Category Archives: Recipes

Mushroom Barley Soup with Ten Minutes Work – Instant Pot!

This is a great soup, my comfort food — a meal in itself for a wintry evening. It took me ten minutes of prep time to load it into my Instant Pot, was cooked under pressure for 20 minutes while I put my feet up — and soup.

Ingredients

  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Spanish onion, petite diced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced on the bias
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 4 medium to large plum tomatoes, petite diced (or a 19 oz. can)
  • 1/2 lb. pearl barley
  • 1 lb. baby belle mushrooms, quartered (this time I used one very large Portobello mushroom
  • 2 cups chopped greens (kale/spinach/chard, any or all)
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. hot paprika
These were my raw ingredients for the Mushroom Barley Soup I made in my Instant Pot.

Instructions

  1. Add the extra virgin olive oil to the Instant Pot.
  2. Petite dice or chop the onion and add to the Instant Pot. Turn on IP to Saute for 5-10 minutes while you prep the remaining veggies.
  3. Slice the carrots on the bias and add to the onions in the IP while continuing the Saute.
  4. Slice the celery and add to the IP while continuing the Saute.
  5. If the veggies are soft or you’ve completed 10 minutes of Saute time, Cancel.
  6. Add all remaining ingredients: the petite diced tomatoes (I usually use fresh but was lazy this time), the 6 cups of water, the cut-up mushrooms, chopped greens, barley, water and seasonings. Stir.
  7. NOTE: If you like your greens greener and a little crunchier, just add the chopped stems to the mix in #6 and hold the greens.
  8. Close the lid on the IP and close the vent. Set to Pressure for 20 minutes.
  9. When the 20 minutes is complete, open the steam release until you can open the lid, about 10 minutes, then remove the lid. If you held the greens, add them now to the hot soup to soften for a few moments before serving. You can also “Sauté” in the soup until they are the way you like them.
  10. Check seasonings and serve. Mmmm…mmm…good.

I’m big on Dal Makhani lately. Just making another batch in my Instant Pot.

DAL MAKHANI

Ingredients
(Serves 3-4 unless you have a big appetite like I do!)

  • Urad dal (Whole black lentils), 1/2 cup
  • Dark red kidney beans, dry, 2 TB rounded
  • Spanish onion, 1 large, finely chopped
  • Ginger root, 1 TB, peeled and finely minced
  • Garlic, 1 clove, peeled and finely minced
  • Plum tomatoes, 3
  • Green chilies, 1-2 finely minced (Serrano is a good one) – I just used 1/2 of one chili
  • Turmeric, 1/4 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp.
  • Chili powder, 1 tsp.
  • Coriander, 2 tsp.
  • Garam masala, 1/2 tsp.
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1 – 2 TB
  • Cream (I used coconut milk for my vegan version), 1/2 cup
  • Salt, 3/4-1 tsp). (to taste)
  • Cilantro, a few leaves chopped for garnish

Directions

  1. Add the olive oil and cumin seeds to the Instant Pot and Saute until the seeds crackle. Cancel the IP while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. Mince the garlic, peeled ginger root and green chili (I just used about 1/2 of one chili. I have a lot of spice sensitive people in the house). Add to the IP.
  3. Finely chop the onion and add to the IP. Turn on Saute again, and cook until soft. Cancel the IP.
  4. Run the cut-up tomatoes through a Vitamix or blender.  Add water to 3 cups. Add to IP along with remaining seasonings except garam masala.
  5. Add the dried black lentils and dried kidney beans.
  6. Close the lid of the IP and close the vent. Turn the IP on at High Pressure for 40 minutes. If you like the black lentils (Urad Dal) to retain their shape better, just add the kidney beans, set the pressure at 20 minutes, do a quick release, add the black lentils, stir, close lid and vent and cook at high pressure for the remaining 20 minutes.
  7. When done, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10-15 minutes. If the pressure isn’t yet fully released, do a quick release and remove the lid.
  8. Add the garam masala and let it blend for a few moments.
  9. Add a vegan milk. I used coconut milk. Pea protein milk would also work.
  10. Remove from the IP, and garnish with cilantro.

