Archive for Salads

Mandarin Coconut Dressing Over Spring Salad

Mandarin Coconut Dressing

Let me tell you about a fabulous little discovery, which is totally not news to some of you. I discovered coconut flour!!! Yes!!!

Coconut flour is something that I heard about long time ago. The seed was planted and then I just had to buy some. And there it sat…. waiting in my pantry… waiting… and waiting. I didn’t really know what to do with it. I figured I would get around to it. Well. Let me tell you. Now that I have, this stuff is amazing!

There are not many things I eat these days that don’t make me stop and think… “what is this doing for me?” “What are the benefits?”. With coconut flour, you get a low carb, gluten free, fiber packed, low glycemic protein boost… along with lauric acid – an immune booster. Coconut flour is simply coconut meat, dried and ground into flour form! A little goes a long way, as it soaks up moisture quickly and expands. There is a texture that is notable. You can’t ignore it, but I like it! You’ll adjust. Just be careful. Sometimes it can be a bit dry. There are ways to get around that.

Check out this fantastic page over at Nuts.com because there you can find out more information about coconut flour and have it delivered right to your front door!

There are many ways to try coconut flour, you can bake with it, thicken sauces, bind foods and so on.  Do the research upon baking as it does act different than other flours.

Oh! Let me share something that will rock your vegan gluten free coconut flour baking world! Forget the eggs! So many coconut flour recipes call for lots and lots of eggs (just stab me in the heart… that’s easier to handle) due the dry nature of the flour. Two words – AQUAFABA BABY! If you don’t know what aquafaba is, I suggest you Google it. It’s the vegan miracle of 2015! Egg replacer extraordinaire. Ah the creativity of the vegan kitchen. Love it!

Right now, there are a few things I like to do with coconut flour. I add a small amount to my green smoothie to thicken and add bulk. The extra fiber keeps me fuller longer. I bind protein bites and bars with coconut flour and I also made an amazing two ingredient coconut pudding that my family went crazy for the other night. It took all of 3 minutes to make. I decided that it should be my next post since I’m on a coconut kick. It’s so simple that it almost feels silly to post about it, but just wait. It changed my life last week ;) It could change yours too.

Let’s talk about salads and how I incorporated coconut flour for a healthy boost. Being that Spring is here, my salads are changing with the season. I like my salads lighter, fruitier and sweeter this time of year. I always prefer no oil dressing and I usually, most often times, make my own. It’s too EASY with a Vitamix!

Right now, we have Mandarin oranges coming out the Wazoo! Don’t you? Take advantage of these while you can. I am pretty happy that my son loves these mandarins because I couldn’t get a steady flow of vitamin C into this kid to save my life. He is quite picky. Or, he just likes to give me a hard time.

mandarin orange

Mandarin orange slices

I decided to make myself a quick dressing using a few of these mandarins along with white balsamic, that like the coconut flour, has also been sitting in my pantry… just waiting.

This turned out fantastic! Use more or less coconut flour depending on your consistency preference. Creamy is relative, because I wouldn’t call this smooooth creamy… I would call this a textured creamy. But I know what it’s doing for me and it tastes great to boot!

This is a recipe for about one to three servings. For every 2 tablespoons of coconut flour you get 5 grams of fiber, 8 carbs and 2 grams of protein, 2 grams fat. Coconut flour is also high in Iron. For 2 tablespoons it’s 10% of the daily value. I see why athletes are going crazy for coconut flour.

Mandarin Coconut Dressing

 Mandarin Coconut Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 Mandarin Oranges
  • 1/4 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Coconut Flour (start with 1 Tbs. I used 2, but think most people would prefer 1 to 1 + 1/2)
  • 1 Tablespoon Agave or  1/2 Tablespoon of Agave 5
  • Dash of Sea Salt

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. Blend on high until smooth. Adjust salt and consistency.

Spring Salad

Ingredients

  • A few handfuls of Power Greens such as a blend of Baby Spinach, Baby Kale, Red and Green Chard
  • Chickpeas
  • Pistachios
  • Fresh Raspberries
  • Cooked and Cooled Red Quinoa
  • Favorite type of Sprouts

Directions

Toss the above ingredients in the desired quantity and top with fresh made Mandarin Coconut Dressing!

