Sorghum Salad

I have been eating out way more than usual, given that i am new to the Bay area which is any foodie’s heaven. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know what i’m talking about. So when i eat at home, i try and eat healthy and incorporate a colorful platter of veggies either in the form of roasted veggies or a mixed vegetable soup or a salad. And when you have a dad who can put any food processor to shame when it comes to chopping veggies, it is a pleasure to eat vegetables. I love adding grains to my salad because it gives a nice bite and is very filling too. Sorghum known as Jowar in India is an ancient grain that has been in countries like India and Africa for several decades. In America, sorghum was primarily used as a cheap sweetener or livestock feed until the gluten-free diet became popular. From pancakes to popcorn, sorghum has become a common household name in America. Compared to rice and wheat, sorghum has higher calcium content and is packed with iron, protein and fiber. This salad is packed with delicious vegetables and is both adult and kid approved which makes it a wonderful dish to serve at parties.

sorghum salad

Ingredients

1 cup sorghum

5 red radish, finely chopped (if you are using the long variety, use 1)

5 Persian cucumbers, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 raw green mango, finely chopped

1/2 cup raw peanuts with skin

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon olive oil

juice from 1 lemon

salt

pepper

Method

1. Place sorghum in a large pot with 4 cups of water, bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the grains are cooked well. Alternatively, you can cook sorghum in a pressure with 3 cups of water for 3 whistles.

2. Cook raw peanuts on stove top with sufficient water or pressure cook them until soft, drain and set aside.

3. Place all the chopped vegetables in a large bowl, add sorghum and boiled peanuts. Mix well.

4. Add olive juice, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well.

5. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

Vegan Black-Eyed Peas And Greens

Its a southern American tradition to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s day for happiness and good fortune. The peas are said to represent coins and are often eaten alongside collard greens, which represent paper money. Legend has it that black-eyed peas earned their lucky reputation during the civil war when Union soldiers ignored this legume considering it fit only for animal-feed. The confederates considered themselves lucky to be left with these peas to get them through winter. Black-eyed peas became a symbol of luck. This recipe from a recent issue of the Vegetarian Times replaces collards with kale which is the mother of all greens. Whether you decide to cook them with a dime or eat 365 peas, this recipe is winner and i surely won’t wait until next year to make this again. Happy New Year folks!

black-eyed peas salad

Ingredients

1 cup black-eyed peas

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1.75 teaspoons salt, divided

12 oz kale, torn into pieces

2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided

2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 green onions, sliced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped ( i didn’t use this)

Method

1. Place peas in a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Let it sit for an hour.

2. Drain and return peas to the saucepan and cover with fresh water. Add bay leaf and bring it to a boil and cook for 20 minutes.

3. Add vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt and cook 10-20 minutes longer or until peas are tender. Alternatively you can cook peas in a microwave for 15 minutes or until tender.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add kale and boil for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Drain and toss with 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

5. Toss tomatoes with 1/4 teaspoon salt and place in a colander, shake occasionally to drain juices.

6. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, oil, green onions, parsley and oregano in a large bowl.

7. Drain peas, remove bay lead and add to bowl with lemon juice and herbs, mix well.

8. Add tomatoes, mix again and serve warm with kale on side.

Bai 5 Malawi Mango- Apple Smoothie

About a month ago, i received a shipment from Bai with samples of their antioxidant drinks. Bai has a line of 100% natural, antioxidant drinks each containing just 5 calories, hence the name Bai5. They use coffee fruit, the casing that surrounds the coffee bean as the base for their beverage. Coffee fruit is supposedly an antioxidant powerhouse and good for our immune system. Each 8 oz bottle contains about 2 servings and each serving has 35 mg of caffeine which is the same as a cup of green tea. Bai5 is a kosher, vegan and GMO-free product.  Out of their 9 flavors, my favorites are Malawi mango, Congo pear, Brasilia blueberry and Ipanema pomegranate. Their first infusion, Sumatra dragon fruit is definitely an acquired taste, it is very mild and really doesn’t have much flavor. The beverages contain erythritol, a sugar alcohol which is not completely absorbed by the body, therefore low in calories. Excessive consumption of erythritol could lead to diarrhea and headaches. But 1 gram in each serving shouldn’t hurt, i suppose.