I enjoy the Dal these days with a medley of Rice and Ancient Grains from Food with Purpose that I get at Costco. It has a great texture and nice, nutty flavor and takes about 10 minutes to cook in the IP.

Kidney Bean Jambalaya

I used to make this recipe in the Cafe, but it has been a while since I last pulled it out. My associate, Jame, created it for a group I was leading on healthy eating. I asked him to use kidney beans and brown Basmati rice in six different dishes so busy people could make all the rice and beans on the weekend and make up a quick dish with them each night of the week. His creations were fantastic!

This is a delicious vegan Jambalaya, and I decided to resurrect it. Unfortunately when I went hunting for a picture, what I had wasn’t the best resolution — and I wasn’t 100% sure what stage the recipe was when I recorded it in my files.  I mean, the ingredients and seasonings are all the correct ones, but I remember bumping up some of the seasonings and am not sure if that made it into the record.

Anyway, here it is for now, and one day soon I’ll make it in a reduced size — and check the seasonings. In fact, now that I have an Instant Pot, I might just make it very soon and work out the times for that. If you try it before I do, let me know how it is and if you needed to make any changes.

KIDNEY BEAN JAMBALAYA

Ingredients

  • Kidney beans, 6 cups cooked
  • Brown Basmati rice, 6 cups cooked (2 c. dry with 1 tsp. salt, 2 TB extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Green bell peppers, 2 cut in one in. chunks
  • Red bell peppers, 2 cut in one in. chunks
  • 2 onions cut in one in. chunks
  • Garlic, 1 TB
  • Smoked paprika, 1 tsp.
  • Basil, crushed, 1/2 tsp.
  • Rosemary, crushed, 1/2 tsp.
  • Thyme, crushed or ground, 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt, 2 tsp.
  • Hot paprika, 1/4 – 1 tsp. depending on your taste for heat

Instructions

Saute the peppers and onion with the garlic in the extra virgin olive oil until slightly softened. Add the remaining seasonings and sauté for a moment longer. Remove from heat. When the rice and kidney beans are ready, gently fold the beans and rice together with the peppers and onion. Serve and enjoy.

Time for Fall Soups…This One’s Perfect for Fall CSA Veggies!

Published in Bob’s Fresh and Local Newsletter, 10/25/2017.

I found this recipe last year on The Green Panda’s Kitchen. A group of women made it outdoors in Kenya, and when I read that, I started dreaming of making beautiful meals outdoors with veggies from Farmer Bob’s fields. The squash at this time of year is plentiful, and the fall weather has been amazing…just right for cooking outdoors. A cast iron Dutch oven, some heat, a place to cut up my veggies, and that’s all I needed.

But you don’t have to cook outside! You can use your kitchen cutting board and put a soup pot on your kitchen stove. I halved this recipe for the two of us, and I usually bump up the seasonings a little when I taste it toward the end.

MOROCCAN SOUP WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SWISS CHARD

Ingredients

  • Chickpeas, 1 lb., rinsed and cooked until just tender
  • Butternut squash, washed, remove seeds and fibers, cut into 1.5 inch cubes (Don’t peel – I tried this! It really works!)
  • Carrots, 1 lb., washed and cut into medium dice
  • Onions, 1 lb., cut into medium dice
  • Tomatoes, 1 lb., cut into medium dice
  • Swiss Chard, 1 large bunch, remove leaves from stems, finely chopped
  • Garlic, 1 head, peeled and chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
  • Smoked paprika, 1 TB
  • Cinnamon, 1 TB
  • Cilantro, 1 bunch, washed and coarsely chopped
  • Lemon, 1/2 – 1, juiced
  • Cumin, 1 tsp. (Most recently I used 1 TB and no coriander)
  • Coriander, 1 tsp.
  • Salt, to taste (I usually use about 1 TB per gallon of soup)
  • Hot paprika, 1-2 tsp. (Opt.)
  • Water to cover (between the chickpea liquid and water, about 5 quarts)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the chickpeas by rinsing, covering with plenty of water, and cooking covered on low heat until tender (1-2 hours). Check periodically to make certain there is still sufficient water. Set aside with the remaining water.
  2. Prepare the veggies (squash, carrots, onion, tomatoes chard, cilantro) and set aside. Note: you can replace the fresh tomatoes with one-half of a 19 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes if you’re in a hurry)
    Mince the garlic.
  3. Add 2 TB extra virgin olive oil to a large soup pot. Saute the garlic and onion until softened.
  4. Add the squash, carrots and tomato (or one-half of a 19-oz. can petite diced tomatoes) and the reserved chickpeas with their water.
  5. Add additional water until all is cover — less for a more “packed” soup, more for a brothier soup.
  6. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until the veggies are tender.
  7. Add the seasonings and lemon juice and check the taste. Adjust seasonings if needed.
  8. Stir in the cilantro and chard.

