Red Vegetable Quinoa

This simple little dish turned out fantastic with very little effort and fanfare, largely thanks to excellent spices from Havat Derech HaTavlinim in Bet Lechem HaGlilit, my favorite spice shop, but you can obtain these at Middle Eastern markets and online. The combination of these red and purple spices with a lot of red vegetables yields something very special with a sweet flavor profile. An ideal Instant Pot recipe but this is easy to make in a lidded saucepan – it’ll just take a few more minutes.

  • 1/2 white onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon baharat
  • 1/2 tablespoon sumac
  • 3 big carrots, grated
  • 1 little tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 little beet, finely chopped (I used a precooked beet from lovebeets)
  • 1 cup quinoa (I used tricolor, but would’ve used white quinoa if I had any)
  • 1 cup water

Set the InstantPot to “sauté,” heat it up, and then pop in the onion and garlic. Cook for about five minutes or until beginning to be golden. Then, add the spices, carrots, tomato, and beets. Continue cooking for about five more minutes. Turn off the sauté function and add the quinoa and the water. Mix well, close the lid, and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high temperature for 11 minutes. When it is done, let it sit for about five minutes before depressurizing.

Thai-Inspired Cauliflower Salad

It feels a bit frivolous to post about food while all this (imagine an expansive, all-inclusive gesture accompanying the word “this”) is going on, but everyone’s gotta eat, and if you’re thinking of lunch, why not have this fantastic salad? It comes together quickly and easily and is a vegan version of the Thai Larb salad. This recipe is a modification of Oz Telem’s recipe from his wonderful Cauliflower book.

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 big handful each of: cilantro, parsley, green onion, basil, finely chopped
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tamari or nama shoyu
  • optional: 1 tbsp vegan bacon (tempeh, eggplant, whatever you have on hand), finely chopped.

Cut cauliflower into florets, then place in food processor. Process to couscous consistency. Mix in a bowl with herbs. Add lime, garlic, ginger, and nama shoyu, and if you have it, some of the vegan bacon.

Corn and Bean Salad

While some of us have cooked for our families for a long time, others are only now learning to cook, and the abundance of fancy, complicated recipes can be daunting. It’s also hard to hunt for expensive ingredients. Here’s something that can easily be made with fresh, canned, or frozen ingredients; it’s a particularly convenient dish in my part of the world, because our neighborhood grocers are well-stocked in inexpensive produce.

You’ll need exactly five ingredients: corn, red or black beans, onion, cilantro, and lime. If the corn is fresh, you can get it off the cob with a sharp knife and leave it raw in the salad. If it’s frozen, defrost it but don’t cook it for long. The beans can be cooked from dried or canned (either way, rinse them well and let them cool a bit before assembling.) The onion and cilantro have to be fresh, and the lime juice tastes great fresh but you can use bottled unsweetened lemon or lime juice in a pinch. Be sure to mince the onions very finely and add considerably less onion, volume-wise, than corn and beans.

Serve with raw fresh vegetables, if you have any on hand; I like this with steamed broccoli florets on the side, which you can slather in this amazing sauce.

Two Salads, One Sauce

Two salad images

With grocery trips getting stressful and fraught, we all try to play ingredient Tetris with whatever we have at home. Our vegetable inventory has dwindled, and even though we have a delivery coming from our friends at Albert & Eve on Tuesday, a shopping trip soon seems inevitable.

In the meantime, I’m doing some fridge archaeology, finding some cool things in jars and some nice frozen vegetables to use. Some of what I found was disturbing and unidentifiable to the point that it reminded me of the great Faith Petric’s When Did We Have Sauerkraut? but some was useful. It’s a good exercise to see how I can optimally use my leftovers to feed my family tasty and nutritious meals. It helps to have the magical Nama Shoyu Ginger Sauce on hand–instant salad joy.

The salad on the right was made on Friday, when we were a bit more flush on ingredients. The main ingredient is a packet of frozen peas. To that I added leftover quinoa, leftover Brussel sprouts, radishes, tomatoes, some herbs, spring onions (I dig the green parts), and mushrooms.

By the time this morning rolled in, things were a bit tighter, so I used cannellini beans, celery, tomatoes, celery, olives from a jar (shudder! they are horrible! I hope the sauce masks their awfulness), and the white part of the spring onion.

We’re so lucky to have even the ingredients we have! Vegetable drawer is empty now, but we still have oranges in a basket and dry grains and beans in the pantry. How’s your food Tetris going?

