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

Miso Vinaigrette Salad

I’ve been having a mini love-affair with miso this week – stay tuned for more umami bomb recipes coming in the next few weeks – and this delicious little dinner salad does that love justice.

I can see using the leftovers of this dressing mixed with quinoa, or in a pumpkin-heavy dish. Also as a drizzle for chicken.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Miso Vinaigrette Salad

Dressing:

1 heaping Tbsp. white miso

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. neutral oil

2 Tbsp. sushi vinegar

2 Tbsp. lime juice

2 tsp. honey

Pinch cayenne

Salt & pepper

Salad:

1 large zucchini, chopped

1 large bok choy, washed and sliced thin

1 package baby spinach

2 tsp. sesame oil

Soy sauce

1 scallion, thinly sliced

Sesame seeds

Big hand pepitas (toasted cashews would also be great)

Protein of choice: I used simply sautéed tofu

Optional topper: crispy chickpeas

Chop the zucchini and bok choy (whites) and set to sautee over medium-high with the sesame oil.

Let cook until crisp-tender.

Add a generous sprinkle of soy sauce.

Add the spinach and bok choy greens and toss until the spinach is barely wilted. Set aside. Drain if wet.

To make the dressing, whisk or shake all ingredients together.

To assemble the salad, add the toppers and toss with a couple Tablespoons dressing.

Salad serves 1-2 with extra dressing

Green Sauce Salad

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

Sauce

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

Salad

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

1 jalapeño

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)

Tomato Salad Goes To Asia

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.

Serves 4-6

Veg-Forward Hash Bowl Base

I know, *another* hash. Can you get any more basic?

Nope. Nope you can’t. This girl loves breakfast, and hates eating dinner off of a plate at home. I also had an inexplicably strong desire for shredded zucchini, so hash it was.

I’m glad I listened to my weirdo craving – this was dang good. I’ll be making it again because this base is super versatile.

Some topping options:

  • Like I served it with leftover crumbled sausage, cherry tomatoes & Choula
  • Taco meat, guacamole and salsa
  • Chorizo or breakfast sausage & a fried egg
  • Turkey bacon & a fried egg (had this for breakfast the next day and it was 💯
  • Marinara & shredded protein of your choice with red pepper flakes
  • Salmon burger or crab cake with lemon aioli and capers

Let me know if you make any of these other options, tag me on Instagram @gastography – I’d love to see how they turned out!

On to the actual recipe.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Ignore my poor little abused Ikea bowl. She’s got problems.

Veg-Forward Hash Bowl Base

4 small waxy potatoes (about 2 cups shredded)

1 small red onion, shredded

1 large zucchini, shredded

2 cloves garlic, grated

1/2 cup sautéed minced red pepper & onion

Salt & pepper

Neutral oil

Shred the veggies and add in a pile to a clean tea towel. When all the veggies are in, twist as hard as you can to release as much water as possible. You want your mixture pretty dry so it picks up a bit of color rather than just steaming – if you’re me. You do you, though.

Heat a Tablespoon or so of your favorite fat over medium high heat. Add the squeezed veggies and stir to break up.

Hit with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Stir again.

Let sauté until browned to your liking. Add the pepper & onion mix. Stir to combine.

This process took me about 12 minutes to hit my desired level of brownness (stirring pretty frequently to avoid all-out burning) and for my potatoes to be cooked through.

You could also use frozen hashed browns here and that may take a different cooking time.

Taste for seasoning and hit with more salt, pepper or garlic powder if needed. Smoked paprika would also be nice here – cumin would be good, too. I made mine plain so I had maximum topping options.

Serves 2 for dinner

Garden Orzo

Orzo is an ingredient I under-utilize and I’m always surprised how much I like it each time I remember to make it. I’m imagining it’s because I spent years exclusively eating paleo, and have been into low carb for years upon that – but this is really good.

This recipe tastes fresh and makes a great accompaniment to next weeks recipe – a baked Mediterranean chicken. It’s also great as a standalone dish.

Vegetarian, vegan

Garden Orzo

1/2 cup orzo

1.5 cups liquid – I used 1/2 a cup of good stock & 1 cup of water; you do you, though I’d suggest using some good flavorful broth as well

6 sundried tomatoes

500g baby spinach

2 cloves garlic

2 tsp. your favorite oil

Optional add-ins: pine nuts, a good salty cheese (this one from Violife was what I used for the dish I made to go with and it was fantastic – they also make a “Parmesan” that would probably be great here), a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of Zaatar

Sauté the garlic in the little bit of oil until just beginning to turn tender.

Add the stock & water and bring up to a boil.

Add the orzo and cook, stirring quite frequently to prevent sticking, until just al dente, a minute or so before the cook time is up.

While the orzo is working, chop the sundried tomatoes.

When the orzo is al dente, remove from the heat.

Chuck the sundried tomatoes in, stir, and add the spinach on top.

Let steam a couple minutes, and stir the wilted spinach in.

Top with your optionals and serve.

Serves 2 for dinner

Okra Curry

Finally. A curry with taste! I have been crap at making truly flavorful curries in general – I find recipes either too light in the spice for my taste, or just generally falling flat of the kind of deeply layered taste thing I love when enjoying my favorite delivery curries.

This is a step in that direction. It’s complex, flavorful, and wholly satisfying.

A word of caution for this recipe: I served mine with just a side of basmati rice, and I was still hungry. Either the carb ratio was off, or the meal needed some protein or fat to be truly filling.

