The Perfect Kale + Brussels Sprout Salad (gf)

So… I’m a huge fan of this healthy restaurant we have here in Phoenix called Flower Child. I LOVE the concept of this restaurant because it allows even the busiest of people to have a  healthy meal. I wouldn’t call this a fast-food restaurant because I feel like that gives off the sense that there is unhealthy, crappy, unsustainable food involved… but you can order your meal and have it sitting in front of you in under 10 minutes. Another added bonus? They use fresh, local produce in all of their dishes!

Unfortunately, if you don’t live in Arizona, California or Texas… you won’t be able to bask in the glory that is Flower Child. However, I recently took a stab at recreating one of my favorite salads from there dubbed The Organic Kale. It’s simple. It’s colorful. It’s delicious. It’s filling. It’s literally amazing. So if you’d like to chow down on this at home, try out this recipe. I added some crumbled bleu cheese on top, but you can easily make this vegan by omitting it. 🙂

The Perfect Kale + Brussels Sprout Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette (gf)
makes 4 dinner-sized salads or 8 side salads

the ingredients:
for the dressing:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard (I use this simply for texture)
1 shallot bulb, finely diced
salt & pepper to taste

for the salad:
1 pound brussels sprouts, shredded*
1 bunch dinosaur kale, de-stemmed and shredded*
1/2 head of red cabbage, shredded*
1 apple, cored and diced (I used Pink Lady apples)
3/4 cup dried cranberries/cherries
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
crumbled bleu cheese to top, optional
salt & pepper to taste

*For convenience, you can also purchase the “Cruciferous Crunch” salad mix at Trader Joe’s!

the method:
make the dressing: throw the vinegar, oil, maple syrup, dijon, salt and pepper together in a mason jar along with the chopped shallot. Give it a shake to mix all of the ingredients together. I like to make this dressing the night before I use it to give the ingredients a chance to meld. However, you can use this dressing as soon as 10 minutes after making it.

make the salad: Shred the brussels sprouts, kale and red cabbage. Add dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds, diced apple, bleu cheese (if using), and dressing. Toss to combine. You can eat this immediately, or you can make it ahead of time. If you store this salad in an air-tight container in the fridge, it will last for 1 day.

Happy eating, y’all!

 

 

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Meatless Monday: Farmer’s Market Fried Rice (GF)

farmerFarmer’s Market Fried Rice (GF)

ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil, divided
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 cup 1/4-inch diced, peeled and cored parsnips
  • 4 medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 cups cold cooked brown rice
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

 the method:

  1. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 2 teaspoons oil, coating the bottom completely. Add beaten eggs and cook, tilting to cover the surface as thinly as possible to make an egg pancake. When the pancake is just set, 30 seconds to 1 minute, flip using a metal spatula and allow it to set for about 5 seconds. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into bite-size pieces.
  2. Swirl 1 tablespoon oil into the wok, add garlic and shallots and stir-fry, using a metal spatula, until fragrant, 10 seconds. Add parsnips and Brussels sprouts, reduce the heat to medium-high and stir-fry until the vegetables are nearly cooked through, about 2 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add rice, tomatoes and soy sauce and stir-fry, breaking up the rice, until heated through, 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro, salt and pepper; add the egg pieces and toss to combine.

Kitchen Sink Fried Rice (GF)

fried rice1I had a TON of veggies in the fridge that needed to be used up – and I was craving a rice dish. Cutting out pasta seemed like a nightmare to me, but the fact that I can still eat most of things I’m addicted to (rice, quinoa, etc.) made this diet change seem a little less daunting. Not to mention that I found affordable gluten-free pasta at market down the street ; I’m going to try this tonight, hopefully it’s not too much of a difference than the real stuff.

