Spring is officially here and in a couple of weeks the tree in our yard will be blooming. I am really excited, as this will be the first Spring that not only ducks will have ducklings, but we will also have our own little bug to take care of.
I will keep this post short, but sweet, as I wanted to share with you a couple of recipes that are really easy but also great for warmer weather. They are both gluten-free and vegan, but I think that anyone would enjoy them, regardless of dietary preferences.
The Kale-Beet Salad
I think that I ‘ve mentioned before that we don’t have kale in Greece. It’s a shame, because it is loaded with protein and iron and all sorts of antioxidant goodness. So we try to incorporate it in our diet. I came up with this salad while writing a gluten-free recipe e-book.
- 3 cups kale
- 5 beets. I get the pre-cooked ones. No regrets.
- 10-12 green Kalamata olives
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- A tablespoon fresh thyme
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3-4 clementines or 1-2 oranges
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Steam the kale for 5 minutes.
- In a pan heat the olive oil and add the garlic and fresh thyme. Cook for a couple of minutes over low heat, making sure the garlic doesn’t get burnt.
- Add in the pan the beet cut in slices and the olives, sliced as well. Stir for a couple more minutes.
- Serve the kale in a big bowl, topping with the beets, olives and olive oil.
- Add the clementines/oranges, sliced as well.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
The Simple Rice Balls
I discovered onigiri. Onigiri is an awesome way to prepare rice and eat it as a warm or cold snack or lunch. It is basically sushi rice shaped into triangles, cylinders or balls, usually filled with something. Once I discovered onigiri, I got so excited that we went out and bought a huge bag of sushi rice, because I wanted to eat it all-the-time. Then our rice cooker had an accident and I got depressed. N. fixed our rice cooker though, so now I can make all the onigiri I want. I call this recipe “simple rice balls”, because it is actually a simplified onigiri version and probably not authentic at all. Still, it tastes amazing. Plus, you don’t need a rice cooker to make it. You can cook your rice in a regular pot.
- 1 big cup rice (it will yield about 24 small rice balls)
- 4 nori sheets
- Soy sauce and wasabi paste
- In a pot put the rice and 2 1/4 cups water.
- Bring to a boil.
- Simmer with the lid on for about 15 minutes.
- Check occasionally and add a bit of water, if necessary, but don’t stir the rice all the time. Leave it alone!
- Once the rice is done to your liking, let it cool a bit.
- Shred the nori sheets and add them into the rice. I crumbled them until they were the size of goldfish food flakes.
- Mix the nori flakes into the rice.
- Wet your hands with cold water and start forming the balls, pressing tightly.
- DONE! Dip in soy sauce and add wasabi.
The Vegan Nut Cheese
It is true, cheese is sooo addictive. It is one of the things that new vegans miss the most. This nut cheese I created is a mix and match of different recipes and it turned out great. I was also able to make it using our mediocre blender, so you don’t need a super-powerful food processor to make it. It is spreadable and sliceable as well. Try it out!
- 1 cup mixed nuts or any nut of your choice. I used a mix of cashew, almonds, walnuts and macadamia nuts.
- 1 1/2 cups water
- the juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon oregano/thyme
- 1 garlic clove
- Preheat the oven at 200 C.
- Soak the nuts for at least 1 hour. I only soaked them for 1 hour, because I am impatient like that, but if you soak them more, it will be easier on your blender.
- Rinse the nuts and put them in the blender/food processor with the water, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and garlic clove.
- Scrap the edges to the center of the blender.
- Blend more. It should become creamy. Don’t worry if there are tiny bits of nuts in there though.
- The mixture should have the consistency of a thick paste.
- Pour the paste in aluminum foil and roll it, to form a cylinder.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Open the cylinder and bake for another 15-20 minutes uncovered.
- Let it cool and use as you wish.
It is true that this vegan cheese is quite pricey, as nuts can be expensive. But then again, most vegan cheeses are expensive and they are sooo processed and full of crap. So it is totally worth it to make your own.
Try those recipes out and let me know what you think!