Asian Carrot + Kale Salad

Asian carrot and kale salad

Another salad… I know I know. But really… this is the sort of salad that will make you want to eat salad every day. It takes me back to all my travel adventures through Asia some 8 years ago and the flavour reminds me of all the beach restaurants we used to eat at, typically while sitting in these half broken plastic chairs planted in the sand overlooking the ocean.
The vinaigrette dressing brings a great flavour to the simple mix of raw vegetables while the fresh mango adds a great touch of exotic summer. In case you hadn’t noticed, I am all about adding nuts and seeds to my salads, and in this case I love the salty crunch the tamari roasted almond flakes add.

I recently discovered toasted sesame oil. I’m not sure what took me so long, but this oil is perfect for anything and everything Asian flavoured – be it stir fries, sauces, dips and salad vinaigrettes. The sweet and nutty aroma immediately makes you think of far eastern cooking as sesame oil features as a staple in many Asian dishes – both as a cooking oil and a condiment. The oil from toasted sesame seeds is both stronger in flavour and fragrance than plain sesame oil so I definitely recommend using a toasted oil for this particular vinaigrette dressing. Nutritionally sesame seed oil is high in calcium, manganese, iron, zinc and magnesium and effectively promotes healthy skin, vascular function, and healthy bones. Its high concentration of powerful antioxidants makes sesame oil very shelf stable and resistant to rancidity and heat, making it a great oil for cooking and frying.

Asian Carrot + Kale Salad
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Recipe type: Salad
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
Salad
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, grated
  • 30 gm raisins
  • ½ cup mango, cubed
Topping
  • 30 gm almond flakes
  • ½ tsp tamari sauce
Asian Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
  • salt pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp honey/agave
  • pinch minced ginger (optional)
Instructions
  1. Warm up a pan over medium high heat. Place almond flakes and tamari sauce on the pan and roast the almonds for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
  2. While the almonds are cooling, chop all the raw vegetables and combine in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl (or in a blender) whisk together all the ingredients for the Asian vinaigrette dressing and combine until smooth.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix until all the vegetables are covered.
  5. Sprinkle the tamari roasted almonds on top just before serving.

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Raw Pumpkin Seed Pâté

Raw pumpkin seed pate

I’ve had raw pâté’s on my mind for a few days now and finally got a chance to experiment a bit today. My first introduction to raw pâté’s was in New York City a few years back at an amazing vegan café near my office in flatiron district, which quickly became my favourite lunch spot. My coworkers and I soon got addicted to their amazing salads – always topped with their delicious vinaigrettes and raw pâté’s made from a variety of nuts, seeds, herbs & spices. Unfortunately the place ended up closing and I’ve never come across raw pâté’s like it since… until I whipped up this sexy batch.

Featuring a mix of raw pumpkin seeds, toasted sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, this recipe really couldn’t be simpler, tastier and quicker to make. I didn’t soak any of the seeds (but you certainly can if you prefer – simply alter the amount of water needed) and was done within 10 minutes tops.

Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds

  • Packed full of essential minerals, particularly manganese, zinc, magnesium and iron
  • A good source of quality plant protein with 30 gm protein per 100 gm seeds.
  • Have long been known and used for medicinal purposes as they contain anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
  • Contain phytosterols, which are compounds that can help reduce levels of LDL cholesterol (aka the bad kind of cholesterol).
  • Contain L-tryptophan, which helps with good sleep and can help lower the risk of depression. 
  • Are a good source vitamin E, which I often refer to as the beauty nutrient since it is essential for the health and elasticity of our skin, hair & nails and is also a powerful antioxidant.
  • Are good for prostate health since the oil in pumpkin seeds alleviates difficult urination that happens with an enlarged prostate.
  • Are, according to some sources, the most alkaline-forming seed.

Raw Vegan Pâté
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Recipe type: Snack
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • garlic powder (optional)
  • ¼ tsp tumeric
  • 1-2 sundried tomatoes in oil, drained + chopped
Instructions
  1. Place pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds & sunflower seeds in food processor and process until they are finely ground to a flour (apx. 30 seconds in a vitamix on low speed)
  2. Transfer the seed mixture to a bowl and add tumeric, sundried tomatoes, lemon juice & water. Mix well with a spoon until well combined and sticky in consistency.
  3. Add salt, pepper & garlic powder (if using) to taste and add more water if needed.
  4. Serve cold or at room temperature and store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

I love the versatility of this pâté and can included a few serving suggestions below, all of which are delicious and fun…

Serving Suggestions

  • serve in baby gem lettuce cups with freshly cut cucumber sticks.
  • serve as filling in zucchini roll ups (I love this idea I recently saw on Pinterest) for a fun appetiser.
  • serve in nori rolls with other vegetables and/or brown rice for a different take on sushi.
  • serve with crackers and vegetable sticks (this pate is especially delicious on my chia seeds crackers and flax seed crackers).
  • serve on a salad for an extra filling boost of plant protein and fibre.

raw pumpkin seed pate

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Spicy Chickpea Salad

chickpea saladI made this fresh and filling spicy chickpea salad for the first time the other day when I was stuck at home with a sleeping babe and a pretty empty fridge. So, I decided to go through my spice cupboard… that one messy cupboard I’ve totally given up on. Always way too full of random spices, dried herbs and a lot of unknown whatever. I suspected there might be a few hidden tins towards the back, and I was right. A tin of organic chickpeas, a lot of spices and a few fresh vegetables was going to become lunch.

Since chickpeas are fairy bland on their own and adapt the flavour of whatever you cook them with, I decided to pan fry them with a little fresh garlic and a blend of oriental spices to make them a little interesting. I mixed some freshly chopped veggies with a spicy vinaigrette and added toasted pine nuts and goats feta and the end result was surprisingly delicious. So I pulled out the good old camera and thought I’d share since I suspect my vegetarian readers and other chickpea lovers will love this recipe as much as we do. I love adding this chickpea salad to a bowl of fresh greens or a plate grilled vegetables for a meat free lunch or dinner.

