Sweet Nutrition for Rosh Hashanah

Shana TovahIn the midst of all the Rosh Hashanah greetings this weekend, I decided to whip up something that touches on the Jewish New Year tradition of consuming sweet foods, like apples, honey and dates. Here is a nutrient rich, yet sweet and delicious salad that you can definitely celebrate if you are celebrating the Jewish New Year, or even throughout your year-end holidays. This is a delicious stand-alone salad, or an accompaniment for your Thanksgiving turkey or other holiday feast. And, the Omega-3 punch you get from the walnuts and walnut oil helps you keep your body in balance during the indulgent holidays. Enjoy! 

Spaghetti Squash, Beet & Apple Salad

3 cups cooked and cooled spaghetti squash strands
2 medium beets, grated
2 apples, grated
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. minced dates, or more if you like it extra sweet
1 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. walnut oil
1 tbsp. fresh tarragon or parsley 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

Avocado & Pear, What a Pair!

I love it when a random “grab two things and see what happens” move in the kitchen turns out to be so yummy. Here is an extremely easy recipe that mixes pears with avocados, and finishes it off with some fresh lime and basil. Add this to your list of simple raw fruit and vegetable go-to’s. It’s perfectly refreshing for hot summer days. Enjoy!

avocado & pear salad with basil lime dressing

1 fresh pear
1 avocado
1 lime, juiced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. raw honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. avocado oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
2 tbsp. julienned fresh basil Read More

Black Bean Rotini Salad

I thought I would squeeze in a 4th of July recipe this morning! Here is a gluten free pasta salad that is packed with summertime garden goodness, contains all the comfort and zesty flavors of the holiday, but won’t leave your body starving for awesome nutrition. I named it “L.A. Summer” because it contains all the stuff that you might find growing in one of L.A.’s back yards or urban farms, like nopales, cucumber, tomatoes, and peppers, and it has some hints of Mexico and the Southwest in it’s flavor profile, two prominent cuisines in the area. Enjoy, and happy Independence Day!

L.A. summer black bean rotini salad

1/ 12-oz. bag of black bean rotini pasta
2 average sized vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1 Japanese or equivalent cucumber, scored and diced
2 cups Prepared Nopalitos
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 ears of corn, not yet shucked
1/c cup loosely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup hulled hempseed Read More

romanesco squash with spring onion & fresh mint

Summer Squash Season is Here

I have struggled with my food plot for the past few years, probably due to lack of focus, failure to be organized with watering, and-or misdirected soil maintenance. Fortunately, a new edible plant nursery opened up down the street. In just a couple of months, they have helped my garden transform and heal from whatever funk it was in. Loretta Allison of Spade & Seeds brings her magnificent seedlings to Fig Earth Supply, much to the delight of our neighborhood. Loretta raises most of the seedlings herself, with just a small selection brought in from outside suppliers. I took a couple of their workshops, and tapped into her amazing garden of knowledge, and then gleefully planted her starters, one of which was a romanesco squash. As a result, I have this wonderful, simple recipe to share, comprised of just garden zucchini, spring onions, and fresh mint. You don’t have to grow food to make this, but try to get your ingredients from the Farmers Market or in as fresh a state as possible. It really makes a difference in flavor and nutrition.

summer squash with spring onions & fresh mint

2 large romanesco or other fresh garden summer squash, cut into hearty pieces
2-3 spring onions (depending on size), sliced, use the onion bulb and all the greens
2 sprigs fresh mint, julienned, with about 6 leaves left whole for garnish
1 tbsp. coconut oil (or substitute grass-fed butter)
Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Heat the coconut oil in a large sauté pan on high heat. Add the squash and onions at the same time. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the squash starts to brown and become tender, and the onions start to brown, but not caramelize or burn too much. You want the Read More

