on the menu : asian rainbow slaw


Colorful salads are so much more enticing than a bunch of salad greens piled nonchalantly on a plate, don’t you think?  Home made salads are also guaranteed to be healthier and more economical than ordering one up at even your favorite restaurant.

This salad doesn’t necessarily have any fancy fixings like cellophane noodles or sautéed tofu either – it’s just a few grabs of produce and a well composed dressing.  Simple is always easier and often yields better results!

You could make a slaw out of any of your favorite vegetables, or whatever you have on hand that day.  What I love most about this particular concoction is the dressing.  The lemon and brown rice vinegar in the dressing aesthetically brighten up the colors; especially that of the red cabbage.  These ingredients puréed together with the almond butter and carrots create a naturally sweet and creamy dressing.  Ahh – the joys of a dressing without added artificial ingredients.


  • Salad:
    • Purple Cabbage (1 head)
    • Pear (1)
    • Avocado (1)
    • Edamame Beans (1/2 cup)
    • Black Sesame Seeds (2 tbsp)
    • Salt + Pepper
  • Dressing:
    • Carrots (2)
    • Almond Butter (2 tbsp)
    • Brown Rice Vinegar (1.5 tbsp)
    • Lemon (1/2)
    • Soy Sauce (2 tbsp)
    • Sesame Oil (2 tbsp)
    • Water (2-3 tbsp)


  1. Create the salad by placing all dressing ingredients into a food processor and puréeing until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Finely julienne the red cabbage and place into a large salad bowl.
  3. Leaving the skin on, cut up the pear into thin bite-size slices.  Add to the bowl with the cabbage and toss together.
  4. Slice up the avocado and add to the bowl as well, tossing with the cabbage and pear.  Pour in about 1/3 of the dressing as you toss.  You want to make sure the avocado and pear are coated so they don’t turn brown.
  5. Add the pre-cooked, shelled, and chilled edamame beans to the salad.  Continue to toss all ingredients together.
  6. Add the rest of the dressing, toss in the black sesame seeds, season with salt + pepper as necessary and serve.

on the menu : balsamic marinated tofu over tomato quinoa “risotto”


Throughout the past year of vegetarianism (semi-pescitarianism), I’ve discovered the versatility of many “blank slate” ingredients like tofu.  With tofu, depending on the firmness grade, you can break it down, you can mash it, you can sauté it, you can bake it – why?  Because tofu is so much like a sponge that soaks in whatever flavors are going on around it.

Straying away from the Asian flavor profile, I decided to marinade tofu in balsamic vinegar.  Instead of using regular balsamic vinegar, I opted for creamy balsamic vinegar to keep the acidity at bay.  When you sauté the marinaded tofu, the marinade forms a beautiful crust which is a great textural complement to the quinoa and tomatoes.

The tomato quinoa “risotto” is not laborious like a traditional risotto.  The ingredients and concept is kept purposely simple and as such, creates the perfect foundation to pair with the tofu.  Tomatoes are a fantastic ingredient to emulsify oil because they do so naturally when they break down.  The scallions are a gentle ‘zing’ that create layers of flavor rather than masking them (as garlic or red onion may, for instance).

Above all, this is a great dish for spring.


  • Tomato Quinoa “Risotto”:
    • Heirloom Tomatoes (3)
    • Basil (1/4 cup)
    • Scallions (2 Green Stems)
    • Quinoa (1 cup)
    • Olive Oil
    • Salt + Pepper
  • Balsamic Marinated Tofu:
    • Extra Firm Tofu (12 oz)
    • Creamy Balsamic Vinegar (3 tbsp)
    • Olive Oil
    • Salt


