Pear and Fennel Salad Rolls with Toasted Walnuts

Everyone loves portable food, especially these days. These salad rolls wrapped with Asian rice paper wrappers are so easy to work with and can turn many different foods into a something that you can take on the go. Fill them with just about any kind of salad or cooked veggie and even add some protein and VIOLA…a meal on the go!

Pear and Fennel Salad Rolls with Toasted Walnuts

Ingredients:
5oz of mixed greens or arugula (1 bag)
1 medium ripe pear or apple, cored and sliced thinly
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dill, roughly chopped (optional)
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped*
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
Asian rice paper wrappers as needed**

For the Dressing:
1+ Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste

Servings varied depending on how big you make the rolls.

Directions:

Place all ingredients for salad up to the wrappers, into a large bowl. In a small bowl; whisk the vinegar, mustard and olive oil together and pour over the salad. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Taste and adjust the vinegar and seasoning if needed.

Fill a wide bowl filled with a few inches of room temperature filtered water. Have a clean cutting board or counter (preferably wood or plastic) in front of you and the salad in arms reach.

Lightly oil a serving plate with olive oil and set next to the cutting board.

Dip the first rice paper in the water for about 8-10 seconds; making sure that every bit of the paper gets wet. Remove, shaking off the excess water and lay the wrapper on the cutting board in front of you.

Starting at the edge closest to you; place a good handful of the salad on the paper in a horizontal shape but not going all the way to the edges. The wrapper will begin to soften as you do this.

When the paper feels pliable; pick up the end of the wrapper closest to you with your thumb and forefinger and fold tightly over the salad and then fold in the sides. Do not let go and continue to roll using your pinky fingers to continue to tuck the sides in so that nothing is poking out. Roll until the end wraps around and sticks to the outside the paper. This may take a few attempts so have a few extra papers just in case.

Cut the finished rolls in half and place on the oiled serving plate. Repeat until you have used all of the salad. Cut in half and serve immediately.

Tips & Notes~

This salad works well with pretty much any kind of nut.

You can use these wrappers with all kinds of salad, they make a great portable meal or a party appetizer.

*To toast the nuts~ Spread them on a sheet pan in a single layer. Bake at 325 degrees until the nuts are toasted and fragrant, about 7 to 10 minutes. Let the nuts cool, and then coarsely chop.

**The rice paper wrappers are available in the ethnic section of many grocery stores or in an Asian market.

Avocado Miso Toast

I’m not the biggest breakfast person. I know that it is the most important meal of the day, and I realize that as a health food professional I should be more diligent. But tell this to my appetite. I am a yogi and you are not supposed to eat 2+ hours before practicing yoga and I don’t like to eat before my 1 precious cup of coffee in the am (organic with fresh cashew milk mind you). So I go with such things as a simple slice of Ezekiel bread with homemade nut butter or something fun and unique like this awesome avocado recipe below. Fast and healthy and pretty darn good if I do say so myself!

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Avocado Miso Toast

INGREDIENTS:

2 slices sprouted whole grain or gluten free bread
2+ teaspoons mellow white miso paste
1 medium ripe avocado
Lime to taste
1 Tablespoon seasoned dried seaweed flakes (I like Sea’s Gift Korean Nori)

Makes 1-2 servings

 

DIRECTIONS:

Toast the bread. While it is toasting roll the avocado with your hand on a cutting board to soften. Cut in half and scrape out the inside into a bowl. Mash with a fork and add a squeeze of lime and set aside.

When toast is done, spread 1 teaspoon of miso evenly over the bread. Top with the avocado and sprinkle with the seaweed and eat!

Tips & Notes~

Add some sliced red onion, ripe tomato or your favorite hot sauce on top.

An egg fried in virgin coconut oil is amazing.

For a BLT type of effect~ slice some tempeh thinly and pan fry in coconut oil until crispy and serve on top of the toast.

 

Quick Strawberry Mint Sorbet

Light, refreshing and perfect for summer, this quick sorbet is simple and delicious. It also doesn’t have any of the weird ingredients or stabilizers that many of the store-bought brands have. Its also a great project to do with your kids and  keep them busy for a an hour or so (much needed this time of year I bet). So drag out that ice cream machine that has been collecting dust and get going. Please not that you may have the type of machine that requires that the container be frozen is advance (typically at least 12 hours- plan ahead).

There are many variations that you can do like changing out the fruit for something else that is ripe and fantastically in season. You can event get a little wild and use basil instead of mint or even exchange a bit of the puree for some coconut milk to make a vegan sherbet. I would recommend increasing the simple syrup by 1/4 so it stays smooth as it freezes. The sweet content is partially what keeps the consistency for being too icy so don’t try and substitute the simple syrup for stevia- it will fail. You can perhaps try some maple syrup but you will have to tinker with the ratio as it is a strong flavor. The other component that makes the consistency smooth is the rate at which the minute freezes- but the fast machines have freon built in and cost hundreds to thousand of bucks. Unless you are a serious ice cream or sorbet maker- the simple ones will probably do!

