Sugar Snap and Garden Pea Salad

Sugar Snap and Garden Pea Salad

I hope you cannot overdose on peas because I have literally been making this non stop! I went to the farmer’s market the other weekend and there were fresh snap peas, fresh peas, fresh kale and fresh arugula…so obviously, I went to town :). My friend Alli had made a rendition of this at our Supper Club but I modified it to make it my own. It is a light, crisp goodness of greens. Be sure to check out my new site The Simple Kitchen. Oh and don’t forget you can find the guide to making lemon vinaigrette here

Sugar Snap and Garden Pea Salad
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups snap peas
  • 2 cups garden peas
  • 5 cups arugula
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed
  • ½ cup mint leaves, chopped – can do more depending on your taste
  • 1½ -2 avocados, cubed
  • ¼ cup lemon vinagrette
  • Pepitas and coarse sea salt for garnish
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath.
  2. Wash the sugar snap peas and de-string them if necessary, snapping the tip and removing the fibrous strand running lengthwise. If the snap peas are young, you won’t have to do this. Drop the sugar snap peas into the pot of boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes, then strain out and drop them into an ice bath. Once cooled, strain.
  3. Combine arugula, kale and mint to a serving bowl.
  4. Add peas, avocado and dressing and mix well.
  5. Top with pepitas, salt and any additional toppings (chopped cherry tomatoes, grated cheese, etc.)

Valentine’s Day Beet Salad

Valentine's Day Beet Salad

You cannot ‘beet’ giving your loved one the gift of health this Valentine’s day, so here is a fun little idea to help you out :). Beets contain fiber and potassium and are an excellent source of folate, which is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells. Researchers believe the red pigment (called betacyanin) in beets could protect against the development of cancerous cells and may play a role in reducing the inflammation associated with heart disease. And on top of all of that, one of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac… soooooo, Happy Valentines Day to you and yours <3!

Valentine’s Day Beet Salad
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 Tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 lb beets (red, golden or a combination of both), roasted and sliced – check out a great tutorial here
  • 3 cups arugula or mixed salad greens
  • ¼ cup fennel, sliced
  • Prepared Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, cubed or crumbled – goat cheese is great too!
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off ends and green of beets and roast (wrapped in foil) for 45 minutes. Roast longer if needed. You should be able to easily pierce a knife through the center of the beet.
  2. Remove beets to let them cool. Lay walnuts on a baking sheet (you can line it with foil or parchment paper for easy clean-up). Roast walnuts until they start to brown and smell toasted, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, once beets are cooled enough to handle, rinse under cool water to peel off skin and then thinly slice. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter create heart shaped beets and set aside.
  4. Combine arugula (or mixed greens), fennel and walnuts. Mix with dressing.
  5. Place the mixed ingredients onto the serving dish & set the heart shaped beets around the dish. Top with cheese of choice.
  6. Serve with lots of LOVE!

Notes:

Dressing recipe can be found here.
More detailed instructions on how to roast beets can be found here.

Here is another fun little idea of how to serve your beets, courtesy of NoBiggie.

Cupid Beets

Tofu, Peanut Butter and Roasted Tomato Panzanella

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is not always easy but usually it leads to a lesson learned, both in life and in the kitchen… either you get a nice surprise because something works or it doesn’t and you simply know not to do it again! When I saw this recipe, I was very unsure how all these different flavors would work together, but thankfully I gave it a shot and now I am thrilled to share it with all of you. A big thanks to Heidi Swanson for this one 🙂

