Japanese Style Pickled Cucumber & Carrot Salad + Chili Garlic Tofu

You know the cucumber salad you eat with your sushi?  I love it. I mean LOVE LOVE LOVE it. When I was in high school, I would come home from cross country practice, slice up an entire english cucumber, drizzle it in rice vinegar and chow down. So refreshing! Tons of fiber + hydration.

Well.

Sunomono is a Japanese cucumber salad served at the beginning of meals. It’s made of marinated cucumber slices topped with sesame seeds. It can be served with a thin, vinegar-based sauce such as Amazu sauce or Ponzu sauce, or with a simple sauce made of just vinegar and sugar.

So this salad is my rendition of sunomono with a few extras.

FYI, in my opinon: this is one serving. But in your opinion, maybe it’s two?

Salad Ingredients:

2 Persian Cucumbers

2 Carrots

1/2 cup shelled Edamame, blanched

4 Tbs Rice Wine Vinegar

1 1/2 tsp Maple Syrup

Pinch of salt (or dash of Coconut Aminos, Tamari or Soy Sauce–always reduced sodium)

Pinch of Crushed Red Chili flakes (optional, but do it!)
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Instructions:
I used my OXO julienne peeler to cut the carrots and cucumber. I just used the outer firm part of cucumber & munched on the soft inside/seedy part while prepping the salad. (You can sub English cucumber if you don’t have Persian or Japanese ) If you don’t have a julienne peeler (get one! j/k) use a vegetable peeler to cut into ribbons, a mandolin to shave into thin slices, or just chop it up with your best chefs knife. It’s going to taste amazing any of those ways.
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To make the dressing: mix vinegar, maple syrup and salt (or substitute) in medium bowl. Add chili flakes if you want some spice. Toss in cucumber & carrots to coat. Let sit covered in fridge for 30 mins—or even overnight!
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I served over a bed of chopped romaine lettuce. I just dumped all the carrots, cucumber & vinegar mixture on top of the romaine. And sprinkled with edamame. Such a refreshing salad! Serve with protein of your choice!

Protein of MY choice is this chili-garlic tofu. So EASY.

Chili-Garlic Tofu Ingredients: 

1 block of organic sprouted tofu (I buy at Trader Joe’s)

1 Tbs reduced sodium Tamari

1 tsp Chili-Garlic Sauce

(I marinated the whole block of tofu, but only ate 1/2 of it for this meal and saved the other 1/2 for lunch the next day)

Instructions:

Cut tofu. I cut it into strips like you see in the pictures. but cubes are fine too! Let marinate for about 30 mins. I left it overnight–so it’s flexible and that is an option! Then brush all sides of tofu with sesame or avocado oil and fry in skillet or grill pan on stove. I like to do medium heat about 4 mins on each side. If you want to do oil free–bake in oven on parchment lined sheet pan at 375º F for about 30 mins.

That’s it! Then serve with this delicious salad and ENJOY!

Cilantro Lime Red Rice

I absolutely love this rice. It’s 100% whole grain which means it retains all of its wholesome bran layer, where the grains nutrients are stored. The addition of 3 simple ingredients: cilantro, lime and garlic take this organic red rice to a level of pure deliciousness.

Ingredients:
1 cup Lotus Foods Red Rice
1 + 3/4 cup broth or water
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 lime
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
oil (optional)

Cilantro Lime Seasoning Instructions:

  • Rinse 1/2 bunch of cilantro and twist off the very bottom ends of stems—leave most of stems intact. Roughly chop.
  • Add to a food processor with juice from 1 lime (about 2 Tablespoons lime juice) and 1 garlic clove. Process until nicely blended.

Set aside.

Rice Instructions:

  • Heat up a dollop of oil (or butter) in a saucepan on medium-high heat.
  • Saute 1 cup of rice in the saucepan until lightly browned.
  • Add 1 and 3/4 cups of stock/water and pinch of salt to the rice.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Let stand covered for a few minutes.

Gently fluff rice & stir the lime cilantro mixture to the cooked rice. Now it’s ready to serve!

Suggestions: Put this rice in a burrito bowl–think Chipotle copycat. Use as side dish on Taco Tuesday. Stir in some cooked black beans to create a complete protein.

Notes:

1) Yes, the yellow citrus in my photos are limes (not lemons)! Green limes that you buy in the supermarket are, in fact, underripe. When allowed to fully ripen on the tree, they turn pale yellow. Limes only ripen on the tree; once they’re picked, they won’t continue to ripen. The flavor of unripe green limes is tart and pukery. When left on the tree to ripen and turn yellow–they get sweeter and juicier!

