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Category Archives: Salads

Homemade Hummus Is Easy

Homemade Hummus Is Easy

healthy-hummus-recipes  This is such a delicious hummus you’ll want to eat it plain with a spoon, or at least lick your fingers taking out of the blender. We did1 (Watch those blades though!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas (or even better, dried chick peas, aka garbanzos. If you use dried soak them over night, or at least 12 hours and then cook up before use) – about 2 c
  • ½ c of good quality extra virgin olive oil (always, but always use extra virgin, first cold pressed, and if possible organic – this is worth the extra expenditure.)
  • Juice of 2 organic lemons
  • 3-4 garlic cloves (4 is very garlicy, I use 2 smaller cloves and 2 big cloves)
  • Sea salt – a few grinds, can be pink Himalayan sea salt for best nutrients
  • ½ tsp of cumin
  • Sprinkle a shake of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Splash (1 tbs at most) of apple cider vinegar – (The best and most healthful is Braggs organic unfiltered raw with the mother). A bit unconventional I know, but just a splash gives a nice enhancing dimension.

Directions:

Rinse the chick peas well in a strainer, make sure they are all good and there are no stones. If you don’t rinse them in cold water before you use them they tend to give you gas.

Put all of these ingredients into a blender and pulse until blended, and we like it a little chunky. If you prefer totally smooth, you may need to open the blender up and give a stir or two before you finish the blending.

Then, I like to add a finishing drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and enjoy with your favorite raw veggies like cucumbers, carrots, sweet peppers, celery. Other great accompaniments – olives, nice toast, pita triangles, whatever you prefer!

Bon appetite!

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Summer Salad

Summer Salad

Summer Salad

This salad has just a little tang that gives the al dente veggies really nice flavor. I got inspired and this is what I created.

INGREDIENTS:

mesclun salad greens (or any combination of your favorite delicate lettuce greens, think spring mix)

baby zucchini (or 1/2 a medium zucchini) – chopped

baby yellow squash (or 1/2 a medium yellow squash) – chopped

vidalia onion – sliced very thinly in semi circles (1/3 cup)

sweet red bell pepper (3/4 of a medium pepper) – sliced and then cut into 1″ strips 

1 garlic clove – sliced very thinly 

oregano (dried is ok) – generous sprinkle (maybe a 1/4 tsp)

tumeric – generous sprinkle “

beefsteak tomato – rough chopped

roast chicken breast (I had left over that had been roasted with fresh rosemary, tumeric, s&p, and EVOO), you can estimate 1 small breast per person, or split 1 for 2 people if larger. – chopped into cubes

sea salt and black pepper – generous grind or 2

EVOO 

good balsamic vinegar – generous sprinkle

coconut oil – 1 tsp

chili powder – generous sprinkle

Balsamic vinegrette – 2:1 ratio EVOO to balsamic, a small dallop of dijon mustard, S&P, a pinch of oregano, and splash or 2 of apple cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar).

DIRECTIONS:

Start your saute pan on medium heat and add 2 TB of EVOO.  Toss in oregano and onions and garlic.

When they start to become translucent and fragrant, add in the zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper, and while stirring sprinkle with balsamic vinegar. 

Season with S&P, tumeric, chili powder.  Give a good stir to mix all the seasonings into veggies for a couple minutes. Pretend you’re doing an asian stir fry.  Then add your roasted chicken pieces and tsp of coconut oil and stir to combine a bit more.  Maybe another 3-5 minutes, until veggies are al dente – to nicely softened, and chicken is heated through. 

Remove from the heat and add mixture on top of your salad greens.

Add the tomato and your balsamic vinegrette, toss and serve.

Bon appetite! 

Kickin’ Kale Salad

You’ve heard kale is “super food” good for you…right? If you haven’t heard this rumor at a dinner party or on Food TV by now, I’ll tell you straight up, it’s true!  I had never even experienced it in a salad until recent years when the raw foodies started popularizing it.  Mostly I’d eaten it as my mom’s delicious kale and potato soup, which is one fabulous option for another post.  However, in recent years, I’ve discovered that kale has many uses and it is eaten in countries across the globe, even as long ago as Greek and Roman times.  There’s two types, Tuscan kale (or dinosaur kale) which has more long bluish-green leaves, and the borecole variety has more frilly curly green leaves.