Enjoy!

Please share your Spring salad and dressing ideas with me. I’d love to hear them!

Christa

~The Karmatarian

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Spinach Pesto Portobellos with Cranberry and Mint Quinoa Salad

Spinach Pesto Mushroom with Cranberry Mint Quinoa Salad

Alright, Alright…. I know you are tired of seeing that Turkey rescue post every time you come to my blog. My friends, you have spoken, I have heard you… and I am back. Yes, I ditched this blog. For many reasons. I really didn’t intend for that to happen, but it did. I will fill you in about the soul searching journey I have been on this year so far, and my new take on veganism. That’s for my next post. Right now, let’s eat…

Spinach pesto portobello mushrooms with cranberry and mint quinoa salad. This was our delicious dinner yesterday! I threw this together pretty fast. Don’t you just love when that happens!? I really liked this combo. Try it and be sure to let me know what you think.

I haven’t made portobello pizzas in a long time. I usually like them with red sauce as in my other mushroom pizza recipe on the blog. I tend not to do pesto too often because of the large amount of basil needed.  Basil costs a lot it seems, and it goes bad quickly for me. Maybe it’s just me? I don’t buy it too often. I prefer to grow it, but I don’t have any right now. I always have a huge tub of fresh spinach on hand, so I thought I would try a spinach pesto. This one is not fat free, it contains olive oil.

Before I share the recipe, let me tell you where I’m at with oil right now. The cleaner I eat, the more obvious it is that my body doesn’t like certain oils. Canola, Sunflower and Safflower oil for sure. I can feel the inflammation take hold. Gee, I wonder… could it be all the GMOs and the fact that I’ve eaten it my whole life? Manufacturers put in in EVERYTHING!! No more of that! I read all labels now and avoid canola and sunflower as best I can. I made a commitment a while back to cook whole foods plant based style, and that is… little salt, no sugar and no oil, nothing processed. I do this 4 nights per week. I have been doing this steadily for about a year and a half now. The other few days of the week I like to have fun. There might be a little oil, or lightly processed vegan foods combined with whole foods. These recipes happen to be more fun to post. Anyone can pick up a Forks Over Knives cook book. This is my go-to book! I’ll admit, it was intimidating at first, with few pictures, but now I just usually open the book and wherever I land, that is what I will try. Who said I’m not adventuresome?

If I do use oil, I prefer olive, grape seed or coconut oil. If I want to do a fat free pesto, I use veggie broth, tofu, water or soaked nuts in place of the oil.  The mixture just needs something to wet it down a touch in the food processor. I have to get dinner on the table every night. I do balance out the oil/no oil/ fat/no fat recipes over the course of a week. I definitely have a family with differing needs in the calorie department. The oil of course, helps to make this dish rich and creamy. It sure makes it good and we enjoyed it!

Here are the recipes…

Spinach Pest Portobellos

Spinach Pesto Portobellos

Ingredients

  • 5 Portobello Mushroom Caps (I used 2 very large and 3 medium/small)
  • 5 Cups Fresh Spinach Leaves, packed
  • 1/4 Cup Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Organic Olive Oil
  • 4 Small Garlic Cloves (I don’t know what they are doing to garlic these days but the cloves are HUGE. Have you noticed?)
  • 1/4 -1/2 tsp Salt, or to taste (I used 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tsp of Lemon Basil dried herbs or just plain dried basil. If you have a little fresh basil on hand, use that
  • Lemon Juice – Half Lemon, Squeezed
  • Squirt of Agave (Optional. I did this because mine was a bit too salty. Be careful with your salt.)

Directions

Add all of the ingredients (except the portobellos of course) in the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry the mushroom caps and remove the center stem. Fill the mushrooms with pesto sauce and place them in a glass baking dish (non greased). Bake for 25 minutes until the juices of the mushroom start to run. Let cool slightly to set, before cutting.

