Over the years (I started making this about ten years ago), many clients have grown to love this lentil salad. One of them orders it practically every single week. No wonder.
So easy to make, it's an extremely versatile side dish, and by itself as a main course it's straight-up vegan. The BF loves it, but he needs another protein, so I like to add soft-boiled or poached eggs, and/or chicken sausage (pictured above). Easy to pack for on-the-go sojourns, the dish can be served cold, warm, or at room temperature, and it even tastes better the next day.
I cook fresh lentils all the time, but have to say a terrific hack and time saver is to use Trader Joe's steamed lentils, which are found in their fresh produce section. They're delicious and have a firm texture, which is key to this salad.
This one is a perfect summer dish, and unlike most of these blog recipes, isn't an adaptation–it's wholly original. Feel free to make subsitutions, i.e., substitute parsnip for carrot, dill for parsley, and if you don't like fennel, use only celery. Make it your own.
Number of servings: 4
NOTE: If using Trader Joe's steamed lentils, take out of box, make three slits in the plastic. Place on plate and microwave for approx 45 seconds.
It was about seven years ago that I started to like avocados. I know. I was in the minority. Wouldn't touch guacamole. Didn't understand the draw of "nature's butter" on sandwiches. It truly puzzled me. The BF can take it or leave it.
Now I love them and can't get enough. Will plan entire meals around a ripe avocado I have hanging out in the kitchen. When my sister visits, avocado toast for breakfast. Every. Single. Day.
Guacamole? [Ed. note: The late George Carlin used to say, "That sounds like something you yell when you're on fire."] All the time. And god help me if I don't have spare avocados to top tacos.
Years ago I fell in love with this warm Indian spiced avocado dip from Heidi Swanson's cookbook Super Natural Every Day. She is also known for her blog 101 Cookbooks.
Serve this dip at room temperature, or warm with sesame rice crackers, fresh veggies, toasted naan, pita or tortilla chips. My current favorite scooper is parsnip chips from Trader Joe's.
Adapted from: Super Natural Every Day
Number of servings: 2 cups
One year ago the BF and I did an abbreviated version of Whole30 (we allowed for an exception...or two). He lost 8.5 pounds and thought it was pretty easy to stay on the program. [Ed. note: You give me meat an potatoes and I shall find a way to survive.] I didn't fare that well in the weight-loss department, but it was a terrific reboot, and the real saving grace was the coconut milk sauce I developed that was incorporated into everything. With the exception of Indian and Thai dishes, I rarely used coconut milk. This turned out to be a worthwhile challenge, and the result was a savory sauce that is a brilliant dairy-free option.
Here the coconut milk –infused into a garlic turmeric sauce– is a perfect foil to the crunchy cabbage, spicy chives and crispy skinned potatoes. We actually had this as a main course, but it would work as a side dish for steak, chicken, pork, or any protein. (We are unapolegetic carnivoires.)
We will be hopping on the Whole30 again soon, and certainly will be incorporating this into the process.
Inspired by Dolly and Oatmeal
Number of servings: 2-3 entrees or 4-6 side dishes
Coconut-Garlic Turmeric Sauce
There is no gray area with brussels sprouts. People love them or hate them. Luckily, I live in a house were brussels sprouts rule. The BF actually requests this cruciferous vegetable any chance he gets.
The many health benefits of brussels sprouts are well documented. They're loaded with vitamin K (great for bone health), promote weight loss and lower cholesterol levels, are a great source of protein, and can even reduce cancer risk.
When cooking with them, can't stress this enough: buy good sprouts. They should feel firm and have tight, shiny-edged leaves. I like to buy medium-to-small ones, because I find the larger ones have a more bitter flavor (especially those gigantic, loose-leafed monstrosities). Never buy those.
Several thousand acres of sprouts are planted in coastal areas of San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties of California (lucky to have this level of quality available locally), which offer an ideal combination of coastal fog year-round.
Roasting brussels sprouts (in the oven) was my way of winning over skeptics (like the BF), but this recipe works whether you steam them on a stove top or use the microwave. Those of you with one oven, like me, will appreciate not having to use it for multiple dishes, especially on Thanksgiving or other holidays.
This dish is delicious alongside any meat that typically graces the holiday table: beef, turkey, ham, lamb, pork, duck or sausage (second pic).
NOTE: I make these in the microwave for convenience, but feel free to steam the sprouts on the stove top.
Number of servings: 4 (depending on how many other side dishes you offer)
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the bay area. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.