Tag Archives: salad

Recipe: Vegan Harvest Chickpea Salad

A salad to make weekday lunches sparkle & shine!

I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try.

~ Terry Fox

Good day everyone!

I’ve got a goodie to share today, and this one has been tucked away in the ‘fave salad’ category for many years now.

One of the best things for us folks who love to prepare food is enjoying something in an unfamiliar place prepared by someone else and enjoying it so much we promptly head home to re-create it.

Sound familiar?!

Well this salad came about after a work trip many many years ago, and it was in Calgary that I first enjoyed this combo as part of a quick healthy lunch.

It has pine nuts in it, which truthfully I don’t use very much and haven’t featured on IPOM before, as they are very expensive. They are, however, a nice treat and combined with the rest of the ingredients here taste rather unreal! Of course, you could also sub in lightly roasted cashew or almond pieces if pine nuts are not on hand.

So without further ado, let’s get to this beautiful salad featuring Farmer’s Market chard & yellow zucchini.

It’s totally vegan & gluten-free too! A rather nice perk, I would say πŸ™‚

A single leaf alone provides no shade.

~ Chuck Page

It always seems I am reminded of this recipe at the end of summer when I stumble across fresh yellow zucchini squash.

This time of year they are abundant and cheap, not to mention firm, sweet, and delicious. Of course, you can sub in green for the recipe too, you’ll just miss that sunny hit of yellow in your bowl!

The chard used here adds a nice variety and provides a use for this green in its raw form that can be (for some) rather obscure in its applications.

Of course you can also sub other greens such a raw kale here too, but the case for color remains the same – just looking at the colors in this dish brings a smile to my face!

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

Β  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

The beauty here is depending on what you’ve got, this can be made year round & keeps well for 4-5 days in the fridge.

It makes for a truly satisfying & light lunch on the go during the work or school week.

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

The Less:

Less prepared foods at lunchtime means more freshness in your tupperware. Less pre-bottled dressings means less waste, cost, and preservatives. Less reliance on traditional lunch foods means packing a brown bag becomes exciting & weekday lunches become something to relish.

The More:

More high fibre chickpeas means easy filling up on the good stuff. More colorful veggies means a feast for the eyes. More variety & raw greens means more fresh vital energy, so you’ll never miss the standard old heavy stuff.

Vegan Harvest Chickpea Salad:

  • (3) cups cooked chickpeas or garbanzos
  • (2) medium yellow zucchini, chopped into one inch pieces
  • (4-6) cups chopped Red Chard
  • (1/2) cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • (4) tbsp pine nuts
  • (2) tsp dried basil
  • (1/4) cup good olive oil
  • (3) tbsp red wine vinegar
  • (2) tsp salt, or to taste

Start by washing and preparing the vegetables.

On the stove, put up a shallow pan filled with an inch of water and turn on the heat to high. Chop the zucchini into one inch pieces and add t the pin with the lid propped just barely on.

Once the water reaches boil, turn it down to simmer and cook for no longer than 3 minutes (set the timer!), just until the zucchini is soft-‘ish’ – be careful to not to overcook! Drain the zucchini pieces and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl combine the olive oil, salt, and wine vinegar & mix together with a fork or whisk. Add the cooked chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and basil. Stir all gently to combine.

Add the zucchini and raw chopped chard to the mixture and stir gently to incorporate, taking care not to crush the chard leaves or the zucchini. Taste for seasonings, and transfer to a clean serving bowl and serve!

If you are making this for lunches, store covered with wrap or foil or in a to go container. Last week I packed up my containers in advance and just grabbed them in the morning when I left the house.

Feel free to add freshly ground pepper or crumbled feta to this if you like.

It is also totally wonderful just on its own and truthfully a wonderful break from heavier cheeses and nuts.

As much as I normally try to avoid using pine nuts due to their high cost, I was lucky to find a very reasonable source here in Vancouver recently, and this recipe benefits immensely from their taste and light texture. Of course the substitutes I mentioned above would add their own brand of delicious too πŸ™‚

If you choose to cook your chickpeas from scratch, simply put up 2 cups of dry beans to soak in 6-8 cups of cold water for 8-12 hours. Before cooking drain & rinse the soaked beans in more cold water and put up to boil in plenty of salted cold water (about 1 teaspoon salt added to the water). Simply Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 – 1.5 hours or until soft.

