Fig + Pear Salad with Cherry Balsamic Dressing


Oh my salad greens goodness! Each time I see this picture, I get hungry all over again.

Normally, I rotate between 3-4 salad recipes each month…ones with ingredients that are easier on the budget than pistachios and cherries. However, there are times and occasions where something special is called for…like Mother’s Day perhaps? Or maybe a lunch with a friend who is like a mother or a sister to you.

Perhaps it’s the pistachios that made me think of Mother’s Day. Because unless you buy shelled pistachios, you know it’s a labor of love to crack open enough for a meal. And word of advice? If you have lots of little (or big) hands around the house that would love to eat pistachios like candy, you might want to hide your shelled stash until the salad is ready to serve. Just sayin’. From experience.

Reducing the balsamic vinegar is key to making this salad without adding sugar. I love how it pairs with the buttery pistachios, sweet figs and lightly sweetened pears. The mix of greens is up to you, but I advise staying away from watercress. Unless you love watercress, of course. I thought I might after reading Trumpet of the Swan back in grade school. But after trying it, I’ve decided it’s not a good idea to make food choices based on the preferences of fictional swans.

You can receive the recipe for the full salad and cherry balsamic dressing (which has a secret ingredient), along with other exclusive recipes and updates, by signing up for my newsletter here:

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5-ingredient walnut pesto over zucchini noodles (vegan, gluten free, paleo)

pesto

I am newer to the whole veggie noodle trend, mostly because I didn’t want to invest in a spiralizer unless I knew I would get frequent use out of it. For awhile, I made due by putting my dusty cheese grater to use to make zucchini noodle strips. And then I found this:

Only $5 at Whole Foods and I was sold. I was a little skeptical at first if it would really work, but it does! And not only does it turn out lovely long zucchini noodles, I get a few bonus rotini shapes too. The only downside is it’s hard to spiralize the entire veggie because you run the risk of nicking your fingers in to the bargain. A brief search on Amazon, however, located this one* that solves that problem and is still small enough to be tucked into a drawer.

While my traditional pasta sauce works well with these noodles, I think they were meant for this pesto recipe. You can serve it over slightly warmed noodles, or since the weather is heating up, eat it cold. This pesto is a snap to put together and it can even be frozen.

Five-ingredient walnut pestoIMG_4176
1.5 cups of basil
1/2 cups of walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/8 tsp salt
dashes of freshly ground pepper
3/4 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix on high until everything is thoroughly combined. Spoon onto noodles of choice (I recommend zucchini!) and stir until noodles are coated. Personally, for my own bowl, I like to mix in the pasta by hand. Store any extras in an air-tight jar in the freezer.

*makes enough for two adult servings

*contains an affiliate link

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plant-powered pizza crust (vegan, gluten free)

IMG_4313

Finally! I feel like I can enjoy pizza again.

Since changing my diet to a plant-based one, I also found myself losing my desire to eat wheat-based foods. I experimented with a few pizza crust recipes, including a cauliflower one, but hadn’t found one that I really loved until now.

This pizza crust is mostly potato, a little bit of cauliflower and can be made with a gluten-free flour of your choice…I prefer brown rice flour. It’s chewy and crusty and holds up well under all the toppings. I could seriously eat them as is.

I prefer to make these as indiviual mini-pizza servings…perfect for customizing them to suit any palette. My favorite no-fuss toppings included regular hummus, pizza sauce, onion, jalepeno peppers and basil. They also freeze well, so make a stack and save some for when you need a quick lunch or are on the go.

Plant-powered Pizza Crust

1 1/2 cups finely diced potatoes
1/2 cup finely diced cauliflower
1/2-3/4 cups gluten-free flour of choice
3 T ground flax seed
1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt

Bring 1-2″ of water to boil in a medium saucepan, then add potatoes and cauliflower. Boil until veggies are very tender and the water has evaporated (this way, you don’t loose the nutrients in the water!). Mash well or blend in a food processor until smooth and cool. Add remaining ingredients, starting with a 1/2 cup of flour and adding more as needed. Knead in the flour with your hands until it becomes a firm, but sticky dough. For into a 5-7 balls, place on a cookie sheet lightly greased with avocado oil and flatten into round pizza crust shapes. Place in a 375o oven and pre-bake for 12-15 minutes. Add toppings and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Freeze any leftovers by placing on cookie sheets and popping in the freezer. Once frozen, store in airtight freezer containers or bags.

