BSI Recipe: Sweet Asian Sunflower Slaw

Posted by on April 25, 2010 | 7 Comments

Wow, did I have a heck of a time coming up with sunflower seed recipes that I was happy with! You can read about my many trials here, but I did finally settle on a couple of recipes for the BSI submission. Here is one of them …

asian slaw

My husband was cooking up a barbecue-style lunch, so I thought a little slaw might go nicely. But to mix things up, I forgoed the mayo for a sunflower seed base and used some Asian ingredients for a different flavor. The end result was pretty tasty, but you can adjust the seasonings to your own personal tastes since there are so few ingredients.

asian sunflower seed slaw

Sweet Asian Sunflower Slaw

This recipe is Vegan / Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, optionally Gluten-Free, and optionally Soy-Free.

  • 1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • 2 Teaspoons Soy Sauce or Wheat-Free Tamari (for gluten-free) (use coconut aminos or chickpea tamari for soy-free)
  • 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Ginger (optional)
  • 1 Bag Coleslaw Mix
  • 1 Large Carrot, thinly sliced or grated

Grind the sunflower seeds in a spice grinder until they turn into a powder. Place the ground seeds in a medium-size bowl, and whisk in the vinegar, maple, soy, sesame oil, and ginger until smooth. If you leave it to sit, the mixture will thicken more as the seeds absorb the moisture. Taste test, and adjust seasonings as you wish (soy for salty, maple for sweet, vinegar for tangy, and oil for richness).

Add as much of the coleslaw mix as you like (I used about 2/3 of the bag) and garnish with the carrot. If you aren’t into garnishing, just mix that grated carrot right in.

Yields 3 to 4 sides of slaw

asian sunflower seed slaw

For more of my recipes see Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook and my new blog, Dairy-Free & Fit.

Sweet Roasted Five-Spice Carrots

Posted by on September 10, 2009 | 15 Comments

Don’t forget about the Vegan Brunch and Vegan Soul Kitchen Giveaway!

My husband and I got in a discussion the other day about carrots. Yes, carrots. For years he has picked through stir fries leaving a pile of carrots neatly on the side of his plate, which I eventually end up nabbing with my chopsticks to avoid any waste (okay, I love carrots, so I really don’t mind). But, when I made the outright statement that he doesn’t like carrots, he eminently denied it. I gave him my annoyed yet perplexed face, and he proceeded with an explanation. He claimed that most carrots just weren’t good quality. The ones that we have had in some finer restaurants are much sweeter … those, he likes.

I typically buy organic carrots (the extra $.20 for a 1 lb bag is well worth it for this high-pesticide veggie), but I proceeded to trial the baby carrots, the regular bagged carrots, and even locally grown carrots with their green leafiness still in tact. No luck. I knew the sweetness he was speaking of, but I just couldn’t seem to find it. Perhaps I am just a bit early in the year, since peak season for carrots doesn’t hit until next month. But still …

So I went online and discovered a little secret. Don’t ask me where I found it, as I merely committed the idea to memory, but it seems many chefs will sweeten the pot a bit with just a wee bit of sugar to bring out the natural sweetness in carrots without going overboard and creating a glaze.

So with this new-to-me concept and a 5-spice craving, I cranked on the oven, and threw together this lightly sweetened side dish. Though my husband wasn’t elated at first to see a big pile of carrots on his plate, he gladly devoured every last morsel …

5spicecarrots

Sweet Roasted Five-Spice Carrots

This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Vegetarian, and optionally Vegan.

  • 12 Ounces (3/4 lb) Carrots, thickly sliced or baby carrots
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (melted) or Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Honey (can substitute brown sugar, agave, or maple syrup)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Preheat your oven to 450ºF.

Place the carrots in a large baking dish (preferably in a single layer). Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine and evenly distribute the seasonings.

Place the carrots in the oven, and allow them to bake for 15 minutes.

Remove, give them a stir, and return them to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until they are nice and roasty-toasty.

Yields 3 to 4 sides of sweet carrots

Scrumptious Sesame-Orange Salad Dressing

Posted by on June 14, 2009 | 17 Comments

Quick Reminder: Food Should Taste Good Gourmet Chip Giveaway Still Going on. Enter between now and Tuesday!

