Winter’s Last Few Weeks

Late winter has certainly been cold enough for me here in the southeastern US.  I’m trying to continue enjoying winter vegetables and heavy stews, while anxiously anticipating spring veggies.  Eating asparagus, Quinoa Ginger Salad, and BLTA salad remind me of warmer days to come.

Roasted Veggies

Asparagus, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, orange peppers, golden beets, and onions (or other vegetables)

Peel and dice the sweet potatoes.  Dice the peppers, beets, and onions.  Break the woody stems off the asparagus.  Spread the vegetables out on lightly sprayed roasting pans and season with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400°F.  Using a spatula, turn the vegetables every 10 minutes.  If some of the veggies near completion before the others, remove them from the oven and return to the oven just before serving.

Quinoa Ginger Salad

Serves 12ginger 1

2 batches of kale, stemmed and steamed

1.5 c quinoa cooked in 1.75 c broth or water

2 sweet yellow onions, diced small and sautéed in water

3-4 c cooked white beans

2 medium sweet potatoes, cooked and diced

Spicy Ginger dressing

This is a great pot luck dish, isn’t very time consuming to make, and has great appeal thanks to all the great colors and health benefits of the ingredients.  Mix the kale, quinoa, onions, white beans, and sweet potatoes in a large serving dish.  If you have access to a Whole Foods, look for this fabulous spicy ginger dressing in the fresh sushi section (there’s also a non-spicy version).  I dilute a few tablespoons of dressing with a tablespoon or two of water and mix in the salad.  If you don’t have access to a store bought version, I’ve included the ingredients below so you can create a lower fat version.  I’ve been wanting to make an oil free version for years but just haven’t gotten to it yet.

ginger 2








BLTA Salad

Shredded greens (lettuce, kale, spinach, etc)IMG_2677

Tempeh Bacon (see adaptation from Salad Samurai below)

Tomatoes, diced

Avocado, diced

Back at the Ranch dressing (see adaptation from Salad Samurai below)

Tempeh Bacon 

8 oz organic tempeh

2 T maple syrup

2 T organic tamari

1 T ketchup (without high fructose corn syrup!)

1/4 t liquid smoke

Slice the tempeh into 1/4 inch strips and then into ~1 inch long pieces (bite-sized).  Whisk remaining ingredients in a small bowl and marinate tempeh in the refrigerator overnight or at least for 10 minutes.  Preheat a cast iron pan over medium heat and lightly spray with oil if needed.  Reserve the marinade and cook tempeh pieces for 2-3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.  Add marinade and simmer until it has absorbed.  Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Back at the Ranch Dressing

1/2 c raw cashew pieces

1/2 to 3/4 c water

2 T fresh lemon juice

1 T ground flax seeds

1 clove garlic or 1 t crushed garlic

2 t organic white miso

2 t Dijon mustard

1 t garlic powder

1 t onion powder

up to 3 T chopped fresh herbs such as dill, basil, or tarragon

Put all the ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth.  (Without a high powered blender, you’ll need to soak the cashew pieces in water for 30 min or nuke in water for 15 seconds then drain and add to blender.)  The dressing thickens with refrigeration but if you don’t have much time to chill it, start with 1/2 c water and add more later if needed.  If you don’t have ground flax seeds, you’ll miss out on omega-3 fatty acids and selenium, but you can still make a thinner dressing starting with just 1/4 c water and adding more later if needed. My plain Jane family doesn’t care for dill, so we’ve been eating this dressing without the fresh herbs, and it works fine.  I’m sure it will serve as a great base for other recipes too.