A Lovely Fall Lentil Salad

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My friends, welcome to fall! This may be my favorite season – that crispness in the air, a slight bite to the wind, but the most dreamy color schemes a lady could ask for all around. It’s also time for a welcome return to roasted veggies and heartier meals. Huzzah!

This particular dish was photographed my Mr. Adam Reitano. He’s wonderful and incredibly talented, and you should definitely check out his website to see some of his other work.

Now, onto the food. There are two things that I love about lentils: 1) they’re tasty; and 2) they’re cheap. I’ll add a number 3: 3) they’re easy to make. If you haven’t spent time with my dear friends the de Puys or the browns, then please, please, go to your local market and meet them. You’ll like them.

This particular lentil salad is really a mish-mosh of whatever veggies you have on hand. The combination of some cooked veggies with some raw gives the dish some nice variety and texture. That said, you have sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes? Awesome! You have parsnips? Cool! You really don’t like radishes? Fine! Well, promise me you’ll at least try them sauteed before you axe them completely – they’re realllllly nice that way. You want to add green beans or broccoli? Do it! A handful of greens would also be sooooo good here. Same goes for spices, folks. Mix it up, be creative. This is a hard thing to totally mess up because there’s really no “right” way to do it.

What you need:

DSC_81812 cups rinsed and drained lentils (I like de Puys, but any type could be good here)

1 small onion, chopped and sauteed

6 cloves garlic, chopped and sauteed

2 russet potatoes, diced and roasted

1-2 cups white mushroomes, sliced and sauteed

1 head of cauliflower, chopped and either roasted or left raw (if I roast cauliflower, I eat it all in about 5 minutes, so it’s left raw in this recipe)

I bunch radishes, cleaned, sliced, and sauteed

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, diced

1 yellow pepper, chopped

Handful cilantro, chopped

2 heaping Tbsp whole grain mustard

Olive oil, enough for lots of sauteeing and roasting and about an 2-3 Tbs for dressing

Champagne vinegar, about 1/8 cup

Salt and pepper to taste

Whew, that’s a lot of ingredients. Stay with me, this is easier than it seems.

What to do:

First, preheateth thine oven. To 375.

Second, begin boiling 5 cups of water on the stove. Once the boiling has occurred, put your rinsed and drained lentils into the pot, keep at a rollingboil for about 30 seconds, then reduce to a low boil, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes-ish. Keep checking back on these guys. If there seems to be too much water, take the lid off and let some evaporate off. The real thing to avoid here is mushy lentils.

This is how many people like a mushy lentil salad: 0. Ew. So, watch your lentils like little lentil-loving hawks!

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While your lentils cook, dice your potatoes, coat in about 1-2Tbsp olive oil and some salt and pepper, then spread out on a baking sheet. Place them in the oven when ready and roast for about 15-20 minutes, flip them, and roast another 5-10 minutes.

While these guys are roasting, begin the sautee.DSC_8265

Chop your onion, garlic, and sautee in olive oil (or veggie broth if you’d rather) until tender and golden brown, then add your mushrooms and radishes.DSC_8661

Once everything is tender and luscious looking in your sautee pan, remove from heat. Check your potatoes and your lentils. Once ready, remove both from heat as well. Chop the rest of your raw ingredients.DSC_8783

Mix it all in a bowl!DSC_8790

Add olive oil, vinegar, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, and eat! Serves about 4 as a main meal, or 6 as side dishes. Enjoy and happy fall, bloggernet!DSC_8809

It Eats Like a Meal: Everyday Green Smoothie

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What do you get when you put all of these ingredients into a blender? Deliciousness, my friends. Pure deliciousness.  The fact that it’s an actual hearty green smoothie makes it even better, because unlike the situation I find myself in with many green smoothies, I don’t find myself ready to chew off my own arm an hour after drinking this one.

I apologize for being MIA for so long! Unfortunately work has been testing my stamina lately and I haven’t had much energy for a whole lot outside of work. I’ve missed my edible creative projects and interacting with you fine folks on the interwebs, so there will be very regular posts for the next few months.IMG_9312Let’s talk about the magic that is avocado. You’re reading a gluten-free and vegan blog, so I’m preaching to choir here, but bestill my heart when I open a perfectly ripe avocado. Does the fact that nature just makes these flabbergast anybody else? I recently visited my first avocado orchard and was speechless. IMG_5410Because why? Because, dudes, nature provides (and so does irrigation technology – California has had a real mess of a growing season).

Anyway, here’s what you need:IMG_93131 frozen banana

2 cups of spinach

1/3 of a cucumber, chopped

1/3 of a zucchini, chopped

1/4-1/2 avocado, depending on how thick you want your smoothie to be and how many you’re serving (I usually do 1/4 if it’s just for me)

1 scoop protein powder (totally option, but I use Sun Warrior Vegan Protein)

2 cups apple juice (more or less depending both on how thick and how sweet you like things)

A couple of ice cubes if you’re banana’s not frozen

Ready, set, BLEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_9320Sure, it looks a little like the slime from “You Can’t Do That on Television!” Ignore that.

Now drink up that sweet, sweet chlorophyll. 🙂 Enjoy, friends!IMG_9318

Summer Rolls! Fresh, tasty, fast, easy, and cheap! YES!

IMG_9085Summer in the PNW is the best. Days are long, luscious fruits and veggies are plentiful, and this has been a particularly sunny one so far. Warm days mean light fresh meals and one of our favorite summer dinners ins also one of the cheapest, easiest, and fastest things we make around here. Even better, it’s full of veggie goodness and can be based around whatever you have on hand for the most part.

