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


Whole Roasted Butternut Squash is Super Simple

whole roasted butternut squash

My friend in Grand Junction Colorado gave me a few of her butternut squash when I was on a recent trip to her state. In addition to that, we had our own harvest of butternut squash here in Los Angeles. So, what to do with all that squash? Well, there is the typical soup, ravioli filling, and I even enchiladas. Or you can just do whole roasted butternut squash in a couple easy steps. This recipe could change the way you look at your butternut squash. So, move that butternut squash from being a table centerpiece to being your main course for dinner, or at least a side dish. It can also make a great Thanksgiving vegan entree, that in my opinion is way better, and less processed than Tofurkey or other vegan turkey substitutes. Because it isn’t meant to be anything like turkey. It just celebrates the squash, and makes it the star of the day. You can use this idea with any whole squash: delicata, pumpkin, you name it.Enjoy trying this out and let me know how you liked it in the comments.

whole roasted butternut squash with tomatillo-pepita sauce & pomegranate

For the squash:
1 whole butternut squash
1/8 cup pomegranate seeds
1/8 cup raw pepitas

For the sauce:
5-6 tomatillos, husks removed, cut into quarters
1/2 medium onion, cut into chunks
1 jalapeño, seeds removed, cut into large pieces (if you like it less spicy try half a jalapeño) 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


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


Riced Cauliflower with Porcini Mushrooms, Fennel & Peas

riced cauliflower

I know you are probably thinking that I post too many things with mushrooms, and you are right! But when I glanced at my bag of dried porcini mushrooms the other day, I couldn’t help thinking how great they would be as a rich, flavorful foundation for riced cauliflower! This recipe for riced cauliflower with porcini mushrooms, fennel & peas makes a nice springtime side dish or vegan entree. Porcini mushrooms have a natural, rich, gamey flavor and the higher quality ones give off a roux when cooked, that naturally adds some thickness to the dish.

riced cauliflower with porcini mushrooms, fennel & peas

3 cups vegetable broth or water
About 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 bulb fresh fennel, cored and thinly sliced
2-3 cups riced cauliflower
1 cup fresh or frozen shelled English peas
Sea salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional for flavor enhancement) 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


Pumpkinseed Pesto Yumminess

If you raise basil on a regular basis, you will encounter those times when you get busy and kind of ignore the basil for a few days, and while you are busy doing other stuff, the basil goes nuts and produces an abundance of flower stalks and leaves. This happened to me the other day and in my rush to prune it all back, I ended up with a giant pile of basil. So, since autumn is just around the corner, I decided to do a variation of pesto using raw pepitas (pumpkinseeds). There is something about the pumpkinseeds’ earthiness and association with the impending fall season that just made it all seem right.

I am still getting some glorious heirloom tomatoes, although that season is nearly over, so I put together this sort of “summer-fall” transitional salad that is vegan, yet packed with high quality, raw protein and healthy fats. This vegan pesto is very versatile and I have been using it in a variety of ways beyond this salad. This recipe is definitely a keeper and a healthier alternative to traditional pesto.

Heirloom Tomato and Pumpkinseed Pesto Salad

2 heirloom tomatoes
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup avocado oil + extra for drizzle
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. raw pipitas (hulled pumpkinseeds) + extra for sprinkling
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice Read More


Avocado & Pear, What a Pair!

I love it when a random “grab two things and see what happens” move in the kitchen turns out to be so yummy. Here is an extremely easy recipe that mixes pears with avocados, and finishes it off with some fresh lime and basil. Add this to your list of simple raw fruit and vegetable go-to’s. It’s perfectly refreshing for hot summer days. Enjoy!

avocado & pear salad with basil lime dressing

1 fresh pear
1 avocado
1 lime, juiced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. raw honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. avocado oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
2 tbsp. julienned fresh basil Read More


Black Bean Rotini Salad

I thought I would squeeze in a 4th of July recipe this morning! Here is a gluten free pasta salad that is packed with summertime garden goodness, contains all the comfort and zesty flavors of the holiday, but won’t leave your body starving for awesome nutrition. I named it “L.A. Summer” because it contains all the stuff that you might find growing in one of L.A.’s back yards or urban farms, like nopales, cucumber, tomatoes, and peppers, and it has some hints of Mexico and the Southwest in it’s flavor profile, two prominent cuisines in the area. Enjoy, and happy Independence Day!

L.A. summer black bean rotini salad

1/ 12-oz. bag of black bean rotini pasta
2 average sized vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1 Japanese or equivalent cucumber, scored and diced
2 cups Prepared Nopalitos
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 ears of corn, not yet shucked
1/c cup loosely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup hulled hempseed Read More