Cranberry and Mint Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Tri-Color Quinoa, cooked according to package directions, and cooled or cooled mostly
  • Lime Juice – 1 Lime, Squeezed
  • 1/2 – 1 Whole Lime Zested (start with 1/2 and adjust to taste)
  • 2 tsp Agave
  • 1-2 Tbs Orange Champagne Vinegar (or a little orange juice plus more lemon juice and a dash of apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Mint
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 2 Scallions, Chopped ( I included the whites. Why not?)
  • Handful or 2 of Chopped Dried Cranberries

Directions

Mix all of the ingredients together and toss. Taste and adjust.

Enjoy!

~ The Karmatarian

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Carrot Miso Dressing

Carrot Miso Dressing

What is going on in Facebook land lately? Have you noticed your friends sharing random recipes on the news feed in order to save them? I’m seeing this from at least a dozen friends. This wouldn’t disappoint me so much if they were healthy and appealing… but they are so called ‘comfort’ foods. Sure… so comforting that you can lay yourself to rest in a cozy casket much sooner than later. I know not everyone eats the way I do, but what happened to the healthier middle of the road recipes? It seems that everything is extreme lately and it’s either Kale or Bacon. I’m going with Kale.

Hale to the Kale!

Btw… Saving recipes… isn’t this what Pinterest is for?

Being that I don’t want to hide my friends (I happen to like them), the good news is that this may finally break me of my personal Facebook habit (fingers crossed). It’s been sucking the life right out of me for too long, and now, it’s gotten down right depressing. Why dear God, is the world moving backwards?

For the rest of us moving forward, I want to share a delicious, whole food, healthy and oil free dressing to enjoy with your kale.

This came about because I am ADDICTED to kale right now. I finally found a fun way to eat it. Sure, I add it to recipes and smoothies and make kale chips but salads usually don’t appeal to me because of the bitterness. Even when it’s rubbed with lemon juice and salt, it still doesn’t work for me (at least right now, but who knows?). All I do know is that because of this new found process, I am drawn more to kale. Kale, kale, kale!

Here is what I do… I take a skillet and fill it with purified water, just to cover the bottom of the pan. No more. Set it on the stove and turn the burner on high. I rip the kale into bite size pieces and wash it while the water starts to boil. I add the kale, cover it, turn the burner down a bit and set the timer for 2 minutes. I check it before the time is up because most of the time it is done. I drain the little water out and VOILA… Steam-boiled kale with no bitter taste! And fast!

I got the idea from the Forks Over Knives handbook. Oh, let me tell you, the recipe for kale with miraculous walnut sauce is MIRACULOUS indeed!  I can eat it Every. Single. Day. I don’t want to abuse a good thing, so I came up with a similar dressing that packs in carrots and miso… two things which I try to incorporate more of into my diet. Walnuts are not to over-do if you are overcoming heart disease or cancer, so keep that in mind. In that case you would want as low fat of a diet as possible. But walnuts are definitely a super-food that you want to eat. You will also need a powerful blender in order to make this happen for you. Sorry, it’s just the way it is.

Health benefits of this dressing FAR outweigh that cute sour cream, butter, milk, cheese and ham filled muffin cup on your Facebook news feed. There’s no comparison really.

Carrots when sliced, interestingly look like eyes.. and they just so happen to benefit the eyes but also the skin too. They protect us from disease and boost immunity. Carrots are also anti-aging whereas that bacon cup will age you just looking at it!

Miso is a fermented food which helps to establish good digestive bacteria and boost immunity. It is a complete protein and has high quality B12. It aids in digestion and protects us against radiation. It’s also anti-aging.

Sounds good so far, huh?

Walnuts are shaped like little brains for a reason – they contain high levels of DHA to help improve brain health. A super antioxidant rich food that is a high quality protein. Walnuts are considered the king of nuts and we really benefit by adding a small handful into our diet daily.

My healthy carrot miso dressing is fast and easy and depending on the amount of water you add, you could keep it on the thicker side and use it as a veggie dip. It’s not overpowering in flavor perhaps a little on the milder side. Add more miso if you prefer.

Update 6/13~ I just made this again with extra miso aaaand a little champagne vinegar which was a nice addition.

Carrot Miso Dressing

Carrot Miso Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 large Carrot, washed but not peeled
  • 1 large handful of Walnuts
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 2 teaspoons of Mellow White Miso
  • 1/4 Cup Water

Directions

Place all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth. Add more or less water depending on your preference.

