Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Roasted Eggplant and Portabella Mushroom Salad

This salad is a great staple to keep on-hand as it's a crowd pleaser and perfect for any dinner party. It's also enough to serve as your main meal since it's very hearty and filling. The roasted eggplant and portabellas make you forget there is no meat in this dish - and you wont miss it! I made this last week and I totally wish I had it right now for dinner! Those roasted veggies are just so delicious - they went straight from the oven to my mouth, some not even making the plate.


Hope you enjoy this fantastic salad which pairs great with my Creamy Pesto Dressing. Enjoy!



ROASTED EGGPLANT AND PORTABELLA MUSHROOM SALAD
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
4 portabella mushroom caps (stem and gills removed)
5 ounces of mixed greens of choice
1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (I used julienne cut)
4 tablespoons of grumbled goat cheese (or you can try feta)
1/3 cup of Creamy Pesto Dressing
Olive Oil
Salt

SIMPLE VINAIGRETTE 
1/4 cup of olive oil
The juice of 1/2 lemon
The zest of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons of agave nectar or honey
2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line one baking sheet with parchment paper for the portabella mushrooms, and grease another baking sheet for the eggplant. Brush a generous amount of olive oil over portabella mushrooms and eggplant slices and season with salt (do this on both sides of each). Bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. (*Side note: I use a parchment paper lined baking sheet for the portabellas and then just a greased baking sheet for the eggplant. I found that the eggplant really stuck to the parchment paper when I did it that way). Flip the portabellas half way through baking time, but no need to flip the eggplant. While the veggies are roasting, prepare your greens in a medium bowl and toss with the simple vinaigrette (above). Add 1/4 cup of the sun dried tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of crumbled goat cheese. Toss nicely and then arrange in the bowl or platter you tend to serve the salad out of. After the veggies are done roasting place them on top of the greens and spoon the Creamy Pesto Dressing on top. Add the last 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes and remaining 2 tablespoons of goat cheese on top. Serve and bon appetit!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Creamy Pesto Dressing




























This creamy pesto dressing tastes delicious on almost anything. Great on any salad, burger, sandwich, wrap - or even drizzled over fish or steak, it packs a punch full of great flavor that will up-the-ante on any dish you decide to whip up.


Now, if you are thinking anything with the word "creamy" in it can't be healthy, you are wrong my friend. I have a secret weapon. And that weapon is avocado. You will be pleasantly pleased at how delicious and versatile this dressing is, and no need to feel guilty as avocados are loaded with vitamins and minerals and are a great source of healthy protein, rich in omega-3 fatty acids and help to fight heart disease. Read more on the health benefits of avocados here.  


CREAMY PESTO DRESSING
1 cup of basil leaves (packed, about 1 ounce)
1/2 cup of parsley leaves
1 to 2 cloves of garlic (depending on how much you like your garlic!)
3 tablespoons of pine nuts
1 perfectly ripe hass avocado (don't use Florida avocado as you won't get the same texture and flavor)
3/4 cup of olive oil
The juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of agave nectar (or honey)
1/8 cup of water
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a food processor, blend everything together until smooth. And that's all there is to it! Feel free to add some more pine nuts for a more nutty flavor. Serve over anything you desire! (I'm serving with fish tacos tonight and over lamb burgers tomorrow!) Keeps well; just cover and refrigerate.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Apple Crisp

I am way past due posting this Apple Crisp recipe. The first time I made it this year (well actually now it's last year....HELLO 2013!) was for Thanksgiving. Then I made it again right before Christmas. Both times it went way too quickly and I didn't get a chance to photograph it. I made it again as a New Years Eve desert and here is the very last of it that I was able to sneak away and photograph before it vanished yet again!


Hope you enjoy this easy to make gluten free seasonal desert! It is one of my absolute favorites.


APPLE CRISP

5 medium size apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I like to use a sweeter varietal such as Gala or Pink Lady)
1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder
1 1/2 cups of almond flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
2 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 1/2 tablespoons of agave nectar (or honey)
1/2 cup of chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine the apples, lemon juice, vanilla and arrowroot powder. (*Side note: arrowroot powder is a gluten free alternative to corn starch and is used as a thickening agent. It comes from the dried root of a tropical plant and is gluten-free). Pour apple mixture in a greased 8x8 square baking dish. In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, salt, baking soda, coconut oil and agave nectar. Mix well. Add the chopped pecans to almond flour mixture until everything is combined. Crumble on top of the apples and cover with tin foil. Bake for 60 minutes (until the apples are juicy and bubbling). Take out of the oven and remove the tin foil. If the top is not yet brown, put back in the oven (uncovered) and bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and enjoy!