Grilled Halloumi and Peach Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Grilled Halloumi and Peach Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Make this summery grilled halloumi and peach salad with lemon-tahini dressing! It’s has tons of different flavors and textures from crunchy veggies, sweet and juicy fresh peaches, creamy avocado and squeaky grilled halloumi cheese! You’ll love the easy lemon tahini dressing too!

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Baked Green Falafel with Three Dipping Sauces

Baked Green Falafel with Three Dipping Sauces

Make this easy baked green falafel, packed with tons of herbs and pistachios! I serve them with three different dipping sauces for you indecisive folks - a spicy harissa tomato sauce, a creamy tahini yogurt, and a green herb chutney, along with pita bread. Vegan and gluten free too. 

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Sesame Soba Noodles

Sesame soba noodles! Toss whole grain soba noodles in a creamy tahini sauce then add crunchy carrots and cucumbers to make this cold Asian salad. 

Oh hayyyyy there sesame noodles. Don't worry, we'll come back to you. But first, let's talk Olympics.

Tell me, are you watching? What's your favorite sport? It's badmitton, isn't it? ;) I'm typing this while watching women's gymnastics qualifiers. Sidebar - Simone Biles OMG!!! How does your body do these things? I literally do not understand.

I'm always super ambivalent about the Olympics when they're first starting then two days later I find myself in tears watching some random Armenian's medal dreams get crushed. Currently, I've cried at least five times including when the Dutch cyclist crashed, when Gabby Douglas stepped out of bounds during the floor routine, and when my husband made a remark about the diversity of American athletes showing off what's cool about our country. Tears. What is wrong with me? I think I need to get my hormones checked...

So back to these sesame noodles. I'm a huge fan of Asian noodle salads. It's all the things I want in the summer. Salads and substance.

You'll want to find soba noodles if you can. One hundred percent buckwheat are my jam, and gluten free too for those who must avoid, but the whole wheat or mixed buckwheat and wheat are easier to find and work just fine. Regular spaghetti also works in a pinch.

This sesame sauce is the bestest. Most sesame noodles use sesame oil as a dressing, but sometimes that gets a bit greasy. So I used tahini, which was almost like a peanut satay sauce. Actually, you could probably use peanut butter instead of tahini and it would be equally amazing.

To round it out, add rotisserie chicken or baked tofu cubes. You could also serve it over a bed of lettuce for more green.

Sesame Soba Noodles

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 ounce soba noodles
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1/2 cup scallions, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into half moons
  • 2 carrots, shredded

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook soba noodles according to package instructions. When cooked, drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. While noodles are cooking, whisk together tahini, sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and sriracha.
  3. Toss noodles in a large bowl with dressing, scallions, cucumber and carrots. Serve room temperature or chilled.

More Asian noodle salads:

Curry Salmon Noodle Bowl
Curry Salmon Noodle Bowl
Vegan Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodle Salad with Tempeh
Vegan Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodle Salad with Tempeh
Kimchi Noodle Salad
Kimchi Noodle Salad

Sweet Potato Hummus

Creamy sweet potato hummus is perfect for dipping raw veggies or with crunchy whole grain crackers! 

I love this summer.

If you've been following my adventures on instagram, then you know I just got back from a long weekend in Asheville. Before that, it was Tybee Island, Greenville and a week and a half in the northeast. Coming up, we've got Charleston, NYC, and Charlotte. With my practice, I've been running our first group of Joyful Eaters, working with a pretty full load of clients and wrapping up a few other big projects. Phew!

Even though the past few months have been packed to the brim with work and play, there's still been a leisurely feel to this season. After focusing on work and growing my practice, now that I'm finally settled and stable, I've really tried to prioritize rest, relaxation and self care...err, at least try to fit it in!

One of my favorite ways to do that is with reading. I'm pretty proud of myself for slowing chipping away at the pile of books by my bed! My latest read - My Fat Dad, which I'm participating in a blog tour for today.