I hope you enjoy this delicious, aromatic soup.

Tonight I’m making pumpkin and black bean patties for dinner. I’d love to share the results with you next week, but we’ve reached the end of the season! I hope the winter isn’t too hard on us this year, and I’ll look forward to connecting with you all again when we start getting Farmer Bob’s veggies again in the spring.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

The 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learned About Healthy Eating Over 50 Years

I’m not a scientist, nor am I a medical professional. I just love well-prepared food and a feeling of good health. I like to read and test out on myself theories that make sense and judge them based on experience.

These are the 10 things I’ve learned about healthy, satisfying eating over more than fifty years of experimenting with myself, my family and friends and in my cafe:

  1. Eat real food. By real food, I mean whole foods from the earth as little manipulated as possible other than by your own preparation and cooking processes.
  2. Eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed. There is a delay before the satisfaction message reaches your brain. Allow for that.
  3. If you’re not satisfied after meals and if you experience cravings, something needs adjusting in your diet.
  4. Be careful about eliminating categories of food from your diet. There’s a lot of “fake news” about the disaster that will overtake you when you eat certain foods. There’s also a lot of imperfect nutritional knowledge.
  5. Be careful about eliminating “food” categories, that is, except for added sweets of all kinds, natural and artificial. Get rid of those as much as you can. That includes most commercially processed foods.
  6. Eat fiber. When appropriate and possible, buy organic and don’t peel things.
  7. Don’t let the excuse that you can’t afford organic fruits and veggies stand in the way of eating them. It’s much more important to consume those whole foods than it is to avoid chemical residues. For the path of moderation, ewg.org provides a Dirty Dozen list of the worst offenders, updated each year.
  8. Aim for at least 80% plant foods in your diet.
  9. Nuts and seeds and avocados are your friends. They are the best source of healthy fats.
  10. Enjoy your meals! Remember, it’s always a work in progress. You learn more, we all learn more, we get lazy and need system rechecks and adjustments, perfection is never a possibility, and if you put healthy whole foods on your table, you can savor the taste and experience instead of counting calories or “carbs.”

I have found the best way for me to experience healthy, satisfied pleasure from what I eat is to work with my CSA. On the days I spend out in the field, I often accumulate 15,000 steps or more. I feel the wind and the sun and the rain. I enjoy the beauty and the colors that surround me. I have my hands in the food chain and can’t imagine much that is more satisfying than knowing I have a direct relationship to the food I eat and feed my family.

Best of all, I am challenged to use 3/4 bushel of seasonal produce and more every week. I try things that are new to me, that I’ve seen in stores but haven’t bought because they were unfamiliar. There just isn’t a way to eat more healthfully than by using up my box of beautiful whole foods that I had a hand in producing.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Peppers: sweet or spicy and always beautiful

Published in Bob’s Fresh and Local Newsletter 10/16/2017

Our dry early spring and late planting brings us a bonus in our fall harvest…lots of beautiful peppers, sweet ones, spicy ones, beautiful colored ones.

This versatile recipe works for any combination of peppers. Just adjust the recipe overall for quantity, and adjust the hot paprika depending on the heat of the peppers you use.

The original recipe used all sweet bell peppers. Today I made them with two of our sweet yellow bell peppers and seven of the spicy Anaheim peppers.

