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.
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.
This green sauce makes a fantastic all-around dressing to keep on hand as a meat seasoning, salad dressing, dip, and little add-in to something like a nice grain bowl for a flavor punch.
A note on spice: I used 1 Tbsp. Fiery Fool hot sauce. This stuff is hot, and it made my sauce nice and spicy. I lean toward spice so I would totally suggest going in that direction. If you do not, a de-seeded jalapeño would be fine.
gluten-free, paleo, pescatarian
Great Green Sauce Salad
10 cloves garlic
4 scallions (reserve 2 + 2 of the dark green parts for the salad body)
1/4 c. cilantro
1 Tbsp. your favorite pretty dang hot hot sauce (see head note)
1 Tbsp. vinegar (I used black vinegar)
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. sweetener (I used brown sugar)
1/3 c. olive oil
10 radishes, sliced into thin moons
3 – 4 small cucumbers, sliced into thin moons
2 scallions (whole), sliced thin + 2 green parts of scallions, also sliced thin
1/2 c. snap peas, sliced thin on the bias
5 – 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Optional: Chicken that’s been marinated and sauteed in some sauce
Topper: Finishing salt & fresh cracked black pepper
To make the dressing, blitz all the sauce ingredients, incorporating the oil in a steady stream to make an emulsification. Set aside.
Assemble the salad by tossing all salad ingredients together. Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the sauce to dress and top with some finishing salt & freshly cracked black pepper before serving.
Serves 2 for dinner beefed up with a protein (I had mine with leftover chicken, but steak bites, salmon or tofu chunks would also be great)
I don’t know about you, but it’s boiling hot where I live – aaaaand I ate so much on my vacation to the States that pretty much all I want is a crisp, refreshing salad. With no lettuce, because it’s not my favorite way to do salad.
This recipe is a riff on a Vietnamese version I read in a magazine on the plane – if I remember correctly, that version had less in the way of heat and less in the way of vinegar. I had leftovers of this salad for days (yay, a salad that gets even better as it ages) and liked the days I remembered to add a little extra lime juice kick the most.
gluten-free (check your labels), paleo, pescatarian, low carb
Tomato Salad Goes To Asia
1/4 c. sugar (I used brown)
1/4 c. fish sauce
1/4 c. lime juice + more for serving
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
Big pinch red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)
Generous bit freshly cracked pepper
500g cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced into thin moons
3 small or 1 large cucumber, sliced into thin moons
1 long pepper (your fav variety – I used something red akin to a Cubanele)
2 c. mixed herbs (I used cilantro, mint & dill)
Toppers: Roasted, salted peanuts, French fried onions, green onion slices, finishing salt, extra squeeze lime juice, extra cracks black pepper
Combine all ingredients listed before the tomatoes in a jar and shake until we’ll combined and the sugar has dissolved.
Chuck the rest of the non-topper ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing.
Serve with your desired toppers and enjoy for a few meals.
This is a great riff on a classic Middle Eastern sauce (kinda like the ME version of chimichurri) with a nice, light salad.
This sauce can also be used as a meat marinade, as a topper for crispy potatoes, as a sauce in a sandwich, mixed with zucchini, avocado & peas in pasta, and as a mix-in for rice. I’m sure there are 999999 other ways to use it, but I ran out before I could try more. Which I will. I suspect this would be bomb with a Kewpie mayo egg salad sandwich.
I think next time I make this sauce, I’ll use a mortar & pestle instead of a blender – my favorite version from a local restaurant has a thicker mince and even punchier garlic.
gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, low-carb
Cucumber Salad with Zhoug Sauce
6 cloves garlic
3 jalapeños (or a mix of jalapeños and other peppers – seed if you need to)
1 cup flat leaf parsley
1 cup cilantro
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 c. olive oil
Blend to combine in your food processor or blender until your desired consistency is reached.
2-3 small cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber, sliced thinly or diced
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. fresh dill, chopped
1 small red onion, sliced wafer thin
Generous amount flake salt & black pepper
1/2 c. zhoug sauce
Combine and let sit 1/2 an hour or more to let the flavors meld.
Serves a few as a simple side with a protein. Would also make a fantastic bbq side in place of a Southern-style cucumber salad.
I make this – or a variation on this – quite often for lunch later in the week, when I’ve got leftovers kicking around in the fridge, am out of my main protein, and still have some of this week’s spinach hanging around that is quickly going to age itself right out of my fridge.
For this version, I resisted the temptation to go Southeast Asian like usual (this dish 99.9% of the time turns out vaguely Japanese), and went Indian instead. I’m glad I broke out of my comfort zone a little and I think I’ll make this again on purpose for dinner some night.
To reheat your rice – any rice – without it drying out, add a Tablespoon or two of water, put the lid back on really loosely and zap in the microwave for :45 to 1:00. Boom. Steamed and refreshed rice.
Fry the eggs to your liking in the oil, seasoning with salt and pepper and adding a liberal sprinkle of turmeric when you flip. Add the spinach on top of that to wilt a couple seconds while the yolks finish setting to your desired doneness (I love a good runny yolk, so I separated my whites from yolks, scooted them to the side and added the spinach more to that side so I could see to yank the yolks when they were just barely set).
