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  • Fresh Summer Roll Bowl with Chili Cashew Sauce

    Do you like fresh spring/summer rolls? But want to skip the roll and go straight to the bowl? This recipe is super easy, flexible, and delicious and will get an unbelievable amount of tasty veggies and noodles coated in creamy sauce on the table in no time. Use any nut in place of the toasted cashews, peanuts, almonds, etc, all work. Make it!


    Fresh Summer Roll Bowl with Chili Cashew Sauce

    Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

    Serves: 2-4

    Ingredients:

    • 1 package rice noodles of choice
    • 1 zucchini, thickly julienned
    • 1 carrot, thickly julienned
    • 1 cup red onion or shallot, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced, optional
    • 2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced, or broccoli floret

    Sauce:

    • 1/2 cup toasted cashews (unsalted)
    • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, hulled
    • 1 Tbsp white or rice vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp sweetener of choice, or 1 whole pitted date
    • 1 Tbsp soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos 
    • 1/4- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
    • 2 Tbsp fresh shallot, chopped
    • 1 red, thai, or serrano chili, de-seeded and chopped (leave the seeds if you like the heat, omit chili entirely if you want it 100% mild)
    • 1" piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 3/4-1 cup warm water, as needed

    1. Slice all veggies and set aside. Cook rice noodles as directed. While noodles are cooking, heat 1 Tbsp of oil in skillet and add sliced onion, carrot and zucchini. Let cook over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes until softening and starting to brown a bit. Add mushrooms and red cabbage and let cook for an additional 5-6 minutes with cover on pan. Season veggies with salt, pepper, and soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos to taste and keep warm in pan. 

    2. Put all ingredients for sauce in high powered blender and blend on high for 1 minute until creamy. Add water only as needed to achieve smooth creamy sauce consistency. Either pour over individual bowls of noodles topped with veggies, or toss everything together with sauce in large bowl and serve. Enjoy!

  • Rosemary & Zucchini Tart

    Dishes like this, that look quite lovely but are actually so easy to make, are great for impressing guests but also impressing yourself.  I've been rethinking what goes into making a "nice" meal lately, and have been working on meals that focus on one or two ingredients, and really let them shine. Here I make a simple gluten-free rosemary crust, press it into a small baking sheet, and layer with rows of colorful zucchini and summer squash. Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, white pepper, and rosemary leaves, it really lets the fresh zucchini's taste and texture come through. What an easy dinner with a salad, or beautiful summer appetizer for a picnic or BBQ. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar after baking and serve!


    Rosemary & Zucchini Tart

    Serves 4-8 (depending on portions)

    Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients:

    Crust:
    1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free AP Flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp crushed rosemary
    1/4 cup coconut oil
    1/4 cup + 1 tsp water

    2 medium-large zucchini/summer squash (I used one green and one yellow), sliced thinly
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp white or black pepper
    1 Tbsp olive oil
    1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar


    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, lightly oil small baking sheet or pan (I used 9"x9") with a bit of oil.

    2. Combine all dry ingredients for crust in a mixing bowl and add coconut oil. Cut in using fingers or two forks until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add water in slowly, and mix until dough comes together in a ball.

    3. Gently press dough into pan, pushing from the center outwards until it's evenly pressed into all sides. Be patient, it takes a minute or so.

    4. Layer top of tart with alternating rows of zucchini and squash slices (see photos above). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and rosemary. Bake uncovered in the oven for 15-20 minutes until crust is firm and golden brown, and zucchini slices are lightly browning and cooked through.

    5. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into squares and drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar if desired. Serve immediately, or at room temperature. Enjoy!