If you’ve got the time, this is a wonderful cost saver, not to mention the added benefit of having no cans to open & recycle.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.

~ Seneca

I hope you might enjoy this celebratory combo as we continue to ring in this beautiful fall season we are having here in this part of the world!

  • Do you have a chard recipe to share with us?
  • Do you ever cook beans from scratch?

I’ve certainly posed this question about beans before and am always interested to know who is cooking their own. It is so easy but can be tough to fit in (and to look that far ahead) at the same time.

I became re-inspired about cooking my beans from scratch as much as possible after reading (and trying) a few recipes I brought home with me from my holiday, and after getting to it have been reminded of the taste & texture of freshly cooked beans, especially chickpeas – it is heaven in comparison!

Wishing you all a fabulous sparkly week as always filled with good food, good friends & loved ones!

Yours in Less,

56 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Health, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Simple Tomato Bocconcini & Greens

Just when you thought you’d had enough freshness.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

~ Leo Tolstoy

I’ve got to admit, I’m (just a little) salad crazy.

Are you salad crazy too? I know in the summertime it is quite common, when the greens are plentiful & dirt cheap and folks get hot and will do anything to avoid turning on the stove.

The truth is, I’m simply salad crazy all year long.

It doesn’t matter the season, you’ll always find salads in this house. Light fare leaves one still feeling limber after a meal, as nothing makes me lose my spark quicker than an over full (and over-taxed) stomach.

Don’t chase your dreams, catch them.

~ Unknown

Today’s salad is a celebration of a classic. The tomato salad at its core is about as basic a salad as it gets.

Whether you use beefsteak, heirloom, romas, or tomatoes on the vine, take a few tomatoes, slice them up and you’ve got one of the best salads around. Here, I started with whole cherry tomatoes. Easy peasy.

A visit toΒ  the store will quickly tell you what tomatoes to buy. Buy them ripe, as ripe as you can while still being firm to the touch. These beloved healthy gems are one of those things that most people love, though there are a few folks I have met that simply don’t care for them.

Personally, I could eat them everyday, (and sometimes do).

There are the classic red tomatoes. There are so many kinds out there it’s crazy. Buy the ones that look the best to you. That way you know you’ll enjoy them more. It’s that simple.

Words have wings…so speak good things.

~ Anonymous

These orange beauties caught my eye, can you see why? They are so gorgeous, and right then and there I knew it was a tomato salad night.

Our family loves bocconcini, or fresh mozzarella balls, and Caprese salad is always a huge hit. Here is a sweet & simple version made with pearl bocconcini, but you can use what ever size you like (in tomatoes or bocconcini really). I like this as it incorporates greens into the mix – because really, why not?

Vegan? Hint: cube up some firm tofu the same size as the tomatoes and let it soak in the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of salt before adding to the mixture. Your results will look just as beautiful as this, without the added dairy. More easy peasy. More delicious.

The only thing I know, is that I know nothing.

~ Socrates

The Less:

Fewer ingredients means preparation in seconds. Fewer dressing needs means adding flavor with just a few splashes. Less need for complication means getting in the kitchen is easy, fun, and delicious, so your meal and the day to follow are yours to enjoy.

The More:

More tomato & basil means more summer flavors in your bowl. More simple dressing for salads means more motivation to make them. More easy beautiful food, means impressing friends with very little effort. And any incentive to do that is a win πŸ™‚

Simple Tomato Bocconcini & Greens:

  • (3-4) cups cherry tomatoes (mixed colors or all the same)
  • (1) cup pearl bocconcini cheese (or equal amounts cubed raw tofu marinated in the juice of half a lemon)
  • (4-6) cups clean salad greens of your choice, torn
  • (2) tbsp good olive oil
  • (2) tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • (4-8) fresh basil leaves
  • sat and pepper to taste

Simply wash your tomatoes and set them in a strainer to drain. Wash and tear the greens (arugula, lettuce, kale, sprouts) and set aside in a bowl.

