Confetti Kale Slaw {gluten-free, vegan}

We whip this up all the time and scarf it down almost as quickly.  This kale slaw also makes a great addition to any Tex-Mex spread like enchiladas, fajitas, tamales, etc.

CONFETTI KALE SLAW

Kale is a tricky dark, leafy green to eat raw because it can be quite bitter and tough.  That’s where the avocado and lemon juice come in.  By massaging the guacamole-like dressing into the kale, the heat from your hands along with the lemon juice break down the tough, bitter leaves, resulting in a much more mellow flavor.  The avocado adds creaminess and you punctuate the newly tender green with sweet bell pepper and the warmth of a little onion. All these ingredients work together to make a pleasantly tangy, creamy, sweet and spicy salad.

Serves 6-8 as a side

  • 2 bunches of kale, chopped into thin 1/4″ x 1″ strips
  • 2-3 ripe avocados
  • juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to taste
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced

In a large bowl mash up the avocados with the lemon juice, olive oil and a little salt and pepper until you achieve the consistency of a somewhat smooth guacamole.

Add the chopped kale and massage into the avocado spread, continue working in the avocado until the salad has shrunk by about half and the kale is flexible.

Add the bell peppers and onion, mixing thoroughly with your hands. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. I usually end up adding more lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve immediately. We like to let ours sit in the fridge a few hours and allow the flavors marry.

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Carrot, Kale and Nori Salad with Sesame Dressing

Sometimes I don’t particularly enjoy the writing portion of this whole bloggy blog thing, especially after a long (debatable), hard (even more debatable) week of work. 

So, I’ll be breif. 

I’m longing for Spring: light, bright, fresh, FRUIT, strawberries, asparagus.

Helloooo! Let’s get on with it already.

CARROT, KALE AND NORI SALAD WITH SESAME DRESSING
This was a surprisingly successful clean-out-the-fridge lunch.  So good, in fact, I made the same exact salad for dinner served along side perfectly grilled salmon.  Adam made no complaints.

Because this is a salad and not, say, cupcakes, the recipe is quite loose. By all means improvise. Also, I like tricking myself into eating raw kale. I love kale any way it is cooked, but in its raw state it is very bitter and harsh for my tastes. 

Salad:

  • 1 verdant (lush/green) head of romaine lettuce, rinsed, dryed, and thinly chopped into strands
  • 2-4 sturdy leaves of kale, prepped like the romaine lettuce
  • 6 carrots, grated by hand or in a food processor
  • green onions, sliced on a bias
  • 1/2 sheet of nori seaweed, sliced or crumbled
  • 1-2 tablespoons lightly toasted sesame seeds
  • Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup sesame seed oil
  • juice of 1 lemon (approx. 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1- 2 teaspoons honey, agave nectar, or sugar
  • pinch of red pepper
  • Mix the romaine and kale together and place on a plate.  Top with grated carrot.  Then garnish with green onion, nori strips and lastly, the toasted sesame seed.

    Whisk the dressing together in a seperate bowl and drizzle over the top of the salad.  Serve immediately.

    French Bistro Carrot Salad {gluten-free, vegan}

    French Bistro Carrot Salad {gluten-free, vegan}
    I saw this on David Lebovitz’s blog and figured if a guy so wholly consumed with pastries, chocolate and sweets enjoys this particular carrot salad (not to mention all of France), then I would, too.  And you, and you, and you.

    David has credentials: former pasty chef at Chez Pannise, cookbook writer extraordinaire, an American in Paris, etc, etc.

    If you like food or just like a good chuckle (and who doesn’t) I highly recommend his book The Sweet Life in Paris. I found myself not just laughing out loud, but snorting out loud more times than I care to admit. His stories are witty and sharp, offering a nice dose of reality for all of us self-proclaimed Francophiles, not to mention a few good recipes, too.

    This would accompany any meal quite well. I like the idea of it with a rich, creamy Tomato Soup and French Bread. I had it for lunch today, all by itself, and it was quite satisfying.

    French Bistro Carrot Salad {gluten-free, vegan}

    Salade de Carottes Râpées
    Adapted from David Lebovitz

    The star of this salad is the carrots, just be careful not to smother their natural sweetness and flavor with too much dressing. David says they should glisten with the light vinaigrette, not drown in it. Definitely taste as you go. My quantities are a little different than his, I’m sure due to carrot size and personal taste.

    • 7 large carrots, rinsed and peeled
    • 1/2 cup of ROUGHLY chopped flat leaf parsley
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil (I believe I used a little less than 2)
    • a generous pinch of sugar (I used close to 1/2 teaspoon)
    • a few dashes of salt
    • a little fresh cracked pepper

    Using the large holes of a box grater or a food pocessor grate the carrots and place in a bowl. Add the roughly chopped parsley. In a separate container whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of sugar. Pour dressing over carrots and parsley, using your hands toss the salad.  Add a bit of salt and pepper and toss again. Taste and adjust as necessary. Serve immediately.

