Kale and Sweet Potato Niçoise Salad

Ever since eating my first Niçoise salad, I’ve been hooked. The perfect green beans. The Kalamata olives (my favorite). The potatoes, which give just the right amount of sustenance to the salad. And of course, the seafood. Throw in hard-boiled eggs and a delicious dressing, and you’ve made the classic.

Well, last week, the urge for a Niçoise salad hit and it hit bad. Since I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand for the classic, I decided to mix it up a bit and do my own take. Leftover sweet potato subbed for white potatoes, kale subbed for lettuce, capers subbed for olives and sardines subbed for tuna/anchovies. Plus some fresh basil from my beloved Farmed Here and black garlic — a new obsession — to add a little more flavor. Top it off with a 3-ingredient Dijon vinaigrette and I was in Niçoise heaven (or at least my improvised version of it).

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Oh and no offense to the Niçoise peeps, but I feel my version is quite possibly tastier and most definitely packed with more nutrients than the original — from the “superfood” status of kale to the omega-3 content (it’s high, folks) of sardines to the antioxidant power of fresh herbs.

Recipe: Kale and Sweet Potato Niçoise Salad

Trader Joe’s just started carrying fermented black garlic, which is where I bought it. If you live near an Asian market, however, you will most certainly find it there. Fresh rosemary or thyme would also be delicious in place of the basil.

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Yields: 1 salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups fresh baby kale (love the Earthbound Organic pre-washed Kale)
  • 1/2 large sweet potato
  • 1, 6 oz. can water-packed sardines
  • 1 cup cooked green beans
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons
  • 1 Tbsp capers, juices drained
  • 1 clove fermented black garlic, sliced

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  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp olive oil, preferably organic, cold-pressed
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Pepper to taste

Directions:

Poke holes in sweet potato and microwave for 3-5 minutes, until potato is soft. You can also use a leftover baked sweet potato if you have one on hand. Cut the sweet potato into large wedges.

Assemble salad: Lay kale on top of a large plate. Top kale with cut sweet potato, can sardines (drained), cooked green beans, capers, sliced black garlic and fresh basil. Grind black pepper over the salad.

Make dressing: Mix Dijon mustard, olive oil and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Pour over salad.

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Warning: this salad is best enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. Your coworkers will not be very pleased if they have to smell sardines and garlic over the cube wall. Just sayin’…

Savory Greek Yogurt Series: Avocado Chili Lime

Yesterday I ate an entire avocado. For me, that’s pretty normal  — hell, there are days when I eat two avocados. And I felt fantastic! But apparently, some people are afraid of eating the whole avocado. The calories! The fat! The HORROR! Well, did you know an entire avocado only has 250 calories? Plus almost 20 nutrients including some of my favorites — mono- and polyunsaturated fats!

Think about a serving of peanut butter. 180-200 calories for two measly tablespoons (the size of a golf ball!). Hmm…an ENTIRE avocado for 250 calories or 2 tablespoons of PB for 200 calories? I’ll take the whole avocado, please (though that’s not to say I don’t like PB…I happen to be a PB fanatic).

Okay, so how did I manage to eat an entire avocado yesterday? Well it’s quite easy and it made my meals and snacks all-the-more satisfying. Had about 1/4 of an avocado with my kale omelet, had the other 1/4 on my seared tuna sandwich at dinner. And the other half? I made a super-easy, super-delicious savory Greek yogurt snack!

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Recipe: Avocado Chili Lime Greek Yogurt

Enjoy this recipe as a deliciously creamy, satisfying snack. I used a chili/paprika/citrus spice blend, but salt-free taco seasoning would work beautifully. Or just use straight up chili powder. You really can’t go wrong!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup organic plain 2% Greek yogurt (you can also use non-fat or whole fat)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder spice blend (or salt-free taco seasoning, or straight chili powder)
  • Tiny pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and seeded

Directions:

Mix yogurt, lime juice and chili powder in a small bowl.

Add 1/2 avocado to bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.

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This would also be delicious with curry powder instead of chili powder!

 

Spiced Beet, Apple and Sweet Potato Patties with Avocado Tandoori Sauce

Well, St. Patty’s Day has come and gone, but the Recipe ReDuxers are still in spirit with this month’s theme:

A Play on Patties : While St. Patty’s Day will be over by the time The Recipe ReDux rolls around this month, we’re celebrating the ‘patty’ all month long. We’ve seen images of stacked patties go crazy on food photo sharing sites like HealthyAperture.com; so stack ‘em up! Think healthy tuna burgers, potato patties, or veggie stacks.”

Patties, fritters, cakes, burgers…

Call them what you wish, but the bottom line is they’re delicious. Even when they’re not fried.

They are also really easy to pull together — I like to take whatever I have in my fridge/pantry, add an egg or two to bind it all together, and bake or pan-fry to finish it off.

This recipe was no exception.

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So what exactly is in that bowl? Well it started with shredded beets and green apples, and gradually evolved to also include sweet potatoes, fresh minced ginger and cinnamon. That’s it!

