Tuna Salad on a Mission

Used to be that tuna salad was considered the “healthy choice.” But now who knows? Is the tuna wild? Is the mayo used to make the salad healthy? What about the bread for the sandwich? Is it gluten free? We can drive ourselves bonkers trying to keep up with all the information. And, this may  be part of the reason why tuna salad has lost popularity lately.  So, if you ever just get a taste for a tuna salad sandwich, why not just try it from a different angle? This recipe combines a dairy-egg free variation of tuna salad with Life Changing Bread, to bring you a clean(er) nutritional powerhouse of a tuna sandwich, with fiber, complete proteins from the fish and also plants, healthy fats, and other vitamins and minerals.

So, forget about “whether a tuna sandwich is okay” and dig in!

niçoise tuna salad finger sandwiches

2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
About half a scallion, chopped
2 sprigs fresh tarragon, loosely chopped
Splash of unfiltered raw cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon (or more if you like strong mustard flavor)
1 packet of solid white tuna in water (5 ounce)
- wild caught if possible
About half a stock of celery, finely chopped (or more if you like celery crunch)
4 toasted “finger” slices of Life Changing Bread
Baby spinach, tomato, arugula, radish, anything to add to your sandwich and make it yummy and colorful

First make the dressing by mixing the grapefruit juice, oil, scallion, tarragon, vinegar, & dijon mustard. In a separate bowl, place the tuna (drained) with the celery, and add the dressing. Mix gently being careful not to turn it into tuna mush. Season with the salt and pepper to taste. Place the tuna on top of the bread slices along with you favorite detox friendly toppings. Pictured here, I added caper berries for a decorative touch. ENJOY!

It’s a Radish Wrap

So, I guess I have thought in the past about slicing a daikon radish thin to use as a wrap. But for some reason, when my airbnb guests from Korea introduced this dish to me, it seemed like a totally groovy new thing. I think what did it was the fact that the daikon radish came already sliced into perfect round sheets, and packaged. At first, I thought it was a gyoza (pot sticker) wrapper, but when I saw that it was radish, I was pleasantly surprised. So, today we have a couple of unwitting guest bloggers,  Hyoungwoo & Silhui from Seol, Korea, and their super simple, daikon veggie rolls. I see these being very versatile, stuffed with shrimp, seared tofu, smoked mushrooms, all sorts of things. This recipe is just a basic veggie roll, just like the ones that were prepared in my home the other day.

The pickled radish has sugar, so if you want to avoid that, make your own and use a healthier substitute for the sugar, like stevia, or jaggery sugar. Besides that though, this is a great way to get some raw, nutrient density into your body in a very simple and delicious way.

korean daikon radish wrap with vegetables

15-20 slices of Ssam-Mu (sliced & pickled Korean or daikon radish)
NOTE: You can also find it packaged at a Korean and sometimes Japanese Supermarkets
1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed and steamed or roasted
1 bell pepper, color of your choice, trimmed and julienned into slices
1 package enoki mushrooms, earthy base removed and cut into long, loose mushrooms
Your favorite Asian style dipping sauce

OPTIONAL OTHER FILLINGS: shrimp, sliced chicken, fresh herbs like basil, perilla leaves, Read More

Pumpkinseed Pesto Yumminess

If you raise basil on a regular basis, you will encounter those times when you get busy and kind of ignore the basil for a few days, and while you are busy doing other stuff, the basil goes nuts and produces an abundance of flower stalks and leaves. This happened to me the other day and in my rush to prune it all back, I ended up with a giant pile of basil. So, since autumn is just around the corner, I decided to do a variation of pesto using raw pepitas (pumpkinseeds). There is something about the pumpkinseeds’ earthiness and association with the impending fall season that just made it all seem right.

I am still getting some glorious heirloom tomatoes, although that season is nearly over, so I put together this sort of “summer-fall” transitional salad that is vegan, yet packed with high quality, raw protein and healthy fats. This vegan pesto is very versatile and I have been using it in a variety of ways beyond this salad. This recipe is definitely a keeper and a healthier alternative to traditional pesto.

Heirloom Tomato and Pumpkinseed Pesto Salad

2 heirloom tomatoes
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup avocado oil + extra for drizzle
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. raw pipitas (hulled pumpkinseeds) + extra for sprinkling
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice Read More

Fig & Shiitake Bacon Bites

Here is a fun and extremely easy variation on the bacon-wrapped fig. Actually, I wanted to see if I could wrap a fig in a shiitake bacon, but the bacon pieces aren’t quite big or flexible enough. Next time I will try making a portobello bacon. In the meantime, this is what I ended up with, and to my delight, it came out very tasty. Try this as a snack, or a vegan and Paleo-friendly summer hors d’oeuvre, if you go with the vegan cheese, or I would imagine that goat cheese would be equally amazing. You can google shiitake bacon recipes and experiment, or just use the one I came up with here. Making shiitake bacon is much easier than it sounds if you use this quick method.

fig & shiitake bacon bites

For the shiitake bacon:
4 or 5 large shiitake mushroom caps
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. tamari or liquid aminos
1/2 tsp. melted coconut oil
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper Read More