    Green Bean Panzanella {gluten-free, vegan}

    Green Bean Panzanella {gluten-free, vegan}
    Green Bean Panzanella {gluten-free, vegan}

    Oh, how I am smitten with panzanella (a.k.a. bread salad).  This clever little Italian dish couldn’t be easier or more down to earth: mix a few vegetables together, toss in some homemade croutons and drizzle with vinaigrette. Dinner is served. The homemade croutons take this from a wimpy side dish to a lovely, light meal. And who wouldn’t be impressed if you told them you were serving panzanella. It is all in the name (shh! I use this tactic on Adam all the time).

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    GREEN BEAN PANZANELLA
    Adapted from Ina Garten

    About this recipe. I’ve made this 4 or 5 times in the last month and this version is my personal favorite.  Feel free to experiment.  The possibilities are endless.  I can’t wait to try a true fall version with butternut squash, brussel spouts, etc.

    Salad:
    4-5 slices of gluten free sandwhich bread (or whole grain wheat bread if you’re not GF)
    4-5 tablespoons olive oil
    sea salt
    1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
    2 yellow bell peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces (see this post for how to)
    1 lb. green beans or approximately 3 cups/handfuls, ends trimmed and chopped into bite size pieces
    1 small shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
    3-4 leaves of fresh basil, thinly sliced

    Vinaigrette:
    1/3 cup good olive oil
    3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
    1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1 garlic clove, minced
    pinch of sugar
    salt and pepper to taste

    • Preheat oven to 350.  Place halved tomatoes on a lightly oiled baking sheet and roast 45 mins. until slightly shriveled and browned in places.
    • While tomatoes roast prepare the croutons. Cut the slices of bread into 1″ cubes. Heat 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil over medium low heat, add bread cubes and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, tossing frequently until browned, adding more olive oil or salt if necessary.  Set aside to cool.
    • Bring a pot of water to boil. Add green beans and cook 1-2 minutes until bright green, but still crisp.  Drain and run beans under water to cool.
    • Whisk together the vinaigrette.
    • Remove tomatoes from oven. Roast bell peppers at this point if you haven’t already.
    • Mix the roasted tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and sliced shallot together with the croutons, toss with vinaigrette, garnish with basil and serve immediately.  Alternatively, the mixed veggies can be stored in the refrigerator up to 1 day and then tossed with the vinaigrette and croutons upon serving.

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    Early Fall Salad

    Early Fall Salad {gluten-free, vegan}

    Last night we brought salad to a pot-luck dinner with friends.  And don’t get me wrong, I like salads and all, but I wouldn’t say I typically sit around daydreaming about what raw veggies to mix up next. However, in the half hour I had to throw this together, I figured I could either bemoan that I didn’t get to bring dessert or go big and make a really damn good salad.

    I was craving something with a hint of autumn in it: apples, roasted nuts, maple syrup, etc.

    This is infinitely adaptable to one’s personal taste.  I think the caramelized nuts along with maple vinaigrette really make the dish.

    EARLY FALL SALAD WITH MAPLE VINAIGRETTE
    4-6 C. your preferred salad green (I used a mix of romaine, radicchio, and baby spinach)
    1 medium, crisp, sweet apple like Gala or Fugi
    1 small cucumber
    1 C. chopped almonds or walnuts
    1/3 – 1/2 C. granulated sugar
    1/3 C. olive oil
    4-5 T. pure maple syrup
    3 T. apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar or distilled vinegar
    1-2 t. dijon mustard
    1 garlic clove, minced
    pinch of salt
    pinch of pepper

    • Tear lettuce into bite size pieces.  Rinse and dry (a salad spinner is great here).  Mound in a large serving bowl.
    • Chop apple and cucumber into 1/2″ pieces and sprinkle atop the bed of lettuce.
    • Prepare caramelized nuts: Spread chopped nuts in a dry 8″-12″ skillet.  Sprinkle sugar on top.  Turn the stove top heat to between low and medium.  I use setting 3 or 4  on a 1-10 dial.  Take a fork and swirl the nuts in the sugar.  Don’t go anywhere.  Things can progress quickly here.  After 1-2 minutes the sugar will become wet, keep stirring.  Then the wet sugar will start turning light brown, keep stirring for just a few seconds until a nice brown color is achieved…not chocolate brown or black.  Err on the conservative side.  Quickly remove pan from heat and scrape your nuts into a glass bowl.  Let cool.  Then break up into pieces by stabbing with your fork (rather gothic sounding) and pile on top of your salad.
    • To make vinaigrette: Mix all remaining ingredients together in a small container with a lid.  Shake, shake, shake. Taste and adjust. If the flavor isn’t popping try adding a tiny squirt more of mustard and/or vinegar.  I always tend to add more maple syrup, too.
    • When ready to serve, drizzle each portion with vinaigrette.

    Serves 12, approximately