Moroccan Tfaya Dressing

This is a sweetish, rich, luxe topping that can be used a bunch of different ways.

I’ve had this batch slathered onto bread, and used as a topper for a veggie-based couscous dish coming next week. In restaurants, I’ve had it as a sort of dip for roasted meats as well.

gluten-free, vegetarian

Moroccan Tfaya Dressing

1/2 cup golden raisins

3 small red onions, peeled and sliced thinly

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp honey

1/2 cup water

Generous amount black pepper

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground turmeric

Generous pinch salt

Pinch saffron threads

Slice the onions thinly and add to a pot over medium heat. Add the rest of the ingredients (minus the saffron) and simmer :30 – 1:00 or until the onions are on their way to breaking up and the liquid has reduced to a thick syrup. Add the saffron in the last 10-15 minutes.

Serve over next week’s couscous dish, slathered on bread, as a dip for meats or tossed into scrambled eggs.

Serves 4 – 6

Tunisian Spiced Salad

This is a nice little salad that can be bulked up for a good dinner or served light for a refreshing lunch.

gluten-free, paleo

Tunisian Spiced Salad

Dressing:

1 shallot, minced

2 Tbsp fruity vinegar (I used plum)

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp Ras el Hanout

2 tsp honey

1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses

4 Tbsp oil (olive or neutral)

Large pinches Salt & pepper

Salad:

1 large carrot, ribboned

1 package baby spinach

1/4 c slivered almonds

1 large mango, skinned and cut into bite sized cubes

Protein of choice (I used rotisserie chicken)

Whisk all dressing ingredients in the bottom of a large bowl. Toss the salad ingredients into the bowl as you prep and mix well.

Serve with protein of your choice, or to bulk out – add your favorite grain (Cous cous, bulgur or farro would be great).

Serves 4

Carrot Salad with Hibachi-Style Ginger Dressing

This dressing tastes surprisingly just like that served at hibachi restaurants.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo

Hibachi-Style Ginger Dressing

2 large carrots

5 Tbsp your favorite oil

2 scallions

1 date

3 Tbsp your favorite fruity vinegar (I used ume plum)

2 Tbsp pineapple juice (I suspect orange would work well, too)

1/3 c Kewpie mayo

1 inch ginger

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Generous pinch salt & pepper

Water to thin if needed

Blitz all dressing ingredients together, thinning out with a little water if necessary.

A Salad To Go With It

1 – 2 carrots, ribboned

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 huge hand full green beans, chopped

3 smallish Persian cucumbers, diced

2 scallions, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

Toppers: sesame seeds, flaky salt, pepper, sambal or other spice

The dressing serves 6 or so; the salad makes enough for 3 – 4 dinners when supplemented with a protein

Mango Chive Salad

Although it is not, regrettably, high mango season where I live – I just couldn’t resist some particularly tantalizing ruby red beauties in the grocery last week. Here, we are starting to dread the summer heat – while hanging on to every last shred of cool weather (and the winds they bring). I thought a nice, refreshing salad was just the thing to combat those spring ‘I’m not ready for surface of the sun temps’ blues.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Mango Chive Salad

1 large mango (if you’ve got a big boy, or 2 smaller), skinned and chopped

3 small Persian cucumbers or 1 large English variety

1/4 c chives, snipped

1 jalapeño, seeded

1/4 c pepitas

2 Tbsp lemon juice (or more to taste)

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 Tbsp your favorite mustard (I used Dijon, but my love – grainy Maille – would also be great here)

2 tsp honey, agave or date molasses

2 Tbsp your favorite neutral oil (or neutral-ish; I used olive)

2 tsp any fruit vinegar (I used ume plum)

1 red bell pepper

Optional add-ins for bulk: Hand full simply stir-fried snow peas, 1/4 – 1/2 avocado per serving

Optional add-ins for protein: rotisserie chicken, shrimp or sesame tofu

Chop the cucumber into bite-sized pieces and add to a large bowl.

Chop and add the red pepper & half the jalapeño and add to the bowl.

Snip the chives into small bits and add.

Add half the mango (I had a big boy so I added about a cup and a half, reserving about half a cup of mango for the dressing).

Toss all and set aside.

In the carafe of your blender, add: the other 1/2 cup or so of mango, the second half of the jalapeño, garlic, pepitas, lemon juice, mustard, sweetener, oil, and vinegar. Whiz to combine. Salt to taste.

Toss the salad with the dressing and any add-ins. Whack with a sprinkle flaky salt & black pepper to finish.

Serves 2 as a big meal-sized salad; 4 if you’re adding in the proteins & bulk items

Air Fryer Eggplant with Vegan Yogurt Sauce

Yaaaaaaas. I love fried eggplant cubes but hate actually frying things. The air fryer makes quick work of eggplant, turning it into crisp little nuggets in 10 minutes. Delicious!

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Air Fryer Eggplant with Vegan Yogurt Sauce

1 large purple eggplant

Salt

Curry powder

Spritz or spray oil

2 Tbsp Skyr-style soy yogurt

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp pomegranate molasses

1 Tbsp tahini

Generous sprinkle salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Cube your eggplant into 1/4-inch pieces. Add to a large bowl and toss with a generous sprinkle salt. Let sit 5-10 minutes.

Preheat your air fryer to 200C/400F for 3 minutes.

Mix the yogurt, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, tahini and garlic powder in a small bowl. Taste for seasoning and add salt as necessary.

Toss your salted eggplant with a generous amount of curry powder, add to the basket of your air fryer, and hit with a spritz or two of oil. Fry, shaking occasionally, 10 minutes or until your desired level of crispness is achieved.

Serve with the yogurt sauce and your protein of choice.

