Category Archives: Side dishes

Lemony Tabbouleh

Lemony Tabbouleh

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

vegan

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To so many, parsley is thought of as just a garnish, but not I.  To me, parsley is an ingredient to be celebrated as much as other favorite herbs like basil or salad greens such as arugula, field greens and others.  It shows up regularly, pretty much daily in my meals, sprinkled atop sliced eggs on toast or over pasta or mixed into any number of recipes, it adds a freshness like no other to just about any savory dish.  But here, parsley becomes the star, no longer a mere garnish, parsley is the main ingredient in this simple lovely salad.  This truly is traditionally a parsley salad with bulgur, mint and tomatoes playing the supporting roles.  I like my tabbouleh with extra lemon, so feel free to add less if that’s not to your liking.  Either way, this is a quick, simple, yet wonderfully delicious dish that itself could be the star of the meal. 

Ingredients:IMG_4451

2/3 cup fine Bulgur wheat (medium or coarse grain can be substituted) *see notes – or Quinoa for a gluten free option

Zest of 1 Lemon

About 4 Tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice, from about 1- 2 lemons (less if you prefer)

About 4 -6 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 large bunch (about 3-4 cups) Flat Leaf Italian Parsley (so much more flavorful than curly parsley)

1 small bunch Mint (about ½ – 1 cup)

About ½ – 1 whole pint of small Tomatoes, such as grape or cherry

Optional: 2-3 chopped Scallions

Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste

 

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Directions:

Rinse bulgur in a tight mesh strainer under cold water and then drain thoroughly.  Pour into a medium bowl.  *See notes below if you wish to use Quinoa. Zest your lemon (before juicing).  Add lemon juice and olive oil to the bulgur, add less to start with as you can always add more lemon juice after tasting, but you can’t take it out.  Allow to sit for a few minutes to absorb the dressing.  If using medium or coarse grain bulgur, you’ll need to add a little hot water to soften the grain, before adding the dressing.

Meanwhile, wash and dry parsley and mint leaves and chop.  Add to the bulgur along with the lemon zest, salt and pepper and scallions if using.  Stir to combine.

Cut the tomatoes in half or quarters, depending upon the size and what you like.  Add the tomatoes to the salad and gently stir.

Taste, adding more lemon juice or salt and pepper as you like.

Can be served chilled or at room temperature.  Enjoy! IMG_4476IMG_4482

Recipe Notes:  

It’s best to let the salad sit for a bit of time before eating to allow the grain to soften and fully absorb all the flavors of the dressing, herbs and tomatoes.  If I have time and actually think ahead, I mix the bulgur with the olive oil and lemon juice and leave in the fridge overnight, before adding the remaining ingredients, but this is not necessary.

 Tabbouleh can be served in so many wonderful ways.  I like it simply in Romaine lettuce cups or added to a hummus wrap or falafel sandwich or atop a larger green salad or served alongside your favorite fish. It was also my contribution to the family Easter brunch, served along side my dad’s amazing quiche and goat cheese tart.  

Ingredient Notes: 

Parsley has numerous health benefits.  It is an excellent source of Vitamins K (one half cup serving provides over 500% of your daily value!) and C and also a very good source of Vitamin A, folic acid and iron. It is high in numerous healthy flavonoids.  All of which means parsley is good for your heart, joints, digestion and more.   

Bulgur wheat also goes by the name cracked wheat, it is high in protein and fiber and low in fat and calories, an excellent substitution for other grains such as brown rice or oats. 

*BUT, if you can’t find bulgur or wish to make this wheat/gluten free, I find Quinoa makes a perfect substitute for the bulgur.  If you do use Quinoa, you’ll have to pre cook it, I would probably use about 1/3 cup uncooked to 2/3 cup water, brought to a boil and then covered on a low simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Quinoa increases in volume by a lot, so don’t be concerned by the small amount at the start.   

