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Tasty Tuesday March 13, 2012: Kale and Quinoa Salad with Oranges and Almonds

Vegan, gluten-free, delicious and so easy to put together!  You will love this salad made with “super foods” kale and quinoa!



2 c cooked quinoa (see instructions below for how to cook this marvelous seed)

Extra virgin olive oil, as needed (about 1/2 c at most)

1 bunch Lacinato kale (aka Tuscan, or dinosaur kale)

Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

3 fresh oranges (I used blood oranges, but you can use tangerines or whatever types of oranges you have at home)

1 TBSP gluten-free tamari/soy sauce (I used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)

1 TBSP honey, agave, or brown rice syrup

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 c roasted almonds (I used organic tamari roasted almonds today)



1.  To cook the quinoa — first wash the quinoa very well.  To accomplish this, you will need a very fine mesh sieve.  Measure out your quinoa into the sieve and wash under cold running water until the water runs clear.  I always cook my quinoa in vegetable stock, as it makes the final product much more flavorful, but you can certainly use water if you like.  One cup of quinoa to about 1 1/4 cups of water (so for this recipe, you will start with 2 cups of quinoa and about 2 1/2 cups of stock or water).  Bring the stock or water to a boil, then add the washed quinoa and turn heat down a bit.  Cook over moderate heat until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.  For this recipe, drizzle with about 1/4 cup of olive oil once you take it off the heat, fluff and set aside.

2.  Wash and dry the kale.  Some of the larger leaves will have a thick rib in the center.  I recommend cutting that out — just fold the leaf in half and slice the rib off.  For the smaller leaves, it is fine to leave the ribs intact.  Chop  the leaves and put into a large bowl.  Add 1/4 c (or a little less) olive oil, a few grinds of sea salt (you will taste to season again later), and then “massage” the oil and salt mixture into the kale leaves.  Use your hands!  Have fun.  Kale is a hearty green and it holds up well to this treatment.  Set aside while you prepare the dressing.

3.  Peel 2 of the oranges, and separate into sections.  Set aside.

4.  Juice the 3rd orange and combine that juice with the tamari, honey, black pepper, ginger and garlic.  Whisk until well blended.  Pour the dressing over the kale and toss to combine.

5.  Add the kale to the quinoa and toss together.  Mix in the orange sections, and taste for seasoning.  I added a bit more salt to mine, but that is how I like it.  We kept the almonds on the side today for those who have nut allergies.  If you are not concerned with allergies, mix the roasted almonds in with the oranges.

6.  Enjoy!


Tasty Tuesday: February 28, 2012 Eggplant Soup with Roasted Red Pepper Swirl

Interesting and delicious!  Also, vegan and gluten free.  And, for our friends with food allergies, it is nut and soy free!


2 medium eggplants, washed and cut in half lengthwise

2 medium onions, diced

4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2 tsp olive oil

4 cups vegetable stock (I used Imagine brand’s “No Chicken Broth”)

1/4 tsp Herbs de Provence (a mixture of thyme, oregano, lavender, basil, rosemary and marjoram — possibly plus others as well.  I used a blend I purchased at the bulk herb counter at My Organic Market.  It’s nice to purchase your dried herbs and spices this way because you can just get as much as you need for a recipe, and the herbs and spices are fresh)

1 bay leaf

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/2c cultured coconut yogurt

3 red bell peppers, washed and cut into halves, seeds removed

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

sea salt to taste

Instructions for the soup:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cover a baking sheet with foil and lightly oil it.  Place your eggplant halves cut side down onto the foil and bake until very soft — 20 to 30 minutes.  Alternatively, you can char the eggplants on a grill or a griddle.  Set aside to cool.

Once cool enough to touch, scoop out the cooked interior, discarding the skin.

In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the diced onions and garlic.  Cook until translucent — about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.  Turn the heat down if the onions are getting brown.  Add the broth, the eggplant, bay leaf and herbs de provence and bring to a boil.

Turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes.

Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Remove the bay leaf and puree in a blender or Vitamix (or you can use an immersion blender right in the pot).

Stir in the coconut yogurt.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with red pepper swirl and fresh chopped parsley.


Instructions for the Red Pepper Swirl:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Place the peppers on a baking sheet lined with foil and lightly coated with olive oil (you can use olive oil cooking spray if you like)

Roast the peppers for 45 minutes or until the skins get wrinkled and slightly charred around the edges.  Turn the pan every 15 minutes or so while they are roasting.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel over a bowl, allowing the juices to collect in the bowl.  Discard the skins.

Combine the peppers, juices, and balsamic vinegar in a blender and process until completely smooth.

Season to taste with salt.


Tasty Tuesday: February 14, 2012 Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Brownies

This divine recipe comes to us courtesy of one of my faves:  Karina, the “gluten free goddess”.  I think she is fab.  You can find her online at

These were deeply rich, chocolately, and warmed our hearts for Valentine’s Day here at the office!  I made the version with eggs, so it was not vegan, but you could easily make it using egg substitute.


5 ounces high quality 70% cocoa dark chocolate (I used Scharffen Berger 70%)

1/2 c organic coconut oil (melt before measuring)

1 c light brown sugar (not packed)

1/2 c almond meal

1/4 c brown rice flour

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 large organic free-range eggs, beaten (or the egg substitute equivalent)

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Optional:  1/2 c chopped pecans or walnuts, and/or dark chocolate chips for the top



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with foil and (very) lightly oil the bottom.

Melt the dark chocolate into the coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat.

Using the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together brown sugar, almond meal, brown rice flour, salt and baking soda.

Make a well in the center and add in the beaten eggs, vanilla, and the melted chocolate mixture.

Beat on low-medium for two minutes.  At first it will look thin, but as it mixes, it will thicken up nicely and become smooth and glossy.

If you are adding nuts, stir those in by hand.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth over with a spatula.  If you like, you can sprinkle some dark chocolate chips over the top (I recommend this!).

Bake in the center of your pre-heated oven for 30 – 35 minutes, until set.  The top will crack.

Allow to cool — in fact, chill them for an hour first — before cutting into squares.  If you’re like me, and can’t resist a bite right out of the oven, beware they will fall apart on you.

12-16 servings.

Tasty Tuesday, February 7, 2012 Thai Carrot Soup with Mint and Lime

This is a smooth, spicy, super-easy to make soup that is low calorie and low fat!  It is also Vegan and gluten-free. It is a beautiful bright orange color too.

The recipe came from Weight Watchers (it is 2 points per 8 ounce serving, for those of you using that system!)



2 cups vegetable broth (I am a big fan of Imagine brand’s “No Chicken Broth” which is vegan, but seasoned to taste rich like chicken broth)

1 pound of carrots, cut into 1″ chunks (if using organic carrots, no need to peel, just wash very well)

1/2 c chopped yellow onion

1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced

2 tsp freshly grated ginger root

1 1/2 tsp (or more to taste) thai red curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand is vegan and gluten free; if you like your soup a bit spicier, add more than the 1 1/2 tsp)

1/2 tsp salt

6 ounces low fat silken tofu

2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped, for garnish



In a medium saucepan, bring broth, carrots, onion, garlic and ginger to boil over medium-high heat.

Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until carrots are tender.

Stir in curry paste and salt; simmering for another minute to blend the flavors.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before blending.

Add tofu to the pot, and puree.  You can puree directly in the pot using an immersion blender, or puree in batches in a blender or Vitamix.  Be careful if you choose the blender method that you do not burn yourself with the hot liquid.

Serve with chopped mint and a dash of fresh lime juice if you like.


Tasty Tuesday (belatedly) December 13, 2011

Kale Chips

What a yummy way to eat kale!  Be certain to put them on the baking sheet in a single layer, otherwise they will not get crisp.  You can get creative with your seasonings — Old Bay, Tabasco, garlic salt, whatever you like.


