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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Orange-peanut sweet potato and rice patties with a side of slaw

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Yesterday I posted photos of pickled zucchini slices. That recipe was all in aid of these – some of the most delicious, satisfying, make-your-belly-happy patties you’ll ever enjoy.

Sweet potato and brown rice serve as a base for a sweet, salty, spicy and peanut-y taste palette that is pure delight.

My version is a riff on a recipe from One Green Planet. I upped the seasonings and got rid of the bun.

I’ve posted three recipes here: the orange-peanut sweet potato and rice patties, the miso sauce you can use both to dress a side of slaw and drizzle on the patties (it also makes a fantastic stir fry sauce), and the slaw ingredients.

Ingredients

For the patties

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 cup cooked brown rice

A flax egg made from 1 ½ Tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 ½ Tbsp water

3 Tbsp orange marmalade

4 ½ Tbsp peanut butter (just peanuts-and-oil peanut butter –none of that stuff with weird ingredients like icing sugar!)

3 Tbsp soya sauce or tamari

2 -3 tsp Sriracha sauce

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

3 Tbsp mixed nuts or peanuts chopped (optional – for garnish)

For the dressing

3 Tbsp white miso

2 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar

2 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp soya sauce or tamari

1 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tsp Sriracha sauce

For the slaw

1 kohlrabi peeled and grated. You will have about 1 ½ cups shredded kohlrabi. If you don’t have or want kohlrabi, use shredded green cabbage or napa cabbage.

1-2 green onions cleaned and sliced

4 radishes sliced

1 rib celery diced

1 carrot grated (optional)

1 small can water chestnuts drained and diced (optional)

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Directions – the patties

Wash and dice the sweet potatoes into evenly sized pieces. You can peel the potatoes if you like, but it’s not necessary. Place the potatoes in a microwaveable dish and microwave for about 3-4 minutes until the pieces are soft. Once the pieces are cool enough to handle, mash them.

Preheat your oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, mix the rice and mashed sweet potatoes. Add the flax egg and use your hands to combine the ingredients.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir or use your hands to combine everything. I find it helpful to microwave the marmalade and peanut butter together for about 15-20 seconds to soften them up for easier mixing.

Form 3 very large or 4 large patties. The patties will be thick. Place them on a greased cookie sheet, or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 20 minutes, then turn the patties over and bake another 15 minutes.

Because these patties are full of complex carbs, I preferred eating them with a dressing and skipped the bun. You could serve them on a bun with the slaw on top.

I sprinkled chopped mixed nuts on top for extra crunch and flavour.

Directions – the dressing

While the patties are baking, mix all the dressing ingredients in a jar or bowl with a lid. Use the dressing to pour over the patties and as the dressing for your slaw.

This dressing also makes a fantastic stir fry sauce.

Directions – the slaw

While the patties are baking, mix all the slaw ingredients together. Mix 2-3 Tbsp of the dressing into the vegetables and toss to combine.

 

 

Asian quinoa salad

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Here’s what I’m having for lunch today. My version is very closely based on the recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod. This salad is super delicious, satisfying and sustaining.

Funny, up until this year I hated quinoa. It was bitter. Then my lovely neighbor, Marion, who is also a retired a Home Ec teacher, told me to rinse it. Et voila! I love quinoa… though I do still think it looks like tiny rolled up condoms.

This salad would be great topped with a few crunchy chow mein noodles or some chopped cashews.
I’ve added comments in the recipe indicating what changes I made. Let me know if you make this dish and how you riff on it.

Asian quinoa salad
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup chopped red cabbage (I used green because that’s what I had, though red cabbage would look prettier)
1 cup shelled and cooked edamame (get a bag in your freezer section, already shelled. Let thaw in your salad bowl)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots (about 1 medium carrot)
1 cup diced cucumber
For the dressing:
1/4 cup lite soy sauce or tamari sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped green onion (one very luscious green stalk plus the white part)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (totally optional, I added, but found it did nothing for or against the dressing)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (I toasted mine)
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I used about ½ teaspoon chili paste)
Salt and black pepper, to taste (I didn’t bother, soy sauce is salty enough)
Directions:
1. Rinse your quinoa to remove the bitter coating. Add water and quinoa to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 -20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
2. Place the quinoa in a large bowl and add the cabbage, edamame, red pepper, carrots, and cucumber. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, green onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
4. Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and stir to combine.

Note-Make sure you use tamari for a gluten-free salad, not all soy sauce is gluten-free. This salad is good served at room temperature or chilled.