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Roasted Beets with Citrus Marinade

I love beets. They are delicious and nutritious, although not everyone agrees with the delicious part. I still can’t get any member of my household to consume them, but I still love making them this way and make them often. The dressing gets absorbed into the warm beets and adds a light citrus flavor. They can be kept for days in the fridge and I can enjoy them mixed with my daily salad. If I’ll be seeing my mother anytime after making these, I always share a bit, since she is the one family member who does share my love of this fantastic root. If you’re lucky enough to find beets with the greens attached, consider it a bonus. The greens are even more nutritious then the roots. They taste similar to Swiss chard and can be used in any recipe where chard would be used (sautéed with leeks, in soup or a frittata, etc). You can also eat the greens raw in a salad, the stems are tender and edible too. Beware, though the stems and roots will bleed and cover your cutting board and any dish a beautiful pinkish purple hue (don’t worry it will wash off most surfaces). Also, it’s important to note, when you get home from the store you will want to cut the greens from the roots, leaving about an inch of the stem attached to the root. Bag the roots and greens separately and keep in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.

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 Roasted Beets with Citrus Marinade

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

Ingredients:

1 bunch of Beets (approximately 3)

1 shallot – thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, plus a little extra for drizzling

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice – freshly squeezed from about ¼-1/2 lemon

1 Tablespoon Orange Juice

Lemon Zest – from about ½ – 1 whole lemon

Salt & Pepper to taste

Small handful Parsley – chopped

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 400

Prepare Beets – Wash, peel, trim and cut into bite size pieces.                              IMG_4174Place beets in a small casserole dish and drizzle lightly with Olive Oil. Cover with foil. Roast in a 400 F degree oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until cooked through. You’ll know the beets are cooked when you can easily pierce them with a fork.

 

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl add the thinly sliced shallot and the remaining dressing ingredients, except the parsley. Stir to combine. Allow the dressing to sit for a bit to allow the shallots to pickle slightly.IMG_4183IMG_4187

When the beets have cooled, but are still a bit warm, pour the dressing over and toss to coat all the beets. The warm beets will absorb the dressing nicely. When they have cooled a bit more, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and stir to combine. Allow the beets to cool completely before serving.

Roasted Beets with Citrus Dressing

Leftover beets are fantastic when stored in the refrigerator. They will keep for several days.

Enjoy  marinated beets as a side dish or tossed with a salad of baby spinach and crumbled goat cheese or any salad of your choice.

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Kale Salad with Pickled Onions, Cranberries & Pumpkin Seeds

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Kale Salad with Pickled Onions, Cranberries & Pumpkin Seeds

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

 

I know, I know, I know, another kale salad!  It seems that everywhere you look in the past couple of years you can find a kale salad and some might even say it’s going out of fashion, but not me.  I mean how can something so good go out of style?  And I mean that, this salad is good and good for you, but don’t make this salad because it’s good for you (although that is not a bad thing), make it because it’s just Good.  (okay, did I use the word good enough?!)

I have several thoughts on kale salads, for starters not all kale salads out there are all that good (oops, I did it again), too leafy, not the right dressing or accompaniments.  To me the type of kale you use and the way you treat it are very important to achieving a salad you’ll want to eat and make time after time.  This salad is part of my regular rotation and I kid you not, my 13 year old gets excited when she sees I’m making it. 

IMG_3942 Kale

First, choose the right kale.  For salads, I only use Lacinato Kale, also known as Cavalo Nero, Tuscan, Black and my favorite, Dinosaur.  The leaves are very dark green with a bumpy surface, akin to the skin of a dinosaur, one that has bumpy skin that is.  The leaves are long with a center rib and smooth slightly ruffled edges.  It is important to remove the center rib, it’s just too tough, no one wants to eat it.  This is easily done by holding one leaf at the stem end and pulling your fingers down along the rib, this should remove the leaf from the rib.  If you don’t like this method, you can simply lay each leaf down on a cutting board and slice the rib out with a sharp knife, either way whatever you like.  I usually remove the stems, catching the leaves right into my salad spinner.  Next you’ll want to wash the leaves and this is actually an important part in “tenderizing” the kale.  As leafy greens go, kale is pretty meaty, it can be tough to chew, but the texture improves greatly if you soften it a bit.  I fill the salad spinner with water enough to cover the kale and then I swish and squeeze the leaves around the water, this not only cleans your veg, but begins to tenderize those meaty leaves.  When you lift the spinner out of the bowl you should notice that the water left behind has turned a bit green.  After your kale is thoroughly washed you want to dry it well and then place it on a cutting board.  This next step is also very important in achieving the right texture for a salad.  I lay out the kale a few leaves at a time and slice it into thin ribbons, you do not want big leaves for this salad.  Lastly, it’s good to give raw kale a little time to marinate in your dressing, about 20 minutes is good, you can even let it sit longer, in fact this is a great salad for leftovers as it keeps well and gets even better a day or two later.  I often make a big bowl for dinner and then keep the leftovers for lunches the next couple of days.

