Marinated Beet Salad w/ Almond and Sesame Seed Crumble

marinated beets, marinated beet salad

While we often associate beets with warming, hearty winter recipes, this root veggie is also delicious in the spring and summer.  In fact, beets prepared in a flavourful marinade served over salad greens is one of the tastiest ways to eat them.  This recipe is uplifting and refreshing with zesty lemon juice and a subtle bite from fresh garlic.

Beets are rich in the phytonutrients called betalains (gives them their beautiful color), which have been studied for their antioxidant properties as well as for their role in supporting the liver's ability to detox toxins from the body. 

If you eat dairy, you could add some goat or sheep cheese crumbled over top of this salad.  You could also add in some other vegetables, such as cucumber and radishes, if you want more variety.  But, the crunch of the toasted sesame seeds and almonds pairs perfectly with the tender beets.

marinated beets, marinated beet salad

Marinated Beet Salad w/ Almond and Sesame Seed Crumble

2 large beets, peeled
1 bunch of red leaf lettuce (or other type of lettuce that you like)

Marinade:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 of a small garlic clove, minced
sea salt and pepper

Almond and Sesame Seed Crumble:
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
3 Tbsp sliced almonds

marinated beets, marinated beet salad

Directions:
1. Peel the beets and cut into small wedges.
2. Place the beets in a small pot with around 1/4 cup of water (enough water to cover the bottom of the pot and some of the beets, but they don't need to be completely covered).
3. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes, or until the beets are tender.
4. Run the beets under cold water to cool them down.
5. Then toss the beets together with the marinade in a bowl.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste>
6. While the beets are cooking- rinse off the lettuce well and  make sure to dry.  Pull the leaves apart carefully, leaving them whole (remove any wilted or dirty parts).
7. Place the leaves out on a serving platter and serve some beets into the center of each leaf.
8. Place the sliced almonds and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast lightly at 350 in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until just light golden (be careful not to burn).
9. Once toasted, pulse the almonds and sesame seeds in the food processor into a crumble.
10. Sprinkle the crumble over top of the beets right before serving.

 

 

Creamy Cauliflower and Celeriac Soup

cauliflower soup, cauliflower celeriac soup, vegan cauliflower soup

This creamy cauliflower and celeriac soup was our farewell to winter for another year. As it warms up outside, we feel less inclined to eat soups and gradually transition to plenty of cool, hearty spring salads. Anything to avoid turning on the stove when it’s warm out!

In lieu of using a traditional mirepoix that consists of onion, celery, and carrots, we added celery’s sibling celeriac to the mix (also known as celery root). While celeriac is not so pleasant on the eyes, once you peel away the twisted, dirty outer layers it reveals a smooth white flesh that packs an earthy, subtle celery flavour.

Celeriac is great to eat raw in salads, as a puree that’s a wonderful alternative to mashed potatoes, or in soup recipes as we’ve done here. This soup is great for a chilly evening, or you can turn it into a delicious cold soup by adding in a few pears or apples to the mix.

 

Creamy Cauliflower and Celeriac Soup

Ingredients:
2 to 3 tsp Lee’s Za'atar Star ghee (or use any type of ghee or regular olive oil)
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
sea salt, to taste
1 head celeriac, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
½ cup coconut milk

Directions:

  1. In a pot over medium-low heat, melt the ghee. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, sauteeing until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add in the garlic and thyme, cooking until fragrant.

  2. Add in the celeriac and cauliflower, sauteeing for 7-8 minutes until softened.

  3. Add in vegetable broth and coconut milk, adjusting if needed.

  4. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cooking until vegetables are completely soft.

  5. Puree the soup using either an immersion blender or carefully transfer to a stand blender.

  6. Top with a sprinkle of fresh thyme.

Building A Better Snack Board

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

snack board, charcuterie board, vegan, vegetarian, vegetarian snack board, vegan snack board, snack plate, snacks, snack platter

Today we’re giving you tips on building an impressive health-forward snack board that is packed with flavour and will please all of the palates at your dinner table. The board we’ve created features an assortment of gluten free crackers, vegetables and fruits and four recipes: earthy beet hummus, thyme and roasted garlic cashew cheese, radish green hemp pesto, and maple citrus candied nuts.

