Nacho Greens and Pigeon Peas

In the South, we eat Collard Greens on January 1st to bring us wealth in the new year. I would prefer tacos. So I made collard greens into tacos. You can put it atop nacho chips, in taco shells, over Spanish rice, as pepper stuffing, rolled into a burrito or enchilada, and so much more.

1 bunch collard greens, washed very well
12 oz cook and drained pigeon peas (canned are easy to find in the Hispanic foods or Caribbean foods section of your market)
12 oz green chile and tomatillio salsa
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chile powder
3+ cloves minced garlic

I make green chile and tomatillo salsa with peppers from my garden. You can buy a prepared salsa verde or make a quick one by combining 1 cup each chopped green chiles, white onions, and tomatillos with 3 TB white vinegar, juice of 1 lime, and salt and pepper to taste.

For the nacho greens:
After collards are well washed, roll and chiffonade cut them so they are as thin as possible. Cut to the bottom of the leaf. The stalks are not used in this dish. Save them for a veggie pie or crudite. I give my collard stems to the dogs.

Place greens in a large skillet or wok with vinegar and citrus juice. Heat pan on medium. Put lid over the greens to help them wilt. They will cook down considerably.

Add salsa and seasonings. Stir fry to coat greens. Add pigeon peas and turn heat to low. Cover and let heat through 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

I like this served with avocado cubes and Jalepeno Tabasco sauce.

Wild Mayan Nacho Sauce

This is a fabulous cheese-free nacho recipe that all cheese lovers will appreciate. Take some super yum baked sweet potato and turn it into “cheese” sauce. Here’s how!

I made a huge tray of Nachos!

1 baked sweet potato, skin removed
1 Cup nutritional yeast
2/3 Cup filtered water
hot sauce to taste

Whisk together over medium heat until smooth. Let come to a soft bubble. Pour hot nacho sauce over any Latin delight.

My fav combo is seasoned black beans, tomatillo salsa, Wild Mayan Sauce, and chopped avocado– pictured above. This is also a great topping for bake enchiladas, toastadas, or to use as a “cheese” dip. It goes so well with black beans and looks beautiful.

Celery Apple Salad with Raw Almond “Mayo”

One of the benefits of writing about food vs. reading about food: you get to eat the dish while writing about it rather than salivating over someone’s far away food pics in a fit of hunger. This is SO GOOD!

Dice into equal pieces

1 small stalk celery- about 3 Cups
3-4 pink lady apples – about 3 Cups

Toss with the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp salt, and plenty of fresh ground black pepper.

Raw Almond “Mayo”

In your food processor, combine:

2-3 TB dried tarragon
1/2 Cup raw almonds
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/2 Cup raw apple cider vinegar

Pulse until creamy. Toss with apples and celery. Can be chilled over night.

Smoked almonds add a delicious zing if you prefer.

Broccoli & Chard Pie

This is a great veggie pie you can make ahead and freeze. Bake from frozen by increasing cooking time by 15 minutes. Perfect with a fresh fruit salad.

For the pie filling:

1 bunch swiss chard, chopped
1 bunch baby broccoli, chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
3+ cloves garlic, minced
2 TB olive oil
2 tsp red chili flakes

Add everything to a large skillet and saute over medium until veggies are tender. Set aside.

For the crust:

2 Cups rice flour
1 Cup shredded cheddar
1 tsp salt
3 TB olive oil
1/3-1/2 Cup water

Add flour, salt, and cheese to food processor. Pulse to grind cheese into flour. Slowly add oil. Pulse to make a fine crumb. Slowly add water to make dough come together.

Press dough into pie plate. No need to roll out like traditional gluten dough. Add vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 Cup parmesan cheese.

Bake 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.

Split Lentil Crepes with Dijon Sauce

There are tons of ways to make crepes without using regular flour. Beans, legumes, and peas make a great protein source and bind crepes together splendidly. Add grilled chicken and asparagus for a perfect high-protein, high-fiber meal.

For the crepes:

1 1/2 Cups split lentils (any color will do, I like red lentils)
1 1/2 Cups filtered water
5 eggs
1/2 Cup rice flour
3 TB herbs (tarragon or herbs de provence are delicious with the mustard sauce)
1 tsp salt
1 TB black pepper

Soak lentils in water in your blender for about 30 minutes. Add eggs, flour, and herbs. Blend until smooth.

Heat crepe pan with olive oil or butter. Swirl batter through pan to thinly coat. Cook 3 minutes then flip and cook for 2 minutes. This batter will make about 12 crepes.

Crepes can be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated. Reheat in the oven covered.

Dijon Sauce

2 TB rice flour
2 TB olive oil
2/3 Cup water

4 TB Dijon mustard
3 TB red wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon

Make a roux with the oil and flour. Add liquids and mustard. Whisk rapidly. Serve immediately.

Our Favorite Curry

This curry is so easy. The coconut milk is creamy and delicious. It keeps the chicken moist without letting the veggies lose their crunch. This meal is ready in minutes.