  

Ingredients:

Dressing:

Olive Oil – 2 Tablespoons

Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 Tablespoon

Fig Infused White Balsamic Vinegar – 2 Tablespoons

Orange Juice – 2-4 Tablespoons

Fresh Thyme – several sprigs, leaves removed

Dried Rosemary – about ½ teaspoon

Salt & Pepper to taste – I like to use a flaky Sea Salt

 

A note about the vinegars:  I like to use a mix of vinegars, but this is certainly not necessary and if you would prefer to use just one, that is fine.  As for the Fig Infused Vinegar, it sounds fancy, but I buy it in my big chain grocery store for less than $5.00.  If you can’t find Fig, any fruit infused (raspberry, pear, etc) or perhaps even a light sherry vinegar would work here, alternatively you could use all Apple Cider Vinegar or any other light white vinegar, like white balsamic or champagne.  I would not use a straight up Balsamic vinegar, as I believe the flavor would be too assertive in this dressing.  If you do use a vinegar that isn’t infused with fruit, you may like a little more orange juice to achieve the desired subtle sweetness of the dressing. 

 

Salad:

 

Red Onion or Sweet Vidalia – ½ of a large onion, sliced thinly

Lacinato Kale (a.k.a. Dinosaur, Cavalo Negro, Tuscan) – 1 large bunch

Dried Cranberries or Dried Currants – about 2 Tablespoons

Green Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) – about 2 Tablespoons

Black Sesame Seeds – about 1 Tablespoon (optional or use White Sesame Seeds)  

Cheese – optional – shaved Ricotta Salata or Pecorino Romano or crumbled Goat or Feta

 

Directions:

Mix all the dressing ingredients in a large salad bowl, starting with just 2 Tablespoons of Orange Juice, you can add more later if you need it. 

Add the sliced onions to the dressing and stir to completely cover.  It’s important to add the onions into the dressing first allowing them to pickle (lose some of their harshness and get a bit sweeter) while you then prepare the remaining ingredients.  If you wish add in the cranberries or currants now to soften and plump up a bit, or wait and add them later. 

Next, prepare the kale as noted above.  Remove the ribs, wash and massage if you will, slice thinly and add into the bowl with the dressing and the onions.  I like to mix up the kale with the dressing in stages as I add it to the bowl.  Don’t be gentle, as you mix the salad, you want every bit of the kale to be covered and worked into the dressing, this helps to tenderize it even more.  You will notice as you add the kale to the bowl it will seem like an enormous amount, but as you mix it, it begins to soften and lose quite a bit of it’s volume.  As the kale shrinks down you’ll know it’s getting sufficiently softened. 

You can taste it at this point and decide if the dressing needs a little more OJ, seasonings, etc.  Note, if you are planning to use cheese, add extra salt sparingly as the cheese will be an additional salty element.

After adding in all of the kale, allow the salad to rest for about 20 minutes (relax or get to work preparing the rest of your meal).  You can leave it at room temperature.  Or, if you want to make the salad earlier in the day and let it hang out for a few hours, that’s good too, just cover it and place in the refrigerator.

Just before serving, mix in the pumpkin and sesame seeds and then top with shaved or crumbled cheese if using.  Enjoy!

 IMG_3954 Kale Salad

To cheese or not to cheese, that is the question.  I really like adding a little shaved or grated Ricotta Salata cheese to this salad.  If you’ve never tried this cheese before, it is a firm, dry ricotta, it’s creamy and a little bit salty, tastes best when grated or shaved over a salad or pasta, but it’s a little bit too dry and chalky to eat a hunk of.  Sadly, I am finding this cheese more and more difficult to find.  I used to buy Ricotta Salata regularly in my local supermarket and nowadays I’m having a hard time getting it from even the two different Italian markets near my home.  This makes me think about the changing landscape of food availability, which is, for another discussion, but good food for thought. 

