Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, Salad, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

Celebrate Summer with a Summer Quinoa Salad

IMG_2522.JPGSummer’s officially here! Sadly, my apartment lacks a grill, but I was inspired by a recipe in Cooking Light for a charred Brussels sprouts, radish and apple salad. Why not char some pineapples and peppers to give the feeling of grilled summer kabobs? It’s fresh, easy and simple — my kind of style. I went to Martha’s Vineyard to do a home visit for work since we visit participants in their homes for healthy aging and longevity research. As we killed time for our ferry back to Boston, we feasted on our lunches. How picturesque — eating Charred Bell Pepper & Pineapple Quinoa Salad by the water. Happy meatless Monday!

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Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Side, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Craving Cranberries & Applesauce

Cranberry Cinnamon Applesauce

I always associate applesauce with the kind in your elementary school lunch or when you’re sick. This is applesauce for grown-ups. If you haven’t noticed, I took pictures of the Cranberry Cinnamon Applesauce in tupperware — it was that hard not to immediately consume. Bursting with cinnamon, the combination of the sweet Gala apples and tart cranberries is truly decadent. To top it off, this version has no added sugar (thanks, Aloha), you literally chop the apples and dump them in a pot and your kitchen may or may not smell like a Yankee candle. So take a bite of this naturally sweet and insanely delicious applesauce.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Side, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Craving Miso Soup: A “Green” & Spicy Version

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Ever since I got a sore throat, I’ve been craving a bowl of miso soup. Sounds weird, but sometimes chicken noodle just doesn’t cut it for me. Miso soup is Japanese soup known for its tangy, salty and unique, yet powerful flavor. The miso paste comes from fermenting soy beans. The soup is minimal, quick and easy, and quite different. My Akron family has a knack for growing beautiful kale, and my parents swung by yesterday to check in and drop off some kale, which adds a hearty addition to an already minimal soup. Drizzle with some sriracha and you have a deliciously different take on traditional miso:  Spicy “Green” Miso Soup. Happy Meatless Monday!

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Appetizer, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Side, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Perfect Summer “Chips” — Zucchini Chips

Sea Salt Zucchini Chips

Mmmmm, Sea Salt Zucchini Chips. I’ll keep this short and sweet, since that’s the whole point of this recipe. With BBQ season upon us and garden in bloom, who needs potato chips when you could have zucchini chips? They’re your burgers new best friend. Super easy to make, you just slice, bake and wait for the chips to come out in a crispy, crunchy perfection.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, Salad, Side

Sweet & Tangy BBQ Dinner

Open Faced BBQ Chicken Sandwich with an Apple Slaw (& Sweet Potato Fries)

Open Faced BBQ Chicken Sandwich with an Apple Slaw (& Spicy Garlic Sweet Potato Fries). Try saying that title five times fast. I lightened up your traditional sandwich by making it oped faced and adding multigrain bread. Who has BBQ without fries or chips? Not me. I added some baked sweet potato fries tossed with garlic and spicy red pepper flakes. The apple slaw is worth trying alone. If you’re feeling particularly creative, I’d add some lemon zest to the slaw for that extra pop of flavor, which I did not do. but that’s why there’s next time . . . The slaw is light and fresh with a bit of crunch to balance the acidity and tanginess from the BBQ sauce. With sweet apples and fresh lemon juice, you won’t be able to take just one bite!

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Local Finds, Salad, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

Dangerously Delicious Daikon & Carrot Salad

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This Daikon & Carrot Salad is soooooo easy. Did I mention how simple this was? My dad and I decided to try this restaurant in Portland, ME on a whim for lunch — Pai Men Miyake. With my parents and family friends, we celebrated the end of the summer at the more upscale version of Miyake. Both have Japanese roots with French influences and use ingredients from both their own and local farms. My dad and I split this salad, and oh man — it was a race to the finish. The daikon and carrots were extremely fresh, crisp and crunchy. Daikon, as I have now discovered, is a member of the radish family and loaded with vitamin C and potassium. Another perfect addition to add to your sickness-fighting repertoire. Tossed in a Spicy Sesame Dressing, this Daikon & Carrot Salad will be sure to grace your table again and again.

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Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Salad, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

Craving a Cranberry Quinoa Salad

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This Cranberry Quinoa Salad is vibrant, fresh and intensely colorful. Something about citrus and cranberries screams the holidays. This salad is a fresh take on the classic dish of cranberries and oranges. The sweet pomegranate seeds and orange wedges balance the tart cranberries. The quinoa adds sustenance, while the fresh mint adds flavor. Pair with a roasted chicken (we had orange-citrus and rosemary marinade with this salad and fresh butternut squash), add in nuts for more of a meal, or enjoy with a cup of soup. This salad is a perfect addition to your holiday entertaining — even the colors beckon you to add this to your entertaining arsenal, lunch rotation or just as a fun, colorful and delicious side to any meal.

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Gluten-Free, Salad, Side, Vegetarian

Breezing through a Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

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Bet you can’t guess where I found my inspiration for my Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Pistachios and Cranberries recipe — Pinterest (obviously). I’ve come to like Brussels sprouts. For Thanksgiving at my dad’s parents’ house, I would go to their garden, bursting with late fall veggies, and my task would be to pick the Brussels sprouts to have for Thanksgiving dinner. Of course I would painstakingly pick them, but I would never eat them; I didn’t even get to enjoy my labors then, but I love this salad; it’s light, different, innovative and totally tasty. I made a few changes — I served this raw instead of cooking everything in a skillet. I like the crunch and flavor of the Brussels sprouts this way. Plus, transforming them from their solid form to a shaved one, you wouldn’t know you’re eat Brussels sprouts. For some color, my mom thought shredded carrots would make a nice addition. The pistachios are a decadent and unusual crunch, the parmesan — flavor and the craisins and fig balsamic (a local purchase from Ithaca) — a needed sweetness to combat and balance the salad’s earth tones.

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Appetizer, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Side, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Crisply Baked Spicy Bang Bang Cauliflower

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Let’s bring these bad boys back to basics. All the recipes I found for Bang Bang Shrimp or Bang Bang Cauliflower called for panko, breadcrumbs, mayo, honey, eggs, sugar, milk . . . I mean, man, those recipes were still delicious. Breaded, crisply fried and just packed with a kick. I needed a better, lighter option. I obtained a recipe for Bang Bang Shrimp using only four ingredients for the sauce via Pinterest. With some tweaking and using this as inspiration, I cut the original recipes’  fluff and kept all the flavor. (Double points if you add even more spice to your life and prep these Bang Bang Cauliflower, while listening to “Bang Bang.”)  A great option for anyone allergic to seafood, has gluten-free or vegan needs or just willing to try something different. Plus, these super spicy morsels are baked, not fried, and still get crispy and perfectly browned in the oven. Sounds like an all around winning dish to me.

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Appetizer, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Side, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Simplified Veggie Rolls

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After trying Giada’s version of fresh spring rolls with the spicy chili Greek yogurt sauce this summer, here’s a much, much easier version: Veggie Spring Rolls with Sriracha Soy Sauce. Simple ingredients assembled in a fresh way. No complicated sauce or cooking soba noodles — just vegetables you have on hand paired with sriracha and soy sauce. When I want a veggie fix without a salad, these fresh spring rolls become option number two. Perfect for your next holiday party, get-together or perhaps even football showing (you need to balance out or substitute the chips and wings somehow, right?). The Veggie Spring Rolls somehow manage to be both extravagant and simple, but most importantly, always colorfully delicious.

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