Kale Caesar with Marinated Portobello Mushrooms – Kale Salad Challenge #5

I love all Kale Salads and this one was especially deelish. Not everyone is into sea vegetables, but this dressing manages to be chockfull of them without anyone being the wiser, super healthy goodness! They add such a great saltiness to this already super creamy dressing.

Kale Caesar with Marinated Portobello Mushrooms

Kale Caesar with Mar

2 heads of Kale

Chop up or tear pieces of Kale. Massage the dressing into the kale with your hands and top with mushrooms. Yum! Enjoy 🙂

Avocado Sea-sar Dressing (vegan, almost raw, gluten free, soy free)
Recipe from choosingraw.com
Yields over 1 cup

1 large Hass avocado
1 tsp vegan Worsterchire sauce
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Juice of two large lemons
3 tbsp mellow white miso
1 small clove garlic
1 tsp spirulina
1 tbsp nori, kelp, or dulse flakes (or a mix of all three, which is what I used)
3/4 cup water (or more if needed)
*2 tbsp olive oil (optional)*

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender till smooth. The olive oil is totally optional, but it lends a little added creaminess and richness to the dressing.

Marinated Portobello Mushrooms

3 1/2 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup agave
2 tablespoons  Nama Shoyu or Tamari
2 tablespoons Herbamere
3 tablespoons herbs of choice – I used oregano and bail

Blend all ingredients except mushrooms for about 10 seconds. Place the marinade, along with mushrooms, in a large plastic container or zipped bag and seal well. Toss around until well coated. Refrigerate and let sit overnight, tossing to coat from time to time. Strain the mushrooms out prior to serving, but reserve the marinade to use as a salad dressing for another time.

Greens and Quinoa Pie

This is a delicious recipe that was perfect for Passover and will definitely be repeated throughout the year! SO good! We love to use quinoa since it is such a super food and so delicious! It is not a grain so totally great for Passover as well 🙂 I doubled this to feed the whole table. Super protein-riffic meal!
Greens and Quinoa Pi
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Greens and Quinoa Pie
Recipe adapted from http://www.vegetariantimes.com
Serves 6
  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 10 ounces chopped spinach
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese (1 oz.)
  • ¼ cup grated aged goat cheese (1 oz.)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place quinoa in small saucepan, and toast over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until almost dry. Add 1 cup water, and season with salt, if desired. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and transfer to large bowl.
  3. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, and sauté 10 minutes, or until browned. Add spinach and cook until wilted, stirring frequently or tossing with tongs. Stir greens into quinoa. Add cooked onions, green onions, dill, feta cheese, and goat cheese to quinoa mixture. Stir in eggs; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grease a 9-inch pie pan, then spread quinoa mixture in pan with spatula. Bake 40-50 minutes or until golden brown.

Super Fast Avocado Pasta

I am all about cooking with the kiddos whenever possible 🙂 Today for lunch we made our Avocado Pasta, similar to This One that I make for them normally that they love, but this time we did it all in one bowl (and a pot) 🙂 They loved it and were even super happy to take turns mashing (and tasting!) Lunch was deelish but cooking together and smiles around (and green mouths!) makes it that much sweeter!

Super Fast Avocado P

Super Fast Avocado Pasta
2-3 servings
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, no cook/raw sauce

2 avocados
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Flax seed oil
12 ounces- 1 lb of pasta (we used Trader Joes Fresh Rice Pasta – made it even faster, cooks in 2 minutes!)
ground black pepper, to taste
cherry or grape tomatoes, cut

  1. Boil water and cook pasta in a large pot
  2. In a bowl combine avocado, garlic, lemon juice, oils, salt, basil, pepper and oregano. Mash with a fork till creamy.
  3. When pasta is done, drain and mix with sauce.  Garnish with tomatoes. Serve immediately. YUM!

Creamy Avocado Pasta

Sometime you just want a home cooked meal but haven’t planned anything and haven’t gone shopping to cook. The kids are always well fed but sometimes we get left a little behind 😉 This is a great meal that took literally the time to boil pasta to create with all ingredients I always have at home. Super simple and deelish, the best!

Creamy Avocado Pasta

 

Creamy Avocado Pasta
4 servings

2 avocados
Juice of 1 lemon + lemon zest to garnish
1-3 garlic cloves, to taste
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/2 cup Fresh Basil or Spinach
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb of pasta
ground black pepper, to taste
Pine nuts, for garnish

  1. Boil water and cook pasta in a large pot
  2. In blender or food processor combine garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil and process until smooth. Add avocado, basil, and salt and blend until creamy
  3. When pasta is done, drain and mix with sauce.  Garnish with lemon zest, black pepper and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Kale Caesar – Kale Salad Challenge #4

Back to the Kale Salad! YUM! This one is so creamy and deelish it will please even people who think they don’t love kale. This dressing can be used with any other salad or even as dip!

