I love salads of all types. Especially Lebanese salads. Growing up in Alberta our neighbors were Lebanese and I spent many hours in their kitchen. My mom remembers that I knew what they were saying in Arabic. Anyhow– I continue to have an emotional connection to the flavors of those years. These days I use quinoa instead of bulgur wheat.
- 1/2 C bulgur wheat
- 1 C boiling water
- splash of olive oil
- splash of lemon juice (about 3 Tbsp)
- handful of savory mint (stems removed & chopped)
- handful of parsley (stems removed and chopped)
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1/2 cucumber, chopped
- salt and pepper
- garlic minced (optional)
Put bulgur, a little of the olive oil, and the boiling water in a heat proof dish. Cover and let sit until all the water is absorbed by the bulgur. (If using quinoa, just make it as usual on the stove top). Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Easy. And its even better once it sits around for a day.
only a couple more weeks of kale
By now you are used to bags of kale– smoothies, sautéed, salads– you have a kale eating plan. The kale leaves are large and the days are getting warm. Soon the kale will send up long spikes and a wave of yellow flowers will signal the end of kale until September. If you have extra kale during these last few weeks I would suggest putting it in the freezer. Just throw the bag straight in– then if you want to make a green smoothie in July, you can reach in pull out a few frozen leaves and ta da– the taste of green. Here is a smoothie recipe from Melissa Gill.
- 5-6 leaves of green-leaf lettuce
- 6-7 leaves of kale
- 1 organic gala apple
- 1/4 C blueberries
- 1 inch ginger
- 2 C (or so) of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 C of water
- 2 ice cubes
- 1 scoop protein powder
Put it all in a blender. Blitz and slurp.
falafel to put onto a green salad I hope these falafels will seem easy to make. I make a batch and throw them onto a salad for dinner and for lunch the following day. I will eat them hot or cold, plain or dipped in tahini dressing.
- 1 can of garbanzo or white beans
- 1/2 an onion
- large handful of herbs: cilantro, oregano, and/or mint
- 1 tsp of cumin seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- pinch of red pepper
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 Tbsp flour (or all-purpose gluten free flour or ground cornmeal)
- olive oil
Use a food processor to mince onions. Drain the beans and add them along with the herbs and spices. Process until smooth. Finally add the flour and blend quickly. The falafel mix should seem like a muffin mix- a little wet, but it will stay in a mound when placed on the pan. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and lightly brush with olive oil. Use a spoon to make round falafel patties. Brush with olive oil. Broil on low until golden, flip and broil the other side. In my oven I will leave them a couple minutes longer with the oven off to cook more- if they are still gooey in the center, cook for longer. Eat them in a sandwich, on a salad, or by themselves.
radish green pesto
Only recently did I discover radish green pesto. Why didn’t we eat the greens previously!? They are amazing in this pesto- rich and not-too-bitter. Tastes great on pasta, bread, and crackers.
- large bunch of radish greens
- splash of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/3 C Almonds (or walnuts, pecans, pine nuts)
Wash the radish greens. Peel garlic and put into a food processor with the nuts. Grind until they are crumbly. Add the greens, olive oil and salt. Puree until smooth.
lentil, goat cheese and mint salad
This is another recipe inspired by Nigella Lawson (she is my favorite). You will need to find Puy lentils– they are small, dark green, and are sometimes called French lentils. I buy them organic from Whole Foods, but Kroger might have them… This is another of those recipes that you can make extra and then eat during the week. It also tastes great on a green salad.
- 1 C puy lentils
- 1/2 a lemon
- 6 Tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 an onion
- pinch of red chili pepper.
- bunch of fresh savory mint
- goat cheese (you choose how much)
Crumble the goat cheese and marinate with lemon juice, the zest of 1/4 of the lemon, half the olive oil and 2 Tbsp chopped mint (more mint to be added later). Cook the lentils with the 1/2 onion (not chopped, you’re gonna remove it), chopped garlic, and chili pepper. Cook for 25 minutes until tender. Remove the onion. Pour the remaining olive oil over the lentils, add salt. Leave the lentils to cool for a bit (5 minutes), then add the goat cheese mixture, and more chopped mint.
We are in the peak moment of lettuce. So much lettuce, that even with a salad a day, you are likely to have extra. If you have never eaten lettuce cooked– now is the time. This recipe, another taken from Nigella Lawson, is simply delicious.
