Make it your way salad with an east Asian vibe

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The gardens are just starting to offer up fresh lettuces, radishes and even some peas here. While I’m not generally a huge salad fan, it’s impossible to resist all this garden goodness.

Here’s what I had for lunch today – a big green salad with Gardein chick’n strips and a sesame and soy sauce-based dressing.

Here’s the recipe for this quick and flavourful dressing.

1 ½ Tbsp soya sauce

1 ½ Tbsp sherry

1 ½ Tbsp agave nectar

1 ½ Tbsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp sesame oil

I  ½ Tbsp neutral flavoured oil (I used peanut oil)

2 -3 green onions finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients in a jar or small bowl or mug. This recipe makes lots of dressing – enough to dress a whole head of lettuce plus extra veggies. I like mixing my dressings in a jar with a lid so I can store any leftovers easily in the fridge.

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Tailor up the salad portion anyway you want. Mine has:

Bibb lettuce

Sliced navel orange

Radishes

Mushrooms

Freshly shelled peas

Other salad additions that would work well with this dressing are: broccoli, green beans, snap peas water chestnuts, carrots, cabbage, kohlrabi, red pepper, bean sprouts, celery, mango

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Add some toppings

I topped my salad with Gardein chick’n strips and toasted almonds. The toppings add oomph and flavour but use them as a garnish, not the bulk of your salad.

Other toppings that would work well with this dressing are: plain baked, crispy tofu,  plain, firm tofu,  seitan, edamame, toasted sesame seeds, sunflower seed, uncooked ramen noodles, cooked rice or mung bean noodles, avocado

This salad is totally customizable. Mix and match ingredients, add as much or as little of whatever as you like. That’s the beauty of cooking from scratch.

 

 

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Blueberry banana muffins with a surprise inside

jammy muffin

I had some waaaaay overripe bananas to use up but was too impatient to make banana bread – that takes 45 minutes to bake in the oven. So, instead I opted to make mini muffins. These little cuties are moist and delicious and nutritious thanks to chickpea flour, bananas, blueberries and walnuts. I put a little jam centre in some of them for an extra gooey, delicious surprise. Best of all, these muffins are super easy to make. Like right now. Make them now.

 

open jammy muffin

 

Jammy!

 

Dry ingredients

2/3 cup flour (whole wheat or white)

1/3 cup chickpea flour (if you don’t have this, you can just use a full cup of flour)

½ cup cornmeal

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup blueberries tossed with 1-2 tsp flour to coat them. The flour coating stops the blueberries from leaking blue in the batter.

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Wet ingredients

2 very ripe bananas mashed

¼ cup coconut oil melted

1 tsp vanilla

¼ cup agave nectar

1 cup plant-based milk (I used almond milk)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

 Optional – raspberry, cherry, strawberry or other flavour jam

 

open muffin no jam

I made some of the muffins without jam and they were still moist and delicious.

 

 Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Grease a mini-muffin tin, a regular muffin tin or a loaf pan. This recipe will make 18 mini-muffins, 6-12 regular muffins (depending on the tin size) or one loaf.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Sift in the baking soda so you don’t have any weird crystal lumps in your final mix.

In a separate bowl, mix all your wet ingredients EXCEPT the jam, if using.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to incorporate everything and make a batter. You don’t need to stir a lot or vigorously – just combine everything.

If you’re going with a jam-less muffin, at this point you can simply fill your baking pan. Don’t overfill the tins since the muffins will puff up.

If you’re going to add jam, fill your muffin tins just half way full. Then add a dollop of jam – a true measured teaspoon full. Cover with batter so the jam is hidden inside.

If you are making a loaf, then fill the loaf pan with half the batter. Spoon on jam in a strip down the middle of the batter and cover with the remaining batter.

Depending on the size and shape of your pans, here are your baking times.

Mini-muffins – 25 minutes

Regular muffins – 25-30 minutes

Bread loaf – 45-50 minutes.

The muffins are done when they are golden on top and a fork or toothpick inserted in them comes out clean.

Allow the muffins to cool in their pan for 10 minutes or so and then serve them up! These beauties also freeze well and make great snacks or breakfast on the go.