Cheesy Stuffed Paquillo Peppers

Have you ever passed the tapioca starch at the grocery store and wondered what in the world people use it for? Well, as it turns out, it can lend a key hand at making an awesome, meltable vegan cheese that can be made on the stovetop, literally in minutes. The cheese sort of resembles burrata, and has a great stretchy consistency, thanks to the tapioca starch. Tapioca comes from cassava root, so it is basically nothing more than a clean, plant-based stabilizer. I put it to the test with some paquillo peppers, and came up with this healthful version of the ubiquitous jalapeño popper. You can use paquillos, baby bells, jalapeños, or other stuff-able small chile, just make sure you are ready for whatever heat comes with whatever chile you choose. For example, a habanero would be adorable, but so hot you might not enjoy the cheese part. Have fun!

cashew mozzarella-stuffed paquillo peppers

For the Cheese:
There are several recipes for this type of cheese. Until I create one of my own, I like this adaptation from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken the best:

¼ cup raw cashews, soaked for a couple hours
1 cup water
3 tbsp + 2 tsp tapioca starch (a.k.a. tapioca flour)
1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder Read More

Vegan Caprese Happiness

A couple weeks ago I picked up a gorgeous pine nut cheese from Blode Kuh, one of my favorite vendors at the Farmers Market. This cheese was screaming to be made into some version of a caprese salad. Voila! Most times, the simplest stuff using ingredients made with love, make the brightest and most tasty dishes.

vegan caprese with pine nut cheese & roasted pepper dressing

2 vine ripened tomatoes, sliced into fairly thick slices
1 small wheel of pine nut or other aged nut cheese
8-10 fresh basil leaves
1 red bell pepper
1 tbsp. (or more) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 clove garlic, chopped
Juice of 1 small lime
Splash of balsamic vinegar Read More

Green Garlic Almond Cheese

Nothing says Spring like fresh green garlic at the farmer’s market. I grabbed a bunch the other day, and before I could put it into my bag this idea to make fresh raw almond cheese with green garlic popped into my head. This is a fresh, quick cheese that slightly resembles the consistency of a ricotta, and offers a nice, nutritious, dairy-free creaminess. The green garlic made it heavenly. You can use it on a sandwich with vine tomatoes, as an hors d’oeuvre filling or topping- as pictured, or try it in layers of lasagna. Enjoy!

green garlic almond cheese

1 1/4 cup raw almonds, soaked in filtered water for at least 2 hours or overnight
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup water
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/4-1/2 cup sliced green garlic (depending on how strong you want it to taste) Read More

Roasted Pepper & Avocado Sushi

A couple weeks ago I was riding my bicycle through Little Tokyo, which almost always leads to a stopover at the Japanese supermarket. I stocked up on brown sushi rice, grabbed some fresh produce and ventured into some plant-based sushi making when I got home. I ended up with a pretty good variety of totally vegan sushi. This one with red peppers ended up being one of the favorites, partly because of the way the red pepper resembles traditional sushi fish like ahi tuna. In a recent article on my nutrition blog, I shared some high alkaline foods that people in their day to day cooking. Both red pepper and avocado made the list. So, in a way, you can look at this as a healthy, alkalizing sushi! Enjoy!

roasted pepper & avocado sushi

1 cup uncooked brown sushi rice (I used Calrose)
2 cups water
3 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. coconut sugar (or substitute regular cane sugar)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 avocado
3-4 red, yellow, and-or orange bell peppers (depending on size)
Tamari, Teriyaki, or other favorite sushi dipping sauce

First make your rice. Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Put Read More

Socca- Niçoise Chickpea Crepes

Socca, in my opinion, is one of the best kept little secret gems in the world of gluten free cooking and healthier options. Socca is a street food from the South of France, that is so simple to make it is almost mind blowing, consisting of just chickpea flour, olive oil, water, and seasoning. It makes a healthy crepe for breakfast, lunch, or a light dinner, or it can be made a little thicker, and cooked longer for a pizza crust or flatbread effect. The trick is in not trying to flip it over, but instead, letting it cook through from one side.

socca with dijon & fresh vegetables

1 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
1 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for cooking
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. herbes de provence

Suggested Toppings: Dijon mustard, baby spinach, sautéed mushroom, fresh tomato, sautéed zucchini, garlic, steamed snow peas, sprouts, artichoke hearts, roasted eggplant, caramelized onion, roasted fennel, fresh herbs, truffle oil, olive oil, nutritional yeast Read More

Another Shoutout for Figs

Okay, I warned you that there would be more than one post for figs this week. Here is a very simple and quick way to enjoy figs on a lazy summer Sunday. Even the cashew cheese is a “quick” version that does not require fermenting or any other drawn out process. The figs used in this recipe were Turkish figs, which have gorgeous striped outer skin, but you can use any tree ripened fig. I hope you get an opportunity to enjoy this soon.

seared Chinese 5-spice figs with cashew cheese

Fresh ripe figs, as many as you want to enjoy
Chinese 5 Spice
Cashew or your favorite soft cheese (cashew cheese recipe provide below)

Cut the figs in half lengthwise and discard the stem if it is present. Sprinkle a little bit of the Chinese 5 spice on the open side of each of the figs. On a hot skillet, sear the figs, open side first, until the seared side starts to become caramelized. Using a clean, thin spatula, very carefully scoop under the fig and flip it over. The juices of the fig are going to want to stick to the skillet so be sure to be as careful and thorough as possible when flipping, so that you still have some nice spiced coating on the top. Sear the other side of the figs for just a minute and then move over to a plate. Don’t cook the other side for very Read More