Tofu, Peanut Butter and Roasted Tomato Panzanella
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • Sea salt
  • 2 thick slices of multigrain or whole wheat bread (about 6 oz)
  • 12 oz block of firm tofu, sliced into 4 slabs
  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ¼ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ⅓ cup – ½ cup hot water
  • 1½ cup packed sunflower sprouts
  • 2 cups arugula
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Slice each tomato in half and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Toss until coated and arrange tomatoes cut side up. Roast for 45-60 minutes until the tomatoes shrink and start to carmelize. (This step can be done beforehand and kept refrigerated).
  2. Meanwhile, brush bread with both sides with the olive oil and toast in oven or grill on pan until each side is golden and crunchy. Tear the bread into bite size chunks.
  3. Brush tofu with olive oil, and cook in a pan until tofu is golden and crispy on each side (about 5 minutes). Cut into ½ inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
  4. Combine peanut butter, vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and ¼ tsp salt in a medium bowl. Thin with hot water (varies depending on the consistency you want your dressing).
  5. Once tomatoes are roasted or just before serving, pour a generous amount of the dressing over the tofu and toss it gently – it will look overdressed at this point. Add the bread and toss again.
  6. Dish arugula onto a plate or bowl, top with tofu mixture, tomatoes and sprouts.

 

Brussels Sprout Salad with Avocado and Pumpkin Seeds

Brussels Spout Salad with Avocado and Pumpkin Seeds

It seems that every fall, I find a new Brussels Sprout Salad to share with you (which is amazing because at one point, I could not even fathom the thought of eating raw brussels sprouts). First came the Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad with Walnuts and Manchego, next came the Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad and now here is a new way to do Brussels in a salad. This recipe is completely dairy free but you could feel free to sprinkle with any cheese of your choice. This is a great side to your Thanksgiving meal so go forth and conquer!

Brussels Sprout Salad with Avocado and Pumpkin Seeds
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1½ Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed, leaves separated
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1 avocado, sliced
Instructions
  1. Whisk lemon zest and juice and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually add oil, whisking to emulsify, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Toss dressing with brussels sprout leaves and pumpkin seeds. Gently stir in avocado and adjust seasoning.

Photo Credit: WholeLiving.com

Apple, Walnut, and Endive Salad

Apple, Endive and Walnut Salad

I hosted my Supper Club last week and decided to do an Autumn Apple theme. With the shorter days, changing leaves and cool weather, it definitely feels like a transition away from summer. This salad was super simple, tasty and the presentation makes it look very impressive. Here’s looking forward to what this upcoming season has to offer!

Apple, Walnut, and Endive Salad
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 red apples, quartered, cored, and each quarter cut into 8 wedges
  • 6 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 2 Belgian endives, leaves separated, washed and dried
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
Instructions
  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast walnuts, stirring frequently until crisp and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, shallot, and vinegar until well combined. Whisk in the oil until thick; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add apple and arugula; toss to coat. Arrange endive leaves on four serving plates, top with apple mixture and scatter mint, cheese, and walnuts over the top.

Photo Credit: Whole Living

Homemade Hummus

HummusHummus is a staple in my diet… I pretty much eat it every single day and contrary to popular opinion I think it is good on almost anything. Of course there is the obvious, a dip for veggies and crackers or a spread for a sandwich or a wrap but I often times add a spoonful to the top of my salad or the side of my cooked veggies. With every new batch you make you can add a different spice or throw in some cooked veggies to give it a whole new flavor. Enjoy!

Homemade Hummus
 
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Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, a small amount of liquid reserved
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a blender or food processor, add garbanzo beans, liquid, lemon juice, tahini, chopped garlic and salt. Blend until creamy and well mixed.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a medium serving bowl. Sprinkle with pepper and pour olive oil over the top. Garnish with pine nuts, fresh herbs of choice and/or a pinch of paprika.

Photo Credit: Simply Recipes

Your Guide to Any Vinaigrette

VinaigretteI always make my own salad dressings and the reason for that is that it is super easy and it allows you to avoid any hidden ingredients. I’d say my most common is a flax oil apple cider vinaigrette.  I prefer flax oil for mixing dressings because it has 50 to 60 percent omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and are helpful in preventing chronic diseases like arthritis and heart disease. Whereas olive oil contains mostly omega-6 fatty acids, which are important, but can actually promote inflammation. I prefer apple cider vinegar over other types because it does have alkalizing properties whereas most vinegars are acidic. But that being said, below is your guide to making any vinaigrette.