My Fat Dad is part cookbook, part memoir. It hilarious and poignantly tells the story of Dawn Lerman's youth, growing up, hungry for pleasure and nourishment in a household with her yo-yo dieting father and a mother who couldn't care less about food or cooking. An incredibly successful marketing exec, her father was unable to replicate his work success in his attempts to lose weight. As he jumped from diet to diet, everything from Atkins to the grapefruit diet to a stay at an adult fat camp, she was essentially forced to live off his diet foods. She compassionately shares her dad's dieting stories, which was fascinating to read with an intuitive eating filter. With no family meals, eating was chaotic. It could have easily set the stage for developing eating issues of her own.

Thankfully, she had her grandmother, Beauty, who would spend hours with her, teaching her how to cook, instilling a love of real food and cooking, as well as an appreciation of her Jewish heritage and how food can connect you to it. This influence served as a protection against developing eating issues herself, and now Dawn is a nutritionist and columnist at The New York Times.

I usually don't do book reviews on the blog, simply because it's hard for me to commit to reading a book by a certain time. But I've been such a huge fan of Dawn Lerman's Fat Dad column at the Times, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate! Being half Jewish, growing up (partly) in New York, with a marketing exec father who yo-yo dieted himself (although not NEARLY on the scale as this book!), there was so much I related to. Although really, I think any food lover would relate to the story of falling in love with food and learning that it is so much more than fuel.

Reading Fat Dad got me thinking about all the things in my life that could have triggered eating issues. It gave me new appreciation for the love of food my family instilled, because I think that was my saving grace in becoming the intuitive eater I am today.

Also a cookbook, Fat Dad is peppered with recipes from her youth, everything from rich and decadent flourless peanut butter blondies to traditional Jewish dishes like kugel to recipes from her dad's diet adventures, like gazpacho and Pritkin-approved lentil stew. I chose to share her sweet potato hummus, since hummus was one of the first dishes I learned to make myself!

Connect with the author: Dawn Lerman, MA, C.H.H.C, LCAT, AADP

NY Times Column

DawnLerman.net

Facebook: Author Page

Twitter: @dawnlerman

Sweet Potato Hummus

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Reprinted from MY FAT DAD: A Memoir of Food, Love, Family, and Recipes By Dawn Lerman Berkley Books/2015

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Prick a sweet potato all over with the prongs of a fork. Wrap in a paper towel and microwave for 5-10 minutes until tender. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Place chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, coriander and nutmeg in a food processor. Cut sweet potato in half and scoop the flesh into the food processor. Blend until pureed, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve with fresh vegetables and whole grain crackers.

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Dip with Tahini

Summer's best produce stars in this recipe for grilled eggplant and zucchini dip with tahini. Perfect for serving with toasted whole grain pita!

And so it begins: The Summer of the Squash.

Earlier this Spring, Scott came home with twenty squash seedlings, leftover from a community garden project at work. At first I fought him when he wanted to plant all twenty, knowing squash reproduce like rabbits, but then I remembered we kill everything we plant, so I let the boy have his fun.

Two months later, we could essentially cure a small developing nation of nutritional deficiencies with our backyard garden.

Good thing I really like squash.

Since you're about to see an ungodly amount of summer squash on the blog this summer, I figure now's the time to talk about why consuming ungodly amounts of summer squash is a good thing.

Summer squash are in the cucumber and melon family and were first cultivated in Mexico and Central America, where they were referred to as part of the "three sisters" alongside beans and corn. Yellow squash and zucchini are commonly found in the grocery store, but if you explore the farmer's market, you'll find heirloom varieties like pattypan (perfect for stuffing...coming soon!), zephyr, eightball and limelight. If you're growing squash in your garden, don't be like me and forget to harvest it for a few days - although the massive footlong zucchini are hilariously fun, they tend to taste woody and bitter compared to the more tender squash harvested around 6 inches.

Summer squash are a very good source of a wide variety of nutrients - folate, vitamin C, B6, copper, magnesium, and potassium to name just a few! It's also a good source of fiber with 2.5 grams in a cup, much of that fiber coming from pectin, which is especially beneficial for blood sugar control. Also, because you eat the seeds in squash, you get a little dose of omega 3 fats. Who knew!

