Nectarine, Tomato, Grilled Corn and Watercress Summer Salad with Pistachios in an Orange Mustard Vinaigrette

Nectarine, Watercress, Tomato Summer Salad  With Pistachios and a Cirtus Vinaigrette
With hot weather finally on its way in Montreal, were all looking for light meals that’ll keep us cool. Peaches and nectarines are SO delicious this time of year and have made their way into my breakfast, lunch and dinner! Although I often throw whatever vegetables I have in my fridge into my salads, it is really beautiful to serve a well composed salad for company (and of course, yourself!) This summer salad features ingredients that are in season, making it naturally delicious and very refreshing for the upcoming warm summer days. The tart peaches match perfectly with the sweet tomatoes, bitter greens, juicy corn and crunchy pistachios. Once its tossed in that orange mustard vinaigrette it brings out the flavour of every ingredient! It makes for a perfect light lunch, appetizer or base for any protein. Hope you love it!
IMG_8374Nectarine, Watercress, Tomato Summer Salad  With Pistachios and a Cirtus Vinaigrette
Serves 2-3

Salad Ingredients:

• 2 tomatoes (heirloom works great!), quartered
• 1 summer squash, cut at length
• 1 nectarine, cut in wedges
• 2 large handfuls watercress, washed and dried
• 2 ears of corn, niblets removed from core
• 3 tbsp shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
• 1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
• 3-4 radishes, sliced
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• salt and pepper

Dressing Ingredients:

• the juice of 1/2 an orange
• 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
• 1 tsp whole grain mustard
• 1 tsp honey
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tbsp chopped chives
• salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Start by preparing the corn. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium/high in a small skillet. Add your corn niblets and season with salt and pepper. Cook until slightly charred.
2. For the dressing, add whole grain mustard, honey, freshly squeezed orange juice and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk until combined. While whisking, slowly add your olive oil until the dressing is combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add chives. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
3. Once the corn has browned, remove from pan and set aside. In your hot pan, add your summer squash and lightly cook (2-3 minutes). You can of course leave it raw, but its nice to quickly sear off the squash for a nicer texture and flavour.
4. Remove the squash from the pan and set aside.
5. Begin to assemble your salad. On a large plate or in a bowl, add all salad ingredients and toss with citrus dressing. Garnish with pistachios, freshly cracked pepper, and more chives if you desire!

Nectarine, Watercress, Tomato Summer Salad  With Pistachios and a Cirtus Vinaigrette

Baked Falafel Bowl

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Falafel is a go-to vegetarian comfort food across the Middle East. While traveling in Israel I had many falafels, which are traditionally served in a pita with pickled vegetables, hummus, or a tahini based-sauce. The name is often confused or interchanged with equally delicious shawarma which is various meats cooked on a spit. Falafel is traditionally made with chickpeas, flour and spices then deep fried for an amazingly crunchy snack or meal. I eventually had to stop eating the falafel because of how sick I felt which was most likely from the combination of deep-frying and gluten.

I am so excited about this recipe! Finally, I have found a way however to enjoy falafel stomachache-free and with no bloating. Keep in mind however; chickpeas do contain sugars that humans cannot digest so if eaten in mass quantities some digestive upsets can occur. These falafels are gluten free, dairy free, and vegetarian. I personally love eating out of bowls, mugs, cups etc… It is weird but I always preferred a platter to a sandwich. I like making my own little combinations on my fork or mini sandwiches with gluten free pita on the side. I placed mine in a bowl with grated carrot, Israeli salad, brown rice, pumpkin seeds and my homemade hummus! Feel free to wrap yours in a whole grain pita, top on quinoa or place on top of salad (which I had for lunch the next day, yummy!)