Slice the basil leaves in thin ribbons. To ‘ribbon’ fresh basil, simply layer the leaves on top of one another and roll them into a roll. Slice the roll horizontally to get long thin uniform strips. These should be used immediately as they will discolor some once cut.

Drain the bocconcini and toss in a medium bowl with the tomatoes. When ready to serve, layer the greens at the bottom of a serving dish. Toss the tomatoes and cheese (or tofu) with the oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Top the greens with the tomato mixture and garnish with fresh basil ribbons. Top with additional fresh pepper if desired.

Of course a salad so simple as this requires the freshest of ingredients.

Buy the freshest, perkiest lettuce you can find. Pick it from your own back yard, or have a good chat with the guy at the farm stand when you buy it. It might make you smile as you eat it. Then again, it might not. It’s all up to you.

To live at all is miracle enough.

~ Mervyn Peake

Serve this at dinner with anything you desire. It’s great with fresh bread, pasta salad, potato salad, or even a few of these high protein Quinoa Bites.

It’s also great just on its own.

Listen to your heart. Because wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.

~ Paulo Coelho

What’s your treasure?

We’re in serious countdown mode here at the IPOM world headquarters (teehee), 5 sleeps to go until we leave for Paris and the packing is almost done! We’re tying up details left right and center here.

I’ve had a good break in the past few weeks from anything too intense and am looking forward to a true holiday (I’ve just been warned about the lack of reliable wi-fi anywhere in France), and I’ll hope to be blogging as I feel inspired to share, so stay tuned for IPOM from France!

I’ll be looking forward to September too, when plans and new initiatives for Not So Fast will get in full swing once again. One thing is for sure, it is never boring πŸ™‚

It’s a real journey, and one I’m so happy to share with you readers, as well as the amazing crew that have hopped on the bus to join me. I am amazed at the passion out there and it drives me to keep going everyday. Love & gratitude to you all.

  • What’s your favorite version of Tomato Salad?
  • Got a cause you’re passionate about sharing with us?

I’d love any links or add-ons to this super classic (and ever my favorite) summer salad, and to hear what really gets your gears going.

I always love to hear from each and every one of you, wishing you all a super swell few days!

Yours in Less,

56 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Dressings, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

3 Recipes for Simple Living (and to pair with a mean curry)

Easy. Simple. Good!

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

~Mahatma Gandhi

I desperately want to tell you that the recipes I am about to share are very complicated. I want to tell you that you must be a culinary wizard to make them, and that you also must have deep pockets to be able to afford them.

But all of that would (of course) be a lie, because none of this is true (and I didn’t really want to tell you those things!).

Given that most of the world subsists on inexpensive healthy staples like rice, beans, and veggies, it is easy to see why it’s not so bad when they taste this darned good!

Hope is not what we find in evidence, it’s what we become in action.

~ Frances Moore LappΓ©

The 3 recipes included in today’s post are the perfect base or accent to any curry dish. Or really anything you fancy to go with it, for that matter.

Whether you pair it with the Paneer curry from the last post, this IPOM Red Lentil Curry, or any one of your favorite recipes, a few easy breezy steps and you are good to go!

Rice is naturally gluten-free, and there are so many varieties to try. Brown, black, red, white. When lightly toasted over heat (with oil) prior to boiling, it makes the final product light and fluffy – pilaf style. Rice that won’t stick together!

A simple rice dish paired with a crisp light raw salad, and your favorite condiment makes for tasty filling eating for pennies (unless you want to drop coin on something luxurious to top it with – totally your call!)

The search for truth is more precious than its possession.

~ Albert Einstein

Cumin Spiced Rice with Peas:

  • (1-2) tbsp butter, ghee, or vegetable oil
  • (1) tbsp cumin seeds
  • (1) cup white basmati rice
  • (1.75) cups cold water
  • (1) cup frozen green peas
  • (1/2) tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Heat a medium saucepan to medium heat and add butter, ghee, or oil. Once the butter is melted or the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring the entire time, for about 1 minute. Be careful not to burn these by having them on too high heat!

