Flatbread with stacked veggies

Flatbread with stacked veggies

Keeping it simple, fresh, flavorful and colorful. This is so delectable. I made it for lunch/brunch today, and it was delicious.

Just two Wasa flatbreads each topped with chopped Haas avocado (in season), leafy green lettuce leaves, sliced Roma tomatoes, and scallions on top. I sliced some cucumber on the side, and topped with some dill weed. That’s it.

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Mixed Vegetables and Fruit Salad

Mixed Vegetables and Fruit Salad

INGREDIENTS

(All vegetables and fruits are organic, except the cucumber.)

Green leafy lettuce, torn (about two large leaves)
3 Roma tomatoes, deseeded and chopped finely
4 oz sliced black olives (drained)
1 large green onion including bulb, chopped finely
1/2 large red bell pepper
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, sliced finely
4 small carrots, sliced finely
1 c sliced organic strawberries
2 organic kiwis, peeled and sliced
Juice of one tangelo orange
Season of your choice–I served my portion with a little pepper on the vegetables

METHOD

Just chop/slice all ingredients and mix the vegetables together and serve on lettuce. Place the fruits around the mound of veggies. Squeeze the juice from the tangelo over all. (Tangelos are very sweet and flavorful.)

Avocado Stuffed with Bulgur Salad

Avocado Stuffed with Bulgur Salad

The best way to plan meals is around whatever is in season locally; it’s more economical, the food is fresher since it’s grown locally and the time from harvest to grocery store (or farmer’s market) is less, and you’re helping community supported agriculture (CSA).

I never grocery shop with any particular item list (other than those that I’ll always need). I have an idea in mind beforehand about what’s on sale, and I’ll think of certain recipes I might decide to make based on those items. Once I get to the grocery store or farmer’s market, I’ll choose produce that looks the freshest and is actually in season (vs. just on sale to unload).

Haas avocados are in season locally (Southern California), and are abundant and always delicious. Since they’re in season, they are inexpensive (4 large Haas avocados for $5). So, I decided to buy a bunch and incorporate them into my recipes in different ways. This is one recipe that I was inspired to make based on a few bulgur salad recipes I had.

INGREDIENTS

6 Haas Avocados
3/4 c bulgur, soaked in 2 c organic vegetable broth for an hour
4 Roma tomatoes
1 c organic green onions, finely chopped
1 c parsley, finely chopped
1/2 c grated carrot
1/2 c finely chopped fresh mint
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/2 tsp The Garlic Box roasted garlic and sea salt (www.thegarlicbox.com)
1 tsp Galloway’s coarse-ground pepper (www.gallowaysfoods.com)

METHOD

Clean and rinse the bulgur thoroughly, and drain. Add 2 cups vegetable broth, and let it soak for an hour. Deseed the Roma tomatoes, and chop finely. Add the remaining ingredients, and refrigerate for the remaining time while the bulgur is soaking.

Drain the bulgur and add to the tomato mixture. Stir thoroughly to mix, cover and refrigerate. It’s best to refrigerate overnight so the flavors are well-melded, but it can be served immediately as a stand-alone salad on greens, or stuffed in avocados that have been pitted with a little extra avocado scooped out to make a larger fill area. (I made guacamole out of the extra that I scooped out of these large Haas avocados.)

Brussels Sprouts with Shiitake Mushrooms

Brussels Sprouts with Shiitake Mushrooms

I know most people hate Brussels sprouts. Well, I grew up eating them — A LOT; they were quite regularly a part of our menu, and they were always included in holiday dinners (along with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, bread, etc.). I loved them, even though my Mom cooked (boiled) them “to death.” 🙂

I introduced my version of Brussels sprouts to my kids early on. All but one of them loves them to this day. (The only dissenter is my daughter, lol.) Anyway, I don’t boil them, and I don’t just steam them. I usually sauté them in olive oil with garlic, onion, and basil (fresh or dried), and sometimes I’ll add other vegetables that I have on hand (mushrooms, in this case).

