I bought a bag of avocados at the grocery store a few days ago, and of course they all ripen at the same time. Needless to say, I’ve been eating avocado three times a day (not complaining). With this recipe I was trying to accomplish a few things: use up some avocado, and make a travel-friendly, quick lunch. This salad is great on top of spinach or mixed greens (no dressing needed!) or as a sandwich spread. I recommend topping the sandwich or greens with sprouts and red pepper.
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 T parsley, minced
- 2 t lemon juice
- 1/4 t garlic powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 t pepper
Using a fork smash the chickpeas. This will result in a chunky consistency and some of the skin will separate, but it will all come together when you add the rest of the ingredients.
Add the avocado and smash it as well. Combine it with the chickpeas as you are smashing it so the whole mixture binds together. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
YIELD: 2 1/2 cups PREP TIME: 10 to 15 minutes
This salad is inspired by a meal that I had last week in downtown Raleigh at a place called Sosta Cafe (I posted a picture). This would be a perfect summer picnic salad because it takes 10 minutes from start to finish and no cooking is involved. The parsley, tomato and lemon juice provide a real freshness that my body craves on summer days too. But it’s February and it’s still good, so definitely don’t wait for summer to try it out.
- 1 15-oz can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I quartered cherry tomatoes, but anything will work)
- 2 T fresh parsley, minced
- 2 T olive oil
- juice of one lemon (about 2 T)
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 t pepper
Drain the beans and chop the onions, tomato and parsley. The onion is mainly a crunchy element in the salad and not supposed to be a powerful flavor, so be sure to chop it really fine so it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Taste to see if seasonings need to be adjusted. Refrigerate before serving, as the salad tastes best cold.
YIELDS: about 3 cups (6 servings) PREP TIME: 10 minutes
This is a sweet, and creamy dressing that will become your new go to for every kind of salad be it greens or grains. I love dipping veggies, pretzels and chips in it too. I recommend using for a macaroni salad with chopped carrots, celery, and some peas or a kale salad with almonds and grapefruit (massage the dressing into the leaves of the kale for optimum results).
- 1/4 c apple juice (I use my juicer - this is no Mott’s juice, try to find something with no added sugar or flavors)
- 1/4 c canola oil
- 3/4 c vegenaise or other vegan mayonnaise
- 2 T agave nectar (less if apple juice is sweetened)
- 1/4 c dijon mustard
- 1 t ground ginger
- 2 T chopped parsley
- pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
YIELDS: 8-10 oz (8-10 servings) PREP TIME: 5 minutes
This is a super protein packed snack/side. It’s a crunchy salad that’s full of nutty flavor and slight sweetness.
- 1 lb firm tofu, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 cup assorted chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, macadamia, sun seeds, etc.)
- 1 T peanut butter (any nut butter)
- 1 t agave nectar or maple syrup
- 1 t lemon juice
- pinch salt
Preheat oven to 350F.
Lay tofu on a lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake 15 minutes. You can choose to bake longer if you like crispy tofu, but since the nuts are so crunchy, I like to keep the tofu softer to balance that.
While the tofu is baking combine the nuts, nut butter, agave, lemon juice and salt. Gently stir in the tofu. This is good warm or cold.
YIELDS: 4 servings PREP TIME: 5-10 min COOK TIME: 15 min
I recently invested in a rice cooker and I absolutely love it. Not that rice is difficult to make or anything but something about having a rice cooker makes me think about rice a lot more often. I used it for quinoa, as an experiment, and it worked! This is a recipe for a super creamy, slightly sweet rice dish that can be an entree or a side, hot or cold.
- 1 c uncooked rice
- 1 15 oz can coconut milk
- 1/2 c chopped almonds
- 1/2 c raisins or other dried fruit
- 1 apple, diced
- 1/2 T agave
- 1 t lemon juice
- pinch of salt
Cook rice according to package/machine directions replacing the water with the can of coconut milk.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and add the cooked rice. Yup, it really is that easy.
Quinoa is a South American grain (scientifically not a “true” grain) used a lot in vegan and vegetarian cooking because it is a plant source of complete proteins. This means that it has all 9 of the essential amino acids that our bodies can’t produce, and hence need to obtain from dietary sources. Plant sources are rich in amino acids but don’t have all 9 of the essential amino acids (quinoa is the exception). This is where the “How do you get your protein?” question comes from. Eating a variety of veggies, legumes and grains provides you will the essential amino acids you need to get enough protein. This is because every different kind of food has different nutritional compounds (amino acids in this case) and when you mix them all up you are getting some of the same nutrients but also some different ones.
This recipe is also a gluten-free recipe (quinoa is GF, a great substitute for pasta).
- 1 c uncooked quinoa
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1/2 c jumbo raisins, chopped
- 1/2 c raw almonds, chopped
- 1/4 onion, diced small
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 t cumin
- 1 t cinnamon
- salt/pepper to taste
Combine quinoa in small saucepan with 2 cups water (water-to-quinoa ratio is 2:1, just like when cooking rice). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, covering, about 15-20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
Combine the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well. I recommend zesting the lemon before cutting it and juicing it, just makes it easier. When the quinoa is done cooking add it to the bowl and mix well. The warm quinoa will absorb more flavor than if you let it cool before adding to the salad, but it can be eaten hot or cold.
One of my favorite foods is peanut butter. I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day from kindergarten through my senior year in high school and unlike many of the other dishes my parents endlessly prepared for me (pasta), I still love peanut butter. I have learned since my high school days that peanut butter is more than just jelly’s friend, it’s great in sauces, baking, and it goes with everything! Seriously, what is better than peanut butter?
- 1 T fresh grated ginger
- 1/4 c hot water
- 1/4 c peanut butter (creamy)
- 1 T agave nectar
- 1 t curry powder
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/2 lb extra-firm tofu, cut into slices (sandwich or salad sized)
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a baking sheet.
Steep the ginger in the hot water for 5 minutes. While the ginger steeps mix all the other ingredients (except tofu) in a small bowl. Stir in ginger and water. Lay tofu out on the baking sheet and spread a thick layer of the peanut sauce on each piece. Flip them all over and spread the remaining sauce on this side. Bake for 10 minutes.
As shown in the picture, I enjoyed my ginger peanut tofu on a romaine salad with fresh veggies, croutons, and fresh lemon juice. Also try it on a sandwich or wrap! I recommend pairing it with carrots, sprouts and tomatoes.
YIELDS: 3 servings PREP TIME: 5 min COOK TIME: 10 min
Perfect for a hot summer day or night when you just want something light and healthy!
- I cup water
- 1 tsp Better than Bouillon Vegetable Broth
- 1 T flax seed
- 1/2 c quinoa
Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.
- 3 T tahini
- 3/4 c olive oil
- 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 T agave nectar
- 1/4 c plain yogurt
- 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
- pinch of cayenne
Blend all ingredients except the water until smooth. Add water until you reach the desired consistency. I like mine a little thicker so it doesn’t run off my lettuce wrap quite so easily. Unless you put a cup of dressing on every wrap you will have leftover. So you can cut the recipe in half or quarter it, or just save it and use it on future salads!
- 4 large leaves romaine lettuce, left whole
- handful of grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cucumber, diced
- 1/4 green pepper, diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
Set aside romaine leaves and mix chopped veggies together in a bowl. To assemble the lettuce wraps spoon about a tablespoon of the vinaigrette along the spine of the romaine leaf. Top with quinoa, and then the veggies. Eat like a hard shell taco, holding the sides of the romaine leaf up and starting at one end.
Prep/Cook time: 30 min; Yield: 4 lettuce wraps