lunch

Tabbouleh Salad

Note: 

I was hooked on this refreshing Mediterranean  delight at first taste, courtesy of Boyfriend's Aunt Tia.  I don't think there's anything as fresh and delicious as this tabbouleh salad recipe on a hot day.  It's a snap to make, especially if you're feeding a crowd, which Aunt Tia often is!

Tools needed: 
Big salad bowl
Time: 
45 minutes
Tabbouleh Plate with Hummus, Pita, and Pea Shoots
Ingredients: 
1 cup burghul (cracked wheat), cooked according to package instructions, drain and allow to cool to room temperature
2 large tomatoes, diced (or you can 1/4 2 cups of cherry tomatoes, too)
1 bunch green onions
1 big bunch of parsley (or two, the more green, the better!)
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
1 large cucumber, diced
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of three lemons
1 tbs salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic (more if you love garlic!)
Directions: 
  1.  Place burghul in a large bowl.  Add all chopped vegetables and mix well.
  2. Add oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix again.
  3. Allow burghul to soak and absorb the juice for about an hour.
  4. Serve chilled over lettuce, or with hummus and pita, as shown.  Top with feta cheese if desired.

 

Serves: 
4

Sundried Tomato Artichoke Salad

Note: 

This summer's salad of choice!  I sampled  this at Trader Joe's recently, and we've been making it several times a week ever since.  As much as I love my arugula, spinach, and mixed greens, this Romaine-lettuce based salad is a refreshing break from my standard salad choices!  The artichoke antipasto and sundried tomatoes make it no-dressing-required simple, too!

Tools needed: 
Big salad bowl
Time: 
10 minutes
Artichoke Salad
Ingredients: 
4 Romaine hearts, leaves washed and chopped
1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1 cup Artichoke Spread (I used Trader Joe's Artichoke Antipasto)
3 large red bell peppers, sliced into strips
3 cups pea shoots or microgreens
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
Directions: 
  1. Mix lettuce and artichoke spread in a bowl, coating lettuce.
  2. Toss in remaining ingredients and combine.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve chilled.
Serves: 
4
Source: 
Trader Joe's

Spicy Radish and Chickpea Salad

Note: 

Boyfriend and I have been working on this one for a while - he likes to spice lots of foods this way, and I like making use of all the parts of of a veggie in my recipes.  Here we use the radishes and the tops together for a variety of textures and flavors.  Chickpeas add umami, as well as protein and further texture to this vegetarian dish.  The dollop of creamy yogurt tones down the spiciness a little while adding another layer of flavor, texture, and a multitude of other health benefits. Turmeric offers tons cancer-fighting properties and lots of anti-oxidants, and spicy foods are full of antioxidants, too.

Enjoy the healthy, ethnic spicy-liciousness!

Tools needed: 
large saute pan
Time: 
30 minutes
Warm Radish and Chickpea Salad
Ingredients: 
2-3 bunches washed radishes, greens cut off (save!), bulbs sliced into bite-size pieces
2 cans cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained, and patted dry
1 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts
4 tbs plain yogurt (dairy alternative to make vegan and dairy free)
2-3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs turmeric
1 tbs paprika, plus some for garnish
tsp chili powder (or to taste)
1 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
salt to taste
Directions: 
  1. Mix turmeric, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne together with a fork in a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in large non-stick pan over medium heat.
  3. Add chickpeas, moving them around to coat with oil.  Spoon spice mixture over beans, coating as evenly as possible.
  4. Mix in radishes and white parts of green onions, coating with remaining spice mixture.
  5. When the radishes and onions begin to soften, add greens, mixing together until greens are tender. Salt to taste, do not overcook.
  6. Scoop portions into four serving bowls, and top with tablespoon of yogurt.  Sprinkle with green onions and paprika.
Serves: 
4

Kale and White Bean Soup

Note: 

I couldn't be happier to get back into the swing of green since the sugar-laden holidays with a warm bowl of savory soup!  This is my go-to soup this winter - I saw a version of it in Sunset magazine, then had a bowl of something similar at one of my favorite restaurants, the fabulous Full of Life Flatbread, a couple of weekends ago.  Seems like wintery greens are on everyone's menu!