2) Jasmine Rice or Brown Rice can be used for this recipe. Just follow cooking times & liquid measurements on rice package.

Meal Prep: Taco Tofu + Salsa Chicken

Happy New Year!

Started off 2019 by making dinner for the next 3 nights!

It came out so delicious, I wanted to share.

As you may know, I have been a vegetarian for 20+ years, my husband is not.  I eat high vegan. But I am not 100% vegan. This meal is a great example of how I make almost the same meal but different protein for each of us. It is gluten-free & dairy-free.  I have a couple avocados to slice up right before we eat each portion–but I don’t like adding avocado to the meal in advance.

Here are the details:

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

Taco Seasoned Tofu

Basmati Rice

Sautéed Veggies

Black Beans

Salsa + Cilantro

Crockpot Salsa Chicken (3-4 servings)

2 pounds of Chicken
1 jar of salsa (approx 16 ounces)
Heat in covered crockpot on low, overnight. I doubled the batch so my husband could have extra chicken for his lunches. (4 pounds chicken + 2 jars of salsa) and cooked it for about 15 hours!!—which is total overkill—but Jonathan said it’s super yummy! 2 pounds could easily cook on low in 5 hours and would make for 3-4 servings for a hungry/active person.

Note: We usually buy 2 pound bags of frozen chicken from Trader Joe’s.

Taco Seasoned Tofu (3-4 servings)

2 blocks sprouted organic tofu (I buy the double pack from Trader Joe’s, 15.5 ounces)

3 Tbs Taco Seasoning

Juice from 1/2 lemon

1 Tbs Tamari

optional: a few dashes of hot sauce

Instructions:

Cut tofu into cubes. Marinate cubes in taco seasoning, lemon juice & tamari for 30 mins.

Add one Tablespoon oil to skillet. (or add 1/4 cup vegetable broth to keep it oil free, I used all my broth to cook the rice & sauté the veggies)

Add tofu.

Sauté until heated through. Stirring a few times. Set aside.

I cooked 2 cups of basmati rice + 3 cups of vegetable broth in my instant pot (high pressure for 4 mins) Then I did the natural steam release for a good 20 mins after it finished pressure cooking. Came out perfect.

I served approximately 1/2 cup of cooked rice with the tofu and about 1 cup of rice with the chicken.

Tip: When you reheat anything that has rice— unless there’s a lot of liquid in the sauce/protein  you are putting on top—you will want to add a few tablespoons of water to help re-moisten the rice. (I do not recommend meal prepping rice for longer than 3 days. In my opinion it just doesn’t taste good longer than that.)

*Jasmine Rice is our favorite for this meal, but TJ’s was out so we had Basmati instead. Quinoa is also an excellent option!

Fajita Veggies (6 servings)

1 Onion, diced
3 Bell Peppers, diced
2-3 cups of Mushrooms, diced

Marinade for the mushrooms:
1-2 Tbs Tamari (reduced sodium)
1 Tbs Ponzu sauce
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce (vegan)
1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
Black Pepper

Instructions:

Once you have diced the veggies & marinated the mushrooms.

Heat skillet on Stovetop.
Add 1/2 cup veggie broth to skillet. Add onion, sauté 1 min.
Add mushrooms, sauté 2 mins.
Add bell pepper, sauté 1 min.
Remove from heat & set aside.

Tip: When meal prepping, you want to under-cook the veggies slightly because they will be reheated again either in the oven or microwave and that will cook them more.

In addition:

Rinse and drain 2 cans of black beans.

Wash fresh cilantro.

I added a spoonful of jarred salsa to each dish.

Optional: avocado for serving

Now it’s time to assemble!

No right or wrong way to do this! See my pics below!

Coconut Bacon

There are many plant based bacon alternatives out there.  Some of my favorites are tempeh bacon, mushroom bacon, and this easy to make coconut bacon! You can find all the ingredients at your local Trader Joe’s.

I use this in salad, on avocado toast, in veggie sandwiches!  You can sub the coconut aminos for Tamari/Soy Sauce. And if you want a less sweet version–leave out the maple syrup.

