Warm Beet and Spinach Salad

8 c. baby spinach                                                                                                1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 c. thinly sliced red onion                                                                 2 plum tomatoes, chopped

2 Tbsp. sliced Kalamata olives                                                         2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 clove garlic, minced                                                                         ¼ tsp. salt

2 c. steamed beet wedges or slices, ½ to 1 inch thick

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar                                                                   ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Place spinach in large bowl.  Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, about 2 min.  Add tomatoes, olives, parsley, and garlic and cook, stirring until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 3 min.  Add beets, vinegar, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until beets are heated through, about 1 min. more.  Add the beet mixture to the spinach and toss to combine.  Serve warm.  Makes 4 servings, about 2 c. each.


Emerald City Salad

This colorful salad is inspired by the beautiful deli salad at Puget Consumer’s Co-op, Seattle’s beloved chain of natural foods grocery stores.  It is so popular that I have filled many classes with the mere mention that I would be demonstrating how to make this salad.

2 ¼ c. water or stock                                                        1 Tbsp. butter

1 tsp. sea salt                                                                  1 c. wild rice ( black – 1/2” long)

Bring water or stock to a boil.  Add butter, ½ tsp. of salt and all the rice.  Bring to boil again, cover, lower heat and simmer 60-65 min.  Check to see that all water is absorbed by tipping the pan to one side.

¼ c. lemon juice                                                              ¼ c. olive oil

1 clove garlic, mince                                                         ½ c. chopped fennel bulb, core removed

½ of a red or yellow pepper, diced                                       ½ c. chopped red cabbage

½ c. chopped Italian parsley

2 c. very finely chopped dark leafy greens (6-7 leaves of chard, kale, or collards)

Salt and pepper to taste                                                    Pecorino or Gorgonzola cheese (optional)

Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and remaining ½ tsp. of salt in large serving bowl.  Add fennel, red pepper, cabbage, parsley and then the greens.  Once rice is fully cooked, cool until it quits steaming but is still warm, and then spread like a blanket on top of the greens.  When the rice cools to room temperature, toss rice, vegetables and dressing together.  Taste the salad and adjust seasonings, some extra salt and/or lemon may be required.  Garnish with cheese if desired.  Preparation Time: 1 hour for wild rice, 20 min. for salad.  Serves 6-8.

Carrot, Rutabaga, and Mandarin Orange Salad

Grated carrots and rutabaga with an orange white wine vinegar dressing.

2 cups grated carrots

1 cup grated rutabaga

1 cup mandarin oranges, drained and seeds removed

1/2 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp orange juice

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives (or regular onions)

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1/4 tsp dry ginger

1/4 tsp dry mustard

Salt and white pepper to taste

Toss the grated carrots, rutabaga and oranges lightly in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk the canola oil, orange juice and white wine vinegar in a separate, smaller mixing bowl.  Add chopped chives and parsley, dry ginger and dry mustard. Sprinkle in salt and white pepper to taste.  Pour over the carrot, rutabaga and orange mixture and toss to coat.  Serve.

Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Pasta

Here’s a way to use the “power vegetables” sweet potato and red bell pepper in a satisfying vegetarian pasta dish.  Any fresh herbs you have on hand, like basil, oregano, sorrel or chives, can be substituted for the tarragon.  Serve with a garden salad.


8 oz. whole-wheat angel hair pasta

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 c. shredded, peeled sweet potato (about 1 medium)

1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 c. diced plum tomatoes

½ c. water (if needed)

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon

1 Tbsp. white-wine vinegar or lemon juice

¾ tsp. salt

½ c. crumbled goat cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook pasta until just tender, 4 to 5 min. or according to package directions.  Meanwhile, place 1 Tbsp. oil and garlic in a large skillet.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is sizzling and fragrant, 2 to 5 min.  Add sweet potato, bell pepper, tomatoes and water (if needed) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is tender-crisp, 5 to 7 min. Remove from the heat; cover and keep warm.  Drain the pasta, reserving ½ c. of the cooking water.  Return the pasta to the pot.  Add the vegetable mixture, the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil, parsley, tarragon, vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and cheese; toss to combine.  Add the reserved pasta water, 2 Tbsp. at a time, to achieve the desired consistency.

Moroccan Cauliflower

The deep red color of paprika seeps into the cauliflower, which is kept whole, making for a beautiful presentation.  The cumin and cinnamon add wonderful flavor to this vegetable side dish.

1 med. head cauliflower                                                                     1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. gr. Cumin                                                                                    1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil                                                                    2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced                                                                       1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper                                                              1/3 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley

Trim stalk of cauliflower to the base, keeping the pretty green leaves intact.  Set in a large pot with half an inch of water in it.  Cover, set over medium heat, and bring to a simmer.  Steam until tender, 10 to 12 min.  Mean while, in small sauté pan over medium-low heat, lightly toast paprika, cumin, and cinnamon for 2 to 4 min, until fragrant.  Remove from heat and whisk in oil, juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Transfer cauliflower to platter and pour spiced oil over the top.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

Bleu Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup

1 lg. onion, diced
3 lg. cloves garlic, minced
5 Tbsp. butter
2-3 med. potatoes, grated
1 carrot, grated
1 green pepper, seeded and diced (optional)
1 lg. head broccoli, chopped
4 c. veg. or chicken stock
5 oz. bleu cheese, crumbled
1 c. half-and-half or cream
1 c. milk
1/3 c. dry sherry
Sea salt and gr. pepper to taste
Fresh parsley, minced

In a large pot, saute onion and garlic in butter until soft, about 5 min.  Add potato, carrot, green pepper and broccoli.  Saute 2-3 min., then add stock.  Simmer until all ingredients are soft.  Puree soup in a food processor or blender.  Heat puree over med. heat, stirring in cheese, cream and milk.  Simmer a couple minutes, then add sherry.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with parsley.  Serves 6.

Thai Eggplant Dip

Puncture a large eggplant in a few places and wrap it loosely in aluminum foil.  Place it in a 400 degree oven until its soft and mushy – it’s usually ready in about an hour, but longer baking won’t hurt it.  Let it cool completely, then scrape all the flesh off the purple skin.  You’ll get about 1 ½ c. of pulp from a medium eggplant.  Combine mashed eggplant pulp, 3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped and 1 Tbsp. peeled minced fresh ginger; puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Add 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp sesame oil, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, and 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley.  Add salt and red pepper to taste.