  • Zucchini Polenta Fries & Zucchini Polenta Scramble

    From one simple thing can come many. This recipe is an accurate reflection of my cooking process and how I often come to the tasty recipes that I share with you all.  I'll explain my thought and action process briefly so you can understand how this recipe quickly evolved into two very different preparations. I had a bounty of farm fresh zucchini in the fridge (straight from the Port Townsend farmer's market) and wanted to turn them into a crispy zucchini fry type dish. I thought about possible binding options and decided I would combine the ease of polenta fries with freshly grated zucchini and see how they came out. I prepared polenta as I normally would, added some salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast for flavor, set it to cool, cut it into strips, and baked in the oven on an oiled baking sheet. It just barely worked. While they came out sort of fine, mid-way throught the baking I realized they weren't drying out as quickly as I had hoped and were quite mushy in the center. When I tried to flip them over (prematurely) they started to fall apart on the tray. I decided to give them a final chance and just left them in the oven to see if they crisped up on their own with extra baking time. Meanwhile, I looked at the remaining zucchini polenta fries I had left (not all would fit on baking sheet) and decided I would try to fry them. I don't often fry (mostly because it's messy), but I thought this was for a good cause, so I gave it a shot. I put some oil in a pan, gently placed the zucchini fries in, and let them get nice and golden brown. But as soon as I tried to flip them, they too fell apart. Even worse than in the oven. There was nothing left to do but give up on the pan fry idea. But wasting food isnt an option here, so I grabbed my spatula and turned them into a scramble, letting it get quite crispy and just scrambling away every few minutes. The oven baked fries actually turned out quite tasty in the end when left to bake for a little longer than I had expected, though not as pretty as I had hoped.The scramble, also delicious, was an unexpected creation. One that if I were to make again I would certainly add some sauteed onions and mushrooms. It's a lovely substitute for tofu scramble, and very filling as well. Here is the basic recipe I used to make both of these surprise creations. I hope it gives you a sense of my process, the freedom in cooking openly, and what can come of a recipe that doesnt turn out quite as you expect, if you let it just be itself. This happens to me constantly! Just remember to keep an open mind and try to envision what else can come of it. Here are my two surprisingly tasty variations.


    Zucchini Polenta Fries and Zucchini Polenta Scramble

    Serves 2-4

    Prep time: 5-10 minutes Cook time: 20-35 minutesIngredients:

    1 cup polenta
    3 cups water
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
    1 Tbsp oregano
    1 Tbsp rosemary
    1 cup grated zucchini, water squeezed out
    1 Tbsp medium-high heat oil

    Zucchini Polenta Scramble Add-ins:
    1/2 yellow onion, sliced
    1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
    1/4 cup chives or green onions, chopped


    1. Bring water to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan. Add polenta in a thin stream, stirring with a wooden spoon to incorporate. Add salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast, if using. Add grated zucchini. Keep stirring over low heat for the next few minutes as it thickens. When thick and bubbling, pour into a lightly oiled pan (anything with a lip will work; square or rectangle baking tray, even pie plate, though 9"x9" square pan works well). Smooth out and let cool for 10-15 minutes until edges pull away from sides of pan and it's cool to the touch. Gently flip out onto a cutting board, and if making fries cut into rectangular pieces roughly 3"x1" and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay fries out on lightly oiled baking sheet (or parchment paper) and bake for 10-15 minutes, then gently flip over (if too soft to flip, bake a few minutes longer) then bake an additional 15 minutes until very crispy on the outside and soft inside. You'll know they are done when you can easily lift them from the pan with no fear of breaking them. Serve with favorite condiments of choice.

    2. If making into a scramble, lightly saute onions and mushrooms in a skillet over medium heat. When browning, crumble polenta/zucchini block into pan (as you would tofu) and let cook, mostly undisturbed, for 10 minutes or so over medium heat, scrambling occassionally for even browning. When done, stir in green onions or chives if using. Serve alone or with a nice green salad. Very filling, enjoy!

  • Red Cabbage & Jicama Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

    Most folks who've gone out for Thai or Vietnamese food have had these delicious fresh spring rolls and loved them, and thankfully they're not at all hard to make at home. They're wonderful because they're amazingly versatile, beautiful and nutritious. You can fill them with virtually any vegetable, so long as they're thinly sliced. Additional fillings you can try are strips of fried tofu, sauteed/roasted mushrooms, vermicelli noodles, carrot strips, and avocado. The possibilities are endless. Jicama, if you're not familiar with it, is a most delicious tuberous root vegetable from Mexico. It's flavor is mild, slightly sweet, with a one of a kind texture and crunch. Worth seeking out, it can be found in most grocery stores, or try your local Asian or Mexican market. If you can't find it you can substitute carrot, radish, or broccoli stem strips. The spring roll wrappers can be found in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores, get the 8 or 9" ones. The one thing you do not want to leave out of these guys are the fresh herbs. They MAKE the flavor of these rolls. Any combination of fresh mint, cilantro, parsley, or basil will work, but I'd go with at least two, our favorites being mint and basil. The dipping sauce is easy to whip up, and can be made in larger quantities and stored in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. It's tasty on pretty much everything, and if you're a peanut fan like we are you'll see why. If you make these to bring to a party, make them as close to party time as possible, and cover the plate with a damp paper towel or plastic wrap to ensure the rice paper wrappers do not dry out. These will become a recipe staple for you once you give them a try, they are that good.


