Posts from the ‘Salad’ Category

Indian Inspired Lentils

I love lentils! I especially like eating Indian and Himalayan spiced dhal (daal or dal), usually made into a very comforting thick lentil pottage or soup. Not all dal varieties are the same; many differ in size, shape, flavor and nutrition. Some types of dal are not even lentils but different kinds of legumes, like peas, chickpeas or beans. They contain less insoluble fiber than beans and are not as irritating to finicky digestive systems, which means they cause very little gas, if any, depending how much you eat; keep in mind I am not suggesting you eat dhal three times a day, even though they taste really good.

These lentils aren’t restricted to soup. You can dish them over other vegetables,  quinoa, rice, buckwheat or green salad. Commonly daal is non-vegan and includes ghee, or clarified butter, but it is delicious either way. Another way to westernize this dish is to treat it like split pea or lentil soup by adding meat, like ham or sausage, but i prefer mine vegan. Sometimes if I haven’t eaten daal in a while, I crave it.

Chana dal are baby chickpeas or skinned and split black chickpeas (or kala chana if still in their skins), so don’t confuse them for yellow split peas even though they are the same exact color but flatter. They are low on the glycemic index, which means they are good for diabetics and are low in bad carbohydrates, have lots of fiber and protein and a significant amount of zinc, folate and calcium. Here is the listing for Bob’s Red Mill chana dal. Chickpea flour or besan is often made from this variety. These chickpeas require soaking in water at room temperature for two to three hours. If you add in half a teaspoon of baking soda, the chickpeas soften much quicker and then only need to cook 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your desired texture. Adding baking soda makes the water more alkaline, allowing beans to cook to doneness in only half the time; you can add the soda to any harder beans that require cooking for longer periods of time.

Masoor dal are red lentils, which contain significant amounts of fiber, flavonoids, complex carbohydrates, iron, folate, magnesium, phosphorous and vitamin E. Click here for more nutritional benefits. Red lentils do not require soaking; just cook it for about 25 to 30 minutes. Here is Ashley Skabar’s spicy daal recipe made with red lentils that looks great.

Toor dal or arhar dal are yellow pigeon peas and the same color as chana dal and yellow split peas, however they are not low in glycemic value but contain healthy complex carbs. They are high in protein, vitamin A and C, folate and fiber. Toor dal need to soak for 30 minutes and then cooked for 50 minutes. Check out Jacqueline Pham’s recipe on her blog and Karen Mintzias’ recipe over at Big Oven.

There are three types of urad dal, which is black beluga lentils. You can get them whole, like I did, split or split and soaked, which removes their skins. They are rich in protein, fiber, calcium, iron, folate, magnesium and zinc. Beluga lentils also do not require soaking, only cook them at a low boil for 30 minutes.  Check out this recipe over at Indian Food Forever.

French green lentils or lentilles du Puy are olive green lentils with black speckles. They are a longer cooking lentil, needing about two to four hours of soaking and 45 minutes of low boiling, due to all of the insoluble fiber they contain. Check out this recipe by Caroline Russock for some more inspiration. Green lentils a nutritious amount of complex carbs, protein and are fat free; they contain good amounts of your daily calcium and iron.

As per usual, most of the herbs and spices that I used to make this dish are from Savory Spice Shop in Santa Rosa. A while back, I decided to flesh-out my spice cabinet, throwing away stale seasonings and combining duplicates to make more room. I wanted to expand my flavor palate and try something new, exciting and exotic. I was feeling incredibly adventurous and did quite a bit of research first, focusing on recipes from cuisines that knew I adored but had never cooked with at home, which was extremely helpful when I went to explore the shelves in the shop. I must have examined at all of the jars and canisters they had for absolutely hours. I had a great time asking questions, smelling, tasting and making new discoveries. I ran back and forth from the shelves to the counter several times. The garlic and onion came from the farmers market in Cotati, and I bought the mugwort (an uncommon culinary herb used in medicinal teas) at Rosemary’s Garden.

