Quick Dinner: Pasta + Kale

On Friday nights, Cam and I like to stay in and catch up.  We drink wine, order takeaway dinner,  relax and chat about our week.  It's a really nice way to unwind after a crazy work week and enjoy being together.  (Chibi likes it, too.)  We've made one small change to our evenings recently, which is that now we make dinner.

Nothing elaborate.  Just something quick and easy that can be put together in under 30 minutes. It's fun and provides leftover bites for any weekend hunger attacks.  I'll be sharing these here and there. 

Serves 2-3. 

Pasta with Kale + Mushrooms

3 cups wide egg noodles

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

1/2 tablespoon butter

2 cups chopped kale

s + p

juice of 1/2 lemon

grated parmesan cheese

Boil egg noodles for 6 minutes.  Drain and set aside. 

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add chile flakes, garlic and sliced mushrooms.  Cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are soft.  Add butter and kale, cook about 2 minutes.  Add pasta.  Cook, stirring frequently until hot.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Serve with grating of parmesan cheese.  

 

Cam's Creole Bean Dish

It's spicy!  (It doesn't have to be, just lessen the cayenne if you're scared.)

Cam came up with this one and made it for me the other night.  It's so good.  I felt like I was back in New Orleans.  

We used Scarlett Runner beans from Rancho Gordo.  They are large and dark.  Use those if you can find them.  Otherwise, try cranberry/borlotti or red beans.   

 Makes 6 servings.

Cam's Creole Bean Dish

1 1/2 cups dried beans, soaked overnight in plenty of water

2 links garlic herb pork sausage, casings removed

1 yellow onion, diced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 celery stalks, diced

1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon fennel powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder

1 quart vegetable stock

On a pot, over medium high heat, brown sausage meat.  When meat is 'halfway' browned, add onions.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onions become softer and glossy.  Add tomato paste. Stir to coat onions and sausage.  Stir in celery, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves and all seasonings.  Add stock and drained, soaked beans.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Partially cover and simmer 2-2 1/2 hours.  Stew will have thickened and beans will be tender.  Salt to taste. Serve with rice. 

Cinnamon Rolls + Blood Orange Glaze

Buns!  I never make these because I will eat about six the first day.  My willpower stands no chance around cinnamon buns.  None at all.  Luckily, I had a work meeting I knew these would be perfect for.   

The blood orange juice makes the prettiest pink glaze.  I love the color, so cheery and fun. 

Makes 16.

Cinnamon Rolls + Blood Orange Glaze

for the rolls

1 packet active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup milk

1 egg

pinch salt

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

for the filling

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons maple syrup

 1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

for the blood orange glaze

2 cup powdered sugar 

2 tablespoon melted butter

pinch salt

splash vanilla extract

about 1/3 cup blood orange juice

In a bowl of a stand mixer, whisk yeast, warm water and sugar.  Let sit.  

In a small pot, melt butter.  Add milk.  When steaming hot, remove from heat.  When warm, whisk into yeast mixture.  Add egg, salt and flour.   Knead with dough hook attachment for a few minutes until dough is a smooth ball.  (More flour maybe added during kneading if dough seems too sticky.)   Place dough ball in an oiled bowl, turning to coat.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. 

While dough is rising, whisk together melted butter, maple syrup, sugar and cinnamon.   

Punch dough down to deflate.  Roll out into a large rectangle, roughly 9" x 24".  

Spread filling evenly over rectangle.  Roll up dough, beginning with the long side.  Seal ends. Slice into 16 slices.  Arrange in 9"x 13" baking pan, leaving space between each roll.  Let rise about 40 minutes.  

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven, until golden brown, about 30 minutes. 

While cinnamon rolls are baking, whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter, pinch salt, vanilla and blood orange juice until smooth.   

Glaze rolls and serve warm.  

Salsa Verde

This super simple sauce goes with lots of things but I like it for chicken or steak.  It reminds me of warm weather and tastes a bit like a garden.  Fresh herbs and bright lemon.  Increase the red chile flakes for more kick.  

Salsa Verde

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/8-1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

juice + zest of 1/2 lemon

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients.  Set aside for a few minutes before using to let flavors come together.

