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.

Don’t Pinch My Blog, I’ve Got a Green Recipe!

Posted by on March 17, 2010 | 15 Comments

As mentioned in my last post, we are on week one of our first CSA. It was like Christmas pulling out one surprise veggie after another … until I got to the final item, the lump of coal at the bottom. “What’s this?” I said. It didn’t quite look like kale or chard, but similar. I went to the inventory sheet and my fears were realized – collard greens.

My first and only experience with collard greens was purchasing them in a bag on sale at a mega-grocer about seven years ago. Terrible, terrible, terrible. But determined to polish off that entire CSA box and give every veggie a fair trial, I headed to one of my favorite healthy cookbooks, Whole Life Nutrition. I was confident that Alissa (gotta love her name) would have a recipe to turn those greens into something good. In fact, she had two. One was for Apple-Spiced Collard Greens, which sounded rather tasty, but I didn’t have any apple juice on hand. The second was for Collard Green and Hummus Roll-ups. Now hummus, that is something I almost always have on hand!

Collard Greens and Hummus Mini-Wraps

My version is more of a guide / idea than a recipe, but let me tell you, it really worked to turn those nice big collard leaves (perfectly flat and excellent to work with, unlike kale or stiff chard leaves) into a tasty large snack or small meal – however you view it. And I realize Collard Greens don’t exactly shout “St. Patrick’s Day,” but hey, they are GREEN!

Now it is quite possible that there will be more of these collard greens in today’s CSA box, so please do tell … Do you have any ideas or favorite recipes for using Collard Greens?

 

Collard Green and Hummus Mini-Wraps

Adapted from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, and optionally Vegan.

  • Collard Green Leaves, nice full healthy ones
  • Hummus, your flavor of choice
  • Carrots, for shredding
  • Avocado, sliced (optional – I didn’t have any)
  • Leftover Chicken (optional – omit for a vegan option)
  • Olives (optional – my hummus was kalamata olive hummus so I could resist)
  • Other Veggie Toppings of Choice (go wild!)

Lay the leaves flat, and cut them in half, carefully cutting out that thick stem. Spread each leaf half with your favorite hummus (I was using an olive hummus, hence the darker color), and sprinkle with grated or shredded carrot.

Okay, get ready, this is my first ever step by step photo – except it is just one step …

Collard Greens and Hummus Mini-Wraps

Now, simply roll them up tight for a very light snack (I did this once, and they were tasty just like this!), or top them with your choice of toppings. The second time I made them I had some leftover chicken and olives, so I went with this, which made thicker rolls.

Yields as many as you like

Collard Greens and Hummus Mini-Wraps

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Treading Lightly into Fall: Cheap Chinese Chicken Salad

Posted by on September 17, 2009 | 22 Comments

**Don’t Forget, Giveaway: 9 Special Diet Cookbooks, 9 Winners!**

Do you find your tastes migrating as the summer heat dwindles? I mean, I know I will be craving hearty soups and pumpkin goodies very soon, but even my salad desires are slowly drifting.

Since we will be moving to a much cooler climate, I am sure that some warm salads will be on the horizon, but right now I guess my tastes are simply transitioning from “bright and fresh” to “comforting.” It is still 90+ degrees out, so by comforting I mean dishes like a quick quiche (recipe coming up!) and this Chinese chicken salad …

chinesechickensalad

I know, I know … it looks just like all of my other salads. I didn’t have any of those crunch chow main noodles, and I used romaine instead of Napa, but trust me, it is all about the taste … and you can use whatever add-ins you like to make it more “authentic” (see recipe below!).

Back to the point, this is one of those simple and flavorful dishes that I have always loved, but for some reason, until now, had never, ever made at home. What a fool I have been … so delicious! As an added bonus, unlike restaurant versions of this popular salad, this one is quite low in fat, and very inexpensive to make!

So I must know (okay, it is my greedy desire for inspiration in addition to insatiable curiosity), do you have any favorites that you have yet to adventure in your own kitchen?

 

Cheap Chinese Chicken Salad

This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, optionally Gluten-Free, optionally Nut-Free, and optionally Vegan / Vegetarian. It was adapted from Ellie Krieger’s recipe on the Food Network.

Don’t let the ingredients fool you, this is a fast and easy recipe! I have broken the recipe into three parts simply so you can make the dressing or the chicken separately should you want to use them for another dish. While the chicken bakes, you will have just enough time to whip up the dressing and chop the veggies for a light and healthy meal on the table in 30 minutes!

Chicken:

  • 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce or Wheat-Free Tamari
  • 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove, crushed or minced

If the chicken breasts are thick, butterfly them. Place the chicken in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic, and drizzle over the chicken. If you have time, allow the chicken to marinade for at least 30 minutes or overnight. If not, pop them in the oven as soon as it preheats.

