Raw Broccoli Salad

Dana made this for her lunch today and told me about it. I’m going to have it for lunches next week at work. You could add diced ham, or tuna, or salmon, to make it a more substantial meal or for extra protein.

1 T wholegrain mustard
1 T sherry vinegar
1 head broccoli
1 avocado
handful roasted almonds

Combine the mustard, vinegar, and 3 T extra virgin olive oil in a salad bowl. Season. Chop the broccoli into tiny trees and toss in the dressing. Chop the avocado in half and scoop bite-sized chunks into the dressing with a spoon. Toss the salad to distribute the dressing and serve with almonds on top.

Those with nut allergies can substitute red onion.



This is more of a template than a recipe, since you can use any combination of vegetables and protein you like, with a very simple but delicious sauce.

I tend to do onion, broccoli, red bell pepper, and mushrooms as a basic veggie formula. Recently, in order to save myself all the chopping time, I’ve been using frozen stir-fry vegetables. These can be expensive, but Costco has a nice mix for a reasonable price, and it’s a good thing to keep in your freezer for emergencies.

Here’s the method:

Choose your protein. I’ve used chicken, shrimp, and tofu all very successfully. This gets cooked first. Cube the chicken or tofu, or peel the shrimp, and cook on high heat with a little canola oil until cooked through (in the case of chicken/shrimp) or browned on most sides (tofu). Note on tofu: it always sticks to my wok something awful, so I tend to do it in a separate non-stick skillet. Remove to a plate or bowl.

Add a little more oil to your skillet or wok and start cooking vegetables. If using fresh vegetables, add the ones that need the longest cook time first (e.g. onion and broccoli) and proceed in order every few minutes. If using frozen vegetables, put a lid on the skillet for part of the time so the steam can help the veggies defrost faster.

Sauce. In a small glass measuring cup, combine 1 cup vegetable broth, 3-4 T tamari, and a heaping T corn starch. Whisk.

When the vegetables are almost cooked but still crispy (or thawed and almost hot), add the protein and the sauce to the wok and stir. As soon as the sauce starts to boil, it will thicken and turn clear, and you are done. Serve with the spiced coconut rice.

Variations and Remarks: I’ve made the sauce with chicken broth, but I actually like it better with vegetable broth (even when using chicken in the stir-fry) because the chicken broth is too overpowering of the other flavors.

Last week I was unexpectedly out of broth of all sorts, so I improvised. San-J has a line of gluten-free Asian sauces, and I had bought a few to experiment with, so I had a GF teriyaki sauce in the fridge. I dumped a third of the bottle in with my veggies, and fearing that the water from the frozen veggies would dilute it too much, recklessly added a splash of tamari and a sprinkle of corn starch. Brooks claims this was the best stir-fry of all time although I don’t necessarily recommend using your good teriyaki sauce on it on a regular basis.

Spiced Coconut Brown Rice and Tamari-Roasted Kale

This is the best brown rice ever. You can do it soaked or unsoaked (soaking just makes it a little fluffier), with or without the coconut oil, and it’s always good. I usually make it with my basic stir-fry, which I’ll put in a separate post.

Make the whole amount so you have leftovers. Today for lunch, I had leftover rice with tamari-roasted kale and coconut, and it was fantastic. You can’t beat brown rice, greens, and good fats for a vegan power-lunch. 🙂 

Spiced Coconut Brown Rice
Adapted slightly from the Gluten-Free Girl.

2 cups brown rice
1/2 can (7 ounces) coconut milk
juice of 1 medium-sized lime
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Soak the rice in cool water for at least 1 hour (optional). Drain and rinse.

Combine all ingredients in a pot with 3 1/4 c water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 45-60 minutes.

Tamari-Roasted Kale
Adapted from Heidi Swanson, Super Natural Every Day (a lovely vegetarian cookbook)

1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 T tamari
3 T olive oil

1 medium bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 cup large-flake unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the oils and tamari in a small bowl. Toss the chopped kale and coconut with the dressing. (I just do this right on the rimmed baking sheet to save a dish.) Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes, tossing once mid-way through. Keep an eye on it, since it can over-cook very quickly. You want the coconut a little brown and the kale just wilted and crispy around the edges.

If you can’t find the large flake coconut, use half or a third the amount of the shredded kind.

I’m sure this would be lovely with quinoa, as well.

Roasted Sweets & Greens

Roasted Sweets & Greens

“These simple and satisfying wedges are seasoned with garlic and paired with crunchy hazelnuts, then finished as they come out of the oven with a handful of peppery arugula and a splash of vinegar.” – Better Homes & Gardens magazine

Prep: 10 min
Roast: 35 min

1 1/2 to 2 lbs sweet potatoes and yams, scrubbed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup hazelnuts (pecans or walnuts also good)
2 cups arugula
2 Tbsp vinegar, or to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and then cut into wedges. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roast in preheated oven 10 minutes, toss, then roast 10 minutes more or until tender. Sprinkle with chopped garlic and nuts and return to oven to 5 minutes or until nuts are toasted and garlic is tender. Remove from oven and sprinkle with arugula and vinegar. Serve immediately.