Top it with a creamy avocado tandoori sauce (literally, just mashed avocado and tandoori) — and voila! One seriously delicious patty! This recipe is also chock-full of nutrients: potassium, vitamin C, fiber and “good” fasts from the avocado, to name a few. Plus, the spices pack a major antioxidant punch.

Clean eating at its finest!

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And while the finished product isn’t the most beautiful, I promise you, it was ridiculously, insanely yummy. I will definitely be eating a patty topped with a fried egg tomorrow for breakfast. I’m giddy just thinking about how tasty it will be!

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Recipe: Beet, Apple and Sweet Potato Patties with Avocado Tandoori Sauce

I started with just one egg, but two will help bind it slightly better. Be sure to squeeze the liquid out when forming the patties. And if you happen to drink the extra beet-apple-ginger-cinnamon sweet nectar liquid, you will be one happy camper.

Ingredients:

For patties:

  • 2 medium beets, peeled
  • 2 large organic green apples (unpeeled)

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  • 1 small knob fresh ginger (about the size of two thumbs)
  • 1 sweet potato, preferably organic
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon (or less if you’re not a cinnamon fiend like me)
  • 2 eggs

For avocado tandoori sauce:

  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled and mashed
  • 3/4 tsp tandoori seasoning

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

Poke holes in the sweet potato. Microwave for 4-6 minutes, until very soft.

Using a box grater or food processor, shred beets, apples and ginger. Add all of it to a bowl. (Note: the beets will have dyed your hands a lovely shade of pink by now)

Beet Hands!

Beet Hands!

Pull peel off of the cooked sweet potato (should be very easy — otherwise cook it a little longer) and add sweet potato flesh to the bowl with the apple, beets and ginger. Add cinnamon and eggs. Combine ingredients well.

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Using your hands, form the beet mixture into patties. Be sure to squeeze any extra liquid out of the patties before placing on the baking sheet.

Seriously -- don't these look like beef burgers?!

Seriously — don’t these look like beef burgers?!

Bake for about 45 minutes, until top and sides are crisp.

While the patties are baking, make the avocado sauce. Mash avocado in a small bowl and add tandoori spice. Stir until well combined.

Let patties cool and serve with a dollop of the avocado sauce.

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See what other delicious patties Recipe ReDuxers came up with by clicking on the link below!

Eggs Baked in Spaghetti Squash “Nests”

Spring is here! It’s been a loooonnngg winter here in Chicago, so today — the first day of spring — is extremely exciting. It signals warmer weather, new life and hope. Yes, that is slightly dramatic, but hot damn, multiple days of -30 degree (sometimes colder) days over the last few months? Seriously?! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

It’s spring and that calls for a spring-inspired dish!

And what’s more spring-like than birds? Here’s my play on eggs in a birds’ nest — with a nest made ‘o spaghetti squash with eggs baked in. Spice up the spaghetti squash as you wish, but I’ve taken a Southwestern spin with lemon and lime zest, paprika, cumin and a salsa topper. And of course, it’s served on a bed of organic lettuce, because you’ve got to have your greens!

Did I mention this recipe is gluten-free, vegetarian, provides protein (thanks to the eggs), fiber (from the bed of greens and squash) plus loads of other vitamins and minerals? Well, it is, which means you can feel good about this tasty breakfast.

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Recipe: Eggs Baked in Southwestern Spaghetti Squash Nests

Change up your morning routine with baked eggs, nestled in roasted spaghetti squash. Spice up the dish with your favorite seasonings. Here, I used Southwest spices but this would be delicious with Italian, Mediterranean or Indian seasonings.

Makes: 1 serving (2 eggs)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small, cooked spaghetti squash (approximately 1 cup “spaghetti”)
  • 1 tsp salt-free taco seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cumin (if it’s not in your taco seasoning)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil, split
  • 2 eggs, preferably free range, organic

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use a fork to “string” the spaghetti squash into a medium bowl. Add taco seasoning, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to coat the squash in seasoning.

Coat two custard/souffle cups with 1/2 tsp each olive oil (or use olive oil spray). Add spaghetti squash mixture, forming it around the bottom and sides of the souffle cups. Crack one egg into each cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until white of the egg is set.

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Use a small spatula, spoon or fork to “unmold” the nests. Serve over greens and top with salsa.

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Once you cut in, the yolk will run over the whole dish creating a creamy, unctuous breakfast dish!

Intrigued by this whole baked eggs phenomenon? Check out this recipe for Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce.

 

Savory Greek Yogurt Series: Rosemary-Roasted Beets with Balsamic and Olive Oil

In case you’re unaware, I have an obsession with tzatziki sauce. And the main ingredient of tzatziki sauce? Greek yogurt. Yup, also obsessed. It’s super-versatile and I find that I can use it in both sweet and savory dishes, mix it into soups and sauces, turn it into a dip and use it in place of many higher-calorie, higher-fat ingredients (e.g. mayo, sour cream, cream cheese).