Preheat your oven to 350º. Bake the chicken for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is cooked through. The juices should run clear, but be careful not to overcook the breasts, as they can easily dry out. Once done, slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Dressing:

  • 1/3 Cup Rice Vinegar (unseasoned)
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce or Wheat-Free Tamari
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar or Sweetener of Choice (agave, honey, or maple syrup will also work nicely)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Sriracha or Chili-Garlic Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Minced Fresh Ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons Peanut, Olive, or Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil

 In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. (I usually combine everything but the oil, and then drizzle the oil in while whisking out of habit. It seems to work well).

Salad:

  • 8 to 10 Cups Greens (In the salad pictured, I used 2 small romaine hearts and 3 cups of bagged coleslaw mix. Napa cabbage, purple cabbage, etc. would also work well)
  • 1 Large Carrot, shredded
  • 2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds

Optional Add-ins:

  • 1 Cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 8oz Can Sliced Water Chestnuts
  • 1 11oz Can Mandarin Oranges in Water, drained
  • 1 Small Can Crispy Chow Mein Noodles (not gluten-free)
  • Etc…

Combine all of the salad ingredients, except for the almonds, in a large bowl. Add the chicken, drizzle with the salad dressing, and toss to coat. Divvy up the salad amongst four plates, and sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon of the almonds.

Nut-Free Option: Substitute toasted sesame seeds or crispy chow mein noodles for the almonds.

Vegan / Vegetarian Option: You can use faux “chicken” but a cheaper and more natural option would be to substitute tofu. Use the chicken marinade and baking technique above, but use ¾ to 1 lb of extra-firm tofu. It should bake in about the same time.

Untried Ideas: If you like a peanut-y Chinese Chicken Salad, try subbing 2 tablespoons of PB (or other nut butter) for the oil. But keep the sesame oil!

chinesechickensaladtop3

Mellow Maple-Miso Salad Dressing

Posted by on August 10, 2009 | 16 Comments

This year, I have used summer’s abundant produce as an excuse to fit a jumbo salad into our daily diets and to experiment with homemade salad dressings and vinaigrettes. But, with busier days on the horizon, I realized that I must taper off my ritual of experimenation, where I whip up single servings regularly, and choose a few dressings to bottle in larger quantities for some time savings.

I am pretty sure that the Sweet Dijon Dressing will be one of the options, however, I had yet to successfully create a dressing that would satisfy my husband’s greatest craving. He could practically live off of a sesame-soy dressing. It sounds simple enough, but the at-home blends just weren’t working for me until I came up with this gem. The salty miso and soy sauce are tempered nicely with a bit of maple syrup. Plus, using just a touch of sesame oil adds a nice well rounded flavor, but keeps the overall dressing very low in fat.

My husband agreed that this one is really good, and though quite different from his usual oil-laden, store-bought version, he is happy to make the transition …

Dairy-Free Asian-Inspired Mellow Miso Salad Dressing

Mellow Maple-Miso Salad Dressing

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Low-Fat, Free of Refined Sugars, and optionally Gluten-Free.

Every miso dressing recipe I try is either too bland, too salty, or just somehow off, but this blend hit my taste buds just right. See my notes that follow the recipe for some tips on the ingredients used.

  • 1/4 Cup Mellow Miso (such as a mild white soy miso or a barley miso)
  • 1/4 Cup + 2 Teaspoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce or Wheat-Free Tamari (for gluten-free)
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger Powder

Place all ingredients in a bowl, and whisk until smooth. Alternately, you can place the ingredients in a blender and quickly puree until smooth.

Yields roughly 3/4 cup

 

Ingredient Notes:

Ginger and Garlic are two of my favorite ingredients, but you may have noticed that most of my salad dressing recipes call for the ground / powdered form rather than fresh varieties. There are several reasons for this. One is that my husband can’t take the pungency of fresh (raw) garlic and ginger. Another is that I tend to whip up salad dressings on the fly, and like recipes that require no chopping, just measure and mix. Finally, I don’t always have the fresh stuff on hand! If you prefer to use fresh, go for it. I think about 1 T of fresh minced or crushed ginger should work nicely.

Maple Syrup is such a precious commodity these days, so I rarely use more than a couple of tablespoons in a recipe, which is really all you need to get its full flavor benefit. Since you are using just a bit, don’t skimp, buy pure maple syrup, not imitation!

Miso is sold in the refrigerated section. It is readily available in natural food stores and Asian markets, but these days you can probably even locate it in the mega-marts. It will range in price, but I usually go for one of the less expensive versions for around $3 to $4 a tub. The one I used is soy-based, but for a similar taste, you can choose barley miso or chickpea miso, which is a bit sweeter.

Coconut Aminos from Coconut Secret is an amazing new substitute for soy sauce. It is completely soy-free, but mimics the traditional flavoring remarkably well. I have seen this product in natural food stores such as Whole Foods (along with a similar brand), but you can also purchase it online from shops like iHerb.  – I shop on this site a lot, if you haven’t shopped there before, you can use my coupon code ALI029 at checkout for $5 off your first purchase. It isn’t cheap, but I think worth it for a splurge and if used in small quantities since soy sauce is just so awesome!

