Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad With Pear, Cranberries + Vegan Parmesan

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

This salad is definitely a winner.  Who says you can’t make friends with salad?  I love fresh salads for lunch or sides, and frankly the bigger the better.  I wanted a little bit of everything in here; crunch, sweetness, cheesiness, and something that can be prepared ahead of time and thrown together later.  I think we all typically boil or roast brussels sprouts, but have you ever had these amazing little greens raw?  They have a similar texture to shredded cabbage, but much more flavourful.  Shaved brussels, chewy dried cranberries, toasted almonds, fresh pear, and vegan parmesan cheese make this salad irresistible.  By the way, I just recently discovered vegan parm, and boy oh boy is it ever delicious and the easiest thing to put together.  It has officially made its way as a topping to almost anything I eat!

You don’t need any fancy tools to shave brussels, it’s actually very quick and easy to do with your kitchen knife.  The best part is, you can do this and store the brussels in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and they will stay fresh and crunchy!

How To Shave Brussels Sprouts

Times have definitely changed from when I was a kid.  My son loves his vegetables, and yes, even brussels sprouts.  I think his new favourite way to have them is raw.  Kids like crunch, right?

So, here it is.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

Makes approx. 6 side dish salads

Vinaigrette:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh herbs (I used thyme, rosemary would work great as well)

Directions:  Place all ingredients into a mason jar, tightly secure the lid, and shake!

Vegan Parmesan Cheese:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted cashews
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:  Place all ingredients in a food processor and process for 20 seconds.  I like the texture crumbly, but you can continue processing to a fine powder if you like.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups shaved brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 pear, washed and sliced (I used red anjou)

Directions:  Wash brussels sprouts and trim off ends.  Slice in half from top to bottom.  Thinly slice each half using a sharp knife then fluff the shreds using your fingers, separating the shreds.  Place shaved brussels sprouts onto a serving dish.  Top with toasted almonds, dried cranberries, sliced pear and parmesan cheese.  Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.  If you want to prepare the salad ahead of time, only add the pear right before serving.  Enjoy my friends!

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

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Mediterranean Style Bean Salad

My all time favourite way of preparing vegetables is roasting them.  Depending on the vegetable, it could be a short or long process.  This salad includes roasted asparagus and grape tomatoes which really don’t take long at all.  Hence, a perfect weeknight meal.  If you follow Love and Lentils, you’ve probably realized my appreciation for simplicity, and I think that is seen in my meals as well.  Although this is so simple with few ingredients, the flavours are delicious together, and the best part is, you’ll have this on the dinner table in 25 minutes.  We had our bean salad with vegan smoked apple sage sausages by Field Roast (side note; best vegan sausages ever).  Not a single weird ingredient and absolutely delicious.  So, it was a lazy(ish) Monday…but it tasted amazing.

Mediterranean Style Bean Salad

Mediterranean Style Bean Salad

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 2 small 398 ml cans organic cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, rinsed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • kosher sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  • Place asparagus and grape tomatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground pepper overtop.

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  • Place asparagus and tomatoes in the oven and roast for 15 minutes, or until asparagus is slightly tender and browned.
  • Prepare your vinaigrette by combining olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and salt and pepper.  Mix with a fork to combine.
  • Chop the asparagus into 2″ long spears and combine in a large bowl with beans and tomatoes.  Top with vinaigrette and mix gently to combine.
  • Serve with grilled lemon wedges (I did this using a pan on the stove).
  • Enjoy!

Mediterranean Style Bean Salad

Sweet Lentil Salad & Greens

So, what better way to kick off post #1 on my newly named blog, Love and Lentils, than with featuring, of course, lentils?!  This one is a fan favourite around here, as the flavours and textures in this salad go so well together.  It’s packed with protein (Jen, this one’s for you), and it was thoroughly enjoyed by the wee one.  Although it’s absolutely freezing in Montreal with close to -40ºC temperatures, I fancy the day that I will pack this along for a summer bike ride picnic.  A girl can dream, right?  At least 90 days to go…..

The ingredient list may look long at first sight, but rest assured that it’s mostly spices which I’m sure you have in your pantry and which make this salad irresistible and addictive!  I whipped this salad up in less than 30 minutes, and had leftovers for lunches and even dinner.

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Sweet Lentil Salad & Greens

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Rinse lentils well and drain. Place in a pot and cover with a 3 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Check on the lentils after 15 minutes and if they are al dente, they are ready.  You do not want overcooked, mushy lentils.
  • While the lentils are simmering, make the vinaigrette by placing all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to combine.
  • When the lentils are cooked, remove from heat, drain and place under cold running water to stop them from continuing to cook.
  • Place lentils in a large serving bowl.  Add onion, spinach, capers, pine nuts and cranberries and toss with dressing.
  • Serve and enjoy!  Leftovers can stay in the fridge for up to three days.

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My Favourite Quinoa Salad!

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I’ll start by saying I’ve missed you all and I hope you had lovely holidays with your family and friends!  It’s been a great year for Silk and Spice and I really look forward to creating and sharing more with you all in the new year.  I can’t wait to see what you all have in store as well.  Have you made any resolutions?  I personally don’t really like resolutions, probably because the only one I’ve ever kept was to floss my teeth every day.  Other than that, I like to focus on daily affirmations, like being positive and grateful, and ringing in the new year always inspires me to focus on those important things.

