July 9, 2017
The theme for this month’s cooking class was Summer Salads. Summer means time for enjoying the outdoors and these quick and easy, cool and refreshing summer salads are a great way to reduce time in the kitchen. They can be used as a side dish or can easily be made into a whole meal by adding a whole grain roll or baked potato. And they are great to take to barbecues and picnics.
This class we had a discussion on fats/oils in our diets. While a healthy diet includes fats, it is best we get them from whole foods like seeds, nuts, and avocado. This article by Kim Campbell provides some good reasons why to eliminate oil.
Thanks to James for taking pictures. I will update the post with them later.
As usual, our class started with a refreshing green smoothie. July’s smoothie was beet greens, picked fresh from my garden, apple, pineapple and frozen raspberries. Its a bit more tart than most of my smoothies but still delicious. The red in the beet greens and the raspberries combine to give this smoothie a beautiful red color.
- 2 cups greens (beet greens, spinach, kale, parsley, mint, cilantro, etc)
- 2 cups water
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (apple, raspberry, banana, mango, pineapple, orange, berries, etc)
Place in blender in order given. Blend until smooth.
Black Bean Salad
This salad is a long time favorite of mine for potlucks. It always gets rave reviews. It makes a great summer supper meal just by adding a baked potato. (Note: you can make great baked potatoes in your slow cooker. Just poke the potatoes, place in the cooker, cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high. No need to heat up your oven!)
If you are not a fan of cilantro or avocados, just leave them out. I like adding the avocado just before serving to keep it from getting mushy or dark colored. Also, tomatoes taste best when not refrigerated, so I add the tomatoes before serving as well.
- Two 16-ounce cans black beans drained and rinsed WELL!
- 2 red peppers, chopped
- 1 ½ cup canned or frozen corn
- ½ Red onion, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
- 1 large mango, diced (optional)
- 2 limes, juice and zest
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or more to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 very large tomato, chopped (or use cherry tomatoes cut in half)
- 2 small avocados, diced (optional)
Combine all ingredients except for tomatoes and avocado in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Take the salad out of the fridge at least 1 hour before serving. Add tomatoes. Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with a more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.
This salad is a spin off from a quinoa tabbouleh salad. No grain is faster to prepare than couscous. And the hemp hearts add a boost of protein. You can easily substitute cooked quinoa for the couscous. Serve with a green salad for a full meal.
- 1 ½ cups boiling water
- 2 cup whole wheat couscous
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley (or more to taste)
- ½ cup hemp hearts
- 2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 8 green onions, diced (about ¾ cup)
- ½ tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 2 clove garlic, minced
In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add couscous. Cover and remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork . Cool. Add remaining salad ingredients to the cooled couscous. Mix dressing and add to the salad and serve.
Options – you can substitute quinoa for the couscous. (1 cup quinoa to 1 ¾ cup water, simmer 15 minutes, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork. )
This salad is a spin off from one in Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows cookbook. She used almonds, but I prefer cashews. I was thrilled to find you can substitute cooked white beans (also called Navy Beans) for part of the cashews. Also, you can add a bit of kale to this classic romaine salad and know one will mind at all. Instead of bacon bits, I like to add sunflower seeds for a nice crunch and boost of protein.
Note: While I prefer to cook my beans using dry beans, you can buy cooked small white beans or Navy beans in a can. Since you only need 1/4 cup, drain and rinse the beans and freeze any leftovers to use in another dish. Or freeze in 1/4 cup packages for future Caesar Salads.
- ¼ cup raw unsalted cashews and ¼ cup cooked white beans (or 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (vegan)
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- Romaine lettuce
- Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Red onion, sliced thin
- Sunflower seeds (raw or roasted and salted)
- Whole grain croutons (optional)
Soak cashews for 2 to 8 hours, drain. Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Chop kale fine and massage for a few minutes to tenderize. Chop romaine and add to kale. Add dressing and toss. Add remaining ingredients and toss again.
If you can’t find raw unsalted cashews, you can use roasted unsalted ones as well.
A fruit salad makes a great summer dessert. It takes no heat to prepare and provides just the right amount of sweetness to finish off any meal. The salad is good on its own, but to dress it up for company, try this creamy ginger dressing made with coconut milk yogurt (also sold as Cultured Yogurt).
Feel free to mix this up with your favorite fruits and use the amount as a guide only. I managed to pick up a basket of fresh picked local strawberries so our salad had more strawberries than the 2 cups called for in the recipe.
- 1 cup coconut milk yogurt, unsweetened
- 1 tbsp finely minced ginger (or more to taste)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
- 4 mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
- 2 apples, diced
- 2 cups pineapple, diced
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 cup seedless grapes
- 2 cups strawberries, cut in half
Mix yogurt, minced ginger and maple syrup and place in a separate serving bowl. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
Place oranges, apples and pineapple in a large bowl. Toss to coat apples with the liquid. Add blueberries, grapes and strawberries and gently stir to combine. Serve fruit with a dollop of ginger yogurt on top.
You can change this salad up by using any mixture of your favourite fruit. Change up the yogurt sauce by omitting the ginger, using cane sugar and adding ½ tsp vanilla.
Note: next class is not until September.