Our recipes would be at home on any snack board, or are great as a stand alone option. Feel free to use them on your board, or keep these three tips in mind to build your own version. View the snack board as a canvas on which you can flex your creative muscles.

Choose a Variety of Options:

Variety is the spice of life, or so the old saying goes, and it is essential when assembling a snack board. Choose not only a variety of items to place on your board - fresh produce, cheeses (or non-dairy options), meats, crackers, nuts, seeds, and spreads - but a variety of textures and flavours as well. Appeal to the 5 tastes by featuring a combination of savoury, salty, sweet, bitter, and sour items. You can add the crunch of raw vegetable crudités while featuring soft pickled ones, or a bevy of fresh fruits with a tangy fruit chutney.

Choose a Theme:

Build your board around items for a holiday, event, season, or a regional cuisine. Is it spring time? Load up your snack board with in-season items like fresh radishes, radish green pesto, and shaved asparagus. Is it summer? Break out the grill and feature loads of grilled in-season veggies like corn and bell peppers. Do you love Mediterranean food? Try beet hummus, marinated artichoke hearts, or harissa roasted chickpeas.

Choose Colour:

When in doubt loading up your board with an assortment of brightly coloured fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits is sure to appeal to our tendency toward eating with the eyes. They are not only packed with flavour, but fibre and phytochemicals that are beneficial for disease prevention. It’s a win-win situation.

Better Snack Board Recipes:

radish green pesto, hemp pesto, vegan pesto, radish greens, radish pesto, root to stem

Beet Hummus:

Beet hummus is a nice break from traditional hummus and lends a rich, earthy taste and a pop of colour to your board. We even experimented and used a bit of smoked tahini from Parallel Brothers in our hummus (local for you Toronto folks).

Ingredients:
1 medium cooked beet
3 cloves roasted garlic
1 15 oz can chickpeas
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra to garnish
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp tahini
1 tsp cumin
sea salt, to taste
¼ cup ice water, as needed to thin

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients except the ice water in a high-speed blender or food processor, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula if needed. While still running, drizzle in ice water until the hummus has a smooth, creamy consistency.
2. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped herbs.

Radish Green Hemp Pesto:

If you buy radishes with the greens still attached, this hemp pesto is an incredible way to utilize them and avoid the compost bin. Yes, radish greens are edible! They tend to be incredibly sandy, so make sure to rinse thoroughly to clean off any grit.

Ingredients:
1 bunch radish leaves, thoroughly washed and dried
2 cloves roasted garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup hemp seeds
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
½ lemon, juiced
sea salt, to taste

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a small food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula if needed.

Tip: If desired, you can add a ½ cup of basil to this recipe to get more of a traditional pesto taste.

Roasted Garlic and Thyme Cashew Cheese:

This is an excellent option to add to your board if you’re vegan or have lactose intolerance and are looking for something to fill the void of a traditional cheese. It is creamy, bright ,and herbaceous. The thyme can be swapped for other herbs if you’re looking for a different flavour profile for your board. Dill, chives, basil, or tarragon are all fantastic choices.

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ lemon, juiced
1 tsp lemon zest
3 cloves roasted garlic
3 tsp fresh thyme, divided
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
water, as needed to thin

Directions:
1. Soak cashews overnight in warm water, draining and rinsing thoroughly. If you’re in a time crunch, you can soak in hot water for an hour.
2. Combine soaked cashews and remaining ingredients in a food processor until completely smooth and spreadable, scraping as necessary with a spatula.
3. Using wet hands, you can optionally roll your cheese into a log or ball, placing on a small piece of parchment or wax paper. Otherwise, place in a bowl.
4. Sprinkle with remaining thyme and cracked black pepper.

Maple Citrus Candied Nuts

These crunchy clusters are the perfect balance of sweet with a bright hint of orange. Feel free to use pecans in this recipe or substitute for walnuts, almonds, or pistachios.

Ingredients:
½ cup pecans
1 tsp coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp orange zest
pinch of salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat combine coconut oil, maple syrup, and orange zest. Add in pecans (or nuts of choice) and stir to coat.
3. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes, checking on and stirring them periodically.
4. Allow to cool and serve.

