carrot-ginger dressing

carrot-ginger dressing

carrot-ginger dressingIt’s summer-time and that means lots of salads in my house.  I love summer salads because they’re just so easy to whip up, they’re healthy for the most part (unless you slather them with too much dressing) and they pair with just about anything.  The best part is that there’s no cooking involved, which is the perfect thing on a hot summer night.  I try to make my salad dressings from scratch when I can because homemade dressings are full of fresh ingredients, and I love that you have control over what’s going into your dressing.  With dressings you can add a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and come out with something that makes your greens or veggies taste phenomenal.  I love pairing a salad with our favorite summer pasta and some french bread, or keeping it simple and just adding some roasted chicken to the top.  Summer-time is about simple, light and refreshing meals.

Ina's summer garden pasta and saladThis dressing is a tiny bit sweet, but has a bit of a spicy kick to it from the ginger, and it’s vegan to boot!  It’s a wonderful dressing to toss in with some mixed greens, but also works well as well as a dip for fresh-cut veggies like sliced avocado, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower or sliced heirloom tomatoes (yum!). This dressing keeps well in a jar for up to a week, so you can make a batch of dressing and have a fresh salad every night of that week.

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farro and chicken salad with dates and cranberries

farro and chicken salad with dates and cranberries

farro and chicken salad with dates and cranberriesIt’s official, Marin mama has been slacking on the blog.  I promised this recipe to you all last week and I never posted it, so I’m sorry!  I’m still trying to manage working full-time, making quality time for the kids and friends, as well as making sure I have some time to play and enjoy life in general, because at the end you have to enjoy all the fruits of your labor, right?  Life is a balancing act that I’m trying to figure out.  What I’ve learned lately is to let go of certain things that really don’t matter at the end of the day, and to try and not control life too much.  My big lesson this spring has been to let go, go with the flow, be open to new paths and opportunities and just play more. So, I will post when I can, and there might be months where I post weekly, and months where I only post twice. I know you’re all super chill with it all, and I totally appreciate it!  I’ve been meeting a bunch of you lately as I roam out and about Marin, and I have to say that I have some of the friendliest and supportive readers ever, so THANK YOU!  You all keep me motivated to get back on this blog!

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quinoa wrap with black beans, feta and avocado

quinoa wrap with black beans, feta and avocado

quinoa wrap with black beans, feta and avocadoSo, I have to tell you that I’m totally obsessed with this wrap, like when I say obsessed, I mean I’ve had this wrap for lunch everyday this past week as well as dinner on a few occasions,  and I’m still craving it.  I’m just as obsessed with this wrap as I was when I first tried my lacinato kale salad, and for those of you that know me or have been following me for a while, you know that is my all time favorite salad ever!  I would put this wrap right up there in the same ballpark as my lacinato salad, and that’s saying a lot.

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roasted sweet potato and farro salad

roasted sweet potato and farro salad

roasted sweet potato and farro saladOk, so I start my new job this week as the Director of Catering for Paradise Foods.  I’m going to be in charge of growing and running the catering division for all 3 stores.  It’s a huge job to undertake and I’m a bit nervous as it’s a bit like starting a new business, but I’m good at sales and I love working with people and food, so to me it’s a match made in heaven.  BTW, I’ll be working most of the time out of the Tiburon store, so if any of you see me, please say hi!  So, since I’m going to be working outside of the home, I’ve been looking for some new healthy lunch alternatives to bring into work.  The funny thing is, I’m working at an amazing grocery store with one of the best deli’s, sandwich and salad bars in Marin, so I don’t really need to bring my lunch in, but I’m on a bit of a budget now, so a brown bagged lunch is the way to go.

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kale salad with brussels sprouts and toasted almonds

kale salad with brussels sprouts and toasted almonds

kale salad with brussels sprouts and toasted almondsSo, yes, this is another kale salad recipe, (sorry for all of the kale recipes lately folks) but it has Brussels sprouts in it, so you’re getting 2 amazing veggies in one salad! Bonus!  My foodie friend Carolyn passed this recipe onto me and told me I had to try it. I totally trust Carolyn, and when she tells me that I need to try something, I do, no questions asked. I was nervous to have the kids try this because Eli despises Brussels sprouts, like totally gags on them.  So the first time I made this up, I didn’t tell him that there were Brussels sprouts in it (I know, I’m a mean and sneaky mama).  He ate the salad and really liked it. I then told him after he finished that he just ate some Brussels sprouts, and you know what, he said he liked them raw mixed in with the kale! Sometimes you just have to be a bit sneaky moms!

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Marin mama’s favorite kale recipes

marin mama's favorite kale recipes

marin mama's favorite kale recipesIt’s the day after Halloween and I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for some healthier fare today.  When I need to detox from too many sweets, wine and pizza, I tend to gravitate towards something made with kale, whether it be a smoothie or salad.  So today I thought I would share with you my favorite kale recipes from the blog in-case you were looking to detox with some kale as well.

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kale salad with pear, toasted almonds and aged gouda

kale salad with pear, toasted almonds and aged gouda

kale salad with pear, toasted almonds and aged goudaSurprise, surprise, salad number two this week is a kale salad.  Did you really expect anything else?  I mean I already have 7 kale salad recipes on the blog, so why not add another one, right?  This salad is similar to my kale salad with delicata squash, almonds and aged cheddar.  I love the base of that salad, but wanted to make up a more kid friendly version, as my kids are not big fans of squash. They like butternut squash soup, and spaghetti squash tacos, but they don’t like cubed or sliced squash, they need it blended in something.  They’re huge fans of pears though, so I decided to add in some pears in place of the squash.  I also wanted to change up the cheese to addd some variety and I’ve heard that aged gouda pairs well with pears and apples, so I asked the cheese guy at my local market what gouda he recommended. He suggested that I use this Robusto Gouda from UnieKass. Ok, I totally loved this cheese and even found myself breaking off pieces of it to munch on while I grated the cheese.  Robusto Gouda is an aged gouda/parmesan hybrid that is creamy, nutty and sharp in flavor.  If you can’t find this particular cheese at your grocery store, then you can either ask the cheese guy at your store what type of cheese might be similar in taste in texture, or just pick up an aged gouda.  Oh, I also hear that this particular cheese pairs extremely well with beer. Hmmm….  I’m thinking this would be a great cheese to serve up with some cold beers for Sunday football.  Just saying…

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mixed greens with creamy mustard vinaigrette

mixed greens with creamy mustard vinaigrette

mixed greens with creamy mustard vinaigretteIt’s salad week at Marin mama cooks.  Yes, I’m calling it salad week because I’m posting 2 salad recipes for you all.  Aren’t you happy?  After 2 weeks of posting nothing but sweets, I figured we could all use a salad or two right?  Today I’m sharing with you all a classic salad dressing that John and I love. I used to make this salad dressing all of the time before I discovered kale that is. Mixed greens was our go-to salad and this creamy mustard vinaigrette was our go-to dressing.  I made this salad up for dinner parties, topped it with grilled chicken for an easy weeknight dinner, you name it.  I had kind of  forgotten about this salad and dressing till John brought it to my attention.  John asked me to PLEASE make up this salad as he was getting tired of eating kale salads every night.  Honestly, I don’t think I will ever tire of my lacinato kale salad as well as my kale salad with ricotta salata. I could honestly eat those two salads every night, but I know not everyone in my family feels and loves kale the way I do, so I have to think about them and add some variety to our dinner menu.