Grate the ginger and garlic into the rice.
Mince the chili (de-seeding if necessary) and add to the rice.
Add the eggs on top, along with a small hand of the crispy chickpeas.
This is a surprisingly light tasting salad for having not only chewy pearl barley but roasted pumpkin. I think it’s the dressing and all the fresh spinach.
If you make extra dressing, and I suggest that you do – it pairs great with a more traditional salad, simple cold noodles, and even as a dip for chicken or shrimp. It’s delicious.
Basil Lime Pumpkin Salad
1 big wedge pumpkin or a butternut squash
2 large scallions
1/2 cup basil
2 cloves garlic
4 Tablespoons lime juice
2 green chilis
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup stock
1.5 cups water
Salt & pepper
Optional: crispy chickpeas (this is one of my favorite brands)
First, get your pumpkin and barley working.
Preheat your oven to 200C/375F and prepare a baking sheet.
Peel the pumpkin and chop into bite-sized pieces.
Toss with a few good glugs neutral oil and liberal sprinkles of the smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
Roast 25 mins or until soft and your desired brownness is reached. I could have let mine go another 5 – 10 mins, but I was impatient so mine turned out soft and only a little browned.
Put the barley in your cooking vessel of choice with the stock and water + a liberal sprinkle of salt. If your stock doesn’t have any fat in it, a Tablespoon of olive oil is good here. Cook according to package directions. I cooked mine in a rice cooker by hitting the ‘rice’ button.
While both those are working, slice the scallions thin. Add half to your blender or food processor.
Add the spinach, basil, garlic cloves, lime juice, chilis (rough chopped and de-seeded if necessary), 5 Tablespoons olive oil, and liberal sprinkles salt and pepper. Whiz to combine, adding a few Tablespoons of water if your mixture is too dry for your appliance. I ended up adding about 3 Tablespoons.
Taste for seasoning and add more acid or salt if needed.
To assemble, toss the pumpkin and second half of the scallions together. Add the spinach and toss. Add the barley to the top while still warm to semi-wilt the spinach. Toss, adding the dressing halfway through.
Taste the whole mix together, adding any salt or pepper if necessary. I added a big sprinkle of finishing salt to mine. I also finished each serving with a generous sprinkle of crunchy spiced chickpeas. This salad makes an excellent chickpea delivery service. Bonus: added protein!
Makes enough to serve as a side for a party or for 4 for dinner
This simple Indian relish makes a great snack, breakfast, or topper for a wide variety of dishes.
Try it tucked into a chapati or roll – with or without an egg, atop a bed of rice (I’m particularly fond of sushi rice), bulked out with sautéed green beans, spread over a protein like chimichurri sauce, mixed into a stir fry (preferably with something sweet like red pepper), or mixed into a salad (this would be great with cucumber and mint).
It seems like the entire Internet has lost its collective mind recently over these wrapped tortillas. I must admit … I was intrigued. I’d never thought to wrap a tortilla like I would a crepe and it sounded like the kind of magical lunch I needed in my life that week.
And then I started looking at recipes. Crunchwrap came to mind first, but the glue was cheese. Whelp, that’s out. I can’t do cheese cheese, and even store bought vegan melting cheese + my GI system are currently on the outs.
A YouTuber I follow (who actually introduced me to this fad; I’m not one of the cool kids on Tik Tok) made a sushi roll version that looked delightful and had rice as the “glue” (I tried recreating it for y’all and have thus far failed in my efforts). Which got me thinking … I’ve got leftover potatoes, and I want Indian. What can I do with that information?
Turns out, I can do a lot. I’m going to give you guys a full meal recipe here, with instructions on how to turn it into one of those cool kids wraps. Which is awesome, but you’ll have leftovers. Just slap the rest in a bowl and call it an Indian harvest spectacular.
Note: This recipe uses mustard oil, which may be difficult to source. I’ve included an Amazon (affiliate) link to help. I also included a link for the chicken seasoning I’ve been using recently and loving, as well as for the condiments.
Gluten-free if you use a gf wrap, vegetarian and vegan if you sub the chicken
Dairy Free Tortilla Wrap
This recipe is written a little weird. I’m laying it out in quadrants in the order you’ll wrap them. More on that later. I cooked mine in kind of reverse order, starting with the potatoes, moving through the protein, and ending with the veg. You may wish to do the same.
Protein of choice (I used chicken cut into bite-sized pieces)
Set your potatoes to boil in a large pot with a generous amount of salt. Boil until cooked through and soft.
Drain and set aside.
While the potatoes are working, chop the onion and garlic fine.
In a medium pan over medium heat, bring the oil up to temperature. Chuck the mustard seeds and turmeric into the oil and heat until fragrant and the mustard seeds start to pop.
Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened and a little brown.