 Chickpeas…  [Garbanzo Beans/Ceci Beans/Bengal Gram]

Chickpeas originate from the mediterranean and are one of the best sources of plant based protein. Chickpeas have for centuries been used as a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern and Indian cooking, and often feature in curries, soups as well as a variety of different dips and spreads. Other than protein, chickpeas are a great source of folate, manganese and dietary fibre and contain a unique variety of antioxidants, which effectively protect our cells from ageing and other damage. Chickpeas’ unique nutrient profile is known to benefit our health in a number of ways, and research actually shows that incorporating chickpeas into our weekly diet is linked to improved blood sugar levels, healthier cardiovascular system – particularly healthy cholesterol and lipid profiles – as well as improved digestion and increased satiety (feeling of fullness)

chickpea salad 3

I don’t often eat chickpeas any other way than when I make this creamy hummus - which is easily one of my favourite dips. But cooking or marinading the chickpeas in a good vinaigrette beforehand changes their flavour entirely and makes them far tastier. Also cooking your own chickpeas from scratch rather than buying them canned is also preferable since canning lowers the nutrient content of foods significantly as it almost always involves extensive cooking time and high heat. When cooking dry chickpeas make sure you soak the chickpeas for at least 4 hours, or even better overnight, before cooking. The process of soaking improves their digestibility by removing a lot of the phytic acids, also known as enzyme inhibitors, which inhibit the absorption of nutrients. Pre-soaking the chickpeas will also reduce cooking time and allow you to cook your chickpeas al dente to prevent the slightly soggy texture you often get in the canned varieties. All in all, cooking your own chickpeas are well worth the extra work when it comes to both taste and nutritional benefit!

Spicy Chickpea Salad
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Recipe type: Salad
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
Salad
  • 400 gm (or 1 can) organic chickpeas
  • ½ tsp coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp curry powder (I used a madras curry powder)
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 30 gm (1 oz) crumbled goats feta
  • 30 gm (1 oz) toasted pine nuts
Vinaigrette
  • ½ tsp wholegrain mustard
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • juice from ½ lime
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp madras curry powder
Instructions
  1. Melt ½ tsp coconut oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add chickpeas, garlic, curry powder, cumin and ground coriander and stir with a spoon to make sure all the spices cover the chickpeas.
  2. Add salt & pepper to taste and continue to stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine chopped herbs and bell peppers.
  4. Remove chickpeas from the heat and combine chickpeas with the chopped herbs and peppers.
  5. In a separate bowl combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and stir well, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Pour the vinaigrette over the warm chickpeas salad and stir well to combine.
  7. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts and crumbled feta cheese over the salad and serve warm as is, over a bed or rucola or in baby gem lettuce cups.

Hope you enjoy!

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Salmon Patties

I recently connected with the team over at Primal Palate and now have the privilege of being one of their contributors. For those of you who are not familiar with Primal Palate, it is a great resource for anyone who follow a paleo diet or simply loves to eat healthy. They have an abundance of amazing recipes (all free from grains and refined sugars), as well as a great online & mobile meal planning tool that allows users to browse all their recipes, upload their own personal recipes and use these to create weekly meal plans and automatic shopping lists. 

To get started, simply create your own free account on www.primalpalate.com and download their free mobile app, MyKitchen. If you’re new to Paleo or curious about what it is, they also have some great information on why the Paleo way of eating is beneficial to our health. 

salmon patty

I’m aware that I don’t have a lot of meat or fish recipes featured on this site and while I am not a vegetarian, my diet is definitely heavy on the plant foods. That said, I absolutely love fish and prefer it over any other type of meat. Growing up in Scandinavia, my dad was (and still is) an avid fisherman who would go away on weekend trips fishing in the North Sea and come home with several months’ supply of fresh fish. As a result we got pretty creative using fish in all sorts of traditional dishes… some definitely better than others. Ha!

These salmon patties are a personal favourite when it comes to fish dishes. They’re super simple, packed with healthy protein, fatty acids, fresh herbs and great flavour. And they’re perfect served on bread, in a bun on with a side of fresh summer greens.
I also love serving these salmon patties with my Spinach Almond Pesto or Healthy Ranch Yogurt Dressing, both of which make great garnishes and double as salad dressings.

salmn patties

As the recipe notes, you can add a couple of tablespoons of oats or chia seeds if you find the patty mixture too wet and if its not sticking together properly. I normally do not need this even if the mixture is wet but the option is there. Simply add the oats/chia seed and let the mixture stand to rest for a few minutes, allowing some of the moisture to be absorbed. These patties also store really well in the fridge or freezer and lasts up to 3 days in the fridge.

Wild Salmon Patties
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Recipe type: Main
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Serves: makes 10 patties
Ingredients
  • 300 gm wild salmon (fresh or canned)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped shallot onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 large organic free range egg
  • 2 heaped tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 heaped tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp organic Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp gluten free oats or chia seeds (optional - to use if mixture is too wet)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil or butter for pan frying
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a spoon. Leave the mixture to rest for about 5 minutes.
  2. Melt a little coconut oil or butter on a warm pan and scoop up the patty mixture and place on the pan in small round patties. (if you find your mixture is too wet to do this, add 1-2 tbsp oats and let rest for a couple of mins.)
  3. Place the salmon patties on the warm pan and fry over medium heat until cooked through (about 5-7 mins on each side until you can easily flip them around without breaking them).
  4. Serve warm with a salad, baked sweet potato or as a patty in a burger/sandwich.

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