Ingredients:

2 cups coconut chips
3 Tbs coconut aminos
1 Tbs maple syrup
3 Tbs smoked paprika
1 Tbs avocado oil
dash of cayenne
salt & pepper

Instructions:

Mix ingredients.
Spread on baking sheet.
Bake 325°F for about 15 mins. Stirring a couple times.
Let cool.
Try not to eat it all like popcorn.
Top on EVERYTHING!

Chickpea Miso Salad Dressing

I’ve really been craving Asian inspired dishes recently! Sushi, Fried Rice, Dumplings, Lo Mein, Garlic String Beans! I want it all–but not the sodium! I’ve been trying to recreate some of my fave dishes at home using healthier ingredients. One of my favorite things about going out for Sushi is the ginger dressing they serve on the basic side salad! Give me all the ginger! This dressing is similar– but a healthier twist–pour it over a veggie packed salad. Great way to celebrate spring!

I recently discovered Chickpea Miso at my local Whole Foods Market and it’s my new jam! Perfect for ramen, miso glazed veggies and salad dressings. I’ve been making this dressing at least once a week and using for green salads, cucumber salad, & for dipping veggies into!

It’s tangy & refreshing! You can taste the nourishment.

You can definitely use regular white soy miso for this recipe! Or try it with chickpea miso!

 

Chickpea Miso Salad Dressing (3 servings)

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. Chickpea Miso
2 Tbs. hot water
1 teaspoon grated fresh Ginger (or more!)
2 Tbs Rice Vinegar
1 Tbs. Maple Syrup
Juice from 1 lemon, about 3 Tbs

Instructions:

Mix chickpea miso with hot water until it dissolves. Then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Let sit in fridge for at least an hour before serving so that the ingredients can really marinate.

I made a simple salad with an Italian Lettuce blend–Romaine, Butter Lettuce and Radicchio. Julienned Carrots & Persian Cucumber. Sugar Snap Peas. Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes. Sunflower Seeds.

Let me know if you try it! And as usual tag me in your #cloversandkale creations on Instagram! I love hearing from you guys!

XOXO,
Siobain

Swiss Chard & Kale Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale, cut in ribbons
  • 1 bunch of swiss chard (I used red chard), cut in ribbons
  • 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds (roasted or raw)
  • 1 apple, diced small

for Salad Dressing Instructions click here: Dijon Vinaigrette

Salad Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil*
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons raw honey (OR) 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup (vegan version)
Juice from half a lemon (I used half a large lemon & got about 1/4 cup juice)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

*you can omit the olive oil all together if you’d like. Most of us are used to oil in salad dressing—but we could also get used to no oil in salad dressing.  You can always try making this dressing without oil and giving it a taste. If you feel like it needs oil, add 1 Tablespoon at a time—up to 1/4 cup.

Instructions:

  1. Wash and cut Swiss Chard & Kale. I like to use a salad spinner to make sure it gets nice and dry. Place in a mixing bowl.
  2. Dice apple.
  3. Massage salad dressing into Chard & Kale. Go easy on the dressing because it’s pretty powerful. Save what’s left in fridge up to 5 days.
  4. Sprinkle with diced apple and sunflower seeds.

That’s it. So easy!

 

These are some seriously nutrient dense ingredients.

Swiss Chard: Swiss chard is a nutritional powerhouse — an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber

Kale: 3 grams of protein per cup, 2.5 grams fiber per cup, Vitamins A, C and K, folate, as well as minerals–phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc

Apple Cider Vinegar: helps with blood sugar control, full of probiotics and beneficial bacteria, and of course some claim it aids in weight loss/fat burn

Lemon: Packed with Vitamin C, aids digestion, decreases bloat

Garlic: benefits your immune, respiratory, and circulatory system, (hi, healthy heart!) anti-inflammatory, antioxidant packed

 

You can use any kind of apple you’d like.  I recommend a crispy one.  I used Fuji because that’s what came in my farm box this week. But any kind would be great.

The sunflower seeds add an additional 7 grams of protein + Vitamin E, Copper, Vitamin B1. They also provide a decent amount of manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6, folate and niacin.

I have so much to say, but I have a hungry baby who needs to nurse.  I’ll be back soon!

Besos,

Siobain

Twist on the classic “Wedge Salad”

I always think the wedge salad looks so delicious when I see people order it at a restaurant.  But,

1) It always has bacon, which I don’t eat.

