Tag Archives: Salad

June 2019 Cooking Class – Taco Salad, Ranch Dressing and Oatmeal Cookies

June 23, 2019

June’s cooking class was all about summer fun. Cooking up something simple, nutritious and delicious in no time at all.  Inspired by Dr. Greger’s video Antioxidants in a Pinch : Dried Herbs and Spices, we focused on adding herbs and spices to our food as a nutritional booster. And as usual, the menu included beans, greens, and berries.

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An exciting addition to this class was the presence of three young folk – 2 who were fifteen years old and a 10 year old, who love to cook. Hopefully they were inspired to think about the nutritional value of foods as well as deliciousness. With the kids in mind, instead of a salad we had raw veggies with a creamy ranch dressing/dip. Our main entree was a build your own taco bar. Dessert was fresh organic strawberries and oatmeal cookies. All whole food plant based, and gluten free. And as a bonus, we whipped up a fantastic Pesto with fresh basil from my greenhouse.

We started our class with a Tropical Green Smoothie. I will have to admit, this one was inspired by a McDonald’s commercial for their Banana, Pineapple and Mango Smoothie. But with added oats, greens, flax and spices, this one packs a big nutritional punch.

Tropical Green Smoothie with Oat Milk

For those new to green smoothies, start with less greens and build up. Some for the ginger and turmeric. Both Ginger and Turmeric are great spices with lots of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

This smoothie is made with plant milk. For a change, we used oat milk. Oats are locally grown and oat milk is easy to make from ordinary rolled oats. For the class, we used spinach, freshly picked from my garden, in the smoothie.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pitted date
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen
  • 1 orange
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger (or ¼ to ½ tsp dry)
  • ½ inch piece fresh turmeric (or 1/8 to ¼ tsp dry)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 to 2 cups kale or spinach
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks

Directions


Place water, date and rolled oats in a blender. Blend until smooth. (If you were making oat milk for use in another recipe, you would strain this milk through a nutbag or similar cloth to remove the pulp. For the smoothie, we left the pulp in) Note: you can substitute the oat milk with any plant milk of your choice, or with water.

Add the remaining ingredients to the blender with the oat milk and process until smooth.

Creamy Ranch Dressing

This Creamy Ranch Dressing also works perfect as a dip. Made with a combination of cashews and tofu it is smooth and creamy and lower in fat. The recipe is a slightly modified version of Kim Campbell’s in The PlantPure Kitchen. The dressing/dip adds the herbs parsley and dill to your diet.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup packed firm tofu
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 tbsp fresh)
  • 1 tsp dried dill (or 1 tbsp fresh)

Directions


(If not using a high speed blender, soak cashews for 2 hours. Drain.) Place all ingredients in a blender except for parsley and dill, starting with ¼ cup water. Blend until smooth, added more water if needed. Once creamy, taste and adjust seasonings. Then add parsley and dill and pulse to blend in.

Taco Bar

Tacos make a great weekday meal. Prepare your “taco meat” and sour cream ahead of time (both freeze well) for a fast, delicious, nutritious meal sure to please everyone. Serve it in a taco shell, lettuce wrap, in a burrito shell or as a salad. The taco filling is chock full of herbs and spices for flavor and nutrition.

This recipe was inspired by Angela Liddon’s Ultimate Green Taco Wraps in the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook, the Amazing Cauliflower Tacos from brandnewvegan.com and the Taco Salad at Circle Kitchen, a plantbased restaurant in Winnipeg.

Ingredients

  • Taco Meat:
    • 1 cup cooked green or brown lentils
    • 1 cup walnut pieces
    • ½ small head of cauliflower
    • 1 ½ cup beans, 1 can rinsed and drained (black, pinto, chili, etc)
    • 1 cup cooked brown rice, or more as desired
    • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire Sauce (optional, gluten free if necessary))
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari (gluten free if necessary)
    • 2 tbsp chili powder
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp garlic powder or granules
    • 1 tsp onion powder or granules
    • 2 tsp oregano
    • ¼ tsp black pepper
    • ¼ tsp salt

Directions

In a food processor, place walnuts and lentils and pulse until coarsely chopped (about the consistency of rice). Remove and place in a bowl. Place cauliflower florets in the food processor and pulse until about the consistency of rice. Remove and place about 2 cups of cauliflower rice in the bowl with the lentils and walnuts. Add tamari and Worcestershire, if using, and toss to coat. Mix spices in a small bowl and then add to taco meat bowl. Toss well to coat. Place mixture on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes. Or place in a nonstick frying pan and heat on medium heat until cauliflower is cooked through. Add the beans and rice to the mixture.

Ingredients

  • Veggies:
    • 2 peppers, any color
    • 1 red onion
    • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Slice peppers and onions in long thin strips. Dry saute in a non-stick pan until onions are translucent. Add water or broth, 1 tbsp at a time if necessary to keep from sticking. Season with salt and pepper.