  1. Wrap the tofu in paper towels and microwave on a plate for 1 minute to get some of the moisture out.
  2. Cut up the tofu into thin 1/4-inch slices.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, creamy balsamic, and salt until emulsified.  Add the tofu and allow all of the slices to coat in the marinade.  Let the tofu marinade for a good 20 minutes.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, drizzle in the olive oil.
  5. Finely julienne the basil and add to the bowl.  Finely dice up the green part of the scallions and add to the bowl as well.  Mix together with the basil.
  6. Cut up the tomatoes into bite-size pieces and add to the bowl.  Gently toss together with the oil, basil, and scallions.  Season with salt + pepper and let sit for 20 minutes.
  7. While the tofu and tomatoes are marinating, cook the quinoa according to the package.  Add salt + pepper to the cooking liquid.  Once the quinoa has cooked, let it cool a bit.
  8. Lay out the tofu in a sauté pan, place it over the stove top and raise the heat to medium-high.  Let the tofu cook and each side brown; roughly 10-15 minutes per side.
  9. Combine the quinoa with the tomato mixture until well combined.
  10. Serve the tomatoes + quinoa topped with the marinated tofu.

on the menu : citrus salad w/ curried quinoa


Did everyone enjoy some beautiful spring weather today?  This entire week, actually, is supposed to be quite nice.  The weather excites me, yes, but it’s the thought of summer lurking around the corner that gets me going because it means the peak of produce!  I can’t wait to make a fresh salad out of locally grown, organic vegetables picked that morning.

Until then, I like to make salads with a little extra oomph.  Salads in the winter and spring need some pick-me-up to give it appeal.  This one was fun to make and an even more delight to eat!

The curried quinoa is not overly spicy but complements the citrus from the salad SO well.  The creaminess of the avocado melts in your mouth, and the sweetness of the raisins create a bind between the quinoa and the oranges.  Each bite is perfectly balanced.  This will make you think twice about the notion that salads can’t be satisfying, hearty meals.

[For picture’s sake, I’ve only displayed a small spoonful of quinoa but in reality, you want to add a few big spoonfuls in there.]


  • Oranges (2)
  • Red Onion (2 tbsp sliced)
  • Avocado (1)
  • Golden Raisins (2 tbsp)
  • Salad Greens (Large bundle)
  • Lemon (1/2)
  • Creamy Balsamic Vinegar (1 tbsp)
  • Quinoa (1 cup)
  • Curry Powder (2 tsp)
  • Cumin (Pinch)
  • Coriander (Pinch)
  • Cilantro (1 tsp)
  • Oil
  • Salt + Pepper


  1. Combine 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring the water up to a boil.  Infuse the water with curry powder, cumin, coriander, cilantro, olive oil, salt + pepper.  Mix well.
  2. Once the water has boiled, cover and lower the heat to a simmer.  Let sit for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile, squeeze the lemon into a large salad bowl.  Also add the olive oil and creamy balsamic vinegar, along with some salt.  Whisk together until emulsified.
  4. Finely julienne a small sliver of red onion and add to the dressing.
  5. Add the golden raisins and coat in the dressing.
  6. Slice up the oranges and add to the bowl.  Toss with the raisins.
  7. Slice up the avocado and add to the bowl.  Gently toss with the oranges, raisins, red onion and dressing.
  8. Prior to serving, add the salad greens and toss well.  Season with salt + pepper if needed.
  9. Plate the salad topped with a spoonful of curried quinoa.

on the side : raw zucchini “pasta” salad


This is a salad I would traditionally make in the summer.  Namely due to the readily abundant selection of fresh local produce.  However, we hit 60 degrees (F) the other day so instead of making a roasted vegetable salad like I had originally planned, I went raw.  Zucchini is the perfect vegetable to make into “pasta” because it wilts down but doesn’t crumble.

As I mention below, you can keep the red onions raw or caramelize them in a pan.  Some people can’t stand raw onions, I get that, but sometimes red onions are a bit more tolerable than its white or yellow counterpart and do aid digestion.  Whatever you decide, you’ll appreciate the pretty purple-pink contrast against the bright green zucchini.  Color is especially important to hit in raw dishes because visual engagement overrides aroma.

Above all, raw “pasta” salads make perfect side dishes because they’re refreshing and don’t weigh down the main dish.  They’re also quirky fun to make and serve!


