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

Tabbouleh (Cracked Wheat Salad)

  As you can tell, I have been really into using fresh herbs lately. I love how it makes things taste like they came straight from the garden. Unless you have an herb garden of your own, you are often left with a whole lot of extra herbs since you have to buy them by the bunch. There is no doubt that you’ll have some extra mint when you’re finished making your Watermelon with Feta and Mint

Part of the reason I love to travel is because I love to eat and I started making this recipe after I went to Dubai a few years back. So I was reminded of this as I was wondering what to do with all my extra mint.  This is a great recipe because you can make a big batch of it to use up your extra herbs and eat it all throughout the week. Use it as a side, put it on salads or inside wraps. The uses are endless and all quite delicious.

Tabbouleh (Cracked Wheat Salad)
 
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Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 firm tomatoes, cubed small
  • 1 large cucumber, cubed small
  • 2-3 scallions, diced small
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped (optional)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil – more if needed
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice – more if needed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Place bulgur in a large mixing bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over the bulgur.
  2. Let stand for about ½ hour, or until all water is absorbed.
  3. Drain well, squeezing out any excess water. You can use a sieve and remove excess moisture by pressing down with the back of a spoon.
  4. Add tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, parsley, and mint (optional) to bulgur.
  5. Season with oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Refrigerate, covered, a few hours or overnight.
  7. Serve cold.

Serving Suggestion: If you would like a gluten free version, use quinoa in place of the bulgur. Also, feel free to add raw onion or sprinkle some feta on top.

Photo Credit: Diva:flava

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

Grapefruit and Avocado SaladThe avocados are ripe, fresh and delicious right now, let’s get down to business! A big thanks to my dear friend Alli (and Ina of course), who introduced me to this recipe during one of our monthly supper clubs. I have to say, usually I am not a fan of sweet and savory combos (mango salsa, yuck!) but I do have a liking for fruit in my salads. And this one is  not only super simple, but also raw, vegan and gluten free!

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad
 
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Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup good olive oil
  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 2 large red grapefruits
  • 3-4 cups butter lettuce or arugula
  • Handful of toasted pepitas or sesame seeds (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place the mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
  2. Before serving, cut the avocados in ½, remove the seeds, and carefully peel off the skin. Cut each half into 4 thick slices. Toss the avocado slices in the vinaigrette to prevent them from turning brown. Use a large, sharp knife to slice the peel off the grapefruits (be sure to remove all the white pith), then cut between the membranes to release the grapefruit segments.
  3. Atop a bed of arugula, arrange the avocado slices around the edge of a large platter or individual plates. Arrange the grapefruit segments in the center. Spoon the vinaigrette on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.

Serving Suggestion: If you like a little cheese, try some feta or a hard cheese like parmesan or pecorino.

Photo Credit: About.com

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

I will be a on a plane returning from Europe this Fourth of July so instead of a fun themed recipe (you’ll get that next year!), you get a tried and true favorite salad of mine which will be a nice balance for all those savory and sweet treats you will find at your BBQ’s. This salad screams summer and is very easy to make. If possible, try to use fresh corn, it really makes a difference. Happy Independence Day my friends.

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 ears yellow or white corn, shucked and kernels cut from the cob (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the lemon juice in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add the mint and set aside.
  2. Make an ice bath in a large bowl by combining 3 cups of ice with 3 cups water; set aside. In a large pot of boiling water, add a tablespoon salt. Add the corn kernels and the asparagus and boil until just tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Strain in a colander and place into the ice water. When completely cool, strain again.
  3. Place in a large bowl, add the cherry tomatoes, reserved dressing, salt and pepper. Mix well and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Photo Credit: iVillage

Miso- Curry Delicata Squash

Miso-Curry Delicata Squash

Yet another thanks to Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks (I am obviously blowing through this book)! I do have to be honest though… as I was making this, I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to taste as it just seemed too simple. But it turned out to be delightful. And it was even better as leftovers the next day, so be sure to make extra!

Miso- Curry Delicata Squash
 
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Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 12 oz delicata squash (or about 2 small ones) – can use butternut as a replacement
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white miso
  • 1 Tbsp red Thai curry paste
  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 2-3 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ cups chopped kale, tough stems removed
  • ⅓ cup pepitas, toasted
  • ⅔ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Cut the delicata squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to clear out all the seeds. Cut into ½ inch thick half-moons.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, miso, and curry paste. Combine the tofu, potatoes, and squash in a large bowl with ⅓ cup of the miso-curry paste. Use your hands to toss well, then turn the vegetables onto a rimmed baking sheet, and arrange in a single layer.
  4. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until everything is tender and browned. Toss once or twice along the way, after things start to brown a bit. Keep a close watch, though; the vegetables can go from browned to burned in a flash.
  5. In the meantime, whisk the lemon juice into the remaining miso-curry paste, then stir in the kale until coated. You can also choose to saute the kale first if you prefer.
  6. Toss the roasted vegetables gently with the kale, pepitas, and cilantro. Serve family style in a large bowl or on a platter.

