Fig and Arugula Salad with Shiitake Bacon

fig and arugula salad with shiitake bacon

Fig and Arugula Salad with Shiitake Bacon
serves 4

Figs provide an interesting sweetness to this balsamic dressing. This salad can be modified for a lot of diets: Add white beans or chickpeas for a vegan lunch, seared halloumi or feta for vegetarian, or seared steak or roasted chicken for a paleo or paleo AIP meal. (Skip the smoked paprika for AIP and try smoked salt instead with less coconut aminos.) And before you get on my case, no this shiitake isn’t really at all like bacon, but it is smoky, salty, crispy and a little sweet and provides a similar potent bite to a salad.

generous drizzles of avocado oil
3.5 ounce shiitakes, stemmed and sliced into 1/4” slices
4 teaspoons coconut aminos
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 sweet potatoes, sliced into 1/4” half-moons
12 misson figs, thinly sliced
5 ounces baby arugula

fig vinaigrette:
2 mission figs, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Toss shiitakes with 2 teaspoons of avocado oil plus the coconut aminos, and smoked paprika. Bake shiitakes on a parchment lined sheet tray for 30-35 minutes until dark, glazed, and slightly crispy. Remove to cool and they will crisp up a little more. (I actually made these in my toaster oven so I could cook my sweet potatoes at the same time.)

  2. Preheat oven to 425. Drizzle the sweet potatoes with avocado oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast on a parchment0lined sheet tray for 30 minutes.

  3. Make vinaigrette: in a blender combine figs, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and blend until smooth.

  4. Assemble salads: combine arugula, roasted sweet potatoes, sliced figs and shiitake bacon. Toss with vinaigrette.

Miso Vinaigrette

miso vinaigrette dressing recipe

Miso Vinaigrette
makes 1/2 cup dressing

You don't need to wait for your next sushi takeout order to reap the benefits of miso.  Miso is a fermented soy paste that's most commonly found in miso soup, but it's naturally probiotic and salty, tangy taste is perfect for dressings and marinades.  Here I make a super simple dressing combining mild rice vinegar with olive oil, miso and dijon.  The miso and dijon emulsify the oil and vinegar making a luscious, creamy dressing without any added dairy.  Try this on a dark leafy green salad or over steamed broccoli or roasted carrots.  Miso is salty and slightly sweet so I don't add extra salt to the vinaigrette.  Look for miso in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, often by the tofu or other fermented products like pickles.

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white miso
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

1. In a small mason jar, combine all ingredients and shake to combine.  Use a fork to whisk miso into dressing if it clumps together.  Store in the fridge for up to a week and let come to room temperature before serving (olive oil will solidify in fridge).

Gado Gado (Indonesian Peanut Salad)

Gado Gado
Serves 2-3

I was at an Indonesian restaurant in Chicago recently that serves a salad called Gado Gado.  It's filled with lightly cooked and raw vegetables and draped in a sweet and salty peanut sauce.  The peanut sauce, combined with the lack of lettuce, makes this salad feel more like a fresh vegetable entree than your generic "Asian" salad.  Here I recreated it almost like fondue, with the vegetables lined up neatly and the dipping sauce on the side.  Sub in whatever raw or steamed vegetables you'd like or pare down if you just want to make one portion.  Tempeh provides a vegan-friendly protein, but feel free to omit or sub in chicken cubes or roasted shrimp.   

for salad:
4 cups broccoli florets
2 red skin potatoes, cubed
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds
1 lb haricots verts, trimmed
1 cucumber, sliced into thick half-moons

for tempeh:
drizzle of grapeseed oil
1 package tempeh, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon tamari

for peanut sauce:
drizzle of grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup canned coconut milk

1. Using a steamer basket inside a large covered pot with 1-2 inches of simmering water, steam your vegetables, one type at a time.  I like to steam the potatoes (10 minutes), broccoli (2 minutes) and haricots verts (4 minutes) and leave the carrots and cucumber raw.  Remove vegetables and assemble on to a platter or storage containers.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saute pan and add tempeh, browning on each side.  Douse in tamari to season, shake the pan, and let moisture evaporate.  Remove to the platter/containers.