Strawbery Sorbet

 

Strawberry Mint Sorbet

INGREDIENTS:

2 pints fresh strawberries (1-1/2 pounds), tops removed
1-1/4 cup simple syrup (recipe follows)
1/2 packed cup fresh mint leaves
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Makes 1 quart

DIRECTIONS:

Purée the strawberries in a blender with the simple syrup until very smooth. Add the mint and lemon juice and pulse until the mint is broken down into tiny flecks. Transfer to an ice-cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Simple Syrup

1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons organic cane sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons filtered water

Makes 1-1/4 cup

Combine in a sauce pan and gently warm until all the sugar has been dissolved.

Tips & Notes~

If you would like to remove the strawberry seeds you can strain the mixture before blending in the mint.

This recipe works well with raspberries or blackberries also but you will certainly want to strain!

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini Cakes with Spicy Lemon Coconut Sauce

SUPER easy, vegan, gluten & grain free and YUMMY, what could be better? Get creative and change it up a bit with some other shredded veggies, the sky’s the limit!

zucchini cakes

Zucchini Cakes with Spicy Lemon Coconut Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

3 medium Zucchini, grated
About 1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Chickpea Flour
1 Tablespoon Za’atar (optional)*
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
2-3 large green onions, sliced
Freshly cracked pepper
Coconut oil or olive oil for the pan

Makes 10 medium cakes

DIRECTIONS:

Place the grated zucchini in a bowl and toss with a good pinch of salt. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes to let the moisture of the zucchini release. Add the remaining ingredients except the oil and mix well. The moisture that comes from the zucchini should be enough to turn this into a batter. If not, add a few tablespoons of water but be sure it is not runny, the mixture should be thick like pancake batter.

Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat and add about a couple teaspoons of oil. Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, scoop the mixture to the pan forming 5 small pancakes, spreading them with the back of the scoop. Brown on one side for about 5-6 minutes, flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter, tenting the cooked cakes with foil to keep warm. Serve immediately with the spicy coconut sauce (recipe follows).

Tips & Notes~

*Za’atar is generally prepared using ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, mixed with toasted sesame seeds, salt and ground sumac. Available in middle eastern markets. If you cannot find you can add a few pinches of dries herbs and a squeeze of lemon.

Grated carrot or sweet potato also makes a nice substitution for some of the zucchini but you will need to add a touch of water to make up for the liquid in the zucchini.
Spicy Lemon Coconut Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

1 clove garlic
1/4 cup raw almonds, soaked in water for 4+ hours and drained
1/2-1 medium jalapeño or serrano chile, cut in half (amount depends on level of spice desired)
2 medium green onions, bottoms removed and rough chopped
1/4-1/3 cup coconut milk (full fat)
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
A good pinch of salt
About 2 Tablespoons+ fresh dill or cilantro

Makes about 3/4 cup

DIRECTIONS:

Place all ingredients except for the dill into the blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Add the dill and pulse a few times to break it up. Taste and adjust salt and lemon if necessary. If you want a thinner sauce use 3/4 cup of coconut milk.

Minted Watermelon Cooler

This is the perfect summer drink, especially with a little “kick” added to it. It is versatile and can be done with many different kinds of fruit. Accidentally add some silver tequila or vodka and voila, you’ve got a party in a glass!

Watermelon CoolerMinted Watermelon Cooler

3 cups cubed watermelon
1 cup water or coconut water, chilled
3-4 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup or stevia to taste
Zest of 1/2 a lime
Juice of 2 limes
6-8 large mint leaves

Makes 4 servings

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth but still slushy. If you have a vitamin you will want to use the tamper to help it along, not then stop the machine once or twice to give the slush a stir. Taste and adjust lime or sweetener if desired.

 

Tips & Notes~

You can use unfrozen fruit and add ice but the consistency will not be as slushy.

Add some chilled vodka or silver tequila in place of some of the liquid.

Swap out some or all of the watermelon for some frozen mango or berries.

Marinated Cucumber Seaweed Salad

I used to always order a seaweed salad at a Japanese restaurant. That is until I realized that the bright green ones are artificially colored…ewww! Do not fret, you can always ask if the salad is “made in house”, if the answer is yes then likely to be the real deal. Or, you can just make it yourself…here’s how!

Cuke salad

Marinated Cucumber Seaweed Salad

Ingredients:

2 ounces dried wakame seaweed*

1 large seedless cucumber, peeled in alternate strips and sliced into ¼ inch half moons**
1/8 of a medium red onion, very thinly sliced
Thinly sliced chili such as Thai or serrano, optional
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Dressing~

4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons neutral oil such as grapeseed or rice bran oil
1 Tablespoon white miso paste
1+ Tablespoons nama shoyu or soy sauce
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons honey
2 Tablespoons finely grated ginger
A pinch of salt

Makes 4 large servings

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add wakame and remove the saucepan from the heat; let stand until softened, 20 minutes. Drain and squeeze the seaweed out gently. If you have purchased the large leaves; slice thinly removing any very large tough ribs from the center. If you have purchased the “prepared”variety no need to cut.

Whisk all ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl. Add the wakame, cucumbers, onions and chili and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Tips & Notes~

Add some very thinly sliced red bell pepper or carrot for some nice crunch and color.

*Wakame is a type of dried seaweed. It comes in packages of long strips or pre-cut, the pre-cut variety will save time. Typically it comes in 1.75oz – 2oz packages, either weight is fine for this recipe.

**If using a regular cucumber, use 2 large- and be sure to remove seeds.