  • Zucchini (2)
  • *Red Onion (1/2)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (12 oz)
  • Garlic Clove (1)
  • Lemon (1/2)
  • Basil (Handful)
  • Pine nuts (Optional)
  • Terra Momo Focaccia Seasoning (2 tsp)
  • Creamy Balsamic Vinegar
  • Parmesan Cheese (Dusting)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt + Pepper

*If you’re not a fan of raw red onion, you can do a quick sauté


  1. Finely chop up the garlic clove and place in a mixing bowl.  Drizzle in some olive oil, season with Terra Momo Focaccia Seasoning and salt + pepper.
  2. Squeeze in the lemon and whisk together until emulsified with the olive oil.
  3. Finely julienne (lengthwise) the zucchini with skin on.  Add it to the bowl.
  4. Chop up the basil and add to the bowl and mix with the zucchini.
  5. Halve the cherry tomatoes and add to the bowl.  Mix to combine gently so as not to break apart the tomatoes too much.
  6. If you’re going with raw red onions, I would say stick with about a quarter of the whole onion and slice very thinly.  If you’re going with sautéed onions, thinly slice half of the whole onion and caramelize with creamy balsamic vinegar, salt + pepper.
  7. Finish off by sprinkling in the pine nuts (toasted if you prefer) and Parmesan cheese (optional!).  Let the salad sit for a good 15 minutes prior to serving.

on the menu : sprouted mung-alafel roasted salad


99.9% of the time, I cook out of my head.  Meaning, I rely on my own creativity, food memories, and senses to carry me through each dish I create.  When I first got into cooking I obviously relied heavily on recipes or TV demos, but at current state I might do a glance over of a recipe and leave the rest up to my own head to tweak.  I enjoy this, yes, but I also do this because I have a heck of a time finding a recipe that follows my whole grain/whole food motives.  Most recipes are half-way there but falter with at least a few added ingredients.  So you see, it’s often easier just to start from scratch and ‘do my own thing from the start,’ if you will.

That said, I do follow one blogger whom I can always rely on for solid recipes that meet my criteria.  She knows who she is… maybe :).  My fellow blogger, Maria, over at Scandifoodie is right in line with how I like to eat and cook.  Do I still put my own twists when borrowing her recipes?  Sure, but when it comes to a dish like this one I am sharing below, I’m not afraid to give Maria full credit.

What a FUN dish this is!  If you love falafels, dolmas and Mediterranean/Greek salads in general, this is one dish I encourage you to try.  I have made baked falafels in the past but because I’ve tasted the “real” thing (which is fried), the lack of moisture is hard to come by despite the baked version being healthier.  I never thought to use mung beans!  What a genius idea!  They don’t taste EXACTLY like you would expect a falafel to, but they sure come close and actually impart a whole new layer of flavor that I love.  Note: Depending on how much lime you add, the more it will resemble the filling of dolmas (no complaints there!).  I used Maria’s idea of making my own tahini but added a few extra ingredients (soy sauce, lemon, brown rice vinegar) to make it more of a tahini dressing (fun!).  The rest of the dish just calls for oven-roasting your favorite veggies (I added cucumbers and red onion to the list) and piling on fresh salad greens.  This is going to be my new go-to winter salad and hope it will become one of yours!

(Serves 4)
2 tablespoons olive oil
small handful of mixed fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano), finely chopped
pinch of sea salt
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 small eggplant, thinly sliced
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
mixed salad leaves
small handful walnuts, toasted
1 cup dried mung beans
handful of fresh mixed herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano)
2 tablespoons of olive oil + 1 tablespoon extra, for brushing
1 lime, zest and juice
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Tahini (Recipe from Group Recipes)

4 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted until golden brown
1 teaspoon (or to taste) sesame oil
pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons warm water

