recipe, salad, side dish, vegan, wheat berry

Wheat berry Salad

Several months ago… more like a year… I purchased a small container of wheat berries. Not entirely sure what I was going to do with them I figured eventually I would come across an amazing recipe to try.

Finally, that day has come.

If you weren’t aware, wheat berries are whole and unprocessed kernels of wheat. They are higher in vitamins and essential nutrients when eaten in their whole form. Plus, they are very tasty and have great texture. Here is a great article on wheat berries.

DSC07486

While skimming through one of my countless recipe magazine I saw an advertisement for red wine vinegar. It had an amazing looking salad which featured wheat berries. My luck!

This cold salad has so many textures, so many different flavors… they all complement themselves very well. Do I dare say that even a bit of feta would be amazing in this? Yes. Yes it would.

DSC07481

Wheat berry Salad

  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dry wheat berries
  • 1/2 cup yellow or red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 6-8 kalamata olives, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (these are the highlight of this salad!)
  • a few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • Red Wine Vinegar to taste (I splashed a few drops in, tossed and tasted. I kept doing this until I was satisfied – 2 tablespoons roughly)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine the wheat berries, water and a pinch of salt into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium/low until wheat has desired texture – about an hour or longer. Take off heat, strain and put in the fridge to cool.

Once they have cooled, combine all of the ingredients together. Salt and pepper to taste. Place back in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer. Serve.

This salad can be used as a side or eaten as a main meal.

DSC07482

Pompeian is the only brand of Red Wine Vinegar I have used and I love it!  

DSC07484 ztashaz_thumb[1]_thumb[1]

dressing, recipe, salad, vegan

After cake, eat salad

Sounds fair enough.

DSC06820

After eating an entire plate of chocolate cake, a nice way to balance that out is by eating a healthy salad. Or another bite of cake. Whichever is easiest or more available.

DSC06818

This salad was loaded with fresh romain lettuce, cold quinoa, chick peas, red bell pepper, red onion, crunchy soy nuts, creamy avocado, salt, pepper and a drizzle of Tahini dressing.

DSC06816   DSC06819 

Garlic Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup of Tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • water to desired consistency

Blend all ingredients in a blender. Serve over salad or use as a dip for veggies. If dressing becomes too thin, add more Tahini.

DSC06821

general, salad

… make lemonade

So what do you think of the new layout? Like? (I am working on the comments for past posts – I hope I didn’t lose them)

As part of my whole New Voice change, I decided a new look was needed. I wanted something simple, rustic and to the point. I weeded out a lot of my sidebar flair to make my posts more of the focal point, too.

I also wanted to discuss the whole “clean eating” topic. When I first heard about clean eating, I was very enthusiastic about it and wanted to share with everyone, hence the blog. In a years time, I have still kept my clean eating ways but have transitioned to being vegetarian/vegan, mostly clean still but eating food that is cruelty free and from the earth. My blog has been such a valuable resource for individuals and I receive emails almost daily asking me how they can start to live a better life through their diet. I love that I have made such a dynamic and powerful influence on people and they are coming to me for advice.

However, I have noticed that when I post a recipe that may not be entirely “clean” I often receive comments and emails asking me why I would promote such thing since my blog is heavily influenced on clean eating. I don’t mind these comments as I feel people have valid points. While I do eat very clean, I eat a plant based diet and I would like to be able to showcase this more and detach from the label of “clean eating”. Honestly, I don’t like labels.

I love recipes. I love cookbooks. I love making meals that showcase local and fresh ingredients. It’s a form of art and creativity. And I love sharing them with all of you.

Over the past 6 or so months there has been some concern with the privacy and safety of myself and my family. Using my posts, pictures and comments against me in a way that I felt threatened and uneasy. At the time I didn’t want to bring attention to the problem and just left it alone. I was able to pinpoint the culprit(s) through IP addresses but it has made me re-think what I post. I hate it.

So that’s what is going on in a nut shell.

Do you want to know my recent flavor combo?
Red onion and dried cranberries! Perfect in a salad!

DSC06284

recipe, salad

Basil and tomato sitting in a tree…

I am often asked how I create my salads. I can honestly say that I take the fresh produce that I have in my fridge and on my counter, mix them together and create healthy and DELICIOUS salads. They are wonderful. Every one of them. I always add fresh herbs, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper for a dressing that enhances the rich flavors of the fresh ingredients.
Enjoy!


This is a refreshing and light salad that can be enjoyed as a main dish or as a side salad.

  • Romain, spinach or spring mix
  • fresh ripe tomato slices
  • a half of a ripe avocado, cubed
  • a tablespoon of crumbled feta, optional
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped thinly
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a drizzle of olive oil

Layer it together in a shallow bowl or on a plate and you have a wonderful healthy meal! Pair it with a nice piece of crusty bread or a bowl of warm, comforting soup and enjoy!

salad

Summer Salads

Well Seattle has finally seen some summer temperatures. And quite frankly, I miss the cloudy, cool days. 75 is perfect! 85-95… not so much.
In honor of the rising temperature I am showcasing some of my latest salad creations. Most of the time I simply pile a bunch of random vegetables and fruit in a bowl and call it a meal. A variety of textures is key for a scrumptious salad!

Grab a fork and enjoy!

DSC05926

DSC05151     DSC05170 DSC05240 DSC05241 DSC05469 DSC05671 

DSC05353

ztashaz_thumb[1]

salad, spinach, vegan, vegetarian

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

Crisp baby spinach, sweet strawberries and spicy red onions create a perfect balance in this super simple salad.