 

Thai Noodle Salad

Crunchy romaine and veggies contrasted with soft rice noodles dressed in a thai lime dressing. Sweet, sour, tangy and a pinch spicy.  So much flavor. I think this would be great for lunch on a hot day. 

Serves 4.

Thai Noodle Salad + Lime Dressing

for the dressing

1/2 cup lime juice (about 3 limes)

2-3 teaspoons minced fresno chile

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon tamari

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated ginger

s + p, to taste

for the salad

3 oz super thin rice noodles (vermicelli)

1 cucumber, julienned

2 carrots, peeled, julienned

1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, julienned

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts

chopped fresh cilantro (or mint or thai basil)

Whisk together lime juice, chile, fish sauce, tamari, brown sugar and ginger.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.  

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Turn off heat and add rice noodles.  Let sit about 8 minutes, noodles will be softened.  Drain and rinse with cold water to cool. 

Divide noodles, cucumber, carrots and bell pepper into 4 bowls.  Spoon over lime dressing as desired and garnish with crushed peanuts and fresh herbs.  

 

 

 

 

 

Turkey Tomato Sauce + Zucchini

Not your typical tomato sauce.  Full of veggies and lean ground turkey.  It's perfect over roasted spaghetti squash, zoodles, pasta or used for stuffed zucchini.  

To make the stuffed zucchini: Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut zucchini lengthwise and scoop out seeds, making a well for the sauce and arrange on a baking dish.  Spoon prepared sauce into zucchini.  Place in oven and roast 20 minutes.  Top with grated cheese while it's still hot. 

Makes about 1 quart.

Turkey Tomato Sauce 

small splash olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, seeded, diced

2 stalk celery, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb ground turkey

28 oz canned tomato puree

2 bay leaves

4 thyme sprigs, stems discarded

1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder

Heat oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add diced onion.  Cook until soft, 5 minutes.  Add bell pepper, celery and garlic, cook 5 minutes.  Add turkey: cook, breaking up meat, until cooked through, about 8 minutes.  Stir in tomato puree, bay leaves, thyme, worcestershire sauce and cayenne powder.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  

 

Thai Hot + Sour Soup

Are you sick of reading posts for soup, yet?  WELL, TOO BAD! 

What can I say?  I really like soup.  This one is spicy, sour, full of vegetables, chicken and all those thai flavors of lemongrass, ginger and lime.  Yum!  It's also super healthy.  

If you can't find thai bird chiles, use a serrano pepper.  Remove the stem, halve lengthwise and slice, keeping the membranes and seeds.  Soup might need to be seasoned with additional siracha or sambal oelek at the end for more spice.  Whichever chile you use, wear gloves when handling.  

Makes 2 quarts.   

Thai Hot + Sour Soup

8 cups water

3 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves remove, cut in half, bruised

2 inches ginger root, peeled

4 kaffir lime leaves, bruised

stems of 1 bunch cilantro

3 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, fat trimmed

1 teaspoon grape seed oil

3 carrots, peeled, sliced

2 Thai bird chiles, seeded, minced

5 oz broccoli, chopped  

4 oz snow peas, trimmed, sliced

s + p

1 tablespoon fish sauce

juice of 1 lime

Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Place water, lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves, cilantro stems, garlic, peppercorns and soy sauce in a pot.  Bring to a boil, add chicken.  Reduce to a simmer.  Simmer, partially covered until chicken is tender, about 15-20 minutes.   

Remove chicken.  Once cool enough to touch, shred.  Set aside.  Strain stock, discarding solids.  Set aside.  

Wipe out the pot, return to stove over medium heat, add oil.  Add shallots, cook until clear and soft.  Add carrots and chiles.  Sauté 3 minutes.  Add stock, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer 5 minutes and add broccoli.  Simmer until tender, 5 minutes.  Add snow peas and chicken.  Heat through.  

Season with salt  pepper, fish sauce, lime juice.  Garnish with cilantro leaves.  

Simple Chickpea Soup with Lemon + Dill

A very simple soup.  Chickpeas and vegetables perked up with plenty of lemon and fresh dill.  It's super bright and flavorful.  Most of the ingredients are probably in your fridge and pantry right now.  I served it over brown rice for dinner.  Vegetable stock maybe used to keep things vegetarian.      