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quinoa, tuna and corn salad

quinoa, corn and tuna salad

quinoa, corn and tuna saladQuinoa, quinoa, quinoa.  I’m sure you’re seeing that word everywhere these days and that some of you are tired of seeing recipes with quinoa, but here’s another recipe just incase you’re not tired of it yet.  I admit I did go on a hiatus from cold quinoa dishes for about a year, as I was tired of eating it day after day.  I discovered new and unique ways to enjoy quinoa like sautéed in a patty or cheesy cake, perfect for lunch or as a side dish to your favorite soup or salad.  I also discovered I liked quinoa in the morning mixed in with some steel-cut oats or quinoa flakes mixed with goji berries.  In fact I’m having a bowl of my 5 minute hot quinoa cereal as I type this post, so good!… 

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Israeli couscous salad

israeli couscous salad (1 of 1)

Israeli couscous salad I love it when I find new salads or summer side dishes that can be made ahead to marinate all day or made on the fly to eat up right then and there. This salad is one of those salads that tastes great either way. This is the perfect salad to bring to a potluck, picnic or to serve up in your own backyard. It’s full of summer flavor from the fresh mint, parsley and cherry tomatoes. We love pairing this salad with chicken drumsticks and one of my kale salads for a family backyard dinner. You can really make this a year round salad by adding seasonal ingredients to the mixture, like asparagus in the spring, cauliflower or broccoli in the winter.

I made this salad up last night to bring to my friend Yvonne’s house for a girls dinner. I paired it with my grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and my kid friendly caesar salad. It was the perfect throw together summer dinner because I made everything ahead of time. I made up the couscous salad earlier in the day, made the croutons and salad dressing for the caesar salad the night before and then threw everything together at Yvonne’s house come dinner.  If you get a bunch of great side dishes, you can make a meal out of them. Here’s a photo of our backyard picnic dinner.

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lacinato kale salad video tutorial

lacinato kale salad

lacinato kale salad (1 of 1)-2Yes, you read the title right, I’m posting my first attempt at an instructional cooking video. Woo hoo! I actually wouldn’t call it an official cooking video because I make a few mistakes in the video, and my head totally gets cut off in places, but as I said, it’s my first attempt, and making videos is not really my forte. I almost didn’t post the video because it’s not a perfect and I’m kind of embarrassed by the way I look and sound on camera. I mean come on, everyone hates seeing themselves on video, right?  You see yourself and think, wow, that’s really how I look to people, but then you realize that your friends and loved ones love you just the way you are, so it’s not so bad, right? There’s a point when you just have to get over yourself, put yourself out there and let it be, and that’s what I’m doing today.

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Nepenthe’s garbanzo and kidney bean salad

garbanzo and kidney bean salad

garbanzo and kidney bean saladHere’s a simple but tasty bean salad to pair with your favorite burger, sandwich or simply to throw on a bed of greens. We first tasted this salad on our recent visit to Nepenthe in Big Sur. They pair this bean salad alongside their burgers, and I have to say that it’s the perfect side, as it’s a nice break from the traditional mixed greens, fries or coleslaw that most restaurants serve up with their burgers. Below is a photo of the amazing tofu burger that I had paired with this salad. Isn’t it adorable how they put it all in this cute little basket? I’ve already posted the recipe for their famous ambrosia sauce, which is the perfect sauce to slather on your favorite burger or a nice dipping sauce for your fries and onion rings. If you haven’t been to Nepenthe in Big Sur, then you must make the trek sometime. They have the most amazing views from the restaurant, and it’s truly a spiritual experience just sitting there surrounded by nature and those views.

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simple egg salad

simple egg salad

simple egg saladSpring is around the corner and it’s the perfect time for cold sandwiches like egg or chicken salad. Egg salad is such a simple and quick sandwich to throw together, especially if you have hardboiled eggs already made up, and it’s the perfect Meatless Monday sandwich.

To be honest, I have never made egg salad at home until this past year. I usually just ate it when I went out for lunch. John decided to boil up some eggs on day and suggested we make some egg salad for lunch. We didn’t have a recipe on hand and we both knew we didn’t want a mayonnaise laden sandwich, so I went to Heidi’s blog (my other favorite go-to person for recipes, besides the Barefoot) to see if she had a recipe. Well, she did, and it looked simple and exactly what we were looking for. We made up a batch and loved it. The kids even gave it the thumbs up (although Eli’s thumb was a bit sideways). This recipe is pretty basic, so feel free to add to it what you wish like, red onions, green onions, pickles, black olives or capers.  Really, feel free to doctor it up anyway you want. I like things simple, so this version works for me.

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kale and ricotta salata salad

kale and ricotta salata salad

kale and ricotta salata salad (1 of 1)Anyone who knows me knows that I love lacinato kale. I mean it just tastes so good, yes, you heard me right, it really tastes good. It’s not just me who feels that way, my kids prefer a kale salad over an arugula or spinach one any-day, and John, well he likes all types of salads, he’s not a picky guy. Kale is uber healthy, and if stored properly the leaves can last for about 2 weeks in the fridge. Kale is also a great make-ahead salad.  It’s one of those salads that you can make ahead, like the morning of an event, and have it taste great at dinner. Kale salads make great leftovers. I love that I can make up a salad on Monday and then eat leftovers on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it tastes great all three days. I will have to say that lacinato kale is the kale to try first if you are new to kale.  Lacinato kale really tastes more like a lettuce, especially when you massage the dressing into it.  Curly kale on the other hand, tastes bitter and can leave a chalky aftertaste in your mouth. I think most people who have tried kale have tried curly kale, and that’s why kale has gotten the bad reputation. Please, just try a salad with lacinato kale (sometimes called tuscan or dinosaur kale) and you might be converted.

Anyway, I’m always on the hunt for new kale recipes. I already have 5 kale salads that I love, and my top two salads are my lacinato kale salad and miso kale salad.  My lacinato salad has turned kale haters into kale lovers, so that is saying a lot. This ricotta salata salad may also be one that turns people around, not only because it tastes great, but it’s so easy to prepare, and much like my lacinato salad uses pantry ingredients. This is Eli’s favorite kale salad thus far. Many of you may not be too familiar with ricotta salata. Ricotta salata is an aged ricotta that has been pressed, so it looses moisture and becomes crumbly and easy to grate. It’s a fairly mild tasting cheese, (I think that’s why Eli loves it so much) but has an amazing salty flavor to it.  The other great thing about ricotta salata, is its price tag.  You can usually get a chunk of cheese for under $4.00. So, this is a great salad for those of you on a budget.  Don’t look for ricotta salata cheese near the traditional ricotta cheeses, (the ones in the plastic containers) this cheese will be located in the cheese section of your grocery store, where the fancier cheeses are.

