Two Recipes Not to Miss: Kale Caesar and Roasted Cabbage and Cauliflower Salad

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Hello my savvy chefs!

Last week was an exciting one as I had 2 recipes published on Mind Body Green, a site I love for all things health! However, you all are my tried and true so it would be a tragedy if I you didn’t have easy access to these recipes :)… so you can find the links below.

Vegetarian Kale Caesar with Homemade Garlic Croutons – this was made with my vegetarian caesar dressing

Roasted Cabbage & Cauliflower Salad with Peanut Sauce

Have a happy, healthy and yummy week!

Chelsea

Dip In: My Favorite Dips, Sauces and Spreads

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Below I have created a list (and links) to my favorite dips, sauces and spreads. So go ahead, dip in and enhance your meals with these simple recipes. The best news of all… every single one of these recipes is vegan and gluten free for those who have any dietary restrictions!

1. Pesto. My husband and I are obsessed with pesto. It is not an exaggeration when I say that we put it on everything! Bread, eggs, sauteed veggies, pasta, salad dressings, pizza, etc. I usually just whip up some of this homemade pesto once a week and let it sit in the fridge for us to find the lucky item to put it on. It is oh-so good and fresh.

Pesto

2. Hummus. I put pesto on pretty much everything and I put hummus on almost everything. I love to add a heaping spoonful to a salad, use as a spread for a sandwich and of course have with veggies or crackers when I need an afternoon pick me up.

Hummus… 

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Traditional Pad Thai

I apologize for the hiatus, I was doing some research abroad… I traveled all the way to Thailand to seek out some Thai recipes to share with you all :)! We took an incredible cooking class that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand. It is called Siam Rice Thai Cookery and Pot, the founder takes you to the local market, then welcomes you into his home which is also a cooking school. These were some of the best dishes I ate the whole time we were out there. I’ll start with the classic Thai dish, Pad Thai… but don’t worry there will be plenty more to come.

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Visiting the local market

Traditional Pad Thai
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil of your choice (we used palm oil due to the high heat of the cooking – you can use canola, sunflower or peanut oil as well)
  • 3 Tbsp garlic, smashed
  • 1 (12oz) package tofu, diced into ¼ inch cubes
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce (oyster flavored sauce for vegetarian)
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce (fish flavored sauce for vegetarian)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (palm sugar is what is used in traditional Thai cooking)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp black soy sauce (just use additional soy sauce if you cannot find this version)
  • 1 package (12 oz) rice noodles – if they are dried instead of fresh, you may have to soak in cold water for about 30 min
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 bunch chives, chopped
  • Ground peanuts, chili powder and lime (preferably kaffir lime) for garnish
Instructions
  1. Add the cooking oil to wok, keeping high heat. Add garlic and tofu and cook until fragrant.
  2. Crack in eggs and cook until egg is fully cooked.
  3. Add water, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and soy sauces.
  4. Add noodles. Stir until the noodles are soft and then add bean sprouts, green beans and chives. Cook for one more minute and then remove from heat.
  5. Garnish with ground peanuts, chili powder and lime.

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The finished product – and a well deserved Chang beer!

 

Squash, Chickpea and Kidney Bean Soup

Red Lentil and Squash Soup

It’s getting to be that time of year where nothing is more satisfying than a nice warm bowl of soup. I love this recipe because it is loaded with vegetables but also packed with protein because of the two types of beans. I enjoy this soup with some kale chips on top! Photo and recipe courtesy of Eating Well.

Squash, Chickpea and Kidney Bean Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 can (15oz) chickpeas, or ¾ cup dried and overnight or quick soaked
  • 2½ lbs butternut squash, cut into 1 in cubes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 can (15oz) red kidney beans, or ¾ cup dried and overnight or quick soaked
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp hot paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ½ cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
  • ¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Instructions
  1. Combine the chickpeas, squash, carrots, onion, red beans, broth, tomato paste, ginger, cumin, salt, paprika and pepper in a slow cooker.
  2. Put on the lid and cook on low until the chickpeas are tender and the beans have begun to break down, 5 to 6½ hours.
  3. Put about half of the cooked soup into a food processor and pulse until beans are mashed. Add this mixture back into the soup and mix well.
  4. Stir in lime juice. Serve sprinkled with peanuts and cilantro.