Simple Brussels Sprout Brilliance

Brussels sprouts, you either love them, or you hate them. I have both prepared, and eaten Brussels sprouts many different ways: steamed, sautéed, braised in oatmeal stout, grated raw in salads; some preparations good, some not so good. So who knew that the quick and easy, clean and vegan preparation would turn out to be so delightful? Well, not me, but now I am sold. This dish provides the devout vegan with essential B12 from the nooch, essential fats, and a complete amino acid protein profile from the hempseed. But don’t let the word “vegan” put you off. This is absolutely delicious, light, and satiating and can be enjoyed on just about any diet or lack thereof.

brussels sprouts with hempseed & lemon zest

10-15 oz. Brussels sprouts, whole, or cut in half or quarters, depending on size
1-2 tbsp. vegan butter from healthy oils, like avocado, olive, etc. or coconut oil (suit amount to your taste and oil consumption needs)
2 tbsp. hulled hempseed
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast Read More

Riced Cauliflower Salad TBG

I’m having a “mini-series” of riced cauliflower in my kitchen! Riced cauliflower is great as a raw salad, because cauliflower florets are already slightly tender and porous to start with, so, when mixed with other salad ingredients it makes a great base! So, a while, back, I tried using it as you would pasta in a classic “TBG” (tomato, basil, garlic) salad, and the results were delicious.

riced cauliflower salad with tomato, basil & garlic

2 cups raw riced cauliflower
1 tomato, diced
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 tbsp. julienned basil
2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (depending on desired oil intensity)
1/2 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tbsp. hulled hempseed
Sea salt & pepper to taste Read More

Saffron Riced Cauliflower

The other day I picked up a bag of “riced cauliflower” at the market, for the first time. I have been playing around with it, both hot and as a raw salad, with delightful results. In fact, the other day I posted a candid quickie of a raw riced cauliflower salad I had created for lunch, that invoked such a positive response in the social media world, I have decided to do two “riced cauliflower” recipes in a row on here. First though, I want to share this extremely simple recipe that brings saffron into the picture. The cruciferous personality of cauliflower, both in taste and smell, seems to blend extremely well with the distinctive flavor and aroma of saffron. I enjoyed this with some seared wild tuna but you could easily add in some legumes, sprouts, and-or vegetables for a vegan entree.

saffron riced cauliflower

2 cups riced cauliflower
1 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth for non-vegan)
1 generous pinch of saffron threads (about 1/4 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. arrow root dissolved in 1/2 tsp. water
Sea salt and pepper for taste
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Splash of olive oil

Place the broth and saffron in a sauce pan and bring to a rolling simmer. Let simmer until the broth is reduced by about half. Add the dissolved arrow root and stir in to incorporate. Read More

Simple Pumpkin Architecture

When I go to the market and see all the different types of gourds and winter squash, all I want to do is bring them home and play with them in the kitchen. There is something architecturally fulfilling about taking a big edible thing like a pumpkin and bringing out it’s simple pleasures, and presenting it in its minimally fragmented glory. Here is an extremely easy dish you can make as a vegan entree or an interesting side dish on your next holiday dinner table.

whole roasted pumpkin with mushroom ragout

1 average sized sugar pumpkin
Splash of olive oil
6 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced thick
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced thick
2 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth, warmed to just under boiling
1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. arrow root powder Read More

5 Spice Eggplant with Soba Noodles

Yay! Two of my favorite things, eggplant with Chinese 5 spice and soba noodles, rolled into one dish. I have been wanting to try this for a while and finally got around to it, and I am really glad I did. You could probably also add other veggies to this like roasted peppers, chopped spinach, and-or steamed bok choy, for example, to give it more dimension, but I love it like this, just simple and straightforward. Enjoy!

5 spice eggplant with soba noodles

8 ounces dried soba noodles (look for 100% buckwheat if possible-it’s healthier)
1 large regular, or 3 Japanese eggplants
2 tbsp. tamari or liquid aminos
2 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. rice vinegar (unseasoned)
4 tbsp. mild oil like grape seed
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. Chinese 5 spice
1/2 tsp. garlic chile sauce or other hot sauce Read More