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kale salad with delicata squash, almonds and aged cheddar

kale salad with delicata squash, almonds and aged cheddar
kale salad with delicata squash, almonds and aged cheddarOk, I must admit, I’m not a holiday recipe kind of food blogger. I don’t feature holiday recipes months before the holidays, unless it’s a recipe that can be used for any occasion, like this salad. I’m honestly not an expert when it comes to cooking turkey or stuffing. I make the same stuffing every year (sausage and chestnut stuffing) and John cooks the turkey, as cooking large birds sort of scare me. I also figure that most of you have family favorite Thanksgiving recipes that have been passed down through the generations. We actually have a family favorite cranberry sauce that John’s mom passed down to us, which John makes every year for Thanksgiving.  

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kid friendly caesar salad

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Moms, do I have caesar salad recipe for you.  This is one of Eli’s favorite salads now and he literally requests it daily.  He eats a whole plate full, even when I sneak some lacinato kale in the salad.  I told him the other night as he scarfed down a plate full of salad that he just polished off about 1/4 a head of kale. His jaw just about slammed down on the table.  He said he didn’t even know there was kale in the salad, he thought the dark green leaves were darker romaine lettuce pieces. The dressing is what makes this a kid friendly salad (no anchovies or raw egg) or should I say adult friendly as well. You can make it more of an adult salad by adding some kale as well as multigrain croutons. To keep it truly kid friendly, I would just serve the dressing over some romaine leaves and make up some sourdough or french bread croutons.  BTW, I don’t always add croutons to the salad, so don’t feel the pressure.  We usually just have this salad as a side to our meal sans the croutons.  I just don’t always have time to whip up a batch of croutons during the week.

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roasted beet and arugula salad

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It’s almost Labor Day and everyone is either going out of town, or fitting in that last summer barbecue.  We’re actually staying local and plan on hitting the pool, grilling out, and making our annual end of summer bike trek through Sebastopol to pick some fresh blackberries.  It’s a family and friend tradition, and one of our final hurrah’s each summer.  The blackberries are so ripe and fresh that they honestly taste like dark chocolate, I’m not lying.  They beat any blackberry you will buy at the supermarket.  We take our time biking through the wine country and stop for lunch at our favorite cafe in Graton, as well as check out our favorite gallery.  The food is local and fresh, and the gallery always has something whimsical that I want to purchase.


I roasted up
some beets last week and paired them with this salad.  It was the perfect meal after a week of heavy eating in Minnesota. This salad is simple, light and a refreshing combination. The sweetness of the grapefruit helps take away the earthy taste of the beets. This salad is the perfect lunchtime salad, or a great salad to serve alongside a fall soup, like my cauliflower soup.

roasted beet and arugula salad:

Recipe from Gluten-free Vegan Comfort Food
serves 4

  • 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 roasted beet – see my post on roasting beets for roasting instructions
  • 1-2 bunches of arugula leaves (about 3 cups or so) 
  • pinch of sea salt
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste

Peel your grapefruit, and pull it apart into segments. Set aside two of the segments, and chop up the rest into small bite-size pieces. Then toss them into a large bowl.  Chop up your roasted beet into small chunks or slices, and add them to the bowl with the grapefruit.  Add in the arugula leaves.  Take the two reserved grapefruit segments and squeeze them over a small bowl to capture their juice.   Now its time to make the dressing.  In another small bowl, or glass measuring cup, combine the olive oil, sherry vinegar, maple syrup, and the mustard.  Whisk the ingredients well.  Add one teaspoon of grapefruit juice at a time, to get the dressing to the desired sweetness.  

I used 3 teaspoons of grapefruit juice.  
If you need more juice, just take one of the pieces of grapefruit and squeeze it over the dressing.  Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss to coat evenly.  Season with salt and freshly ground cracked pepper to taste.  You can also top the salad with some feta cheese, if desired.  I also wanted to say Happy Anniversary to my amazing husband & best friend, John!  

15 years today and we’re going strong.  
I love you John!

curried chicken salad

currychickensalad

Want an easy, tasty, family friendly summer meal that can be made ahead of time?  Look no further because this recipe has it all. This is one of our favorite summer meals (well any time of year meal).  Its chock full of flavor and can be served up in so many ways that you’ll never get bored.  Top it on some mixed greens or basmati rice, throw it in a whole grain tortilla or serve it between your favorite sandwich bread.  The possibilities are endless.

This salad is also great to bring to a potluck picnic.  My friend Yvonne brought it to our 4th of July pool party and we served it up on some whole-grain tortillas and paired with my lacinato kale salad.  It was such an easy and healthy potluck dinner, as everything was made ahead of time.

curried chicken salad:

recipe from epicurious

serves 6

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt, I use plain Greek yogurt
  • 5 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 medium red onion (1 cup), diced
  • 2 cups red seedless grapes, halved - You can also substitute 1 cup of chopped mango for a cup of grapes.  I always do this when mangos are in season.
  • 1/2 cup salted roasted cashews, coarsely chopped – I just buy cashews that are already salted and roasted
 
Below are the ingredients you will need (you just need 1 more cup of grapes, as I forgot to add that below).
Prep all of your ingredients while your chicken is simmering, and then you will be ready to go.
In a 2-to-3-quart saucepan, bring 4 cups of water along with the 1 3/4 cups chicken broth to a simmer at medium-high heat.  
Note: When simmering, bubbles will break the surface slowly, mostly around the edges of the pot.  
Once the water is simmering, add the chicken and simmer, uncovered, for 6 minutes 
I kept my heat at medium-high here because once you add the chicken the water cools down a bit.  
Remove pan from heat and cover, then let stand until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes, or more.  You may get 2 large breasts that are 1 1/2 pounds or 3 small ones, so the cooking time will vary depending on the size of your chicken breasts.
Make sure your chicken is cooked through; sometimes it takes less than 15 minutes for my chicken to cook or sometimes it takes more.  I just pull the chicken out and test it with a meat thermometer. You want the chicken to be at 165 degrees, as there is nothing worse than undercooked chicken, YUCK!
 
Transfer cooked chicken to a plate and let it cool for 10 minutes or so.  
Once the chicken is cool, chop it into 1/2 inch pieces.
While chicken is cooling, whisk together in a large bowl, the following ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 5 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 

Add the chicken, red onion, grapes and cashews and stir gently to combine.  

Cover and refrigerate the chicken salad till needed. Serve this up as a sandwich on your favorite bread or on a grilled whole-grain tortilla. 

We love this served up over some basmati rice in the winter.  Feel free to substitute apples when grapes are out of season.  You can also use walnuts or almonds in lieu of cashews or omit the nuts and add some celery.  Seriously, you can add and mix in whatever you like.
Curry is known to be good for you, so do something good for yourself and make this salad!

miso kale salad with miso roasted tofu

miso kale salad with miso roasted tofu (1 of 1)-2

miso kale salad with miso roasted tofu (1 of 1)-2I’m so excited because I have found another kale salad that I love just as much as my lacinato kale salad. Wendy, Debbie & Amanda, you have to try this. This is going to be another weekly go-to salad for me. I love this salad so much that I ate a whole head of kale on Friday as well as made a fresh batch up for dinner on Saturday, and had leftovers for lunch on Sunday. It was a kale filled weekend for me. This salad is great on its own, but top it off with the miso roasted tofu and you have yourself a substantial lunch or dinner. Did I mention that this salad is also kid and hubby approved?