*Note: if using this cooking method with other rices (most notably brown rice), the end result will be heavier. White basmati rice is ideal for this cooking style as it is naturally absorbent and fluffy – thus making it a light foil for heavier foods to go with it. If you do try it with brown rice, try using the lower amount of butter or oil.

Add the dry rice and cook, on the heat, stirring for about 5 minutes. The rice kernels will start to turn opaque and white. Be careful not to burn the rice by stirring pretty much every 10-15 seconds or so.

After 5 minutes, or the rice is consistently turning color (it will look flecky), add the cold water. Cover and bring to a boil on high. Once the water boils, turn the heat to low (without removing the lid), and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

During the last 7-8 minutes of the rice cooking time, add the peas and allow them to cook atop the rice as it cooks (do not stir). Simply open the lid quickly (have the peas pre-measured!) and pop them in as quickly as possible.

After 20 minutes is up, turn the heat off and let the rice sit in the covered pan for 3-4 minutes. Once ready, fluff the rice and peas together with a fork and add the salt. Voila!

Ready to serve straight from the pot or transfer to a serving bowl and take to the table! πŸ™‚

Brussels sprouts have been a long time fave of mine.

They are cheap, available (pretty much) year-round and boast the same health benefits as their other cruciferous family members (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and yes, KALE!). They are pretty much a superfood in every sense of the word, and I adore them for their underdog status as one of the most ‘disliked’ vegetables out there.

The truth is (IMO), they taste great roasted, steamed, and here, completely raw!

If you’ve never tried them this way, I highly suggest you do – this salad is light and delicious while providing a gorgeous fresh contrast to your cooked dishes. I also love this little number wrapped in my fresh tacos with a little avocado and salsa too….but that is another post entirely!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad:

  • (6-8) good sized fresh brussels sprouts
  • (2-3) tbsp good quality olive oil
  • (1-2) tbsp apple cider vinegar (can sub regular vinegar just reduce to 1 tbsp to start)
  • (1) tsp fresh finely grated ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro leaves for the top

Start by buying the freshest brussels sprouts you can find. These guys are basically baby cabbages, and I almost prefer eating these in a salad over cabbage – they take up so much less space in the fridge too!

Wash the sprouts and peal and discard any rough outer leaves. Starting at the top of the sprout, with the stem end down, use a sharp knife to shred/slice the brussels sprouts as thinly as possible, one by one, into rounds as thin as possible. Separate the ‘slices’ with your hands and to a bowl.

Toss with olive oil, vinegar, and ginger until well mixed – massage gently with your bare hands to ensure the shaved sprouts soften up a little. Taste to add salt.

Serve in a lovely dish garnished with cilantro leaves and optional black pepper. You might be surprised who eats this and likes it! It is a pretty good disguise for this much maligned little wonder πŸ™‚

Can you tell I am a big fan of the sprout? Love’em….

The past has no power over the present moment.

~ Eckhart Tolle

A word (or two) about condiments:

Having good condiments in the house can become a bit of a fun hobby. Anyone out there a bit of a condiment collector?

It’s easy to do and there are just too many ways to liven up simple healthy food that it is mind-boggling (including this chutney I cannot wait to make). Really!

When I eat spicy Indian food, I always order a round of cooling Raita (Indian Yoghurt Dip). If you eat yoghurt, chances are you could have a regular stock of plain yoghurt in the house on a regular basis.

Here is a 2 second condiment that can make a good meal (just a little) better. There are many ways to make a Raita, but here are a few suggestions to get you started!

Cucumber Raita:

  • (1) cup plain yoghurt (pictured here is super thick Mediteranean style)
  • (1/4) cup grated or finely chopped peeled cucumber
  • pinch or two of Garam Masala spice mix, or ground cumin (about 1/4 tsp)
  • salt to taste

Mix all together in a bowl until just mixed. Do not over mix if you can help it!

That’s it! Serve immediately and make it as needed – Raita will keep but only for a day or so in the fridge, so small batches are best πŸ™‚

Enjoy this meal with friends, family, or anyone you want to share it with..

with or without broiled naan bread.

