Zoodles with Peaches, Pesto & Chickpeas

It’s no surprise that zoodles have become increasingly popular, and recently I was looking for a way I could use them raw in an everyday salad.  I came across a recipe on Purple Carrot that included chickpeas and peaches and knew I had to give it a try.

IMG_4356

I made a fresh pesto that incorporated basil and mint – two herbs I think pair particularly well with peaches – and threw in some sunflower seeds for a little extra crunch.

IMG_4345

I also seasoned the chickpeas with cumin for a some heat and roasted them in the oven so that they would crips up nicely.

IMG_4343

This ended up being such a nice change to my lunch routine that I will be repeating again very soon! Continue reading

Fresh Corn Polenta with Tomato Basil Salad

IMG_4324

As with any ingredient that’s in season, corn on the cob during summer time is a must. One of my favorite ways to use is to make a fresh (and delicious) take on traditional polenta.  

IMG_4322

What is polenta?  It’s dish of boiled cornmeal that can also be solidified and baked, grilled or fried.  Here’s an earlier breakfast post that incorporates it.  The reason that this fresh corn version is so amazing is it’s less work, creamier and has more natural sweetness and flavor.  The first time I tasted it I couldn’t believe how delicious it was.    

IMG_4317

The recipe below includes a tricolor tomato salad with basil since tomatoes are also in season, but the fresh corn polenta would also be delicious with a fried egg, grilled shrimp, a vegetable ragout, or anything else you would usually eat with polenta or grits.  It’s also perfectly delicious on it’s own as a side dish.  I love to also make variations depending on the dish by varying the cheese and ingredients I  use.  For example, cheddar cheese and jalapeno are excellent substitutions.   

IMG_4314

Continue reading

Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

IMG_4275

During the summer time I’m always looking for any excuse to make a meal that doesn’t require me turning on my oven or standing over a hot stove.  As a result I made spring rolls, but since I’m not a huge shrimp fan, I decided to instead pack as many colorful vegetables as I could into the rolls along with some tofu and rice noodles.

IMG_4276

I’ve also recently fallen in love with this Peanut Sauce so figured it would be the perfect companion as a dip.

IMG_4281

This was my first stab at making springs rolls, and I will be honest with  you – there is a bit of a learning curve.  I think I went through about seven or so wrappers before I successfully packed one.

IMG_4293

I also went with an approach that resulted in a rolls that are a bit shorter and fatter than standard, but it was easier for me to pack things in that way.

IMG_4296

Continue reading

Grilled Halloumi Cheese with Cherry Relish

Confession: I’ve never a met a cheese I didn’t like.  But it wasn’t until only a year or two ago that I came into contact with my absolute favorite: Halloumi.

IMG_4170

What is Halloumi cheese?  It’s a semi-hard brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes cow’s milk.  It is salty and delicious and has a high melting point so is great for frying or grilling.  Often described as a “squeaky” cheese for it’s texture, it gets nice and toasty on the outside and slightly softened on the inside.  It is heaven.

IMG_4175

I’ve noticed it’s available in stores and restaurants much more in New York than when I was living on the west coast.  I actually first heard about it after reading I Quit Sugar, and once I tried it I was immediately obsessed.

IMG_4179

It is incredible served simply grilled in olive oil and drizzled with a little bit of honey,  but I wanted to created a dish that was a little more complex that still played into the salty and sweet combination.

IMG_4186

With all the gorgeous stone fruit in season, I decided to make a cherry relish of sorts with some fresh mint and citrus, all served over a bed of arugula for some pepperiness – recipe after the jump!

Have you tried Halloumi cheese?  What’s your favorite way to serve it?  Continue reading

Curried Purple & Orange Cauliflower with Beluga Lentils, Golden Raisins and Goat Cheese

The produce section is my favorite section of the grocery store.  Even more than that, I love a good farmer’s market.  Seeing all the beautiful fruits and veggies that are in season always spark my imagination and allow me to think up new ways to use fresh ingredients.

IMG_4209

On a recent grocery run, I literally stopped dead in my tracks when I came across some gorgeous bright orange and purple cauliflower.  I had to have them.

IMG_4259

After loading up my basket, I started to think through how I was going to use them. Certainly throwing them raw into a salad would have been just fine, but I wanted something a little more hearty and savory.  I decided to grab some black beluga lentils and golden raisins with the idea that I’d roast the cauliflower seasoned with curry.  Some goat cheese crumbles for creaminess and fresh parsley for freshness would finish things off nicely I thought.  I did.

IMG_4250

Read on for the recipe!

Continue reading

Red Pear, Pomegranate and Fennel Salad

Pear & Pomegranate Salad

The holiday season is upon us.  It’s time for friends and family and merriment – and also cookies and candy and booze and rich food. I approach this time of year with equal parts enthusiasm and trepidation.  It’s easy to indulge, and even over indulge, so I aim to create dishes that provide balance at a time when meals are dominated by butter and cream and carbs.

11 8 15 105

A salad is the easiest way to get lots of nutrients on a plate, but I also wanted it to be refreshing and acidic on the palate, not to mention vibrant and delicious.  Let’s be honest, if you are going to serve salad at a holiday meal, it better look as good as it tastes if you expect people to save some precious real estate on their plate for it.

Salad

For this seasonal salad, I threw in red pears, pomegranate seeds, shaved fennel, pecans and arugula.  It’s a pretty festive combo, but I think my favorite part is the dressing, a combination of reserved pomegranate juice, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt & pepper.  It’s got a nice sweetness and depth to it, and a little bit of it goes a long way.

A few things about salad dressings: Store bought is the worst (it literally tastes like fake sugar and chemicals…because that’s what it is), and there is nothing I hate more than on overdressed salad – you are supposed to taste the ingredients!  Dressing is a compliment, not the star.  A good rule of thumb is if you put on the dressing and toss the salad and there is leftovers pooling at the bottom, you put too much.

11 8 15 091

Anyways, I digress.  Bring this salad as a side dish to any holiday gathering for easy assembly or pack it for lunch when your go-to salad is feeling less than inspired.  Plus now you know how to make your own dressing, so that’s one less sad salad in the world! Continue reading

Sweet Potato Cream Pie

Sweet Potato Cream Pie

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and as someone who loves to cook (and eat), it’s without a doubt my favorite holiday. Since I’ve been preparing the Thanksgiving meal for years now, I’ve go most of my recipes on lock.  But I’ve been wanting to experiment with some healthier Turkey Day alternatives that don’t skimp on flavor.

Sweat Potato Pie

I decided to combine one of my favorite foods and Thanksgiving staples into a dessert: sweet potato.  I adapted this recipe and was able to create a dessert that is gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free.  I know what you’re thinking, but I promise it’s still delicious!

Sweet Potato Pie

By using a base of pecans and dates and a filling of cashews, coconut cream and roasted sweet potatoes, the result is silky and decadent without being too cloyingly sweet.  And because it’s no bake, it won’t take up much needed space in your oven on the day when it matters most.

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie Continue reading