Spinach Persimmon Salad for Your Holiday Table

spinach persimmon salad

I am such a lucky guy, because my neighbor gave me a nice bag of Fuyu persimmons! And I picked up a container of chickpea miso, all in the same week. I saw this as a cosmic directive to whip up this Spinach Persimmon Salad; a Japanese-inspired salad that will blend well with the traditional holiday table. Unlike their counterpart, the Hachiya persimmon, the Fuyu can be enjoyed in various stages of ripeness, making them a great addition to your holiday salad! You can easily tell them apart because Fuyus are shaped more like a tomato, while Hachiya persimmons are acorn–shaped. If you try to eat a Hachiya before it gets completely soft, you will be left with a mouthful of astringent icky. This recipe uses firm, crunchy-yet ripe Fuyu persimmons as the star ingredient.

spinach persimmon salad with chickpea miso dressing

For the Salad:
5 oz Baby Spinach (about 3-4 cups)
12 ea. snow peas, cut on the bias
1 Persian or 1/3 Japanese cucumber, sliced super thin
1 Raw Chioggia beet, grated (or any other favorite beet)
3 Fuyu persimmons, thinly sliced

For the Dressing:
1 Grapefruit, juiced Read More


Autumn Salad with a Vegan Caesar Twist

autumn salad

I love making hearty, colorful, nutrient dense salads for dinner. Some salads consist of a variety of fresh, raw vegetables. For this filling-yet light autumn salad, I used leftover oven roasted yams. But leftovers or not, you can roast up some yams, beets, rutabagas, and put together a delicious, plant-based entree salad in less than 30 minutes. The ingredients in this salad give it a Caesar-like nuance, but a little simpler with lemon, garlic, and plant-based fats being the focus. The brown rice cakes provide a crunchy gluten free substitute for croutons. Have some fun and feel free to improvise as you go.

caesar-style autumn salad with roasted yams and pomegranate seeds

1 small-medium yam, cut into thumb-sized cubes
1 tbsp. avocado oil
1 heart of romaine lettuce
1/2 bunch of tuscan kale
1 lemon, juiced
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. liquid aminos or coconut aminos
1 small shallot, chopped (about 1 tbsp.)
1 garlic clove, chopped Read More


Cashew Cheese Sauce, Sage & Butternut Squash Linguine

linguine with cashew cheese sauce, sage, butternut squash and peas

This month my kid got married, and we got our first real feeling of autumn outside. My son’s wedding plays a part in today’s post. I decided to prepare the food for the wedding, and give it a personalized touch for the special occasion. The bride and groom wanted a vegan menu, with vegan macaroni and cheese being their favorite. The cashew cheese sauce for the mac and cheese came out so yummy I have been thinking about it all week.

Then, it dawned on me that this sauce with a couple modifications could make a great autumn pasta with butternut squash, sage and peas. And, that’s how my first post of autumn came about! This sauce is easy to make, packed with plant based protein and healthy fats. The crispy sage garnish makes a nice garnish and crunchy finish to this comforting, cool weather dish.

linguine with cashew cheese sauce, sage, butternut squash & peas

For the cashew cheese sauce:
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1 clove garlic Read More


Watercress Salad for Simple Summer Soirees

watercress salad

I found some flowering watercress at the Farmers market this week, so I decided to make it the star of the blog post! There isn’t much to say about watercress except how simple it is to enjoy it as a stand alone ingredient, or mixed into all kinds of stuff. I pulled some tomatoes and basil from the garden and came up with this simple salad that will add some delicious color and quality nutrition to any summer table. You can make your own cheese fairly quickly, or look for an artisan vegan cheesemaker like Blöde Kuh, or use your favorite fresh cheese that you think would go great with garden tomatoes and watercress.

tomato & watercress salad with basil cashew cheese

About 3-6 tomatoes of varying sizes
2 cups watercress
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 tbsp. basil cashew cheese or any fresh cheese that would go great with tomatoes Read More


Hazelnut Pesto for Lazy Afternoons

hazelnut pesto

Basil, basil, and more basil! When a basil plant decides to take hold it really pumps it out. So, I schedule a few minutes each day to go out and cut the flowering basil tops, to keep the plant going all summer long. Which winds me up with a lot of extra basil hanging around the kitchen. Here is a great sweet-meets-savory idea for a lazy afternoon salad, with vegan hazelnut pesto as the star of the show. You can also do a non vegan version of this by using parmesan or another hard aged cheese in place of the nutritional yeast. Enjoy!

vegan hazelnut pesto with mango & avocado slices

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 fresh mango, split, peeled and cut into slices
1 fresh avocado, seeded, peeled and cut into slices Read More


Red Lentil Pasta Salad for Healthy Sunny Days

red lentil pasta

I am enjoying the new red lentil pasta varieties that have been popping up at the store. If you are going to have pasta, these are a good way to go, with just lentils, quinoa and water as ingredients, and packed with protein and other nutrients.

This recipe is a cold salad twist on linguine with tomato, basil & garlic. And it takes the nutrition density even a step further by eliminating the refined oil and instead getting it from whole foods like avocado. You can add other veggies to the asparagus or eliminate the asparagus for a more traditional version of a tomato, basil, garlic “TBG” pasta salad.

oil free red lentil pasta salad t.b.g.a.