Who says food has to be complicated or expensive to be good?

Simple pleasures are the last healthy refuge in a complex world.

~ Oscar Wilde

Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.

~ Lao Tzu

I know it is (perhaps) (just a little) corny, but when I think of sharing food, I often picture the world sitting around the table with me.

I picture wide smiles and hear happy sounds. This is why I cook food, and it brings so much joy to share it!

Live simply so that others may simply live.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Living with (just a little) less can be easy. Especially when it is this good!

I hope you’ll enjoy these ideas or use them as a launching pad to devise your own creations with these basic universal staples, and I’d love to hear your suggestions or favorite takes on the above.

This notion of sharing simple food is deep in the spirit of Not So Fast…the idea that there is enough food for all.

In the next week, I’ll tell you the story (and the results) of Carla and Chris’s 40 day trial of ‘going without’. I’ll tell you what they did, how they did it, and what it will mean to others (and yes they ate like kings the entire time!).

I can’t wait to share this with you all!

  • What is you favorite cheap staple or go to budget meal?
  • Do you have a favorite easy & frugal dish that is too good not to share?

I’d love your suggestions and they might just come in super handy in the future – so do let us know!

Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.

~ Albert Einstein

You know how much I adore your feedback and stories.

I wish you all could come and have a seat around my table……but for now I’ll be happy to receive your comments..…..even if I can’t see all your lovely smiles! πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,

91 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Picnic Perfect Pasta Salad

Anyone up for a summer picnic?

All mothers are working mothers.

~ Author Unknown

Greetings bloggers and friends!

I hope everyone enjoyed the treat that was the weekend potluck – I know I discovered a few fine bloggers and enjoyed working my way through everyone’s delicious posts! In case you missed it, you can still catch the action here to see what it was all about!

Today I am grateful for sunshine and still reveling in what was a gorgeous weekend spent with loved ones.

Our Mother’s Day dinner yesterday consisted of a wonderful picnic dinner set against the backdrop of the beach and the mountains here in Vancouver.

It was superb!

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs…since the payment is pure love.

~ Mildred B. Vermont

Our meal consisted of a simple array of foods: soft buns, cheese & cold cuts for the men (my hubby’s father is visiting us from Europe), chips and homemade dip, as well as potato salad, deviled eggs, watermelon, and today’s recipe for a yummy fresh pasta salad.

Of course, let’s not forget the chilled white wine, a couple of gin and tonics for us moms (the shared favorite summer cocktail between me and the mother-in-law), and we were all set.

Here is a simple, light recipe for what was a super tasty outdoor salad – perfect for any picnic or summer dinner!

The Less:

Less white pasta in your diet means more room for alternate grains. Less mayo-drenched pasta means less calories, fat, and oil. Less packaged store-bought picnic food means less cost for more goodness, and less high calorie pasta dishes means less worrying about eating them.

The More:

More ways to dress salads means more ways out of the mundane. More alternate grain pastas means more depth of flavour and nutrition. More ways to head outside means more time in the sunshine, so you can get picnicking more often πŸ™‚

Picnic Perfect Pasta Salad:

  • (4) cups dry pasta (spelt, kamut, or regular, I used a curly variety)
  • (6) tbsp lemon juice
  • (1/4) cup olive oil
  • (1/4) cup capers
  • (1) cup cubed feta cheese (optional)
  • (1.5-2) cups cooked chickpeas (a 398 ml can will provide the right amount)
  • (3-4) cups chopped broccoli florets, lightly steamed (save the stalks for steaming or grating)
  • (2) tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • (3) cloves fresh garlic, minced finely or pressed
  • a pinch or two of salt & fresh black pepper if desired

Start by putting up your pasta to boil in lots of water. Follow package instructions for your pasta and cook to al dente. Do your very best to avoid overcooking it! It is especially important to not overcook alternative grain pastas as they tend to turn to mush rather quickly if cooked longer than recommended.

Sometimes this is just unavoidable, but hey, we try!

While the pasta cooks combine the olive oil, lemon juice, & capers and add to the bottom of a large mixing bowl.