Indian Inspired Dhal

Ingredients
1 C Petite or Regular French Green Lentils*
1 C Urad Dhal
1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
1/2 – 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/4 tsp Ajowan Seeds
2 – 3 tsp Olive Oil**
3 – 4 Large Garlic Cloves, grated or minced
1 – 2 Medium Sweet Yellow Onion, peeled, trimmed, minced
1 Inch Fresh Ginger, grated or minced, optional
4 C Filtered Water
2 Bay Laurel Leaves
1 T Cilantro Leaves
1 T Mugwort Leaves
OR 1 T Parsley Leaves
Mixed Peppercorns, ground to taste
1 tsp Sea Salt, to taste

*If you really want to stay with an Indian theme and add more color contrast, substitute the green lentils with channa dhal, toor dhal or masoor dhal. These lentils all have various cooking times, so adjust your preparation accordingly.

**If you want to make dhal without oil, skip the step of sauteing, and add the garlic, onion and ginger in with the other spices near the end of cooking the lentils.

Directions
Always sort your legumes and discard any broken or discolored ones along with any rocks you may find. Rinse your dal under cool water until the strained off water becomes clear to remove any dust or dirt. Put the lentils into a large mixing bowl or other vessel. Pour in enough water so that the level reaches about an two to three above the lentils. Remove the ones that float to the top. Soak the green lentils for two to four hours.

Dry roast the spice seeds in a small pan to intensify their flavor and get rid of any bitterness. Grind the seeds as small as possible in a spice grinder.

Saute the garlic, onion and ginger in a large oiled soup pot until the onion turns translucent, stirring often.

Rinse the lentils. Add them with the water to the pot, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium to prevent the water from boiling over. Cook the French lentils for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the black lentils. Continue to cook the lentils for 25 minutes, occasionally adding more water if needed and stirring. During the last five minutes add the powdered spices. Stir the mixture and cook five more minutes. Remove the pot from the heat completely, and stir in the herbs. After 15 minutes of cooling,taste test the lentils and adjust the flavors as needed. Serve the lentils on a salad, on toast, over or mixed into rice or noodles or as soup or really anywhere you would use beans. I mixed mine in with marinated vegetable noodles.

Advertisements

Marinated Spaghetti Squash and Vegetable Noodles

I had four spaghetti squash I received for volunteering at the National Heirloom Exposition that, as well as and two bunches of enoki mushrooms I bought from Sam Kim of Bohemian Well-Being Farm. They were just waiting for me in my kitchen, but I was having trouble figuring out what dishes to make with them. In the end, I decided to a mild Asian fusion vegan noodle dish that was versatile and could be served as a side or as an entree with a wide variety of mix-ins blended in to compliment the flavors, especially since I knew I would be eating the spaghetti  squash alone. My husband had no interest at all in eating it with me, as he is not a fan of eating squash in any form, except in pumpkin pie.

Marinated Spaghetti Squash & Vegetable Noodles
Adapted from Kelp Noodles with Marinated Carrots & Daikon Radish

Ingredients
3 Medium Carrots, trimmed
3 Stalks Celery, trimmed
1 Daikon Radish, trimmed
1 Medium to Large Spaghetti Squash, flesh of, cooked
5 Scallions, trimmed, sliced perpendicular or parallel
1 Bunch Enoki, trimmed, separated
2 Sweet Yellow Onion, skinned, trimmed, grated
2 T Garlic, peeled, trimmed, minced or finely grated
1 Inch Fresh Ginger, finely minced or finely grated
1 – 2 Lemons, zest and juice of
1/4 – 1/2 C Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, optional
1/4 C Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

Directions
Grate the carrots, celery and radish with a vegetable peeler into thin noodle-like strips. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients thoroughly from bottom to top so the shredded vegetables become fully distributed and do not clump together. Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight, mixing half way through. Give the ingredients one final stir. Serve with your protein of choice.

Kelp Noodles with Marinated Carrots & Daikon Radish


First of all, I love Ani Phyo’s raw food recipes! She’s a super talented chef, and she makes creating raw food dishes really easy. All of her recipes in her books are super simple, and many of them don’t even require any dehydrating, which means you can enjoy your dishes right away. She has lots of actual experience in cooking and catering. All of her books have full-color mouth-watering pictures that always make me immediately hungry whenever I flip through the glossy pages, as well as lots of hard facts about nutrition.