When the potatoes are done and drained, add back to the big pot and mash roughly with a potato masher or beaters. Chunky is fine – I wanted my potatoes to have a bit of heft to them like my favorite Indian restaurant potatoes. Add the onion mixture, the butter, and a healthy pinch of salt. Combine well, taste, and add more salt or fat if needed.
Wrap a large chapati (Mission makes a decent one), roti, tortilla or other flexible and foldable bread in a paper towel. Sprinkle with water and nuke for 15 seconds so it’s bendable.
If you think of your chapati as a wheel with 4 quadrants, you want to cut up the center bottom until you hit the horizontal equator.
Wow, that was some mixed metaphor ish; hopefully followable.
In your lower left quadrant, arrange a little protein. Not overfull – think burritos, here. You don’t want to over fill those, either.
In the upper left quadrant, spread a little condiment.
In the upper right quadrant, add a little veg.
In the lower right quadrant, spread some potato. This quadrant will act as our glue.
To fold, carefully fold the lower left quadrant up (I kind of held the chicken in place as I carefully flipped the chapati up), fold the left side to the right (this went easier), and the top down so the 3 folded sections rest on the potato section.
You should have what looks like a folded crepe sandwich.
Pan fry until golden on both sides, kind of smooshing a bit as you do so it sticks together.
Yes, another hash. Don’t @ me; I’ve got a deep and abiding love for hash.
This version takes a “safer” route than I usually take to cook the potatoes to unburnt perfection. I also upped the fat content because I was working with a cast iron skillet, and I have not yet gotten the full hang of using it without stickage.
gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, Whole30 (sub the oil for W30 or strict paleo)
A Nice Herbed Hash Base
1 lb. small potatoes (I used a mix of purple, white and red)
1/2 lb. green beans
Sun dried tomato oil (or roasted red pepper oil – or, regular oil with a bit of either mixed in would also be great)
Citrus salt (I made mine and used this recipe as a starting point. Unfortunately, I didn’t post the recipe here. Mine has cracked peppercorns, rosemary and oregano mixed in and I believe the citrus mix is lemon + orange)
2 -3 cloves garlic
4 Tbsp. mixed fresh rosemary and dill – more if you want it even herbier
Some nice finishing salt (I used Maldon flake salt)
Maybe a splash of red wine vinegar at the end to punch up the flavors and cut through the richness (I added a dash upon reheating leftovers and it was fantastic)
Chop your potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Parboil in a large pot of salted water about 5 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Drain.
While the potatoes are working, tip and chop the green beans into bite sized pieces.
Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large pan over medium-high until shimmering.
Add the potatoes, sprinkle with your citrus seasoning, and sauté 2-3 minutes or until just beginning to get some color.
Add the green beans & some pepper and sauté an additional 3 – 5 minutes or until nicely browned.
While the hash is working, mince the garlic and chop the herbs.
Add the garlic & herbs to the pan and stir to combine. Let cook a few minutes to meld. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
Finish with a sprinkle of good salt and/or a splash of vinegar.
I served with some vegan cashew curry sausages for dinner the first night and with a sausage, a little leftover seared red pepper + a fried egg the second. Both ways were yum.
Serves 2 for dinner & 1 for lunch if your portions are small (at least small to me; if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know I love a healthy portion)
This recipe is 100% inspired by one of my good friends & a master of all things philosophical, @Heidi. (It’s a NF forum thing)
I love her no-fuss approach to food and how she seeks meaning in what she uses to fuel her body.
This recipe is an interpretation of the flavor combinations she mentioned in a daily update post (I haven’t mentioned my fitness community lately, but if you’re looking for a great group of people to help give you a nudge going into 2021, check Nerd Fitness out).
I think we all need a little more @Heidi in our lives. For more reasons than that – hellooooo, badass.
Roasted Squash & Barley Pilaf
1 cup Pearl barley (buckwheat groats would be a good gluten-free sub)
1 cup good stock
1 cup water
Big pinch salt
Good olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 butternut squash
500g baby spinach
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Big hand full smoked almonds
Cook your barley with the stock, water and a generous pinch salt in a rice cooker or according to package directions.
Preheat your oven to 375F/200C. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicone mat or baking paper.
While the barley is working, peel your butternut, seed, and chop into roughly 1/2 inch cubes. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle liberally with neutral oil, salt, pepper and curry powder. Toss to combine. Bake 30-40 minutes or until nicely browned.
While those are going, set a medium pan over medium/medium-high heat. Spritz a couple of times with garlic oil. Rough chop a large shallot and add to the pan. Sautee until beginning to brown. Add some salt & pepper + the nutmeg and the spinach. Toss and cook until beginning to wilt.
When the barley is done, add the red wine vinegar, a finely chopped sprig of Rosemary (about 1Tbsp.), 1 tsp. oregano, and a couple glugs good olive oil. Stir to combine and gently fold in the squash & spinach.
Rough chop the almonds and use for garnish.
If you’ve got figs or pomegranate seeds (or both!) they would make fantastic additions. Finishing salt would also not go amiss.
Subsequent reheats are great with a fresh splash of vinegar and a touch extra fat to bring everything together. A shake of chili would also work well.