Keep in mind that you can mix it up by using different kinds of kale - I don't have a favorite, I'm still trying them all.  You can also add some cooked veggies like carrots, squash or potatoes, depending on your taste.  I occasionally usually have mine with a thick piece of toast to dunk in the broth. Mmmm...

Despite the fact that kale is packed with enough vitamin C, A, K and B6 to make it a nutritional powerhouse, not to mention cancer-fighting properities, magnesium, copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus (that's a mouthful!); people still can't get past the bitter taste of raw kale.  Not to worry - sauteing for just a few minutes with garlic and onions subdues the flavor, and before you know it,  you'll be be a fan of this queen of greens!

 

Tools needed: 
large saute pan, large pot
Time: 
45 minutes
Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup
Ingredients: 
2 bunches kale (any kind), washed and sliced thinly, crosswise
1 large (or two medium) yellow or sweet onion, peeled and cut into thin strips
~4 tbs olive oil
2 - 2.5 quarts vegetable broth
3 cups cooked white cannelini (white or Great Northern) beans, or 2 15oz cans (rinsed)
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tbs sage leaves (dried sage is fine, too)
Directions: 
  1. Heat broth in large pot over low heat.
  2. Heat 1-2 tbs olive oil in saute pan to medium heat, add onion and cook until they start to brown, add oil as needed.
  3. Add a bit more olive oil and garlic.  Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes over medium heat.  Be careful not to burn or brown the garlic.
  4. Add a bit more olive oil and kale and move around the pan until it starts to soften, about 3-5 minutes.  Cover and turn off heat.
  5. When broth is simmering, add beans and other ingredients.  Stir to incorporate ingredients together in broth.  Add more broth (or water) if needed to cover all ingredients. Bring to a simmer again, test greens for tenderness before serving.
  6. Season more to your desired taste.

NOTE: One recipe I came across suggested to remove the ribs and stems of the kale, I usually keep them.  Some varieties might be a little tough for some tastes, so use your discretion.

Serves: 
4-6

Mushroom & Green Onion Frittata

Note: 

This simple recipe is tasty and hearty, an appropriate meal as we head into the cooler months of fall and winter.  Boyfriend and I made it for dinner this evening in under an hour and plan to have the leftover portion for breakfast in the morning with one of our fabulous fruit and green smoothies!  This recipe can easily be made dairy-free with milk and cheese alternatives - we used almond milk and soy cheese.

Tools needed: 
10" oven-safe skillet or baking dish
Time: 
45 minutes
First Fab Frittata!
Ingredients: 
4 cups cubed baby red potatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
6 eggs
1 cup milk (we used almond milk for non-dairy, soy would work, too)
1/2 cup cheese (we used soy cheese for non-dairy)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried, crushed oregano leaves
1 tsp dried, crushed sage leaves
Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil and cook about 10 minutes, until tender but firm.  Drain.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat, add mushrooms, cook about 5 minutes or until mushrooms start to brown.
  4. Add a bit more oil and garlic, cook until garlic becomes fragrant, stirring into the mushrooms.  Remove from heat - set aside in a bowl.
  5. Layer the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish or oven-safe skillet.  Evenly layer the other ingredients: mushroom and garlic mixture, then cheese, then green onions.  Add a little salt and pepper in each layer (or as desired).
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the milk and eggs until fluffy.  Mix oregano and sage into mixture at the end.
  7. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet over the other ingredients.
  8. Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until eggs are no longer runny and top is lightly browned.
Serves: 
4

Green Monster Smoothie

Note: 

Wait!  Come back!  Greens are good! They're packed with enough antioxidants guaranteed to put a pep in your step in addition to tasting great in this delicious smothie.  Not to mention Green is in thing, you know,  and will you look at that color

My own concoction contains lots of parsley, which is zesty, but has coveted tumor-fighting properties for a cancer warrior like myself.  I add enough fruit to tone down the spice of certain greens, and you're welcome to adjust to your liking, but be warned that too much fruit just makes it another sugar-laden fruit drink.  Kris Carr, Wellness Guru and Crazy Sexy Cancer Chick, recommends sticking to a 1/3 fruit to 2/3 veggies rule to keep your sugar intake balanced with everything else.  This recipe reflects that, but you may have to adjust to your personal taste.

