Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Kale Salad

I am borderline psychotic in need of a nap so without further ado..... a recipe full of winter veggies and roasted seeds. BAM.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Kale Salad
1 spaghetti squash
2 cups kale, torn into small pieces
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the insides, setting the seeds aside. Place skin side down on a pan along with the onion and brush with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 35-45 minutes until flesh of the squash is tender. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool. While squash is cooling place seeds in a bowl, and toss with olive oil and sea salt. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until they begin to brown. Remove from oven and set aside. 

In a large bowl add kale and a little olive oil. Massage the oil into the kale leaves for about 2 minutes until they begin to soften. You could alternately sautee the leaves if you didn't feel up to giving a plant a rub down. After leaves have softened, use a fork to remove the flesh of the squash from the skin and add to the large bowl. Chop cooked and cooled onion and add to bowl along with parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Top with toasted squash seeds.


Coconut-Carrot Tahini Soup

So can we just talk about "it" foods real quick? This past year it was quinoa, goji berries,  and butternut squash. More recently the "it" food is kale. You literally cannot read an article on the good ol' in-tro-net without someone telling you how kale will make you skinny, have glowing skin, and your babies will be born with a full head of hair. K maybe I stretched that last one a bit. All I am saying is that people go through fads with food almost as frequently as the next hot diet or exercise craze. (P90X, Zumba, or Crossfit anyone?) The point of this rant is.... you should really be eating these "it" foods all the time,  because Gweneth Paltrow does they are always good for you! 

When my parents visited a few weeks ago they made so delicious carrot ginger soup. Fairly simple but so so so good. I thought I could add a few item to their original (i.e. spices and tahini)......mainly because lately I am using tahini like a sesame addict. It is my new "it" food. After I found out they are a great source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids....I basically put that ish on everything. 

Coconut-Carrot Tahini Soup

1 pound washed and peeled carrots (6-7 large carrots)
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2  teaspoon corriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1/3 cup tahini

Cilantro for garnish

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Roughly chop onions and carrots and add to pot. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent. Add minced garlic, ginger, spices, salt and pepper. Cook for an additional minute until spices are fragrant. Add vegetable broth, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until carrot are very soft. 

Remove from heat. Using and immersion blender (or regular blender if you don't have one) blend until smooth. Add coconut milk and blend until incorporated. Let cool for about 5 minutes, add tahini, and blend again for about 30 seconds. Serve with a few sprigs of cilantro on top. 


Carrot and Sweet Potato Lasagna with Basil Tomato Cashew Cheese Sauce

After my first experience with cashews used as a sauce, my mind was overflowing with ideas on how to change creamy sauces (which I usually hate) to something healthy and delicious. I love, love, love lasagna. It can be made vegetarian without meat eaters batting an eyelash. You can add any type of meat, vegetable, or cheese and usually you will get an amazing result.

My veggie friend Lacey made me some yummy vegetarian lasagna the other day, which included carrots and I loved it so much a had to expand on it. Carrots add a great texture that lasagna is usually missing. So then I thought..... why not substitute the ricotta with some sort of cashew cream sauce? The textures are similar enough....and like I said.... pretty hard to mess up....hopefully :)

Carrot and Sweet Potato Lasagna with Basil Tomato Cashew  Sauce

1 medium sweet potato*
2-3 large carrots
1.5 cups Basil Tomato Cashew Sauce (recipe below)
2 cups Roasted Tomato Sauce (recipe below)

* Next time I may just use carrots. The sweet potatoes make this dish a little too sweet for my liking. 

Basil Tomato Cashew "Cheese" Sauce

1 cup cashews
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
1/2 cup water

Soak cashews in water for 4 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse, and add to a blender with remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth, adding more water if necessary. IT should be about the same consistency of ricotta cheese. Set aside.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

3 cups tomatoes  ( I used assorted cherry & roma)
1 large yellow onion, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, peeled

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss tomatoes and onion in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and place in a food processor along with tomato sauce and garlic and pulse until almost smooth.

To assemble :

Peel carrots and sweet potatoes. Using a vegetable peeler cut this ribbons with carrots and potatoes and set aside.  Using a 8x8 inch pan, add a thin layer of sauce. Continue with a layer of carrots and sweet potatoes, making about as thick as a standard lasagna noodle. Spoon half of the cashew cheese and spread evenly over the top. Next add a generous layer of sauce, followed by carrots and sweet potatoes and remaining cashew cheese. Follow with a layer of sauce, carrots and sweet potatoes, and remaining sauce.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until sweet potatoes and carrots are tender.


Jicama and Grapefruit Salad with Persimmon Dressing

Your first thought: What is a persimmon? Your second thought: What is a jicama?

Both legit questions. I only know the answer to one. Jicama is a root of a ....vegetable/bean plant? It sort of taste like a cross between an apple and a potato. Super crunchy, slightly sweet, really confusing on your taste buds.

Persimmon....not so much. I grabbed a few because at the grocery store there we tons of them, so I figured they must be in season....and I love fresh fruits and veggies in season. After some google work I discovered that is is a fruit, with two varieties, that can be made into puddings. Not much help, so I just decided to cut a piece off and go for it. Surprise! For some reason I was expecting a tomato. It is a mildly sweet, smooth textured fruit.

So I thought I would make a salad out of two fruits/vegetables you will never see. But in case you inherit a jicama farm from your Latina grandma.... you are set.

Jicama and Grapefruit Salad with Persimmon Dressing

2 cups jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 grapefruit
1 handful cilantro
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, cubed
1/2 persimmon
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon grape
seed or olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Over a small bowl, peel and cut grapefruit into segments, catching juices in the bowl. Add grapefruit segments to a large bowl along with jicama, cilantro, red onion, and avocado.

To the small bowl add juice of 1/2 lime, agave nectar, grape seed oil, salt, and garlic. Chop the persimmon into tiny cubes and add to dressing. Whisk until combined and pour over salad. Toss to coat and serve!


Sweet Potato and Oat Falafel

Healthy comfort food is sort of an oxymoron. "It is so cold out there today! I could really go for a salad" - said no one ever.  Well it is officially winter here and I was in dire need of a way to get some comfort food that wasn't loaded with cheese or made from chocolate. These aren't your traditional falafels, mainly because they are not deep fried, and do not contain any flour. But they do have chickpeas and are served with a delicious tahini sauce that is a great alternative to the greasy falafels you might be used to. You can stick 'em in a pita or enjoy them all by themselves.
Sweet Potato and Oat Falafel
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup oats
2 cloves garlic
1 handful cilantro
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
Salt and Pepper
First you need to cook your sweet potatoes. You can do this by roasting at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, peeling and boiling, microwaving, whatever works for you. Once they are cooked, scoop only the orange insides into a food processor.
Add all of the remaining ingredients, except for the oats and sesame seeds. Pulse until mixture is smooth.
Remove from food processor and add to a large bowl along with oats. Fold oats in until they are evenly incorporated.
On a non-stick baking sheet, place heaping spoonfuls about an inch apart and top with a few sesame seeds. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until you see the tops to get a little crunchy and golden brown.
For these bite sized treats I made a lemon tahini dip! See below:
Lemon Tahini Dip
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth .

All inspired by the awesome recipe below!

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