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Serves 2-3

Falafel Ingredients:

•One 15-oz. can chickpeas, well drained or 2 cups fresh (see my homemade hummus recipe for directions)
•1 french shallot or 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
•2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
•1/4 cup almond flour (you could also use chickpea flour)
•3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh parsley
•1 1/2 tbsp (about 3 cloves) chopped garlic
•1/2 tbsp ground coriander
•1/2 tbsp ground cumin
•3/4 tsp salt
•1/2 tsp baking powder
•1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
•1/8 tsp paprika, or more to taste
• a few dashes hot sauce
• salt and pepper, to taste

Bowl Ingredients:

• 3 carrots grated (I used a box grater)
• 4 radish thinly sliced (optional)
• 1 1/2 cups short grain brown or wild rice
• 2 tomatoes diced
• 1/2 cup diced cucumber
• 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
• a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice
• 2 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds or toasted sesame seeds
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
homemade hummus (store bought is fine too!)
• fresh lemon wedges for serving
• salt and pepper to taste

Makes about 18 Falafel (Serves 3-4 people)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Combine all falafel ingredients except 1 tablespoon olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 10 seconds. Stop motor and scrape down sides of bowl, then pulse for another 10 seconds, until all ingredients are well incorporated but mixture is still slightly coarse and grainy.
3. Using a tablespoon, scoop mixture out and form into balls. Brush with remaining tablespoon olive oil.
4. Bake on a cookie sheet for about 40-45 minutes, making sure to flip half way through until brown and crisp.
5. While the falafel is cooking, prepare the rice (follow directions on bag) and grate carrots.
6. For the israeli salad: Mix in a small bowl cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, red wine vinegar and lemon juice, salt and pepper.
7. Toast pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds in the oven at 350 F for 10 minutes or in on medium heat in a dry pan until the oil is released.
8. Arrange falafel, rice, carrots, israeli salad, hummus and seeds. Top with tahini or extra hot sauce! YUM!

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Roasted Mediterranean Salad

Photo 2014-08-27, 4 03 11 AMMediterranean food is one of my favourites. It truly encompasses my food philosophy in that it uses wholesome, simple and good quality ingredients and allows them shine! We all long to look like the people of Greece, Italy and Spain etc… with their beautiful glowing skin and slim physiques. People have even gone as far as following the ‘Mediterranean Diet’. There is no real trick here.  It all goes back to the basics of clean eating. Heart healthy and tasty olive oils, vegetables, protein rich grains and legumes and lots of fish make up the Mediterranean cuisine. All fall under the various clean eating categories and most impotently, they are all delicious.

With colder days ahead, I think it is is really nice to serve a warm salad. What is also nice is that it also works great cold, straight out of the fridge. Throughout the week, I actually used this salad inside of an egg white omelette for a super quick breakfast or light dinner. It was also an amazing topping for my beloved avocado toast! yum…

This salad really involves just a little prep and then the oven does the work for you. A light toss in a lemony dressing with lots of fresh herbs makes it super light and refreshing. Lentils provide a boost of fiber and protein while you get lots of vitamins and antioxidants from all those veggies. I hope this salad eases you into the colder months with a smile on your face (and in your belly)! Bon appetit!
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Ingredients:

• 1 eggplant (chopped in cubes)
• 2 zucchini (sliced)
• 1 red onion (sliced)
• 2 red peppers (sliced)
• 1 tsp red chilli flakes
• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
• 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
• 2 cups green lentils (if from can, rinse and drain well)
• 2 tbsp chopped chives
• 1 sprig fresh oregano chopped
• 1 heaped tbsp grainy dijon mustard
• 2 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
• juice of half a lemon + zest
• 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
• 7-8 sundried tomatoes (chopped)
• 1 tbsp capers (alternatively, you can use chopped kalamata olives)
• salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare vegetables and place on large roasting pan.

2. Coat in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, chilli flakes, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.
Roast for about an hour.

3. While the vegetables are roasting, prepare your dressing and toppings.

4.In a small bowl, whisk mustard, balsamic, lemon juice + zest until combined. Slowly add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and add chopped chives and some more oregano if you desire.

5. If your pine nuts are not roasted, you can do so in a dry pan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Watch carefully or they will burn!

6. Remove vegetables from oven and place in a large bowl. Toss together with dressing, lentils, pine nuts, capers and sundried tomatoes. Top with more fresh herbs. Beautiful on its own, but would be great served with your favourite toast, fish or chicken!

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