Because I just can't bring myself to toss anything that came from our backyard, I've been working squash into as many meals as I possibly can. My breakfast for the next 3 months will likely be some variation on this shredded sauteed squash with basil (also from the garden), goat cheese and a fried egg. For diner, I've already made stuffed squash and more zucchini side dishes than you can imagine. And for snacks, I've been obsessing over this grilled vegetable and tahini dip. You could use almost any vegetable you like in this, as long as it's grill-able. Try peppers, mushrooms, onions or tomatoes. I do like the including an eggplant, since it's creamy texture makes it more dip-like. Serve this with whole grain pita, ak-mak crackers or tortilla chips.

Now, I'd like to offer a special for Columbia area clients. Sign up for coaching sessions with me this summer and you get a free bonus - a giant basket of zucchini!! Come get while the gettins' good!

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Dip

Feel free to use other vegetables like mushrooms, peppers or onion.

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced 1/2-in thick
  • 2 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and each half cut into 4 spears
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Spray or brush the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Spread vegetables evenly on the grill and cook 7-10 minutes on one side. Flip and cook another 5 minutes on the other side until tender and lightly charred. Remove to a platter and set aside to cool.
  3. While the vegetables are cooling, make the dressing. Whisk together tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and parsley, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. When vegetables are cool enough to handle, dice and place in a large bowl. Pour in dressing and stir to combine. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

You might also like:

Zucchini Fritters in Tomato Sauce
Zucchini Fritters in Tomato Sauce
Grilled Zucchini and Ricotta Pita Pizza

Grilled Zucchini and Ricotta Pita Pizza

Grilled Mexican Zucchini Boats
Grilled Mexican Zucchini Boats

Edamame Nori Rolls with Tahini Dipping Sauce

Edamame nori rolls with tahini dipping sauce are an easy and nutritious alternative to sushi. Perfect for lunch paired with a salad or as a snack!

As we established in my very first recipe post (besides my lack of camera skills), I lack the hand-eye coordination to make homemade sushi. Early on in my cooking career, I decided I was going to become a sushi master so I could enjoy my favorite food on a regular basis. Then I actually attempted to make sushi. It's a lot harder than it looks! After creating a few overstuffed, buritto-like sushi rolls and watching an episode of Antony Bourdain in Japan where they showed the amount of training goes into making sushi, I decided to leave it to the experts.

Until now, my one way of getting "homemade" sushi has been through my various renditions of sushi un-rolls, essentially a grain bowl topped with my favorite sushi fillings. But recently I discovered nori rolls, another way to faux sushi. Nori rolls eliminate the difficult to perfect sushi rice and replaces it with a vegetable based spread. The spread holds everything hold together and makes it more nutritious by eliminating the white rice and sugary dressing.

Despite being raw and vegan, this roll is super filling, with protein from the edamame and healthy fats in the dressing. We enjoyed a few rolls along with arugula drizzled with the extra dipping sauce and it lasted well into snack time, but you could also have a roll or two a snack. To save time, swap out the dressing for premade edamame hummus (I love the one by Eat Well Embrace Life) or guac.

This is also an easy way to sneak in sea vegetables, a nutritious food we don't often eat outside of the occasional sushi roll. Sea vegetables, like nori, are a rich source of unique nutrients because it grows in the sea rather than on land. It's the best food source of iodine, a critical nutrient for thyroid health. Sea vegetables are also a rich source of sulfated polysaccharides, a starch compound with powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and an ability to help thin blood.

Have fun playing with this recipe and filling nori with your favorite sushi or sandwich ingredients. Some other ideas:

Cucumber + avocado + smoked salmon

Cucumber + mango + red pepper + guacamole

Cashew mayo + tempeh bacon + tomato + lettuce

Smoky tempeh quinoa salad + lettuce

Mashed sweet potatoes + guacamole + spinach + tomato + red onion + feta

Edamame Nori Rolls with Tahini Dipping Sauce

Serves:

Serves 4 as a main

To save time, swap premade edamame hummus for the homemade edamame spread.