1 lb chicken thighs
8 oz mushrooms
8 oz carrots
4 oz sliced water chestnuts
3+ cloves garlic, minced
1 large avocado, cubed
14 oz coconut milk
1 TB sesame oil
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
cayenne to taste

Cut chicken and veggies into bite sized pieces. Heat wok on medium high. Add EVERYTHING but avocado pieces. Cook and stir occasionally, gently for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Stir in avocado before serving. Serve over rice.

Indian Style Cabbage Salad

It’s cabbage season. Here is something to do with it other than make traditional slaw.

Cabbage Salad Served with Tandoori Chicken and Creamy Lentils

1 head green cabbage, shredded
2 tomatoes, diced
juice from 3 limes – about 4 TB
juice from 2 lemons – about 4 TB
3 tsp garam masala
2 tsp chili powder
1 small diced green chili
2 tsp salt

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. When dicing the tomatoes, transfer juices from cutting board to the salad bowl for added moisture. Coat cabbage well in seasoning and juices. Let rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving. This can be made up to 1 day in advance.

Creamy Split Lentils

This is great to serve as a side dish to any Indian style main course. It’s also a great way to prepare lentils for kids, just adjust the chili powder to their taste. For some kids, that may be doubling the chili powder!

1 Cup split lentils
1 Cup chopped onion
2 TB olive or vegetable oil
2 TB butter (or quality vegan butter substitute)
1 tsp salt (to help onions sweat)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
3+ cloves garlic minced

1 1/2+ Cups filtered water

Add onion, fats, salt, and seasonings to a small stock pot. Brown over high, stirring constantly until onion begins to caramelize. Stir in lentils. Coat in spiced oil by stirring vigorously. Stir in water. Scrape bottom of pan with wooden spoon to release all the browned flavors from the pan.

Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are soft. Stir occasionally. Split lentils will cook quickly and break apart. The texture is very smooth and creamy without adding dairy.

Serve with naan bread or over rice.

3 Cheese Penne with Baby Broccoli

Baked pasta dishes are the eewy gooey food gluten-free folks seem to miss the most. In the “About Gluten Free” section (visit the right side menu bar) I explain pasta brands that are a best bet for fooling even you Italian guests.

Well what do you do with the wrong brand of mushy, never right gluten-free pasta? Bake it! Baked on sauces will transform gluey mess into gooey fabulous. This cheese sauce is so velvety smooth, it could hide anything.

16 oz gluten-free penne, cooked and drained, not rinsed

1 lb sweet baby broccoli

3 Cheese Sauce:

1 TB butter
1 TB olive oil
2 TB rice flour
2 Cups milk
1/2 Cup parmesan, divided
4 oz goat cheese
4 oz mozzarella

Make a roux with the butter, oil, and flour over medium heat. Cook 3 minutes until rice flour is no longer raw. Slowly whisk in milk. When smooth, add 1/2 the parmesan and all of the goat and mozzarella cheeses. Whisk until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat.

Cut broccoli into bite sized pieces. I cut baby broccoli a little larger because it is tender and sweet. I like the broccoli to be as long as the pasta. Place the broccoli in the bottom of your strainer. Drain pasta water over the broccoli. This will flash cook the outside of the broccoli so that it will retain its color well while baking.

Stir drained pasta and broccoli into cheese sauce. Transfer to baking dish and top with remaining parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown delicious.

Cabbage Rolls

I ordered red cabbage from the CSA and got green. Hooray seasonal availability! Green cabbage usually gets turned into slaw or salad, but cabbage rolls are hot and tangy! These can be stuffed in a variety of ways for meat eaters or vegans.

Prep the cabbage:

In your large 8qt stock pot, boil salted water. Peel cabbage, separating the largest leaves. You’ll need the 8 largest ones for this dish. Save the heart for another tasty dish.

Wash the cabbage leaves well to remove any sand. Plunge the leaves into the boiling water for about 3 minutes until they are soft enough to fold. Shock in cold water to stop cooking and cool them enough to handle.

Meat filling:

1 Cup brown rice
1/2 lb loose sausage (we have a great local pork breakfast sausage that is well seasoned, but any of your favorite will do)
2/3 Cup carrots, chopped in food processor
1/2 Cup mushrooms, chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced, about 1 Cup
2 TB olive oil

Saute everything together, breaking up sausage into a fine crumble and coating rice in fat. Just as meat is browning, add 2 Cups water. Stir, cover, and reduce heat to simmer for 40 minutes, until rice is cooked through.

Tangy Tomato Sauce:

28 oz strained tomatoes

1/4 Cup red wine vinegar

2 TB sugar

salt and pepper

Simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved and fully incorporated.

For vegan filling:    Sub vegan sausage, lentils, chopped mushrooms, or a combination for the sausage. Season with 1 tsp each sage, thyme, and rosemary. Sub vegetable broth for the water.

Scoop 1/8 of the stuffing mixture into one cabbage leaf. Fold edges over and roll like a tortilla. Tuck the roll tight. Fill all cabbage leaves.

Rolls waiting to be sauced

Scoop 1 Cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking dish. Place the rolls snugly together. Top with remaining tomato sauce. Bake at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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