Thursday, January 13, 2011

gratitude day 4: food

i love food, in its many colors, textures and varieties. i love sun-warmed raspberries from the garden, honey-sweetened greek yogurt, a bowl of warm soup. i love to eat freshly prepared, whole foods. i love the way i feel when i treat my body with gratitude and respect by choosing with care what goes inside it.

food can heal. i learned that last year.

have you made a commitment for the new year to eat healthily? allow me to share some of my favorite, healthy, delicious recipes, some that i promised i would share months ago.

roasted root vegetable salad-sweet, savory and tangy all in one dish
serves 6

3-4 beets, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 parsnips, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 medium shallots, peeled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 big pinches of sea salt
2 bunches of scallions (green onions), greens topped off, and halved lengthwise

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon heavy cream or creme fraiche (optional)

1 cup wild rice, uncooked.

preheat oven to 400F degrees.

cook the rice according to the package directions. meanwhile, in a large bowl toss the beets, carrots, parsnips, and shallots with 1/4 cup of olive oil and 2 big pinches of salt. when the ingredients are well coated, turn them out onto a large baking sheet in a single layer. there will be a bit of residual oil in the bottom of the bowl, gently add the green onions to the mixing bowl and push them around a bit until they are coated as well. if there is room on your baking sheet add the onions in their own corner (they take less time to roast and you will need to remove them), or place them on their own baking sheet. place in the oven.

the scallions will likely finished baking first, remove them when they are well-browned, roughly 20 minutes. the rest of the vegetables usually take somewhere between 40 and 60 minutes. let them go until they are deeply golden and tender throughout. check them regularly, flip them with a metal spatula once or twice along the way, and if any of the smaller pieces are getting too dark pull them off the pan.

while the vegetables are roasting, start the dressing by pouring the red wine vinegar into a small bowl along with the chopped shallot. if you have the time, let it sit there for twenty minutes or so. then whisk in the mustard and salt, before slowly drizzling in the olive oil, whisking all the while. whisk in the cream, taste and adjust with more mustard, vinegar, salt, etc to taste.

when they are done roasting, remove the vegetables from the oven. in a large bowl toss the wild rice (if you're going that route) with a splash of the vinaigrette. you can now either transfer the rice to a serving platter, as a bed for the vegetables, or you can add the roasted vegetables to the bowl and toss them with the rice, the rest of the dressing, and half of the scallions. turn everything out onto the platter and serve topped with the remaining roasted scallions.

french onion soup-easy, yummy, crockpot recipe
serves 6

4 cups water
6 beef bullion cubes or 2 tablespoons beef base
1/4 cup butter
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sherry

Place water and beef bullion/base in crockpot. Set to high. In a large sauté pan on medium heat, cook butter and onions, covered, for 15 minutes, or until onions are soft and beginning to caramelize. Add the flour and sherry to the onions. Stir, then dump in the crockpot. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. Serve with cheesy french bread and a green salad.

southwest quinoa salad-healthy, quick, vegetarian
serves 6

1 heaping Tbsp. grated lime zest
1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well (soak for a few minutes, drain in fine strainer) 2 cups water
1 can petite diced tomatoes with chipotle chiles
2 cans black beans, rinsed well
1 small can chopped black olives
1 cup chopped tomatoes (i like cherry tomatoes straight from the garden, but grape tomatoes would be good too)
1 cup frozen corn (i love the organic sweet corn from costco)
2 scallions, chopped (including most of the green part)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

whisk together lime zest and juice, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper in serving bowl. simmer quinoa in water, uncovered, about 10 minutes. turn off heat, cover, and let stand 10 minutes. (strain any excess water with a fine seive and dump the can of diced tomatoes over the top.) add quinoa mixture to dressing and toss well, then stir in remaining ingredients.

raw ranch dip-perfect for dipping all those raw veggies in, but you've got to soak the nuts/seeds overnight so plan ahead
makes 1 cup

1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup hemp seeds
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
handful of fresh herbs (i like dill, basil, and parsley, and i'll use dried herbs in the winter when i can't pull them straight from my garden)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water, more or less

soak nuts and seeds overnight, then drain. blend everything but the water in a blender or food processor until smooth. add water until the dip is your desired consistency. i like mine thick so it doesn't invade other items in our school lunches. you may want to add more water if you plan on using it as a salad dressing.


  1. Those recipes look so yummy! Is that ranch dip dairy free? I don't see milk, but I can't believe my eyes! I'm going to make this because Corey can't eat ranch dressing usually because of the MSG in it. He'll love this!

  2. jenni: yes! it's dairy-free, so lucas can eat it.

  3. Mmmm. I think I'll try every one of these recipes when I make my grand appearance back into reality.

  4. yes! food glorious food.

    must try that ranch recipe.

  5. Rachel, thanks so much for taking the time to post these recipes. I can't wait to try them, they all look so good!

  6. Oh man, these recipes look SOOO GOOD! I can not wait to try them!

  7. Dairy free ranch? You're my hero! Where does one find hemp seeds?

  8. Stumbled upon your blog the other day and saw the ranch recipe. I just made it tonight...nervously...and to my pleasant surprise, this stuff is amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. I was always scared of soaked cashew based recipes, but no more!