Ingredients

Edamame Spread:

  • 12 ounces frozen shelled edamame, defrosted
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Tahini Dipping Sauce: 

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoons water

Nori Roll:

  • 8 nori sheets
  • 4 radishes, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/3 cup kimchi or fermented kraut (optional)
  • A few handfuls of arugula, microgreens or pea shoots

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients for the edamame spread together in a food processor. Blend until pureed, scraping down sides as needed. Set aside until ready to assemble.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the tahini dipping sauce and season with salt as needed.
  3. Spread each nori roll with edamame spread, covering one side entirely with layer of edamame spread. Place radishes, carrot, cucumber, kimchi or kraut and a few small handfuls of arugula in a line on one side of the wrap. Roll up tightly, like sushi. Using a sharp knife, cut in half on the diagonal or into small sushi rolls.
Brown Rice Bowl with Five Spice Tempeh and Garlicky Greens
Brown Rice Bowl with Five Spice Tempeh and Garlicky Greens
Sushi Un-Roll with Smoked Salmon and Avocado
Sushi Un-Roll with Smoked Salmon and Avocado
Toasted Nori Snacks with Smoked Trout and Avocado
Toasted Nori Snacks with Smoked Trout and Avocado

Vegetable and Soba Noodle Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

Vegetable and Soba Noodle Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

This vegetable and soba noodle stir fry is made with chewy, buckwheat soba noodles made from sweet potato and buckwheat. It's packed with veggies - strips of eggplant, green beans, bok choy, and red bell peppers, as well and stir fried tofu and drenched in a spicy peanut sauce!

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Hippie Salad with Sprouted Grains and Tahini Dressing

Break out the Birkenstocks for this hippie salad! Topped with sprouted amaranth, red cabbage, pumpkin seeds and a creamy lemon-tahini dressing, this is a salad that would make any flower child proud! 

Today, I bring you the most hippie salad I've ever made. In full disclosure, no, Birkenstock is not sponsoring this post.

Mostly raw, vegan, and gluten free, this is the salad any kombucha guzzling, hybrid driving, obsessively recycling, yoga enthusiast would dream of.....I think I just described myself.

Alas, this salad is so flavorful and satisfying with it's citrusy and spicy tahini dressing, fluffy sprouts and crunchy veggies that you'll soon forget all that and just enjoy it.

The idea of this salad prompted my first experiment with DIY sprouted grains. Sprouted grains are a regular at our house in the form of Ezekiel bread, but I had yet to make them myself. I was initially intimidated, but then I realized I've already tackled ricotta, goat cheese, pizza crust, beer and yogurt, so might as well jump head first into the world of sprouting grains!

Why sprout grains in the first place. Essentially, sprouting mimics the process of a seeds germination into a plant. This greatly increases nutrient bioavailability, mainly by breaking down a compound called phytic acid. Soaking and sprouting does this by increasing the activity of phytase, the enzyme that breaks down phytic acid. This is important for anyone who follows a plant based diet as phytic acid binds to minerals that tend to be lacking in a plant based diet, namely zinc, iron, calcium and B vitamins. You can do the same with beans and nuts, which also contain phytic acid.

The process is so simple, I really don't know why I didn't start sprouting earlier. Basically, all you do is soak, rinse, then let it sprout for a few days in a clean mason jar covered with cheesecloth or a sprouting lid. Check out this fantastic how-to article on Nutrition Stripped for more in depth information and a helpful chart on sprouting times. And if you really want to get into it, check out The Everything Sprouted Grains Book.

From a culinary standpoint, sprouted grains are a lot of fun to experiment. They have a lighter, fluffier texture than cooked whole grains, which works well tossed into a salad or in a sandwich. You can also grind the sprouted whole grain into flour and bake with it. Sprouted grains can even be used to make cereal or granola. I just used sprouted quinoa to make my quinoa almond energy bites!

Do be careful though as sprouted grains are at risk for food borne illness. Keep your kitchen and hands clean as well as your sprouting equipment. After sprouting, make sure you store the grains in the fridge and consume within 4 days.

Now, go throw on your Jefferson Airplane vinyl, light some incense, and make this salad!

p.s. Are you in Atlanta this weekend? Come meet me at Pure Barre in the Park, sponsored by the Virginia Highlands Pure Barre. The class is sold out, but I'll be there from 8-11 at my booth and would love it if you could drop by and say hello! We'll be in Piedmont Park across from the Nook. Hope to see you there!