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If you’re racking your brain for something to make for a dinner party or a potluck, this snack board is sure to be a show stopper!

These four recipes are some of the things that we like to include, but we’d love to hear what your must-have snack board items are. Give us a shout in our comments section, or on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages. 

Cauliflower Power Sushi Rolls

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

sushi, paleo sushi, cauliflower sushi, vegetarian, vegan, vegetarian sushi

Have you ever had a plate full of sushi and feel ravenously hungry a few hours later? We love sushi, but are always looking for a way to make it more nutritious. Most rolls contain deep fried tempura and starchy white rice – not the best choices to make for blood sugar balance or disease prevention.

We were inspired to create these vibrant sushi rolls packed with cauliflower rice, raw veggies, and a drizzle of tangy tahini lime sauce. Cauliflower is a fibre-packed cruciferous vegetable that is a powerhouse for disease prevention. It’s not only delicious, but is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, which can protect your cells from free radicals and inflammation.  It also contains the phytochemical glucosinolate, which has been studied for its role in cancer prevention. A study completed by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed significantly lower lung cancer risk in women who consumed cruciferous vegetables (Feskanich, D., 2000). 

These are easy to customize with your favourite fillings and are a great option for those following a grain-free diet. Make this a full meal by serving with a heap of leafy greens dressed with our Carrot Miso Ginger Dressing.

sushi, cauliflower sushi, paleo, paleo sushi, vegan sushi, cauliflower rice, grain free

 

Cauliflower Power Sushi Rolls:

Sushi Rolls:
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets and riced in a food processor
2 tsp coconut oil
¼ cup water
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp sesame oil
Salt, to taste
1 medium beet, peeled and grated
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 English cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
3 green onions, sliced
6 sheets nori
Toasted black sesame seeds (optional)

Tahini Lime Ginger Sauce:
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp tamari
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tsp fresh ginger
½ tsp maple syrup
¼ tsp sesame oil
Water, as needed to thin

Directions:

  1. Add chopped cauliflower florets to a food processor (see tip). Pulse until it resembles a coarse meal.
  2. Melt 2 tsp of coconut oil in a pot over medium heat. Add riced cauliflower and sauté for 1 minute. Add water and cover pot with a lid, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes until completely cooked. This will allow the cauliflower to steam and become tender.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool enough to handle (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile, prepare remaining vegetables for sushi roll.
  4. Combine all ingredients for dipping sauce in a small bowl, adding water 1 tsp at a time to create a thinner texture if desired.
  5. Using a clean tea towel or a cheese cloth, drain out excess liquid from the cauliflower rice. Mix in rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and salt into the cooled rice.
  6. Lay a bamboo sushi mat flat on your counter or cutting board. Place the nori with the shiny side down on top of the mat. Spoon about 1/3 cup of rice onto the nori, spreading out evenly and leaving the bottom third of the sheet (farthest from you) bare.
  7. Place rows of your veggies in the middle of the rice. Carefully roll the top of the nori over the veggies with firm pressure. Continue to roll away from you, dabbing the farthest edge of nori with water to seal it up.
  8.  Using a sharp knife, slice each roll into 6-8 pieces. Serve with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and a drizzle of tahini lime ginger sauce if desired.
sushi, sushi roll, cauliflower sushi, paleo, paleo sushi, vegetarian, vegetarian sushi, cauliflower rice

Tips:

  1. If you do not have a food processor, feel free to use a grater to grate the cauliflower into small pieces. You can also finely chop using a knife. Prepare as usual.
  2. You can roll on top of a clean tea towel, or just use your hands if you don’t have a sushi mat on hand.

References:

Feskanich, D., Ziegler, R. G., Michaud, D. S., Giovannucci, E. L., Speizer, F. E., Willett, W. C., & Colditz, G. A. (2000). Prospective Study of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Lung Cancer Among Men and Women. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, (22).