Grab a pound of kirby cucumbers while you're at it and use the rest of the dill to make pickles. 

Serves 4.

Chickpea Vegetable Soup with Lemon + Dill

1 tsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled, diced

2 celery stalk, diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled, minced

1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 quart chicken stock

1 14 oz tin chickpeas, rinsed, drained

1/2 bunch lacinato kale, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

 juice of 1 lemon

s + p

In a pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, chile flakes.  Cooking, stirring frequently, until vegetables are aromatic and glossy, about 5 minutes.  Add stock. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.  Add chickpeas, kale, dill and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot. 

Gluten Free Romesco Sauce

I just realized I've been calling this stuff 'romanesco' sauce.  Ugh.  Silly me.  This romesco sauce is a spanish sauce made from toasted nuts, roasted garlic, tomatoes and red peppers. Typically, toasted bread too, but we're leaving that out so keep things gluten free. I can eat it on anything. Sandwiches instead of mayo, roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, seafood.... so many things are better with a bit of tasty romesco sauce.

Cam and I are thinking about going 100% gluten free for the month of April to see how it goes. I'm hoping it will help me with my late night cracker addiction and keep my appetite focused on more healthy things.  Are you gluten free?  Do you like it and have you noticed any improvements to your health?  

Makes about 1.5 cups..

Romesco Sauce

1/2 cup slivered almonds

2 small tomatoes or 1 large, cut in half, seeds and stems removed

2 garlic cloves, skin on

1 red bell pepper

 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1  1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne 

s + p

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place almonds on a tray plus tomatoes and garlic on their own tray in oven.  Remove almonds after 10 minutes, let cool.  Roast tomatoes and garlic 20 minutes more.  Set aside to cool.  Remove skins from each.

Place whole red pepper on open flame of gas range.  Turn occasionally until all sides are completely black.  Place on plastic bag and seal.  Let steam in bag 10 minutes.  Blackened skins will wipe off easily.  Discard skins, stem and seeds.  

Chop red pepper, tomatoes and garlic.  Set aside.

In food processor, fitted with a S-blade, process toasted almonds to a fine crumb.  Add pepper, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, paprika and cayenne.  Process until smooth and not gritty, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  

 

 

Tortilla Espanola

The spanish tortilla.  A staple on spanish tapas menus.  It's great for breakfast or a little bite anytime of the day.  

Makes about 8 servings. 

Spanish Tortilla

1/2 cup olive oil

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 baking potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, peeled, minced

s + p

pinches of smoked paprika

5 eggs, beaten

Heat an 8 inch skillet over medium low heat.  Add olive oil.  Heat.  Add onions, potatoes and garlic.  Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Stir/flip occasionally to encourage even cooking and avoid browning.   Cook until potatoes and soft but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.  

Drain oil from pan and reserve.  Transfer cooked potato mixture to bowl and toss with beaten eggs.  Wipe out pan, return to medium low heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of reserved oil back to pan.   Pour in potato egg mixture.  Cook until just set in center, about 20 minutes.  Carefully place a plate over skillet and invert tortilla on to the plate.  Slide tortilla back into skillet to finish cooking remaining, uncooked side.  Cook 5 minutes.  Remove from skillet and let sit 20 minutes before serving.  Serve warm, room temperature or cool.  

Antipasto Salad

Perfect for lunch!  It's always easy to fit a salad into your day when said salad has ham on it.  I prep everything sunday night and toss ingredients together when ready to eat or pack up for lunch.  

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Antipasto Salad

1 head red lettuce, washed, chopped

2 cups shredded red cabbage

2 carrots, peeled, grated

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 tin artichoke hearts, drained, chopped

1 tin pitted black olives, drained, chopped

7 oz black forest ham, chopped

4 oz grated cheese (I like asiago or jack)

1/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds

splash red wine vinegar

s + p

Toss lettuce, cabbage, carrots and celery.  Top with artichoke hearts, olives, ham, cheese, sunflower seeds.  Drizzle lightly with vinegar, season with salt and pepper.  