Kale Caesar Salad

2 large bunches kale, stems discarded, chopped
Caesar Dressing
1 bunch red radishes, sliced super thin
3 tablespoons capers
1/2 ripe avocado, chopped

  1. Massage Kale and Dressing in a large bowl. Use your hands to massage and make sure to really get in there to soften the kale and evenly distribute the dressing.
  2. Add radishes, capers and avocado and toss.

Caesar Dressing
2 cups water
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup cashews
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons dark miso
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon rice vinegar

  1. Place all the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend till creamy.
  2. Chill until ready to use and shake well.

Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce

I am obsessed with Lettuce Wraps! I think it is the ultimate light fresh meal. Typically the filling is cooked and hot, but it being so warm out I wanted a nice cooling easy no-cook meal.

I have always loved the ones at Gobo and also at Wild Ginger. I thought it was about time I made my own 🙂 I am so happy I did, loved this meal!

What is your favorite lettuce wrap recipe? I want to try out some more variations!!

Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce

2 blocks extra-firm tofu, diced
4 carrots, grated
4 stalks boy choy, shredded
1 sweet onions, grated or diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 cucumbers, peeled and grated
4 tablespoons mint, chopped
3 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
3 inches ginger, peeled and grated
2 jalapenos, diced
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
24 large boston bib lettuce leaves, washed and patted dried
24 peanuts, chopped

  1. In a bow, combine tofu, carrots, bok choy, onion, pepper, cucumber and mint.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oils, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, ginger, jalapeno, and salt.
  3. Add tofu and veggies to the peanut sauce and toss.
  4. Serve on lettuce leaves garnished with peanuts.

Iron for Vegans & Kale and Lentil Soup!

We all know that Iron is super important in our diets. Iron transports oxygen to the blood, regulates the metabolism, provides energy and stamina, and supports other important functions. Besides hearing “how do you get your protein?” vegans and vegetarians also hear a lot of “where does your iron come from?” I thought this was important topic to cover especially now as I am not only cooking for my husband and me but also my two kiddos 🙂

“Some might expect that since the vegan diet contains a form of iron that is not that well absorbed (non-heme), vegans might be prone to developing iron deficiency anemia. However, surveys of vegans have found that iron deficiency anemia is no more common among vegetarians than among the general population although vegans tend to have lower iron stores.

The reason for the satisfactory iron status of many vegans may be that commonly eaten foods are high in iron. In fact, if the amount of iron in these foods is expressed as milligrams of iron per 100 calories, many foods eaten by vegans are superior to animal-derived foods. For example, you would have to eat more than 1700 calories of sirloin steak to get the same amount of iron as found in 100 calories of spinach.

Another reason for the satisfactory iron status of vegans is that vegan diets are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C acts to markedly increase absorption of non-heme iron. Adding a vitamin C source to a meal increases non-heme iron absorption up to six-fold which makes the absorption of non-heme iron as good or better than that of heme iron” (http://www.vrg.org)

We can eat iron rich foods with vitamin C foods which can increase absorption, ex. rice & beans, hummus & lemon juice, falafel with tomatoes and cucumber, and beans, grains and seeds combined with fruits and veggies. There are also plenty of natural combinations;  leafy greens, broccoli, bok choy and tomato sauce have both iron & vitamin C!

Here is a list of great non-animal sources of Iron.

  • black beans, kidney beans, chick peas, pinto beans, lentils, soy beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas
  • blackstrap molasses
  • tempeh
  • quinoa
  • spinach, turnip greens, swiss chard, kale
  • tofu
  • watermelon, cantaloupe
  • enriched pasta and breads
  • green beans, beets, broccoli, bok choy, brussels sprouts, peas
  • whole grains; millet, bulgur, oatmeal
  • prunes, raisins, apricots
  • peanut butter, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, other seeds and nuts
  • potatoes that contain the skin
  • tahini
  • veggie burgers & hot dogs

Also:

Don’t drink coffee or tea or eat calcium supplements with iron rich meals.

Cook with a cast iron skillet, especially Vitamin C heavy foods!

Once you get into the swing of eating a balanced vegan or vegetarian diet, iron is not really a concern at all:)

Here is an iron-rich delicious meal!

 Kale & Lentil Soup

Thankfully my kiddos LOVE lentils as much as we do. It has been SUUUPER chilly this winter so that makes me think soup to warm us all up. I made a super tasty soup and added kale which not only increased the iron & nutritious content but also gave such a great bite & texture to the soup. I used a crock-pot, which I have always loved, but really understand now that it can be a busy mama’s best friend!! Since then we have also revisited the Crock-Pot Oatmeal. Just as good as we remembered!

