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Vegan

Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crispy Garbanzo Beans and Salted pistachios

I just love non-meat dishes these days especially with the temperature so warm. Although I’m not a vegetarian, I do fantasize about being one.
This is another beauty of a recipe and simple to make.

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Garbanzo beans
1 3/4 cups cooked Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), or 1 15-ounce can, drained and patted dry on paper towels
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Salad
1 lb carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Dressing
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp well-stirred tahini
2 tbsp water, plus more if needed
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Roast chickpeas: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the chickpeas with one tbsp olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated.
Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly. Set aside until needed.

Make dressing: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning; don’t worry if it tastes a little sharp on the lemon, it will marry perfectly with the sweet grated carrots.

Assemble salad: Place the grated carrots in a large bowl and toss with the parsley. Mix in 2/3 of the dressing, adding more if desired. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a large handful of chickpeas (you’ll have extra and if you’re like us, won’t regret it) and the pistachios and dig in.

Do ahead: Salad keeps well in the fridge for two days, however, I’d add the chickpeas and pistachios right before serving, so they don’t get soft

Avocado toast with cilantro-lime-cashew cream

A wonderful light meal. Avocado on toast is one of my favorite things and this Cilantro-Lime-Cashew cream is perfect to drizzle over it.

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Serves 4

4 pieces of bread
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup Cilantro Lime Cashew Cream (see below for recipe)
freshly squeezed lime juice
sea salt & coarse ground pepper
crushed red pepper {optional}

Toast your bread.
Slice your avocado in half, lengthwise and remove the pit. Scoop out the avocado flesh and spread it or slice it onto the toast. Each piece of toast takes roughly 1/4 of the avocado. Squeeze some fresh lime juice on top of the avocado to prevent it from browning.
Drizzle the cilantro-lime-cashew cream generously over the avocado and top with a pinch of sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.

Cilantro Lime Cashew Cream

This creaminess literally takes 5 minutes to whiz up and you’re going to want to put it on everything. It makes about 1 cup, so make extra you’ll want it.

1 packed cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lime, all the juice + zest

Blend everything together on high until smooth. Store it in an air-tight container, refrigerated, for up to a week.

Mixed Beans with Peanuts, Ginger, and Lime

This is a great summer throw-together to make when there are lots of beans at the market. Mix colors and types for the full effect. Another Yotam Ottolenghi gem

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Servings: 6

2 pounds mixed snap beans (such as green, wax, haricots verts, and/or Romano), trimmed
½ tsp kosher salt, plus more
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ large shallot, finely chopped
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1  lemon grass stalk, tough outer layers removed, finely grated on a Microplane
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ tsp ground coriander
Freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup salted, roasted peanuts
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
¼ tsp sugar
⅓ cup (packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems, plus more for serving

Working in batches by type, cook the beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 1–4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain and pat dry.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small skillet over medium and cook shallot, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the ginger, lemongrass, garlic, and coriander and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in the same skillet over medium-high. Cook the peanuts, tossing often, until golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels; let cool, then coarsely chop. Set aside 1 tbsp peanuts for serving.
Whisk the kaffir lime leaves, lime zest, lime juice, sugar, ½ tsp. salt, and remaining 3 tbsp oil into the shallot mixture. Add the beans, remaining peanuts, and ⅓ cup cilantro and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with more cilantro and reserved peanuts.

 

Pan-fried eggplant with balsamic, basil and capers

Sweet, mild eggplant pairs with briny capers, floral basil, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. Beautiful combination.

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Serves 4
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup olive oil
2 small eggplant (about 8 oz. each), trimmed and sliced 1/3″thick crosswise.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste>
2 tbsp. capers
4 basil leaves, thinly sliced

Simmer the vinegar over medium heat in a 1-qt saucepan until reduced to a thick syrup, about 15 minutes.
Heat half the oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches and adding more oil as needed, fry eggplant, flipping once, until golden-brown, 5–7 minutes.
Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on a platter; drizzle with balsamic.
Garnish with capers and basil.

Patricia Wells’ Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado and Pistachios

When you just can’t look another zucchini in the face, put it on a pedestal. Raw zucchini can be spongy, bitter and strangely sticky, so pamper it like Patricia Wells does here, by shaving it into delicate ribbons, then bathing them in a lemony marinade.

A trusted mandoline makes a big difference here — and if you don’t have one, you’re better off opting for a vegetable peeler than a sharp knife. You want planks as thin as flower petals.

There will be leftover lemon salt. Swirl it into buttered pasta; dust it on blanched green beans; put a pinch on a dark chocolate cookie.