Yes, another salad dressing. It is summer after all, aaaaand they are just too easy and delicious not to share! Besides, fitting in that big bowl of greens is so much tastier when you have so many wonderful and healthy salad dressings to experiment with.

I discovered this fabulously flavorful dressing in the latest issue of Cooking Light. Their version seemed a bit too firey for our tastes, so I toned it down a bit, added some green onions (which melded nicely), thickened the dressing slightly, and doubled the recipe overall …

Dairy-free orange sesame chicken salad

Sesame-Orange Salad Dressing
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, June 2009

This recipe is Low Fat, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy Protein-Free and optionally Gluten-Free

  • 2/3 Cup Orange Juice (fresh squeezed if you’ve got them – about 2 to 3 medium oranges)
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 4 Teaspoons Soy Sauce or Wheat-Free Tamari (for gluten-free)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil (the good, dark kind if you have it)
  • 2 Teaspoons Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Hot Chile Sauce (such as Sriracha)
  • 2 Tablespoons Flax Meal / Ground Flaxseeds
  • 1 to 2 Green Onions, minced (optional)
  • Lightly Toasted Sesame Seeds

Whisk everything but the sesame seeds together and allow the dressing to sit for ten to fifteen minutes while you make the rest of your salad. After dousing your salads in this yummy dressing, sprinkle each salad with 1/2 teaspoon of the sesame seeds.

Yields about 1 cup dressing or 6 to 8 servings

Ideas for Serving:

Vegan / Vegetarian: The salad in Cooking Light sounded awesome, but I was lacking in the ingredients. They lightly sauteed some red bell pepper strips, carrot slices, and snap peas with a bit of orange rind and salt. Once cooled, they added the vegetable mixture to fresh baby spinach leaves and generously cut green onions.

Omnivorous: To prepare a large Asian-Style Orange-Sesame Chicken Salad, I coated 12 ounces of chicken (8 to 10 would be ideal for two people) with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, 1 Tablespoon sherry, 3/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. I then sauteed the meat over medium-high heat in about 2 teaspoons of refined sesame oil. To prepare two salads, I chopped up one large romaine heart, topped the lettuce base with store-bought coleslaw cabbage mix for some crunch, sprinkled on a thinly sliced carrot, followed by the cooked chicken, the dressing, and finally the sesame seeds.

As a Marinade: I love orange marinades for large shrimp, and I think this one would be perfect. Use your imagination otherwise, chicken, tofu, etc. However, if using this as a marinade, omit the flaxseed.

orangesesamechickensalad

Bloggy Events: I am submitting this recipe to Magazine Mondays hosted by Cream Puffs in Venice and Souper Sundays hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.

Easy Veggie Udon for Ramen Lovers

Posted by on April 19, 2009 | 24 Comments

Earlier this week, I needed something to go with two salmon filets I was baking. Since I was craving some carbs, and it was a little too late to whip up a batch of bread … and I wasn’t patient enough to wait for brown rice to cook, I decided pasta was the way to go. The salmon was marinated in a sesame-soy concoction, generally Asian inspired, so I was excited when I spotted some udon noodles in the cupboard (to keep with the theme of course!).

I literally threw the noodles together with a simple veggie saute I created, and it turned out to be the star of the meal. We both agreed that the noodles had a Ramen-esque flavor, taking us back to the MSG-rich days of our childhoods. Obviously, I used a fair dose of sodium, between the wee bit of soy sauce and those few dashes of salt, but I dare say the dish was pretty healthy overall.

Easy Veggie Udon

After the success of that throw together dish, my cravings lingered on … so much so that I had to attempt a re-creation just two nights later.  Don’t misunderstand, this is a very basic dish, not earth-shattering in creativity by any means. But as mentioned before, it is often the simple flavors that get me most!

I ate this as a meal, it was rather filling, but yes, no “protein.” Sometimes I just crave veggies and carbs. If you want to add some protein, be my guest … meat, eggs, tofu, sliced almonds, chopped peanuts, whatever works for you! Hmm, I didn’t think to sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds, that might be nice too.