1 bunch of kale, washed, de-stemmed, and leaves cut into 3″ or so sections

olive oil

seasonings (I used coarse sea salt last week)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Dry the kale using paper towels or a salad spinner.  Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil (you will only need about 3 TBSP).  Sprinkle with 1 tsp or so of salt (or whatever seasoning you like).  Toss well to coat evenly.

Place the kale on large baking sheets (you might want to lightly coat the baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray or mist with olive oil or use parchment paper to prevent your chips from sticking).  The kale must be in a single layer.

Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes.  Check to make sure it doesn’t burn.  The kale chips should get nicely crisped.



White Bean Dip

This is another super-quick and easy to make dish you could serve to your guests at holiday parties this year.  The recipe (and the version I made last week) is simple.  You can spice it up with whatever you like — garlic, hot pepper flakes, herbs.  Serve with gluten-free crackers, or use with vegetable crudite.


1 15 1/2  ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or, cook your own from dried, see the recipe for White Bean and Kale soup two weeks ago for instructions).  I used 2 cups of beans I had cooked myself.

3 TBSP olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and Pepper to taste (or whatever other seasonings you like)

Place beans, olive oil and lemon juice into the bowl of a food processor (or blender; I used my Vitamix).  Process until smooth.

Season to taste and serve!


Tasty Tuesday: December 6, 2011 Kale and White Bean Soup

A light and bright soup for a dreary fall or winter day, this soup is full of “super foods”:  garlic, ginger, kale, beans, shitake mushrooms.  A boost to the spirit and to the immune system.



6 dried shitake mushrooms

6 cups water

2 Tbsp peanut oil (unrefined)

1 large yellow onion, finely diced

3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced

1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger root

3 carrots, diced

4 cups chopped kale or collard greens (I used Lacinato kale in today’s soup)

2 cups cooked cannellini beans (most economical is to use dried, see instructions below; canned are OK too — please drain and rinse well)

1/4 cup mirin (rice wine)


Apple cider vinegar

Toasted sesame oil



1.  Place dried mushrooms in a medium pot with the 6 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes.

2.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve and cheesecloth, reserving liquid.  Remove reconstituted mushrooms, squeezing out the excess liquid into the broth, and cut them into thin slices, removing and tough stems.

3.  In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the oil, then saute the onion, garlic and ginger for 3 to 4 minutes, until soft.  Do not let it burn or brown.

4.  Add the carrots and cook for 3 or 4 more minutes.

5.  Add the greens, and mix well.  If you are using collard greens, you will want to cook them for at least 8 minutes here, until they turn bright green and begin to soften.  The kale will only take 3 to 5 minutes.

6.  Add the beans and mirin rice wine.  Stir to incorporate.

7.  Pour broth over your vegetables, add mushrooms, add a Tbsp of tamari and a Tbsp of apple cider vinegar and bring to a gentle simmer.  Cook for 10 minutes.

Season to taste with tamari/soy/Bragg’s and toasted sesame oil.  Enjoy!

Tasty Tuesday November 29, 2011 Butternut Squash and Lentils in Maple Vinaigrette

Butternut squash can be difficult to peel and chop, but it is well worth it — beautiful bright orange flesh and a delicious sweetness reward your efforts.  Lentils are certainly one of my favorite foods — high in protein and fiber, rich in minerals, low fat, inexpensive and super fast to cook.  The two go very nicely together in this dish that can be served as a salad or a side dish.  As always, it is Vegan and Gluten-Free.  There is no salt added in my version beyond what is in the dijon mustard.  Enjoy warm or at room temperature.  We have coarse sea salt to sprinkle over it today.  If you eat dairy, I think this would be delicious with crumbled feta cheese on it.



1 medium butternut squash, about 1 pound

1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked over (be certain to discard any pebbles or discolored bits)

1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp dijon mustard

3 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for roasting the squash

Freshly ground pepper


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2.  Peel, seed and chop butternut squash into 1″ cubes.  Drizzle with olive oil and mix to coat the cubes evenly.  Place in a shallow baking dish, cover with foil and bake until just tender (you don’t want them to be too soft), about 30 minutes.