IMG_3962 Kale Salad with Shaved Pecorino

If you cannot find Ricotta Salata (and if you are lucky enough to, please tell me where!), a nice creamy goat cheese or feta would also work well and I’ve even grated Romano over the top.  But with all that being said about cheese options, this salad really is tasty enough on it’s own, so to cheese or not, it’s up to you. 

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More notes: This salad is great for parties or to bring along to a friend’s house as your contribution for dinner, unlike most salads it’s quite happy sitting around. 

One more…okay I tried not to, but I just can’t give you a kale salad without talking about all the amazing nutritional benefits.  If you don’t care and just want to eat tasty food, stop reading and enjoy your salad, otherwise here are just a few of the things that make kale so so good for you:  It is one of the top sources of Vitamin k, super high in Vitamin A & C, good source of calcium and if you use sesame seeds (also a great source of calcium) and cheese, this salad is a powerhouse of bone healthy goodness.  You also get a hefty dose of lutein and zeaxanthin, both known for promoting eye health.  Also a good source of fiber and a variety of minerals; manganese, copper, iron, potassium and phosphorus, plus it’s super low in calories.  Cancer fighting, bone building, eye health promoting, are just some of things that make Kale such a super hero!  Eat and enjoy, lots of it.

 

 

Crispy Quinoa Fritters

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It’s Meatless Monday! Truth be told it’s Meatless Monday every day of the week around here, but whether you embrace a Vegetarian lifestyle all of the time or you just try to eat a little less meat here and there, this recipe is perfect.  Quinoa is the only plant based complete protein and with the addition of eggs and cheese, this makes a delicious protein packed Vegetarian main dish, which also wouldn’t be bad as a side dish when you’re not embracing the meat free world.  Bonus, they’re even gluten free. If you have leftover quinoa or cook it the day or two before, these fritters come together quickly, with a cheesy, crispy exterior, complete the meal with a salad and/or roasted veggies, yum.IMG_3689

        

Crispy Quinoa Fritters

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

Adapted from one of my favorite recipe books, Heidi Swanson’s “Super Natural Every Day”, Little Quinoa Patties.

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked Quinoa (from 1 cup uncooked)

4 extra large Eggs (I use Organic)

Chopped Red Onion – 1 small or ½ of one large OR about 4 Shallots

3 cloves Garlic – minced

¼ cup chopped Parsley

½ teaspoon Sea Salt, or more to taste

¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes, or more to taste

½ cup Chick Pea (Garbanzo) Flour OR ½ cup dried Bread Crumbs

½ cup grated Asiago Cheese (Gruyere would also be good)

1 cup (divided) grated Pecorino Romano OR Parmesan

About 1 – 2 Tablespoons Butter or Olive Oil or a combo

Optional:

Zest of one Lemon

Juice of ½ Lemon

Chopped Sun Dried Tomatoes

Fresh Herbs – about 1 teaspoon Thyme or Oregano

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl combine the Quinoa, Eggs, Onion, Garlic, Parsley, Salt & Red Pepper, Chick Pea Flour or Bread Crumbs, Asiago Cheese, ½ cup of the Romano cheese and any of the optional ingredients you like.  Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or longer (sometimes I mix it up in the morning and then it’s ready to go when I get home at night).IMG_3686 Quinoa Fritter mix

After 15 minutes, heat the butter and/or olive oil (I like a combo of both) in a large non stick skillet.  Scoop out about ¼ cup of the quinoa mixture (I use a spring loaded ice cream scoop, pressing it against the inside of the bowl to help it hold together a little more) and drop it into the heated skillet.  About 6 – 7 fritters should fit in the pan.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 7 – 10 minutes until the bottoms are browned.  Adjust the flame if not browning quickly enough.

IMG_2465 Quinoa Fritters in the panIMG_2466 Qunioa Fritters flipped

Sprinkle some of the remaining ½ cup of Romano cheese on top of each fritter and then flip over in the pan and flatten out a bit with the spatula.  Cover the pan and cook for another 7 minutes or so until browned on the other side.