Back to our meal last night, I had brussels sprouts, carrots, tomatoes and cilantro – so I decided to make a dish similar to the Farmer’s Market Fried Rice that I wrote about in previous post. I should also mention that since I’m gluten intolerant – I can’t have regular soy sauce anymore. Luckily for me and gluten-free readers, Kikkoman has come out with a gluten-free soy sauce that is delicious!

This was the bulk of my dish last night – I made Nick Chicken Satay to pair with his rice. fried rice2

Kitchen Sink Fried Rice

  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil, divided
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1 cup 1/4-inch diced, peeled carrots
  • 4 medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 cups cold cooked brown rice
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  1. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 2 teaspoons oil, coating the bottom completely. Add beaten eggs and cook, tilting to cover the surface as thinly as possible to make an egg pancake. When the pancake is just set, 30 seconds to 1 minute, flip using a metal spatula and allow it to set for about 5 seconds. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into bite-size pieces.
  2. Swirl 1 tablespoon oil into the wok, add garlic and shallots and stir-fry, using a metal spatula, until fragrant, 10 seconds. Add carrots and Brussels sprouts, reduce the heat to medium-high and stir-fry until the vegetables are nearly cooked through, about 2 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add rice, tomatoes and soy sauce and stir-fry, breaking up the rice, until heated through, 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro, salt and pepper; add the egg pieces and toss to combine.

Mongolian Tofu and Mushrooms

Excuse me for my absence… got a lot going on in FBV land :). I didn’t really do much cooking over the weekend – Nick was busy working and I got a glorious weekend all to myself. I literally got nothing done – NOTHING. But some weekends are made for doing nothing, right?? In the spirit of not lifting a finger at all this weekend, I decided to order in on Friday AND Saturday… I never do that!

Any who, I was feeling a bit inspired yesterday – not too inspired since this dish only took about 20 minutes to make haha. I was inspired by my favorite dish at Pei Wei (judge me if you want, but some of their dishes are irresistible) known as Mongolian Tofu. My version didn’t turn out exactly like you get in the restaurant, but was still yummy. With Nick’s we just pan-fried some chicken in place of the the tofu… and mushrooms – Nick hates mushrooms.

We served our proteins over a bed of Farmer’s Market Fried Rice – you know, just like that recipe I made a couple of weeks ago… except I added some broccoli and carrots to this one. 🙂

Happy Monday everyone!

Mongolian Tofu and Mushrooms:

The Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons chili sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large green onions, sliced on the diagonal into one-inch lengths
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • 1/2 cup sliced button mushrooms

 

The Method:

  1. Make the sauce by heating 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over med/low heat.
  2. Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches.
  3. Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  4. Remove it from the heat and dip the tofu pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides..
  5. Let the tofu sit for about 2 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.
  6. Heat up one cup of oil in a wok (you may also use a skillet for this step as long as the beef will be mostly covered with oil) over medium heat and add tofu and mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the sauce, cook for one minute while stirring, then add all the green onions.
  8. Cook for one more minute, then remove the tofu, mushrooms and onions with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate. Serve over rice.

 

Farmer’s Market Fried Rice

 

Last night, I was a lone-diner. No complaints over here though – while Nick was having a love affair with his last Groupon steak, I was whipping up a unique version of fried rice. I stumbled upon this low-cal veggie packed phenomenon while looking for Farmer’s Market recipes. It only has 397 calories per serving! The amount you see on that plate was the perfect amount for dinner last night.

Originally posted by Eating Well, I decided to not mess with the recipe at all. And since my new job has a Whole Foods located right across the street, it was really easy to find all the ingredients it called for.  The thing I like best about Whole Foods is that it’s sort of set up like an outdoor Farmer’s Market in the produce section. Meaning, you can pick up the exact amount of produce that a single recipe calls for. For instance, this recipe called for only four Brussels sprouts, so I wasn’t forced to buy an entire bag sprouts that would eventually spoil. This may not be the same for all grocery stores in the US, but in AZ, it’s really hard to certain veggies, such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, green beans, etc. unbagged.

