Hello! I’m not sure what the weather is doing where you are at but for us it went from sort of warm to HOT overnight. Summer has arrived. Sunny skies, hot cars, and lots of sweating. It was so hot last week I gave in and put in our window a/c units. We don’t run them all day but it makes a huge difference in cooling the house down when I cook. This being said I try not to use the oven much or even the stove top if I don’t have to. And this is where the inspiration for this salad came about.
Besides the mung bean noodles it’s all raw – snap peas, carrots, celery, scallion, bean sprouts, mango, cilantro, and thai basil. Lots of crunch and flavor tied together with a ‘peanut’ sauce, or rather a vegan sunbutter sauce. I made a huge batch of this to enjoy for dinner with Josh and to have leftovers for lunch. The flavors of this chilled salad were vibrant and it’s a great meal for a hot weathered night. To make this salad a bit more of a one bowl meal I served it with baked savory tofu.
Thai Noodle Salad with ‘Peanut’ Sauce (Vegan & GF)
A gluten free and vegan thai noodle salad.
- 7oz package edamame and mung bean fettuccine
- snap peas
- bean sprouts
- thai basil
- zest of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup sunbutter (sunflower butter)
- 1" knob fresh ginger, grated
- 1/8 cup coconut aminos
- 1 lime, juiced
- ~1/4 cup coconut milk
- Cook noodles according to package. Rinse and set aside to drain.
- In a large bowl prepare and add all salad ingredients. I used my mandolin to medium julienne the carrot, thinly slice the celery, and large julienne the mango. I thinly chopped the snap peas and scallion. The mung bean I left whole along with the cilantro leaves and thai basil leaves. (My thai basil leaves were small, chop if they are large.) Add the lime zest and the drained noodles. Gently combine.
- Prepare dressing: in a bowl add all ingredients, seasoning generously with s&p. Using an immersion blender blend to combine. Taste test and add more of any ingredient if needed. (Start with 1/8 cup of the coconut milk and add it as needed. You don't want the dressing to be too thin.)
- Pour dressing over salad, toss to evenly dress, and chill before serving.
I didn't measure out how much of each vegetable I used but instead added until I was happy with the balance. Feel free to switch up the veggies if you prefer!
I served this with baked savory tofu, sliced into thin strips and quickly browned in a skillet.
There are a few nights a week where it’s just me an the kids for dinner. Most of time I opt to not cook throwing together something easy or eating leftovers. I figure it’s a night off from ‘real’ cooking. But every now and then I’m inspired to whip something up just for myself. I see what I have in the fridge and an idea comes to life. Most of the time these meals tend to be my favorite. Minimal planning just a moment of creativity coming to life. It brings some spontaneity into my life. Something I don’t have much of these days. And I’m ok with this but it’s nice to see it creep in unexpectedly especially when it’s doing something I truly love, like cooking.
Portobello & Tomatoes with Mashed Cauliflower
A simple mashed cauliflower topped with a stir fry of portobello mushrooms and tomatoes. Fresh basil tops it off for a nice aromatic touch.
- 1 small head of cauliflower
- 1 tbsp ghee
- splash almond milk
- garlic powder
- manchego cheese (sheeps milk)
- 2 portobello mushroom caps, stem removed and sliced into thin strips
- Italian seasoning
- garlic powder
- handful small tomatoes, halved
- fresh basil
- Break head of cauliflower down into florets and steam until super tender. Place in a bowl and add the ghee. Season with garlic powder and s&p. Using an immersion blender start to blend the cauliflower into a puree adding a bit of almond milk as needed. I only used a splash. Grate manchego cheese and blend in.
- Meanwhile heat up a large skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil (I'm loving how coconut oil cooks and have been using this lately). Add the sliced mushrooms and season them with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and s&p. Cook until browned and the juices start to release ~5 minutes or so. Add the halved tomatoes and continue to cook another few minute until the tomatoes have started to soften but still hold their shape.
- Place cauliflower mash on a dish and top with the mushroom sauté. Julienne the fresh basil and serve.
I tend to avoid cow's milk cheese but feel free to use whatever cheese you prefer. Parmesan or pecorino romano would be a just as delicious substitute.
