So, I graduated from 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training last weekend. Yay for me and my amazing classmates!!! And how do all good yogis celebrate, with a vegan potluck, of course. Everyone brought in the yummiest food and we all sat around in our circle of gratitude and chowed down. I brought this Moroccan quinoa salad.
If I ever write a cookbook, I so want this recipe to be in it. There is a lot going on with this little salad and it’s all super delicious. For starters, I made my own BBQ sauce…without sugar, corn syrup, preservatives, additives, flavoring, coloring or any of the other junky junk that you’ll find on the labels of most store bought barbecue sauces. To sweeten the sauce, I used only a handful of medjool dates and the taste is amazing.
Must be summer, because I’m craving my favorite warm weather salad. I’ve been making this for years, ever since I got Cooking With Nora by Nora Pouillon. This little gem of a cookbook is written by my favorite Washington DC chef. And Restaurant Nora brings back so many great memories.
The first time I went there, I was so excited to walk by the sidewalk herb gardens outside the restaurant. And inside, we were seated near Shirley MacLaine. It was one of those, oh-my-god moments…is that who I think it is?
Nora Pouillon, like Alice Waters, has been promoting artfully-prepared locally-sourced fresh ingredients before it was a trendy thing to do. This simple salad brings together one of my all time favorite flavor combinations: melon, mint and lime. You can pair this with any summer meal you make. Would be a great addition to your next cookout, for sure.
Summertime is around the corner and I’m thrilled to start cranking up the grill. Love to throw a bunch of colorful veggies together in a grill basket. Recently, I had a firm avocado and added it to my mixed grill to see what would happen. Oh. My. So awesome. So I got the idea to grill all of the ingredients for guacamole and see what it would be like.
Well, it’s pretty groovy…and really easy. I even grilled the limes! I tried it two ways: (1) everything chopped up in the grill basket; and (2) the ingredients directly on the grill. Both methods worked well, but I had a slight preference for skipping the grill basket and working with larger pieces directly on the grill.
I’ve been making variations of this salad forever. It’s so great to take to a potluck because it can feed a lot of people. When the weather warms up (it’s pretty much summer here in Houston now), this salad is just what I’m in the mood to eat.
Traditional Caesar salads include parmesan cheese and anchovies. To make it vegan, I include nutritional yeast to get the cheesy taste and kelp powder to mimic the fish flavor. You should be able to find kelp powder at Whole Foods and maybe even your local grocery store in the organic spice section. (Houston peeps, I got mine at HEB.) Most Caesar salads also include croutons which I skipped this time, but if you like that, make a batch using day old bread cut into cubes and sauteed with olive oil, salt and pepper.
I’m lucky. So very lucky. My family and I always have good, healthy food on our table. My kids never have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from or going hungry; unlike 16 MILLION children in this country. That’s 1 in 5 American kids living with food insecurity.
To help promote awareness about this issue, today I am participating in The Giving Table’s Food Bloggers Against Hunger campaign. The campaign has asked food bloggers to share a recipe using a very modest budget of about $3-4 per person. For my recipe, I made an effort to incorporate protein, complex carbohydrates and lots of fresh vegetables.
I’m obsessed with kale. There, I said it. I eat (or drink) it practically every day. It’s loaded with tons of nutritional benefits. Google it.
But true confession, I haven’t always been a fan. Several years ago, when I lived in Cincinnati, OH, I belonged to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. And no matter the season, it seemed like we always had lots of kale included in our share. At the time, I didn’t really know what to do with it and frankly had not acquired a taste for it.
Not sure when I turned the corner, but when I began eating more clean vegan meals, I reintroduced kale to my diet. I started by adding it to my smoothies and have branched out from there. Here are a few ways l like it. Once you get hooked, you won’t go back. Trust me.
I could eat veggie sushi anytime, anywhere, any day. Really. No lie. I love it. At home, I like to make it with avocado, cucumber and carrots. I think the whole process is fun. Making the sushi rice and spreading it out on a sheet tray. Rolling the nori and fillings on a sushi mat. Mixing wasabi and pickled ginger with soy sauce. And eating my creation with chop sticks.
But the other day, I started to think about putting all that good stuff in a big bowl. It makes a great light lunch or you could whip up some miso soup and have asian soup and salad night for dinner.
As you would with sushi, start by making the rice. When it is cooked, spread it on a sheet tray and season with rice vinegar mixed with agave and sea salt.