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

Black Quinoa is a fun alternative to normal quinoa as it gives your dish a fun look. I made this the other night for my book club and the first compliment I got was on how good it smelled (thanks Alli) followed by several compliments on the taste. It is super easy to make for a big group and most importantly can be made ahead of time which is great when you are entertaining! You can find my homemade pesto recipe here.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry black quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced grape tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1½ – 2 cups pesto (more if needed)
  • 2 cups fresh basil, chopped
  • ¾ cup feta cheese (omit of looking for a vegan version)
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • Olive oil (drizzle as needed)
Instructions
  1. Combine the water and quinoa in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Fluff with a fork and add stir in spinach while quinoa is still warm. Stir in pesto once spinach is mixed in.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sliced tomatoes and cucumber. Add quinoa and basil and mix well. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice on top and add feta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Toss everything together. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until serving.
  4. Serving suggestion: Can use any combo of veggies bell pepper, olives, zucchini, etc.

Recipe modified from Eat, Live, Run.

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

 I do have another Brussels Sprout Salad up but this salad actually tastes quite different due to the dressing and the addition of Kale. One of my all time favorite salads is the Dino Kale Salad at The Plant so I chose to add cherry tomatoes to this dish. It is quick, healthy and delicious!

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
 
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Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1½ lb. total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced – this cannot be a hard crunchy kale, it needs to be a softer kale in order for the texture to turn out right. TJ’s precut kale won’t work…
  • 12 oz brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ⅓ cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino (can omit if looking for a vegan version)
Instructions
  1. Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, ½ tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.
  2. Measure ½ cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 Tbsp. oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.
  3. Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

Serving Suggestion: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

Photo Credit: Bon Appetit

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

Get Your Juice On!

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I had heard about juicing for quite a while before making it part of my daily routine. It seemed too time consuming, too expensive and too much for someone with a teeny tiny San Francisco kitchen. Well, after reading Kris Carr’s Crazy, Sexy, Diet, I decided it was about time to start juicing. Below are just a few of the benefits of juicing:

1. By removing the plant fiber during the juicing process, you get a direct shot of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins and oxygen without your body having to do any of the work of digestion, which helps nourish your cells and restore the immune system.

2. When you juice, you use more fruits and vegetables than you could actually eat. As a result, you are drinking a densely packed amount of vitamins, minerals and other plant-based nutrients.

3. Vegetables are alkalizing and your body is designed to function at its best at a slightly alkaline pH level. Many of the things we do in our daily lives (certain foods and drinks, stress, etc) create an acidic environment (it is MUCH easier to become too acidic than it is to become too alkaline) so by juicing you help bring your pH levels back into balance. An acidic environment is a breeding ground for bacteria, yeast and lots of other yucky things that in turn make us feel yucky!

4. Lots of juicing means lots more vitamins and minerals which are responsible for all sorts of necessary chemical reactions promoting health and vitality and therefore lots more energy.

5. And just a few more: Juicing helps to slow the aging process, reduces inflammation, helps cleanse the body (which is especially important post-holiday season), improves the look of your skin, regulates digestion and can help peel off pounds… sold yet? If not, for some real motivation check out Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead!

Here is a simple juice to start with but as you become more comfortable with the taste of veggie juice, the produce isle will become your best friend. Rule of Thumb: At least 3 veggies to every one piece of fruit and the greener the better!

Get Your Juice On!
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2-3 cucumbers
  • 1 head romaine
  • 3-5 stalks of celery
  • 3-5 stalks of kale
  • small bit of ginger
  • Carrots, apple, pear or grapefruit (if you want to sweeten it up a bit)
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • ½ lemon
Instructions
  1. Juice.
  2. Sprinkle with turmeric and cinnamon.
  3. Squeeze lemon on top. Enjoy!

 

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Walnuts and Manchego Cheese

Brussels Sprout Salad

My dear friend made this for our Supper Club and I couldn’t believe how good and how simple it it was. Combining the lemon juice with the raw brussels takes all of the bitterness away. I have made it several times since and it is a hit. The manchego is a compliment to this yummy salad but you can always omit if you are looking for a vegan version!

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Walnuts and Manchego Cheese
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 10 -12 oz (approx 3 cups) Brussels Sprouts, trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher Salt
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ cup (3 oz) coarsely grated Manchego cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 min. or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a place to cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.
  2. In a food processor, shred the brussels sprouts (I pulsed them). Transfer to a medium serving bowl. Toss the brussels sprouts with the lemon juice and 1 tsp kosher salt and let stand for 5 min.
  3. Add the toasted walnuts, olive oil and Manchego and toss. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Photo Credit: Juxtapost