Summer “Grain” Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

summer grain saladI’m back from NYC as of last Friday night and apparently, brought the warm weather back with me. I was gone for 10 days and the whole time I was away, the weather was cold, rainy, and crummy here in Portland. It was the exact opposite in NYC, so thankfully, I missed out! Now, our nice summer weather has returned, so more salads are called upon.

This salad makes for an awesome summertime dinner. I like making it ahead of time, so we can eat it cold after it’s chilled in the fridge, but it can be eaten warm as well. It is so delicious and the simple lemon tahini dressing is perfect. I think I could eat this salad, or a variation of it, everyday!

Meanwhile, you can catch me making this recipe next Wednesday, June 28 on KATU Afternoon Live. I’ll be sure to share the replay link once it’s available.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups golden beets, diced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 cups asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 Tbsp coconut or avocado oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 5 oz clamshell baby kale
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large lemon, juiced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place beets and asparagus on a large baking sheet, and drizzle with coconut or avocado oil. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once done, set aside.
  2. *Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the ground chicken and season with sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Continue to cook chicken, but don’t break up the chunks of meat as you normally would. Cook until chicken is browned and no longer pink, about 6-7 minutes, but do not overcook. *Note, if your ground chicken is really lean, you may need to add a little oil to the pan. Set aside once done.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water, and garlic. Add sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  4. Next, add the cooked ground chicken to the food processor bowl with the pan drippings. Pulse about 4-5 times until chicken forms smaller crumbles and resembles grains. Be careful not to over-process.
  5. Pour the chicken into a large mixing bowl. Add the parsley, roasted vegetables, green onions, and baby kale (you may have to work the baby kale in bit-by-bit). Pour dressing over top and stir well. Continue to add the baby kale (if you didn’t add it all at once), until it’s all worked in. Taste, and add more sea salt and/or black pepper, if desired.
  6. Serve right away or let chill in the fridge and serve cold.

Pepperoni “Pasta” Salad

pepperoni noodle salad 2

The warmer days are becoming more and more abundant and we’re getting closer to actual summer, which means more salads and other cold foods. I love the change in eating that each season brings and look forward to the variety that each season offers.

This cold “noodle” salad is reminiscent of pizza and tastes incredible. It’s fresh, light, and full of Italian flavor. The “Rawmesan” really brings the salad together and adds a wonderful cheesy flavor minus the actual cheese. If you don’t want to buy it, you can also make your own by following this recipe. It’s very easy. Alternatively, you can opt for some high-quality Parmesan if you tolerate it. I personally do okay with small amounts of aged cheese, like Parmesan, but find that I feel better without cheese completely and prefer to mostly avoid it. So, I opted for the Rawmesan. Do what’s best for you.

I recommend eating this within a couple days, as the zucchini starts to soften slightly and more water is drawn out (of course, it still tastes good though). If you do have leftovers, it works well to add a little more zucchini and fresh basil the next day.

Meanwhile, I’m off to NYC bright and early this morning for an intense 3-day kettlebell training and then some fun. I can’t wait, as I love NYC!

Cheers and enjoy!

pepperoni salad 3

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 medium zucchini, spiralized
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 4 oz package Applegate Farms mini turkey pepperoni, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • About 1/3 cup Rawmesan or high-quality Parmesan cheese, if tolerated

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini noodles, cherry tomatoes, basil, red onion, and pepperoni.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, garlic granules, sea salt, and black pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and mix well with tongs. Lastly, mix in the Rawmesan or Parmesan cheese. Serve.

 

Dairy-Free Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Our sunny, warm weather is finally here and for a consistent period of time too. I am so happy! And, with that said, I’m thinking even more about summery foods like salads and barbecue. This dressing is perfect to have on hand for those warmer days and I’ve actually been using it everyday on my salads for lunch. Speaking of that, there’s nothing I love more than a huge ass salad for lunch. I throw in whatever’s in my fridge — mixed greens, turkey burger, chicken or smoked salmon, sauerkraut, carrots, cucumber, fresh herbs, sunflower seeds, etc. —  it’s all fair game. Normally, I just use olive oil or guacamole as my dressing, but this lemon poppyseed dressing has been a nice and refreshing way to mix things up. It’s definitely lemony, but that’s kinda the point.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp homemade avocado oil mayo or a high-quality brand like this one
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2.5 Tbsp sweet onion, finely minced
  • 1.5 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp poppyseeds
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients, except the poppyseeds in a blender. Blend about 30-60 seconds, until frothy. Add the poppyseeds and blend for another 20-30 seconds.
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  3. Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Smoky Sweet Potato, Kale & Pineapple Salad