Go on and get your GREEN on!

Tools needed: 
blender
Time: 
5 minutes
Super-Green Monster Smoothie
Ingredients: 
1 orange, peeled and quartered, seeds removed
1 frozen banana, peeled and chopped in to 1 in. pieces
1 cup cubed fruit, such as apple, pear, mango, pineapple, fresh or frozen (no-no-not canned!)
1-2 cups of rinsed greens, such as arugula, parsley, mixed herbs, cilantro, baby romaine, kale, or spinach (I try to do different combos)
1 small, washed and cubed zuchinni or cucumber
1 tbs chia or ground flax seed, if desired (will thicken the smoothie and provide extra protein)
Directions: 
  1. Put banana and orange in blender, blend until juicy and mixed.
  2. Add greens and blend until GREEN!
  3. Add the rest of your fruit, veggies, and flax or chia (if desired), blend until smooth.
  4. Add a bit of water or ice if too thick.
  5. Enjoy the deliciousness and health benefits daily!

Please tweak to your taste, and remember that some combinations of greens are better than others.  I know some people are averse to cilantro, even though I find it quite scrumptious!  And raw kale is not for everyone, so if you're not sure about something, go light on it at first, so you don't ruin a whole blender full of fruit!You can keep the smoothie refrigerated for up to a day, but it's best enjoyed right away.

Serves: 
1-2

Greenberry Smoothie

Note: 

In the neverending effort to incorporate more greens in my diet, I've been adding greens to my morning smoothies, and it's fantastic!  This is my favorite version so far:  the spinach has a pretty undetectable flavor and the berries make it purple, so kiddos and health-phobes won't know the difference.  Enjoy the green deliciousness, and email me if you have any taste-tantalizing tweaks or tips!

Tools needed: 
blender
Time: 
10 minutes
Greenberry Smoothie - Wait - where's the green?
Ingredients: 
1 banana, peeled, chopped into pieces
2 oranges, peeled, deseeded and quarters
1 1/2 cups total, any combination of frozen blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, chopped strawberries (I choose 3, 1/2 cup of each)
1/2 - 1 cup almond milk (or preferred milk, may have to adjust amount to desired consistency)
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, rinsed (or favorite greens like parsley or arugula)
Directions: 
  1. Put all ingredients into blender, and blend with lid on until everything is mixed thoroughly and your desired consistency.  You may need to add milk to thin it, or more frozen fruit to thicken it.
  2. Pour into a fun glass and serve or consume immediately.

Tips: Use spinach if you "don't want to know" or throw in some parsley, arugula, or cilantro to really add some zing and "green" flavor to your smoothie.

Serves: 
2

Winter Vegetable and Greens Sage Soup

Note: 

I was tempted to name this hearty winter vegetable soup "Bottom of the Fridge Soup", based on its conception:  Boyfriend was fighting a cold a couple of weeks back, and he was craving something warm and soupy for his aching throat.  I just started throwing stuff from the "bottom of the fridge" into a pot, and voila - it was really tasty!  So we've tweaked it a couple of times, but it's vegetabley, soupy, sagey and gosh darn it - downright delicious!  Perfectly suitable for enjoying by a warm, toasty fire this winter!  Enjoy!