1 box Pow red lentil linguine (8 oz.)
2 large heirloom tomatoes (about 2 cups), cut into 1/4 inch pieces, seeds and juice included
2-3 cloves garlic (depending on how much garlic you like)
1/4 cup fresh julienned basil
1 fresh lime, juiced
1 avocado, diced
3 tbsp. hulled hemp hearts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast Read More


Nasturtium Pesto & Endless Possibilities

nasturtium pesto

Are you a pesto-file? Always looking at different ways to make pesto? Here is one you quite possibly have not tried yet, and it is very versatile. A couple weeks ago, I taught a workshop on edible common garden flowers at Fig Earth Supply, the edible nursery in my neighborhood. And, it got me thinking of all the delightful, delicious ways we can get the most nutritional bang from our outdoor spaces. Enter nasturtium pesto!

This pesto’s uses are pretty much endless! Top it on some eggs, spread it on vine ripened tomatoes, dollop on fresh caught trout, spread it on crostini, mix it into Alfredo sauce, heck I’ll bet it would even make good ice cream if done right! My favorite, and the most nutrient dense way to enjoy it is as a simple, stand alone dip for colorful, raw vegetables, like peppers, asparagus, cucumber, and celery.

And what’s the  best part about this pesto? It is, in fact, made of a leaf that would otherwise become byproduct in your garden- the edible leaves of the nasturtium flower. The main nutritional components found in nasturtium are glucosinolates, mustard oil, flavonoids, carotenoids and vitamin C.

There are a few recipes for this pesto out there, but this one is 100% vegan and raw, for added nutritional value and plant-powered nuance. So, if you feel like having some pesto, but don’t have any basil around, just run out to your back yard and grab some nasturtiums, and go to town!

vegan cashew nasturtium pesto

2 cups of nasturtium leaves (about 30 leaves of varying sizes)
About 20 nasturtium flowers
NOTE: Try to pick the stems with the leaves, and reserve them as an optional ingredient
1/2 cup raw cashews
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly sliced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Read More


It’s a Radish Wrap

So, I guess I have thought in the past about slicing a daikon radish thin to use as a wrap. But for some reason, when my airbnb guests from Korea introduced this dish to me, it seemed like a totally groovy new thing. I think what did it was the fact that the daikon radish came already sliced into perfect round sheets, and packaged. At first, I thought it was a gyoza (pot sticker) wrapper, but when I saw that it was radish, I was pleasantly surprised. So, today we have a couple of unwitting guest bloggers,  Hyoungwoo & Silhui from Seol, Korea, and their super simple, daikon veggie rolls. I see these being very versatile, stuffed with shrimp, seared tofu, smoked mushrooms, all sorts of things. This recipe is just a basic veggie roll, just like the ones that were prepared in my home the other day.

The pickled radish has sugar, so if you want to avoid that, make your own and use a healthier substitute for the sugar, like stevia, or jaggery sugar. Besides that though, this is a great way to get some raw, nutrient density into your body in a very simple and delicious way.

korean daikon radish wrap with vegetables

15-20 slices of Ssam-Mu (sliced & pickled Korean or daikon radish)
NOTE: You can also find it packaged at a Korean and sometimes Japanese Supermarkets
1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed and steamed or roasted
1 bell pepper, color of your choice, trimmed and julienned into slices
1 package enoki mushrooms, earthy base removed and cut into long, loose mushrooms
Your favorite Asian style dipping sauce

OPTIONAL OTHER FILLINGS: shrimp, sliced chicken, fresh herbs like basil, perilla leaves, Read More


Cocoa-Mint Spirulina Chia Pudding- Say What?

Spirulina has been around the block a few times with all of us. But in spite of its past trendiness and ups and downs with the limelight, it is definitely worth keeping in your pantry due to its many awesome nutritional benefits. Luckily for all of us, there are companies out there that are passionate about keeping spirulina relevant in our lives and finding new, innovative ways to deliver it to us. Whenever that happens, if I happen to be in the know, I get my hands on it and get to work seeing what can be done to enjoy it the best ways possible. That brings us to this incredibly simple dessert that is more of a nutrition powerhouse than it is a transitional dessert, packed with almost 20 grams of vegan protein, vitamin b12, and essential fatty acids. It can be enjoyed as a sugar-free dessert, or as a quick breakfast or snack on the run. This immediately became a regular in my kitchen. It is worth adding that it’s also paleo and keto friendly!

cocoa-mint spirulina chia pudding

1 cup almond milk (the more pure or homemade the better)
4 tbsp. chia seeds
2 tbsp. cocoa-mint spirulina powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Optional berries for garnish Read More


Sweet Nutrition for Rosh Hashanah

Shana TovahIn the midst of all the Rosh Hashanah greetings this weekend, I decided to whip up something that touches on the Jewish New Year tradition of consuming sweet foods, like apples, honey and dates. Here is a nutrient rich, yet sweet and delicious salad that you can definitely celebrate if you are celebrating the Jewish New Year, or even throughout your year-end holidays. This is a delicious stand-alone salad, or an accompaniment for your Thanksgiving turkey or other holiday feast. And, the Omega-3 punch you get from the walnuts and walnut oil helps you keep your body in balance during the indulgent holidays. Enjoy! 

Spaghetti Squash, Beet & Apple Salad

3 cups cooked and cooled spaghetti squash strands
2 medium beets, grated
2 apples, grated
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. minced dates, or more if you like it extra sweet
1 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. walnut oil
1 tbsp. fresh tarragon or parsley Read More