This salad is a mix of sweet, smoky and spicy, and just the thing to share at an upcoming Memorial Day barbecue or other gathering this summer. I recommend making it ahead of time, so that it can sit in the fridge for a few hours before eating. The salad becomes much more flavorful, although it’s still good if you don’t have time for that…or aren’t patient. I really enjoy this side dish with chicken, but think it would pair well with nearly any protein.

Meanwhile, you can catch me making this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live on Friday, May 26! Watch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large white sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium orange sweet potato (I used a jewel), peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt-free mesquite seasoning blend, separated (I used this one, which is unsweetened)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups loosely packed curly green kale leaves, de-stemmed & chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spread sweet potatoes onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with melted coconut oil. Mix in the minced garlic, 1 Tbsp of the mesquite seasoning, and sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
  3. Place in preheated oven and roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once done, set aside to cool completely.
  4. Add the kale to a large bowl and generously season with sea salt. Massage the sea salt into the kale with your hands for 1-2 minutes (this helps the kale soften and makes it more flavorful). Then, add the olive oil, red onion, pineapple, and remaining 1 tsp of mesquite seasoning. Stir well.
  5. Once sweet potatoes have cooled, add to the kale mixture and gently stir. Taste and add more mesquite seasoning, sea salt, black pepper or olive oil, if desired.
  6. If possible, allow flavors to marinate in the fridge for at least a couple hours before serving. When ready to serve, I recommend sprinkling on a dash more mesquite seasoning, but this is optional.

Dairy-Free Creamy Mexican Dip

We’re only a few days away from May and I am so hoping it brings some consistent sun here in Portland. We’ve had a record number of rainy days and the sun has been few-and-far between. April showers bring May flowers though, right?

Anyway, with the approach of May is also Cinco de Mayo and this healthy dip is a great way to celebrate! It’s creamy, spicy and festive! I enjoyed it with veggie slices, plantain chips, and mixed into a taco bowl too (ground meat of choice with taco spices, veggies of choice, and this dip mixed in). There is no dairy in the dip, but the creamy aspect comes from pureed white sweet potato, olive oil, and avocado. It’s wonderful served warm, room temperature or cold. This recipe yields a lot too!

Also, I’ll be making this dip on KATU Afternoon Live next Wednesday, May 3. I’ll be sure to share the replay of the segment once it’s available. UPDATE: watch the replay of my segment HERE!

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-large white sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 large avocado, sliced into quarters
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 14 oz container fresh salsa (mild, medium or hot)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • Pinch of cayenne, optional

Directions:

  1. Cook sweet potato cubes in a steamer basket over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until tender.
  2. Add the cooked sweet potato to a food processor with the garlic, avocado, lime juice, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed.
  3. Next, add the salsa and cilantro, and pulse several times to incorporate it into the sweet potato mixture. Taste and add pinch of cayenne (or more) if you want it a bit spicier.
  4. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold with sliced veggies, plantain chips, grain-free tortillas (this variation is also gum-free), or grain-free tortilla chips. It also makes for a tasty topping on tacos, salads, etc.

Dill Pickle Deviled Eggs

deviled eggsWith spring (sort of) in the air and Easter on the horizon, I thought I’d share a deviled egg recipe. I will also be making this recipe live on KATU Afternoon Live on Monday, April 10, so stay tuned. UPDATE: catch the replay of my segment HERE.

Meanwhile, I love deviled eggs! Oddly enough, I didn’t try one for the first time until I was 24 years old. Crazy, I know. Growing up, I was scared of deviled eggs. I thought they stunk and looked weird. But, I was a kid that would only eat egg yolks in the form of scrambled eggs — no runny yolks, no fried eggs, no hardboiled eggs (except bites of the white), etc. When I finally bit into a deviled egg at a friend’s house several years ago, I was shocked what I’d been missing out on. So good! Now, I’m a huge fan and that’s a great thing since I have a fridge full of deviled eggs (the first batch didn’t turn out how I wanted, so I made them again with tweaks).