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  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2-3 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 14 ½ ounce can of diced tomatoes

Super simple 🙂 Put all of the above ingredients in the slow cooker. Set it on low 8 hours or high 4 hours, if you need it cooked quicker.

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When done I like to use my immersion blender and blend it up about half way, this way there is still some good pieces but the soup gets thicker.

Next add and let cook for just 10-15 minutes longer.
3-4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3-4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped

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Serve and enjoy! Even better the next day!

Maple-Balsamic Tofu & Spinach with Saffron Quinoa Pilaf

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I have always valued a quick and delicious meal but now it is more important than ever! This was a great meal where I could cut and marinate the tofu in just a few minutes while the kiddos were playing and then whip this all up as soon as they went to sleep. Perfect! I was also able to use the marinade twice; cooking the spinach quickly after the tofu. I have always loved Saffron Rice Pilaf  and thought a quinoa twist on it would be fun!

Maple-Balsamic Tofu & Spinach with Saffron Quinoa

Tofu & Spinach

  • 1 block of tofu, pressed to remove water and cut in triangles
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • dash of salt
  • 6 ounces of baby spinach

Combine and marinate anywhere from 1 hour to overnight. Heat a frying pan and sear the tofu for a few minutes on both sides. Remove from pan and add spinach and any remaining marinade. Stir for just a few brief moments to wilt spinach and coat in the sauce. Remove and serve.

Quinoa Pilaf

  • 2 cups quinoa (4 cups water or stock)
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • lemon juice to taste
  • sriracha, to taste (optional) (I love that extra kick!)

Combine water and quinoa in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat, add saffron, tumeric and salt, and cover to cook for 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Stir in other ingredients and serve.

Zucchini and Green Zebra Tomato Lasagne with Basil-Pistachio Pesto

I have made this dish many times over the last couple of years, sorry for waiting so long to share it with you! It is one of my faves!! And you can use each component on its own in other dishes as well 🙂 SO versatile and deelish! A total crowd pleaser – beautiful and amazing! Plus it has been one of their top sellers at the restaurant for years!

Zucchini and Green Zebra Tomato Lasagne with Basil-Pistachio Pesto
Recipe by Matthew Kenney of Pure Food and Wine
Serves 6

Lemon-Pignoli “Ricotta”

2 cups raw pignoli nuts, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons water

Place the pignoli, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt in a food processor, and pulse a few times, until thoroughly combined. Gradually add water, and pulse until the texture becomes fluffy, like ricotta. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
Tomato Sauce
2 cups good-quality sun-dried tomatoes (dry-packed), soaked in water for at least 2 hours
1 medium ripe tomato, diced
1/4 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon agave
2 teaspoons sea salt
Pinch hot-pepper flakes

Place all ingredients in a Vita-mix or high speed blender, and process until smooth.
Basil-Pistachio Pesto
2 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup raw pistachios
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a Vita-mix or food processor and process until well combined but still slightly chunky.

Lasagne
3 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
3 medium green-zebra tomatoes (or other heirloom variety)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch of sea salt and fresh pepper

Garnish: whole basil leaves

  1. Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, shave zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices, then cut in half crosswise. Cut the tomatoes in half, and each half into thin slices.
  2. Line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with two layers of zucchini slices. Brush the zucchini lightly with olive oil, spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce over it, and top with small dollops of “ricotta” and pesto, using 1/3 of each. Layer on 1/3 of the tomato slices, and sprinkle with 1/3 of the oregano and thyme. Add another double layer of zucchini and repeat twice more with the tomato sauce, pesto, ricotta, tomato slices, and herbs. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic and let sit at room temperature for a few hours. Garnish with basil. (or make individual portions by layering into square shapes on plates)

One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf

I love one pot meals! SO easy! This one uses quinoa and kale; two of our favorite foods ever makes this one even more perfect! YUM!

One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf
adapted from Food52
Serves 2-4

2 cups salted water
1 cup quinoa
1 bunch (any type) kale, washed and chopped into 1″ lengths
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 scallions, minced
1 tablespoon toasted walnut, grapeseed or olive oil
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a covered pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then top with the kale and re-cover. Simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to steam for 5 more minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, take a large serving bowl and combine half of the lemon juice (reserving the other half), all of the lemon zest, scallions, oil, and pine nuts.
  3. Check the quinoa and kale when the cooking time has completed — the water should have absorbed, and the quinoa will be tender but firm, and the kale tender and bright green. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, you can steam a bit longer (adding more water if needed). When the quinoa and kale are done, fluff the pilaf, and tip it into the waiting bowl with the remaining ingredients. As the hot quinoa hits the scallions and lemon it should smell lovely. Toss to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper, and the remaining lemon juice if needed.

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