Enjoy,

~The Karmatarian

Question – What are some fun ways that you add more kale, carrots, walnuts or miso into your life? 

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Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

There are a million vegan egg salad recipes out there! I have tried a few, and I thought I had it figured out. Then one day, I combined a few different recipes along with a twist of my own and came up with what I think is the perfect vegan egg salad. I really enjoy this and I know you will, too.

I don’t fear a little tofu

If you don’t already know… Organic tofu is alright with me.  Ever since going plant-based and focusing on whole foods versus processed foods, I don’t fear soy. I am in control of how much soy comes into my life. I make my own meals and rarely eat out. If I were still consuming mostly a standard American Diet and still eating soy and tofu along with all of that soy lecithin and soy oil and soy fed animals, etc… I would be worried about it.

Soy is a highly genetically modified food, I believe somewhere around 90% of the crops are GMO. You have to be very careful. Only choose organic tofu from a good responsible brand you recognize or research.

Another reason that I don’t fear tofu or fermented soy is knowing that Dr. T. Colin Campbell can turn his cancer patients around on a plant-based diet that has some tofu and whole food/fermented soy involved. So why be so afraid? It certainly helps add fun to the vegan diet. Btw, I am not talking soy protein isolate here.

I remember a great interview I watched with Dr. Christine Horner talking with Dr. Mercola, and she really explained breast cancer and estrogen and the difference between plant estrogen and the evil estrogen that actually contributes to breast cancer. It is eye opening and nice to relieve the fear. You can watch the video or read the article here.

Here she talks about flax and soy falls into the phytoestrogen category as well:

“I hear from patients, “Oh! My oncologist told me not to take flaxseeds, because they’re estrogenic,”” Dr. Horner says.”They don’t understand how plant estrogens or “phytoestrogens” work.

There are all sorts of different strengths to estrogens. Let’s say estradiol, which is the strongest, most abundant form– if it hooks on to the estrogen receptor, it may cause a thousand cell divisions. But if a plant estrogen hooks on, it may cause one. When you flood your system with these plant estrogens, I’d say it’s kind of like a game of musical chairs. There are only certain numbers of receptors, and whoever gets their first, gets it. They’re blocking the strong estrogens from getting on, so that’s why it has an inhibitory effect.”

~ Dr. Christine Horner

If you read that article – Just for the record – I don’t agree with Dr. Mercola about eating grass fed beef. Grass fed, organic or pampered like a family member before slaughter… Meat has No fiber, No disease fighting phytochemicals and is still too high in calories and fat and lowest in nutrients compared to other foods, so why bother? Not to mention, all cows headed for consumption have to stand in this line.  Why tap into fear and anxiety energy? By consuming it, we become it.

Fiber

It’s one of those things I always thought only old people had to worry about. Little did I know fiber is SO damn important for all of us at any and every age. It helps to rid the body of toxins and excess hormones as well as help with weight management.  I choose not to get excess hormones from dairy. Yes, even organic and raw milk has natural growth hormones. A lot of them!  Being that I have less hormones to remove from my system, I don’t see soy as a big threat.

I have realized that beef and meat Agri-giants have something to do with a lot if not most of the negative studies that come out against soy. They have the money to fund ’em and push the ones that have miniscule findings against their end goal. They make money when you eat more beef, not more soy. If you eat all the soy, what in the world will they feed their cows and chickens? Oh my!

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Let’s get back to the recipe!

A few things to note… I tried fresh lemon juice and zest in this and it’s OK… I don’t like lemony egg salad. If you love lemon and have to add it,  just add a touch to bring out flavor, but I think you will find this is flavorful enough on it’s own.

I also ran out of regular Dijon this last time and used whole grain Dijon. Wow! It really added quite a spicy kick. It was good though!! If you like that sort of thing, great.. if not pay attention to your Dijon and maybe add less to start, even with the regular Dijon. This is where the dash of agave came to play… it cuts the spice and rounds things out. I prefer it in the recipe.

Instead of using vegan mayo to mix things up… my special twist that makes this so creamy and hearty is cashew cream. When I have it on hand, I remember to make this salad. I love cashew cream for topping so many things, from baked sweet potatoes, to burritos, to chili… I used to use Tofutti but I rarely ever do now that I make cashew cream. I even use this as a sandwich/wrap spread from time to time. I love it more than vegan mayo that I usually make, as I can cut back on the soy/ tofu and enjoy it other places… such as in this egg salad!