I had wanted to make this recipe for a while and I’m sad that Nick didn’t get to try it because it’s probably one of my favorite dishes that I have made. Ever.

For those of you with omnivorous significant others and family members, this dish could easily be paired with any type of meat. Steak, chicken, pork, even shrimp. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil, divided
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 cup 1/4-inch diced, peeled and cored parsnips
  • 4 medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 cups cold cooked brown rice
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

 The Method:

  1. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 2 teaspoons oil, coating the bottom completely. Add beaten eggs and cook, tilting to cover the surface as thinly as possible to make an egg pancake. When the pancake is just set, 30 seconds to 1 minute, flip using a metal spatula and allow it to set for about 5 seconds. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into bite-size pieces.
  2. Swirl 1 tablespoon oil into the wok, add garlic and shallots and stir-fry, using a metal spatula, until fragrant, 10 seconds. Add parsnips and Brussels sprouts, reduce the heat to medium-high and stir-fry until the vegetables are nearly cooked through, about 2 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add rice, tomatoes and soy sauce and stir-fry, breaking up the rice, until heated through, 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro, salt and pepper; add the egg pieces and toss to combine.

Quinoa “Mac n’ Cheese”

image

I LOVE quinoa. Nick hates it. Well – hate is a strong word, so let’s just say it’s not his “favorite.” My cooking mantra is: If it doesn’t taste good, put cheese on it.  Most of the time, this mantra works… especially in this case. If you love mac n’ cheese but want to make it a little healthier by adding protein and cutting carbs, then this recipe is for you. I paired it with some savory grilled tofu (Nick made chicken with the same marinade) and my Crispy Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts. TDF.

Quinoa “Mac n’ Cheese” Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • good pinch of salt
  • a few grinds of seasoning salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup soy milk or non-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, more for sprinkling
  • 4 oz smoked mozzarella, cubed
  • Optional- Crushed Red Pepper, Panko Bread crumbs for topping
  • Toppings (optional)- salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, scallions

The Method:

  1. Lightly saute garlic and shallot over medium heat.
  2. Cook quinoa to packaged instructions until fully cooked. (About 15 minutes)
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 13×9 inch dish( or 8 individual ramekins) with cooking spray.Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese. Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt. Transfer to prepared baking dish and if using Panko Crumbs or Bread crumbs add now and bake 30-35 mins, until bread crumbs are browned.

Grilled Tofu Ingredients:

  • Extra-firm tofu, sliced 3/4 inch thick
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil

The Method:

  1. Remove tofu from package and drain. Meanwhile, mix all the other ingredients together in a shallow bowl.
  2. After the tofu is done draining, slice into 3/4 inch thick strips.
  3. Place slices in the marinade and allow to site for at least 10 minutes.
  4. While the tofu is marinading, heat an indoor grill pan (or outdoor grill) to medium heat.
  5. Grill tofu for 3 minutes on each side.

ENJOY!

Crispy Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I realize that eating a bowl of these tiny cabbages isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. I happen to LOVE brussels sprouts – in fact, I’d say they are my favorite vegetable. This recipe is super simple, delicious and the perfect side dish to any meal. Recipe follows:

Crispy Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

  • 2 pounds Brussels Sprouts, Bottoms Trimmed
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil (I used Truffle Oil)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¾ teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 2 whole Lemons
  • Parmesan Cheese for sprinkling
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut off the bottom ends of the Brussels sprouts and discard. Cut the remaining part in half and place into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and give it a good mix. Spread this mixture onto a baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet into the oven and roast for 40 minutes. Remove the baking sheet every 15 minutes while roasting and give the Brussels sprouts a good toss to make sure they are evenly roasting and browning. 10 minutes before they are done, squeeze an entire lemon on top of the vegetables and then cut the remaining lemon up and throw it onto the baking sheet and place back into the oven to finish roasted.

Once the edges are crisp and brown, remove the baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle with cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve immediately.