Chop the broccoli florets into 1-2 inch pieces and put up to steam in a separate pot. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until just turning bright green. It is important not to overcook the broccoli here as if it gets too mushy the lemon juice will turn it yellow and it will be come even more mushy. Once the broccoli is steamed, transfer to a bowl and mix with water and ice to shock it for a couple of minutes (this stops the cooking process). Drain.

Chop and prepare the feta, thyme, and garlic. Drain and rinse the chickpeas (if using canned).

Once the pasta is cooked, drain, and do not rinse. Let the cooked pasta sit for a minute or two in the colander and then add it to the mixing bowl with the lemon and oil while still warm. Mix well to incorporate with a large spoon. The pasta will soak up all the yummy goodness.

Add the chickpeas, broccoli florets, cubed feta, garlic, & thyme to the bowl and mix all well.

Season to taste with a little dusting of salt (the capers and feta are quite salty but it is nice to dress the pasta with just an additional smidge) and lots of fresh black pepper if desired.

Serve right away or chill and eat later on your picnic!

The ladies in our house are pretty massive fans of capers – the husband not so much – we say it’s his loss!

The garlic in this recipe adds a wonderful flavor to the simple lemon dressing.

It’s light, bright, and delicious!

A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.

~ Author Unknown

This was a perfect cold lunch for my high school daughter today.

Anyone want to bet whether I’ll see that container again? πŸ˜‰

Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.

~ Marilyn Penland

This dip has also become a bit of a hit.

I’ll share this with you all soon!

It’s rather a goodie πŸ™‚

This is a warm up for the upcoming summer trip to France. I anticipate many afternoons lounging in the grass over a few bites of bread and cheese, with views of picturesque scenery, and of course, the family.

Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.

~ Mother Teresa

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.

~Jewish Proverb

Kick off the shoes, spread out the blanket, and remember these times don’t last forever.

Soak it in. Breathe. Be.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, whether you are a mother, or whether you know a mother or two that deserved a little love or recognition.

I so enjoyed your comments and feedback on the last post – turns out I am not the only one who loves bread!

I’ll be posting again this week and am pretty thrilled to be getting a new computer this week (it’s sooo time!) – we are getting away this upcoming weekend for a few days by the pool with great old friends.

I am looking forward to setting up beside the pool…maybe if it gets hots enough I’ll go in too!

  • How did you spend Mother’s Day?
  • Do you have a favorite picnic food?

We’d love to know!

Yours in Less,

79 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Family, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Simple Salads & Hidden Treasures

Treasure hunting anyone?

A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid.

– J.R.R. Tolkien

As I have said before, good grocery stores are truly my happy place.

I love roaming the produce aisles for anything special that catches my eye, and screams at me to consume it (or feed it to friends and family).

Occasionally, I like a good deal too. (Okay, who are we kidding here). I love a good deal. I mean, who doesn’t?

So I always check my local shop for their cast-offs in the produce department. I spent years working with fresh vegetables and I know that vast amounts of fresh food get chucked from grocery stores everyday – so I like rescuing them. It feels good.

Good deals. Good karma. Hidden treasure.

How can this not pull at your heart strings (just a little)?

It’s true that old saying too: someone’s trash can be another person’s treasure (and also my cooking fun and sustenance for the weekend).

These were easy foods to process as I just popped them in the oven to cook while I tackled my other weekend project: organizing years of children’s artwork, letters, cards, & photos into one easy, safe place.

(A big job.)

There is always lots of emotion (and lots of fun too) going through all that old stuff. Because as most parents learn all too quickly:

Kids do get older (it’s true what they say).

My cheap veggie treasures in the grocery store were well-matched by the treasure trove of precious family memories contained in a few sturdy storage boxes (now well organized in the basement).

It’s easy to feel (just a little) sentimental at the passing of time when I look at this stuff.

I try not to get too mushy – because I love where the family is at right now. It just reminds me to try to enjoy every moment.

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

~ Dr. Seuss

So as we packed away our memories so we can access them easier, (and enjoy them longer), the little gems that were rescued from the floor of my neighborhood green grocer cooked slowly and luxuriously in the kitchen.