Of course, I also totally overindulged over Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I had a big Indian feast which was rich and delicious.  The pounds packed on, and now I’m back on track.  This is why I’d like to share with you my favourite quinoa salad which never disappoints, is super tasty, fresh, and packed with protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients.  I brought it along to what was our fourth Christmas dinner at our aunt’s house and it was a total hit.  Like I said it’s my personal favourite, a cinch to prepare, and also kid-tested and approved.  I think the key to a great quinoa salad is texture (I love the crunch of the raw veggies), nuts (to add texture and enhance nutty flavour), fresh herbs for a great pop of flavour (think basil, mint, oregano), and finished off with a bright vinaigrette.

My Favourite Quinoa Salad Recipe

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups red and white quinoa
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 small Lebanese cucumbers, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped mint, minced
  • 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped and toasted
  • 3 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • a pinch of garlic powder
  • kosher sea salt and pepper to taste

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Directions:

  • Rinse quinoa under water for 5 minutes.  (Or, follow instructions for the quinoa you are using.)
  • Pour quinoa into a saucepan with 2 1/2 cups of water.  Usually, the packaging will call for doubling the liquid to quinoa, but I like to use a little less liquid for perfectly cooked quinoa.  I also like to add the quinoa with the water all at once (don’t wait for water to boil first). Sprinkle with garlic powder, kosher sea salt and pepper.
  • Cover and bring all to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, lower heat to low, keep covered and simmer for 10 minutes, or until liquid is completely absorbed.
  • Toss the red peppers, cucumber, cranberries, onion, and mint into a large bowl.
  • Once the quinoa is cooked, lay it out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to allow it to cool a little quicker.
  • Prepare your vinaigrette:  Pour olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and maple syrup into a bowl.  Whisk together and add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  • After about 10 minutes, scoop the cooled quinoa into the bowl with vegetables.
  • Top with vinaigrette and toasted almonds.  Stir well to combine.
  • Have a taste.  If you agree this works for you, perfect, if not, add a little more apple cider vinegar.
  • Serve at room temperature.
  • Enjoy!

 

Fresh Fig & Arugula Salad

I am in fig heaven.  Does a more divine, sweet, and delicate fruit exist?  They must truly be the food of the gods.  Besides being so delicious, they are incredibly healthy and detoxifying.  I adore them fresh this time of year, but be sure to eat them within a day or two of buying because they are very delicate and will not last more than that.

Fresh Fig & Arugula Salad Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups arugula, rinsed and dried
  • 4 fresh black figs, gently washed and quartered (with skins on, stem removed)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine arugula, olive oil, vinegar, molasses, pine nuts and salt and pepper.  Toss to combine.
  • Separate into serving bowls and top with quartered figs.
  • Enjoy!

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Blackened Crispy Tofu

If you’ve ever met someone who declared they didn’t like tofu (or if you yourself think you don’t), I beg you to try this recipe.  In my house, we rarely prepare tofu, as it is not our favourite ingredient (we’re more tempeh lovers), but this recipe brings tofu to a whole new level.  The blackening and crispiness make it so desirable, we crave this!  The secret is the smoky spices and cooking the tofu at high heat.  Served with a fresh salad, over quinoa or other grain, or even in a sandwich, this is one of those meals that pleases even the pickiest eater (including my four year old), omnivores and herbivores alike.  I’m always wishing I made more….

We had ours with a fresh green salad, with beautifully striking purple bell peppers from the garden.  Their colour is so vibrant, we had to eat them raw.  I almost felt bad slicing through these beauties.  The vinaigrette was a creamy dijon, which consisted of 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, a pinch of sea salt and pepper.  Whisk all ingredients, and voila, you’ve got a classic homemade vinaigrette.

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Blackened Crispy Tofu Recipe

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt

Directions:

  • Lay a few layers of paper towel onto a cutting board, place tofu on them, then cover with more paper towel.  Place a plate overtop, with something heavy over the plate to drain out as much water as possible.

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  • In the meanwhile, prepare your spice mix by combining all dry seasonings in a shallow bowl.  Whisk to combine.

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  • Once the tofu has drained, cut it into 4 pieces lengthwise.
  • Pour the tamari into a shallow bowl, and let the tofu sit in this for a few minutes, turning to coat both sides.
  • Dip each piece into the spice mix, making sure to get it well covered on each side.

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  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil.  Once hot, place all tofu pieces into the pan.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes, you will see it darken on one side.
  • Turn all pieces over, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Repeat, turning over the tofu on each side once more.  It will be crispy, blackened and delicious looking!

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  • Remove from heat, and serve on a bed of greens.  Alternatively, you can serve it on a bed of quinoa or other grains with a side of greens.
  • Enjoy!

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Grilled Corn Salad With Black Beans + Cilantro

Who loves summer salads?  We’re having a different one practically every night over at my place.  This salad especially screams summer, with juicy corn on the cob grown locally and picked up at our farmer’s market to the refreshing lemony, cilantro and other fresh ingredients.  This salad has a nice punch of spice thanks to the jalapeño, and I actually used three, but I really enjoy (extra) spicy food, so I suggested you use two in the recipe.

Grilled Corn Salad With Black Beans + Cilantro Recipe

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 ears of corn, shucked and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, washed and diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed, minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Place corn on grill and allow it to grill on all sides, about 10 minutes in total.  When you see charred barbeque marks, it’s good to go.

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  • Allow corn to cool enough to handle and in the meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine bell pepper, black beans, and jalapeño.
  • Slice the corn kernels off of the cob, and add them to the bowl.

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  • Top with lemon and lime juices and olive oil.  Add salt and pepper, mix, and taste.  Adjust flavouring with either more salt and pepper or more lime/lemon juice, or if you’re like me, an extra jalapeño pepper.

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  • Enjoy!