Black Sea Salt – You have to have this on hand to make “egg” dishes taste egg like. I use The Spice Lab brand.

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 – 12 oz Package of Organic Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 Cup Carrot, grated
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, diced very small
  • 3 Stalks of Celery, diced very small
  • 2 Tbs Sliced Almonds (2 heaping Tbs)
  • 2 Tbs Chives or Green Onion, chopped small
  • 2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Agave
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp or more of Black Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Cup, (plus 1 or 2  if needed) Tbs Cashew Cream (See Below)

Directions

Drain the Tofu while preparing the other ingredients. Line a plate with paper towels, place tofu on top and cover with the paper towels. I like to put a clean kitchen towel on top at this point. Place something heavy on top of everything so that the weight pushes the liquid out of the tofu. I like to use a stack of  large heavy plates. You can also buy a tofu press. I really need to order one!

Place all of the ingredients in to a medium sized bowl and crumble in the drained tofu while squeezing out any excess liquid that remains. Mix and fold all ingredients with a spatula until well blended and evenly colored (turmeric).

Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Refrigerate to chill and incorporate the flavors.

Cashew Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 + 1/4 Cup Cashews
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp Curry Powder ( I don’t always add this, but lately I have. More flavor!)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan Sea Salt (Pink Salt)
  •  Favorite Non Dairy Milk or Filtered Water

Directions

Soak the Cashews in purified water for 2 hours + or overnight. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and place them in your high speed blender or Vitamix along with the other ingredients except for the milk or water. Blend until creamy. Use the non dairy milk or filtered water a little at a time to adjust the dressing to your preferred consistency. Adjust the seasonings and it’s ready. Also note that it will thicken a bit when refrigerated.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Teese-e Caprese Salad

As far as rules go. There are none. We only place rules upon ourselves when it comes to choosing “vegan”. We shouldn’t let others define us. Do what is in your heart as you become more educated about what or ‘who’ is on the end of your fork. What is comfortable for you? Do you jump in to a plant-based diet or make an easy transition? First you have to Un-learn all you have in order to Re-learn a new way of living. Give yourself time. Set yourself up for success. Everyone is spiritually expanding at different times. Welcome to wherever you are! Just do yourself a favor and keep seeking growth and expansion. Desire to be the example you wish to see in the world. And then be it. Unless of course, you don’t give a crap.

As I struggled through the ups and downs about what choosing vegan means to me, in the end I realize that we make up our own definition.  I make my own choices despite the influence of many opinionated vegans out there. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand why they have that opinion. But I am not perfect. I transitioned slowly and when I still ate animals, I felt that I was still a compassionate person who eventually would get to a greater place where my ethics and taste buds would finally align. Now it feels truly amazing to be in that place. I feel genuinely compassionate. I have a deep sense of release from guilt and moral schizophrenia having to do with our animal ‘friends’. I didn’t let someone else’s opinion of how or what I should do take away the satisfaction of achieving my goal. I did it! And in my own time.

I do what feels right for me and my soul and my soul’s growth for wherever I am on this journey. But I am one to think about it. Not a lot of people do. It’s about expansion. I always strive for more. Learn more, grow more. I am a spiritual seeker. And I’m real with myself. I do walk the path less traveled as do other vegans, raw foodists and spiritual seekers and it isn’t all that easy, let me tell you. The beautiful thing is that my character has really grown and strengthened due to the contrast I have been faced with as I have been choosing a vegan diet. Funny isn’t it? Choosing a kinder way and there’s an opposition felt from friends and family as you show nothing less than strength to do what they only wish they could.  But I don’t judge. I will educate and be the light. Show people how much better it is… over here. I’ll be the example I wish to see in the world and I will get in that kitchen, and serve them up something yummy!