My grab bags of reject (cheap) gold beets and tomatoes. Enter rescue mission, and henceforth...inspiration.

Bounty always receives part of its value from the manner in which it is bestowed.

~ Samuel Johnson

I love roasting veggies for use later in a cold dish, or in a soup or sauce.

This post is meant to celebrate the beauty in simplicity, and the gorgeous flavors that can come from simple things, like food destined to be wasted. Or as I call it, hidden treasure.

The Less:

Less heavy foods makes easy work of digestion. Less waste in our grocery stores means less waste in our composts or (even worse) city landfills. Less ingredients in your bowl means more appreciation of each individual ingredient. Less stove top cooking means you can tackle other jobs while your food cooks and your oven does all the work.

The More:

More green and orange vegetables means more vitamins and minerals. More roughage means more activity where it matters. More salad emphasis means more uses for more varieties of veggies. More variety means more ideas and inspiration (ain’t that something to treasure!).

Kale & Butter Lettuce Salad w/ Gold Beets & Yam:

  • (1/2) bunch curly kale, chopped, steamed 3-4 minutes, and cooled
  • (1) head green butter lettuce, washed and torn
  • (1/2) cup roasted hazelnuts
  • (3-4) roasted gold beets, cooled & sliced or chopped
  • (1) cubed roasted yam, cooled
  • (2-3) tbsp olive oil for cooking
  • Cashew Herb Dressing

To roast the yam:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cube the yam* into one inch chunks and place in a bowl. Add 1-2 tbsp olive oil and a 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of salt and mix with your hands.Lay flat on a cookie sheet (with an edge) and bake for 20 – 25 minutes (turning over half way through with a flipper), or until soft, brown, and slightly crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool in a bowl until ready to use. These will keep up to a week in the fridge, but they won’t last that long!

*True yams are the orange fleshed sweet potato (also sometimes garnet colored) – true sweet potatoes are the yellow fleshed ones, many think they are the same, but alas they are not!

To roast the beets:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap each beet individually in foil. Using a fork, pierce each beet 4-5 times as deeply as you can through the foil wrapper (do this carefully!), making sure to get all sides. Place beets on a flat tray and bake until soft, about 1-1.5 hours depending on the size of the beets. When soft to the touch, remove from the oven and let cool. When cool, unwrap the beets. To peel them, hold them in your hands and while running under cold water, rub the skin off with your hands. Once peeled, cut off the tips of the beets and store or slice as you wish. Beets will keep this way in the fridge for several days.

To roast the hazelnuts:

Hazelnuts roast in roughly 15 minutes using the roasting method I described here. Simply lay them on a flat pan and dry roast at 350 degrees until fragrant and turning a golden brown. If you pop them in an already warm oven, they will be ready in 7-8 minutes or so. To peel them, simply let cool and rub with your hands, the skin will fall right off! Use in salads, granola, or as a snack with dates!

Assembling your salad:

I always use my hands to assemble my greens and I tear lettuce whenever I can (except for romaine). Assemble your beautiful salad by mixing the 2 greens together in a nice clean bowl. Top the bowl of greens with the whole nuts, sliced or chopped beets, and the sweet roasted yams.

Serve with Cashew Herb Dressing and some additional toppings if desired (my personal faves are goat cheese and dried cranberries).

This salad might serve 2-4 people depending on your appetite or what you are eating it with.

Served on it’s own these ingredients make for a gorgeously simple, fresh, and elegant salad that is remarkably satisfying and filling!

Keep in mind all of these amounts are variable – feel free to play around with what suits your mood!

I hope you all had a fabulous day!

  • Where did you find treasure this weekend?
  • Do you have a favorite salad?

One truly great treasure for me this weekend was the amazing feedback I received from all of you!

I absolutely delight in hearing your stories of almond-milking, kale-hunting, cookie-making, and granola crunching…

It really makes my day! (Thank you!)

This week I’ll tell you what I did with those cheap juicy tomatoes above as well as (if all goes well) another yummy dessert…

Happy Monday!

Yours in Less,

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