Recipe: Easy Black-Eyed Pea Salad

I hear from clients and would-be clients, "I don't have time to plan or prep meals." I counter that with this simple, flavorful salad that uses simple pantry ingredients, is loaded with flavor AND nutrition, lasts for days in the fridge, and actually becomes more delicious as flavors meld:

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Whisk together the dressing in a small bowl (or shake them together in a jar), then pour over the rest of the ingredients in a serving bowl. Refrigerate a couple hours or longer.

  • 1 x 14-oz can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, washed and cut into about a half-inch dice
  • 1 bell pepper of any color, cut into about a half-inch dice
  • 1 bunch of scallions, green and white parts chopped 
  • Dressing:
    • About a couple Tablespoons of rice vinegar (not seasoned)
    • About a Tablespoon of dijon mustard
    • OPTIONAL:
      • A teaspoon of honey for palates that love sweet
      • A teaspoon of organic olive oil for oomph
  • Salt + pepper to taste

Makes about 4 servings.

 

Meatless Monday! Meat, Potatoes and a Vegetable

Venturing into Meatless Monday territory can be intimidating when you’re comfortable with meat, a starch and a veg for dinner. Well, today’s Meatless Monday is a very simple dish: You’ve got a meaty protein, a baked potato (yes! There is room for a white baked potato in a healthy diet!), and a green vegetable plus a rich, creamy sauce.


Hold on, you may be thinking. That ain’t chicken or steak! The protein on this dish is tempeh. If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying tempeh before, it’s a tasty, chewy, meaty soy product. It’s high in protein and fiber and less processed than its cousin tofu. Because it’s fermented, it’s also much more digestible than tofu.

But wait, is that hollandaise sauce on that asparagus? And is that a big wad of butter melting on that potato? Nope. You’re looking at a creamy and healthy sauce made from just two ingredients. Here are the details to make two servings of this simple dish—just multiply to make more:

• 2 baking potatoes, each about the size of your computer mouse. Feel free to sub a sweet potato or yam of the same size
• 1 bunch of fresh asparagus spears, rinsed and woody ends snapped off
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• Sea salt and pepper
• Garlic powder 
• 1 package of organic tempeh (I prefer Lightlife Flax Tempeh), sliced in triangles or squares (note that the outside of the tempeh is not very absorbent, but the inside of the tempeh is)
• Tempeh marinade
  o ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  o ¼ cup tamari (or wheat free soy sauce)
  o 1 Tbsp 100% pure maple syrup
  o 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• Simple Tahini Miso sauce
  o 1 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
  o 1 Tbsp mellow white miso paste
  o 1 Tbsp very hot water

• Marinate your tempeh at least one hour but up to a full day ahead: Mix the marinade in an 8x8(ish) pan and lay the slices of tempeh in it to marinate. Give it a stir or shake every once in a while to coat the pieces well
• Scrub potatoes, stabbing them with a fork a few times, and toss them into a 400 degree oven for 1 hour
• Lay your asparagus on a parchment lined cookie sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. In the last half hour of the potatoes’ cooking, 
• When the potatoes are within a half hour of being done, pop the tempeh in the oven as well to cook on a bottom rack, and put the asparagus sheet pan on the top rack with the potatoes. The tempeh will take between 20-25 minutes to finish (the product is already cooked, so no need to worry about “doneness”). Most of the marinade will be cooked off. The asparagus will take about the same time, depending on their thickness
• Make the sauce for the vegetables: While everything finishes in the oven, add the tahini, miso and hot water to a small bowl and stir well to combine. That’s it for the sauce!

It really is an easy dish to get on the table. Let me know if you give any or all of these components a try for your Meatless Monday!

Meatless Monday! Carrot Coriander Soup

Seasoning becomes extraordinarily important when you’re not dousing your food in oil, butter, salt or sweet sweet sugar. It’s amazing how a small amount of fresh basil or ground coriander can radically transform a meal from “meh” into “wow!” But as important as seasoning is, for the sake of my wallet and my increasingly crowded spice cupboard, sometimes I don’t want to buy a whole jar of, let’s say…dried marjoram for one recipe. Did you know that you can buy spices in bulk in the amounts that you need them from MOM’s Organic Market? Certainly makes it more affordable to try out new recipes and to learn about new spices and herbs!

 

All that to introduce this week’s Meatless Monday recipe and to ease your concerns: You don’t have to buy the whole $4.99 jar of marjoram or coriander to try this recipe if you don’t have those spices in your kitchen! Pick up what you need at MOM’s or another grocer with bulk spices, and enjoy…

 

Carrot Coriander Soup

Ingredients:
2 medium sized onions, chopped
3 Tbsp ground coriander
6 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
2 Tbsp marjoram
4 large carrots, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, chopped (you can peel off or include the skin. The skin gives extra nutritional oomph but your soup’s texture will be slightly less silky unless you have a very fancy blender)
8 cups vegetable stock (or a mix of stock and water)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp sea salt (or more or less depending on the saltiness of your stock and your taste)
Optional: Pinch of cayenne pepper
Raw Pumpkin Seeds

Directions:
• Cook the onions over medium heat, adding about a tablespoon of water to keep the onions from sticking and repeating as needed for 10-12 minutes, or until onions are golden
• Add the coriander, garlic and marjoram to the onions and cook for 1 minute
• Add the carrots and sweet potato and cook for 1 minute, covering them with the onion and spice mixture
• Add the stock and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, or until carrots are soft
• Puree using a hand blender or your super fancy blender
• Season with cilantro, salt and cayenne pepper, if you’re using it, and garnish with pumpkin seeds


Meatless Monday! Sweet and Sour Roasted Cauliflower

If you've been keeping up with me, you know that quick weeknight meals are a staple in our house. I took some inspiration from the Moosewood Low-Fat Cookbook and created this Italian-inspired dish using mostly pantry staples and a fresh head of cauliflower. When I first read the original recipe and saw that it called for raisins, I was hesitant.

