Golden Beet Salad with Balsamic + Cashew Ricotta
Beets are definitely one of the most underrated root vegetables. Most people think they don't (or KNOW they don't) like them, and most restaurants won't put a dish on the menu that nobody will order. It's a sad cycle, and beets usually get the short end of the stick. But unlike their earthier, more bitter, urine-dying red beet cousin, the golden beet is a sweet veggie that tastes great whether you pickle, bake, brine, roast or juice it. It has a mellow flavor (and color) that pairs really well with tangy, acidic flavors like balsamic vinegar and richer textures like crunchy walnuts and creamy cashew ricotta - which is why we paired them together! Plus, yellow beets are packed with good-for-you vitamins and minerals like fiber, iron, potassium and folic acid. If you haven't tried golden beets, or have just been waiting for the right recipe to test them out in, make this salad. It comes together super easily and tastes great, plus it somehow totally looks and sounds like a dish you'd only find at a fancy restaurant. Let's eat!
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 medium golden beets
4 cups arugula
balsamic vinegar, as needed for serving
Preheat the oven to 350º. Spread the chopped walnut onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, stirring once. When finished, set aside to cool.
Soak the raw cashews in warm water for at least 30 minutes. Drain the nuts and pour them into a food processor. Pour in the water and salt and pulse until a fluffy, chunky texture is achieved (similar to ricotta cheese). Set aside.
Trim the ends of the beets, then place them into a medium-sized pot of water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook over medium heat until fork tender, about 20-30 minutes. Drain the water and let cool slightly before using your fingers to slide the skins off. Toss the skins in the compost or trash and thinly slice the cooked beets.
Spread the arugula between two large plates and top with the toasted walnuts, a couple tablespoons of the cashew ricotta, sliced golden beets and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately! (Or, just prep it and take it for lunch to work all week!)
Leftovers last up to a week in the fridge.
Savory Stuffed Mushrooms
Until a few years ago at a holiday party, I thought I hated stuffed mushrooms. I'd never actually tried them before that but I wasn't a huge fan of mushrooms and it seemed to me like no matter what you stuffed them with, they could't possibly taste that great. I was very, very wrong. The older I get, the more I like mushrooms - they're still not my favorite on their own, but the earthy, rich, almost meaty flavor they lend to dishes is both impressive and delicious, as far as I'm concerned.
Anyway, a friend brought some stuffed mushrooms to that holiday party a few years ago, I tried them, and before I knew it I was popping button mushrooms in my mouth like they were going out of style. I was hooked! But that was over two years ago, and this is the first time I've made a stuffed mushroom recipe since that is just so out of this world I had to share it with you guys. I know there are tons of recipes for this dish online, but I promise this one is really good. And pretty easy, too! It's packed with flavor, the filling has great texture, and the homemade parmesan cheese on top adds some fanciness and helps keep the filling moist. The whole things comes together in your mouth like WOAH. This is a recipe worthy of sharing at your next Holiday party - it's a serious crowd-pleaser! Let's get cookin'.
24 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems removed
2 tablespoons coconut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, chopped
4 cups fresh spinach
1 cup wild rice, cooked
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Gently wash the mushrooms and remove the stems. Place them cap down onto a lined baking sheet and set aside.
In a large cast iron pan, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and shallots until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach, stirring continuously until it has wilted.
Remove the pan from heat and pour the cooked veggies into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the wild rice, roasted red peppers, walnuts, bread crumbs, parsley, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss the mixture together and set it aside to cool for a few minutes.
While the mixture cools, you can prepare the parmesan cheeze by placing all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulsing until the mixture becomes a fine meal. Save some (about 1/4-1/2 cup) to sprinkle over the mushrooms and save the rest in an airtight container in the fridge up to 2 weeks.
When the mixture has cooled enough to handle, use a spoon, ice cream scoop, or your fingers to scoop the mixture into the cap of each mushroom. The amount you use will vary depending on the size of the mushroom cap. Once all the caps are filled, sprinkle the reserved parmesan cheeze over the top.
Bake the stuffed mushrooms for 20-25 minutes, until tender. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and serve immediately!
It was hard to come up with just how many people this serves since it really depends on how big the shrooms are, how many people are around, and how many each person eats BUT this recipe gave me 1 packed baking sheet full of stuffed mushrooms.
Leftovers can be saved in the fridge up to 3 days. They are best reheated in a microwave or in an oven at about 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, though they may get slightly softer after reheating.
Cranberry Apple Walnut Stuffing
For years, the only stuffing I'd ever eaten was the weird, kinda mushy, from-a-box version that only came out at our place on Thanksgiving and Easter. And it was okay, but I had no idea what I was missing. I don't remember the first time I had a crusty, moist homemade stuffing, but it changed my mind forever. Once you've had the real thing, you just can't go back. This year I'm tackling stuffing and officially making it my favorite side dish. It tastes great smothered in mashed potatoes and sopping up gravy, and packs much more flavor than you'd imagine for such a quick + easy recipe. It's sweet and savory and looks lovely with all the color from the vegetables peeking out. The walnuts add just a touch of texture and earthy flavor, and the apples and cranberries balance everything out. Missing an ingredient? Sub in something else you love! This recipe is easy to make your own and tastes great just about anyway you serve it. Let's eat!