3.  Place lentils in a heavy pot and cover with water to 1 1/2″ above lentils.  Heat on medium, covered, until boiling.  Reduce heat and simmer until just tender, about 25 minutes.

4.  Drain lentils and squash.  Place in a large serving bowl.

5.  Whisk together apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and mustard.  Mix in olive oil and whisk until emulsified.  Add fresh pepper to taste.

6.  Add dressing to the lentils and squash mixture and stir gently to incorporate.



Tasty Tuesday, November 22, 2011 Curried Pumpkin Soup

This vegan, gluten-free soup is delicious on a chilly autumn or winter day.  It is a beautiful bright orange color!  Loaded with antioxidants and fiber, pumpkin is a “super food” — that is, if it isn’t weighed down with sugar and fat (but a small slice of pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner is OK!).  This soup is easy to make and has a bright snappy taste thanks to the addition of fresh ginger.  The apples give it a nice sweetness without needing to add any sugar.  Hope you try it for yourself.

Note, this recipe does contain soy.  If you are allergic or want to avoid soy, simply omit the tofu.  The soup will still be delicious and creamy.  You could add a bit of almond, hazelnut, rice, oat or hemp milk to adjust the texture at the end.  The silken tofu gives it a velvety texture that is quite pleasant.



3 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 – 2 apples, coarsely chopped — I used Fuji apples because that is what I had at home.  I like the sweetness they provide.  You could certainly use Granny Smith, or whatever variety of apple you prefer.

3 shallots, finely chopped

1 can organic pumpkin puree — NOT pumpkin pie blend.  You can, of course, use fresh pumpkin as well.  That would be 2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree.  Instructions for preparing that are at the end of this recipe.

1 Tbsp curry powder

2 c vegetable stock

1/2 c freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 pkg silken tofu (optional, see note in introduction)

1 tsp freshly grated ginger root, more to taste

sea salt and fresh pepper, to taste



In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until shallots are soft and translucent.

Add the chopped apples and cook for five minutes.

Add orange juice, pumpkin puree, curry powder, silken tofu (if using).  Stir to mix.

Add vegetable stock and fresh ginger.

Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for 15 minutes.

Puree (use a regular blender, Vitamix, or stick blender) – being careful not to burn yourself with the very hot soup — then season to taste with salt and pepper.  You might want to add more fresh ginger as well.

Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds (if they are salted, take that into account when you are seasoning the soup) and fresh cilantro.



Preparing fresh pumpkin (and roasting your own seeds!)

Choose a small pie pumpkin.  Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds, reserving them for roasting.

Place the pumpkin, cut side down onto a foil or parchment paper-ed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until the flesh is soft when pierced with a fork.  This will take up to 40 minutes.  Check it at 20 minutes.

Wrap the baked pumpkin in foil and the steam will allow the flesh to fall away from the rind.  Alternatively you can scoop out the flesh after it has been baked.

To roast the seeds, rinse them and pat dry.  Spread on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until they puff up a bit and begin to brown slightly.  Once roasted you can toss with sea salt, pepper, or tamari to taste.

Tasty Tuesday, November 15, 2011 — Moroccan Inspired Lentil Soup

Vegan, gluten-free, and delicious!  Lentils are so wonderful — like their legume cousins, they are low in fat, high in fiber and protein — and they cook very quickly.  There is no need to soak them overnight or do any extra cooking to get them recipe-ready.  We will be having lentils in another dish next week as well, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, this is a delicious, easy and inexpensive soup.  You don’t have to buy lentil soup in a can!  Make a big pot of this soup over the weekend, and you will have easy lunches or dinners ready for reheating during the week.

The spices in this soup are great for warming the stomach, and reducing inflammation in the body.  It is a wonderful soup for a chilly fall or winter day.  You will like the kick the lemon juice gives it too.


