Baby Kale Salad with Mock Chicken and Pomegranate

I don’t often eat mock meats. Sure, I love a veggie burger once in a while, and Veggie Grill has these vegan buffalo wings that I might literally kill to get when I have a craving, but for the most part I don’t have much desire for fake meat. But these grilled “chicken” strips by Beyond Meat are really spot on. The texture is great and if you cook them by sautéing quickly in a bit of oil the taste is unbelievably like real chicken. Have you tried this brand? If so I’d love to hear about it in the comments because I haven’t tried anything but the mock chicken yet. I’ll definitely be getting this again.

So after so much rich food from the holidays, I wanted to keep it a bit lighter. Maybe add a vegetable (I know, what are those again?) to the mix. This salad with baby kale and pomegranate came together and it was perfect. Pomegranates are such a cool winter fruit. Growing up, my brother and I got a pomegranate in our stocking every year because Santa was so awesome. So eating pomegranate after Christmas just feels like the right thing to do! Pomegranates have tons of antioxidants and are a good source of fiber and Vitamin C, but they stump a lot of people in their difficulty to open and eat, which is why I’m giving you some help on that one. Pomegranates are a segmented fruit similar to an orange, as you can see from this picture:

 

Pomegranates

 

So the easy way to open them is to cut off the top, find the segments and score the skin along those lines before pulling it apart. Check out this video for a super easy way to get out all those juicy little seeds and start eating!

 

Vegan Chicken Salad with Pomegranate and Baby Kale

 

Baby Kale Salad 

with

Mock Chicken and Pomegranate

Serves 4

  • 1 container Beyond Meat brand mock chicken, lightly seasoned variety
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups baby kale
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • Seeds of 1 large pomegranate
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds

For the dressing:

  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs pomegranate molasses (see note)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs parsley, finely chopped

Assemble baby kale, celery, pomegranate seeds and slivered almonds together in a large bowl. Set aside. 

To make the dressing, mix all dressing ingredients well in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté for one minute until garlic is fragrant. Add mock chicken and sauté a few more minutes until chicken is golden brown on both sides and completely warmed through. Remove from heat.

Toss the greens with the dressing and arrange on 4 plates. Top with mock chicken and sprinkle with additional parsley and/or slivered almonds. Serve.

Note: Pomegranate molasses can be found in Middle Eastern markets, or sometimes in large supermarkets near the vinegars or molasses. If you can’t find it, blend a bit of regular molasses (or dark brown sugar plus water) or Grade B maple syrup with your favorite fruit jam for a similar taste.

 

Baby Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Faux Chicken


Mock Chicken Salad with Pomegranate

 

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Printable Version:

 

Baby Kale Salad with Mock Chicken and Pomegranate
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 container Beyond Meat brand mock chicken, lightly seasoned variety
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups baby kale
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • Seeds of 1 large pomegranate
  • ⅓ cup slivered almonds
  • For the dressing:
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs pomegranate molasses (see note)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs parsley, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Assemble baby kale, celery, pomegranate seeds and slivered almonds together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. To make the dressing, mix all dressing ingredients well in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  3. Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté for one minute until garlic is fragrant. Add mock chicken and sauté a few more minutes until chicken is golden brown on both sides and completely warmed through. Remove from heat.
  4. Toss the greens with the dressing and arrange on 4 plates. Top with mock chicken and sprinkle with additional parsley and/or slivered almonds. Serve.
Notes
Pomegranate molasses can be found in Middle Eastern markets, or sometimes in large supermarkets near the vinegars or molasses. If you can't find it, blend a bit of regular molasses (or dark brown sugar plus water) or Grade B maple syrup with your favorite fruit jam for a similar taste.

 

Still Hungry? Check out these recipes!

 

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GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN CHEDDAR JALAPEÑO CORNBREAD MUFFINS

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THAI KALE SALAD

Thai Lacinato Kale Salad

 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH KALAMATA OLIVES, RAISINS AND PINE NUTS

Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Olives, Pine Nuts and Raisins

 

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Smoky “Mozzarella” Dip

I know all of you are gearing up for New Year’s resolutions. Hell, now that the holidays are over you might already be hitting the treadmill and drinking those green smoothies (yum) but I’m here to burst your health-bubble. Because this Smoky “Mozzarella” dip is so cheesy, ooey-gooey, smoky and delicious that you aren’t going to be able to control yourself. Don’t even try. Give in to the amazing miracle that is this dip.

You seriously are not going to believe this is not real cheese. It was such a big hit at my Christmas party that there wasn’t any left by the end and half of them are die-hard carnivores. And it’s really perfect because pretty soon it will be New Years. I’m talking more parties. Lots of champagne and fireworks and oh yes, more Smoky “Mozzarella” Dip. I mean, why not?! And now all of us can share in the cheesy goodness without any animal cruelty involved. What’s not to love?