Easy Veggie Udon

This recipe is Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Protein-Free, and Optional Gluten-Free

  • 8 Ounces Udon Noodles (may substitute other noodles in a pinch; for gluten-free I recommend Eden’s all buckwheat soba noodles or rice noodles)
  • 3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil, divided
  • 3 Carrots, peeled into large shreds using a vegetable peeler
  • 3 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 12 Ounces Mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 5-Ounce Bag Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce or Wheat-Free Tamari, divided
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • Salt to taste (I used around 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, but I would start with a dash or two and work your way up)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste or a Few Pinches of Crushed Red Pepper

Cook the noodles according to the package directions.

While those are boiling, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil over medium-low heat (I do a lower heat to protect the flavor of the oil, but you can up it to medium if you are really hungry).

Add the carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute just until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the spinach and 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce, and saute for just a couple of minutes, until those leavese start to wilt.

Turn off the heat, and stir in the noodles, garlic powder, remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, and any add-ins (see below), tossing well to ensure everything is coated with those flavors. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in big bowls.

Add-ins: I steamed 12 oz of broccoli florets (about 7 minutes; until crisp tender) and tossed them in along with the noodles. The second time I made it, I also added about 1/2 lb of steamed baby carrots, merely because I didn’t have any whole carrots to shred. I recommend the peeled or shredded carrots (in the recipe) over the steamed chunks, but personal preference.

Yields 3 meal-sized servings

veggieudon4

Blog Events: I am submitting this recipe for Presto Pasta Nights # 110 being held at Chew on That. It is my first contribution to that blogging event; hopefully more to come!

“Gold Coins” for Good Fortune and Health

Posted by on December 30, 2008 | 12 Comments

If I were to guess the one thing most people are wishing for in 2009, I would have to go with good fortune.  Tough economic times have taken hold, and while hard work perseveres, a little good luck and some well wishes never hurt!  Having read quite a bit about traditional foods of good fortune consumed during the Chinese New Year, I was curious if we Westerners had any traditions of our own. Too my pleasant surprise, I discovered quite a few. Leafy greens signify, you guessed it, the almighty (or not so might, depending on the day) dollar, and black-eyed peas arose as a symbol of prosperity from a Civil War legend. Pork symbolizes progress and pushing forward; something that we could use a little of too. You will find many delicious New Year’s day recipes using these foods (see some of my suggestions below), but something seemed to be missing in my mind … the coins! …

Brilliant in color and packed with nutrients, these carrot and parsnip coins could not only be considered a symbol of good fortune and prosperity, but also of health and well being for the New Year.  Really, what more could we wish for?

Glazed Carrot and Parsnip “Coins”
Adapted from Recipezaar
These coins are lightly sweetened to help enhance their natural flavors.  Feel free to increase or decrease the amount of honey used, depending on your desired taste, and how sweet your carrots and parsnips are to start with. Though I haven’t tested it, you could always substitute maple syrup or agave nectar in place of the honey if you wish to make the dish vegan.

  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or more as needed; can sub water)
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon oil or margarine (I used coconut oil – goes beautifully with root veggies!)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 small onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I used about 1/8 teaspoon salt, no pepper)

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the broth to a boil.  Add the carrots and parsnips and allow them to cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until just tender.  Drain the vegetables and set them aside, but make sure to keep the liquid for another use;  You have just created double strength broth!

Heat the oil or margarine in a large skillet over medium-low heat, add the onions and suate until tender and translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the honey and the carrots and parsnips. Saute for just a minute or two, until the vegetables are glazed and heated through.  If desired, season with salt and/or pepper.

Yields 4 Servings

More Prosperous New Year’s Recipes

Foodie Words of New Year Warning

All good symbols can be counteracted by an evil one.  Try to hold out on those cravings for luxurious lobster (if not simply for the ridiculous price tag!) – since they travel backward this symbolizes setbacks when consumed for New Year’s – we certainly don’t need more of those!  Also, for you frugal foodies, take a day break from chicken; they scratch backwards, which can cause dwelling in the past.  In fact, all “winged” fowl could cause good luck to “fly away.” Not that I am superstitious or anything : )

Happy New Year!!!

Best Wishes from the Dairy-Free and Frugal Foodie (aka Alisa)

 

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