8 cups stale sourdough bread, cut into 1-in. cubes
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium red apple, cored and chopped
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
1 teaspoon each salt + pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cube up your stale bread and set it aside in a large mixing bowl.
In a large cast iron skillet, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic, celery and onions until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add apples and cranberries and continue to cook until apples soften, about 3-4 more minutes. Sprinkle in walnuts, sage, salt and pepper and toss to incorporate.
Pour the vegetable mixture into the bowl with the cubed bread, and stir. Pour vegetable broth over the mixture, stirring to evenly coat all the bread with liquid. The bread will absorb most of the liquid, but there should be some left.
Pour the entire stuffing mixture into a greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, until stuffing is becoming golden brown and making the kitchen smell delicious. Pull it from the oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!
To reheat, you can place the entire baking dish back into the oven covered in foil, removing the foil about halfway through cooking. Or if you have a microwave, feel free to use that.
If you don't want to use sourdough bread you can substitute your stale bread of choice.
Strawberry Walnut Kale Salad with Creamy Champagne Vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon each salt + pepper
4 cups kale, washed and gently massaged
1/2 cup thinly sliced strawberries
1/4 chopped walnuts
1/4 cup green onions
1/4 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
fresh lemon, garnish
In a blender combine online oil, garlic, champagne vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. If you don't have a blender or would prefer more of an oil + vinegar style dressing, simply mince garlic and whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
Remove leaves from stems by tearing the leaves downward. Toss kale stems in the compost (my dog loves to eat them, too!) and tear or rip kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. Wash in a colander, using to hands to gently squeeze and 'massage' the kale, so it becomes slightly less crunchy. Pat or shake off excess water, and toss kale into a large bowl. Add in chopped strawberries, walnuts, onions, and cucumber and gently toss to combine.
Serve with champagne vinaigrette and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Extra dressing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Enjoy!
With less than a week 'till Easter, the days are getting longer and the trees are sprouting buds. Spring has officially sprung! I've been enjoying running with my pup Maddie in the warm, balmy weather, and here in California, our garden strawberries are even starting to ripen. That's where this recipe inspiration came from- have to eat up the strawberries before the caterpillars do! This is our simple, garden-fresh version of a classic strawberry walnut salad. The tangy champagne vinaigrette is my favorite and blending it helps keep it creamy and light. This sweet salad balances perfectly on a bed of slightly bitter, crunchy kale- though we do massage it to make it a little less intimidating. Add some green onions and a squeeze of lemon and let's eat!
Cinnamon-Raisin Walnut Butter
I don't eat a ton of raw nuts. I love them, they're nutritious and delicious- but I'm gonna let in on a little secret: I'm really more of a nut butter kind of girl. There is nothing like a rounded spoonful of fresh, raw nut butter to give you energy and satisfy your appetite. Plus, I love the convenience of being able to tote around a jar of my favorite nut butter to spread on everything in site. Seriously: everything.
Or, like I said, just enjoy it bite-by-bite.
I've been experimenting lately with different nut butter combinations, since plain almond butter can get a little boring...and I just got a new vitamix! Woot woot!
My favorite (besides the deliciocusness you're lookin' at) has been a creamy, whipped coconut cashew butter. (I'll share that recipe soon, promise.)
With the Cinnamon-Raisin Walnut butter, I was aiming to quelch a craving. I woke up one morning just drooling over the idea of a giant waffle breakfast, only (surprise!) I don't actually own a waffle iron. So I set out to do what any food blogger with fancy new equiptment and a few hours to kill does: I made something delicious.
It was warm, it was sweet, it was like a spreadable cinnabon waffle topping. With a little natural sweetness added courtesy of the raisins, and just a kick of flavor from the cinnamon, I had a delicious waffle-worthy topping...great on toast, too!
We were able to keep the added nutrients attributed to eating a raw diet by not roasting the walnuts first. Its a great trick for adding oomph to the flavor of your nuts, but I like the nut butter sans roasting. Plus, its even easier to throw together and retains some extra nutrients.
Plus, as a chef, I cook all day long. When I come home, I like shortcuts :)
3 cups whole, raw walnuts
1/2 cup raw, sulphur-free raisins
1/2-1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
Throw everything in a food processor or high-speed blender (like a vitamix). Blend about 4-6 minutes, until the nuts, raisins, and cinnamon are all a uniform, creamy consistency. There will be some very small chunks (walnuts, you know). Those are the best part, enjoy 'em!
Store in a glass jar in the pantry or refrigerator for a month, or until you've enjoyed it all! I like it as a spread for toast and waffles, a dip for fruit and crackers, and an add in for oatmeal, smoothies, and anything you can replace 'peanut butter' with.
Also, makes great holiday gifts for friends and family, especally those with food allergies!