All these deep thoughts stemmed from a conversational thread on Facebook today. I meant to start this blog post with something like “what the hell are you going to do with all of those juicy little tomatoes you have growing in the garden?” So on that note… I have an entire counter filled with tomatoes that I just picked from my garden and basil coming out my wazoo! So I threw together a vegan Caprese salad like I made for my Son’s birthday party a few weeks back. Great as a side dish to say, what I had tonight- Gardein Chick ‘n Scallopini over quinoa with fresh asparagus.

This was a salad I thought was a goner until I found the ‘cheese’ I was looking for that could be sliced and eaten like a regular hunk of mozzarella. It tastes a little different,  because it is different. Still no complaints from my party goers who helped eat the whole bowl. 

Teese-e Caprese Salad

Ingredients

2 Cups of Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1 Cup fresh Basil Leaves

1 Garlic Clove, minced

1 10 oz package of Teese brand mozzarella vegan cheese using 2/3 package, diced into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 – 1 Whole Lemon, juiced (depending on your preference)

1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Himalayan Sea Salt and Pepper to taste… I use about a 1/2 tsp of sea salt and 1/8 tsp or so pepper

*Note Teese vegan cheese is gluten free!

Directions

Toss sliced tomatoes and minced garlic in a bowl. Stack basil leaves, roll and thinly slice across the roll. Add basil and the cubed Teese cheese to the tomatoes and garlic and toss lightly. In another bowl add freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil, whisk until well blended. Add Salt and pepper to taste. Add dressing to the salad and toss lightly. Taste and adjust flavor if necessary and serve.

Enjoy,

The Karmatarian~

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Maureen’s Mango Avocado Salad

So the story of Maureen’s mango avocado salad is three-fold… 

First, I just threw my son a birthday party. He turned 4! I can’t even believe how time flies. I really wanted it to be a party for me though. A celebration that mommy made it this far with my sanity still in tact! Had I remembered how much work a party is, I may have just packed us up and went on a fun trip (for the price) instead! Mommy didn’t  get to do much celebrating, she was hard at work in the kitchen! Do you know how hard it is to find a healthy gourmet caterer in the burbs of Chicago let alone anyone prepping vegan dishes? There’s a niche there just waiting to be discovered. I don’t think it’s for me though.

I wanted my guests to enjoy great food that is healthy and kind all at the same time.  So if you want anything done right, sometimes you have to do it yourself. I made it happen! Everyone loved the food. Kids included. They also had a blast with the batman theme and bounce house. When the party wound down, who do you think was in that bounce house getting her money’s worth and bounce on? That’s right. Mommy. That was a fun stress relief that I highly recommend. I am thinking some fitness classes need to be catered to grown-ups while in a bounce house. That could be fun!?!

I would love to show you more pics of the party and food. Visit me at my Karmatarian Facebook page. Please “like” me and check out a few photos! You can bet that this mango avocado salad was on the kitchen island along with some other yummy apps. When I was in search of another dish to serve, I thought of my amazing client and friend Maureen!

Fun story of how I met Maureen. Back when I worked at Emmett Rode Salon in Lincoln park, I was new there and trying to build my clientele. I plastered flyers all over that town. I hated doing it too. I went far and wide and put some on the back board at Karyn’s raw cafe. That’s how I met Maureen. She was interested in the organic hair color line that I use and took her chances and called me up. Any marketing person knows the feedback you get from a flyer. It’s like 1% or something ridiculous.  I don’t know why I bothered? No, I take that back. I got an amazing friend out of it! Who would have know that Maureen and I would hit it off so well and have tons of fun at our hair sessions every few weeks since!? Every time I see Maureen she hooks me up with the most amazing raw food! She makes wonderful green smoothies for us and our conversations are so much fun and in depth. I appreciate you Maureen! You are the best!

Maureen has been raving about this salad since I met her. She makes it for so many parties and occasions that she deserves the title. She didn’t make this one up though. I will get to that in a sec. Anyway, she swears people just devour this. I often wondered about it and it was on my “list” to try and then she served it to me a few weeks ago! OMG. She was not kidding! Something about this salad. It’s a refreshing change and very flavorful. A must try!