 

Kale Sprouts / Kalettes

Kalettes.  Have you hear of them?  They're a new vegetable: a hybrid of brussels sprouts and kale.  That's just what they taste like.  Nutty with a vegetal sweetness.  Also called Kale Sprouts.

Tomato vinegar can be hard to find but I strongly suggest you find some.  I ordered a bottle from amazon and I use it on lots of things.  It makes a great vinaigrette or adds an tomato punch of acid to any dish.  

To toast the sesame seeds:  place pan over high heat.  Add sesame seeds.  Toast until light golden brown, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.  Takes 1-2 minutes.

Makes 2 large servings. 

Sautéed Kale Sprouts 

1/2 tablespoon neutral high heat oil

6oz kale sprouts, halved lengthwise

1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

1 tablespoon tomato vinegar

black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

Heat a 10 inch saute pan over medium high heat.  Once hot, add oil, tilting pan to coat with oil. Add kale sprouts and saute 3 (al dente) to 5 (softer) minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir together soy sauce and tomato vinegar.  Remove kale pan from heat and carefully pour in soy/vinegar.  It will bubble and sizzle.  Toss kale sprouts to coat evenly.  Transfer to serving plate and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.  

 

Gluten Free Almond + Chocolate Chip Cookies

So long gluten!  We don't need you for our cookie making.  Gluten free or not, these are tasty cookies, soft and cakey with nice texture from the almond flour.  

I'm planning on working on more GF and possibly vegan cookie recipes.  Looking forward to sharing (and eating) the results!

About 12 cookies.

Gluten Free Almond + chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup almond flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch nutmeg

 pinch salt

1 egg

1/4 cup oil (your choice, I used grape seed)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup chocolate chips or raw cacao nibs

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk almond flour, brown sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.  Add egg, oil and vanilla extract.  Mix until well combined.  Mix in chocolate chips/nibs.  Chill dough 10 minutes to firm it up. (You can skip this but you're cookies will spread a bit more.)  

Use a tablespoon to portion dough onto a silpat lined baking sheet.  Bake 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on pan, 5 minutes.  Carefully remove from silpat by sweeping an off set spatula underneath each cookie.  

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Yum!  Pretty simple to make and so many possible applications like snacking with veggie sticks or crackers, hummus and vegetable wraps, smeared on toast or tossed with pasta... you have some options.  I'm going to use it as a cheese substitute of vegan quesadillas - i'll let you know how it goes.  

I prefer to use dried beans when I have the forethought (although, I almost never do.)  3/4 cup dried chickpeas ends up being about 1 1/2 cup cooked which is equal to one 14oz tin of chickpeas.  If you use canned chickpeas, just drain and rinse them.  

Makes about 2 cups.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

3/4 cup dried chickpeas or 1 14oz tin chickpeas

1 red bell pepper

1/4 cup tahini

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon cumin

1 garlic clove, peeled

juice of 1 lemon

salt

dash olive oil

Place dried beans in a bowl, cover with 3 inches of water.  Let soak 8 hours.  Drain water.  Place chickpeas in a pot, cover with plenty of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, simmer until chickpeas are tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Strain.  

Roast red pepper by placing it directly on a gas burner set on high.  Rotate occasionally to cook each side.  Once all of pepper is charred black and flaky with the pepper itself softened, remove from flame.  Immediately place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand about 10 minutes or more.  Remove charred skin, stem and seeds.  

Place cooked chickpeas, roasted red pepper, tahini, parsley, cumin, garlic clove, lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Process to desired consistency, adding olive oil to loosen things up as needed.  Season with more salt and lemon juice, to taste. 

Lemongrass Beef Stew + Cabbage "Noodles"

Want to spend 3 hours making dinner?  Who doesn't!  Don't worry, this recipe has easy and minimal prep, otherwise simmering on the stove unattended.  This stew is full of south east asian flavors, rich and spicy.  

When browning the meat, start with a hot pan that is not too full.  If there are too many pieces of meat in the pan they will end up steaming without color.  We are looking for a deep brown, crust to form.  This adds a ton of flavor to the meat.  

We used cabbage instead of my usual preference of rice or noodles to keep the recipe healthier and gluten free.  A quick dip in boiling water milds the flavor and creates a chewy, tender texture making it perfect as a noodle substitute.  