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Cook the mung beans in boiling water until soft.  Drain and place in a food processor along with a big handful of mixed fresh herbs, olive oil, grated zest and juice of one lime.  Season the mixture with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Blitz the mixture in the food processor until smooth.
  3. Roll the mung bean mixture into balls and place on a baking tray.  Brush each ball with a bit of olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  4. In the mean while, place the olive oil and the finely chopped mixed herbs in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt.  Toss the zucchini and the eggplant slices in the marinade and grill on a grilling pan for one or two minutes on both sides.  Set aside.  Toss the tomatoes in the left-over marinade and grill them cut side down for 20-30 seconds.  Set aside.
  5. To make the tahini, place the sesame seeds in a food processor (or a coffee grinder) and blitz until smooth.  Add sesame oil, salt and warm water (tablespoon at a time to reach a perfect consistency) and blitz until smooth.  Set aside.
  6. To assemble, place the salad leaves on a large platter, top with the grilled vegetables, mung bean balls and scatter the walnuts on top.  Serve the salad with tahini and feta cheese (if you wish).

on the side : chopped avocado + beet salad w/ drunken goat cheese


Is anyone else completely and utterly obsessed with… goat cheese??  Akin to oysters, olives, and anchovies – I feel like people either love it or hate it.  Me?  Head over heels.  Whole food/whole grain advocates will opt for goat’s milk cheese over cow’s milk cheese and apparently this cheese is easier on the digestive tract for those lactose intolerant.

I decided to do a play on the renowned goat cheese and beet combo by adding just a few extra ingredients.  The best salads are those kept simple and the key is to incorporate ingredients that shine on their own but sing even prettier notes when eaten together.

Now, those of you heading into the midst of winter are probably wondering why I would even crave a salad over something more comforting like a goat cheese casserole.  Sure enough, I don’t find myself making too many salads throughout winter but I will certainly make an exception for one that contains goat cheese!  The creamy, tangy, melt-in-your-mouth-ness checks off the comfort factor in my books.

I was perusing the cheese counter at the local Whole Foods and stumbled upon this Drunken Goat Cheese.  The rind has been soaked in red wine and the cheese is really silky smooth; well balanced.  Adding apples to this dish was a must but I took a risk with the avocado.  Totally paid off.  The avocado adds a buttery texture that plays well off of the slightly vinegar-infused beets and onions.  The colors are quite festive too, don’t you think?  Oh, and are you not a beet lover like me, either?  Fear not!  My husband cleared his plate and said, “OK you’ve finally converted me into liking beets.”  Success :).


  • Avocado (2)
  • Beet (4)
  • Apple (1)
  • Yellow Onion (1)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (1 cup)
  • Raw Maple Syrup (1 tbsp)
  • Red Wine Vinegar (1 tbsp)
  • Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar (1 tsp)
  • Lemon (1/4)
  • Red Wine Goat Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt + Pepper


  1. Prep the beets in advance by roasting and peeling.  No need to marinade them in vinegar unless you want to!  Let them refrigerate overnight.
  2. Whisk together the lemon with about 2 tbsp of water and some salt.
  3. Peel and de-core the avocados.  Brush the flesh with your whisked lemon mixture and cut up into bite-size cubes.  Place  in a glass bowl.
  4. Core your apple and, leaving the skin on, cut it up into bite-size pieces (equal to that of the avocado).  Place the chopped apples into the bowl with the avocado and pour in a bit of the lemon mixture.
  5. Mix the avocado and apples.  Season with a little salt + pepper.
  6. Quarter the cherry tomatoes and add to the bowl.
  7. Finely slice up the yellow onion.  Drizzle a little oil into a small sauté pan and add the sliced onions.  Season with salt + pepper and let them caramelize.
  8. Chop up the beets into small pieces and add to the onions.
  9. Add to the sauté pan the maple syrup, red wine vinegar, and strawberry balsamic vinegar.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
  10. Slice up the goat cheese.
  11. Plating:  Plate the avocado salad first, topped with the sautéed onions and beets, and served alongside sliced goat cheese.

on the menu : goma dressed burdock salad


Do you ever have those days when you have night-time commitments (an evening class, perhaps) and you have just about an hour and a half to cook/eat?  We all do – right?  In such occasions, you don’t have to head right for the pantry and pull out the box of cereal of can of soup.  You can still whip up a healthy meal that’s filling and good for you.  Exhibit A below.