Nama Shoyu Ginger Sauce (and lovely salad)

When we were in Cambridge, MA, in the fall, one of our favorite places to eat was a joyous hippie joint on Massachusettes Avenue called Life Alive. I loved everything they served–the thoughtfully planned bowls, their amazing miso soup with mushrooms, and their excellent juices and smoothies. What made everything better was that they slathered several of their dishes with an unbelievably tasty sauce. One of my major projects was to try and recreate that sauce in my own kitchen. Thankfully, many people are obsessed with this sauce, and one intrepid food blogger, SarahFit, has the winning formula, so–mission accomplished! Sarah, you have my eternal gratitude. Here it goes:

The salad above consists simply of brown rice noodles (I like this kind, which I ordered in bulk for our household), tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, scallions, cilantro, parsley, and edamame. Cook noodles, rinse with cold water, mix with the vegetables (sliced or shredded to your liking), and slather with a generous amount of the magical sauce.

You can put this sauce on anything: it brightens bowls, asian fusion dishes, roasted vegetables, and even tofu scrambles. Go ahead and double (or quadruple) the recipe. You’re welcome.

International Salad of Intrigue and Mystery

Yesterday we took Río to see the Bay and enjoy the Ferry Building. We were in luck: it was market day and the good folks from Volcano Kimchi were selling! I bought several of their products, and used two – the kimchi and the fermented burdock “noodles” – in this successful salad.

2 cups baby spinach
1/2 avocado, cubed
1/2 mango (ripe or unripe), cubed
big handful of minced green onion
150 gr tofu, extra firm, flavored or unflavored
1 large or 2 small zucchini, cut into thin matchsticks
1 package fermented burdock “noodles”
100 gr soba noodles, cooked according to instructions and rinsed in cold water
1/2 cup kimchi of any kind
splash of soy sauce

Mix all ingredients and devour!

Green Goddess Bowl

Across the street from the baby store and community center Natural Resources, where Río and I go for classes and activities and to meet other new parents and babies, is a wonderful little gem of a cafe called Beloved. That place is magical. It’s as if someone came over and asked me, “Hadar, what do you like to eat?” wrote down everything I said, and made that the menu. Everything on offer is plant-based, whole-foods based, and as delicious as it is beautiful. Their juices and smoothies are a marvel, and they even have four versions of what is quickly turning into my favorite breakfast: The smoothie bowl (yes, I’ve enthusiastically joined the fad.)

The principle is rather simple–a thick smoothie, in a bowl, with exciting toppings. I think I’ve managed to recreate one of my favorite Beloved recipes, which I offer here for your enjoyment.

For the smoothie

1 pear
3/4 small avocado, or 1/2 a big one
2 cups raw spinach
1/2 small lemon or lime (with the peel!)
1 tsp spirulina
2 medjool dates, pitted
small chunk of ginger
1 cup coconut water

For the toppings
fruit, berries
dried berries and fruit (goji berries look pretty against the green, as do goldenberries)
seeds: hemp, flax, chia
granola or muesli
fancy nuts

Preparation is very easy: throw all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth (the lemon can be blended with the peel!). Then, pour into a bowl, leaving some room at the top. Then, get creative with the toppings! You can do rows, circles, whatever you like. Then EAT!

Fresh Salad with Green Beans, Chickpeas, and Macadamia Cheeses

This salad turned out wonderful thanks to its high-quality components: mixed supergreens, pea shoots, cucumber, radish, chickpeas, lightly steamed green beans, and some of the macadamia cheese from a few days ago. Simply dressed with a few drops of balsamic vinegar, it tasted like something you’d expect to find at a French bistro.


Kale, Squash and Lima Salad with Amazing Green Dressing

After seeing a vegan Green Goddess dressing recipe on the Oh She Glows blog, I was determined to make something fantastic to put it on. I didn’t have all the ingredients for the dressing on hand, so I substituted ingredients from our backyard. It came out lovely! You’ll have a lot of leftover dressing, which you can have on other salads, grains, beans… it’s so delicious it makes anything into a feast.

For the salad:
1 large bunch dino kale
1/2 large, or 1 small, butternut squash, cubed
2 cups cooked (or canned) large white lima beans

For the dressing:
2 cloves garlic
2 ripe avocados
juice from 4 lemons
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 big handful green onions
1 big handful fresh oregano
1 big handful mint or catnip
water to taste

Place all ingredients for the dressing in food processor and process until smooth. Add water until it reaches desired consistency (pourable but viscous).

Remove stems from kale leaves and massage leaves in a large bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of the dressing and mix well to coat. Add squash and beans and lightly toss. Enjoy!

Crunchy Salad of Beauty

Look at this salad! There’s a little bit of everything: crunchiness, tartness, nice colors. It’s crunchy and happy. It’s very easy to make, and comes out especially pretty if you have a spiralizer.

1 small cabbage or 1/3 big one, roughly chopped (wider ribbons than you’d make for slaw)
1 big rainbow radish or several small ones, thinly sliced or spiralized
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced or spiralized
1 small orange, sectioned and cut into bite-size slices
juice from 2 lemons
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp mustard seeds

Mix and enjoy!