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curried quinoa salad + cookbook giveaway

First up…tomorrow will be the last day you can enter the giveaway for the Oh She Glows Everyday cookbook. Click this link to see the original post. Please share it with other plant-based eaters too…or maybe people you’re hoping to win over.

And as promised, another recipe for you.

This one is inspired by a recipe I found at Whole Foods Market. I substituted in quinoa for the couscous the recipe originally called for plus made a few little tweaks. Quinoa in a complete plant protein so this substitution bumps up the nutrition profile of this salad.

It’s extremely easy to put together (except for maybe shredding the carrots if you do so by hand) and can be eaten as a side, main meal and brought to share at a pot luck. I find that quinoa doesn’t do too well after several days in the fridge, so be sure to eat this within one to two days of making it.

Remember too, that I post several times a day over on my FB like page…nutrition and fitness tips, motivation and more! I would love to see you over there too…be sure to leave a comment and say hello.

Curried Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

1 T curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c. raisins
1 c. uncooked quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
2 carrots, shredded
½ onion, minced
1 c. frozen peas, thawed
1/2 c. minced fresh cilantro
1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted

Instructions

Add curry powder and salt to water and cook quinoa according to package directions. Cool and fluff with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.

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quinoa tabouli (vegan, gluten free, low carb, sugar free)

quinoa tabouliI love trying foods from other cultures which have a solid amount of veggies in their diets.

Ever since I tried tabouli, a middle eastern salad that usually features bulgar, I was a fan. However, my enthusiasm for it waivered ever since I began cutting back on wheat products several years go. I also swapped out the oil for hummus for an interesting twist on the dressing.

Thankfully, I discovered that quinoa is a perfect substitute and packs a superfood, plant protein punch into this refreshing salad. The key to great quinoa is thoroughly rinsing off the bitter saponin and using a ratio of water to quinoa that is just shy of 2:1.

If you give this a try, I would love your feedback.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the quinoa tabouli recipe

quinoa tabouli

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

    For the Ingredients

    • 4 T hummus
    • 2 T lemon juice
    • ½ tsp salt
    • dashes freshly ground pepper

    For the Salad

    • ¾ c. uncooked white quinoa
    • 1 cucumber, diced
    • 1 pack cherry tomatoes, sliced
    • ½ onion, finely diced
    • 1/4 -1.2 cup fresh parsley, minced
    • optional: pine nuts

    Instructions

    For the Dressing:

    Combine all ingredients in a glass measuring cup, jar or bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Add water if necessary to thin. Pour over tabouli and gently stir until thoroughly mixed.

    For the Salad:

    Thoroughly rinse quinoa. Best way is to cover with water in a bowl or pot, agitate with you hands, pour into a sieve and repeat 2-3 times with fresh water.

    Add quinoa to a pot with 1.5 cups of water, bring to a boil and then simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

    Cool and fluff with a fork. When cool add cucumber, tomatoes, onion, parsley, and pine nuts, if using.

    Pour dressing over tabouli and gently stir until thoroughly mixed.

    This salad is best eaten fresh, but will keep in the fridge for one day if properly stored.

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    anatomy of a power packed, gluten free breakfast

    gf breakfastAs May winds down, so does my anti-candida diet. Since May is Celiac Awareness Month and the anti-candida diet also is gluten free, I’m sharing the breakfast that has largely been a part of my mornings this past month.

    Have you ever had quinoa for breakfast instead of oatmeal?

    Love this protein-packed grain and often swapped it in over my usual gf standby of buckwheat and millet.

