Asian Slaw

Yes, those are peanuts in the picture.  No, I don’t usually eat those.  Sunflower seeds are a better choice.  The second time I made this I did have sunflower seeds and used those.  I liked it better.  I came up with this idea after eating at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant.  I get the same salad every time I go there.  Their version likely has soy in it and now that I think about it probably wheat because they use regular soy sauce.  Hmmm and I wonder what they sweeten it with.  I know it isn’t honey… Crap!  The restaurant also adds daikon radish, shrimp and BBQ pork (and does not have the seaweed in it).  I want to try that at home too but that will require some pre-planning.  Does ayone have a good recipe for Vietnamese BBQ pork??   This salad is sweet and salty and was whipped up in 10 minutes.  I almost didn’t post this recipe.  I realize that most people don’t keep Thai basil and arame in their house as a staple. I don’t expect this to be a very popular post.  However, this is currently my favorite salad and if you happen to have access to the ingredients I highly recommend it.

Asian Slaw

Half a head of green cabbage – shredded

1 english cucumber with the skin on – quartered and sliced

fresh Thai basil – handful

fresh mint – handful

big pinch of dried arame (seaweed)

sunflower seeds as a topping

Dressing

1/4 cup EVOO

3 T Braggs liquid aminos or coconut aminos

1 T sesame oil

1/4 cup unsweetened rice vinegar

3-4 T raw honey

Soak the arame in room temperature water.  It softens in just a few minutes and doubles or triples in size.  Next make your dressing.  Combine all ingredients in another bowl and whisk together until well blended.  In your food processor using the slicing blade shred half a head of cabbage.  You could do this by hand too if you are less lazy than I.  Then slice your english cucumber lengthwise into quarters and feed it through the food processor (or slice by hand).  Very coarsely chop the Thai basil and mint.  Add cabbage, basil, cucumber, mint and arame to a large bowl.  Mix everything together.  Dress the salad as you need it.  The dressing keeps well in the fridge.  Top with a handful of sunflower seeds.

This post was shared at http://www.realfoodwholehealth.com/2012/01/fresh-bites-friday-january-27-2012/

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Cranberry Salad

This is too good to not find the time to share.  This recipe is inspired by my friend Stephanie who makes something similar.  Her version has the same basic ingredients but has jello in it.  It is great but I wanted to try something sugar free.  It was her version of this that first introduced me to eating raw cranberries.  Honestly that had never occured to me.  I had only ever had cranberries as cranberry sauce.  I made this a few days ago and it worked out to be a very big bowl. I figured I would never get to the bottom of it and that it was unlikely that anyone else in my family would eat it.  I was wrong on all sides of that thought.  It was all gone in less than 2 days.  True, it was me that ate 90% of it but that may have had something to do with the fact that I hid the bowl in the back of the fridge so it wouldn’t attract attention.  It was super quick to make.  I want to hurry and write this up so I can go make more.  I was thinking about Thanksgiving dinners as I ate this.  We all have experienced the coma that follows the big dinner.  I was always told that it was the tryptophan so something like that in the turkey that makes us sleepy.  I think it is the carbs.  Think about it.  The usual dinner includes stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, marshmallows, gravy, cranberry sauce… and that is all before the dessert.  For me anyway that all spells carb coma.  This salad contains all the flavors of fall without all the carbs.  Enjoy.  And Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Salad

1 12 oz bag whole cranberries

4 peeled oranges cut into chunks

3 small apples – cored (skin left on if they are organic)

3/4 cup pecan pieces

1/4 of a large pomegranate

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1  T honey (optional)

In a large bowl food processor add the cranberries, apples, oranges and pecans.  Pulse until you get a consistency you like.  Transfer into a large bowl and add pomegranate, cinnamon, cloves and honey if you are using it.  Toss to combine.  Adjust to desired sweetness with honey.

Lentil and Cauliflower Salad

I just whipped this up for lunch. Had my camera been working I still wouldn’t have been able to pry it away from my girls to take a picture. Sorry. This was fast and easy to make and very satisfying. I was stunned when both of my girls devoured it. Yes, even the three year old who hates all vegetables.