I’m especially fascinated with the idea of using Greek yogurt in a more savory way. So, after bringing home a mammoth container of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt from Costco, I decided it was time to make a series of savory Greek yogurt dishes (parfaits, if you will).

Recipe: Greek Yogurt with Rosemary-Roasted Beets and Balsamic

Beets with balsamic and rosemary lend an earthy flavor to this Greek yogurt “parfait.” If you have pistachios or pepitas on hand, they would also be excellent sprinkled on top. To save time, roast the beets ahead of time and enjoy throughout the week.

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Ingredients:

For roasted beets:

  • 1 beet, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp each, cracked black pepper and sea salt

For parfait:

  • 1 beet, roasted (ingredients above, roasting instructions below)
  • 1 cup plain, non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp aged balsamic vinegar (Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze would also work nicely)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Peel and cut beet into wedges. (You can also make a batch of roasted beets ahead of time). Toss with olive oil and place on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes, or until beets are soft. Remove from oven and let cool.

For parfait, top Greek yogurt with roasted beets then drizzle with balsamic and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and optional rosemary.

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Do you have any other suggestions for savory Greek yogurt dishes? Please share in the comments below!

 

Drinks: Ginger Beer Refresher {Recipe ReDux}

Super-refreshing, spicy and sweet all at once, ginger is definitely a favorite of mine. Despite this, I had mostly confined ginger to food applications. No more. After drinking my first Moscow Mule — and admittedly many more since then — I have been telling myself ‘I have to buy some ginger beer.’

So when I found out this month’s Recipe ReDux theme: “Beverages are Hot!”, I instantly knew the time was right to drink the proverbial koolaid. And while I’m all for an alcoholic cocktail, today I went with a non-alcoholic version (it was, after all, only 8 a.m. when I made this).

*In case you didn’t know, ginger beer does not generally contain alcohol. It tastes similar to ginger ale, but is brewed with real ginger and often times citrus fruits as well. To me, it tasted like a slightly spicy, though mostly sweet, ginger soda.

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But what to mix with ginger beer? There were so many delicious flavor combination ideas: mandarin, blueberry, strawberries, berries of any kind, mint, lemon, lime, mango…and the list went on and on.

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Somehow, I made a decision — no small feat for the indecisive type (clearly me): mandarin and fresh mint!

And thus the Ginger Beer Refresher was born!

Recipe: Ginger Beer Refresher

Yield: 1 cocktail

I made this virgin but it would be amazing mixed with vodka or rum. Let’s be honest, I’m going to make this again tonight before I go out. Would also be delicious if you swapped the mandarin for blueberries.

ginger_beer_cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) ginger beer (I used Reed’s, which was on the sweeter side)
  • 1 mandarin orange, such as a halo, segmented
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves, torn
  • Ice cubes as needed

ingredients

Directions:

Place mandarin segments and mint in a glass and pour in ginger beer. Using a spoon, straw, or muddler, poke at the mint and mandarin to infuse the drink with more flavor.

ingredients2

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Enjoy!

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Super-easy, no?

Check out more amazing drink recipes from Recipe ReDux-ers by following the link below!

Black Lentil Muffins – Made from Leftovers!

I have a confession to make: I love leftovers! Absolutely love them. First of all, they allow me to get creative in the kitchen, which — you guessed it — I love. More than that, though, it’s great to know that I’m using up all of my food because ain’t nobody got time for wasted food.

So when I recently made Chicken Cacciatore and had leftover black beluga lentils and the delicious tomato-y sauce that the chicken was cooked in, I figured — ‘hey, I can make something DELICIOUS with that!’ Combined with a recent discovery of lentil loaf (thanks to my friend/master chef Pam), lentil muffins seemed like a natural choice.

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Did I mention these are incredibly easy to make? And that you can cook up a whole batch and then freeze them for later use? Leftovers of leftovers? Getting crazy here!

Recipe: Italian Black Lentil Muffins

Black beluga lentils can be found at most grocery stores. They are full of protein and fiber as well as anthocyanins (powerful antioxidant compounds). Nutritional yeast lends a cheesy, savory flavor along with protein and B vitamins. Find it at Whole Foods or a health foods store.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked lentils (left over from the night before)
  • 1 cup tomato-based sauce (also leftover from the night before)*
    • If you don’t have leftover sauce, use either pre-made pasta sauce or whip up a quick batch: 1 can no salt added organic diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves garlic – minced, 1 tablespoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon black pepper)
  • 2 cups organic arugula
  • Approximately 8 Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons juice from jarred Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 egg
  • pinch red pepper flakes (about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In large bowl, mix all ingredients
  3. Coat muffin pan (for one dozen) with cooking spray. Evenly distribute lentil mixture throughout panImage
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes (until top is crunchy)

*Please note that due to the use of leftover tomato sauce in which chicken was cooked, this recipe is NOT vegetarian. However, if you use pre-made pasta sauce or make your own, you can keep it vegetarian.

 

Enjoy warm or cold, over salad, with eggs or by themselves. These are delicious dipped in hummus as well!

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