Vegan Mozzarella Dip

For this yummy appetizer, I used these crunchy little Italian toasts from Trader Joe’s, but if you can’t find something like that then grab a loaf of Italian bread, slice it up and toast it yourself. Pita chips would work great too. Or just eat it on whatever you can find, because it will be delicious no matter what you put it on! As a note, this recipe as I wrote it serves 2-4, so feel free to double or triple as needed for parties. Or just for yourself, I promise I won’t tell.


Smoky “Mozzarella” Dip

Serves 2-4

  • 2 oz Daiya Mozzarella style cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz Daiya brand smoked gouda, shredded
  • 2 Tbs vegan cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs vegan Parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp liquid smoke (adjust to taste for smoky flavor)
  • Chopped tomatoes and fresh basil or parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray an oven-safe dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a bowl, combine shredded cheeses, cream cheese, Parmesan, Italian seasoning and liquid smoke. Adjust seasonings as desired. Transfer cheese mixture to baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

Garnish with tomatoes and fresh herbs and serve immediately.

Smoky Vegan Mozzarella Dip


This dip may be a wee bit rich and decadent for frequent eating (and I say that very sadly, trust me) but for special occasions you’ll be winning some awards for best vegan appetizer, I promise. Cross my heart. And if you don’t, well, you probably just didn’t make enough.


Smoky Mozzarella Dip


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Printable Version:

Smoky "Mozzarella" Dip
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 2 oz Daiya Mozzarella style cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz Daiya brand smoked gouda, shredded
  • 2 Tbs vegan cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs vegan Parmesan
  • ¼ tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼-1/2 tsp liquid smoke (adjust to taste for smoky flavor)
  • Chopped tomatoes and fresh basil or parsley, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray an oven-safe dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine shredded cheeses, cream cheese, Parmesan, Italian seasoning and liquid smoke. Adjust seasonings as desired. Transfer cheese mixture to baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
  3. Garnish with tomatoes and fresh herbs and serve immediately.

 –adapted from Center Cut Cook


Still Hungry? Keep the party going with these recipes!


CREAMY JALAPEÑO AND CORN DIP

Jalapeno Corn Dip with Quinoa


GREEN BEAN FRIES WITH SPICY AIOLI

Baked Green Bean Fries with Spicy Aioli


GUACAMOLE-STUFFED MINI SWEET PEPPERS

Guacamole-Stuffed Mini Peppers


TUSCAN STUFFED MUSHROOMS

Tuscan Style Stuffed Mushrooms


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Mushroom Nut Pate

What’s a holiday party without a yummy spread for chopped veggies and crackers? Back in the days when I ate dairy, I usually indulged in a lot of cheesy spreads at Christmas parties. These days I’m getting more creative! Usually made from cooked meat and fat, pâté is normally very animal un-friendly, but this Mushroom Nut Pâté sure is! Made with heart-healthy walnuts and full of veggies, this spread has a rich, earthy flavor that is sure to be a big hit at any holiday gathering.

Mushroom Nut Pate

Mushroom Nut Pâté

  • 2 cups chopped brown crimini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp light miso
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Prepare all vegetables: Stem and chop the mushrooms, peel and dice the carrots, chop the onion and mince the garlic cloves.

Over medium heat, warm the olive oil in a large pan. Add the carrots, onion and garlic. Sauté until carrots have begun to soften. Add mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, miso and thyme. Stir until fully incorporated and continue to sauté until mushrooms have darkened and begun to release juice, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in the toasted walnuts. Transfer mixture, in batches if needed, to a food processor or high speed blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Walnut Mushroom Pate

Holiday Mushroom Nut Pate

This creamy and rich Mushroom Nut Pâté is incredibly good spread on crackers or with veggies as a dip. Try leftovers on a sandwich! 

Mushroom Walnut Pate

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Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ok, so I know what you’re thinking. You took one look at the featured image and thought, that can’t be garlic mashed sweet potatoes. It’s not orange! And the truth is I was hoping for a nice, lovely orange shade when I bought my sweet potatoes at the store. I was very surprised when I started peeling to discover that inside they were the same color as regular potatoes! I thought, are these yams? And then realized that I really don’t know the difference between a yam and a sweet potato.

So here are the facts for all you curious folk like me (or just skip down for the recipe!). Apparently, the truth is that what I’ve been calling yams are most likely sweet potatoes, since they come in many varieties and colors. The flesh of a sweet potato can be orange, white or even purple. True yams are generally imported from the Caribbean, and are rough and scaly with pale flesh that is very low in beta-carotene, unlike sweet potatoes. Although I wasn’t very careful when looking at what I was buying, after checking the skin of my root veggies (smooth and not scaly) I’m pretty sure I ended up with a sweet potato with white flesh. Now I’m wondering if I’ve ever even tasted a real yam before!

Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Knowing it was a sweet potato didn’t lessen my disappointment about the color, but at least the recipe still turned out delicious. Sweet potatoes are incredibly healthy. They are a good source of beta carotene, Vitamins A and C, and are full of manganese, calcium, potassium, fiber, Vitamin B6 and iron. They also have a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes, so they don’t affect blood sugar as much. I’ve always enjoyed these root veggies and they can be made savory or sweet. There’s nothing much more heavenly than a baked sweet potato with almond butter on it. This recipe, featuring savory garlic, is a perfect choice for a low-fat, healthy vegan option for the holidays.

Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 Tbs vegan buttery spread (I like Earth Balance)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Tbs non-dairy sour cream (optional)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Garlic

In a large pot, cover sweet potatoes in water and boil until tender, approximately 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Return the pot to the stove. Melt buttery spread and sauté garlic until golden. Remove from heat and return sweet potatoes to the pan. Add non-dairy milk and non-dairy sour cream if using. Mash until smooth and creamy and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Mashed Garlic Sweet Potatoes

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Surviving the Holidays

The holidays are always a stressful and crazy time of year. Even under the best of circumstances, there are get-togethers to plan, meals to make, and gifts to wrestle out of someone else’s hands in the mile-long line at the mall on Black Friday (kidding! Play nice!). Worst case scenarios bring crazy relatives, stress eating and emotional breakdowns during what should be a time for fun and celebration with loved ones. Studies have shown that the incidence of deadly heart attacks spikes during the holidays, especially around Christmas and New Years Day. Surviving the holidays becomes a difficulty no matter what we do! So how do we manage to avoid, or at least minimize, the stress? How do we keep holidays fun and relaxed?

May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility.

Mary Anne Radmacher

After my mother passed a few years ago, it was a huge challenge to keep the holidays alive. She was the glue that held our families together, and without her it felt like there wasn’t any meaning in any of it. Even a small family get-together felt strained and painful, a reminder of loss. The grief lingered, but I finally realized that forcing myself to engage in uncomfortable situations wasn’t the answer. I had to find my own meaning, make new traditions. So now, I do what feels comfortable. I’m gentle with myself. I’ve learned how to say no (although it’s still a struggle at times). And I’ve found a few things that really help when it comes to dealing with stress during this time of year that I hope you will find useful.

Holiday Puppy

Acknowledge Feelings.

This isn’t always easy, especially if relationships are strained or someone is going through grief. But simply letting others know how you feel can relieve stress. Don’t feel that you have to force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holidays.

Reach Out.

I learned this one the hard way. As an introvert who’d rather hide in my bathtub with a book than host a dinner party, it isn’t always easy for me to reach out, especially during the holidays. It’s even harder when I’m admitting I need help or I’m feeling isolated. By talking with a friend or seeking out a community support group, we can lift our spirits during this stressful time.

Winter leaves, Surviving the Holidays

Do Relaxation Exercises.

Finding a quiet place is often difficult during a bustling holiday season, but even just a few minutes of meditation or deep breathing can do wonders for surviving the holidays and calming a stressed-out mind and body.

Say No!

I don’t mean it’s necessary to avoid every uncomfortable situation at all costs, but learning to say no is crucial for keeping stress at bay. Saying yes when you’re already overwhelmed only creates resentment and frustration. If it’s not possible to say no, such as working overtime or an emergency situation, give yourself a break later on to make up for it.

Holiday cake, Surviving the Holidays

Keep it Healthy.

It’s easy to over-indulge this time of year given all the sweets and parties. Surviving the holidays is about keeping the food as simple (read: quick and easy) and healthy as possible. Despite their quick burst of energy, sweets make us feel worse over time, not to mention adding weight-gain into the line-up of potential stressors. Certainly don’t beat yourself up for indulging, but try to tune in to your body and ask what will make you feel best before diving mindlessly into the sweets. During the month of December, I’ll be sharing lots of healthy vegan versions of holiday recipes to help lighten the calorie load and give you ideas for holiday get-togethers!

Plan and Budget.

Nothing is worse during the holidays than having to scramble last minute for gifts and meals. So give yourself some extra time to plan ahead – you’ll keep things healthier that way too. As for gifts and parties, decide how much you can spend and then stick to it. Make homemade gifts, donate to charity, or start a new holiday tradition that doesn’t involve spending so much!

Give yourself a Break.

Be realistic about the holidays. They don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. After my mother’s death this was the hardest thing for me. I felt as if I had to swoop in and re-create exactly how it was when she orchestrated Christmas parties. Everything had to be perfect down to the carefully crafted hors-d’oeuvres and the mountains of gifts. I drove myself crazy trying to do all that, and it turned into a nightmare because I couldn’t replace what I really wanted – my mother. Once I learned that being realistic and giving myself a break from all that was the best thing, the holidays got a whole lot simpler and less stressful.

Winter Sunset

Forgive.

Whether you have a crazy relative who drinks too much and causes a ruckus, or some simmering disagreement with a family member, relationship stress can be difficult during a time of year when families come together. So remember to have some empathy. They’re probably just as stressed as you are! Be understanding and forgive each other. And don’t forget to forgive yourself.

 

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