Serves 2

Zucchini Ranch Air Fryer Fries

I am a sucker for a good alternative fry, and this simple side fits that bill perfectly. Every time I’ve made this, I’ve eaten an embarrassing number of zucchini.

Note: Mine are a little pale in the picture because in this batch I forgot to spritz with oil. They were still yummy, though.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan (check your labels)

Zucchini Ranch Air Fryer Fries

3-4 small zucchini

2 Tbsp. ranch seasoning (check your labels if you need this to fit into your specific dietary requirements)

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Generous sprinkle salt

Fry Sauce

2 Tbsp. mayo

1 Tbsp. ketchup

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. pickle relish

Oil for brushing

Preheat your air fryer for 3 minutes (200C/400F).

While your air fryer is preheating, slice the zucchini into fry shapes. Salt generously and let sit in a bowl while you make the fry sauce.

Whisk the fry sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

When the air fryer is heated, add the Ranch seasoning and cornstarch to the bowl and toss well to coat.

Add to the bowl of the fryer in a single layer. Spritz lightly with a little oil or brush a little on top.

Fry 8 minutes, shaking a couple times and hitting with a little more oil if needed.

Serves ? If you’re not me, probably 2 or 3

Sweet & Sticky Carrot Sticks

This is a satisfying side to pretty much any protein. It’s sweet, rich, a little sticky, with a nice warm flavor.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo

Sweet & Sticky Carrot Sticks

2-3 large carrots

Generous sprinkle cumin

Generous sprinkle curry powder

Generous sprinkle salt & pepper

1 tsp. oil

1 Tbsp. tahini

2 Tbsp. yogurt (I used a Skyr-style vegan variety)

1 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses

1 tsp. date molasses or other sweetener

2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat your air fryer for 3 minutes.

While the air fryer is warming, cut your carrots into roughly fry shape.

Toss in a large bowl with the cumin, curry, salt, pepper & oil.

Air fry on 200C for 7-10 minutes or until your desired level of brown and crispness, pulling to toss every couple minutes.

Whisk the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl to form a sauce. Thin with water if desired.

To serve, toss the carrot fries with the sauce.

Serves 4

Roasted Potato Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

This is a quick little salad that is easy to scale up to feed a crowd.

As written, this dressing recipe makes extras. I drizzled some on a fruit salad (kinda crappy mango & persimmon), and swirled a dollop into a quinoa brown rice mix for an extra creamy kick. Delicious.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Potato Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

250g baby potatoes

Big hand baby spinach

1 clove minced garlic

Big hand cherry tomatoes

2Tbsp. tahini

2tsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos

1tsp. white miso

1tsp. date molasses or maple syrup

2tsp. citrus juice

Oil, salt & pepper

Optional topper: feta (mine was vegan feta)

Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet.

Bring a small pot of water to boil and parboil the potatoes 7 minutes or until almost done.

Halve the potatoes (or quarter if they’re a bit large) and add to the sheet. Drizzle with oil and season liberally with salt, pepper and any other spice you love (I used a chicken spice mix). Spread potatoes out into a single layer.

Lightly smush with the bottom of the pot or something heavy.

Bake 15 mins or until desired crispness is reached.

In a small bowl, whisk the tahini, soy sauce, sesame oil, miso & citrus juice to make dressing. Thin with a little water to your desired consistency.

Add the potatoes, spinach, garlic & tomatoes to a large bowl, and toss with dressing.

Serves 2 for dinner

Blackberry Butternut Salad with Miso Mustard Tahini

This is a fresh little counterpart to heavy holiday dinners.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Blackberry Butternut Salad with Miso Mustard Tahini

1 small butternut squash

1 small package blackberries

Baby spinach

Candied pecans (I used Thanksgiving leftovers – spiced maple flavor)

Vegan feta

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

3 Tbsp. neutral oil

2 tsp. granulated garlic

2 tsp. onion powder

Generous sprinkle red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. white miso

2 Tbsp. tahini

Preheat your oven to 375F and prepare a baking sheet.

Peel the butternut and chop into inch-ish chunks. spread out on the baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, oil, garlic, onion & red pepper.

Pour the sauce over the squash and toss to coat evenly. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Season with salt & pepper & bake 12 minutes, stir and bake an additional 12 minutes or until your desired brownness has been reached.

While the squash is baking, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon, miso & tahini. Thin with a little water to your desired consistency.

In a large bowl, add the spinach, the still warm from the oven squash and the dressing. Toss well to combine & wilt the spinach a bit.

Add the nuts, blackberries & vegan feta and toss again. Season with more salt & pepper.

Serves 4 for dinner

Pomegranate & Fig Salad

I made this as an accompaniment to some killer meatballs (recipe coming next week), but this dish as it is would be great as a holiday side or studded with any protein of choice for a rounded out meal.

Note: I completely forgot to do so when making this recipe, but chucking a couple big hands of baby spinach was a fantastic way to dress up the leftovers and add a nutrient punch.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Pomegranate & Fig Salad

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into inch-ish chunks

6 figs, sliced (I had dried on hand but fresh would be even better)

1/4 c. pecans, chopped

1/3 c. pomegranate arils

Tahini & pomegranate molasses to drizzle

Salt & pepper

Your favorite seasoning – I used a spicy creole mix

Oil

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F. Prepare a baking sheet.

Chop the sweet potato into inch-ish chunks, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper & seasoning, spread out onto a baking sheet and bake until your desired level of doneness is achieved. I let mine go until the pieces were almost crispy.

Toss with the rest of the ingredients and drizzle with the sauces.

As noted in the head notes, a good couple hands of baby spinach and your protein of choice would round this out to a great meal.

Serves 2- 3