Meatless Meals for Spring, Earth Day and Healthy Bodies

There has been much information on the Internet about eating lower on the food chain as a way of having a smaller carbon footprint. While I would not expect everyone to suddenly or even eventually become a vegetarian, eating a more plant-based diet appears to be good step for the environment.

Here are two recipes re-posted from my 500 recipes in Kitchen Nutrition on Menupause that you might enjoy as part of honoring Earth Day and experience The Good Taste of Health, my motto.

Spring Salad (for a crowd)

Every Passover I make a large salad as part of the Seder meal. Lettuce is one of the early veggies of Spring, so salad seems appropriate at this time of year.

Utensils: Bowls and cutting board, salad spinner (optional)
Prep. Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: None

Ingredients (Feel free to add or subtract from the list & use as many items organically grown as possible)

Romaine
Curly leaf lettuce
1 c. Cherry tomatoes
1 Cucumber
6 Radishes
Small jar of Artichoke hearts
1/4- 1/2 c. Sunflower Seeds
1/2-1 c. Sprouts
Olive oil & Lemon
Salt & Pepper
Herbs of choice

Directions

1. Wash lettuces well, Spin dry or wrap in a clean kitchen towel to absorb water so dressing will stick to leaves. Tear into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl.*

2. Wash & slice cucumber, with or without skins. If organic, you can leave the skins on, unless the skin is tough. Add to bowl.

3. Wash and slice radishes thinly. Add to bowl.

4. Drain artichoke hearts and cut into smaller pieces. Add to bowl.

5. Add sunflower seeds and toss with rest of ingredients.

6. Drizzle on olive oil, about 2 tablespoons to start. Add juice of one lemon. If all the leaves are not lightly coated with oil, add another one-two tablespoons. (IF your lettuce heads were large, you may need this much.)

7. Add salt & pepper and herbs of your choice. Toss again.

8. Place salad in an attractive bowl to fit the salad and garnish with sprouts. (*A larger bowl for tossing makes the job easier.)

One head of lettuce serves about 8 people, so this is enough for a crowd. Cut back on lettuce for smaller number of servings.

Aviva Salad!*
(Recipe below foods described)

Spring is definitely in the air. The organic asparagus, a harbinger of spring, is readily available; avocado has become the darling of  good fast, and my alfalfa sprout blend is growing in a jar on my counter top. What could be better than enjoying a green salad that will rejuvenate us, giving us energy and eating pleasure? After all, spring is a time for eating lighter now that the heaviness of winter is almost gone, and spring salads are a great way to usher in the changing seasons of the weather and our bodies.

First, ASPARAGUS:
From the term sparrow grass.
A member of the lily family.
The larger the diameter, the better the quality.
Good source of folic acid, which women need.
Good sources of Vitamins B6, A, C, potassium, and thiamin.
No fat, no cholesterol, low in sodium, and good source of fiber.
Rich source of rutin, which is good for our capillaries

Second, AVOCADO:
Considered a sexual stimulant (hmmmm!) by the Aztecs, who called it ahuacatl. Spaniards called it aguacate.
California – leading producer in the US; Hass is the most popular variety.
Actually a fruit with more potassium than a banana.
Sodium and cholesterol-free, with only 5 grams of mostly monosaturated (good) fat per serving; 1/2 avocado has 160 calories.
High in fiber and folate (important nutrient for women)
Good sources of Vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium

Third, ALFALFA (Sprouts):
Grass that means The Father of All Foods (from Arabic word Al-Fal-Fa).
Roots burrow deep into the ground to reach minerals in accessible to most other plants. (phosphorous, iron, potassium, chlorine, sodium, magnesium and other trace minerals)
Good source of vitamins A, E, K, B and D. High in protein.
Alfalfa is considered to be effective for several digestive disorders as well as the pain of arthritis. (Seeds can be brewed as a tea.)

*AVIVA SALAD
* The word Aviva is a girl’s name in Hebrew derived from Aviv, the word for Spring. Viva also means live in French, as in Viva La France! So the title of the salad translates into LIVE SPRING SALAD.