4 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 cup celery, finely chopped (reserve leaves for garnish)

1 cup carrots, finely chopped

1 tsp dried, ground  turmeric

1 tsp dried, ground ginger (you could grate fresh ginger into the soup if you like, but use a little less as it is quite pungent)

1 tsp dried, ground cumin

4 to 6 cups of water or vegetable broth (I used Imagine brand “No-Chickn Broth” in today’s soup)

1 1/4 cups green or brown lentils (the flat variety), well washed and picked over (beware of little pebbles mixed in!)

Sea salt to taste

For garnish — chopped fresh celery leaves, cilantro, mint and parsley.  I recommend making a mixture of these to sprinkle over your soup before serving.  Also, serve this soup with lemon wedges.


As always, I recommend doing all of your chopping ahead of time.  Set all of the ingredients out in bowls so that you are ready to add each item into your soup pot as directed.  I also like to wash my lentils ahead of time so they are ready to go as well, but you can do that while the veggies are cooking.

1.  In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium.  Add the onions and cook until they start to soften – about 5 minutes.  Do not let them get brown or burned.  You can turn the heat down a bit if they are cooking too fast.

2.  Add the celery and carrots, and cook for about 8 minutes.  The vegetables should be getting softer.

3.  Stir in your garlic, turmeric, ginger and cumin and cook for a minute more.

4.  Add the washed lentils and the water or stock.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the lentils are cooked — about 20 minutes.

5.  Season to taste with salt, and serve with chopped herb garnish and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.


Tasty Tuesday, November 1, 2011 Cranberry Nut Bread

This is vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free.  It does contain nuts (almond flour and walnut pieces), so adjust accordingly if you have a nut allergy.


1 cup sorghum flour

1 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup almond meal/flour (you could substitute millet or amaranth or oat flour here)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp xantham gum

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

3/4  cup “Just Like Sugar”

1 cup applesauce

1/8 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1 -2 Tbsp freshly grated orange zest

1/3 cup canola oil

Energ-G egg replacer for 1 egg (to equal about 1/8 cup of liquid)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup fresh cranberries (see notes below), chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a loaf pan — it is best to use a glass or ceramic pan, because a metal pan will cause the outside of the bread to get overdone, while the inside will not be cooked enough.  The easiest way to prepare the pan is to line it with a large sheet of parchment paper.  Leave some extra hanging over the edges so that when the bread is done, you can grab onto the edges and simply lift the bread up out of the loaf pan to cool on a wire rack.  It works really well, and there is no need to oil the pan or worry about sticking.

Mix together dry ingredients – through the “Just Like Sugar”.  I like to do this in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, and mix on a low speed to combine and to get rid of any lumps.

Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well.  You can also combine the cranberries and walnuts in a separate bowl to have them ready to mix in.

With the mixer on a low speed, add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until you get a smooth batter.  If it is too dry, add a splash of orange juice or apple cider.

Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.  For those with nut allergies, just leave out the walnuts.  It still tastes great without them.

Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top.

Bake for 55- 70 minutes.  The baking time depends on the type of pan you use and how hot your oven is.  I start checking mine at 45 minutes, but find that it usually takes 65 minutes to get truly done.  Done-ness is determined by sticking in a wooden skewer and having it come out clean.  Once done, remove the pan from the oven and lift your loaf out of the pan to let it cool on a wire rack.  The parchment paper will slip right off.

A note on cranberries:  the first time I made this bread, I used dried cranberries (“Craisins”) and didn’t add any sugar.  It turned out fantastically well.  The loaf was thoroughly cooked through and had a nice crumb.  You would hardly know it was a gluten-free product!  Today I used fresh cranberries, roughly chopped, and the loaf is much denser and moister than last time.  I would not recommend using frozen cranberries in this recipe unless you have thawed them and they are at room temperature when you mix them into your batter.  If they are cold, they will cause your loaf to take a much longer time to bake.