Even though I cooked for myself, this makes enough for 2, lunch for the next day :)
On a typical day I make greek salads using rice as the base. Yes you read that right, at home I make rice greek salads and leave the lettuce based ones for the restaurants. But since I’m trying something else, cauliflower is slowly becoming my new best friend. Typically I don’t love cauliflower but I’m finding ways I really do enjoy it. It’s all about discipline when it comes to this protocol, counting your macros. It’s a personal decision I’ve made. I’m doing it for myself, gaining more knowledge, and trying to achieve a better state of fitness and physique. I did make the decision to take on this venture right as the holidays approach, which is going to be a true test of motivation and balance. I will completely own my cheat meals while navigating through traveling and being out of town to the best of my ability. I mentioned I will do a post strictly explaining my approach to counting macros sometime in the near future. Stay tuned!
Now back to this recipe. When I eat cauliflower one of my preferred methods is roasted. Flavored with garlic and lemon juice it transforms into something really delicious. A perfect base to a salad. And from here I ran with it adding in some other veggies, making a greek inspired dressing, and topping it off with some feta cheese. Always sheeps milk feta. It will come packed in brine and should be from Greece. If you do a taste test you will quickly realize how superior it is to get the real stuff! I buy mine from Trader Joe’s, finding it to be priced appropriately for our budget.
This salad is vegetarian and to fulfill my protein intake I served it along with a side of ground lamb. I kept it simple browning it with lots of garlic, lots of fresh rosemary, and topping it with lots of fresh parsley. I was trying to keep my cooking time to a minimum but making lamb meatballs to serve on top would make for a prettier presentation. Just a thought..
A greek inspired roasted cauliflower salad.
- 1 small head cauliflower
- 1 small head romanesco (or use one large head of cauliflower)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 meyer lemon
- olive oil
- 5 green onions
- 3 kale leaves
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoon capers
- 3 oz feta cheese, sheeps milk
- 1 tomato, chopped
For the dressing:
- zest of 1 meyer lemon
- juice of 1/2 meyer lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard (I used German style)
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon greek seasoning
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Break cauliflower and romanesco into bite sized pieces and place in plastic produce bag. Add a drizzle of olive oil and shake around to coat. Place cauliflower and romanesco in a 9x13 pyrex dish.
- Mince garlic and add to cauliflower. Season with s&p. Zest meyer lemon and set zest aside. Juice half of the lemon over the cauli/romanesco. Roast in oven for 25-30 until tender and lightly charred. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Place whole green onions in produce bag to lightly coat with olive oil. Place in same pyrex dish and roast for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Meanwhile remove stems from kale, wash, and dry. Chop into small pieces and place in a salad bowl. Massage with your clean hands until it starts to break down. Add the cauliflower.
- Place the lemon zest in a small jar and add the dressing ingredients.. lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, mustard, maple syrup, and greek seasoning. Season with s&p. Cover with lid and shake. Taste and adjust any ingredients if needed. Pour over cauliflower and kale, mix well.
- Chop green onion and add to salad along with kalamata olives, capers, tomato, and lightly crumbled feta. Season with s&p and toss gently.
- Serve at room temperature.
I chose to serve this salad along with ground lamb which I seasoned with lots of garlic, fresh rosemary, and fresh chopped parsley.
Just as I announce my welcoming of fall I jump back into summer recipes. But what can I say, garden tomatoes have a special place in my mouth. I need to consume as many as I can before the season officially ends! We do have a steady supply of tomatoes coming in from our garden, but a friend had a nice bounty she needed to unload so I happily volunteered to take them off her hands. One can never have too many garden tomatoes!
In cherishing the beautiful sweet flavor of garden tomatoes I opted to create a no cook tomato sauce. Grated tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, and s&p. The easiest quickest tomato sauce ever! Served with spaghetti, pecorino romano, and more fresh basil. Serious yum in the tum. And for a little extra something, I tossed in some balsamic marinated garden cucumbers right before serving. Maybe I’m not quite ready for summer to end after all.
A no cook tomato sauce perfect for your garden tomatoes.
for the sauce
- 3-4 large tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- handful of fresh basil leaves
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- spaghetti (I used Jovial brown rice - gluten free)
- pecorino romano
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- Slice tomatoes in half horizontally. Using a box grater or grater attachment on a mandolin grate the tomatoes into a large bowl. Gently press the cut side of each tomato half into the grater as you grate, and you'll be left with just the skin to discard. Awesome!