3. Now make the peanut sauce: in the same saute pan or a small skillet, heat oil and sizzle ginger and garlic to mellow, about 1 minute.  Add to the blender with peanut butter, tamari, sriracha, honey/maple and coconut milk.  You may need to add water to achieve the desired consistency.  I like it thick and creamy, almost like an aioli.  Adjust the seasoning for tamari, sriracha and honey.

4. Serve peanut sauce on the side of your platter or drizzle on the top of an assembled bowl.



Brussels Sprout Salad with Leeks and Almonds

Brussels Sprout Salad with Leeks and Almonds
serves 2-3

Are you tired of the same kale salad?  Don't forget that you can use kale's cousins like brussels sprouts, cabbage, and collards to make similar raw but hearty salads.  Like kale, you'll need to massage them to break down the plant fiber to make them more digestible and keep you from feeling bloated.  This salad still follows my kale salad formula of kale with lemon and olive oil + something sweet (caramelized leeks and currants) + something crunchy (almonds).  Feeling lazy?  Shred up brussels sprouts using the shredding blade of the food processor.

drizzle of grapeseed oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts, sliced into thin half-moons
1 lb Brussels sprouts, shredded
1 bunch lacinato kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces
juice from 1/2 lemon
generous sprinkle of salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped
1/4 cup dried currants

1. In a large skillet, heat grapeseed oil and saute leeks with a pinch of salt until soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl combine Brussels sprouts, kale, lemon juice, salt, maple syrup, and olive oil.  Massage with clean hands to break down the rough leaves until they start to soften and tenderize and are coated with the dressing.  Taste the leaves: if they are bland, add more salt; too tart, more oil; not bright enough, more lemon, too bitter, more maple syrup.  If it's still rough and raw, get in there and massage a couple minutes more.  

3. Add almonds and leeks to kale mixture.  Store in the fridge for 2-3 days.  

Kale Salad with Asian Pears and Pine Nuts

Kale Salad with Asian Pears and Pine Nuts
Serves 8 - 10

A great make-ahead dish that can sit at room temperature or be made a day ahead—it will only get better.  A kale salad stands up to holiday sides much better than wilty mesclun or spinach.  It’s a nice, just slightly bitter contrast to the sweet dishes on the table as well.  This will be the number one leftover that everyone reaches for the day after to repent for holiday overeating.

2 bunches of lacinato kale
 juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
2 asian pears, cored and sliced (can also use apples, bosc/anjou pears or red barletts)
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
honey or maple syrup to taste

1. Remove the stems from the kale leaves and chop or tear the leaves into small pieces.

2. In a large bowl combine the kale, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.  Massage the leaves with clean hands until they start to soften and break down, about 5 – 10 minutes.

3. Add the asian pears and pine nuts and toss to combine.  Taste and add more lemon juice, salt or olive oil if necessary.  If it’s not sweet enough for your tastes, add a little honey.

Kale Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas

kale salad with sundried tomatoes vegan

Serves 4

Raw kale salads make great go-to lunches because you can dress them and they will stay sturdy and delicious for 1-2 days.  If you love salty, crunchy snacks like me, you’ll love these crispy chickpeas.  You can play around with seasonings to make a different high protein, high fiber movie-watching snack.  Keep the chickpeas out of the refrigerator and store them in an airtight container to keep them crispy longer.  To maximize time, put the chickpeas in while you eat your dinner, then finish up the rest of the salad post-dinner and you’ve got lunch ready to go.

for chickpeas:
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlicsalt and pepper to taste

for salad:
2 bunches leafy kale, stemmed and chopped into bite size pieces
1 lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, thinly sliced
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On a parchment-lined sheet tray, combine chickpeas, grapeseed oil, granulated garlic, salt and pepper.  Roast until crunchy, about 45-60 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine the kale with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Massage with your hands for about 5 minutes, until kale looks moist and softer and it has reduced in volume.  Taste and see if you need to add more salt, lemon or olive oil.  If it’s too bitter, add a little maple syrup.

3. Toss in sun-dried tomatoes and sunflower seeds.  Pack the salad and chickpeas separately to keep the chickpeas crunchy.  Toss chickpeas on top right before serving.