I’ve proclaimed quite a bit on this blog regarding my love for burdock.  I’ve showcased the root in this salad and whisked up a goma dressing to pair.  Cucumbers are almost necessities in salads to me as is something textural; sesame seeds for this particular salad.  I also lean toward sweet and savory salads so the natural sweetness of the burdock really hit that note.  Finish off the salad with a quick hard-boiled egg (+ protein!) and you’re done.

Simple, quick, whole grain friendly.  As I always say, make salads fun and you’ll enjoy them more.


  • Burdock (1)
  • Cucumber (1)
  • Eggs (2)
  • Grapeseed Oil (1/4 cup)
  • Goma Paste (2 tbsp)
  • Soy Sauce (1 tbsp)
  • Brown Rice Vinegar (2 tbsp)
  • Raw Agave Nectar (1 tsp)
  • Mixed Salad Greens
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Salt + Pepper


  1. Create the dressing by placing into a small blender/food processor the oil, goma paste, soy sauce, vinegar, and agave.  Blend until smooth.  Season with salt + white pepper to taste.
  2. Peel and slice up the burdock root.
  3. Drizzle some oil into a pan over medium heat and sauté the burdock slices.  Spoon in 2 tbsp of the dressing, season with salt + pepper.  Once cooked, remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Meanwhile, hard boil your two eggs.  Once done, peel and set aside.
  5. Halve and de-seed the cucumber.  Slice up the cucumber and place into a large salad bowl.
  6. Place the mixed greens into the salad bowl and toss with the cucumber slices.
  7. Add the cooled burdock slices and toss.
  8. Prior to serving, add the dressing to the bowl and toss everything together.  Toss in the sesame seeds.
  9. Do a quick hasselbeck on the hard boiled eggs.
  10. Plating:  Serve salad topped with a hard boiled egg.

on the menu : tropical chopped salad


When you add watermelon to a salad, a beautiful natural emulsion occurs due to the high water content of the fruit.  Such a quality is especially great for salads like this one where there’s not much for a dressing or vinaigrette to grab onto.  A chopped salad can quickly become unhealthy by drenching it in dressing, only to find out that you’re left with a pool of yuck at the bottom of your bowl.  That said, the concept of chopped salads are super fun.  They’re colorful, they’re pretty, and they’re fun to eat because you’re getting so many flavors in just one bite.  A fun salad?  Yep!  The prep work is pretty minimal once you find your chopping rhythm (pop in that iPod…) and since you don’t have to go near a heat source, perfect for summer.  I gravitated toward a tropical rendition because I really enjoy the combination of sweet and savory in my salads.  However, you can certainly mix and match the ingredients to suit your taste.  You may surprise yourself by combining ingredients you would have never thought to associate together.  So delve into the beauty of chopped salads and happy chopping!


  • Mango (1)
  • Jicama (1)
  • Seedless Watermelon (1/2)
  • Asparagus (10 stalks)
  • Avocado (1)
  • Red Onion (1/4)
  • Brown Rice Vinegar (1/4 cup)
  • Yuzu Mustard (1 tsp)
  • Raw Agave (1 tbsp)
  • Grapeseed Oil (2 tbsp)
  • Salt + Pepper


  1. Peel and chop up the mango into small cubes.
  2. Peel and chop up the jicama into small cubes, keeping consistent with the size of the chopped mango.
  3. Peel and chop up the avocado.
  4. Cut up the watermelon into small bite-size pieces.
  5. Chop up the asparagus stalks into small pieces.
  6. Place all of the chopped ingredients into a large bowl and toss together.
  7. Finely chop up the red onion and place half in a small food processor.
  8. Pour into the blender the vinegar, raw agave, oil, yuzu mustard, and a little salt + Pepper.  Blend until smooth.
  9. Pour the vinaigrette into the bowl and toss to combine.  Cover and let rest in the fridge until ready to serve.  Be sure to do another toss prior to serving.