- Press or finely mince garlic and add to the tomatoes.
- Thinly slice basil leaves and add to the grated tomatoes.
- Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and season with s&p.
- Cook noodles according to box until just al dente. Drain and add to the tomato sauce. Stir on occasion and let the noodles cool. They will absorb the tomato sauce.
- Once room temperature grate in a bunch of pecorino romano, drizzle in a bit of olive oil, and season with s&p.
- chopped basil leaves
- pecorino romano
- a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- red pepper flakes
- fresh chopped avocado (my kids loved this addition)
- cucumber (plain or marinated in balsamic vinegar)
- chopped cherry tomatoes
It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a vegetarian meal. I’ve been on a paleo inspired path for the last 9+ months and I’m pretty positive this is the first vegetarian meal I’ve cooked during this time frame. Wow! I started this blog as a vegetarian 6 years ago. All I can say is I’ve come along way with my food journey!
These days I’m not bound by eating one particular way. I enjoy trying different styles of eating, discovering what works for me and what doesn’t. While I like paleo I definitely discovered a few things. For one, I really do have to watch my carbohydrate intake. It’s easy for me to eat too little carbohydrates when following paleo guidelines. Yes you read that right too few carbs! They are good for you people. These days I workout regularly with weights and started to notice a decrease in my performance. So I started to make an effort to eat more carbs, the good ones of course, and things balanced out. I recently bought a book with an in-depth explanation of being a paleo athlete. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m curious to learn more about this approach, even though I’m not 100% sure it’s for me. Also when eating paleo it’s easy for me to start consuming too much protein. I am always really good about eating a large quantity of vegetables, I love my veggies! But since I like to cook large amounts of protein at once (to have for lunches and other meals) sometimes my consumption is too much. And as with anything if you eat too much your body stores it as fat. Always a lesson to be learned!
So I’m bouncing around eating foods I haven’t eaten for months, particularly grains, and decreasing my intake of animal protein. I’m liking how things are working out. I should point out I eat for my health. No matter what method I’m following if any this is my motivation. I want to feel good before, during, and after I eat. I want to be strong and energized to have fun with my family, exercise at high intensities, and of course to feel confident in who I am. This vegetarian meal met all my expectations, was definitely delicious, and also satiating. The greens were from our garden, yippee!!! But the what really made this salad was the fresh tarragon vinaigrette. I am a total sucker for tarragon anything and the dressing was awesome with the flavor of beets and quinoa.
Beet and Quinoa Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette
A summer salad filled with crunch and color. Greens, beets, cucumber, snap peas, kalamata olives, quinoa, feta, and egg all tied together with a homemade tarragon vinaigrette.
For the Salad:
- crisp greens
- 3 beets
- 1/2 cup snap peas, sliced on the diagonal into 1/2" pieces
- 1 persian cucumber, chopped
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced lengthwise into quarters
- 1/4 cup quinoa, cooked according to package
- 3-4 oz feta, crumbled
- 2 eggs
For the Dressing:
- small shallot
- 2 lemons, zest and juice
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 4-5 tablespoons tarragon leaves
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Mince shallot to get about ~2 tablespoons worth. Place in a jar along with the lemon juice (~3 tablespoons) and lemon zest from both lemons. Let marinate at least 30 minutes.
- Mince garlic and rub the pieces with the side of the knife until a paste forms.
- Chop tarragon leaves.
- Add the garlic paste, mustard, and tarragon to the shallot and lemon juice. Mix well and season with s&p.
- While whisking drizzle in 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Place in the fridge.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the beets and cook 20-30 minutes until tender. Rinse under cold water to cool. Peel off skin and slice into wedges. Place beets in a small bowl, season with s&p, and toss with a tablespoon or so of dressing. Set aside.
- Cook the quinoa according to the package. Once cooled add the prepared snap peas, cucumber, kalamata olives, and feta. Season with s&p and add a few tablespoons of dressing. Enough to coat. Set aside.
- Bring another pot of water to boil. Once boiling add the two eggs and continue to boil for exactly 7 minutes. Immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking. Peel carefully.
- Place greens in bowls and top with the quinoa salad and beets. Lastly slice the egg lengthwise and add to salads. Season eggs with a bit of s&p. Serve with the extra dressing.