Thursday, April 21, 2011

Romaine Strawberry Salad with Roasted Asparagus and a Surprising Crouton

If you are having a spring brunch this weekend, this salad is a perfect addition. Roast a few spears of fresh asparagus in the oven, chop up some of the first strawberries, and cook up a few croutons. All of your guests will be impressed.

I had a few stale hot cross buns on hand (they really go stale quick). I chopped one into small cubes, placed the cubes on an oiled pan, then cooked them in a 425 degree oven for about 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure to mix them around ever few minutes so they don't burn. I was surprised at how light and crunchy they were!

But for me a salad isn't really a salad until you toss it in a nice dressing. This dressing is very intense and I only needed to use a teaspoon per serving.

I always toss my salad greens in the dressing before serving. I find that you use much less dressing that way. You also get a consistent amount of dressing instead of a bite with none and another with too much.

This recipe featured over at

make sure to check out the other asparagus recipes!

Also at Delightfully DowlingMidnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, Hey What's for Dinner Mom, From My Tiny Kitchen, My Sweet and Savory, A Southern Fairy Tale.

Strawberry Mint Balsamic Salad Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    (2 tablespoons lemon balsamic and 1 tablespoon plain if possible)
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons olive oil (to taste - I used all 5)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Crofter's Strawberry 'Just the Fruit' Spread
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until everything pulls together. It will emulsify and get thicker once it's ready. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Store leftovers in a closed container in the fridge.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Beluga Lentil Stew over Fresh Spinach

Happy Meatless Monday! Make sure to check out my other blog, Healthy Slow Cooking. Later today I will be launching my first giveaway and getting some of my favorite So Delicious products for free! (I'll probably announce it on this blog too. After all, I wouldn't want you to miss out!)

I love lentils because you don't need to plan ahead to have them for dinner. They cook up in about a half an hour, so you can cook them after you get home from work.

I serve this lentil stew over so it's like a warm salad. You can serve as a stew without the spinach though and it's just as good.

I put a pan seared Gardein chick'n over the top to make it a very filling and hearty meal. But it works fine without it too. You could also pile up steamed veggies like asparagus, cauliflower, and broccoli too.

Beluga Lentil Stew over Fresh Spinach

Makes 3 to 4 servings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup beluga lentils (can sub brown or French lentils)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chick'n bouillon 
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped small
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped small
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (can sub chipotle or smoked salt)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • drizzle of balsamic (I used juniper berry balsamic)
  • 3 cups baby spinach (optional)
Heat oil in a medium sized pot. Add onion and cook until transparent, then add garlic and cook for 3 minutes more. 

Add lentils, water, bouillon, carrots, celery, sprig of rosemary, and liquid smoke. (If you are substituting smoked salt do not add it now, instead add it after cooking.)

Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. After boiling for about a minute, turn it down to a simmer. Cook 20 to 30 minutes or until lentil are tender.

If there is still too much liquid for your liking, turn the stove back to medium high and cook until they are the way you like them. Conversely feel free to add more water if they are getting too thick during cooking.

Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle over about a cup of fresh baby spinach and drizzle each serving with balsamic. This will lightly cook the spinach. I love it this way! Top with a cooked vegan chic'n patty to make it a hearty meal if you're really hungry or serving non-vegans.

Hey What's For Dinner

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sun-Dried Tomato White Bean Wheat Balls

These bean balls are inspired by Isa's bean balls, but aren't everyone's? I wanted to do more of a mock turk'y meat ball so I used white beans instead of kidney. Plus those were already waiting in my pantry. I have a rather large amount of sun dried tomatoes I preserved last year that I obviously forgot about - so be ready for more recipes for them in the near future.

Make sure to check out the recipe for the Slow Cooker Hide and Seek Veggie Pasta Sauce on my other blog, Healthy Slow Cooking.

You might be able to do a gluten-free version by leaving out the wheat gluten flour and using pre-cooked rice in its place in the food processor. I have a sausage recipe in my book that uses walnuts and rice and it works great. I would probably make them patties rather than balls, but you could make a mean bean patty Parmesan.

Sun-Dried Tomato White Bean Wheat Balls


Makes 2 dozen
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes 
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans, or 1 (15 ounce) can drained 
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water, or broth 
  • 1/4 cup almonds 
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten flour 
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves minced)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used smoked salt)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup oat bran (or bread crumbs, wheat germ, etc.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor pulverize the sun dried tomatoes (or puree if they are packed in oil). Add beans and 1/4 cup of the water and puree. 

Add everything except the oat bran and process until well combined. You will add the extra 1/4 cup water if needed, but leave out if the mixture is a just right. At this point you want to be able to knead it and roll into balls.

Spread 1/4 cup of the oat bran on a cutting board. Dump the ball mixture onto the cutting board and knead for a minute or two until all of the dough is the same consistency. 

Cut the dough into 24 similar sized pieces. I use a dough cutter, but a dinner knife works just fine. Roll into balls and then roll into the remaining cup of oat bran.

Place the ball on a greased sheet pan and cook for 15 minutes, then turn them over and cook them for 5 to 10 minutes more.

Serve on top of pasta covered with pasta sauce, or in a hoagie roll covered with tomato sauce and Daiya mozzarella shreds. I'm thinking of some other interesting ways to use the leftovers, so stay tuned!

Hey What's For Dinner