2) I’m 7 months pregnant and Blue-Cheese is on the “no-no” list for foods to avoid when prego. (Because the really good Blue Cheese is not Pasteurized)

So, problem solved. All my ingredients are Certified Organic, Meat-Free and Dairy-Free.

clovers-kale-wedge-salad-iceburg-tomatoes-parsley

First things first.  Lets maximize our territory for toppings. Instead of slicing your iceberg in wedges. Cut the stem out. Place the Iceburg stem side down on the cutting board. Then slice as if you were slicing a loaf of bread.

clovers-kale-iceburg

Next, Place Toppings on your lettuce.

I used these Ingredients:

  • Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
  • Parsley
  • Lightlife Foods Fakin’ Bacon, heated until slightly crispy on fry pan
  • Croutons, that I buy at the bakery at Whole Foods (for under $2)
  • Whole Foods Market Vegan Caesar Dressing
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

For pictures of the tempeh bacon & dressing check out this post

 

clovers-kale-wedge-salad

With heavy fall/winter foods coming our way, sometimes it’s nice to have a light & simple salad. This is so refreshing.

clovers-kale-vegan-wedge-salad-close-up

I used to avoid Iceberg lettuce like the plague…thinking it doesn’t have any nutrient density.  But good news, Iceberg lettuce is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C. It is also a good source of thiamin, vitamin B6, and folate (vitamin B9). Iceberg lettuce contains 14 calories per 100 grams. It mainly contains water and dietary fiber.  All things a pregnant mama needs.

clovers-kale-wedge-salad

If you try out this recipe or any of my recipes–Take a pic & tag me @cloversandkale on Instagram!  I love to see your #cloversandkale creations!

XOXO,

Siobain

Kale Salad with (Tempeh) Bacon

People always ask me how I get my protein since I am a vegetarian.  This salad has 30 grams of protein!

This is a typical lunch for me.

tempeh-kale-salad-clovers-kale

 

Looks delicious right?  But are you asking yourself “What the heck is Tempeh?”

Here’s a little breakdown:

Tempeh pronounced [tem-pay]  is a fermented whole soybean product. Think of it as tofu’s less processed & healthier sister.

Tofu contains soy isoflavones, which mimic natural human estrogens (which can be harmful to some people). Tofu also has phytic acid which is difficult to break down and get this, it can interrupt our body’s ability to absorb calcium, copper, magnesium, iron and zinc. Um, no thanks.

The soy protein in tempeh is easier to digest thanks to the fermentation process.

Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber and vitamins compared to tofu, as well as firmer texture and stronger flavor. Hi, veggie bacon!!!!  Although Tempeh is higher in calories than tofu, I think it is the superior form of soy.

Read more about the great soy debate here and here

 

Now back to this delicious salad.

 

Ingredients:

3 cups of Kale, (I used bagged kale that has shredded carrots & cabbage and I cut it into thin shreds–think Cobb Salad)

4 strips of Tempeh, I used Fakin’ Bacon

1 Nectarine, sliced how you like (Or Tomato, or Peach, or Apple)

4 Tablespoons of Whole Foods Vegan Caesar Dressing (Sometimes I use a Champagne Vinaigrette)

2 Tablespoons of Grated Parmesan (optional)

Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

freshly-chopped-kale-clovers-kale

Instructions:

Once Kale is washed and cut, massage your salad dressing into it.  Yes. You read that right.  Give your kale a massage.  It will break down the bitterness and make it taste SO. MUCH. BETTER. Set aside.

vegan-caesar-dressing-clovers-kale

Slice your Nectarine. Set aside.

nectarine-tempeh-kale-salad-clovers-kale

In a medium size skillet, spray or line with your favorite cooking oil.  I used avocado oil. Then heat your tempeh bacon.  I rarely cook it until crispy because it uses more oil than I like. But if you want it crispy, you do you. Follow the instructions on the package.

fakin-bacon-tempeh-clovers-kale
pan-frying-fakin-bacon-tempeh-clovers-kale

Once it’s cooked, cut or break it into bite size pieces.

Time to assemble.

Get your dressed kale, and toss in all your fruit & bacon. Season with fresh ground pepper.

Optional for my non-vegans: sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of parmesan cheese. (SO GOOD)

nectarine-tempeh-kale-clovers-kale

ENJOY!!

XO,

Siobain

 

 

 

P.S. It’s not like I never eat tofu.  I just prefer to eat Tempeh if it’s an option. I try to limit my soy intake to 1-2 servings per week.

Detoxing vs. Tonifying

Lemon + Orange + Ginger infused water. A great fusion for tonification

So the word “detox” is thrown around a lot.