bai5 mango apple smoothie

As for the taste, i don’t think i can ever drink it straight off the bottle, the coffee fruit smell is very overpowering. But they do make a great base for smoothies. I combined the Malawi mango with apples, almonds and flax seed to make this simple and filling breakfast smoothie. Its a win for caffeine lovers, this refreshing smoothie is good as your morning cup of Joe with added benefits from the fruits and flax seed.

IMG_0523

Ingredients

8oz Bai5 Malawi mango

1 medium apple, sliced

handful of raw almonds

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

Method

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.

2. If you don’t have a powerful blender like vitamix or blendtec, i’d highly recommend soaking the almonds in 2 tablespoons of water for 20 minutes before grinding it.

The Oxbow Box Project- Vegan Red Lettuce Salad With Roasted Beets And Golden Berries

After a lot of good food over the weekend at the potluck, I wanted something light for lunch on Monday. I remembered i still had a bunch of red lettuce left from my CSA share and the beet love continued from pakoras to roasted beets in this incredibly flavorful salad. This salad is packed with sweet, sour, earthy and savory flavors. Slicing the beets really thin is the key to getting crispy, roasted beets. This saves a ton of time compared to roasting the whole beets for nearly an hour. After my mandoline slicer fiasco, i just use a vegetable peeler to get thin slices of beets. Sweet and tangy dried golden berries also known as gooseberries or inca berries is rich in vitamins A and C and is a great source of dietary fiber. I have eaten gooseberries in their ripe, fruit form in India but this sun-dried version from Navita’s Naturals makes an interesting addition to this salad. For those who can’t find dried golden berries, use cranberries or goji berries.

red lettuce salad with beets

Ingredients

1 bunch organic red lettuce, torn, washed and dried

2 medium red or golden beets, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil+more for roasting beets

1/4 cup dried golden berries

1/4 cup pecans, toasted

Salt

Pepper

Method

1. Preheat oven to 475F. Place sliced beets on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 16 minutes or until tender and shrunken.

2. Pour orange juice over golden berries in a small bowl and soak for an hour or until the berries are plump and softened. Strain and reserve juice.

3. Whisk together reserved juice with mustard, balsamic vinegar and oil in a bowl.

4. Toss lettuce with dressing in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper.

5. Sprinkle with golden berries, roasted beets and pecans.

Vegan Sweet Corn Salad

Sundal which is almost like a salad almost always contains a lentil and is eaten as a mid-afternoon snack along with coffee or tea in India. American sweet corn is quite popular in India so much so every mall and movie hall has a sweet corn vendor selling steamed sweet corn kernels with a variety of spices.This recipe, however is not very big on spices. It is a basic, mildly spiced sundal recipe and sweet corn can be replaced with chickpeas, black-eyed peas or green peas.  My neighbor dropped off a bowl of delicious sweet corn sundal couple of weeks back. She used fresh corn, i used frozen but the result was equally good. I took this for a potluck over the weekend and it was devoured within minutes.

sweet corn

Ingredients

1 cup sweet corn kernels ( i used frozen)

2 tablespoons grated coconut

2 Thai green chilies

1 teaspoon oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon split black gram/urad dal

1/2 teaspoon Bengal gram/channa dal

1/4 teaspoon powdered asafetida

4-5 curry leaves

1 dried red chili

Salt

Method

1. Place corn in a microwave safe bowl along with 2 tablespoons of water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Place coconut and green chilies in the food processor and pulse for few seconds until coarse.