- 3-4 full heads of lettuce (rinse them, but don’t break the leaves off)
- 1 1/2 C chicken stock (or vegetarian alternative)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- Handful of fresh thyme sprigs
- Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Lay the heads of lettuce in a casserole dish. Add the chicken stock, flowers and leaves from the thyme, a splash of oil, and the salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes until the lettuce heads are tender.
broccoli raab pad thai
Yum! This smaller leafy version of broccoli is frequently found in Italian cooking but it is awesome in pad thai. There are many other options for cooking it too. James loves it cooked with polish kielbasa and garlic. Or you can also just sauté it whole, like asparagus with garlic and olive oil.
- 1 bunch Broccoli Raab (also called Broccoli greens or Rapini)
- 1 Tbsp Thai Fish sauce
- 3 Tbsp sesame or olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 inch piece of ginger chopped (optional)
- bunch of chopped cilantro
- 2 green onions chopped (optional)
- 2 Tbsp of something sour: lemon or lime juice, lemon grass, or rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp of something sweet: honey, sugar, or tamarind paste
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened peanut butter
- 1-2 Eggs
- 1/2 package of Pad Thai style rice noodles
Cook the rice noodles according to the instructions on their packaging. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the fish sauce, garlic, ginger (if using), something sour, and something sweet. Wash and chop 3-4 inch long pieces of the stem, leaves, and flower heads of the Broccoli Raab. In a wok or large pan, add the oil and Broccoli Raab. Sauté for 5 minutes until limp. Add the sauce mixture and eggs– you can scramble them in a bowl first, or just brake them straight into the pan. Turn the heat to med-low and let sit until the eggs are cooked. Next mix in the peanut butter. This part is tricky– but eventually the warmth of the food will soften the peanut butter. Add the noodles, cilantro and green onions. Mix and serve.
So with all this kale… it’s time to make kale chips! I’m just giving you the basic recipe here. You can always add flavors: garlic powder, sesame seeds, dried red chili flakes…
- Olive oil
- Sea sat
Heat the over to 375F. Wash the kale and remove the stem and center seam– to do this, fold the kale leaf in half and then pull the stem up the center seam. If you are using young kale, you can just remove the stem. In a large bowl, mix the kale with olive oil and salt. Just enough oil to lightly coat the leaves. My mother-in-law uses an olive oil spray, which seems ideal– you are seeking an even, light coat of oil. Lay the kale in a single layer on large cookie sheets. Bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes. Flip and bake another 10 minutes. You can now turn off the oven and leave them to become crispy– check back to see if they’re crispy after another 10 minutes. You want them totally leaf-cracking dry. If they are still damp after 20 minutes. Heat the oven again and cook for another 10 minutes. They taste bad when overcooked/burnt– so you’ve got to be careful and check back. When they are dry and cool, store in an air tight container.
my favorite tahini dressing
If you’ve ever tried Annie’s Goddess dressing then you will have some idea of what I’m going for with this dressing. I think of this as a very feminine dressing– like men will eat it, but women often adore it. As you may have guessed, I don’t measure anything when I cook– so the amounts are approximate.
- 1/3 C Olive oil
- 2 Tbsp Tahini
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- Half a lemon’s juice
- pinch of ground cumin
- 1/4 C yogurt (optional)
Blend all the ingredients. I make this dressing with and without yogurt– it just depends if I have any in my fridge or not. Like most dressing it tastes better after it sits for a while. Like 10 minutes- or 2 days. You can keep it in the fridge- but it tastes best when it’s not too cold. I serve it on a green salad or over homemade falafels.
lemon balm water
The best thing I’ve found to make with lemon balm is this cool drink with an amazing after taste. Simply wash the lemon balm and then twist it in your hands to release it’s oils. Put it into a pitcher and cover with a lot of ice cubes. Add a little water and let it sit for 10 minutes. Drink it with ice. I also add lemon balm water to my iced tea, kombucha, and white wine. If you have any old-world/tea rose petals– add them to the water too. Oh my! It’s transporting!
It seems a little silly to be writing a recipe for peppermint tea– but I want to make sure you try making some fresh mint tea. At least once. It’s like a cousin of dried-mint-in-a-bag tea– a distant cousin. Here’s what you do. Boil some water. Let it sit 2-5 minutes after boiling. Wash 4-5 sprigs of mint– twist them in your hands and put them into your teapot. Add the hot water and put a lid on it– the lid is important because the steam can carry away the mint oil you want to keep. Steep for 5 minutes. You can add honey and milk. Or a little black tea and sugar for Moroccan mint tea (the way James drinks it). Peppermint tea is also excellent mixed with sprigs of lavender.