Despite popular belief, deviled eggs can be healthy. I think it’s all a matter of quality. And, if you’re someone that still thinks eggs yolks are bad for you and cause high cholesterol and heart disease, you’re living under a rock. The FDA and American Heart Association reversed these claims because the science does not support it (and never did!). Eggs are incredibly healthy, especially when sourced from pasture-raised chickens. And, the yolks are the most nutritious part of the egg, as they’re full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Please don’t throw those away! But, I digress. If you’re reading and following my blog, you probably already know this anyway. If this is new information to you and you want to learn more, do some research. All of this information is accessible online.

Anyway, in terms of the other ingredients in deviled eggs, choose high-quality. I’m mainly talking about the mayo here. Dijon mustard is pretty straight forward or should be anyway, but check your labels to make sure. With the mayo, avoid those made with inflammatory soybean or canola oil, and either make your own with avocado oil (macadamia nut oil is great too) or buy this high-quality avocado oil mayonnaise.

A bonus health benefit of this deviled egg recipe is that you get a little dose of probiotics, thanks to the garlic dill pickle gut shot. It adds great flavor and healthy bugs, so yay. If you can’t find it or prefer not to use it, opt for a high-quality pickle brine instead. Please make sure there’s no weird stuff in the brine like yellow dye, polysorbate, etc. I have seen that stuff in pickles!

Cheers and enjoy!

closeup deviled egg

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Cut each egg in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the yolks into a medium-sized bowl. Place egg whites onto a plate or tray, face side up.
  2. Add the mayo, Dijon mustard, gut shot or pickle brine, dried dill, sea salt and black pepper to the bowl with the egg yolks. Mash and stir well (alternatively, you can blend this in a food processor for an ultra-smooth texture). Taste and add adjust seasoning, if needed.
  3. *Spoon a little bit of the mixture into each egg white half, dispersing it evenly between the eggs. Sprinkle eggs with paprika and dried dill for garnish.

*Note: If desired, pipe the yolk mixture into the whites with a pastry bag instead of using a spoon. A plastic bag with a tip cut off works as well to pipe the mixture.

Yields: 12 deviled eggs

 

Potatoes with Parsley Cashew Sauce

cashew sauce potatoes

I’ve got more spring flavors coming at you with this lovely cold potato salad, made with a creamy parsley cashew sauce. I personally like and tolerate regular potatoes just fine, but if you do not or need to avoid them, substitute sweet potato or cauliflower instead. If using cauliflower, you can lightly steam and cool it or keep it raw. With the sweet potato, I’d recommend peeling and cutting it into one-inch pieces, and either steaming or boiling it (you’ll need to adjust cooking time — it’ll need less).

Meanwhile, this sauce makes quite a bit, so know that you’ll have extra leftover for salads, veggie slices, roasted vegetables or even hard-boiled eggs. The sauce is completely dairy-free and full of refreshing, bright flavors from the lemon and parsley. It tastes incredible on the potatoes!

Also, please plan ahead for cooling the potatoes completely in the fridge and soaking the cashews. If you choose to let the salad marinate a bit, you’ll need to plan for that as well.

Cheers and enjoy!

P.S. If you didn’t catch the replay of my segment on KATU Afternoon Live from Monday, March 20, you can watch it HERE. I made my lemon dill avocado chicken salad.

cashew sauce potatoes-2Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb mixed baby potatoes, cleaned and scrubbed
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 1 shallot bulb, peeled
  • 1 small clove of garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (I opened this little box since I didn’t need much)
  • 1 cup fresh curly parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt plus more to taste, if needed
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes in a medium pot and fill with enough cold water to completely cover the potatoes. Add a generous dash of sea salt to the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender, but not mushy and falling apart. Drain and set aside to cool. Then, place in fridge for at least a few hours or overnight.
  2. After cashews have soaked, rinse thoroughly and drain. Add to food processor with all the remaining ingredients. Pulse to combine, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed. Blend until smooth, but still slightly gritty.
  3. After potatoes have completely cooled in the fridge for at least a few hours, slice them in half (if larger, slice into thirds or quarters) and place in large bowl. Spoon in desired amount of parsley cashew sauce (I used about 1/2 cup) and mix well. You can eat it right away or let it sit in the fridge to marinate a bit, but this is optional. Store any leftover cashew sauce in the refrigerator.