 

Kung Pao Tofu

Kung Pao Tofu

I’m not the hugest fan of chinese food because I don’t like the thick sauces but my husband loves the Kung Pao at our local Chinese spot (we always sub the chicken out for tofu). It is actually quite good because it has a lighter sauce. So I searched far and wide to find a recipe that would give a lighter sauce – FYI, you’d be amazed how hard it is to find a Kung Pao dish without a few table spoons of sugar in the sauce!!! I ended up finding a great recipe at Eating Well but subbed in my own veggies that I thought would be a better combo and made some modifications to the sauce, to give it that extra little kick.

Kung Pao Tofu
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1 (14 oz) package extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder, divided (can be found in the spice section of most grocery stores)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons oyster-flavored sauce, (0yster sauce works if you are not worried about a vegetarian meal)
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 2 cups broccoli crowns, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted roasted peanuts, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce, (omit or find gluten free soy sauce for gluten free recipe)
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
Instructions
  1. Pat tofu dry and cut into ½-inch cubes. Combine with ½ teaspoon five-spice powder in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu and cook, stirring every 1 to 2 minutes, until golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk water, oyster sauce, cornstarch, chili garlic sauce and the remaining ½ teaspoon five-spice powder in a small bowl.
  4. Add broccoli, red bell pepper and snap peas to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low, add the oyster sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 30 seconds.
  5. Return the tofu to the pan along with peanuts and stir to coat with sauce; stir in scallions and soy sauce (if using).

Serving Suggestion: Serve over brown rice or grain of choice.

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

So, next to bruschetta, spring rolls are one of my favorite things. I absolutely love the texture and the freshness. This was my first go at making them and I must say, I was so excited when I enjoyed these beautiful fresh spring rolls that I had made myself.

I did learn some lessons along the way. Rice paper isn’t THAT easy to find. You may be able to get it at Whole Foods or other specialty stores but you can also get it online. I ended up getting Three Ladies Brand. Play around with the sauce to your desire. I tried 2 different ones and didn’t love either so I kinda combined two different ideas to make it my own.

Average Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 8 spring rolls

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/3 cup – 1/2 cup hot water

Spring rolls

8 sheets of rice paper

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 package (14 oz) organic extra firm tofu, drained

2 Tbsp tamari

1 small head of red cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, shredded

1 bunch of basil leaves, stems removed

1 bunch of mint leaves, stems removed

Directions

1. Combine peanut butter, vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and 1/4 tsp salt in a medium bowl. Thin with hot water (varies depending on the consistency you want your sauce).

2. Slice tofu into strips (approximately three inches long and 1/2 in by 1/2 inch). Preheat a saute pan with olive oil. Saute the tofu flipping occasionally until cooked to your desire. Add the tamari once the tofu is partially cooked. I prefer my tofu slightly toasted so I cook on a higher heat for a longer time each side.

3. Prepare a bowl filled with hot water. Dip rice paper in hot water until it starts to lose its stiffness and feel rubbery. Place rice paper on work surface and let sit 30 seconds. Layer ingredients on the third of the paper closest to you. Fold bottom of paper over ingredients. Fold sides, roll up (like you would a burrito) and place seam side down on plate.

4. Slice in half and serve with a side of peanut sauce.

Homemade Peanut Butter

Do you have peanuts? Do you have a food processor? Well then in a few simple steps you have homemade peanut butter. My lesson learned here is that inspiration comes in all places. I’ve been on a few flights lately and my new kindle has one downfall – no use during take-off and landing. So I found myself reading an inflight magazine that was doing a bio on Jennifer Reese and her new book. I’ve made a lot of things from scratch- hummus, pesto, sauces, etc. – and I cannot believe I had never thought of making my own peanut butter before! It is so easy. Hopefully, you will find some inspiration in this post 🙂

Average time: 25 minutes, 5 minutes if using peanuts already out of their shell

Yields: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

1 bag (12 oz) roasted unsalted peanuts in their shell (you can use already shelled peanuts to save time but my research showed this was the best way to go)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 Tbsp peanut oil

Directions

1. Remove shells from all the peanuts but keep skins on. If using peanuts already shelled, skip this step.

2. Place peanuts and salt in a food processor. Process for approximately 2-3 minutes. At first it will appear that the peanuts are just chopped but wait a few minutes and you will get a more of a creamy texture.

3. Slowly add peanut oil until your peanut butter it the consistency you want. You may need to use more or less peanut oil depending.

Serving suggestion: To create a chunky peanut butter simply add coarsely chopped nuts into your mixture. You can also add in a bit of honey for a sweeter flavor.