DSC05469[7] - Copy

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
  • 4 sweet strawberries, chopped into large bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onions
  • handful of toasted pumpkin seeds
  • fresh grated parmesan or gorgonzola cheese (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • drizzle of raspberry vinaigrette

Directions:

Combine and EAT!

This salad is my 1% cheese allowance. I love the taste of sweet berries and vinaigrette with the taste of sour/bitter cheese.

Serve with warm bread or your favorite cracker.

DSC05468[4]

tashasig

salad

Dear Falafel,

Where have you been my entire life?!

DSC05662

I had a pre made falafel mix that had been sitting in my pantry for about 3 months. I remember buying it with good intentions but never initiated the challenge. Yesterday was the day… and I quickly fell in love!

I ended up pan frying them in some EVOO.

DSC05660

I think I ate 3 of these little patties. It was pretty much a party in my mouth!

 DSC05666

Because falafel is made from ground chickpeas and matzo meal they taste surprisingly like hummus. Falafels originate from the Middle East and is a popular street food. They are fried, stuffed into pita pockets and topped with crisp vegetables and drizzled with some kind of sauce – hummus, tahini / yogurt, etc.

I had one patty left over and I decided to crumble it in my salad for lunch today.

DSC05670

Hearts of romaine
red onion
orange bell pepper
toasted pumpkin seeds
avocado
sun dried tomatoes
falafel
a few teaspoons of lemon juice & EVOO
salt and pepper
dried basil
 

DSC05671

I just took another batch of falafel out of the oven. This time I baked the little patties for about 7 minutes on each side at 375 degrees. I have a hunch that I am going to be eating a lot of falafel the next few weeks. I am now on the hunt for a homemade recipe instead of a boxed version. Any tips or recipes that you would like to share?

ztashaz_thumb[1]

faq, salad

Soggy

It’s the weekend! Hope everyone is enjoying themselves! Me? Well… I am planning on going for a nice run, hopefully over 6 miles, BUT Seattle has yet to let the sun shine nor has it even let the rain stop. Looks like I might have to suck it up and get a little wet. Oh well – all in the life of a Seattleite.
I want to share another AMAZING salad I ate yesterday:
DSC05620 DSC05621

Big pieces of romaine, red onion, peas, garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, toasted pumpkin and soy beans, orange bell pepper, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, EVOO and salt and pepper. I cannot stop eating these giant salads. Everyday I seem to crave them more and more! I remember I went through a time this winter that I didn’t even touch a salad – for weeks I was salad-less. =( But in the dead of winter when produce doesn’t look appealing all I wanted to do was warm up with a hot bowl of soup. I guess I am making up for my lack of salads the past few weeks.
 DSC05622
Questions

How many calories do you eat on average?

Oh gosh – I really hate this question. I really have no idea how many calories I eat, nor do I really care (in a nice way =). I had struggled with counting calories and my weight for years. I was a slave to the calorie and fat content of every single piece of food that went into my mouth – it was a very low point in my life. When I started to eat clean, then vegetarian/vegan, I stopped worrying about my calorie intake because I knew the foods that I eat are healthy and wholesome. I still have will power, however, and eat very little extra sugar, like desserts. Pieces of dark chocolate curb my sweet tooth when I am in need of something sweet.
What I do know about my calorie intake is that I eat just right. My weight is steady, meaning I have not lost nor gained any weight in months. I am still very active; running 5 times a week and keep up with a toddler is a great workout! =) And with all of the avocado, EVOO and nuts I eat on a daily basis… I am not sure if I really want to know how many calories I am consuming! I have a hunch that I might freak out a little; even though I am in a much better mental state regarding food I know those thoughts are still there somewhere. For now I feel that ignorance is bliss.

I have run across some recipes that call from coconut oil. I do not like coconut–is there something I can use in place of it?

Oh wow – great question! I have never used coconut oil. It is one ingredient that has been on my grocery list for a while now but I haven’t splurged yet. I would have to see the recipe in order to give a good substitution but are they recipes that you can sub EVOO or grape seed oil for? I am going to have to open the floor up to my readers – any suggestions for this?
Thanks again for the questions! I love them!
ztashaz_thumb[1]

recipe, salad, vegan, vegetarian

Spinach Rules!

Two days in a row I have made some killer spinach salads!

Yesterday’s salad:
DSC05572

  • baby spinach
  • red onion
  • red bell pepper
  • sundried tomatoes
  • artichoke hearts
  • avocado
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • EVOO
  • dollop of cashew spread for good measure

DSC05573

Today’s salad:
DSC05574

  • baby spinach
  • peas
  • yellow onion
  • red bell pepper
  • bean burger patty
  • hummus
  • hot sauce

Along with a mini wheat bagel, cashew spread and refreshing glass of iced tea.
 DSC05575

  DSC05576  

Both salads had completely different flavor profiles yet were equally delicious!

What salad profiles are your favorite? I tend to just throw anything and everything into a bowl and call it a meal! =)

ztashaz_thumb[1]

recipe, salad, vegetarian

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

Crisp baby spinach, sweet strawberries and spicy red onions create a perfect balance in this super simple salad.

DSC05469

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
  • 4 sweet strawberries, chopped into large bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onions
  • handful of toasted pumpkin seeds
  • fresh grated parmesan or gorgonzola cheese (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • drizzle of raspberry vinaigrette

Directions:

Combine and EAT!

This salad is my 1% cheese allowance. I love the taste of sweet berries and vinaigrette with the taste of sour/bitter cheese.

Serve with warm bread or your favorite cracker.

DSC05468  

ztashaz_thumb[1]