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Serves 4 (as a meal) Lemon Zest Salt:

1 tbsp lemon zest, preferably organic
1 tbsp fine sea salt

Combine the lemon zest and salt in a spice grinder, and grind into a fine powder. Transfer to a small jar and close the lid. (Store, sealed in the jar, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. After that the lemon flavor will begin to fade.)

Salad:

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt
3 tablespoons best-quality pistachio oil (such as Leblanc) or extra-virgin olive oil
4 small, fresh zucchini (about 4 ounces each), rinsed and trimmed at both ends
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup salted pistachios
Leaves from 4 fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme sprigs, with flowers if possible
Fleur de sel

In a small jar with a lid, combine the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt. Cover with the lid and shake to blend. Add the oil and shake to blend.
With a mandoline, vegetable peeler, or very sharp chef’s knife slice the zucchini lengthwise as thin as possible. Arrange the slices on a platter and pour the dressing over them. Tilt the platter back and forth to coat the slices evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, so the zucchini absorbs the dressing and does not dry out.
Halve, pit, and peel the avocado, and cut it lengthwise into very thin slices. Carefully arrange the slices of marinated zucchini on individual salad plates, alternating with the avocado slices, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts. Garnish with the thyme leaves and flowers and fleur de sel.
Serve and enjoy!

Banana coconut parcels

This has got to be one of my favorite desserts and so easy. You can store the banana leaves in your freezer, so you will always have them around.
This recipe is c/o Saveur magazine.

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12 fresh or frozen banana leaves
2 1⁄4 cups coconut cream
3⁄4 cup sugar
Kosher salt, to taste
1 1⁄2 cups short-grain sticky rice, soaked for 6 hours, drained, and rinsed
3 firm-ripe bananas, quartered lengthwise

Cut each banana leaf into a roughly 12″x 14″ rectangle, then cut the scraps into 12 thin ribbons for tying; set aside.
Combine the coconut cream, sugar, 1⁄4 cup water, and salt in a 12″ nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook, stirring, until it begins to bubble, about 2 minutes. Add the rice; cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 7 minutes.
Remove from heat; let the rice absorb liquid, about 20 minutes. Divide the rice into 12 equal portions.

Working with 1 banana leaf at a time, arrange a leaf with a short edge parallel to you, smooth side up.
Put a portion of rice in the center; top with a banana quarter; press gently.
Shape the rice into a rectangle.
Fold the leaf ends over the rice to make a packet. Tie with a ribbon. Repeat to make 12 packets in all.
Pour water into a wide-bottomed pot to a depth of 1″. Set a colander inside pot.
Working in 2 batches, steam the packets until firm, about 15 minutes.

Caponata ratatouille

Mediterranean vegetarian food is the most comforting to eat and beautiful to look at. This is a combination of the Provencal ratatouille and Italian caponata with the briny capers and olives added for a punch. It is from the wonderful BBC Food website and is very low calorie. If you need anything else with it, you could boil some rice or pasta with it.

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Serves 6

1 tbsp olive oil
1lb 10 oz eggplant, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks. If you don’t like eggplants you can use zucchini instead
1 large onion, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
3 celery sticks, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, skinned,deseeded and chopped into 1/2″ chunks
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp caper, drained
small handful pitted green olives
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar, optional
1-2 tbsp cocoa powder, optional
Freshly ground black pepper
To garnish;
chopped toasted almonds
Chopped Italian parsley

Heat the oil in a non stick frying pan until very hot, add the eggplant and fry for about 15 minutes or until very soft. Add a little boiling water or stock to prevent sticking if necessary.
Meanwhile, place the onion and celery in a large saucepan with a little water or stock. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender but still firm.
Add the tomatoes, thyme, cayenne pepper, and eggplants to the saucepan. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the capers, olives, vinegar, sugar and cocoa powder and cook for 2 to 4 minutes.
Season with freshly ground pepper and add salt if you think you need it.
Divide between 6 bowls, garnish with the toasted almonds and chopped parsley and serve.

Saffron rice with barberries, pistachios and mixed herbs

If you are like me, you will go onto Google and buy a bag of barberries rather than schlepp around all the stores. They are not expensive and there really is no substitute to these little jewels. I must credit the incredible Ottolenghi for this recipe and picture as there is no way my iPhone can better this image.

