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Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: March 20, 2012…..”Mermaid Salad”

This salad with the bewitching name contains some of my favorite “superfoods” — quinoa and sea vegetables!  It comes from Kelly Keough’s cookbook, “The 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes for Your Vegan Kitchen”.

Don’t be afraid of sea vegetables (sometimes referred to as seaweeds).  They are really tasty and so good for you.  Sea vegetables are loaded with minerals, and can help balance the endocrine system.  You can purchase sea veggies at most organic or asian markets.  You want to be sure that the brand is clean and organic though, and has tested for heavy metals, as our oceans are sadly polluted now.  Watch for more tasty ideas for how to prepare these superfoods in the coming months.  Sea vegetables come dried in packages, and generally require re-hydration before use.  Some of them will expand quite a bit and make a beautiful bright green leafy addition to whatever you add them to.

This yummy dish also contains turmeric, an inflammation fighter!



1/4 c dried arame (I used dulse because it was what I had at home)

1/4 c dried wakame

1 1/4 c filtered water for soaking the sea vegetables

1 c quinoa, washed (see last week’s recipe for how to wash your quinoa)

2 c water or vegetable stock/broth for cooking the quinoa

3 TBSP roasted sesame oil

1 TBSP Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or Tamari sauce)

1 tsp dried turmeric

pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

1/2 bunch scallions, washed and chopped fine

1 large ripe avocado

1 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice

Gomasio ( a seasoning made from sesame seeds and seaweed)



1.  Soak the sea vegetables in filtered water for 20 minutes.  Drain through a strainer and pat dry.  Set aside.

2.  Cook the quinoa in the water or stock until it is done — bring stock to a boil, then add washed quinoa, turn down the heat, cover and simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 minutes or so.

3.  In a small bowl, make the dressing — combine the sesame oil, Bragg’s, turmeric, cayenne, and salt.  Mix well.

4.  In a large bowl, combine the warm quinoa with the dressing and your prepared sea vegetables.  If you will be serving the dish right away, go ahead and add your finely chopped scallions.  Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.

5.  Cut the avocado into thin wedges and toss in the lemon juice, allowing the acid to break down the oils in the fruit.  Place the avocados on top of the salad and drizzle with the remaining lemon juice.

Best if eaten right away, but can also be served cold.






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 Update…January 17, 2012

Just a note to say that “Tasty Tuesday” is on hiatus until February due to the death of my beloved father, James Lancaster.

We will resume on February 7th with something yummy!

Tasty Tuesday December 20, 2011 Butternut Squash Chili

This will be our last actual Tasty Tuesday for the year.  Next week, although the office will be open (for massage only), we will have a “virtual” Tasty Tuesday — a recipe will be posted.  Stay tuned for our 2012 offerings…..coming on January 3rd: vegan, gluten-free Hoppin’ John and Greens!

Today’s dish comes to us courtesy of our fabulous massage therapist, Shannon Cannedy.  She is serving it today with Turmeric Rice.  It is warm and spicy, with a touch of sweetness from the cinnamon and the squash.  Delish!


1 large (or two medium) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1″ dice

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 large onion, finely chopped

2, 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes

2, 12 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed (Shannon used black beans and red kidney beans in her recipe today, so feel free to mix it up if you like both types of beans.  You can also use beans you have soaked and cooked yourself here)

6 ounces medium hot salsa

2 cups of water

5 TBSP chili powder

2 TBSP ground cumin

1 TBSP ground black pepper

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt (unless your chili powder contains salt)

2 TBSP olive or canola oil


In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Saute onion and garlic until onions soften.

Add tomatoes, salsa, water and spices.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium.

Add squash and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add beans and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, or until squash is soft when pierced with a fork.


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.