Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kale Salad, Part Deux

It seems weird that I’m posting salad recipes in February, but temperatures have hit the 70s here in Dallas. I decided to make the most of this unexpected and temporary warm weather and make a raw version of this recipe.

I don’t have much else to say except that in hindsight, I am so grateful we moved to Dallas. I don’t think I would’ve been able to survive the 2013 – 2014 winter in Chicago. Sending lots of sunshine to my friends up North.



Ingredients for one serving

For the salad
2 cups kale – roughly shredded
1 cup carrot – chopped
1 cup cucumber – chopped
1 cup beetroot – grated
½ an avocado – sliced
1 tbsp red onion – chopped
¼ cup cilantro – chopped
1 tbsp walnuts – chopped
1 serrano pepper – chopped (optional)

For the dressing
2 tbsp tahini paste
1 tsp EVOO
Juice of half a lime
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne Pepper (optional)

Method

Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.

Mix the kale, cilantro, onion and serrano pepper. Pour the dressing over it.

Layer the rest of the ingredients on top of the kale mix so that it looks like a colorful veggie pyramid. I find that this works much better than slathering dressing all over the salad.

Serve immediately. 


Friday, January 31, 2014

Kale, Sweet Potato, Beetroot & Avocado Salad

I won’t blame you at all if you give my health-related resolutions the side eye. Over the years, I’ve posted about trying many different things; South Beach, six small meals, Weight Watchers and other cult classics. Some worked, some didn’t. Luckily after my three month WW stint last year, I reached my goal weight and (thanks to running and Bikram Yoga), managed to maintain it.

Then a few months ago I decided I preferred eating more over eating less. It all started in November when my friend Emma visited me and we traveled to Costa Rica and Mexico. I rarely let the actions of others change the way I live my life but her food philosophy impacted me so much that a switch flipped in my head and I simply couldn’t continue eating the way I used to: watching every bite, running 100 extra steps to compensate for each slice of bread, eating 1/4th of a brownie to minimize guilt and using measuring cups to serve myself.

I’m no health expert so the last thing I want to do is preach, but the gist of what I realized (and this is nothing new) was that I needed to eat more, eat whole and eat happily. So when I came back, I ate; and then I ate some more; and then I ate without guilt; and I didn’t gain an ounce.

This salad is one of my eat-as-much-as-you-want-to recipes. I make it once a fortnight and hope it lasts for two meals, but it rarely does. Kale and sweet potato, two things I didn’t touch with a ten-foot pole until last year have somehow become staples in my kitchen, but who’s complaining?

The key to getting this salad right it is timing your steps. Otherwise the veggies might over cook, the kale & dressing mix might turn into a mushy lump or both.


Ingredients

For the salad
4 cups kale – roughly shredded
1 ½ cups sweet potato – cubed
1 ½ cups beetroot – cubed
1 small avocado – chopped
1 tbsp za’atar
1 tsp paprika
Cooking spray
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper


For the dressing(adapted from here)
1 tsp EVOO
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper



Method

Pre-heat oven to 450 F.

Arrange sweet potato and beetroot pieces on a baking sheet. Season with salt, pepper, paprika & za’atar. Spray and bake for 30 min.

Meanwhile whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Pour over Kale. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Mix in chopped avocado.

Mix in the cooked sweet potatoes & beetroot.

Scarf it all down guilt-free!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Butternut Squash & Butter Bean Soup

I turn 29 tomorrow. In honor of my slowing metabolism, I’ve decided to post a recipe for a quick and healthy soup.

I first started eating Butternut Squash when I did Bon Appétit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse in 2011. It wasn’t love at first bite, but once I learned to spice it the right way, I’ve regularly cooked with it.

I’ve started making soups in the oven instead of on the pot. It’s just so much quicker and easier. The veggies retain their flavor and you need minimal oil with this method. Just layer everything in a dish, season, spray, bake, puree, serve. No sautéing onions, stirring, waiting for a simmer or washing large pots. You also end up with free time to make a side or a salad when the veggies are in the oven.

I won’t tag this soup as a vegan recipe for obvious reasons. If you want to make a vegan version however, skip the Feta and add ½ cup of organic veg stock instead of milk.



This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients
3 cups butternut squash – cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can butter beans – drained and rinsed thoroughly
4 large cloves garlic – whole
½ cup fat free milk
2 tbsp Feta cheese – crumbled
1 tsp EVOO
1 tbsp za’atar
1 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp chili flakes (optional)
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Method

Pre-heat oven to 400 F.

Place butternut squash and 1/3 of the butter beans in a baking dish. Coat evenly with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and za’tar. Drizzle with EVOO.

Wrap garlic cloves in a small piece of aluminum foil. Place in one corner of the baking dish.

Bake for 30 min or until the butternut squash cooks.

Purée the whole thing in a blender, sans the aluminum foil of course. Stir in milk, chili flakes and the remaining butter beans.

Top with Feta.


Enjoy with a side salad or crusty bread or both.