Vegan, Dairy-Free, Mellow Miso Salad Dressing

Blog Events: I am submitting this recipe for Souper (or soup, salad, and sammies) Sundays.

 

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5 Good Things Since My Last Post

  1. I cleaned up and organized all of the photos on my computer, at last.
  2. We saw the new Harry Potter movie yesterday; those are always so much fun.
  3. We finally figured out how to get the cat from sleeping on my pillow above my head at night (since she frequently gets up, charges over my husband, and meows whenever she comes back!).
  4. I just finished a wonderfully delicious bowl of homemade chicken and barley soup. I guess we already have fall on the brain!
  5. We had a wonderful “cool” spell of weather, allowing us to go for a mid-summer hike in the southwest.

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.

Sweet Dijon Dressing Done Light & Easy

Posted by on May 28, 2009 | 24 Comments

Salads, our new best friend for loading on protein and healthy veggies in one healthy swoop. I have had some fun trialing different dressing recipes that appeal to both my husband and I, but unfortunately, he isn’t a fan of one of my favorites, honey mustard.

But the other day when he had already inhaled his lunch, I had the opportunity to experiment for my own tastes. I looked up several recipes for this everyday dressing, but all sounded a bit muddled in my opinion. Mayo, yogurt, pepper, onion … too many distractions from the simplistic deliciousness that the basic honey and mustard combo can offer.

So, I winged it … and it was delicious! I mixed equal parts of three flavors that I thought would meld nicely, and a fat-free vinaigrette was born. Unfortunately, while the flavor was right (sweet, tangy, and with enough bite to stand out amongst the greens), it was a bit too thin. Searching through the fridge and pantry for a nice, mild, natural addition, I came upon my trusty (and cheap!) flaxseeds. A quick whiz in the spice grinder turns these seeds into gel-magic. The flaxseeds add the tiniest bit of “healthy” fat, which transforms this dressing from non-fat to light, but I think your waistline can handle that extra gram.

Sweet Dijon Dressing

I call it sweet dijon dressing, rather than honey mustard, because you really can swap in agave for equally delicious results, and … well, the word dijon just sounded a bit more sophisticated. As for the third ingredient, white wine vinegar, it may sound fancy, but it is cheap and relatively easy to find amongst the other vinegars in most grocery stores. I haven’t tried it, but apple cider vinegar might work well in its place.

Recipe: Sweet and Light Dijon Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Honey or Agave Nectar
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Flaxseeds (grind then measure)

Instructions

  1. Whisk these four little ingredients together until well combined.
  2. Pop the dressing in the fridge to thicken a bit while you make the rest of your salad.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Diet type: Optionally Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy free, Egg free, Gluten free, Nut free, Peanut free, Soy free, Wheat free

Number of servings (yield): 3

Copyright © Alisa Fleming.

 

Sweet Dijon Salad

Non-Fat Salad Dressing Bursting with Flavor

Posted by on May 6, 2009 | 21 Comments

Have you ever tried Low Fat Mayonnaise? Seriously, who’s evil invention was that stuff??!! The new fitness plan we are on calls for a leaner menu. And while almost all of the food/recipes are completely whole food based, they do call for a couple of ingredients that I might not normally purchase … one being low fat mayo.

At first, I thought I could get away with using the regular stuff or Vegenaise (the grapeseed oil one is our household favorite), but it is about 4 times the fat of the low fat version (over budget). So I thought, what the heck. Trader Joe’s had a good price on a light version with all natural ingredients (unfortunately only available in the larger size), so we decided to give it a go. Biggest mistake ever!

It was to be used in making tuna salad (destroyed my good quality tuna), chicken salad (skipped it after tasting what it did to the tuna), and a ranch salad dressing (I just won’t go there). The gelatin-like texture and odd overly-lemon but not quite there taste were just not my cup of tea. My husband dealt, but I shrieked and grumbled for days about how horrible the stuff was.

Not wanting to listen to my own whines anymore, I set out to find a new salad dressing that would still offer a low fat profile. And thanks to All Recipes, I found a winner. This tangy dressing is able to hold its own against a bed of greens, but is sweet and pleasant enough to keep you shoveling those greens down. I highly recommend it.

Non-Fat Curry Salad Dressing

Sweet and Tangy Non-Fat Curry Vinaigrette
Adapted only slightly from All Recipes

  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 4 Teaspoons Honey or Agave Nectar
  • 1 Teaspoon Curry Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard

Whisk everything together in a small bowl, and douse liberally over your favorite salad.

Note: The original recipe said to season to taste with salt and pepper, but I felt these additions unnecessary. If anything, maybe some fresh ground pepper over the salad after the fact. Also, they said 6 servings, I don’t quite agree, see below …

Yields 4 servings

 

Now, if anyone has an idea for how to use up the other 3/4 jar of low fat mayo lurking in our fridge, please do tell!

 

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