    I try to be mindful in eating a variety of foods that pack in the nutrients, so here’s the breakdown of what is included in this breakfast:

    • Quinoa: is one of the few plants that is a complete protein and also has iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, Vitamin E and fiber
    • Chia seeds: contain fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and micronutrients
    • Unsweetened shredded coconut: contains protein, fiber, iron, zinc
    • Ground flax seeds: gives you micronutrients, fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, Omega-3
    • Cinnamon: has multiple health benefits and contains antioxidants and is antimicrobial
    • Coconut oil: has beneficial medium-chain fatty acids
    • Blueberries:contains antioxidants, vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, fiber and copper.
    • Unsweetened almond milk: is rich in phosphorus, potassium and zinc

    What your favorite gluten free breakfast? Favorite hot or cold cereal mix ins?

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    raw rutabaga pizzas (vegan, gluten free, anticandida diet, paleo, raw)

    raw rutabaga pizzas The hardest thing about modifying your diet can be figuring out just what the heck your now going to eat. This month, I’ve been following the anti-candida diet which cuts out all sugars and drastically cuts carbs among other things to address the problems that come with a systemic yeast overgrowth.

    Since I’m a big fan of hummus which is not ACD-friendly, I needed an alternative for a hearty and satisfying snack. And thankfully I found it in baba ganoush. I also had to switch out raw carrots for the first couple of weeks and replace those with rutabaga – a veggie with strong anti-fungal properties.

    I came up with this snack to satisfy my usual carrots + 100_4865hummus cravings. Usually, I’ll just slice it in rounds and pile on the tomatoes, but it can also be down-sized by cutting the rutabaga into smaller circles or fun shapes with cookie cutters. If you do this, just be sure to eat the scraps instead of pitching them because #zerofoodwaste.

     

    The baba ganoush recipe is inspired by Minimalist Baker and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve typed “baby” instead of “baba” while writing this post. LOL

    CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of th raw rutabaga pizzas recipe

    raw rutabaga pizzas

    Prep Time: 20-25 minutes

    Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

    Cool Time: 15 minutes

     

    Ingredients

      For the Baba Ganoush

      • 2 medium eggplants
      • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
      • 2 lemons, juiced
      • 4 T tahini
      • ½ tsp. salt
      • water

      For the rutabaga pizzas

      • 1 fresh rutabega
      • cherry or roma tomatoes
      • fresh basil (optional)

      Instructions

      For the Baba Ganoush:

      Peel and slice the eggplant into disks about ¼’ thick. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and if desired, drizzle with avocado oil. Bake eggplant in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and tender. Cool slightly.

      Place eggplant and remaining baba ganoush ingredients (except the water), in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides a couple of times. Add water to thin if needed.

      Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

      Baba ganoush can be kept in the fridge for several days if stored properly in an airtight jar.

      For the Pizzas:

      Peel rutabaga and slice thinly (about 1/8” ). If desired, use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes for smaller, bite-sized appetizers.*

      Spread baba ganoush on the rutabaga slices and add a piece of basil if desired, plus a slice of tomato.

      Recipe Notes

      *Baba ganoush recipe is inspired by Minimalist Baker

      *If making these into bite-sized appetizers, use cherry tomatoes.

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      tutorial: soaking gluten-free grains

      May is Celiac Awarness Month and today I’m sharing a video on one my favorite gluten-free breakfasts for on-the-road or when I’m following the anti-candida diet.

      As an encouragement to anyone who is making a significant change in their diet, this mix took me several weeks to enjoy the first time I did the anti-candida diet. Sometimes it takes our taste buds a little while to catch up with what we know is right for our bodies, so give it some time to adjust to new flavors or textures before you decide a certain food is just not for you.

      What are you favorite gluten-free breakfast options to take on the road?

       

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      6-ingredient Cauliflower soup (vegan,anti candida, gluten free, paleo) 

      cauliflower soupToday is Day 4 of the full Sugar Detox Challenge. I’m also adding the twist of following the anti-candida diet which you can learn more about here.

      One of the keys to succeeding with any diet change, is preparation. Mental and physical.