This is also another great make ahead salad. I do prefer to eat it fresh or within the hour of tossing it up, but it tasted amazing as leftovers the next day and even holds out to day 3 (actually my hubby likes it better the next day, go figure). I re-heated the leftover tofu in a pre-heated 250 degree oven for just a bit, and then topped it on the leftover salad. You don’t even have to re-heat the tofu, I just did because I wanted to. It tastes great, all warm on the cool salad.

miso tofumiso roasted tofu:

Recipe from Eating Well, Fast & Flavorful Meatless Meals
makes 14 square cubes
printer friendly recipe

  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons, miso – see picture and note below
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Below is a picture of miso. You can find it in the refrigerated section of your grocery store usually by where the tofu is kept. Miso is a fermented soybean paste that adds flavor to dishes such as soups, sauces and salad dressings. It is high in protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s available in different colors, white, yellow, red & brown. If you want a milder flavor then go with yellow or white. If you want a stronger flavor then go with a red or brown miso. The lighter the color, the milder the flavor. I chose this yellow chickpea miso because I wanted a milder flavor and this version is soy-free.
DSC_0203Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or brush on some olive oil. Make sure that you coat it well, because if you don’t, then the tofu will stick to the baking sheet. I used my olive oil cooking spray.

Drain the tofu and wrap it in some paper towels and gently press out the excess moisture. Cut the block of tofu into square cubes like the picture below. I cut the block of tofu into 8 slices and then cut those in half to get these squares. It really doesn’t matter how you cut up your tofu, just make sure they are cut into even pieces.

cubed tofuCombine the 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons miso and the 2 cloves minced garlic in a large bowl, and use a spatula to mix it together. It will resemble a thick paste.

miso paste with lemon and garlic_Add the tofu squares to the mixture and gently toss to coat.  It may not look like there is enough mixture to cover all of the tofu, but there is.

Spread the marinated tofu in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

miso roasted tofuBake the tofu on the middle rack, turning one to two times during baking, until browned, about 18-20 minutes, or until the tofu is browned on all sides.

miso roasted tofuYou can really do so much with this tofu. You can throw it on any other salad of choice, eat it on its own or top it on your favorite pasta. The choices are unlimited.  We love it topped on some cold soba noodles with summer vegetables.

cold soba noodles with miso roasted tofu and summer vegetablesWe also love it in a vegetarian banh mi sandwich.

vegetarian banh mi sandwich with sriracha mayonnaise
Oh, I forgot to mention that Eli loved this tofu (not the salad, but we are working on that).  Zoe love’s both the tofu and salad.  She is really turning into my kale gal.
miso kale salad with miso roasted tofu

miso kale salad:

Recipe adapted from Eating Well, Fast & Flavorful Meatless Meals
Note: This is not a make ahead dressing, as it does not sit well on it’s own. I would make it up and then toss it with your kale. Once mixed with the kale, it sits well.
printer friendly recipe

  • 1 bunch (whole head) lacinato/dinosaur kale, curly kale or red kale, large stems removed, thinly sliced – to see a step-by-step demonstration on how to de-stem and slice kale – click here.
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons miso
  • 1 clove garlic, minced - I used 2 medium cloves and it tasted great
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, miso and garlic in a glass measuring cup or small bowl.
Make sure to whisk the ingredients together well. The dressing will be a bit thick and pasty.

miso dressingPut your sliced and de-stemmed kale into a salad bowl.

Pour in the dressing a bit at a time (see my note below) over the kale, and mix well so that all the kale absorbs the dressing.  I actually massaged my kale a bit so the kale really absorbed the dressing.  You don’t have to go crazy massaging this kale salad.  When I say, “massage” your kale, I literally mean, get your hands in there and massage it.  You will notice that the kale reduces in size quite a bit, and what seemed like a mess of kale is now 1/2 of what it was.
Note:  Add the dressing to taste.  Some heads of kale are smaller than others, so just use the amount of dressing for the amount of kale you have.  The first batch I made had less kale so I only used 3/4 the amount of dressing I made.  The second batch I used had a bit more kale, and I ended up using the whole amount of dressing.
Add the 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, and toss to coat.
Top the salad with some roasted tofu, or not.  The kale salad is great on its own as well.
This salad is creamy and bowl licking good.  It’s the perfect meal for any vegetarian or non-vegetarian.  
Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Be sure to store the tofu and kale separately.
Got leftovers?  Just re-heat the tofu in a 250 degree oven until warmed. This salad tastes great day two and even day three.
You can also make a kale caesar salad wrap. Just top a whole-grain tortilla with the leftover kale salad, the warmed tofu and then smash an avocado on top and wrap it up. It’s just a fun and different way to enjoy this salad.
kale caesar salad wrap
Like kale salads?  Then you need to try my  lacinato kale salad.  This salad has turned kale haters into kale lovers.
lacinato kale salad video
kale and ricotta salata salad
kale salad with delicata squash, almonds and aged cheddar

vegan kale caesar salad with multi-grain croutons

vegan

Happy Memorial Day everyone, and Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband, John!  The kids and I love that John’s birthday falls on a Holiday weekend because we always get to spend a full day celebrating with him.  Zoe and I made his favorite coconut cake (recipe soon) while he supplied the homemade coconut ice cream.  What a man!

So, I am celebrating this day by showcasing a vegan kale caesar salad!  Yaay!  I can’t get enough kale, and I am assuming most of you are the same way.  Kale is the “it” vegetable of 2012, (at least in my world).  This is not your typical caesar salad though because it’s egg and dairy free.  It’s definitely a healthier take on the traditional caesar salad.

I love having a big salad for lunch, so I am always on the search for new recipes, especially kale ones.  I also love croutons, and these croutons are the BEST!  They are chewy and crunchy at the same time. You all know that I love carbs and kale, so this was lunch was a winner in my book!  I found that this particular kale salad was best served fresh.  It was fine for leftovers, but I found that I needed to refresh it with some dressing as the kale really absorbed all the dressing overnight and became a bit dull in flavor.  I paired this salad for dinner with some of my sausage and arugula pizza , and it was the prefect compliment.

vegan kale caesar salad:

seves 4

Note: There will be extra dressing leftover as the dressing makes 1 cup.  You can reserve this for additional salads or cut the dressing recipe below in half.  I actually used the extra dressing to re-fresh the leftover salad.  

  • 1 head of curly kale
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours – see details below
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • juice from 2 lemons - I use my hand juicer so that I get all the juice from the lemons
  • 1 large pitted Medjool date
  • 2 large stalks celery, ends cut off
  • 2 – 3 large raw garlic cloves, peeled – I used 3 garlic cloves  
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup water – I added another tablespoon after I blended the dressing.  Feel free to use more water if you want a thinner consistency
  • homemade croutons - see recipe below
Wash, de-stem & tear up the kale into bite size pieces and set it aside in a salad bowl.
Measure out the 3/4 cup cashews and rinse them in a colander.
Place them in a glass or ceramic bowl and cover them with fresh filtered water.
Cover the bowl with a clean dishtowel and let them soak for 2 hours.
Drain the cashews.
Add cashews to a food processor or high-powered blender (I used my vitamix).  Add the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, Medjool date, celery (I cut the celery into 3 large chunks to make pureeing it easier), garlic cloves, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and water and process/blend until smooth.
Note: This dressing will be thick, but when you mix it into the kale it has a nice consistency.  
Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the dressing over the kale and mix well so that all the kale absorbs the dressing.  I actually massaged my kale a bit so the kale really absorbed the dressing.  You don’t have to go crazy massaging this kale salad.  When I say, “massage” your kale, I literally mean, get your hands in there and massage it.

