Spring Veggie Quinoa Salad {Passover Friendly}

veggie quinoa salad

I know a lot of people dread Passover because of all of the food restrictions, but for someone who is already gluten-free, my diet actually doesn’t change all that much for Passover, except I don’t eat kitniyot (rice, beans, and other legumes).

This recipe is great for any spring meal, but it is also very Passover friendly. It’s also versatile in that you can add any vegetables and herbs that are in season in your area. Some of my favorite combinations are:

  • Baby asparagus, heirloom grape tomatoes, scallions with dill
  • Red, orange, yellow, and green bell peppers with basil or mint
  • Roasted beets and butternut squash with rosemary
  • Roasted eggplant and grape tomatoes with sauted onions and scallions (pictured above)

I like to keep the dressing light and simple–just lemon juice, good quality olive oil, salt and pepper. But feel free to experiment!

This recipe will serve 4-6 as a side dish, and can easily be double or tripled but you may need more dressing.

Chag sameach (happy holidays)!

Spring Veggie Quinoa Salad {Passover Friendly}

Ingredients

1 cup of quinoa
1 + 1/4 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups of veggies of your choice
1/4 cup chopped herb of your choice
juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Place quinoa, water, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit, still covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Scoop into a bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. In the meantime, chop or roast your desired vegetables and herbs (for roasting, I recommend cubing evenly and roasted at 400 for 20-25 minutes). Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Toss quinoa with vegetables and dressing. Adjust salt and lemon juice to taste.
http://chosenbites.com/2014/04/spring-veggie-quinoa-salad-passover-friendly/

Apricot Hamentashen

Hamentashen via Chosen Bites

It’s that time of year! I love Jewish traditions that revolve around food, and Purim has some of the most fun food traditions. Hamentashen are tri-cornered cookies filled with a sweet poppy seed or prune filling (the most traditional fillings), or jam, chocolate, or even Nutella if you are adventurous. I’ve even seen some recipes floating around this year for cheesecake and salted caramel fillings!

While I do like to be adventurous sometimes, my absolute favorite way to fill hamentashen is with apricot jam (try this homemade cinnamon apricot jam!). The recipe below provides a soft and pliable dough, and I find that I get the best results (i.e. the least stick-age) by rolling out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper.

Allergy notes:

  • If you have a soy allergy, you can use a soy-free margarine, or 3/4 cup of coconut oil in place of the margarine. If you use coconut oil, the dough will be a bit oily but resist adding more flour or the dough will be too dry and crumbly to roll or shape.
  • If you can’t have rice, you can substitute millet flour, sorghum flour, or potato starch for the rice flour in this recipe but add an extra 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum.
  • You could use a very finely ground almond flour if you want grain-free hamentashen, but they will be a bit challenging to shape. I recommend cutting, filling, and shaping the hamentashen, then moving the parchment paper to a baking sheet rather than trying to move the individual hamentashen. If the dough is too crumbly to shape, try adding an extra egg.

Apricot Hamentashen

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) of margarine
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 cups tapioca starch/flour
1 1/4 cups sweet rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
apricot jam

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (if you have convection, use it!) and place parchment paper on three baking sheets (I find this works better than greased baking sheets).
  2. Cream margarine and sugar on high for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, allowing to combine before adding the next. Add vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together brown rice flour, tapioca starch/flour, sweet rice flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Turn mixer to the lowest speed and add flour mixture to the wet mixture 1 cup at a time, allowing the dry ingredients to be incorporated before adding more. The dough should be soft but not sticky (you should be able to roll the dough between your palms without anything sticking to you--if it's too sticky, add 1/4 cup more sweet rice flour).
  4. Place about 1/4 of the dough on a piece of parchment paper on the counter (keep the rest of the dough covered with a damp towel). Cover with a second piece of parchment paper and roll with a rolling pin until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick.
  5. Using a small dinner glass, a wide-mouth pint mason jar, or any glass about 3 inches in diameter, cut the dough into circles (if the dough is sticking to the glass, try oiling and/or flouring the rim). Fill circles with 1/2 tsp of apricot jam, pinch the corners into a triangle, and carefully move to the prepared baking sheets. These won't rise or spread much so you can put up to 12 on each baking sheet.
  6. Gather up leftover dough, add more dough as necessary, and repeat rolling, filling, and pinching until you have used all of the dough.
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Store in an air-tight container on the counter for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
http://chosenbites.com/2014/03/apricot-hamentashen/

Kale & Butternut Squash Salad w/ Lemon-Tahini Dressing

kale and butternut squash salad via Chosen Bites

Over the last few years I have added a number of foods back into my diet that previously my system was not able to handle, like dairy, oats, and kale.