Remove from the skillet and place on a serving platter and then continue to cook the rest.  Adding a little more butter or olive oil to the pan as needed

Makes about 12-15 fritters, serve 2-3 per person. 

Leftovers keep great in the fridge for a few days, they’re good cold or heated up.  Enjoy them over a salad or in a wrap, if you like with a little hummus and hot sauce as Colin does.     

Note: we’ve tried these with all types of different sauces and finally came to the conclusion they’re perfect all on their own.

 

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Brussels Sprouts Two Ways

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I think Brussels Sprouts have come a long way.  They used to be the dreaded vegetable, the one nobody liked.  But more and more, I’m finding people who love them as much as I do, including my 13 year old daughter and a lot of her friends (surprising, but true).  I think, people have finally just started preparing them in ways that bring out all their delicious flavors, instead of just boiling them all away.  But for those of you out there who still can’t get past the strong and somewhat bitter flavor of the roasted sprout, have I got a surprise for you…the raw Brussels sprout.  The raw version is completely different than the cooked, they are surprisingly mild in flavor, delicious in a salad and what’s even better it’s a salad that keeps well for days in the fridge, leftovers make a perfectly quick and easy healthy lunch or snack.  Whether you’re a fan of the roasted sprout or not, I encourage you to give the salad a try and IF you’re new to the world of Brussels sprouts, do not hesitate to roast up a few and enjoy. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

 Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients: IMG_3539

Brussels Sprouts

Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Thyme – Optional

 

Directions:

 

Preheat Oven to 375 F

 

Wash Brussels Sprouts, trim off stem ends and remove the outer leaves.  Cut smaller sprouts in half and larger ones in quarters.  Note, I know a lot of people roast their Brussels Sprouts whole, but I prefer to halve or quarter them, allowing more of them to brown and crisp, which is what makes them taste so darn good.

 

Toss Sprouts onto a rimmed baking pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and thyme and toss so the sprouts are evenly covered with the oil and seasonings.

 

Cook in the 375 F oven for about 15 – 20 minutes.  Turn the sprouts around and return to the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes, until the outer leaves turn brown and crispy.  Remove from the oven and serve.  Enjoy!

 

Recipe Notes: This is one of those recipes where it’s easy to adjust the quantity of ingredients to your needs and tastes.  A 10 ounce container of Brussels Sprouts will serve about 2 – 3.

 

Maple Dijon Brussels Sprout Salad

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

Maple Dijon Brussels Sprouts Salad

Adapted from Judita Wignall’s “Raw and Simple”

Salad Ingredients:

1 10 ounce container of Brussels Sprouts – approximately 2 cups – Shredded/Finely Sliced

2 – 4 cups Baby Arugula OR Baby Spinach

About ¼ cup Chopped Pecans – Toasted

1 – 2 Tablespoons Dried Cranberries

1 Blood Orange, Regular Orange or 2 Clementines

 

Dressing Ingredients:

 

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 ½ – 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Large Shallot – Slivered

Thyme – about 6-10 Fresh Sprigs OR 1 teaspoon Dried

Sea Salt to taste – I use large flaked Maldon Sea Salt

 

Directions:

 

I like to make my salad dressings first in the bottom of the serving bowl, that way nothing gets left behind in the transfer and you have one less bowl to wash (always a plus!).  Combine all the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.

 

Wash the Brussels Sprouts and trim off the stem ends, remove the outer leaves.  Finely slice and break apart, you can leave a few leaves whole if you like.  Add the shredded Sprouts to the bowl with the dressing and toss.  Next add in the Arugula or Baby Spinach, if your leaves are large you can slice them a bit, leaving smaller leaves whole.

 

Peel the Oranges and separate the segments.  Depending upon the size of each segment, cut in half or thirds.  Add the Orange pieces to the bowl, along with the Cranberries and Pecans.  Toss everything to combine and serve.  Enjoy! 

 

Serves about 4-6

 

Recipe Notes: a little crumbled Goat Cheese is a nice addition, but definitely not necessary. IMG_3562

Leftovers of this salad keep great for a few days in the fridge. 

 

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