Pomegranate Mint Citrus Salad

Pomegranates represent eternal life and fertility in ancient Greek and Roman mythology, but over the centuries this divine red fruit has also come to symbolize power in cultures across the globe. Today, pomegranates play an important role in Middle Eastern and even Chinese cuisine and their juices have been used in everything from Oriental carpet dyes to the Indian Ayurveda system of traditional medicine because of their rich vitamin and antioxidant healing properties. Pomegranates are even consumed during the Jewish New Year as the fruit supposedly contains the mystical number of 613 seeds corresponding with the commandments in the Torah. With all this rich history of symbolism throughout history, this often underrated fruit also happens to add a delightfully sweet and tart crunchy bite to any dish. You may want to double up on ingredients if you are serving a crowd!


INGREDIENTS:
1 ruby red grapefruit
1 navel orange
1 blood orange
2 clementines
1 handful of fresh mint leaves, diced with a few sprigs for serving
¼ cup of chopped pistachios, unshelled and salted
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
2 TB honey

Working with one fruit at a time, slice into 1/4’’ thick rounds, discarding the top and bottom and
trimming off the peels with a sharp knife to remove all the bitter white pith. Arrange these rounds into a colorful overlapping pattern on a platter, then drizzle with honey and sprinkle with pistachios, pomegranate seeds, mint, and salt. Chill in fridge for about an hour before serving.

Polenta and White Beans with Homemade Marinara

Polenta is an Italian dish that refers to the traditional preparation of coarse ground cornmeal cooked
steadily over medium heat into a mildly creamy porridge. It is typically made fresh, but if you’ve ever
wondered about those polenta rolls sold in grocery stores I am here to tell you that they are marvelous
and will quickly become your new favorite staple in the kitchen. Because they are pre-cooked, you
simply slice and reheat by roasting, sautéing or even grilling to caramelize the outside and then pair with
any sauce that you would otherwise throw on pasta.


The secret of this rustic yet sophisticated Polenta with White Beans and Homemade Marina dish is the
dreamy marinara that is full of vibrant tomato flavors and made with only five simple ingredients. Best
of all you can add in any grilled vegetables or protein of your choice to the polenta base for a new twist
on Italian night.

INGREDIENTS

1 tube of polenta

  • 14-oz can cannellini beans
  • 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 handful of fresh basil or parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In medium saucepan combine the entire can of tomatoes along with the halved onion, garlic cloves, 2 TBS olive oil and oregano. Bring the sauce to a bubble then turn down to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the entire onion after 30 minutes and discard or reserve for another recipe. Use a wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes and smash the garlic cloves against the side of the pot.  This should result in a slightly chunky and flavorful sauce. Add salt to taste. Meanwhile, slice the tube of polenta cut into ½ ‘’ rounds. Preheat large pan on medium heat, add the remaining 2 TB olive oil and cook polenta rounds 4-5 minutes per side until soft and golden.  Serve warm polenta rounds on a plate then spoon over the homemade marinara and top it off with white beans, freshly diced basil or parsley, and parmesan cheese.

Not-Chicken Salad

 As we gear up for the long Memorial Day weekend, I ponder the many wonderful  picnic-friendly vegan recipes I have planned: BBQ tofu, pesto pasta, tahini coleslaw, black bean dip, guacamole, and today’s featured dish: Not-Chicken Salad. I love when I get excited about a stay-cation because of food!

Vegenaise is soy-based vegan mayo that tastes uncannily like regular mayonnaise and has just as much fat and calories, so you know it’s going to be creamy and delicious! This recipe uses all the familiar ingredients of a potato salad, but mashed chickpeas replace the chicken for a heartier, low-glycemic protein bite. This was recently taste-tested by the non-vegetarians in my life and they couldn’t believe it was vegan! This one’s a serious winner for the summer, and tastes great as a dip, salad-topper, or sandwich stuffer.

NOT-CHICKEN SALAD

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup celery, sliced 
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/4 cup scallions, sliced 
1/4 cup vegenaise
1 – 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
sea salt & cracked pepper, to taste
dash of garlic powder
juice of 1 lemon, optional

Drain and rinse your chickpeas, place in medium size bowl, and roughly mash with a fork or potato masher. Add the remaining ingredients and combine. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week!