The volume of the kale should reduce by about 1/3 and the kale will wilt and have a cooked texture.Feel free to add more dressing if desired after you massage it, as the kale will absorb it.

multi-grain croutons:

  • 2 thick slices of multi-grain or dark grain bread  – You can use any kind of bread here, but I loved the chewy texture of this multi grain bread. For those of you that are local, I got this bread was from the Whole Foods in San Rafael.  It’s from Della Fattoria and the name of the bread is Pane Integrale.
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt - I usually just throw a pinch of salt in
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper – I actually don’t measure out my pepper.  I just twist the pepper grinder a few times.
I took my other crouton recipe, added 2 cloves of minced garlic to it and used this amazing whole-grain dark bread.  Needless to say, these croutons were AMAZING!
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.  Slice up 2 thick slices of bread.
Cut the slices into 1/2 inch cubes.
In a medium sized bowl add the olive oil, minced garlic, pepper and salt and mix them together. Throw in the croutons and toss to coat.
Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
Bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, making sure to flip the bread over once during baking so it browns on both sides. Bake until the croutons are browned and crisp.
Top the kale salad with the homemade croutons and serve.
This salad is a healthier take on the traditional caesar salad.  If you’re looking for another healthy caesar salad recipe that actually tastes more like a traditional caesar salad, then try my miso garlic roasted tofu salad.

wheat berries with charred onions and kale

wheat berries with charred onions and kale

wheat berries with charred onions and kaleAm I turning into a health nut or what?  I have eaten more kale in the past 6 months than I have in my whole lifetime, seriously. This blog is working wonders for my health and waistline (as well as my hubby’s).  It was actually John that picked out this recipe, can you believe it?  We received the recent issue of bon appetit on Friday.  John opened it up, pointed at two recipes, looked at me and said, “honey, we’re making this for dinner on Sunday.”  I  then took a look at the two recipes and happily agreed.  Did I mention that John is an amazing cook, even better than me?  I’m such a lucky girl.

Wheat berries?  You’re probably wondering what the heck they are.  Wheat berries are simply individual kernels of wheat.  They’re a true whole grain.  A cup of cooked wheat berries has about 300 calories and is packed with fiber, protein and iron.  Wheat berries have a chewy bite and a subtle nutty and earthy flavor.  You can find them in the natural foods section of your local grocery store. I found these at Whole Foods in the bulk bins.
DSC_0224-2

wheat berries with charred onions and kale: 
recipe from bon appetit
serves 6

  • 1 1/2 cups wheat berries 
  • 2 medium yellow onions – see instructions below
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil - The recipe called for 8 tablespoons but we did not feel we needed all the oil, so we just added what we felt was necessary.
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces (about 8 packed cups) – I used curly kale for this recipe
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Combine wheat berries, 1 onion half, 5 thyme sprigs, and 1 tablespoon salt in a large saucepan; add water to cover by 2 inches.  
The below photo was taken before I put in the water, of course, but I thought it was pretty so I snapped up a picture.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium or medium low (our stove has an intense flame so we went to medium low) and simmer until wheat berries are just tender but still firm to the bite, about 35 minutes. 
Drain in a colander and discard the onion and thyme sprigs. Place wheat berries in a large bowl and let cool.  
Meanwhile, rinse, de-stem, dry and tear up your kale into 2-inch pieces; set aside.  
Cut remaining 3 onion halves crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat; add onions. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are charred in spots, about 5 minutes. 
Transfer onions to the bowl with wheat berries
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to same skillet (we actually added about 1 teaspoon as there was oil leftover). Working in 3 batches, add kale and cook, tossing occasionally, sprinkling with salt and pepper, and adding oil as needed between batches, until charred in spots, about 1 minute per batch.  
This is another tasty and kid approved way to get your kale in.  My kids loved the kale sautéed this way as it reminded them of kale chips but without the crunch. 
Add the kale to the bowl.  Drizzle with the 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice and any remaining oil left in the pan; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
We served this up as a side salad for dinner, but I would definitely eat a bowl of this for lunch without the steak!
 Here were my leftovers the next day.  I topped the salad with some leftover steak and the herb salsa.  I then microwaved it for about 1 minute. 
 It was a two-nighter meal and tasted just as good or even better the next night.

What have you made with kale lately?
Are you becoming kale obsessed like me?
Bon appétit

kale salad with tahini & lemon dressing

kaletahini

Last week was so much fun!  I received so many positive emails, phone calls & comments from friends and people in my local and not-so-local community regarding my article in the Marin IJ.  It was wonderful to interact with everyone and hear what their favorite recipes were and such.  What started out as a mere hobby for me is really turning into so much more.  This blog is opening so many unique doors and introducing me to so many wonderful people.  So for those of you come by each week to check out my blog, thank you!  You are all inspiring me to keep this blog going and to keep trying new recipes! 


So, since I’m known as the kale obsessed Marin Mama, I thought I would share with you another, yes another, kale salad recipe.  This kale salad actually incorporates some other vegetables, so it’s more of a chopped crunchy kale salad.  You’re not just getting the benefits of kale here, you’re getting tons of other nutrients from all the other veggies along with the hemp seeds and walnuts.  This is a nutritional power packed salad.  Move over mixed greens, there’s a new lettuce in town and it’s called kale! 


Note:  You can add more or less of the ingredients below or add anything additional that you like to this salad to make it your own.  Salads are really great that way.


kale salad with tahini & lemon dressing:

recipe from Oh She Glows
serves 4 (or 2 in my case)
  • 1 bunch/head of kale - I used lactinato, but use whatever variety you want
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped or grated
  • 1/2 english cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 to 3/4 avocado – I always chop up the avocado right before serving so it stays fresh
  • 1/4 cup chopped grape or heirlom tomatoes
  • handful of chopped walnuts or any nut of your choice 
  • optional – handful of hemp seed - I liked this addition to the salad, but John was not a fan
Below are the ingredients you will need for the actual salad (oops, I forgot the to add the tomatoes here).   I did not waste any veggies here. The kids ate the rest of the red pepper, cucumber and avocado.  I even sliced up some cucumber for our water.
Your most likely asking the question, what exactly is hemp seed?  Below is a photo of the hemp seed I purchased.  You can find hemp seed at most grocery stores.  Hemp seeds are a great source of protein and omegas and they add a nice nutty flavor to the salad.
First things first, wash and chop up the veggies (I actually save the avocado and slice it just before serving the salad) and throw them into a mixing or salad bowl.  Wash, de-stem and slice up the kale (if you want to know how to de-stem and slice kale click here for a tutorial).  
Reserve the hemp seed and walnuts for sprinkling on top at the end.