Kale’s anti-cancer benefits are totally documented, as is lots of  research on kale’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.  This dark leafy green has got vitamins and minerals that are super high, thus the super food status, (especially A, K, and C), and then calories and cholesterol that are super low.  Basically kale is good for our immune systems, cancer prevention, hearts, eyes, osteoporosis prevention, and more!  Here are a few ways you can eat it:

  • Fresh young crispy kale can be used raw in salads, especially if properly chopped into thin ribbons, then massaged and marinated with sea salt and lemon.
  • Mature leaves and stalks are typically cooked or sautéed.
  • Tuscan kale leaves are popular winter staples in all over Mediterranean, used in soups, stews, salads, pizza, and pasta.
  • The leaves also used in the variety of traditional kale recipes with potatoes, green beans, poultry, and meat.
  • It can be baked with olive oil and sea salt for a yummy kale chip snack.
  • In Japan, fresh kale juice is quite popular.  If you combine it with carrot, beet, apple, lemon and ginger you don’t even know it’s there.  Or, if you’re into juicing it makes for a great ‘green drink’ ingredient.
Kickin’ Kale Salad:
I recently served this at a dinner party, not only was it devoured very quickly, everyone asked for the recipe.  So here it is by yours truly, I hope you enjoy as much as we did, 🙂
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a large cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • sea salt (enough to sprinkle liberally for marinating)
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar (dark)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • Small handful sesame seeds (toasting optional, also pumpkin seeds work nicely), about 2 rounded tablespoons
Directions
In large serving bowl, slice your kale into super thin ribbons, add half- three quarters of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little sea salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. It will start to break down the cellulose, and shrink a bit.  Set aside while you make the dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the agave nectar and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the chopped cucumber, mango and sesame seeds.

Toss, serve and enjoy!

Variety Is the Spice of Life

I’ve always been a huge fan of variety. So much so, that when I was old enough to walk to school by myself, (which was about 10 years old!), I’d change my route around frequently just for fun. Hard to believe these days I could walk the New York City streets all by myself at that age… and this with my single mom leaning towards the over-protective side! Different times we were in then, that’s for sure. So, my desire for changeability remains the same decades later, and I readily apply it to cuisine too.

There are some people who eat the same meals on a daily basis. It boggles my mind how one could have the same food each day. Interestingly, there are over 20,000 species of edible plants in the world yet fewer than 20 species now provide 90% of our food. You are not alone if you don’t eat a diverse diet, between the government, big agri-business and the media, we’ve all been trained to go for what’s fast and convenient, not always healthiest options. I’m here to teach you how to have a bit more adventure in your eating healthy delicious foods.

The other night my friend, and oh-so-adventurous member of H.E.A.R.T., had me shop with her at Greenwise for support. (Greenwise is the equivalent of Whole Foods, for my out of state readers.) We had fun, maybe a wee bit more so for me, however, she is already diving in to make creative combinations with the ingredients on her own. Pretty inspiring I’d say! I’m super proud.

I’ll give you a run down of some different ways to combine a batch of fabulous ingredients for different meals as examples. I know some of you are antsy for recipes that involve foods that you’ve heard of.

Tuna Chickpea Salad
-Tuna fish (organic, solid, in water or oil, be sure to choose a brand that’s dolphin safe)
-Garbanzo beans (aka chick peas)
-Vidalia onion (you can use another type of onion, but these tend to be sweetest) or sub scallions, or yellow onion (if yellow, then soak)
-Parsley (optional)
Dressing:
-Olive oil
-Red wine vinegar, or apple cider, or rice wine vinegar (balsamic is a bit strong but that can be used, just less of it).
-Sea salt
-Black pepper
-Oregano (dried is ok)
-Grainy mustard (optional)
-Garlic clove (optional)

First drain your can of tuna and place into a medium sized serving bowl. Drain your beans and rinse thoroughly if you’re using canned. If you’re cooking from dried beans, be sure to soak them overnight 12-24 hours before cooking. Add beans to the bowl.

Next, slice 1/4 of your medium sized vidalia onion – put it flat side down on your cutting board once you cut off 1/4 and slice into very paper thin slices. If using yellow onion, soak the slices in cold filtered water for 10-20 mins., it will make it milder.

Add the onion to the bowl. Separate 3-4 stalks of parsley. Remove the parsley leaves from the stems and chop parsley roughly, put aside. Now for the dressing.

In a separate bowl add 2 tbs of olive oil to 2 tbs of vinegar if you like it vinegery, (if you’re Vata constitution), and 1 to 1-1/2 if you’re Pita or Kapha. Add a 1/4 tsp. of grainy mustard, like a dijon if you’d like to the dressing, and a smashed garlic clove (smash with the side of your knife and remove the peel, then a pinch of dried oregano, 1-2 twists of black ground pepper, and a pinch of sea salt – Whisk all of these together with a fork until the mustard, oil and vinegar are combined well.

Pour over your bowl of beans, onions and chick peas, add the chopped parsley and toss. Voila!

*This can be eaten over mixed lettuces, with baby spinach, and arugula. Another possibility is combine with a whole grain pasta and eaten warm, with or without the greens, and the addition of other veggies.)

Invigorating U,
Valerie