IMG_9075Even just looking at the stuff that goes into it is nice!IMG_9081What you need:

Buckwheat noodles (if you’re doing this gluten-free)

Rice paper wrappers, about 3-4 per person

1 red bell peppers, sliced

1 carrot, sliced

1/2 cucumber, sliced

1 avocado, sliced

1 small head of green leave or romaine lettuce

1 package extra-firm tofu (I got mine at Trader Joe’s – the organic sprouted kind is so good!)

Handful of fresh cilantro

Handful of fresh basil

Hot (HOT!) water to soak the rice papers in

Peanut sauce!!!! – San J gluten-free peanut sauce is AMAZING!!!!!!IMG_9077Slice all them veggies just like you see here in this picture. Prepare your noodles per package instructions, normally about 8 minutes in boiling water will get them set.IMG_9083Soak a rice paper in HOT water. Add veggies, noodles, and tofu to taste, wrap it up and dip it in some peanut-y goodness. IMG_9087This one looks a little sad because by the time I remembered to take a picture, I was in a state of blissful unawareness of how badly my roll-making skillz had gotten. They’re just that tasty.

VIRTUAL VEGAN POTLUCK!!!! Green and White and Delicious All Over: Spring Salad with Shaved Fennel, Zucchini, Cauliflower, Peas, and Avocodo

IMG_9015I’m so proud to be participating in this years Virtual Vegan Potluck with so many fantastic food bloggers! Over 170 bloggers around the world are uniting to bring the veggie-friendly foodlovers of the world some deIiciousness. I RSVP’d that I’d “bring” a salad to this interweb party, and here’s what I’ve created….a little dish that’s quick to throw together and full of spring veggie goodness and starring my good friend fennel.IMG_9011What you need:

1 bulb fennel, THINLY sliced

1 zucchini, thinly sliced (yes, this is a trend…when in doubt, slice even thinner)

1/2 head cauliflower, thinly sliced

1 bunch asparagus, lightly steamed and chopped

1.5 avocados, thinly sliced

1 cup snap peas, chopped

1 head green romaine lettuce, roughly chopped

3 Tbsp good-quality olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons

Salt and pepper to tasteIMG_9012Start by very gently steaming your asparagus so that it remains crisp, but turns bright, beautiful green.IMG_9013

After that, slice and chop your way to vegetable perfection and toss it all in a bowl.IMG_9016Add lemon juice and olive oil to your salad bowl, toss so that everything is lightly coated. The dressing should be SUPER light to show-off all them veggies in their glory, but you could also add a little whole grain mustard to kick it up a notch. Salt and pepper to taste, and bam! You have a beautiful green salad for your potluck and your belly!IMG_9019Just look how happy this salad made Lori of Crown Hill Day by Day. (I won’t lie, the joy was also due to some incredibly fuzzy socks).

Happy potlucking friends!

For more tasty salad ideas go back to Emmy Cooks and forward to Veg Bon Vivant. To see the rest of the Virtual Vegan Potluck participants, click here. vvplogo

Ice Cream Cake = Birthday Happiness (Vegan, Raw, Gluten-free!)

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Yesterday was my birthday, and while I may now be 32, some things haven’t changed since I started eating solid food. For example, my undying devotion to ice cream cake. It may be one of the most perfect foods. Somehow, even though I don’t really like cake, when you add ice cream and freeze the whole deal, it’s amazing! This year ice cream cake from the DQ wasn’t going to cut it though. My days of dairy and gluten and buckets of sugar are now days of yore. I took it as a challenge and came up with this insanely, stupidly delicious “cake.”

So, what  do these ingredients have in common? Well, they make a wicked tasty cake. Duh.

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Let’s go layer by layer, shall we? Layer one is a mixture of oats, almonds, dates, and maple syrup, all ground down to a granola bar consistency. Layer two (this one is the real surprise winner) is chocolate avocado mousse. What?! Avocado mousse?! YES. Totally amazing and weird. And finally, layer 3 (this is where I get lazy) is my favorite vegan ice cream from Molly Moon’s here in Seattle, vegan coconut chunk. Oh, I should also mention that between each layer is a very thin layer of coconut shreds. Mmmmmmmm….

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So, to make this baby, let’s also go layer by layer by layer.

Layer 1:

1 cup oats (gluten-free)

1 cup almonds

5 soaked dates, pitted (soaked at least 3 hours)

2-3 Tablespoons of maple syrup

Layer 2:

1 avocado, very ripe

4 Tbsp raw cacao powder

5 soaked dates, pitted (as above)

2 Tbsp maple syrup

Layer 3: 

Your favorite vegan ice cream, softened to an easily spreadable texture

To make, find either a cake pan or I just used a parchment-lined pyrex dish. Start by combining all ingredients for layer one in a food processor or magic bullet until you can easily mold the mixture into a ball and have it stick together. Press it into the bottom of the parchment-lined dish. Place in freezer and freeze for 1-2 hours, until hard.

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Sprinkle layer 1 with shredded coconut. Now, in a food processor or magic bullet, combine all ingredients for layer 2. Evenly spread across layer 1, sprinkle with coconut shreds, and freeze for 1-2 hours.

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For layer 3, taken softened ice cream and spread over layer 2 (make sure layer 2 is fully frozen!). Freeze for another 1-3 hours and serve! Keeps well in freezer, but I won’t lie, it nearly didn’t make it past day 2 in our house.  Enjoy! 🙂

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