Tahini Lemon Dressing:

recipe from Oh She Glows
makes under 1 cup of dressing

  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 large lemons or 3-4 small lemons)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast – see comment below
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons water


You can pick up nutritional yeast in the bulk section of most grocery stores (Wendy & Amanda, you can borrow some of mine to try as well as the hemp seeds).  I know Bob’s Red Mill makes one that is carried locally at Trader Joes, Albertsons, Mollie Stones, Good Earth  & Whole foods.  Nutritional yeast has a pleasant nutty-cheesy flavor and is packed with protein and B vitamins.  It comes in flakes or powder form.  I actually use it quite often to top my popcorn.  Hey, it is nutritional so why not add it where you can.

This is an easy dressing to make, just throw all the above ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth.
Add the dressing to the salad and mix and massage the kale until thoroughly combined.  
Note:  I did not add the whole batch of dressing; I just poured in a bit and then mixed it around and added more to taste, as I don’t like tons of dressing on my salad.
Store any of the leftover dressing in sealed jar and use it to top whatever else you want.
Place the salad in the fridge to ‘marinate’ for 10-15 minutes or longer.  I actually made this salad in the day and served it up for dinner (for John and I of course, as my kids would not like this).  If you are going to keep in the fridge for more than an hour then put it into a sealed container.This the perfect salad to have on a warm spring night.  Pair it up with some nann bread or top it with some grilled chicken and you have yourself a delicious dinner.
Have you noticed my new recipe link at the top?  Check it out!  I have all my recipes categorized (kale even has its own category).  Can you believe that I have posted 93 recipes thus far, I can’t?  I am sure you will find some new favorites to add to your recipe box.

lacinato kale salad

lacinato kale salad

lacinato kale saladI know this photo is not quote on quote “food porn” quality or pinterest worthy, but I guarantee it’s tastebud worthy.  It’s so tastebud worthy that I was literally licking the bowl after this salad.  I never thought I would be licking the bowl of a kale salad, but I was licking this one, seriously!  Who am I these days?  When did I start getting excited over kale of all things?  You won’t even realize that you’re eating kale as the garlic and lemon take away the bitterness of the kale.  You might surprise yourself and find that you just ate a whole head or two of kale with this salad.  I have friends who have tried this salad and gone from kale haters to kale lovers.  Seriously, it’s that good!

The Marin IJ recently interviewed me and the first question that the interviewer asked me was, “what’s your obsession with kale?”  I laughed because I honestly didn’t think I was obsessed with kale.  I mean I have a few kale recipes posted, but nothing to over the top.  Do six recipes equate a kale obsession?  Maybe they do, but I don’t care.  I would rather be obsessed with kale than obsessed with chocolate, (well, I am a bit obsessed with that as well, but that’s another post).

lacinato kale saladSo, I did the phone interview the other day, and today the photographer is coming over to take the pictures for the paper. He is going to photograph me while I make this salad and my sausage skillet pizza (see photo below). I’m a bit nervous about being photographed cooking as I am not a pretty gal when I am cooking. I get all flustered and crazy messy as I am constantly using my apron and clothes as a towel. This time I have to look pretty and relaxed while cooking. I’m not sure I can pull that off.

DSC_0005-4So let’s get back to this salad.  I made this for lunch on Monday because I had too much birthday cake over the weekend as we celebrated Zoe turning 12.  I wanted to do a mini Monday cleanse, so I made this salad for lunch and then paired it with some of my cauliflower soup for dinner.  I couldn’t have been happier and my body was thanking me for this mini cleanse.

lacinato kale saladThis salad pairs with just about anything because the dressing is so simple. It’s also a great make-ahead salad.  I often make it in the morning and then have some for lunch or dinner that night and the gobble the rest up the next day.  It’s the perfect bring to work salad because it gets better as it sits.  Do you hear this Yvonne?  Here’s a salad you can bring to work!   

Lacinato kale salad:

Recipe adapted from Dr. Weil
Serves 4
  • 1 bunch lacinato/dinosaur kale, de-stemmed and thinly sliced 
  • juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons) - use a hand juicer to get the most juice from your lemon .  If your lemon seems extremely juicy, then I would just add 3 tablespoons of juice.  I’ve noticed that in the winter my lemons have been extra juicy and the dressing can be a bit tart with too much lemon.
  • 3  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced –  I always use 3 large cloves
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste 
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese – you can use more or less here or omit it all together, it’s up to you.  I just throw in a handful and call it a day!

A note about purchasing lacinato kale:  Don’t purchase lacinato kale that feels tough and paper-like.  It will not breakdown and thus will not absorb the dressing even when you massage it.  Kale is best when its soft and pliable, (feels like regular lettuce) as it absorbs the dressing and is tender when eaten.
Ok, I thought I would treat you all to some step-by-step photos for de-stemming kale as well as cutting it into thin strips.  Thank you to Cathie for photographing me.
Grab a stalk of freshly washed and dried kale, holding it by the stem with one hand while placing the pointer or middle finger and thumb of your other hand around the stem just above the leaves.  Pull your fingers along the stem, tearing the leaves off.
 See how easily the leaf pulls away from the stem?
Here is how to cut your kale into thin strips.  You can also use this technique for any sort of lettuce and herbs.  Take the kale leaves and lay them on top of one another and then roll them up tightly.  If you’re using curly kale, it’s easier to just tear it apart into small pieces after you de-stem it, as it’s a bit unruly to roll up and cut into thin slices.  
 Take your knife and slice the kale into thin strips until you get to the end.
Aren’t the kale slices so pretty?
Throw your kale slices into a large bowl.
This recipe calls for the juice of one lemon.  Now, if I was to hand squeeze the juice out of a lemon, I would not get ton’s of juice, but when I use my hand juicer below, I get an ample amount of juice. I would highly recommend picking one of these up hand juicers.  You can literally find them anywhere from your local kitchen supple store to your grocery store.
DSC_0968Now lets move onto the dressing.

Whisk together in a small bowl or glass measuring cup the following:

  • juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic - I always use 3 cloves
  • pinch of  fine sea salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch (or more to taste) of red pepper flakes

Make sure to whisk the ingredients together well.

DSC_0050Pour the dressing over the kale and make sure to massage it well so that all the kale absorbs the dressing.  When I say, “massage” your kale, I literally mean, get your hands in there and massage it.

After your kale is well tossed, add the 2/3 cups of  parmesan cheese and toss again.

Let the kale rest for at least 5 minutes to an hour.  This salad can be made hours ahead of time or even the day before.I think my body and taste buds are both thanking me today, as this salad is uber healthy and uber delish! This is such a simple salad but sometimes it’s the simplest things that turn out the best.
If you’re a fan of kale or just want to try more recipes that include kale, then check out my other kale salad recipes.  I also have a post on how to make a mean green” juice without a juicer.  Here’s a post I wrote on how to keep kale and other greens fresh. Check them out!
lacinato kale salad

Rating: 51

Serving Size: 4

lacinato kale salad

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, de-stemmed and thinly sliced - To see step-by-step instructions on how to de-stem and thinly sliced kale click here.
  • juice of 1 lemon (approximately 3 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced - I always use 3 large cloves
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese - you can use more or less here or omit it all together, it's up to you. I just throw in a handful and call it a day

Instructions

A note about purchasing lacinato kale: Don't purchase lacinato kale that feels tough and paper-like. It will not breakdown and thus will not absorb the dressing even when you massage it. Kale is best when it’s soft and pliable, (feels like regular lettuce) as it absorbs the dressing and is tender when eaten.