Kale is a great source of antioxidants, calcium, vitamin A, C, and a powerhouse source of vitamin K. It’s also chock full of minerals like potassium and iron, and a good source of natural fiber. Kale has become a bit of a fad in the last few years, and it’s been in the news a lot recently both for its health benefits and potential health pitfalls. While kale is a powerhouse source for vitamin K, which is important for calcium absorption, it also contains compounds that, ironically, can interfere with calcium absorption.

All of this is to say, I’m happy to be able to add kale back into my diet, but as with every food, my philosophy is “everything in moderation.” So, eat kale because it’s good for you, but don’t eat too much.

kale and butternut squash salad via Chosen Bites

One of may favorite ways to eat kale is raw in a salad, but wilted first with a dressing of acid (like lemon juice or balsamic vinegar), oil, and salt. There are a lot of recipes that say you need to massage the kale for a while, but I just sort of squeeze it with my hands while I’m tossing it the first time, and then just toss the rest of the time with tongs.

This salad includes one of my favorite vegetables, roasted butternut squash. I used to hate squash with inedible peel (don’t like the texture) but I have since discovered that I actually hate all squash but butternut squash. If you don’t like butternut squash, sweet potatoes would be excellent in this salad too.

Kale & Butternut Squash Salad w/ Lemon Tahini Dressing

Ingredients

1 small butternut squash
1 garlic clove
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 head of kale
3 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
3 Tbsp prepared tahini
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup dried blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel and cut butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes. Smash and peel garlic cloves. Toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil, spread evenly on a baking sheet, and roast at 400 for 25-30 minutes until squash is fork tender but not mushy. Remove garlic clove to a small bowl and mash with a fork. Set squash aside to cool.
  3. While squash is roasting, de-stem and slice kale into ribbons (I roll several leaves up and slice). Place kale in a large bowl. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt, pepper and mashed roasted garlic, and pour over kale. Using your hands, toss to evenly coat the kale, squeezing handfuls of kale as you do this. Allow kale to sit for 30-45 minutes, tossing again every 10-15 minutes or so.
  4. When squash is cool to the touch, add to kale and toss to coat in dressing. Add dried blueberries and additional salt to taste. Serve at room temperature.
http://chosenbites.com/2014/03/kale-butternut-squash-salad-w-tahini-dressing/

Smoky Roasted Chickpeas {Healthy Snacking}

Savory Roasted Chickpeas

Last year, I experienced a scary anaphylactic reaction to what we think was walnuts. In the aftermath, I saw an allergist who told me in no uncertain terms that I have to carry an epi-pen, and that I should never eat anything that makes my mouth itch or tingle. Of course thinking back on it, walnuts always made my mouth feel a little prickly, I just never thought much of it.

For me, a food allergy is much more terrifying than food intolerance because while my stomach might be really unhappy after eating gluten, I could die after eating a walnut if I don’t have my epi-pen. I was already vigilant about what I eat, but now I have to be even more careful. And as I paid more attention to what made my mouth tingle, I’ve had to completely cut out pecans and hazelnuts (I know!), and I’ve reduced my consumption of other nuts (except almonds) as well.

This is a roundabout way of telling you that I’ve had to get more creative with my snack options, since nuts have played a huge part in my snacking to date. Thankfully recipes for crunchy roasted chickpeas have been popping up all over the interwebs. Not only are chickpeas high in fiber and protein, they also have a good amount of iron (I have trouble with anemia) and are significantly lower in fat than nuts.  If you are nut-free, these roasted chickpeas are a great addition to trail mixes or tossed on salads.

This recipe is perfect for soothing my afternoon snack cravings.

Smoky Roasted Chickpeas {Healthy Snacking}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

1 15 oz. can chickpeas
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (if you have convection, use it!) and grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and dry them thoroughly. If you like, remove the outer skin of the chickpeas (optional). In a large bowl, drizzle the chickpeas with olive oil, tossing to coat. Mix together spices, sprinkle over chickpeas and toss again so everything is evenly distributed.
  3. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes until the chickpeas are crispy on the outside and some have cracked open down the center. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
http://chosenbites.com/2014/02/smoky-roasted-chickpeas/