There’s nothing like a trip to the market to really get the creative juices flowing. I was so inspired in fact, that my walk to the market to buy every type of citrus fruit in sight, also yielded another bright idea: a citrus salad. How do you like them apples…err…oranges? I really do believe that eating seasonally is one of the most important steps to take towards personal health, which means choosing more locally-grown fruits and vegetables and preparing them in a way to support the body’s needs. However, it is possible to eat well according to the season, and still have lots of flavor and variety.
My fresh take on the classic Moroccan salad pairs shaved fennel and red onion with assorted beets, grapefruit and oranges for color contrast. Served alongside some gorgeous greens, it’s a complete meal to share with someone special. I hope you all enjoy this uncomplicated dish as much as I do. It’s amazing how something so simple can be so mind-blowingly tasty.
Get yourself to the shops quick and pick up some of your favorite fruits before they are out of season! And perhaps get into some of the lesser-known citrus that is sure to please. Ever tried a kumquat? How about a tangelo or minneola? Yum.
Blood Orange, Beet & Fennel Salad
Raw, Vegan & Gluten-free
- 1 blood orange
- 1 medium grapefruit
- 1 medium red beetroot, top trimmed
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
- 1/2 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced crosswise on a mandoline
- 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced on a mandoline (about 1/3 cup)
- olive oil, for drizzling
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- fresh cilantro leaves
- Using a sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from oranges and grapefruit. Place sliced fruit in bowl and add lemon juice and lime juice.
- Remove the skin of the beetroot and slice crosswise into thin rounds.
- Layer beets,oranges and grapefruit on plates, dividing evenly. Arrange fennel and onion on top. Spoon reserved citrus juices over, then drizzle salad generously with oil. Season to taste with coarse sea salt and pepper. Garnish salad with cilantro leaves.
(*Photo Credit: my sister, Jenny Norris – jjnorris.com)
It’s been a long winter. They always are. Long and dark. The darkness is probably the most challenging thing about living in Ireland, but it also makes us appreciate the light.
This soup is one of our latest favorites at home. When bubbling on the stove, hints of flavors from onions, carrots, cumin, curry and cinnamon fills the kitchen. And as you dig in you will immediately be struck by its creaminess, which is enhanced by the lentils.
Lentils are a great legume for a quick and easy meal because they cook in a very short amount of time and require no pre-soaking like other pulses do. They have a velvety texture and delicate flavour – perfect for purées and soups. They are low in calories, virtually fat free, but very filling because of their high fiber content.
In addition to providing the body with slow burning complex carbohydrates, lentils can increase your energy by replenishing your iron stores. They are one of the yummiest sources of folate (also know as folic acid) – just one cup of cooked lentils provides you with almost 90% of your daily recommended intake! Folate functions to support red blood cell production, helps prevent anemia and allows nerves to function properly.
This soup is a real crowd pleaser that will warm the hearts of anyone you serve it to, most importantly, yourself! It comes together in a snap yet is deeply flavorful. Just the thing for a cold night.
That’s it for today. Go make this soup now. And while it’s cooking on the stove top, why not check out my new online store!
Winter Lentil Soup
Vegan & Gluten-free
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
- 4 carrots, diced
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup red lentils (I used red split lentils)
- dash of cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add the coconut oil to a pot over medium heat. Add the yellow onion and sauté for five minutes, until translucent.
- Add the cumin, curry powder, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, and carrots and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, lentils, and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil.
- Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. (If too much of the liquid has evaporated, you can add more vegetable broth or water).
- Use an immersion blender or high speed blender to achieve smooth consistency, if so desired. It also makes for a nice chunky soup. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
You all know I’m a huge fan of raw salads, but sometimes I crave my greens with a little warmth. For this salad I roasted the kale in the oven which gives it a nice crispy yet tender bite. Now, don’t be fooled by appearances. This salad may really only have a few ingredients, but it is a whole lotta delicious. Sometimes combining just a couple seasonal elements in a simple way, allows each ingredient to shine without a lot of fuss. For a main course, this is on the lighter side. Feel free to add some quinoa or brown rice to make it a heartier meal.
Kale is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber, calcium, copper and potassium. This combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients makes kale a health superstar, for real. It is also the richest source of carotenoids in the leafy-green vegetable family, making it a top cancer-fighter. The calcium in kale is more absorbable by the body than milk (and ounce for ounce, contains more calcium than milk)! This makes it an excellent choice for both prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, arthritis and bone loss.
I think you’ll be surprised how easy and tasty this kale preparation is! Why not give it a try this weekend?
Roasted Kale Salad
- large bunch of kale
- olive oil for drizzling
- sea salt and pepper
- 2-3 scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (or any seed or nut you like)
- 1-2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Rinse kale and pat dry thoroughly. Roughly chop leaves.
- Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on to a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so, until the edges are crispy and browned and the centers are wilted. Remove from oven, let cool to room temp.
- Add scallions, parsley, sunflower seeds and nutritional yeast before serving. Enjoy!
With the cold and rainy days here in Ireland, this has been the perfect soul-warming kind of meal to cozy up to in front of the Christmas tree. The familiar flavors in this dish are reminiscent of the holiday season. This salad is something to savor with it’s mix of fresh greens, wheat berries, roasted sweet potatoes, pecans, cranberries and a few herbs and spices. Everything comes together for a good cause: feeding your body with warmth!
Wheat berries are the whole grain form of wheat – the whole complete grain before it has undergone any processing. They’re a high-fiber whole grain that can be used much like any other whole grain. When boiled, cooked wheat berries have a chewy bite and subtle nutty, earthy flavor. They are loaded with B vitamins for extra energy and battling holiday stress; as well as fiber, protein, folate, vitamin E, and calcium. Consuming whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Substituting whole grains for their refined counterparts can also help with weight control.
This dish combines some serious fall power-players when it comes to nutrition, and not coincidentally, are excellent choices for preparing the body as we head into a long winter. It can certainly be served as an accompaniment alongside a main course, but it is also hearty enough to suffice as a comforting dinner. It is delicious warm or cold.
Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato
Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side dish
- 1 cup uncooked wheat berries
- 1 large sweet potato, chopped into cubes
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 cups mixed greens
- a few fresh or dried cranberries
- 2 Tbsp. pecans or walnuts
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
- pinch of salt & pepper
- Cook wheat berries according to package directions.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Chop the sweet potato into bite sized cubes. Drizzle with olive oil, chili powder, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Place on a baking tray and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until they are soft and slightly browned.
- Stir the dressing ingredients together, set aside.
- Place washed greens in a large bowl. Place the wheat berries and hot sweet potatoes over them. Add the dressing and toss. Add in the cranberries and nuts or seeds of your liking. Gently toss again. Taste and adjust seasonings. Enjoy!
How are you staying warm during these colder months?