Maureen has a great hook-up herself. This is my third part to the story. Maureen has a really great friend named Linda who is a fabulous Raw food Chef! Hence, where all of Maureen’s raw food comes from that she in turn shares with me when I visit. Can you say… Lucky! Although I don’t know Linda personally, I feel like I do. She sounds like such a cool person. Linda owns Green Spirit – healthy living Please check out her great website! Linda offers home delivered raw food packages that are very reasonable. She has classes where you can learn how to create raw food for yourself and there are a lot of recipes on her website too. If she only wasn’t so far away from where I live, I would be there bugging her all the time! I do plan on taking a few of her classes in the near future and giving you a much more in depth review of Green Spirit! I love that places like this exist! Thank you Linda! Your food is amazing!!! This I know, because I have tried so many of your different dishes. Each one full of flavor and presented beautifully! So. A long story short. This recipe for Mango Avocado salad is originally from the famous Linda!  Please try it out for yourself and please check out Green Spirit if you are in or near the  North Chicago area! You will love the food!!!

Well here it is… The Famous Mango Avocado Salad!

You’ll Need

3 Mangoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes

3 Avocados, diced into 1/2 inch cubes

1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 bunch Cilantro, Chopped

1/4 Cup Sesame Oil

3 Tbs Lime Juice

1 1/2 TBS White Sesame Seeds

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

2 Serrano Chiles, minced (remove the seeds which are the hottest part)

Directions

Combine all ingredients and toss gently. Serve immediately.

Note* I have also tasted this recipe with just a small amount of diced (very tiny) red bell pepper. Maybe a tablespoon, possibly more. It’s great for added color. I had enough red colors running through my party theme as far as food goes, so I chose to leave out the red pepper!

Enjoy,

The Karmatarian~

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Goddess Salad

Originally I wanted to call this, Pea-Carrot-Eyeball Salad. But I refrained. Vegan of course, but no measurements. I just eyeballed this.  Really, it had nothing to do with the fact that carrots contain carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A by the liver and just so happens to be great for our eyeballs.

I’ve been thinking about posting some easier recipes on the blog, stuff I just throw together to give a few more ideas as to what the hell a vegan eats. So here is one that’s super easy. I completely took the idea and adapted it just a touch, and really just a touch, from Trader Joe’s. I do shop there, I do… I should just work for the company for all the things I post!

When I made this, I turned it into a full meal by adding cubed marinated tofu which I got from… you guessed it, Trader Joe’s. I used their organic baked Teryaki Tofu. Voila! A cool dinner on a hot summer night. It was very good. But you don’t necessarily need to do that.

This is a terrific side salad to serve in any season, to anyone and everyone, not just vegans.

Note: Carrots are rich in sodium, sulphur, chlorine and contain traces of iodine. The mineral content in carrots lie very close to the skin.  So think twice before peeling!

Carrot greens can be eaten and are high in vitamin K,  which is lacking in the carrot itself.

Goddess Salad

What you’ll need

2 Large Carrots… or so

About 1 Cup Frozen Organic Sweet Peas, Thawed

Handful of Raisins

About 1/2 Cup or so Sliced or Slivered Almonds. *If you would like to substitute for the nuts, use Sunflower Seeds.

Trader Joe’s Goddess Dressing, to taste. Or you can use Annie’s brand Goddess Dressing.

Agave Nectar, to taste

Directions

Using a food processor, shred the carrots. Add carrots, peas, almonds and some raisins to a bowl and mix well. Add Goddess Dressing. Mix well. Taste. Add a little agave. Mix. Taste. Add more agave if needed.

Enjoy,

The Karmatarian~

Read more about carrot nutrition

and more

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Audrey’s Awesome Bean Salad with Roasted Corn

Beans beans a magical fruit…. make’s your hiney go toot toot toot. I can’t believe I just said that! Butt… I am happy to report that I have no problem with beans, digestively speaking. Dr. Oz was right. Our bodies get used to them. The more fiber you incorporate into your diet the better! I remember in times past, passing up a bean dish or two because I would foresee discomfort in my future. Now I look at a beans and say, bring ’em on! I welcome the beneficial protein with fiber. I love this vegan journey!

Let’s talk legumes, shall we?  Folate. Managese. Iron. Copper. Magnesium. Potassium. Vitamin K. Antioxidants. Phytochemicals. Protein. A wonderful replacement for protein other than from animals.  Fiber. One major thing meat is missing. Beans have fiber and water which keep you feeling fuller so you don’t over eat which means a slimmer waistline. What’s not to love?!

