Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Salads Made Easy: Tricks of my Trade (Lemon Rosemary Edition)

It all started because I really just wanted my sliced avocado to stay nice and green until lunchtime! Staring into a packed-lunch salad full of scattered brown chunks seemed extremely unappetizing at 7 a.m. (In previous attempts to preserve the prized avocado I’ve simply packed it separately and done the peeling and chopping at the office.). The key is citrus, yes?


Image source.

According to guacamole recipes everywhere, YES. I sliced a lime in half, squeezed it all over the salad, snapped on the lid and gave it a good shake. Voila! Stay GREEN, little avocados!

It works. As do lemons. And all of a sudden I realized that making homemade salad “dressings” just got even easier.

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There’s no magic secret here, and I’m not blowing any minds by sharing these two tricks, but because it took me a good while to figure out I thought they just might change someone else’s salad-making world. You never know!

1) Every salad I make at home is now dressed with a drizzle of olive oil & a squeeze of lemon OR lime (you can go crazy and combine them if that’s your thing). That’s it. Salad game-changer: discovered.

Of course you could go the traditional route & drizzle some balsamic vinegar in there, too. You can do whatever your taste-buds want. The point being that there’s no need for bottled anything, or shaking different vinegars or being fancy. There’s no need for 5+ ingredients or any knowledge of how to pair this, that and the other thing.

Salad dressings should be simple – let the toppings (veggies, nuts, seeds, greens, etc.) do the talking!

2) Add in fresh herbs! You’ll never look back.  Rosemary & basil happen to be my favorite, and mint is next on the list.

kitchen herbs
Lemon Rosemary Salad

Above: the newest addition to the kitchen, a pot growing fresh oregano, rosemary & basil. Below: the latest lunch-salad creation that benefited from the above-mentioned “tricks”.

Lemon Rosemary Salad

2 cups mixed organic salad greens (spinach, arugula, etc.)
1/2 orange pepper, sliced
2 tbsp red onion, chopped
1/4 cup baby white mushrooms, chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/4 avocado, chopped
1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 lemon, squeezed for juice
Drizzle olive oil
1 tbsp fresh rosemary

Combine all ingredients, shake well & grab a fork!

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Are you a frequent salad-maker?

Any tricks of your trade you’d like to share?

6 Comments

Filed under food, lunches, Nutrition, recipes, vegetarian

Spaghetti Squash & Hummus Lunches

Winner of the LOVE Grown Foods Hot Oats Giveaway: Sassy (Lauren)!
(Picked by Random.ORG number generator.)

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One thing I learned about the spaghetti squash recently is that its volume shouldn’t be underestimated! I offered to cook dinner for some friends, and picked up two of said vegetable to feed three people. The recipe du jour was P&TY’s spaghetti squash pad thai (three thumbs up!); we were left with no more pad thai (that goes quickly), but an entire spaghetti squash’s worth of “noodles” unused.

Hello, lunch:

Spaghetti squash salad lunch

That whole squash was enough for two of us to make lunches for most of the week – file that under quality Sunday-night meal prep!

My preferred combinations (staples) :

1-1.5 cup spaghetti squash
Kale
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 carrot, grated
2-3 tbsp Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil hummus
Seasoned with: salt, thyme

1-1.5 cups spaghetti squash
Kale
1/2 orange/red pepper, chopped
1-2 tbsp. yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp. raw pepitas
1 tbsp. Trader Joe’s Cilantro Jalapeno hummus
1/4 – 1/2 cup black beans
Optional: squeeze of lime juice

1-1.5 cup spaghetti squash
Kale
1/4 cucumber, sliced/chopped
1/2 roasted red pepper, sliced
1 tbsp raw pepitas
1/4 avocado, sliced
2 tbsp salsa OR roasted red pepper hummus
Optional: 1/4 – 1/2 cup chickpeas or black beans.

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Do you dine on squash for lunch? What flavor combo would you add in there?

The versatile “noodles” can wear many hats – the week of lunch experiments proved tastefully successful.

8 Comments

Filed under lunches, Meatless Monday, recipes, vegetarian, what to eat

Eggplant & Tofu Tacos

The grocery cart got a little overzealous last week, resulting in some new menu items and enough goods to actually take us through a weekend. If last year’s CSA taught me anything it’s that eggplant is partial to Maryland’s summer weather, but Trader Joe’s would have you thinking otherwise. It was in abundance on their shelves, and my taste-buds have had a long enough break to be okay with it.