Here’s my original recipe. I halved it for this group of peppers and eliminated the hot paprika since the Anaheims gave the salad plenty of bite. If you are heat-sensitive, use more sweet bell peppers and fewer Anaheims:

SWEET (OR SPICY) PEPPERS

Ingredients

  • 6-8 red, yellow or orange bell peppers
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Szeged hot paprika
  • 1/3 bunch cilantro, chopped

Procedure

Rub the peppers with oil, and run them under the broiler, turning them as needed, until browned and wrinkly all over. Don’t over cook — you want plenty of pepper flesh. Thinner peppers finish quickly. Peel the peppers, remove the stems (don’t worry about the seeds – they make a nice garnish and add nutrition and flavor), and cut into lengthwise 1/4″ strips. Cut across the lengths into 1″ pieces. Add seasonings, stir, taste and adjust seasonings. Enjoy!

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Peter, Peter, stuffed pumpkin eater

Published in Bob’s Fresh and Local CSA Newsletter 10/10/2017.

Farmer Bob’s pumpkins and winter squashes are beautiful this year, and they deserve to be the centerpiece of a meal, maybe even Thanksgiving dinner. This pumpkin feast is something you can feel proud to serve as your main dish for a vegan Thanksgiving — or right along with your turkey to satisfy vegetarian and vegan guests or as a festively colorful side dish. Even Peter will eat it and thank you, and he knows pumpkins!

This dish has three parts: the pumpkin, the pumpkin filling and the apples with their beautiful cranberry sauce topping.  You’ll have more filling than you need for the pumpkin, so you can just spread the extra around the pumpkin on the platter and put the apples on top of it. As you can see, the colors are amazing and will make any meal a special meal.

 

STUFFED PUMPKIN
Pumpkin and Stuffing (serves 4+ as a meal, many more as a side)

  • 1 Sugar or Pie Pumpkin
  • 2 Cups (Pre-cooked) Brown Basmati Rice
  • 2 Cups (Cooked) Chickpeas
  • 4 Cups Almonds/Raisins/Craisins/Apples
  • 4 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 TB + 2 tsp. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • Pinch Hot Paprika

Cut off top of pumpkin. Cut stem to 2 inches. Scrape out seeds. Season inside of pumpkin with olive oil and honey (or unfiltered sugar). Rub outside of pumpkin with olive oil. Roast one hour at 350 degrees.

Cook two cups brown rice. Set aside. Sauté almonds, raisins, craisins and apple slices with olive oil, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch hot paprika. Add to rice with chickpeas. Stir together and re-season. Set aside.

Apples and Cranberries

  • 3 Baking Apples
  • 6 Cloves
  • 1 LB Bag Cranberries
  • Pinch Cinnamon
  • Juice of 1 Oranges
  • 2 TB Honey (Unfiltered Sugar for Vegans)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup White Sesame, Toasted

Halve and oil the apples. Bake with cinnamon and cloves.

For sauce, juice orange and add 2+ TB honey (or sugar). Reduce sauce. Add cranberries and cook very briefly. Remove cranberries. Reduce sauce further. Recombine sauce and berries.

Assembling Pumpkin Meal
If you make everything ahead, warm each part separately. When ready to serve, fill the pumpkin loosely, replace pumpkin lid, and plate the pumpkin. Surround the pumpkin with the remaining filling, and place the apples on top of it around the pumpkin. Top the apples with cranberry sauce, and garnish with white sesame.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Nothing against my favorite, pumpkin pie…but there’s so much more!

Published 10/3/2017 in Bob’s Fresh and Local CSA Newsletter

I always make pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, and I like to make them “from scratch,” with real pumpkin, not canned. It’s so easy — why not? All it requires is to slice the pumpkin in two, scoop and scrape out seeds and pulp (and set aside for roasted pumpkin seeds), oil, and place face side down on a roasting pan in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. At the end of the cooking time, remove from the oven, cool, and easily scoop out the pumpkin flesh.

