Vegan Kale Pesto Recipe:
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup pistachios
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup kale leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- salt & pepper to taste
This Asian Sesame Dressing is super versatile and makes a delicious cold appetizer dish with either shredded chicken or tofu.
Mix all the ingredients together.
For Asian Sesame Chicken Salad, layer cucumbers at the bottom, add Instant Pot shredded chicken, drizzle Asian Sesame Dressing and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Mix well and serve.
For Asian Sesame Tofu Avocado Salad, layer cucumbers at the bottom, add tofu and avocado on top, pour in Asian Sesame Dressing, garnish with sesame seeds, cilantro and serve.
Seems like this is all I have energy to make for dinner on these hot, lazy summer days - something Asian, something cold, something mostly raw and doesn't require standing and stirring next to a hot stove - Vietnamese noodle salad.
For the tofu: Wrap a 16 oz cube extra-firm tofu in kitchen towels to soak up excess water. Cut it in 12 slices. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Marinade tofu slices in 1 tablespoon of tamari, 2 1/2 tablespoons of mirin, 1 teaspoon of minced ginger. Line baking tray with parchment paper and grease it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Coat each side of tofu with nutritional yeast and lay them on the baking tray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Flip and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown. (If you prefer other sources of protein, chicken breasts, shrimp, ground pork or beef all work really well.)
For the noodles: Boil the rice noodles of your choice according to instructions. Once they are cooked and still al dente, drain them in a colander and throw in a bunch of ice cubes to cool them off instantly. I used a Pad Thai noodle here. Okay, it is a white flour product, not what I would do everyday but it also just occupies a 1/4 of the bowl. Check out these purple rice noodles here and here.
For the veggies: I used bean sprouts, cucumbers, shredded carrots and red peppers. Finely shredded lettuce also goes really well with this dish. Throw in leftover veggies, sauted greens or anything you have on hand!
For the dressing: Combine 1/4 cup of lime juice, 2 Tablespoons of water, 1 Tablespoon of fish sauce, 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup, 1 small red chili pepper (optional) in a big bowl, stir well.
For the garnish: This is what makes this noodle dish so magical! I used fresh basil and mint leaves, but cilantro and scallions also work. Feel free to mix and match. Add crushed peanuts for the extra crunch!
Assembly: Add noodles, veggies, tofu, garnish in a large salad bowl. Toss in dressing and serve.
I always have 1 or 2 protein dishes and whole grains in the fridge so weeknight cooking means only making veggies, which takes from 5-15 minutes!
Here is a really easy way to use up your cooked rice. I would add in defrosted shelled edamame, grated carrots, leftover grilled veggies or any boxed baby arugula or spinach I have on hand. I put together a simple vinaigrette - 2 parts sesame oil, 2 parts vinegar (red wine or rice vinegar), 1 part maple syrup with a sprinkle of salt. Mix it all up, throw in some pistachios or chopped cashews and serve!
If you want to move away from processed food and gain control over what you put in your mouth, packing lunch to work is the way to go. But who wants to wash and chop veggies in the morning when you are half awake and barely have time to even eat breakfast?
Here is the solution - PLANNING, if you want to win in the kitchen. Make 3 or 5 of these on Sunday night and you'll have lunch the rest of the week. How about too tired to make dinner at night when you come back from work? Pop open one of these and you get something way better than a mediocre take-out.
Will the salad get gross after a few days? Honestly.... I've tried up to 3 days, even the avocados stay fresh in these air-tight jars!
But there is a technique in layering. I am giving you more of a formula than a recipe. Be creative with your combinations!
Use a quart size mason jar, layer in this order from bottom to top - dressing, hard veggies, protein, grains, soft veggies or fruit, nuts, seeds and greens. When you are ready to eat the salad, shake and toss and empty content in a bowl.
Jar Recipe 1:
*Blend 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of tahini, 3 cups of fresh basil leaves, 2 tsp of ground ginger, 2 tsp of garlic powder, juice form 2-3 lemons, 1 1/2 tsp of salt.
Jar Recipe 2:
*Combine 6 Tbsp of almond or peanut butter, juice of 1 lime, 2 Tbsp of tamari, 3 Tbsp of sesame oil, 3 Tbsp of water.
Jar Recipe 3:
*Blend 1 cup of raw cashews, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 Tbsp of dried parsley, 1 1/2 Tbsp of dried dill, 2 tsp of onion powder, 1 1/2 tsp of salt.
Too busy? No time to make your own dressings and marinades? You can still "dress up" your vegetables by dressing them down with good, clean ingredients.
I was at the McGolrick Park's Farmers Market in Greenpoint yesterday and found these wonderful dips, oils and dressings. They are all delicious, made from fresh, real ingredients, crafted with love right here in Brooklyn.
Apple miso and shiso dressing from Momo Dressing
Za'atar and sumac in olive oil from Sohha