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Serves six

3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed under cold water and drained
2 1/2 cups boiling water
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp saffron threads, soaked for 30 minutes in 3 tbsp boiling water
2 oz dried barberries, soaked for a few minutes in freshly boiled water with a pinch of sugar
2 tbsp dill, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp chervil, roughly chopped
1 tbsp tarragon, roughly chopped
4 to 5 tbsp slivered or crushed unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted

Firstly;
Barberries are tiny, jewel-like, dried sweet-and-sour Iranian berries. Their intense sharpness accentuates other flavours in a dish and adds wonderful drama to its looks. You can get them online, and from Iranian and some Middle Eastern grocers. If you can’t find any, use currants soaked in a little lemon juice instead. Serve this rice with roast chicken or just on it’s own.
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Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the rice, making sure the grains are well coated. Add the boiling water, a teaspoon of salt and some white pepper. Mix well, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook on a very low heat for 15 minutes. Don’t be tempted to uncover the pan – you need to let the rice to steam properly.

Remove the pan from the heat – all the water will have been absorbed by the rice – and pour the saffron water over about a quarter of the surface, leaving most of the rice white. Cover with a tea towel, reseal tightly with the lid and set aside for five to 10 minutes.

With a large spoon, transfer the white rice to a large bowl and fluff it up with a fork. Drain the barberries and stir them in, followed by the herbs and most of the pistachios, reserving a few to garnish. Fluff up the saffron rice in the pan, then fold gently into the white rice – don’t overmix: you don’t want the white grains to be stained by the yellow ones. Taste, adjust the seasoning and transfer to a shallow serving bowl.

Scatter the remaining pistachios on top and serve warm or at room temperature.

Dhal with spinach, tomatoes and coconut milk

I get more excited about non-meat recipes these days than anything. I almost always choose non-meat dishes in restaurants as I find them so much more interesting than a lump of meat on a plate.
This is lovely just served with some boiled rice.

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Serves 4

11 oz red lentils
1 heaped tsp freshly grated ginger
A handful of cilantro stalks finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped
14 fl oz coconut milk
15 oz tin of chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1 red chile, seeded and finely chopped
8 curry leaves (fresh is best or dried)
4 oz baby spinach leaves
juice of 1 lemon
3 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
salt and pepper

Put the lentils into a heavy-based pan with the ginger, cilantro stalks and a teaspoon of salt then pour over the coconut milk and about 21 fl oz of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, adding the tomatoes after 10 minutes.

After 30 minutes the lentils will have broken down and will be thick and creamy. Then whisk until the mixture becomes smooth. If it is too thick then you can add a little more water. Leave to simmer gently while you get the spice mixture ready.

Heat the oil in a small heavy-based frying pan. Add the turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, mustard seeds, red chilli and curry leaves. Leave them to temper. The oil should be bubbling and the seeds popping. This will take about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Stir straight into the lentils reserving 1 tablespoon. Be careful, as the mixture may spit a little. Whisk until well combined and then stir in the baby spinach, lemon juice and spring onions. Test for seasoning and put some salt and pepper in, it if it needs it, but it may not.

Ladle the dahl into bowls, then sprinkle over the cilantro leaves, reserved spices and spring onions to serve.

Wild rice salad with cranberries and roasted nuts

We had this salad for Thanksgiving as a side, and it was definitely everyone’s favorite dish. Not only is it healthy, it tastes clean, fresh and divine and only gets better with sitting in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. I adapted this from a recipe from the great food blog, View from a Great Island.

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Serves 6-8

1 cup wild rice, rinsed
1/3 cup raw pecan halves
1/3 cup whole raw cashews
1/3 cup pistachios
1/3 small red onion
several small inner stalks of celery, peeled and chopped (I used 5 good sized stalks)
5 to 6 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp of your favorite vinegar, I used Sherry
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
1 heaped tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

This first soaking step is optional, but will help keep your wild rice from splitting as much, which I think makes a prettier salad. If you have the time, soak the rice in plenty of water for 8 hours or overnight. Then drain and continue the recipe.

Bring a quart of water and a teaspoon of salt to boil in a saucepan and add the rice. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and cook for about 30-40 minutes, or just until the rice is tender. Wild rice will always have a little bite to it, so don’t try to cook it until completely soft.

While the rice is cooking, put the pecans and cashews in a large skillet and toast, over medium heat, until you smell them and they start to turn slightly brown. Take them off the heat and let them cool before giving them a rough chop.
Drain the rice and put in a bowl.
Toss the warm rice with the rest of the ingredients.

Whisk together the dressing in a small jar. If you put the top on and shake it vigorously, it should emulsify. Taste it to adjust the amount of vinegar or seasonings. Toss the salad with half of the dressing, and then refrigerate until completely chilled.
When ready to serve, add more dressing and toss well.