Let me be very clear: I'm not a raisin person.

However. the raisins in this dish soak up the tomato sauce and create little bursts of sweetness. You can omit them, but I'd encourage you to give them a try: 


Sweet and Sour Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets

1 onion, chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

1/3 cup golden raisins (can be omitted)

1 x 28-oz can (BPA free) or carton of diced tomatoes with their juices

1/4 cup of rice vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Sea salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 380F. Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and salt on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Roast the cauliflower for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally for more even browning.
  • While the cauliflower roasts, cook the onion and garlic 7-8 minutes over med-high heat, adding just enough water to keep it from burning.
  • Add the tomatoes and their juices along with the vinegar and raisins. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • When the cauliflower is tender and cooked through, remove it from the oven and add it to the sauce along with the drained can of beans. Cook till warmed through, about another 5 minutes.

I served this over polenta, but you could serve it over brown rice or whole wheat couscous. I used a pre-cooked tube of polenta, sliced it into ¼ inch-thick rounds and sprinkled on some dried basil and sea salt. I baked the polenta along with the cauliflower.


Serves 4-6


Meatless Monday! Springy Dill Sauce with Vegetables

If you're a farmers' market shopper like me, you may find this time of year challenging: Going to the market is a fun outing, but there's just not a whole lot out yet in terms of fresh food, especially after the wicked winter we've had. Yesterday I visited the Baltimore Farmers' Market under the JFX with the sole intention of finding something...ANYTHING...that tastes like spring. There is no shortage of herbs, which led me to one of my favorite spring flavors: Dill. 

If you've never cooked with fresh dill before, I hope you'll give this a try. It has a wonderful herby, springy-ness about it, and the tahini in the sauce (a paste made from sesame seeds) lends a wonderful richness. You can use any vegetables you like, but the asparagus and baby potatoes I included are also perfect for spring.

 

Spring Vegetables with Dill Sauce

For the Dill Sauce (from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz):

1/2 cup of tahini

1/2 cup water

1 clove garlic, chopped coarsely

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 cup of dill, lightly packed

 

Process all of the ingredients except the dill in a blender or Magic Bullet. Once the mixture is creamy and even, add the dill and pulse till the dill is shredded to small green flecks. (Note that the sauce will keep in the fridge for a few days, but it will thicken when it’s cold. Reheat gently to serve.)


For the Vegetables:

One bunch of asparagus, woody ends snapped off and stalks cut into 1-inch pieces

About 1 pound of fingerling white or yellow potatoes, quarters or chopped into bite-size pieces

About 1 pound of yams, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic, minced OR 2 tsp garlic powder

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, then patted dry with a clean dish towel

Sea salt and pepper


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line two sheet pans with parchment. On one pan toss the potatoes and yams with half of the olive oil and half of the garlic. On the other pan, do the same with asparagus and chickpeas. Place both pans in the oven. 15 minutes in, toss the ingredients on each pan and switch racks if you used top and bottom racks to accommodate the two pans. Give the asparagus another 5-10 minutes to cook (for total cooking time of 20-25 minutes). The potatoes will need around 35-40 minutes to cook, depending on the size of the pieces.


To serve, lay a bed of potatoes in each plate or bowl, top with the asparagus and chickpeas, then drizzle the sauce over liberally. 

Weeknight Meal: Yam and Chickpea Stew with Indian Spices

I pride myself on throwing together great weeknight meals in record time, and one I whipped up Wednesday ranks high up on the list. It came together quickly, but you'd never know it with the complex layers of flavors! This hearty stew uses mostly pantry basics (okay, fresh ginger isn't always on hand, but you can substitute ground ginger in a pinch), making it a new weeknight classic in our house.
 

   Serves 4-6

 

Serves 4-6


Ingredients
1 large onion, chopped (any type)
4-6 cloves of garlic, smashed with the side of the knife and minced
2 medium yams (about 1.5 lbs), cut into half inch cubes
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced (you can sub 2 tsp dried ground ginger)
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 can diced unsalted tomatoes with their juice (look for a BPA-free can)
2 cups of cooked garbanzo beans (or one can drained and rinsed)
2 cups water
Sea salt to taste
Optional: Pumpkin seeds as garnish


Directions
1. Cook onion and garlic over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until very soft. Stir occasionally and continually add just enough water to the pan to prevent the onions and garlic from sticking.
2. Add the ginger and spices and cook for another minute, until ginger is fragrant.
3. Add the yam and stir to coat the vegetables with the spices. Cook for another minute or two as you stir
4. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice, the beans and the water.
5. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and turn down to simmer for 20 minutes.

This 20 minutes of cooking time is a great time to throw together a green salad!

6. Salt to taste when the yam is completely tender.

You can either serve the soup chunky like this, or you can puree about 2 cups of the soup and stir it back into the pot for a creamier texture.