And of course there are the seeds, which I’m munching as I write. You don’t get those with canned pumpkin! I put them in a colander with the pulp, run cold water over them, rubbing the seeds and pulp together. The seeds easily pull away, and I discard the pulp. Usually I dry the seeds briefly, then oil and salt them and oven roast in a shallow pan. This time, for some reason, I decided to pan roast them in a cast iron pan. I had just made some sweet pita in that pan using maple syrup, and I was too lazy to wash the pan, so I just threw in the seeds over the bits of darkened maple syrup and stirred constantly until they browned slightly and voila! Done. Delicious.

There are so many ways to use pumpkin that I can’t even count them. I get my inspiration from Morocco most of the time. Those folks love pumpkin and are so creative with it! Pumpkin soups, kibbee, stews, stuffed.

This week I’m going to share two pumpkin hummus recipes, the first with a slightly sweet profile, the second a savory Lebanese version. The Lebanese version didn’t have chickpeas in it, and it was lovely, but I confess to having an aversion to calling things hummus that don’t have chickpeas since in both Hebrew and Arabic, “hummus” means chickpeas as well as the “dip” in which they are used. When I finished the slightly sweet hummus, I had a few extra chickpeas, so I threw them into the Lebanese hummus mix, and it was delicious. I could have used more and will next time.

PUMPKIN HUMMUS

Blend the following until as smooth as you like it:

  • Chickpeas, 2 cups cooked (I always make my own from dried beans, but if you used canned, rinse and drain)
  • Pumpkin, 2 cups prepared as above
  • Cinnamon, 2 tsp.
  • Ginger root, peeled and minced, 2 tsp.
  • Salt, 1/8-1/4 tsp.
  • Nutmeg, 1/8-1/4 tsp.
  • Cloves, 2-4
  • Hot paprika, 1/8-1/4 tsp.
  • Sugar, 1 TB slightly rounded

For the “chips” on this one, I use whole wheat Lebanese pita, available in the Middle Eastern section of many stores. Cut it into chips and oven-crisp at 200 degrees until lightly toasted. Remove, cool and bag up for use later.

For this slightly sweet hummus, I stirred the chips in a hot pan for a few minutes with a bit of olive oil, maple syrup and cinnamon. Yum.

LEBANESE PUMPKIN HUMMUS

Blend the following until as smooth as you like it:

  • Pumpkin, prepared as above, 600-700 grams
  • Chickpeas, 1/2 cup
  • Lemon juice, freshly squeezed, 2 TB
  • Garlic, 1 clove, minced
  • Tahini, 5 TB
  • Salt, 1/2 tsp.
  • Hot paprika, 1/4 tsp.
  • Extra virgin olive oil for garnish
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

Serve this one with the regular pita chips from the Lebanese pita, not sweetened. Enjoy these delicious variations on a classic Middle Eastern favorite.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Tradition…tradition! Old traditions with fresh CSA veggies

Published in Bob’s Fresh and Local CSA newsletter, 9/27/2017

When I got cold, working in a food trailer during the winters, I decided to move inside to work. For a while, before I opened my Woodstock cafe, I had a little concession in Caputo’s Fruit and Vegetable Market in Algonquin. Many of the staff used to come over to the counter and ask me to make up special items for their lunches.

During Lent, a frequent request from my Catholic friends was for egg and peppers sandwiches, something that was new to me. I asked how they did it, and everyone had a different style and approach. This is what I came up with:

I use Italian rolls, whole wheat if I can find good ones, slice and toast them and set them aside. I cut up the peppers in 1-2″ pieces and toss them into a cast iron saute pan with some extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic, a little salt and some crushed oregano. I let them cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, then add a little bit of white Balsamic vinegar and put a lid on the pan to let the peppers simmer until softened.

While the peppers are cooking, I scramble some eggs gently in another cast iron pan and when barely cooked through, I remove the pan from the heat and push the eggs to its edge. (For a vegan alternative, scramble some tofu with salt and turmeric). When the peppers are finished, I arrange the eggs on top of one half of the bun, spoon the peppers over and voila! Egg and peppers sandwiches.

I missed Lent this year, but when we started getting our peppers from Farmer Bob last week…and more coming this week…I thought longingly of those sandwiches and made some up last night for my family. They definitely got the all-out seal of approval, so I think I’ll make them again this coming week.

