecological paradise. What follows is all the ingredients and an approximation of their quantities– I didn’t measure much as I worked. This made 4-6 satisfying dinner sized servings.
about 6-8 cups mixed variety of ripe red tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 medium yellow Lemon Drop pepper, including seeds, diced
4-6 leaves fresh basil, diced
about 1/8 cup olive oil
2 T rice wine vinegar
about 3/4 c water, from carafe with mint kept chilled in the fridge
2 T lime juice
1/4 t sea salt, black pepper to taste
cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Using a large cutting board and a blender, coarsely chop tomatoes and place in blender until it’s about half full, and puree til smooth with a half cup of the mint infused water. Transfer to large soup pot. Again fill blender with coarsely chopped tomatoes, the minced garlic, diced basil, diced hot pepper, the olive oil and rice wine vinegar. Pulse until you achieve your desired consistency: some like gazpacho silky smooth, but I like mine with some texture. Transfer to soup pot. Again fill blender with coarsely chopped tomatoes, about 2/3 of your coarsely chopped zucchini and about 1/3 of your coarsely chopped cucumbers, and the lime juice, and pulse to your desired consistency. If necessary, add either some of your previously pureed soup or a little more mint water to have enough fluid initially to allow you to achieve your desired texture. Add to soup pot. Also add to soup pot your minced red onion and celery, the reserved diced zucchini and cucumber, a little sea salt and black pepper, also more lime juice if desired. Chill for at least half a day before tasting and fine tuning the seasonings. Serve chilled with plenty of cilantro garnish.
An extended heat wave wears away my energy in so many ways, including my desire to cook other than minimalist stovetop prep early in the morning. I find I have less appetite beyond munching on veggies and cool berries, yet know I still need to get good protein. I’ve been enjoying wonderful nectarines recently for breakfast with plain yogurt, a handful of fresh blueberries and chopped walnuts. Seeing beautiful plums at the market made me think it was time for this quinoa salad with plums, cooling mint and fresh lime, and quinoa, tempeh and pistachios that make it a protein powerhouse while still being light. Served over a bed of fresh lettuce from the garden, it’s a full nutrient, light yet satisfying meal. This salad will be best when made with a variety of plum that is firm and tart to sweet-tart, rather than super sweet and juicy.
3/4 cup quinoa
1 package tempeh, cubed and sauted in 2 T olive oil
4 large dark plums, coarsely chopped
1 small bunch green onions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
6-8 fresh mint leaves, diced
1/2 Serrano pepper, minced
1 lime, juice and pulp
1/2 cup pistachio nuts, as garnish immediately before serving.
Rinse quinoa very well. Bring 2 cups of fresh water with a pinch of salt and quinoa just to a boil, then simmer on low heat for about 18 minutes until all fluid absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with fork, allow to cool uncovered. Saute chopped tempeh in 2T olive oil, then transfer to casserole dish with airtight lid. Chop all remaining ingredients, then stir all together with cooked and cooled quinoa. Dress with juice and pulp of lime. If desired, press or finely mince 2-3 slices of fresh ginger root, add to scant 1/8 cup olive oil with a bit of fresh ground pepper for dressing. Refrigerate in air tight container. Serve garnished with pistachios, or another good alternative for garnish would be crumbled feta or roquefort cheese.
“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…
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
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.
1/2- 1 fresh lime, squeezed, include juice and pulp
Rinse quinoa well. Bring to a boil in 1 1/2 cups fresh water with a pinch of salt, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 minutes until water absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with fork. Lightly toast almonds and coconut on stove top, stirring constantly; add to quinoa. Chop green onions and cucumbers, then stir all together well. Dress with squeezed lime juice and pulp. I served this chilled with baked tofu in a sunflower seed butter sauce and romaine salad.