I used a fresno chile but you could use a long green chile, hot cherry or jalapeno.   If you use anything spicier, think about decreasing the sambal oelek which is a popular spicy chile paste, found in grocery stores near the siracha.  

Serves 4.

Lemongrass Beef Stew + Cabbage Noodles

3 tablespoons high heat oil

2 lbs stew beef chunks, 2 " pieces

s + p

4 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves removed, chopped

2" ginger root, peeled, chopped

1 fresno chile, seeded, chopped

5 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped, divided

2 star anise pods

2 cinnamon sticks

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons sambal oelek

3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce

32 oz beef stock

1 lb daikon radish, peeled, halved lengthwise, 1/2" slices

8oz carrots, peeled, 1 1/2" slices

lime juice, to taste

1/2 head cabbage, cored, thinly sliced

Heat a heavy pot, like a dutch oven, over medium high heat.  Add oil.  Season beef with salt and pepper.  Add to pot in 3 or 4 batches, careful not to over crowd the pan or the meat will not brown, only steam.  Brown meat well on all sides.  Transfer to plate, set aside.  

Add a splash more oil to the pot, if needed.  Add lemongrass, ginger, chile, garlic, 1/4 of the onion, star anise and cinnamon.  Cook until lightly browned, stirring often to avoid burning.  Add browned beef and all juices, tomato paste, sambal oelek, tamari, fish sauce and beef stock plus 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer.  Let simmer, covered, 2 1/2 hours.  

Remove beef.  Strain cooking liquid.  Discard solids.  Return beef and stained liquid to pot.  Add daikon, carrots and remaining 3/4 of onion.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer partially covered until daikon is tender, about 45 minutes.  

While stew is simmering, blanche cabbage:  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add cabbage.  Cook about 1 minute or until cabbage is crisp tender.  Strain.  When stew is done, ladle over portions of cabbage.  

 

 

 

Hot + Sour Soup

Here's one for all you people with a cold.  (Seriously, everyone around me is sniffling.)  What's better than hot, spicy, tangy soup when you're sick?  Missing the traditional lilly buds and wood ear mushrooms of more traditional chinese hot and sour soups, all the ingredients for this one can be found in most well stocked grocery stores.  Szechuan peppercorns are toasted by placing in a hot pan on the stove, tossing occasionally and cooking until fragrant.  Grind with a spice grinder, clean coffee grinder or crush under a heavy pan or rolling pin.  

I recommend cutting and slicing everything small, so it fits on a spoon.  

Serves 4.

Hot + Sour Soup

2 oz prosciutto, julienned

8 oz firm tofu, julienned

4 shiitake mushroom caps, sliced

2.5 oz bamboo shoots, julienned

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground szechuan peppercorns 

32 oz chicken stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water, optional

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon hot chile oil

scallion greens, thinly sliced, for garnish

In a small saucepan, bring prosciutto, tofu, shiitakes, bamboo shoots, pepper and stock to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and add soy sauce and rice vinegar.  Whisk in cornstarch slurry, simmer until thickened.  

Remove from heat, stir soup in one direction to create a current and slowly pour in beaten egg.  It will turn into cooked, eggy ribbons.  Add hot chile oil and adjust seasoning with additional soy for salt, chile oil for heat or rice vinegar for sour.  

Garnish with scallions and serve with rice.  

 

 

Siracha Honey Roasted Cashews

I'm nuts for these!  (Haha - sorry.)  Sweet, spicy, salty.  The perfect snack that couldn't be easier and quicker to make.  Just toss the nuts with the marinade ingredients, pop them in the oven and try not to eat the entire tray while they're cooling.  For only a hint of spice, use 3 teaspoons of siracha.  

Siracha Honey Roasted Cashews

2 tablespoons honey

5 teaspoons siracha

1 teaspoon grape seed oil

1 teaspoon tamari

10 oz raw cashews

salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Whisk together honey, siracha, oil and tamari.  Toss with cashews until evenly coated.  Arrange on a parchment paper or silpat lined tray.  Roast 5 minutes, stir nuts, roast 5 minutes more.  Remove from oven and cool.  

