Mediterranean Holiday Salad

Again, here is a quick, easy and beautiful dish for the holidays.  What says Christmas like a red and green salad!  And it’s so simple!

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters (or 4-5 Roma tomatoes, diced)

2 Persian cucumbers (the little skinny ones, about 4-6 inches long), diced

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon lemon juice (juice of about 1/2 a lemon) OR 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, optional

DIRECTIONS:

It’s a salad!  Throw everything in a pretty bowl and toss to combine!


Super-Yummy Scalloped Potatoes with Herbs

Okay, confession time.  The first time I made these delicious potatoes, I honestly ate half of them by myself for dinner (along with some steamed green beans).  These scalloped potatoes are SO good; full of flavor, low in fat, easy to prepare, and a beautiful addition to any holiday meal.  Any of a number of different potatoes would work here, so use what’s available (Yukon golds, white potatoes, Russets) You will find something called Nutritional Yeast in the ingredients.  Nutritional Yeast is a yellow powder that is packed with vitamins and amino acids, and provides a savory taste that some say is similar to cheese.   Personally, I like the savory flavor that it adds, but don’t worry if you don’t have any, or don’t like it.  Just use flour instead (preferably whole grain flour).   This recipe is a modified version of one found in my favorite vegan cookbook, Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, so I can’t say that it’s one of my original recipes, but it’s just too good not to share!

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients

2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/8 inch slices

3/4 cup vegetable broth, divided

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (unsweetened soymilk would work too)

1/2 large onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or whole wheat flour)

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 Tablespoon fresh)

1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or 1/2 Tablespoon fresh)

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1/2 Tablespoon fresh)

1/4 teaspoon paprika (or 3/4 teaspoon fresh

1/2 teaspoon salt

ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Layer the potatoes in the baking dish so that they overlap (about one-third of each slice) .  Lay them across the short end of the dish first, then the next row should slightly overlap the first, and so on.
  3. Pour the almond milk and 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth over the potatoes.
  4. Scatter the onion slices over the potatoes and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast or flour
  5. Drizzle with remaining broth.  Pour in a slow stream so that it doesn’t wash the yeast/flour off the potatoes.
  6. Sprinkle with remaining yeast/flour, herbs, salt and pepper
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 35 min.  Then remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until browned and bubbly.  Enjoy!

Green “Sushi” Rolls

Looking for a great appetizer to make for your next holiday get-together?  These are a crowd pleaser!  Light and refreshing, they will disappear before you know it.  The secret…LOTS of lemon!  These Collard “Sushi” rolls have no raw fish, only raw veggies (and a little hummus!).  They are sure to be a hit!   They are fun to make too!  Make it something fun to do with other family members or friends.  I cannot take credit for this recipe though.  This is based very closely on a demonstration by Ann Esselstyn (wife of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn), at the Healthy Lifestyle Expo that I attended last month.

Collard greens are so cool!  For someone who didn’t grow up with them, they have been such a welcome discovery.  When they are blanched (boiled a few min., then plunged into icy water), they take on a beautiful bright green color.  Blanching also makes them more pliable for rolling into rolls or wraps.  In fact, you can find a great recipe for green wraps at http://yournutritionista.blogspot.com.

TIP: The filling ingredients are pretty flexible.  Look in your fridge and see what you have.  Try to avoid mushy veggies like tomatoes (yes, I know it’s a fruit).   You also want to try to cut them into long thin strips so that they create the “bones” that keep the rolls together.  If you decide to include a grain, I’d stick with short grain brown rice, because it is pretty sticky.  Other grains may cause your rolls to fall apart a little more readily.

Ingredients

1 bunch collard green leaves, washed, tough stems and spines removed

1 large container (1-2 cups) Hummus (homemade hummus recipe at http://yournuritionista.blogspot.com)

Assorted vegetables, cut into long, thin strips when possible:  green onions, cilantro or parsley, basil, steamed asparagus, carrots, celery, cucumber, bell pepper, bok choy

1-2 lemons, zested and juiced

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, fill a large bowl or the sink with very cold water (you may want to add a few ice cubes).
  2. Add the collard leaves to the boiling water.  Boil for 2 minutes, then plunge into the cold water to cool them down and stop the cooking process.
  3. Pat leaves dry.  Lay flat, smooth side up.
  4. Spread a thin layer of hummus over the leaf
  5. Lay the veggies across the middle of leaf, lengthwise.  Be careful not to overfill, or else you may have a blowout!
  6. Sprinkle with lemon zest and  a good squeeze of lemon
  7. Carefully, roll the leaf up in the same direction as the veggies.  Roll snugly enough so that it stays together, but not so tight that it will rip the leaf.  You’ll get a feel for it.  🙂
  8. Cut the rolls cross-wise into 2 inch pieces.  Stand them up on a plate, cut-side up.

Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Pecans

 

We LOVE sweet potatoes around here.  They are full of pectin and sterols that help lower cholesterol, beta carotene, potassium, Vitamin E, antioxidants and fiber.   We roast them all the time, but sometimes it’s nice to dress them up a bit for holidays or special occasions.  You’ll want to save this recipe for the holidays this year, for sure.  This is a simple, DELICIOUS way to serve sweet potatoes as either a side dish, or dessert.  They are great served cold the next day too!

Ingredients

4 medium-to-large sized sweet potatoes or yams

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 Tablespoons non-dairy, trans-fat free margarine (ex.: Earth Balance), softened

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup pecans, chopped

 

 Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Wash and scrub the yams or sweet potatoes and pierce them several times with a fork or small knife.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake sweet potatoes for 45-60 min. or until very tender.  Leave on them on the sheet and set aside to cool. 
  3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, combine the margarine, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and pecans in a small bowl
  4. Once cool enough to handle, slice each potato in half, lengthwise.  Then, use a knife to make criss-crossing diagonal slices, half-way through.  Return them to the baking sheet.
  5. Spread a spoonful of the brown sugar mixture over the top of each sweet potato.
  6. Return to the oven for another 20-25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are hot, the sugar is bubbly and the nuts are browned. 
  7. Cool slightly and serve.