INGREDIENTS

10-12 organic asparagus spears
One container Organic Spring Mix, washed and spun dry
One organic red and/or yellow bell pepper, washed, seeded, and slivered
6-8 organic spring onions (scallions) washed, trimmed and chopped
One small package organic alfalfa or mixed sprouts
One organic, ripe avocado (toothpick stuck in the top comes out clean)
Juice of one small organic lemon or half of a large one
1 tsp. Tamari (soy sauce) or Bragg’s Aminos (non-fermented soy condiment)
Dash of cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste -optional

DIRECTIONS

1. Wash asparagus spears. To remove woody stems, hold the stalk with the tip in one hand and grab the stem with the other hand. Gently snap the stalk and the woody stem will break off in the right spot. Steam until tender, but still bright green. (3-5 minutes, depending on thickness of stalks.) Remove from steamer, rinse with cold water and chill.

2. In the meantime, wash and spin dry salad greens and place them in a bowl. Add slivered peppers and chopped green onions.

3. Wash and cut avocado in half. Remove pit and scoop out flesh into a blender. Add juice of one lemon and about 1/2 cup water and blend until smooth. Add tamari and cayenne and blend again. If too thick to pour, add a little more water and blend again. (Yield: about one cup.)

4. Take chilled asparagus and cut each spear into thirds or fourths. (Toss with olive oil, if you wish.) Add to bowl of lettuce and veggies.

5. Finally, toss salad with about half the avocado dressing and top the salad with sprouts. (Garnish with radish rose, optional). Put rest of dressing on the table for those who wish more. Salad should be lightly coated.

VARIATIONS: Eggs are a symbol of spring, representing renewal, so feel free to add a chopped, hard-boiled egg. Or add some diced, flavored tofu.

Reposting of Windowsill Gardening: Micro-greens

(This is a post from a few Aprils ago to celebrate Earth Day, Every Day. I am re-posting it, because I think sprouting is a great way to start growing your own food.)

Sprouting is a great project to delve into, especially if you have no backyard garden to plant flowers and veggies. We have a patio, and my husband plants the flowers while I grow the herbs and some veggies. But “baby greens,” also called soil sprouts, gourmet sprouts, or micro-greens can be done on your windowsill. By sprouting organic seeds, you are growing locally and organically. How good is that?

 

Ready to harvest! Sunflower on the left
and buckwheat on the right.

Tools: Bowls for soaking seeds, strainers, small plastic tubs, organic garden soil, paper towels, dark plastic bags,

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Find some small containers, such as tubs from strawberries, tofu, or other foods that come in plastic containers. Wash and dry and fill with potting soil. (I buy organic soil from a local nursery and also may be able to obtain composted soil.)
  2. Soak about 1/2 cup of seeds of choice in jars or bowls overnight. Next day, strain and leave in the strainer to sprout a little before planting, maybe one or to days, rinsing the seeds at least once each day. You may not see any “tails” yet.
  3. On the second or third day, fill the tubs with soil and add water to soil to moisten. Spread the seeds onto the soil, shoulder-to-shoulder, that is, don’t worry about spacing. Moisten a piece of paper towel twice the size of the tub and fold in half over the seeds.  Moisten the paper towel. Cover with a dark plastic bag and tie off the end and then place on a warm windowsill. Check in 24 hours. If the paper towel is dry, moisten and place tub back in its mini-greenhouse.
  4. In 3 or 4 days you should see the black plastic looking higher than when you first planted the seeds. Time to remove the paper towel and black plastic and let the seeds sprout on your windowsill, giving them some water at least every other day or every day is the temperature on the sill dries out the soil.

Here are the micro-greens while they are still growing.
The black hulls are beginning to fall off.

5. By the time one week has passed, more or less depending on the temperature on your sill and whether or not it is a sunny window, the hulls will probably fall off by themselves and land on your windowsill, so putting a small tray under the tubs may be a good idea.

6. You can start cutting down the tallest sprouts and let the shorter ones come up now that they are not “shaded” by the earlier sprouts. The ones you cut down will not grow back, but you will get a second harvest from the shorter ones that were shaded by the earlier sprouts.

7. The micro-greens are full of nutrients, since if they were placed in the ground, they would become plants. And since they are eaten raw, none of the nutrients are destroyed, so only cut down what you can use each day, keeping them “alive” in the soil.

Add micro-greens to salads, sandwiches, as garnish for soups, sprinkled on celery stuffed with nut butters, in wraps and just to munch on!

 

This is a cooking-by-the-strings of your apron recipe, because a lot depends on the house temperature, the quality of the seeds, and “getting to know” what the seedlings need. I also soaked and planted peas to make pea shoots, and they spoiled before they sprouted and I had to compost them. So don’t worry if the first couple of times you have problems. You can email me at: menupause.info@gmail with questions.

 

 

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