Your Guide to Any Vinaigrette
 
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Serves: 1.5 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (or ½ cup olive oil and ½ cup flax oil)
  • ½ cup vinegar of choice (apple cider, balsamic, red wine, etc.) or lemon, lime, orange juice , etc.
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper (and/or other herbs: basil, cumin, rosemary, ginger, paprika, etc.) to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Whisk until thickened or place in food processor and mixed until smooth.

Serving Suggestion: Add a Tbsp of tahini for a creamy texture, or honey for sweetness

Vegetarian Caesar Dressing

Caesar Dressing

Every year my Supper Club and I get together and have a tradition that includes a Caesar salad, paired with a buttery Chardonnay :). That being said, we have tried a few different recipes and this one is absolutely delicious and is much healthier than many of the recipes you’ll find out there. Whip it up, serve with some romaine and homemade croutons (don’t forget the Chard) and and you are good to go!

Be sure to check out my Kale Caesar Salad (using this dressing) that was featured on Mind Body Green!

Vegetarian Caesar Dressing
 
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Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Worchester sauce (vegetarian versions are available at health food stores)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups good mild olive oil – add more if consistency is not as desired
  • ½ – 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Place the mustard, garlic, Worchester sauce, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube until thick.
  3. Add the grated Parmesan cheese, starting with a half of a cup and mix well. Add more cheese until you have your desired consistency.

Serving Suggestion: This can be made in advance but be sure it’s at room temperature when you assemble the salad.

Photo Credit: Whole Foods

Spanakopita with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Spanikopita

I’ve tried a couple of different variations of Spanakopita and this blending of several is what I have found to be my favorite. This is absolutely one of those foods where you can taste the freshness of it being homemade, it is worth every effort. Get ready for pure deliciousness!

For updated recipes and photos, head over to The Simple Kitchen!

Spanakopita with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
 
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Serves: 30 triangles
Ingredients
  • Yogurt Sauce
  • 3 cups Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about one lemon)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large English cucumber
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh dill or 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped (or both, depending on preference)
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Spanakopita
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2-4 shallots, diced
  • 2 packages of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • ½ bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • ⅛ cup finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted (can use vegan version or olive oil)
  • ½ pound phyllo pastry sheets
Instructions
  1. To make yogurt sauce, peel cucumbers and dice. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt (draws water out). Cover with a plate and sit something heavy on top. Let sit for 30 minute Drain well and wipe dry with a paper towel.
  2. In food processor or blender, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill and/or mint, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir into yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend. *This will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.
  3. Remove spinach from package and squeeze out excess liquid, then chop roughly. Heat 2-3 Tbsp of the oil in a large saute pan, and add shallots and scallions and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach to the mixture, along with the parsley, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. (This part can be done ahead and kept refrigerated).
  4. Stir the feta and as much beaten egg to moisten the cooled spinach mixture.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.
  6. Unroll the phyllo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out and become brittle. Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use 3-4 pieces of phyllo dough and use a pastry to brush the top strip of phyllo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.
  7. Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot. (These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.)

 

The Best of 2011

It’s hard to believe FLB has been going strong for a year. Below is a year in review of the best recipes of 2011! It’s been a great year and here’s looking forward to an even better and healthier 2012! Happy New Year to you all.

January: Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

February: Cilantro and Lemon Flax Vinaigrette

March: Warm Garbanzo and Quinoa Salad

April: Vegetable and White Bean Stew

May: Sesame Crusted Tofu Stir Fry

June: The Cookie-less Cookie

July: Raw Zucchini Pasta

August: The Ultimate Veggie Burger

September: Pea and Mint Dip

October: Baked Kale Chips

November: Harvest Bread

December: Brussels Sprout Salad