Ingredients

  • Cashew Sour Cream:
    • 1 cup raw cashews
    • ½ cup cooked white beans
    • ½ to ¾ cup water
    • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 to 3 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
    • ½ tsp onion powder (optional)
    • ½ tsp garlic powder (optional)

Directions

Soak cashews in water for 2 hours. Drain. Place all ingredients in a blender, beginning with ½ cup water. Blend until smooth, adding more water as necessary to keep moving.

Ingredients

  • Toppings:
    • Lettuce or greens
    • Tomatoes, diced
    • Avocado, diced
    • Green onions, sliced
    • Cilantro, chopped
    • Sriracha
    • Salsa
    • Lime wedges

Directions

For a Taco Salad – in a pasta bowl, place a bed of chopped lettuce or greens. Add a layer of the peppers and onions. Sprinkle with the taco meat. Top with tomatoes, avocados, green onion, and cilantro ,as you desire. Add Sour Cream and Sriracha (if desired) and squeeze some lime juice over it all.

The taco meat can also be served in a lettuce cup, taco shell or burrito wrap.

Oatmeal Cookies

This cookie recipe is inspired by Rip’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies in the Engine 2 Cookbook and a date sweetened oatmeal cookie from straightupfood.com  By blending your oats into oat flour in your food processor and then adding the dates, you  can finely chop the dates easily.

The dough should be sticky enough to form into balls.

The first time I made this recipe I used homemade almond butter which was on the dry side. I found I needed a touch of milk to get it to hold together. During the class, we made the cookies using purchased peanut butter and no milk was necessary.

Adding cinnamon to your cookies is a great way to enhance the nutritional value.

Ingredients

  • 12 Medjool Dates, pitted
  • 2 cups rolled oats, divided
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup chocolate chips, raisons, cranberries or walnut pieces

Directions

Pitt the Medjool Dates. In a food processor, place 1 ½ cups of the rolled oats and process until the oats are ground to a fine flour. Add the flax, baking powder and cinnamon and process until incorporated. Add dates one at a time and processes until finely chopped and incorporated into the flour mixture. Add almond butter and process until fully incorporated. Remove from food processor and place in a bowl. Add vanilla and maple syrup. Mix well. (Note: if your nut butter was very dry, you may find the mixture too dry to form a ball. If so, add a tablespoon or tow of plant based milk, one tablespoon at a time, adding just enough to allow the mixture to hold together.)

Add chocolate chips, dried fruit of chopped nuts. Mix well. Form into 1 to 2 inch balls and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake at 350F for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet 5 to 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Pesto

When packing up for the cooking class, I found the basil in my greenhouse ready for a good haircut. I took the basil with me and made up a batch of my favorite pesto from foodrevolution.org. Served with Mary’s seed crackers. This recipe freezes really well and is a great way to put away an abundance of fresh summer basil to enjoy of the winter months.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups basil
  • ½ cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper
  • About 4 tbsp water ( to thin)

Directions

Place all ingredients, except water, in food processor or blender. Blend, adding water as necessary to thin out.

Use immediately or freeze in ice cube trays for later use.

Don’t forget, summer is a great time to enjoy nature’s bounty of fresh fruit and veggies. Strawberry season is upon us, and nothing beats the taste of fresh organic strawberries.  They make a great dessert, and so easy you don’t need a recipe to prepare them. Eat your berries, every day!

Chinese Noodle Salad

July 15, 2017

More on the theme of great summer salads. The original recipe for this one called for chicken and a whole bunch of oil. I cut out both the chicken and oil and it is so tasty that Ken declared he could eat this everyday!

 

The recipe calls for those ramen noodles from a package of instant soup.   I substituted a Brown Rice and Millet whole food ramen (purchased at Costco). However, since they were not instant I soaked them in hot water first to soften them instead of putting them dry into the salad. (Boil 2 cups water and pour over 2 cakes of ramen noodles. Let stand a couple minutes until just tender. Drain, rinse with cold water and add to salad)

I made the salad again using the instant ramen noodles but while delicious, it was a bit too crunchy for my liking. I recommend letting the salad sit in the dressing for at least 1/2 hour before serving to allow the noodles to soften up a bit. I modified the recipe to add the lettuce and almonds just before serving so they don’t get soggy.

 

Chinese Noodle Salad

  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • ½ cup orange sections
  • 2packages ramen noodles, crushed **
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onion
  • 3 cups shredded lettuce
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Combine dressing ingredients together. Mix all salad ingredients, except lettuce and almonds, in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and let stand 30 minutes to allow the noodles to soak up some of the dressing and soften.

** Or substitute cold cooked noodles like the Brown Rice and Millet ones I used or soba noodles.

 

 

July 2017 Cooking Class – Great Summer Salads

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.

Green Smoothie

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.

Modified from:  http://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/easy-black-bean-salad-recipe/  

Couscous Salad

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

Dressing

  • 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. )

Caesar Salad

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.

Dressing:

  • 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

Salad:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Kale
  • 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.

Fruit Salad

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.