We needed a fresh approach, and when there’s an avocado on the verge of browning you only have one choice: guacamole, it is.

Eggplant and tofu tacos

Eggplant & Tofu Tacos
Serves 2

Corn tortillas
1/2 block tofu, cubed
1 Tbsp. oil
1 red pepper, sliced
1/2 eggplant (cut length-wise), sliced
1/4 tsp. each – cayenne pepper, cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Guacamole*

Heat oil over medium in a deep skillet; add tofu and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add eggplant, red pepper & seasonings. Cook until eggplant and pepper softens, and tofu begins to brown.

*Guacamole: 1 avocado, garlic powder, salt/pepper, cayenne, freshly squeezed lime juice. (Optional add-ins: chopped tomatoes, onion and/or jalapenos.)

Warm the corn tortillas in the microwave or in the oven, until softened. Line with the good green stuff (guac) and fill up with the eggplant & tofu mix.

Fold & enjoy!

5 Comments

Filed under dinners, food, gluten free, lunches, Meatless Monday, recipes

Slow-Cooker Recipes: Spiced Red Lentil Soup

Coming off of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend left us both craving a warm bowl of vegetables and a night watching Christmas movies (although, when does that not sound like a good time?). It’s cooled off a little bit in the District, leaving me with reason to finally bust out the slow-cooker and test its power.

Crockpot DOTR

If you’re like me and have little to no clue what to do with these, the following links are immensely helpful:

7 Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes Fitness
Healthy Crock-pot & Slow-cooker Recipes & TipsEatingWell

(Look towards the bottom for more specific recipes.)
Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes Pinterest Board (jackpot!)
Vegetarian Slow-Cooker RecipesAllRecipes
Vegan & Vegetarian Slow-Cooker RecipesSavvy Vegetarian

I selected something that involved red lentils and other ingredients that we happened to have on-hand. With a few modifications, this was our first slow-cooker success!

Spiced Red Lentil Soup
Makes ~4 servings

1.5 cups dry red lentils
3 cups organic vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
1 can (15 oz.) organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 medium carrots, peeled & chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 tbsp. green onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. oil
Seasonings to taste: salt/pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano
Optional add-ins: chickpeas, black beans, green chili, celery, corn.

In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium. Add garlic, carrots and onion, cooking until all are softened. Transfer to slow-cooker and combine with all remaining ingredients.

Cook on “high” for 4 hours…and voila! That’s it. Grab a bowl & spoon!

Spiced red lentil crockpot chili

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Slow-cooker fans – what are your go-to recipes? I’m still slightly terrified of leaving this on for the whole day, but it makes a great weekend dinner that provides lunch leftovers! I ate this the next day with a handful of kale thrown into the mix.

6 Comments

Filed under dinners, lunches, Meatless Monday, recipes, vegetarian

Thanksgiving Side: Sauteed Kale & Nutmeg Salad

Tomorrow is a day of family and feasting for those of us in the States. This morning’s yoga class was a “tribute to the birds” – we did crow, bird of paradise, eagle & pigeon – as we casually call this holiday “Turkey day!”.

The class was great – love me some arm balances and hip-openers! – but the Thanksgiving-Turkey association? Not my thing. I have a menu of bird-free eats lined up for D & I, largely thanks to holiday recipe roundups from Ashley (Edible Perspective) and the Peas clan.

One dish will be new to us, and is thanks to Lindsey’s post on Nutmeg and my recent kitchen salad experiment.

Sautéed Nutmeg Kale Salad

kale nutmeg salad 1

2-3 cups raw Kale
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2 block tofu, chopped (Optional)
1 tbsp. e.v. olive oil
1/4 cup pepitas
Seasonings: nutmeg, black pepper (~1/4 tsp. each)

Heat oil over medium in a large/deep sauté pan. Add onions, peppers and tofu, cooking and stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and seasonings, continue stirring and sautéing until all vegetables are soft and tofu is starting to brown (if applicable).  Toss in raw kale leaves to coat and cook slightly; mix in pepitas and serve warm.

kale nutmeg salad 3

The Nutmeg flavor tasted so good with this mix of vegetables; I never would have thought to throw that seasoning on a salad, but I am so glad I did. Now I know it’s delicious in treats and healthy eats! Its flavor is reminiscent of holiday baked goods and oatmeal cookies, making this salad the perfect healthy complement to your Thanksgiving day dining!

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What’s healthy on your holiday menu? What’s your t0tally-worth-it splurge/indulgence?

Happy dining & celebrating!

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Filed under food, lunches, recipes, vegetarian