Kelp Noodles with Marinated Carrots & Daikon Radish
Adapted from many of Ani Phyo’s kelp noodle dishes in Ani’s Raw Food Asia
This is recipe is mostly raw, but can be completely raw if you use raw unprocessed oil instead of toasted sesame oil and agave in lieu of maple syrup.
Serves 6


Ingredients
Broth Marinade
4 C Filtered Water
1/4 C Liquid Aminos
3 T Apple Cider Vinegar
1 T Blue Agave Nectar or Maple Syrup
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp Mixed Peppercorns, fresh ground
2 tsp Chopped or Minced Garlic, more to taste
1/3 C Dried Wakame Seaweed, torn into 1/2″ pieces
1/3 C Dried Dulse Seaweed, torn into 1/2″ pieces

Vegetables to Marinate
1 pkg Kelp Noodles, rinsed, cut to desired length (4 C)
3 Celery Stalks, thinly cut on diagonal
2 Medium-Large Carrots, cleaned with vegetable brush, trimmed, cut into matchsticks (1 – 1 1/2 C)
4″ Daikon Radish, cleaned with vegetable brush, trimmed, cut into matchsticks (1 – 1 1/2 C)
3 – 4 Scallions, trimmed, cut thinly into 3″ sections

Salad Greens
4 – 5 Large Red Leaf Lettuce Leaves, torn into bite-size pieces
1/3 – 1/2 C Fresh Cilantro Leaves, stemmed

Shichimi Togarashi or Garnish
Almonds or Other Favorite Nut or Seed, garnish
Yasai Fumi Furikake or Nori Komi Furikake, garnish


Directions
Mix all of the broth ingredients together with a wooden spoon in a large glass mixing bowl; I used a  lidded 2-quart measuring cup. Add the vegetables into the marinade, making sure to push the vegetables down into the broth. Set aside for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once after 15 to 20 minutes so the harder root vegetables are on the bottom and have more time to fully marinate.

To serve, fill each bowl half way with salad greens. With a slotted spoon or serving chopsticks, place some of the marinated vegetables on top to fill the bowl the rest of the way up. Garnish with about 15 to 20 almonds or a serving of your favorite nuts or seeds. Pour some of the broth onto each serving, or fill up the bowls to make each serving into a cold soup. Shake on your favorite furikake, shichimi togarashi or other shake-on salad toppings. Enjoy!

Kelp Noodles


Kelp noodles are great! These may look strange, maybe like they made out of plastic, but these sure are edible and healthy. They are like rice-based glass or cellophane noodles but are made out of sea vegetables (kelp and sodium alginate from brown seaweed) and water and can be used just like any other type of pasta noodle. Kelp noodles are a raw, vegan and gluten-free alternative to pastas made out of rice, buckwheat, wheat, and other grains. Think of these noodles like other raw vegetable “noodles” made with “spiralized” zucchinis or cucumbers (this is the slicer I use, and here are some delicious looking recipes) or like cooked spaghetti squash. Since kelp noodles are made out of seaweed, they are rather nutritious, containing your daily value of 15 percent calcium, 4 percent iron and 4 percent fiber, only 6 calories, and no carbohydrates. That’s pretty amazing for a food is that is clear!


Kelp noodles have an extremely mild seaweed flavor and are very easy to season with herbs, spices and dressings. It’s usually a good idea to use some sort of acid in your sauce to marinate the noodles and soften them, unless you like your noodles a bit crunchy. Although the noodles are healthier for you raw, you can cook them with stir-frying or boiling. Kelp noodles are good in soup, salad and pasta dishes. Your possibilities are really endless, since these noodles are so versatile. Sea Tangle Noodle Company makes plain and green tea flavored kelp noodles, and Gold Mine Natural Foods also makes plain flavored kelp noodles, too. There are all sorts of recipes I want to try making with kelp noodles. I’m going to post some more recipes that I want to try out and got a few from the back of the Sea Tangle Noodle Company kelp noodle package.


Kelp Noodle Salad
I adapted this recipe from one that was printed on the back of the kelp noodle package so that we have actual quantities and not just a list of ingredients.
Serves 6

Ingredients
1 pkg Kelp Noodles, rinsed, cut into desired length
3 – 6 T Honey Mustard Salad Dressing
3 Cucumbers, trimmed, seeded, thinly sliced or spiral cut to desired length
6 Carrots, trimmed, sliced thinly
Salt, to taste

Directions
Combine the ingredients in a large glass mixing bowl with a wooden or plastic spoon. Set the sauced noodles aside for 20 to 30 minutes to soften them. Stir in salt to your preference. Serve.