Fish Tacos with Chili Lime Cream

Fish Tacos with Chili Lime Cream

This is a pretty easy recipe I found in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I’ve made it for Uncle John and Aunt Linda, Jena, Mom, Amy, and Morgan to great reviews so I think it’s a keeper. The only dairy is the sour cream which can easily be substituted for a dairy-free alternative.


1 lb fresh tilapia or cod fillets

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 lime, halved

1/2 cup sour cream (or dairy free alternative)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

8 corn tortillas

2 cups shredded cabbage mix

1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and sliced (optional)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered (optional)


Preheat broiler. Sprinkle fish with 1/4 teaspoon of the chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. For chili lime cream, in bowl squeeze 2 teaspoons juice from half the lime. Stir in sour cream, garlic powder, and remaining chili powder. Set aside. Cut remaining lime into wedges for serving.

Place fish on unheated, greased broiler rack; tuck under thin edges. Broil fish 4 inches from heat 4-6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness, until fish flakes with fork. (I start frying the tortillas when fish is about half way done, since they don’t take very long.) Break fish in chunks. Serve with cabbage, chili lime cream, avocados, tomatoes, and lime. Serves 4.

Pan-Fried Tilapia with Red Cabbage Slaw on Greens

1/2 a red cabbage, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
4 T parsley, chopped

Mix above in a large bowl. Whisk together about 1/2 cup of vegan mayonnaise with about 1/4 cup olive oil and at least a teaspoon of cumin. Pour this over the vegetables and toss. Add salt and pepper as desired.

Heat a little oil in a skillet and cook the tilapia. Fill individual salad bowls with fresh greens, place a piece of fish in each bowl, and top with a heaping serving of slaw.

Pumpkin Polenta with Tomatilla-Avocado Salsa

I put tilapia with this, as well. Grilled or fried or whatever. Tilapia is my go-to protein when I don’t want something to interfere too much with another flavor. I think a rotisserie chicken (or grilled or roasted chicken) would work well, also. Mostly I’m just enamored of putting pumpkin (which I adore) into polenta (which I also adore, especially with a small pat of Earth Balance butter on top). Major kudos to Karina, a Gluten Free Goddess, from whom this recipe springs.

3 cups fresh water
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Polenta
1 14-oz. can organic pumpkin puree
2/3 cup coconut milk
2-3 tablespoons vegan butter

1 tablespoon raw organic agave nectar or pure maple syrup
Pinch of nutmeg

Heat the water in a deep saucepan until boiling and add a pinch of sea salt, to taste. Pour the polenta into the simmering water, stirring with a whisk as you pour. Continue to whisk for a minute or two as the polenta cooks and adjust the heat to medium-low heat, so that the mixture gently simmers but does not cook too quickly- you don’t want to scorch it. Keep an eye on it and stir frequently to keep it from sticking. When the polenta has absorbed most of the water, add in the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine. Add in the coconut milk, vegan butter, agave and a pinch of nutmeg, and stir again. The polenta should be ready in roughly 20 to 30 minutes. It should be tender to the bite, not gritty. If it isn’t soft enough for you, add more coconut milk and cook it a little longer.

Serve in soft mounds with a topping of salsa fresca (recipe follows) or more vegan butter and maple syrup.

Sprinkle with roasted shelled pumpkin seeds.

Makes four main dish servings, or six side dish servings.

Tomatilla-Avocado Salsa

Salsa fresca is so easy. Chop up your favorite fresh salsa ingredients as the polenta is cooking. Cover and chill. Let the flavors mingle and get happy. If you’re using avocado (so good with pumpkin!) add it in just before serving, to keep it from turning dark.

3 tomatillos
1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper
1 Anaheim chile pepper
1 fresh lime
A dash of extra virgin olive oil
A drizzle of raw organic agave nectar
Sea salt, to taste
A handful of fresh chopped cilantro
1 small avocado

Remove the papery skins from the tomatillos and wash the stickiness off with produce soap and water. Roughly chop. Toss into a bowl.

Wash and halve the bell pepper; seed and chop one half. Add to the bowl.

Stem and clean the chile pepper; dice. Add it in.

Drizzle the mix with fresh squeezed lime juice, olive oil and agave nectar. Season with sea salt, to taste. Add in fresh chopped cilantro and stir to combine.

Cover and chill till serving.

Just before serving, peel and pit the avocado, dice it and add the avocado to the salsa.

Makes four servings.

Karina’s Notes:

If you enjoy cheese, this polenta would be delicious served with grated vegan cheese or fresh crumbled goat cheese.

Add protein to the plate with cooked black beans. Or add black beans to the salsa recipe below.

To make polenta ahead of time: cook till done and spread the warm polenta into a cake pan and cool. Cover and chill. Slice cooled polenta into wedges. Broil wedges brushed with olive oil till sizzling. Top with salsa or grated vegan cheese.