Detoxing is trendier than Kylie Jenner’s Instagram feed.

I just want to say that there is a difference between detoxing and tonifying. The easiest way to break it down is detoxification means removing toxins from the body to support it functioning.

In the west we tend to overeat wayyyy too much (and over-booze) so I think we are attracted to the idea of “removing the damage”…

Tonification on the other hand, involves “nourishing” or “feeding” our body systems so that they can function optimally.

ton·i·fy
impart tone to (the body or a part of it).
increase the available energy of (an organ, part, or system of the body).

I like the idea of tonificaiton because I believe our body has a natural ability to “detoxify” …that’s our liver’s job, our skins job, and our urinary systems job!

I am more concerned about feeding my body foods that make it function at its best vs. doing crazy cleanses—example: drinking teas that make you sh*t all day long, magic pills, strict cleanses that make you binge eat the day you finish and re-toxify your body with drive-thru french fries, a Bud Light and a huge piece of lasagna at Grandma’s house. Not that there is anything wrong with french fries and lasagna, occasionally.

And you know how much I love my $10 ’50 Shades of Green’ Juice from Kreation in Toluca Lake. But I like to drink it on days when I want my body to reap the benefits of greens, but I don’t feel like eating another damn salad.  Because, we all have those days!  If you have insane will power, I do think there are benefits to a day or few days of juicing, or drinking smoothies. And I understand there are spiritual benefits of fasting for some religions. But most of us DO NOT HAVE IT IN US TO DRINK JUICE FOR 3 DAYS STRAIGHT to “detox” or “re-set” or “lose weight”

My main point is, you DON’T need to DEPRIVE yourself to the point you’ll go off the deep end with naughty foods.

From my personal experience, and what I’ve seen friends and clients go through…cleanses (like fad extreme weight loss diets) are unrealistic and we end up re-toxing within days of ending the expensive/torturous cleanse. And if we lost a little weight during the cleanse, it’s all back on within a week or 2.  Sometimes within 48 hours!

Here’s my alternative advice for those of you wanting to detox.

Instead, start incorporating NOURISHING, REAL, PLANT-BASED food into your every-day-eating. Have a smoothie with fruit & greens for breakfast. Don’t drink beer everyday after work! Instead, sip on a kombucha while you’re cooking dinner. If it’s the end of the day and you really haven’t eaten well–have a lean, clean and green dinner = protein + unlimited greens & veggies. Then, you won’t feel the need to detox!

Again, this is all my personal opinion and I’m not a doctor.

If you have any questions/comments feel free to email me at cloversandkale@gmail.com

XO,

Siobain

Grilled Gypsy Peppers

Labor Day means I can look forward to Hatch chile peppers being on sale at Whole Foods and receiving “Gypsy Peppers” in my Farm Fresh to You delivery. It means summer is coming to an end and fall is near. Like other peppers–I normally just throw my gypsies into fajitas, or stir-fry, or stuff them with a quinoa melody…

Gypsies have a thin skin and thin walls compared to other peppers. This means they cook pretty fast. They fall into the category of sweet peppers.

This year, I found the perfect recipe printed on the flyer that comes with my Farm Fresh to You delivery!  No joke. I don’t think I will ever cook gypsy peppers or other sweet peppers any other way.  Thank you FFTY!!

I made some slight modifications, but here is the original recipe.

Depending on how many side dishes you are making, you will want at least 1 whole pepper per person. I’d say 2 whole peppers per person because these are SO. DARN. GOOD.

Ingredients

  • 10 gypsy peppers, cored and halved
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 sprigs thyme (remove the leaves from the stem and finely chop leaves)
  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1/2 Lemon

Instructions
Wash, halve and core peppers.

Farm Fresh - Gypsy Peppers - Clovers & Kale

In a mixing bowl (or a gallon size ziplock bag) Toss peppers with olive oil, minced garlic, thyme, salt & pepper. Let sit until you are ready to grill.

Grill peppers over a low to medium flame.

Thyme + Garlic + Olive Oil - Gypsy Peppers
Once peppers are cooked to your satisfaction, add a small spoonful of Parmesan to each half. Let sit on the grill another couple minutes until the cheese has melted.

For the finishing touch, squeeze juice from a lemon over the top of each pepper.

ENJOY!!

 

Grilled Thyme Garlic Parmesan - Gypsy Peppers - Clovers & Kale

Parmesan Grilled Gypsy Peppers