Wash, de-stem and thinly slice your kale. To see step-by-step instructions on how to de-stem and thinly sliced kale click here.

Throw your kale slices into a large bowl.

Whisk together in a small bowl or glass measuring cup the following: juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons), 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2-3 cloves minced garlic, pinch of fine sea salt, pinch of freshly ground black pepper, pinch of red pepper flakes.

Make sure to whisk the ingredients together well.

Pour the dressing over the kale and make sure to massage it well so that all the kale absorbs the dressing. When I say, "massage" your kale, I literally mean, get your hands in there and massage it.

After your kale is massaged, add the 2/3 cups of parmesan cheese and toss again.

Let the kale rest for at least 5 minutes to an hour. This salad can be made hours ahead of time or even the day before.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2012/03/lacinato-kale-salad/
Here’s my video tutorial on how to make this salad.  It’s really helpful as it shows you how to de-stem, wash, massage and thinly slice kale.

Brussels sprouts salad

Brussels Sprouts Salad

Brussels Sprouts SaladI know Brussels sprouts are not really “in season” right now.  We are actually at the end of their season, but I was craving a Brussels salad for lunch after devouring one the other night at a local restaurant. Brussels sprouts do taste best in the fall when they are small and green, but you can find still find them in most grocery stores this time of year, at least in the Bay area.  If you’re not a fan of Brussles sprouts or have not tried them, then you might want to wait and try this recipe in the fall when they are at their peak season.  I like veggies so this is a salad for someone who likes veggies, especially Brussels Sprouts.  Now, if you want a nutritious salad, I mean super nutritious salad, that doesn’t taste like veggies, then try my lacinato kale salad.  This salad has converted a few of my friends from kale haters to kale lovers.

So lets move onto the reason that I was craving this salad.  My in-laws were in town last weekend and we went out to dinner at a local pizzeria.  My father-in-law ordered this Brussels salad that was to-die-for.  We all took our forks and dug in as it looked delish.  I loved the salad, and it was fun to try Brussels a new way rather than the roasted version I always make.  I told Mookie, (that’s what we call John’s dad, as Zoe named him that when she was 2 and it just sort of stuck) that I was going to make a Brussels salad this week as a tribute to him since he loves Brussels sprouts.

My salad is a bit different than the restaurant’s version.  Their salad contained eggs, bacon and some other yummy and delectable ingredients.  My salad is a bit healthier (sans the bacon) and is RAW.  Yes, you heard me correctly, this is a RAW salad and you are going to be eating RAW Brussels folks (should you choose to make this).  Honestly, I was a bit intimated to try them raw, but the mustard dressing, walnuts and the cheese took away any bitter taste.  I actually ate the whole bowl in one sitting and thus was stuffed, as Brussels have so much fiber in them that they are really a meal in its self.

Note:  I cut this recipe in half as I was just eating this for lunch and I also changed a few things from the original recipe. If you want the full recipe then you can see it here.
DSC_0071

Brussels sprouts salad:

  • 9-12 Brussels sprouts, washed and dried, woody ends cut off, and sliced into thin slices- I used about 8 or 9
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped up into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey – optional 

Toast up your walnuts.  My favorite way to toast nuts is by using a frying pan.  Some people like to toast them in the oven, but the frying pan seems to work better for me.  Heat a medium sized frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add walnuts to the hot, dry pan and cook, watching constantly and stirring frequently, until walnuts start to brown and smell toasted, about 5 minutes.

DSC_0001Let the walnuts cool and then chop them up into small pieces.

Now onto the Brussels sprouts.  Cut the ends off of your Brussels and then pull off any yucky leaves.  Rinse the Brussels in a bowl of water.  Slice the Brussels into thin slices with a knife (see instructions below for how I did it) or you can use the slicing disc of a food processor or a mandoline.  I did not have the later two, so I just used a knife.

Cut the sprout in half, vertically, cutting right through the core. Place the half face down on the cutting board and cut it crosswise in thin strips.  This is what you’re left with.  Feel free to throw away any of the yellow core.  Put the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, mustard, honey and a pinch of salt and pepper into a small jar, put on the lid and SHAKE IT UP until the vinaigrette has come together.  If you don’t have a little cute jar, then just whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

DSC_0017Now, it’s time to put together the salad.  Put your shredded Brussels into a mixing bowl.

DSC_0015Add the dressing.

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Add in the freshly shredded cheese.

DSC_0030Add in the chopped walnuts.

DSC_0033

DSC_0038Mix everything together well and dig in!

DSC_0045

DSC_0067You could also add 1 teaspoon maple syrup to the dressing as a twist.

I have never eaten Brussels sprouts raw before and I really enjoyed this salad.
I think I will enjoy it even more in the fall when the Brussels are at their peak.

Brussels sprouts salad

Serving Size: serves 1-2

Brussels sprouts salad

Ingredients

  • 9-12 Brussels sprouts, washed and dried, woody ends cut off, and sliced into thin slices- I used about 8 or 9
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped up into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey - optional

Instructions

Toast up your walnuts. My favorite way to toast nuts is by using a frying pan. Some people like to toast them in the oven, but the frying pan seems to work better for me. Heat a medium sized frying pan over medium-high heat. Add walnuts to the hot, dry pan and cook, watching constantly and stirring frequently, until walnuts start to brown and smell toasted, about 5 minutes. Let the walnuts cool and then chop them up into small pieces.

Now onto the Brussels sprouts. Cut the ends off of your Brussels and then pull off any yucky leaves. Rinse the Brussels in a bowl of water. Cut the sprout in half, vertically, cutting right through the core. Place the half face down on the cutting board and cut it crosswise in thin strips. Feel free to throw away any of the yellow core.

Put the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, mustard, honey and a pinch of salt and pepper into a small jar, put on the lid and SHAKE IT UP until the vinaigrette has come together. If you don't have a little cute jar, then just whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

Now, it's time to put together the salad.

Put your shredded Brussels into a mixing bowl.

Add the dressing.

Add in the freshly shredded cheese.

Add in the chopped walnuts.

Mix everything together well and dig in!

You could also add 1 teaspoon maple syrup to the dressing as a twist.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2012/03/brussels-sprouts-salad/

miso-garlic-roasted tofu caesar salad

DSC_0147
Here is another fabulous meatless “mommy” meal for you guys!  This post is actually 3 separate recipes.  You can combine them all to make this savory salad or make each one individually for another dish.  It’s all about flexibility here and we love flexibility when cooking.

If you’re a fan of tofu (or not) you will love the way it’s prepared here.  I’m not a fan of raw tofu, but I loved eating it this way as the tofu got all crisp from roasting it in the oven.  This tofu recipe can be used in so many ways.  It would be perfect in a bowl of quinoa, over a bowl of noodles or brown rice or even thrown into your favorite stir-fry recipe.  I even found myself pulling out a few pieces as a snack throughout the day:)

Not a fan of tofu, keep reading because this dressing is one of my favorite caesar salad dressings.  I have never been a big fan of using anchovies or raw eggs in a dressing, and this dressing does not use either one of those ingredients.  Yaay!  It’s one of the simplest caesar dressing you can make as it calls for just 4 simple ingredients.  I have been making this caesar salad a ton since finding this recipe.  