      So much of what and how we eat is tied up in our emotions, our memories and our culture that breaking from your traditional diet can be tough. I’ve found the best way to mentally prepare for a diet changhttps://shebloomflourish.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1024&action=edite is praying about it and leaning on God to get me through. But I also put that faith in action by researching recipes and articles…you could say it’s “thought for food.

      To prepare physically, there are several practical steps to take to increase success:

      • Remove the foods that are a source of temptation: This is key if you really struggle with giving into cravings. If it’s not in your cupboards or fridge, it’s not very likely that you’ll run to the store to feed the temptation.
      • Meal planning: Although I always recommend planning meals -including snacks – because it saves time, mental stress and money, this step is especially important when you are following a new diet and dealing with foods that may be unfamiliar to you.
      • Meal prep:This is meal planning’s often overlooked partner and an area I still need to grow in. Meal prepping, especially for snacks that require more than grabbing a handful of something, helps avoid the pitfall of reaching for whatever is most convenient, but not diet-friendly.

      Four days into the anti-candida diet and I’m grateful for taking these steps. The hardest part so far is not reaching for my usual standbys of raisins or carrots and hummus. All healthy, but the higher sugar and carb count counts them out for the strictest part of the anti-candida diet.

      Now on to the cauliflower soup…

      As part of my meal prepping, I made a HUGE pot of this over the weekend, which takes care of my lunches for this week and most of next.

      It’s simple to make but packed with flavor and other goodness that eating cauliflower, onions, garlic and curry bring.

      CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the cauliflower soup recipe

      cauliflower soup

      Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

      Cook Time: 45-50 minutes

      Serves: 6-8

       

      Ingredients

      • 2 heads of cauliflower, chopped
      • 2 onions, diced
      • 2 garlic cloves, minced
      • ½ tsp curry powder
      • 1 ½ tsp salt
      • dashes of freshly ground pepper

      Instructions

      Saute onions and garlic in a little water in a large stockpot until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

      Add cauliflower and seasonings and add more water until it’s not quite covering the cauliflower.

      Bring to a boil, then simmer until the cauliflower is very tender, about 35-40 minutes.

      Cool slightly and add to a blender or food processor and blend until very smooth. You will probably have to do this several times, so make sure you have an extra pot on hand to transfer the blended soup into.

      Recipe Notes

      *Eliminate pepper if following the anti-candida diet

      *Freezes well.

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      6-ingredient chocolate earth truffles (vegan, gluten free, sugar free, raw option)

      chocolate earth trufflesAs promised yesterday, here is an Earth Day-inspired recipe that is simple to make and a way to satisfy the sweet tooth without any added sugar (unless you want to add a little).

      I came across this recipe at the Whole Foods Market recipe site, but made it over so that it didn’t contain sugar. I always love when I find recipes that are easily sweetened by fruit…recipes that leave you feeling good about what you ate instead of weighed down and sluggish.

      You might want to double this recipe if you have children or are bringing this to share because they don’t stay on the plate for very long.

      If you’re curious why I recommend buying fair-trade cocoa powder, read this post.

      CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the Chocolate Earth Truffles recipe

      6-ingredient chocolate earth truffles

      Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

      Chill Time:  1 hour

      Makes: 12-15

       

      Ingredients

      • 1 cup peanut butter
      • ½ cup date paste
      • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably fair trade
      • ½ cup raisins
      • ½ cup cacao nibs (or dairy free chocolate chips)
      • 1/3-1/2 cups unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut

      Instructions

      In a food processor, add peanut butter, date paste and cocoa powder and blend until all the ingredients are well combined.

      Spoon mixture into a large bowl and add raisins and cacao nibs or chocolate chips. Stir until thoroughly combined.

      Place mix in the fridge for about one hour to firm up.

      Scoop out spoonfuls of truffle mix and form 1” balls.

      Roll balls in shredded/flaked coconut.

      Recipe Notes

      Store in an air tight container in the fridge. Will keep for about 2-3 days if properly stored.

      You also could roll the truffles in finely ground walnuts, pecans or almonds.

      To make these raw, use raw peanut butter

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