 

Healthy Vegan Dinner Bowl

We weren't totally sure what to call these but they are vegan, full of healthy things and served in a bowl.  Lately I've been eating a lot of kale, lentils and whole grains.  I decided to mix things up with some roasted beets, crunchy raw carrots, sunflower seeds and a citrusy vinaigrette.  I think these would also be good with a splash of rice vinegar and tamari if you're not in the mood to make a vinaigrette.   

Serves 4. 

Healthy Vegan Dinner Bowl + Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

for the bowls

1 cup brown lentils

2 cloves garlic, smashed

2 bay leaves

1 cup farro (or freekeh)

2 red beets

1 tablespoon white vinegar 

1 bunch kale

3 carrots, cut into matchsticks

sunflower seeds

for the vinaigrette

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

6 tablespoons oil (your choice olive, canola, grape seed)

s + p

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Remove stems and wash beets.  (Greens can be washed, chopped and steamed with the kale.)  Place beets in oven proof dish, cover with foil and roast 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through.  Remove from oven.  Carefully, rub off skin and chop.  Toss with a splash of vinegar, salt and pepper.  

Cook farro or freekeh in a pot of salted water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 35 minutes or until soft.  Drain, set aside. 

Bring a pot of water with the smashed garlic cloves and bay leaves to a boil.  Add lentils, return to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until lentils are soft, about 20 minutes.  Drain well. Discard garlic ad bay leaves.  Season with salt and pepper, set aside. 

Steam or saute kale. Season with s +p.  

For the vinaigrette,  whisk together lemon juice and red wine vinegar.  Slowly whisk in oil.  Add herbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  

Assemble the bowls!  It's not as pretty, but I think the best way to form bowls is to toss some of the farro, beets, lentils, kale, carrots, sunflower seeds and as much of the vinaigrette as needed.  Otherwise, layer farro, lentils, kale, beets, carrots, seeds and drizzle with vinaigrette.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Socca

A socca is a thin pancake crepe type thing from italy, made from chickpea flour, olive oil and water.  Easy, dairy and gluten free.  I decided to make a slightly sweet chocolate socca that could be eaten for breakfast or dessert.  I don't have a name for it yet.  Suggestions?  

These aren't very sweet.  You can add more sugar if you like but I think these are really all about the fillings.  Fruit and plain yogurt (pictured) if you're being good.  Whipped cream, chocolate shavings and nutella if you're being bad.  It really depends if you're having these as dessert or breakfast.  I suspect nutella, banana, strawberries and whipped cream would be a winning combination.    

Makes 4.

Chocolate Socca 

1/2 cup chickpea flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon agave

1/2 cup water

pinch salt

Whisk together all ingredients.   Set aside for a few minutes while you get your fillings together.  Heat a lightly oiled 8 inch non stick skillet over medium low heat.  Pour 1/4 of the batter onto skillet, tilting skillet so batter evenly coats the surface.  Cook about 3 minutes on each side. Turn down heat as needed.  Repeat 3 more times with remaining batter.  Serve warm with fillings.  

Some filling ideas:  jam, chocolate syrup, fresh fruit, stewed fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, nutella, whipped cream, yogurt, banana...

 

 

Red Grape Fruit Leathers

If you've been following Meats + Sweets you've probably noticed I like my fruit leathers.  I've always had a sweet tooth and fruit roll ups, fruit leather, gummies and fruit by the foot are all favorites I still crave.  I like making them at home as it allows me to adjust the amount of added sugar, which in most cases, is zero.  I find that if ripe fruit is used then no extra sweetener is needed.  

I haven't tried it but I think green grapes would be a tasty substitute.  

Red Grape Fruit Leathers

20 oz organic seedless red grapes, stems discarded

Heat oven to 170 degrees.  Wash and dry grapes.  Blend until a smooth puree has formed.  Spread evenly over a silpat or parchment paper lined half sheet tray.  I like to use a large offset spatula, making sure the center is not thicker than the edges.  Place in oven and bake until surface is no longer sticky but fruit leather hasn't become brittle.  This will take about 4 hours.  

Remove from oven and cool.  Peel away from liner and cut into strips.  Store in an airtight container.