Note: This recipe uses some of the Good Standard Curry I posted last week. That curry is a fantastic base for all number of other curries – I’m hoping I’ll get one more shot at transforming it into something else before I run out. Luckily, it freezes beautifully in batches.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Okra Curry

1/2 yellow onion

2 cloves garlic

1 green chili of your choice

400-500g can diced or crushed tomatoes

1 Tbsp. ground coriander

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 Tbsp. smoked paprika

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

1.5 c. chopped okra

1 bell pepper

1 c. of the Good Standard Curry I posted a recipe for last week

Your favorite cooking oil

Salt & pepper

Chop your onion and garlic. Mince the chili. Fry in a little oil until just beginning to brown.

Add about a quarter cup of water, let simmer about 5 minutes while you are prepping the next step.

While the aromatics are softening, in another pan, fry the coriander, cumin, smoked paprika and tomato paste in a little oil about a minute, or until fragrant.

Add the canned tomatoes, stir well, and simmer 10 minutes.

While the tomatoes are simmering, Whiz the onion mixture to form a paste. Chop the okra and bell pepper.

Add the onion mix, okra, bell pepper and curry base. Simmer 20 minutes, season well with salt and pepper and serve.

I served mine with basmati rice cooked with a little butter – you do you.

Serves 4-6

A Good Standard Curry

This curry makes a great jumping off point for a whole world of sauces. It’s based on this British-style sauce from Great Curry Recipes, but with amped-up spices, since I just can’t help myself. I also turned it into a full vegetarian meal, and it was delicious

gluten-free, vegetarian

A Good Standard Curry

2 yellow onions

Neutral oil

4 cloves garlic

1/2 inch ginger

1 carrot

2 bell peppers

1.5 cups crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp. + ghee

1 Tbsp. curry powder (your favorite style)

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. coriander

1 Tbsp. asofetida (fenugreek was called for in the original; I used what I had)

1 Tbsp. smoked paprika

1 Tbsp. turmeric

To turn this into a meal:

2-3 potatoes

1 carrot

1 can chickpeas

1 c. water

Lemon juice

Finishing salt

Basmati rice

Thinly slice your onions. Add to a medium- large pan over medium heat where you’ve heated enough oil to cover the bottom till slightly bubbly.

Fry about 20 minutes until really soft and clear with a little color.

While the onions are working, chop the peppers & carrot. Mince the ginger and garlic and make a paste out of them by crushing with the back of a knife or grinding in a mortar & pestle.

When the onions are ready, add the peppers and carrot. Fry 5 minutes to get working.

Add the ginger, garlic and all spices but the turmeric.

Add to tomatoes and enough water just to cover.

Simmer :30, and remove from the heat. Cool until safe to whiz.

Whiz to make a mostly smooth mixture.

Add the ghee to the pan over medium heat and fry the turmeric :30 – 1 minute to bloom. Add the sauce back into the pan and simmer over low for 20 – 30 minutes.

Now to turn this sauce into a meal.

Set the sauce aside, and add a Tablespoon of oil back into the pan. Chop and add the potatoes, second carrot, and can of chickpeas (drained). Let sauté a couple minutes to warm up a bit. I had intended on putting a little color on the chickpeas but I lost patience with life.

Add a cup or two of the sauce and 1 cup of water. Simmer :30, covered.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and a liberal sprinkle of finishing salt over basmati rice.

The dinner portion serves 4 easily, with enough sauce leftover to make at least 1 more big meal

Note: This curry is unsalted on purpose. The original recipe was unsalted as well, and I think that’s a good idea since it’s supposed to be used as a base for additions. I’ll be taking this curry and adding some fire next meal – along with more peppers and a deeper taste with tomato paste.

Fresh Shakshouka

This version of shakshouka makes a great topper for crusty bread, uses a good blend of fresh + pantry ingredients – and makes a bonus second meal if you swirl some of your leftover sauce in with noodles.

It’s also DH approved, and he’s not a fan of skin-on tomatoes. He could live without the spinach, but we had greens and needed chlorophyll.

This would also be great with chickpeas for added protein and either scrambled or poached eggs/substitute cooked in the sauce. I wanted to keep my eggs separate to maximize leftovers. Scrambled soft tofu would be fantastic.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, halal

Fresh Shakshouka

1 small jar fire roasted peppers in oil

2 hands cherry tomatoes

1 large onion

4 Tbsp. zaatar

1 Tbsp. smoked paprika

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1/2 c. tinned tomatoes (I used crushed but use what you have)

2 tsp. sambal olek (this is my favorite)

1/2 c. parsley

Baby spinach

Eggs

Crusty bread

3 – 4 cloves garlic – 2-3 minced and 1 or 2 whole with the end sliced off

Thinly slice the onion and sauté on medium in 1 Tbsp. of the oil that comes from the jar of peppers until soft and lightly brown in spots.

Add the sambal and 2 – 3 cloves minced garlic. Sauté a minute or two more to meld together.

While that is working, remove the peppers from the oil and roughly chop.

Add the tomatoes and peppers and sauté until the tomatoes burst.

While the tomatoes are doing their thing, roughly chop the parsley, slice the bread into thick slices and drizzle with some of the pepper oil.

Broil the bread until your desired toast level has been reached. Remove from the oven and rub with the cut end of the reserved garlic clove. Set aside.

When the tomatoes have burst (with or without a little help), add the Zaatar, smoked paprika, salt & pepper. Stir to combine and let sauté a minute or so to meld.

Add the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and half a cup of water. Bring up to a boil, reduce the heat, add the spinach + half the parsley on top, and simmer 7 – 8 minutes. As soon as that spinach wilts and can be thoroughly mixed in is the time to add eggs if you are cooking them like a traditional Shakshouka.

If you are not, fry your eggs separately in a little of the pepper oil to your desired doneness.

Serves 2 for a light dinner + makes enough sauce to be used for another night’s pasta