3. Heat oil in a pan. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds and let it splutter.

3. Add black gram and Bengal gram and let it cook till the lentils turn red.

4. Add powdered asafetida, curry leaves and dried red chili, cook for a minute.

5. Add coconut-green chili mixture and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

6. Add steamed sweet corn and salt, mix well. Serve warm immediately.

7.  If you plan to serve this later, follow till step 5 and mix corn and salt just before serving. This will prevent the corn from releasing water and making the salad soggy.

Vegan Farro Salad With Roasted Squash and Pomegranate

Farro, a Mediterranean ancient grain is everywhere these days. It has been around for longer than you think. It is delicate, nutty and versatile and therefore a popular choice for salads, soups and pilaf. It looks like wheat and tastes like brown rice, but contains more protein than brown rice. Like brown rice, it does take some time to cook this grain, but it is totally worth the trouble. If you are going to try out this grain for the first time, I highly recommend making this salad which doubles up as a filling dinner.

IMG_9901

I have paired faro with two fall favorites of mine in this hearty salad. Deep-hued pomegranates add tiny bursts of sweet-tart juiciness and roasted butternut squash lends a perfect autumnal flavor to this salad. If peeling and cutting winter squash is not your thing, you are not alone my friend. I buy peeled, cleaned, cubed butter nut squash from Trader Joe’s and it makes my life so simple.The contrasting textures and flavors in this dish is simply incredible. The salad tastes best served warm or at room temperature.

IMG_9926

Ingredients

1 cup farro

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 small onion, diced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 red pepper, diced

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved

salt

pepper

Method

1. Clean and soak farro in water overnight or for at least 5 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

3. Toss squash with a tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper.

4. Place on baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes.

5. Place 3 cups of water in a large pot and bring it to a boil.

6. Add drained farro to the above and cook covered on medium flame for about 45 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and grains are cooked.

7. Spread the cooked farro on a large plate and let it cool to room temperature.

8. Heat remaining oil in a pan and when oil is hot, add onions and cook for 7-10minutes.

9. Add red peppers and cook for 5-10minutes.

10. Add red pepper flakes and farro, cook for 5minutes.

11. Stir in the roasted squash and parsley.

12. Remove from heat and stir in the pomegranate seeds and olives before serving.

Coconut Water Pear And Hemp Seeds Smoothie

There’s no such thing as too much fruit in our house. Occasionally we encounter an overripe banana and during those times I either bake a banana bread or make a smoothie for breakfast. I am so excited to share this smoothie recipe because this is any coffee lover’s dream come true. I used Zico latte flavored coconut water which is flavored with natural coffee to make this delicious smoothie. It contains 85% coconut water and is a dairy free and non-GMO product. I was introduced to Zico latte flavored coconut water at the IFBC recently. I didn’t like it straight out of the bottle, but it tastes awesome in this smoothie.

coconut pear smoothie

The adage “good things come in small packages” is so true in the case of  seckel pears also known as sugar pears because they are exceptionally sweet. They are tiny, cute and add natural sweetness to smoothies. They also pair beautifully  with crackers and cheese. Seckel pears can be found at farmers market produce stands, i got mine at my local PCC. If you can’t find seckel pears where you live, use d’Anjou or Bartlett and add 4 dried, pitted dates or a tablespoon of maple syrup for sweetness.

seckel pears

The good stuff doesn’t stop with the pears, I topped my smoothie with Manitoba Harvest raw shelled hemp seeds, another product from IFBC swag and the crunch and nuttiness in every sip was utterly delicious. Hemp seeds are packed with omegas, digestible proteins, vitamins, minerals and fiber. If you are one of them who believes that healthy food doesn’t taste good, this smoothie is guaranteed to change your opinion.

IMG_9891

Ingredients

1 cup Zico coconut water (latte flavor or regular)

1/2 cup 0% greek yogurt

4 seckel pears

1 ripe banana

1/4 cup whole almonds

1 one inch piece ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon hemp seeds

Method

1. Place all ingredients except hemp seeds in a blender.

2. Blend until smooth.

3. Top with hemp seeds.