I also enjoyed this Asian greens, radish and red onion salad during the past week and I expect will enjoy something similar in the coming week with the lettuce we’ll get. I used a simple dressing of extra virgin olive oil, white Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. That white Balsamic vinegar is a new favorite of mine. I’ve always used olive oil and lemon for my salads, but the vinegar is a nice alternative.

Finally, I’m gearing up for pickles. Farmer Bob is sending us all the basic ingredients for dills: pickles, garlic and dill. I only make refrigerator pickles, and they keep for months — deliciously. Wash the pickles and layer them with lots of cut garlic and dill into a glass or earthenware jar with a lid. Pour a cold broth over them made of 4 cups of water, 1 cup of distilled vinegar and 3 TB kosher salt. Refrigerate, and let them pickle for 2-3 weeks. If you like them spicy, add a cut habanero to the broth. Yum, can’t wait ’til mine are finished!

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

A smoothie a day keeps the doctor away … a bowl a day keeps her further away

Published in Bob’s Fresh and Local newsletter, 9/20/2017

Pinterest reports that searches for Grain Bowls or Buddha Bowls are up over 200% in 2017, and there’s a very good reason for that! We’re paying more attention to health, and these bowls are an easy, creative and delicious way to do that.

The name “Buddha Bowl” is a contemporary creation, but it evokes the simple feasts of Buddhist monks, who historically began their days walking into town with begging bowls where householders would add to them what they had on hand and could afford. Coming before the days of processed foods, these bowls were likely both simple and healthy … and with the variety of foods provided by householders eager to fulfill their own spiritual responsibility, colorful.

Like smoothies packed with greens and seeds and nuts and fruits, frequent Buddha Bowls are another great way to ensure vibrantly good nutrition. People use a variety of schemes to build their bowls: one idea is starch-protein-veggies, another is grains’n’beans-veggies-nuts’n’seeds. Sometimes there is fruit in the mix. Bowls inevitably change color and texture with the season as available produce suggests new combinations. The main idea is to keep it simple, use what you have on hand, and make a great sauce to top it off.

Now about that protein: The average sedentary man requires 56 grams of protein per day and the average sedentary woman, 46 grams per day — 15-25% of the calories you eat depending on your activity level. If you’re eating a healthy, varied diet filled with things like smoothies and Buddha Bowls, you’ll meet that requirement easily.

Here’s how Buddha Bowls help you satisfy your protein requirement: protein is made of building blocks called amino acids. Of 21 amino acids, the human body synthesizes 12 of them. It cannot synthesize the other nine, and these are called essential amino acids. We have to consume these nine every day. Foods that have all nine essential amino acids include animal products like meat and chicken and fish and dairy — but also plant foods like soy beans and quinoa. You can also mix and match to create a complete protein by using foods with complimentary amino acids, for example, beans and grains. You don’t necessarily have to eat them at the same meal, just the same day.

So some of you may enjoy a bit of grilled chicken, a dollop of homemade yogurt or a hard-boiled egg with your bowl. But if you’re vegetarian or vegan, the grain and bean, seed and nut combinations in your Buddha Bowls make it easy for you too.

Here’s what I used in my bowl today: a mix of greens (lots of Asian greens and mizuna), chickpeas, wheat berries, zucchini, carrots, red onion and radishes. I even used some remaining fried eggplant as a last minute garnish. The peppers and tomatoes we’ll receive in our boxes this week will make nice additions to a Buddha Bowl as well. I topped it off with Tahina dressing. Here’s how I make that:

Tahina Dressing (sesame seed-based dressing)

Add the following to a blender, and blend until smooth.

  • 1-1/2 cups tahina (I like Ziyad brand, available in many stores in the Chicago area)
  • Juice of 1-1/2 – 2 lemons or at least 1/4 cup (I like a little more)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 TB salt
  • 1/2 TB cumin
  • pinch of hot paprika
  • 2 cups water (more or less for a good consistency)

So throw away the recipe book, get creative, use what you have and delight your family while you nourish them.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.