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


Green Beans with Lemon, Tarragon & Chia Seeds

green beans with lemon

This green beans with lemon recipe is another one of those super simple, “too tasty and easy to be true” dishes for an easy lunch or dinner side dish. Sometimes demonstrating that you can grab one vegetable from your garden or the Farmers Market, and easily turn it into a fairly complete meal or tide-over, is the best way I can use my blog space! The chia seeds provide extra complete protein and healthy fats to this, making it a decent light meal. And you can always add more chia seeds to suit your own nutritional preference and taste. So enjoy this one and let me know in the comments all the different ways you did! I used some rattlesnake beans from my garden for this recipe.

green beans with lemon, tarragon & chia seeds

About 1 pound of green beans, trimmed
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
1 tsp. Manuka honey (or other organic raw honey) Read More


Ronde de Nice Squash Loves to be Stuffed

Each year I like to try a different kind of squash in the food garden. And I am extremely pleased that ronde de nice squash made its way onto my list this year! It has the consistency of a summer squash like zucchini, yet it is hearty, with a soft center and tender seeds that can be eaten, similar to a winter squash. And it’s spherical shape lends itself to awesome stuffing potential! So it’s extremely versatile. This healthy vegan recipe for stuffed ronde de nice squash is a great summertime meal, as a warm-ish dinner entree or cold salad, or even at brunch.

stuffed ronde de nice squash with tuscan kale & cannellini bean salad

1 smaller ronde de nice squash (about 5″ in diameter)
1 cup cooked & rinsed cannellini beans
1 1/2 cups fresh tomato, diced
1 cup young Tuscan Kale leaves, finely julienned
1 avocado, diced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper 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


Roman Slow Cooker Artichokes, an Easy Spring Appetizer

slow cooker artichokes

Every year the artichoke root system in our garden pops out an abundance of fresh artichokes. For the first few years this is really fun and rewarding, but after a while, one yearns for some new ideas and ways to gobble up all those artichokes, without adding a lot of prep time. This recipe for slow cooker artichokes is super easy, with just about 15 minutes or less of prep time. Then you just set the cooker, get on with your day, and return to a crock pot full of tender, moist artichokes loaded with flavor.

roman slow cooker artichokes

4 artichokes, stems removed
1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced (slivered)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh oregano
Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper 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


Shrimp Cocktail and Nopalitos Are Good Friends

shrimp cocktail

The nopales of Los Angeles are sprouting up everywhere! This may seem completely insignificant unless you have explored the special nutritional benefits of nopal and how much it is enjoyed in Mexican cuisine. This recipe for Shrimp Cocktail with Nopalitos takes the Mexican classic shrimp cocktail and combines it with the classic Mexican Nopalito Salad. Nopal, also known as cactus pad, is very low in saturated sat and cholesterol. It is also a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B6, iron and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese. And with an amino acid score of 71 the protein content isn’t bad either– for a vegetable! I must give credit to my partner Ricky who makes the bomb-est shrimp cocktail, and came up with this awesome combination.

shrimp cocktail with nopalitos

2 pounds of shrimp with peel
1 onion, chopped, separated in half
1 lemon, cut in half
10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced, separated in half
2 quarts water or vegetable broth
2 tsp. each sea salt and pepper (for seasoning shrimp boil water)
8-12 nopales, depending on size (cactus leaves), peeled of thorns and cut into squares (nopalitos)
3 tomatoes, diced with seeds Read More