1/2 cup brown lentils
1 cup raw cauliflower chopped into tiny florets
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 large clove garlic
small pinch of cumin
few drops of agave or honey (maybe 1/4 tsp)
salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to boil add salt and then add lentils. Cook until they are tender but not mushy. While those are cooking prepare the cauliflower and put into medium sized salad bowl. For the dressing: Using a blender or small food processor add garlic, vinegar salt and pepper, blend until smooth. Add cumin and olive oil. Blend until you have a creamy emulsion. Taste for salt and pepper and add a tiny bit of honey or agave. This is just to cut the tang of the vinegar, not to make it sweet. I like to use rice vinegar for salad dressings since it is a bit milder than white vinegar. When lentils are done to your liking drain and give a quick rinse. Add lentils to cauliflower and toss with desired amount of dressing. Serve immediately. I make this salad fairly often. I use this same dressing and lentils and sub veggies. I love this with finely sliced green cabbage or lots of fresh coarsely chopped parsley, celery or broccoli.

Balsamic Salad Dressing

Since going GF I have become accustomed to reading the label for everything we buy. If you don’t have any diet restrictions you maybe haven’t done this. It’s an eye opener. There are some things that have so much stuff in them that don’t seem to resemble food. I try to eat with the thought in mind: “if it’s not food then don’t eat it.” Over time I have noticed that my tastes have changed. One item that always has lots and lots of stuff in it is bottled salad dressing. I can not stand the taste of it now. The vast majority of them have soybean oil in them as a base. I really dislike anything with soy. I think it tastes funky. So I always make my own salad dressings. The variety and possibilities are endless. It is a fraction of the cost of buying it. You can make small amounts so you don’t have to worry about it expiring. Then there is the whole thing with buying more things that will eventually cause more trash. Best of all, homemade salad dressings taste way way way better than bought!!! And it only takes a minute to make them. Here is one of my favorites.

Balsamic Salad Dressing

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt
pinch of celery seed
2 tsp raw  honey
fresh ground pepper

These are approximate measurements. I never measure when making salad dressings. Just wing it and adjust to your tastes. Mix everything in a mason jar and your good to go!

Cesear Salad Dressing

I love this time of year in Arizona. It makes me feel like I am living in paradise. My family in Canada are still dealing with snow and cold and here I am harvesting from my garden. I will savor it because during the summer it feels like hell and is just as hot. My garden is coming along really well. Last night I made a Thai noodle dish with chicken and broccoli. The broccoli was right from the garden. It was awesome. My lettuce is also doing really well. It is growing faster than I can eat it. So I have been eating a lot of salads lately. Even Sage is loving the lettuce. She routinely has a fistful of it and eats it just plain. Rori on the other hand… If it is green she won’t even try it. Anyway, here is the salad that I have been eating nearly daily. I never buy salad dressings anymore. They are gross. Nearly all of them. Ever look at the ingredients on those dressings? Ick! It is so easy to make your own. This is my favorite. It is a cesear dressing but I put it on regular leaf lettuce from my garden.

Cesear Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 minced garlic clove
3 anchovy fillets
1 T Dijon mustard
1 raw egg yolk (make sure it is fresh)
salt and pepper to taste

Put everything into a blender or mini food processor and blend until smooth. Lightly dress salad and top with whatever you like. My personal favorites lately have been pine nuts and black olives!

Lentil Cesear Salad with Pine Nuts

I whipped this up for lunch today and loved it. I am hoping this lunch negates my breakfast of peanut butter fudge which was so fantastic. That was a recipe where I can’t find the one that inspired the final product. I will keep searching because it too is a keeper. Anyway the salad was terrific too and ultra healthy.

Dressing

3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 anchovy fillets
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1 egg yolk *make sure you have really fresh eggs*
salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything in a mini food processor and blend until creamy.

For the salad I combined one romaine heart, 1/4 cup pine nuts and half a cup (raw measure) of cooked brown lentils. I cooked them in salted water and I like them a little firm to the bite. I hate it when they get over cooked and started to fall apart and taste grainy. Spoon dressing over top, as much or as little as you like. Then toss it all together and voila lunch is served. Actually I added 5 or 6 anchovy fillets diced finely but I love them and no one else seems to so feel free to omit.