on the side : sweet nori dressed veggies


If you’re a chef (or even a home cook!), you’ll likely develop some great personalized signature dishes over time.   You’ll explore other avenues through which you can instill that little special something only you would think of such as rubs, marinades, pastries.  That’s how I view this nori dressing; it’s my little signature emulsion.  What is nori?  Nori = seaweed.  I love this dressing because  it showcases nori so well and creates a beautifully binding dressing with an umami rich nutty undertone.  What do I mean by binding?  Well, there’s a reason why so many people pour in what seems like an entire bottle of salad dressing.  Not because they’re trying to be unhealthy, but because the dressing doesn’t “stick” to the leaves or vegetables so they feel an urge to overcompensate in order to achieve a flavorful bite.   This dressing is the opposite of that.  You won’t run into that problem with this nori dressing but if you feel the need to add more, it’s healthy enough and good enough for you that I’ll let it slide ;).  PS – I’ve even used it to dress pasta – with kelp noodles to be exact – and the result was one of the best Asian pasta salads I have tasted!  What is YOUR next signature creation?


  • Nori Sheets (2)
  • Rice Wine Vinegar (2 tbsp)
  • Grapeseed Oil (2 tbsp)
  • Soy Sauce (2 tsp)
  • Yuzu Ponzo (1 tsp)
  • Raw Agave (1tsp)
  • Yuzu Mustard (1 tsp)


  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Scallions


  1. Shred up the nori sheets using your hands and add to a food processor or blender.
  2. To the blender, add the rice wine vinegar, grapeseed oil, soy sauce, raw agave, and yuzu mustard.  Blend until smooth.
  3. Cube the avocado and tomatoes into bite-size pieces.  Add to a large salad bowl and add half the dressing.
  4. Halve and de-seed the cucumbers.  Halve again and slice up into 1/4-inch pieces.  Add to the salad bowl.
  5. Finely slice the green part of the scallions and add to the bowl.  Toss all ingredients until well combined.
  6. Depending on what taste you prefer, add more dressing as needed.

on the menu : slaw-ed + shredded


Sometimes people think that in order for a salad to taste “good,” it needs to be packed full of ingredients.  However, that to me makes it… not a salad.  Piling on the croutons, cheese, bacon, breaded chicken, and blue cheese dressing sounds far from what a refreshing salad should be.  That said, I’m one of those people who can eat a plain salad without any dressing.  I know – that’s weird too – but I can do that with a smile on my face because I admire the rawness of vegetables; an overwhelming appreciation for farm-to-table.  I’ve kept to that motto with these two salads by keeping things simple and incorporating some fun vinaigrettes that don’t weigh down the ingredients but help them shine.


  • Pear + Mango Slaw
    • Mango (1)
    • Asian Pear (1)
    • Lettuce (2 cups)
    • Anaheim Pepper (2)
    • Honey (1 tbsp)
    • Grape Seed Oil (2 tbsp)
    • Red Wine Vinegar (1 tbsp)
    • Salt + Pepper
  • Shredded Beet Salad
    • Red Beet (1)
    • Scallion (1)
    • Lemon (1/2)
    • Orange (1)
    • Yuzu Mustard (1 tsp)
    • Salt + Pepper


  1. Start by whisking the vinaigrette for the beets.  In a small bowl, squeeze in the lemon and orange.  Add the yuzu mustard and a little salt + Pepper.  Whisk together until combined.
  2. Finely chop up the white stem of the scallion and add to the vinaigrette.  Thinly slice the green part and set aside.
  3. Peel the beet (cold) and shred into a bowl.  Once grated, add the vinaigrette and mix together.  Cover and pop into the fridge while you prep the slaw.
  4. Heat a grill pan to medium-high and char the Anaheim pepper (depending on the heat level you desire, you can remove the seeds prior to roasting).  Set aside and let cool.
  5. For the slaw, peel the mango and Asian pear.  Finely chop up both fruit into thin strips.  Finely julienne the lettuce as well and combine, in a large bowl, with the chopped mango and pear.
  6. Chop up the roasted pepper and place into a blender.  Also add honey, red wine vinegar, grape seed oil, salt + pepper.  Purée until smooth.  Add a little water for a thinner consistency.
  7. Add the puréed vinaigrette to the slaw and toss together.
  8. Plating:  Serve the slaw with either black sesame seeds or aonori.  Serve the beet salad with a little raw goat feta.