Don’t have leftover bread for croutons or plain and simple, just don’t want to make you own, no worries, you can pick up so many delicious varieties at your local grocery store.  Just throw them on at the end and enjoy!

This is also a great make ahead meal.  Prepare the tofu earlier in the day (or the day before) then cover and refrigerate.  The breadcrumbs can be made earlier that day or the day before and stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.  Note:  The only part of this recipe that needs to be made fresh is the dressing.  I made it earlier in the day and then stored it in the refrigerator and it did not keep well.   

miso-garlic-roasted tofu:

Recipe from Eating Well, Fast & Flavorful Meatless Meals
serves 4 as a side or 2 as a meal

  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons, miso - see picture and note below
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
This is miso.  You can find it in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.  Miso is a fermented soybean paste that adds flavor to dishes such as soups, sauces and salad dressings.  It is high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals.  It’s available in different colors, white, yellow, red & brown.  If you want a milder flavor then go with yellow or white, if you want a stronger flavor then go with a red or brown miso.  The lighter the color, the milder the flavor.  I chose this yellow chickpea miso as this was my first time trying it and the chickpea version is soy-free. 
Position racks in the upper and lower third of the oven.  Note: Only do this step if you’re making the tofu and breadcrumbs at the same time.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  
Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Pat tofu dry and cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
 Combine lemon juice, miso and garlic in a large bowl.  Add the tofu and gently toss to coat.
 Spread the tofu in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake on the upper oven rack, turning two or three times during baking, until browned, about 18-20 minutes. 
The tofu can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

homemade croutons:

  • 2 slices country-style bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes – I used some leftover ciabatta bread that I had used for panini’s on Monday
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil – or more if you need it
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.  Slice up your bread and then cut it into 1/2 inch cubes.
 
In a large bowl, toss your bread with the olive oil, pepper and salt.
Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
Bake for approximately 12 to 14 minutes (on the lower oven rack, only if your making the tofu at the same time) making sure to turn the bread two to three times during baking, until the croutons are browned and crisp.
The croutons can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.  

miso dressing & salad:

Recipe from Eating Well, Fast & Flavorful Meatless Meals

serves 4-6 or 2 for dinner

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons miso
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 cups torn, bite-size roman lettuce- I also used 4 pieces of dinosaur kale
  • 2 cups torn, bite size radicchio
  • grated parmesan cheese – optional topping for the salad

Whisk oil, lemon juice, miso and garlic in glass measuring cup or small bowl.  
Wash and dry up your lettuce, add the dressing and toss to coat.  
Serve the salad topped with the roasted tofu, croutons and some fresh grated parmesan cheese.  
You can also just serve up this salad, sans the tofu, as the perfect side salad to any meal.

vegan kale salad with cranberries, apples and toasted almonds

kale, cranberry, apple and toasted almond salad with lemon dressing

kale, cranberry, apple and toasted almond salad with lemon dressingOne of my Christmas gifts from John was a vegan cooking class at Cavallo Point in Sausalito.  At first I was like, “Honey, a vegan cooking class?”  I mean I’m no vegan nor plan on being one anytime soon, but I was intrigued as I wanted to learn more about vegan cooking.  The instructor, Miyoko Schinner, is an amazingly vibrant woman.  She only cooks with whole and local ingredients (no processed ingredients here).  She has such great energy and enthusiasm for what she does, that she got the whole class excited to cook vegan.  Check out her website and videos and you will see what I mean.  

One of the recipes that we whipped up was this kale salad.  I knew from the start that I would like it, as I love kale in smoothies and sautéed in dishes, but I had never tried a raw kale salad before.  Let me tell you that I’m converted, and raw kale salads are the way to go! They taste like a normal salad, but they’re better, and so easy to make.

This was by far my favorite recipe of the evening.  The kale absorbed all the flavors of the lemon dressing and it was sweet but not too sweet.  I literally could have eaten a huge plate full.  I had the kids try this the other night and they ate a few bites and liked it. John loved it and has been requesting it for dinner ever since.  If you’re scared of kale or don’t think kale salad is your thing, please just give this a try.  It’s the perfect introduction to kale salads, as the dressing and the massaging of the kale breaks down the bitter taste.  This is a great salad to take to a potluck as it can be made and assembled that morning or hours before an event.  

kale, cranberry, apple and toasted almond salad with lemon dressing

vegan kale salad with cranberries, apples and toasted almonds:

Serves 4-6

  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed, and thinly sliced – I used a mixture of  lacinato kale and curly kale  – Click here to see step-by-step instructions on how to de-stem and thinly slice kale
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 apple sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1.5  juicy lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup, agave or honey – You can use any one of these.  I used maple syrup
  • 1.5 ounces extra firm tofu – approximately 1/4 cup

Below are the ingredients you will need for the dressing.  

ingredients for kale, apple and cranberry salad First toast up the sliced almonds. To toast them, just put some sliced raw almonds in a dry skillet set over medium heat, and swirl them around in the pan for a few minutes until they become golden brown in color. Reserve them to the side.

toasting almondsZest and squeeze up your lemons. Wash, de-stem and thinly slice your kale.  If you’re not sure how to de-stem and slice kale then you can check out my post on how to de-stem and thinly slice kale, or you can watch the beginning part of my lacinato kale salad video for instructions as well.  This video has really helped my readers easily understand how to de-stem kale quickly over the sink.

Measure out your 1.5 ounces of tofu. I would highly recommend getting one of these portion scales or a scale in general.  I use this all the time when a recipes calls for ounces or grams.  If you don’t have this tool, then 1.5 ounces is roughly about 1/4 cup.
 Put your lemon juice, zest, olive oil, maple syrup and tofu in a blender and puree until smooth and creamy.  
blending the tofu, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil
Put your sliced kale into a bowl. 
kale before it's massaged
Pour in 1/2 of the dressing. This next step is a bit strange but very necessary.  Massage the dressing into the kale. Yes, you heard me right, “massage” the dressing into the kale.  You literally want to massage the kale with 2 hands making sure to squeeze the kale as you go along, do this step for about 1-2 minutes.  The volume of the kale should reduce by about 1/3 and the kale will wilt and have a cooked texture.  Keep adding the dressing to taste as you massage it.  
See how much the kale reduced down after it was massaged?
Taste the salad and if you want to add more dressing, then add a bit more.  This part is to taste.  The dressing makes enough for a double batch of this salad, so if you have extra dressing, then you can store it in a sealed container for up to a week.  Just make sure to stir or shake it before you use it next.
massaged kale
Add in your cranberries and let the salad sit for at least an hour to soften.  This salad can be made hours ahead of time (even in the morning).  The longer the kale sits, the softer the kale will become.  Note: If you are going to let this sit for more than an hour, then you will want to put it in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.  
When you are ready to serve your salad mix in your toasted nuts and diced apple.
kale, cranberry, apple and toasted almond salad with lemon dressing
This salad is filled with raw green goodness and packed with flavor.  I hope this becomes a popular go-to salad in your house and turns those kale haters into kale lovers.

Do you like Kale?  
What is your favorite Kale recipe?