    Red Cabbage and Jicama Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

    Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free

    Makes 12 rolls

    1 package of "spring roll skin wrappers"
    1 cup thinly sliced red (or green) cabbage
    1 cup thinly sliced cucumber strips
    1 cup thinly sliced jicama (or carrots, radish, or broccoli stems)
    1 cup fresh mint leaves
    1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
    1 cup fresh basil leaves

    Peanut Dipping Sauce
    1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
    3/4 cup warm water
    1 Tbsp rice or white vinegar
    1 Tbsp sugar or agave syrup
    1 Tbsp coconut aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp fresh shallot or onion
    1/2 tsp (or more) fresh thai chili (optional)


    1. Thinly slice all veggies into strips and place in separate clusters on large plate. Remove herbs from stems and add whole leaves to plate as well.

    2. Boil water and fill very wide bowl or pie plate about half way full, let sit for a few minutes to cool ever so slightly. One at a time, soften spring roll sheets by dipping them into the hot water, using your fingers to move them around. Depending on hotness of water, it will take about 2-10 seconds for them to soften. They should be pliable but not mushy and falling apart, think al dente pasta, as they will continue to soften even out of the water. Layer two softened spring roll sheets on top of one another on cutting board (wood works well here) and fill bottom third with a a bit of each veggie and herbs, do not overstuff! Less is more here. Roll up like you would a mini burrito, tucking in sides and rolling up tightly. It will conveniently stick to itself, making this very easy. Cut in half and place on serving plate.

    3. In a blender combine all ingredients for peanut sauce and process 10-20 seconds until creamy. Transfer to small bowl and top with chopped scallions or additional chopped chili pepper, if desired.

  • Sunflower Seed Pesto Pasta

    Here in Seattle, we wait all year for the local heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, and abundance of fresh  fruit to enter the markets. And when it finally does, it's time to really take advantage! This savory, light summer fare is the perfect way to end a workday. It's fast, easy, satisfying, and can be dressed up or down depending on the day. The vegetables included are completely flexible, any of your favorites will work, so be creative with what you have on hand. This dish comes together in no time (though there are a few steps), just get all the ingredients out and follow the steps below, it should take 20-30 minutes to come together. The sunflower seed pesto is spectacular on it's own, and if you don't have time for anything else, at least make this and spread it on some toast. The light nuttiness of the sunflower seeds mixed with the punch of the fresh garlic, and the bright taste of basil is wonderful and really captures the essence of summer. As always, completely vegan, gluten and soy free. Enjoy!


    Sunflower Seed Pesto Pasta

    Serves 2-4 (depending on hunger)

    1 box gluten-free pasta (I used Ancient Harvest quinoa spaghetti)

    Pesto
    1 cup basil
    1/2 c sunflower seeds
    1/4 cup olive oil
    3-4 cloves garlic
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp sugar
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

    Sauteed Veggies
    1 cup chopped broccoli
    1/2 cup chopped red onion
    1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms (optional)

    Tomato Marinade
    1 cup sliced/diced cherry or heirloom tomatoes
    1/2 tsp sugar
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    1 tsp balsamic vinegar
    1 tsp olive oil


    1. Mix tomatoes with oil, vinegar, sugar and salt in small bowl. Set aside.

    2. Bring water to a boil for pasta. Cook pasta as directed. Drain when al dente.

    3. Sauté veggies on medium heat for 5 minutes in a bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

    4. in food processor combine sunflower seeds, garlic, basil, salt, sugar, pepper, yeast, oil and lemon juice. Process until creamy, scraping down sides as needed.

    5. Combine pesto with warm noodles, serve topped with sauteed veggies, tomato marinade, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar if desired.