Hippie Salad with Sprouted Grains and Tahini Dressing

Serves 4

Feel free to use any sprouted grain you like, but I chose amaranth, simply because I had a lot on hand and it seemed like a good beginners grain with it's shorter sprouting time. Inspired by Martha Stewart Meatless

Ingredients

  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1/2 small head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups sprouted grain, like amaranth, quinoa, millet or wild rice

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2-4 tablespoons water (optional, to thin)
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Set a steamer basket over a medium pot filled with an inch or so of simmering water. Place broccoli florets in the basket, cover, and steam for 5 minutes until tender, but with bite. Set aside to cool.
  2. While the broccoli is cooling, make the dressing. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice and zest, oil, garlic, honey and spices. Whisk in water until smooth. Season with sea salt to taste. Set aside.
  3. In a large salad bowl, toss the arugula, red cabbage, red onion and broccoli. Top with pumpkin seeds and sprouted grain. Divide salad among plates, drizzle with dressing and serve.

Quinoa Tahini Bar

Anyone who has lived with me, worked with me, or just spent the day with me, is well aware of my reliance on snacks.When I come to work each morning, it’s never without the world’s largest lunch box filled to the brim with random containers of food. What can I say, I like to eat. I eat my snacks right on the dot, at 10 am and 3:30 pm. If I go more than 30 minutes past my scheduled snack time, I’m stricken with a major case of hanger (hungry-anger for those of you not familiar with the term).

I like to treat snacks as mini-meals, full of nutritious, whole foods that will satisfy until mealtime. My secret to a filling and nutritious snack? Pair one serving of a high fiber carb food with another serving of a food that contains fat and/or protein. The high fiber carb keeps blood sugar levels stable and the fat/protein keeps you satiated until your next meal.

The easy version – just eat one serving of food from two different food groups.  You'll almost always end up with the right combination.

Some of my favorites:

  • Slices of avocado on ak-mak or wasa crackers drizzled with sriracha (or hot sauce if you forgot to hoard it for the impending sriracha shortage)
  • Tortilla chips topped with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, microwaved for a minute and served with salsa
  • A baggie of unsweetened whole grain cereal, nuts and dried fruit
  • Popcorn drizzled with a little honey or maple syrup and tossed with toasted walnuts, almonds or coconut flakes
  • Sardines (yup!) on rye crackers
  • Plain yogurt mixed with fresh fruit or all-fruitjam
  • Microwaved baked potato chips with yogurt dip
  • Celery sticks spread with cream cheese and chopped black olives (fancy pants ants on a log)
  • Homemade tuna or salmon salad in whole wheat mini-pitas
  • Fresh fruit with peanut or almond butter
  • My favorite snack - leftovers!

Lately, I’ve been really into homemade energy bars, which are generally simple to make and portable. I used to think I hated granola bars because all the store-bought versions I tried were so syrupy sweet.  Since starting to make my own, I've changed my mind. 

The quinoa bars I'm sharing with you today are just lightly sweetened with dried dates, my favorite new sweetener to cook with. Dates impart a rich, caramely flavor, but are a rich source of fiber, iron, potassium, selenium, and vitamin A.

You could boost the nutrition of these bars even more with all sorts of healthy add-ins – cacao powder, maca powder, flax seeds or chia seeds would all work beautifully.

Quinoa Tahini Bar

Makes 10

Adapted from Peru Delights.

Ingredients

  • 12 chopped dates
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ cup cooked quinoa

Instructions

  1. Add first five ingredients to a food processor. Blend until you have a mostly smooth paste. Add the quinoa and blend until just combined.
  2. Scoop paste out of the food processor and into a medium baking dish. Press down with wet hands to spread it out evenly and smooth the top. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Once firmed, cut the bars into rectangles and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Crunchy Lentil and Brown Rice Salad with Honey-Citrus Tahini Dressing

Crunchy Lentil and Brown Rice Salad with Honey-Citrus Tahini Dressing

This crunchy lentil and brown rice salad features my absolute favorite salad dressing! The honey-citrus tahini dressing is slightly sweet with a tart lemon kick and creamy texture! Make this salad with any of your favorite crunchy vegetables. This recipe features radish, celery, and red onion. 

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