Higdon, J. V., Delage, B., Williams, D. E., & Dashwood, R. H. (2007). Cruciferous Vegetables and Human Cancer Risk: Epidemiologic Evidence and Mechanistic Basis. Pharmacological Research : The Official Journal of the Italian Pharmacological Society, 55(3), 224–236. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2007.01.009

Chopped Mediterranean Salad

Chopped Mediterranean Salad recipe

Spring is on the way (we hope)!  This chopped salad is bright, light and full of fresh flavours that are invigorating for this time of year.  We came up with this recipe to serve with our Eggplant Meatball recipe, served together makes a delicious Mediterranean style meal.   This recipe is free of nightshade vegetables, since many of our clients limit or avoid these in their diet to reduce inflammation.  But, if that's not an issue for you, feel free to switch up the recipe and add in roasted red peppers, tomatoes or even roasted eggplant.  If you're keeping your sugar intake low, then this vinaigrette is perfect!  It's so tasty just the way it is.

Chopped Mediterranean Salad

1 bunch of romaine, rinsed off and dried well, chopped (or you can use 1 box of romaine hearts)
1 English cucumber, chopped in cubes

3 carrots, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp garlic powder
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper

3 beets, peeled
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
sea salt and pepper

1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olive, sliced (pits removed)

Vinaigrette:
1 lemon, juiced (about ¼ cup)
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ a small garlic, minced
½ tsp dried oregano
Sea salt and pepper

Chopped Mediterranean Salad recipe

Directions:

1. Peel the beets and slice into small cubes.
2. Rinse off the carrots well.  If they are organic, we like to leave the skins on (but you can peel them if you prefer).  Slice the carrots into approximately 1/2 inch pieces.
3. Place the beets in a small pot and add about 1/4 cup of water.  Steam for around 10 minutes, until the beets are tender.  Then submerge in cold water to cool down.
4. Spread the carrots out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toss with sumac, garlic powder, sea salt, pepper and olive oil.  Roast at 375 for 25-30 minutes, until cooked.
5. Meanwhile, rinse and dry the romaine well.  Chop the romaine and the cucumber.
6. Chop the cilantro and parsley.
7. Make the vinaigrette.
8. Once the beets are cool, season with apple cider vinegar, sea salt and pepper.
9. Let the carrots cool down a bit once taking them out of the oven.
10. Toss together all of the veggies with the vinaigrette.

Eggplant "Meatballs" w/ Hemp Pesto and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

vegan eggplant meatballs

We are always looking for and developing new, creative, dairy-free recipes that we can prepare for our private chef clients.  While not everyone that we work with is vegetarian, most of our clients are dairy free and enjoy plant based meals, with veggies being the main affair.  Even if you are an omnivore and eat animal based protein, we recommend enjoying a meat-free meal every once in a while to give your digestive system a break from breaking down heavier foods.  This recipe is inspired by and based on the original recipe by The First Mess.  We've made a bunch of changes, the main ones beings that our version is grain free and contains more almond flour, increasing the protein content.  You'll also find our hempseed based pesto recipe here, instead of using pinenuts.  If you want to make a complete meal, serve with a large, vibrant salad.

Vegan Eggplant "Meatballs" with Hemp Pesto and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Meatballs:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small eggplant, diced in small pieces (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
2/3 cup blanched almond meal flour
1 tsp za’atar
1 tsp sumac
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tsp lemon zest
sea salt + pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes

Dairy-Free Pesto:
1 cup of loosely packed basil, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, chopped roughly
2 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp hempseeds
sea salt and pepper

eggplant meatballs, vegan

 

Directions:

1. First chop the eggplant and saute in a pan with olive oil, until starting to get golden on the edges and soft.

2. In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas, almond meal, za’atar, garlic, parsley, lemon zest so everything is chopped up. Then add the sautéed eggplant to the food processor and pulse to integrate together (don’t blend completely, should have some pieces of eggplant still).

3. Form mixture into small balls (about 1 Tbsp each).  It will make around 15 balls.

4. Place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

5. Spread the cherry tomatoes out on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Toss with a dash of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven at the same time as the meatballs, until they are cooked inside and starting to pucker on the outside.

6. While everything is baking, make the pesto by pulsing all ingredients together in the food processor.

7. Serve the eggplant meatballs with roasted cherry tomatoes and drizzle the pesto over top.

eggplant meatballs vegan