Tools needed: 
big pot with lid
Time: 
1 - 1.5 hours
Winter Vegetable and Greens Sage Soup
Ingredients: 
2.5 lbs. potatoes, cut into 1-in. pieces, boiled until you can easily insert a fork in them
1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
6-10 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups carrots, sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 - 2 cups rice or barley, cooked
6 cups vegetable broth
4 packed cups winter greens, such as kale, collard greens, radish/beet greens, spinach rinsed roughly chopped
2 tbs dried sage (or more, depending on your taste)
olive oil
hot water
salt and pepper to taste
Directions: 
  1. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions and salt, cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are soft, about 3 - 6 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and another tablespoon of olive oil and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add carrots, sage, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat and simmer with the lid on for about 10 minutes, until carrots begin to soften.
  4. Add barley or rice and potatoes, replace lid, and bring to a boil.  Add water or more broth if necessary to cover all the ingredients.
  5. Add greens, mixing in to cover with broth, adding more water or broth if necessary.
  6. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 - 15 more minutes to cook down the greens.  Add more sage or other spices, depending on your tastes.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Serves: 
4-8

Peanut Noodles with Shrimp

Note: 

I'm still on a "fast and easy" kick (a la my salad post last week), but variety is the spice of life, huh?  And so Boyfriend and I have been on a mission to create a quick, but flavorful - ethnic, even! - dish to satisfy all of those requirements.  Behold our collaboration - a Thai-inspired peanut-y, noodle-y, spicy bowl of yumminess topped with some fresh greenery and crunchy shrimp, too!  And our "veggie" friends just need to bypass the shrimp and throw some tofu in the sauce while it cooks - easy!

TIP:  The peanut sauce can also be used over salad or as a dip.  Bonus!

Tools needed: 
Large saucepan and pot
Time: 
20 minutes
Peanut Noodles
Ingredients: 
8 oz. spaghetti or rice noodles (we used rice noodles for gluten-free)
1 - 4 oz. can cooked shrimp (we used Trader Joe's Wild Pink Shrimp)
4 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup minced red onion
2 tbs minced garlic
1/2 tsp hot chili pepper
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs rice vinegar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup water
1-2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro or basil (or both!)
1-2 chopped green onions, white and green parts
Lime juice (optional)
Directions: 
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
  2. In a blender combine sesame oil, onion, garlic, and hot chili pepper; blend for 1 minute.
  3. Empty the mixture into a large saucepan and place over low heat until the mixture starts releasing aroma.  Add peanut butter and mix well over low heat.
  4. Add water and let it simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened.
  5. Stir in vinegar and sugar; continue to simmer for another 1-2 minutes.  Tast and add more vinegar and sugar if the mixture does not have enough sour or sweet taste.
  6. Pour sauce over noodles, and mix to coat.
  7. Add basil, cilantro, green onions and shrimp; toss and place in serving bowl.
  8. Optional: Squeeze fresh lime over the top just before serving.

Note to vegetarians/vegans: replace shrimp with cubed tofu - just cook the tofu in the sauce while heating.TIP: The peanut sauce can also be used alone as a salad dressing or a veggie dip.

Serves: 
4

Black Bean and Corn Southwestern Salad

Note: 

I like a little bit of everything in my salad, and now that corn is officially in season, I needed a salad recipe to make use of its sweet summer deliciousness.  So I just started adding stuff that fit a southwestern theme and added the black beans and quinoa for substance.  The avocado or guacamole add to the richness as well.  Behold, a hearty summer salad with enough substance to call a meal!

Time: 
30 minutes
Black Bean and Corn Southwestern Salad
Ingredients: 
8-10 cups of your favorite lettuce or salad greens, crunchy romaine seems to hold up to all the other ingredients well
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (skip if you hate cilantro, add more if you love it!)
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh corn, cut off the cob (yes, raw!; and use a serrated knife)
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cup quinoa or rice, cooked
1/4 cup chopped red or green onion
1-2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
avocado or guacamole
Directions: 
  1. Place lettuce, bell pepper pieces, and cilantro in a large salad bowl.  Drizzle with oil and vinegar; toss until thorougly coated.
  2. Mix beans, rice/quinoa, and onion in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat, covered, for a minute or two in microwave, just until warm.
  3. Toss all in ingredients, but avocado, in large salad bowl until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.  Top with diced avocado, guacamole or your favorite salsa/dressing.

Girbert's guacamole recipe.Girlbert's Raw Tomatillo Salsa recipe.

Serves: 
2-4
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