So who the Hell is Audrey, you ask? Audrey Tunis is a talented and fabulous makeup artist and owner of Chicago makeup and hair professionals. I am lucky enough to work as a freelance artist for her company this wedding season. This is keeping me very busy along with doing my own thing. I also work with other phenomenal teams throughout Chicago. But I am so happy I was connected with Audrey, she is an absolute pleasure to work with. The more I get to know Audrey the more she surprises me with her many talents. Singing, songwriting and cooking are just a few. She’s the most wonderful mommy to her sweet little boy… and she has another on the way!

While hosting a bridal trial at her home she was inspired by having two veggie fanatics, me and the adorable bride-to-be, working up our appetites. She whipped us up some amazing dishes and in turn inspired us! Grilled zucchini and asparagus with some secret spices which were just perfect and this very refreshing bean salad with roasted corn, cucumber and avocado! Trust me on the roasted corn because I tried this using frozen… not quite the same. Still great though. I begged Audrey for this recipe. But not too hard. She’s awfully sweet and very happy to share!


Audrey’s Awesome Bean Salad with Roasted Corn

Ingredients

3 Roasted Ears of Corn, kernels cut away from the cob
1 15 oz can of Red Beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can of Light Red Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium Cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 Sweet Vidalia Onion, chopped
2 small Celery stalks, chopped
2 small Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Diced Avocado for garnish

Dressing

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon of Agave Nectar
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Place all salad ingredients in a serving bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the salad. Toss to coat. Serve with pieces of diced avocado on top. Can be served room temp, or chilled.

*My Note: Because every batch is different, adjust the spices to taste. I used a good amount of Himalayan Sea Salt and extra Agave, both really brought out the flavor. I  was out of red beans. I can usually find dark red and light red kidney beans but didn’t this shopping trip. So I substituted pinto beans. Looks good to me!

Enjoy!

The Karmatarian~

* 2013 Update – I am no longer in the wedding hair business as of this year… just in case you were wondering ;)

You also may like Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad Over Red Quinoa with Cilantro Dressing …boasting beans and all of their nutrition. Or Fast, Friendly & Vegan Big Game Chili

*Further Reading about beans and how to get enough protein in your vegetarian/vegan diet

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Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad Over Red Quinoa with Cilantro Dressing

I made this new dish tonight that was very inspiring! You can enjoy this as an appetizer or main dish. Cinco de Mayo is around the corner, and this dish would be perfect for a party.

This dish was adapted and altered from the back of a Trader Joe’s Organic Red Quinoa box. Thank you Joe! The dressing recipe was altered from a Betty Crocker recipe I found. Thank you Betty! This could be served as a salad or as a main dish like I enjoyed it tonight. The warm red quinoa was amazing. This dish is beautiful, different and deliciously vegan!

Updated on 6/24/13 – to make life easier. I just made this dish again over the weekend and tweaked the measurements and rewrote the directions to make it simpler to follow. I am happy to report, this dish was a hit as usual!

Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad Over Red Quinoa with Cilantro Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Cup Red Quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth (above)
  • 1, 15 oz Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Cups Frozen Sweet Corn Kernels, thawed
  • 1 Avocado, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, finely diced
  • Zest of 1 Lime
  • 1/3 Cup Cilantro, chopped
  • Cilantro Dressing (recipe below)
  • Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Chopped Cilantro for garnish – optional

Directions

Cook quinoa with broth according to package directions.

While quinoa is cooking, combine beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes and onion, lime zest and cilantro. Add the Cilantro dressing (recipe below) and toss gently. Taste, and add sea salt as needed to bring out the flavors. It may not need much more. I added a little over 1 tsp more.

When quinoa is cooked, drizzle with olive oil, mix and spread evenly onto a large platter and top with the bean salad. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired. 

Cilantro Dressing

  • 1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Finely Chopped Cilantro
  • 3 Tbs White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 – 3 tsp Agave Nectar

Place all the above ingredients into a container with tight fitting lid and shake. Taste and adjust.

Let the quinoa cool before topping it if serving as a salad, or top it and eat it warm right away! Mmmmm. Mmm


 

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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