Brussels sprouts, like most cruciferous vegetables are incredibly healthy. But, don’t take my word for it: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=10

Since eating a strict Vegan diet since January, I’ve become far more interested in mushrooms. It’s no secret that Shiitake, among many other mushrooms, have several health benefits (http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/8-types-of-mushrooms-and-their-health-benefits.html#b):

Shiitake Can Fight Tumors -– These flavorful, meaty mushrooms contain lentinan which is a natural anti-tumor compound. It has been developed by the Japanese into a beneficial anti-cancer treatment. In turn, it is an excellent source of vitamin D and fighting infection. Four to five ounces per day is recommended.

I was inspired to make this dish based on my love of Brussels sprouts, my interest in the healthy benefits of mushrooms, and in making healthy AND tasty Vegan meals.

INGREDIENTS

Extra-virgin olive oil (enough to evenly cover the bottom of your pan)
Brussels sprouts, washed and sliced lengthwise
1 whole yellow onion, chopped
1 cup fresh chopped, or 1 tbsp. dried basil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
one small package of dried (and reconstituted) shiitake mushrooms (or 5 fresh)
vegetable broth
Himalayan pink salt
coarse-ground pepper

METHOD

Heat oil in non-stick large frying pan on medium to high heat. Add Brussels sprouts and sauté until they’re brown (turning) on both sides. Reduce heat and add onions, garlic, basil, mushrooms, and stir continuously for a few minutes. Add some vegetable broth, partly cover for a minute, or so. Remove cover and stir. Season with salt and pepper.

Brussels sprouts should be bright green; mushrooms should be fully cooked; broth should be absorbed.

This dish is even better as a “leftover.”

Really Simple Salad

Really Simple Salad

Kale, tomato, avocado, cucumber, snap peas, frisée, grated carrot, radishes, sweet onion, black beans, and black olives. And for the dressing, I mixed some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey mustard, Himalayan pink salt, and coarse-grind pepper.

That’s it. A delicious and healthy dinner to end a long week!

Rotini pasta with frisée, grape tomatoes, garlic and onion

Rotini pasta with frisée, grape tomatoes, garlic and onion

Well, I received my biweekly delivery of CSA organic veggies and fruits yesterday, and one of this week’s vegetables was frisée lettuce. I’d never tried it before, so I did a little reading about it.

From http://kitchengardenfarm.com/vegetable-pages/frisee:

“Frisée is a member of the endive/chicory family with finely curled leaves and a slightly bitter flavor. It is extremely popular in France, and truly one of the most elegant of the salad vegetables. As the plant reaches full size, the outer leaves are gathered up and tightly bound with an elastic band, excluding sunlight to its newly forming inner leaves. This makes the frisée more tender and gives it its singular two-tone appearance. Frisée is best served raw with a sharply acid dressing to offset the bitterness.”

Since it has a bitterness to it, I decided to sauté it and use in a pasta dish. It was not at all bitter after sautéing, and in fact it turned out to be a great addition to the usual olive oil/garlic/onion/tomato sauce I might typically make for this type of pasta. Also, since I anticipated some bitterness, I added grated carrot to the sauté (which was also from my organic delivery yesterday, and was so fresh and sweet).

INGREDIENTS

1 box vegetable rotini pasta
extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
3 carrots, grated
1 sweet Mayan onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
about two big handfuls of rinsed and spun-dry, coarsely chopped frisée
Himalayan pink salt
Galloway’s Foods coarse-grind fresh pepper

METHOD

Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. While it is cooking, heat large non-stick frying pan to medium high, and add about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Add the chopped onion and cook for a few minutes until it’s soft, then add the garlic, carrots, and tomatoes. Cook for about another 2 minutes, lowering the heat to medium. Add the frisée last, and toss it well within the other ingredients. Season with the pink salt and pepper to taste. Drain the pasta (timing should coincide with the pasta being ready at the same time the vegetable mixture is done). Pour the pasta into the frying pan with the veggies, and mix well. Serve immediately.

Falafels with Guacamole and Lime

Falafels with Guacamole and Lime

I used Telma Falafel Snack Mix for the falafels, and I wouldn’t use that brand again. They were dry, and kind of tasteless, so I made the guacamole with lime and spices for dipping. Next time, I’ll make homemade falafels.

Anyone have a favorite falafel recipe? I’ve been looking at some online, but I haven’t decided which one to make next time.