Vegan Roasted Fennel & Beets Salad with Arugula, Avocado, Pistachios & Goat Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Fennel is a divisive vegetable.  The sharp licorice flavor is either something you love or hate, it seems.  But, as with garlic, the flavor of fennel mellows into something else entirely – when you roast it.  It becomes soft & sorta sweet & it compliments this salad nicely.

I used arugula but any mixed greens or baby spinach would work, too.  I added pistachios but any nuts would work – especially if you toasted them a bit first.

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I used this lovely blood orange olive oil but regular olive oil would work.  I used the dark balsamic – but white balsamic would be lovely, too.

And for the goat cheese – I used this stuff (below).   It has the texture of a soft goat cheese & was really delicious.  If you eat cheese – real goat cheese or feta would also work.

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Vegan Roasted Fennel & Beets Salad with Arugula, Avocado, Pistachios & Goat Cheese

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

4-6 beets (red or golden – no matter)

1 large fennel bulb

2 fists full of arugula or other greens

1/4 cup pistachios

1 avocado – cubed

Vegan soft cheese (or real goat or feta cheese) – quantity up to you

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wrap the beets in foil.  No need to even wash them – as that will happen later.  If they are large (mine were about the size of ping pong balls) – cut them into smaller chunks.

Cut the fronds off the fennel (saving some of the dilly leaves for garnish) & cut the bulb in half.  Place on a cooking sheet & drizzle with olive oil.

Place the beets in foil on the cooking sheet with the fennel & roast 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.  The beets might take longer than the fennel.

When the beets cool – wash them under running water & rub the skins off.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Slice up the fennel.

Place some greens on each plate.  Top with beets, fennel, avocado, pistachios & crumbled cheese. Drizzle with olive oil & balsamic.  Garnish with fennel leaves and S&P.

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Moroccan Giant Lima Beans, Cherry Tomatoes and Black Olives

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I love making thing with dried beans.  They are so ridiculously cheap & can be made into so many different things – they provide endless opportunities.  Typically mildly flavored – they take on the flavors you add & provide lots of nutrition and a texture that can be crunchy or creamy.  When cooked, these giant lima beans are nearly as soft & creamy as gnocchi.

I found a bag of these giant lima beans at Ralph’s for $2.  I wasn’t really sure what to do with them.  I soaked them overnight & tasted one the next morning & it was still crunchy & kind of bitter.  Intimidated, I Googled recipes and for this one here – Moroccan Tagine of Lima Beans, Cherry Tomatoes and Black Olives.  The photos were pretty & I already had all the ingredients – so I whipped it up – making a few minor tweaks here & there.  Easy & quite delicious – flavorful because of the olives & tomatoes & spices but creamy & comforting because of those beans which had lost all their crunch & bitterness.  She suggested serving this over couscous but I prefer the suggestion of crusty bread.  I haven’t tried it but I feel like this would smear onto crostini easily & make a yummy appetizer.

PS – this dish calls for saffron which can be very expensive.  I use Golchin liquid saffron seen in the photo below from my recipe for Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower, Tomatoes & Chili Flakes (also seen below)  – and it only costs about $7 for that bottle – and a bottle goes a long way.  I recommend buying some not only because it is so cost efective but also because I believe it has a longer shelf life than fragile saffron threads.

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Moroccan Giant Lima Beans, Cherry Tomatoes and Black Olives

INGREDIENTS

1 lb of giant lima beans soaked overnight or quick soaked

2 TBS olive oil

1 red onion – diced

1 tsp crushed red pepper

4 garlic cloves – minced

2 tsp ground coriander

2 TBS fresg ginger – minced

a pinch of saffron or 2 TBS liquid saffron (I used the liquid)

20 cherry tomatoes – left whole

1 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)

2 tsp dry thyme

2 TBS black olives (I used Kalamata) – chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 TBS)

Salt & pepper – important

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped (use parsley if you hate cilantro)

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DIRECTIONS

Soak the beans overnight or quick soak them in one hour.  Drain the beans & then put them in a pot with enough water to cover them by an inch or two.   Bring to a boil & let boil for about 5 minutes then reduce heat & simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.   Do not let the water simmer away.  Taste for tenderness.  If soft & creamy – rinse them under cold water.  Be careful not to overcook them of they will become too mushy to hold their shape when mixed with the other ingredients.

Heat the olive oil over med-high heat & saute the onions until soft.  Add the crushed red pepper & garlic & saute one minute.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.  Reduce the heat to med-low & add the coriander, ginger, saffron – stir to combine.  Add tomatoes, agave & thyme & cover.  Cook for 5-10 minutes – or until the tomatoes start to crinkle up & soften.  Add the beans, olives and lemon juice.  Stir to combine.  Season with salt & pepper.  Cover & cook another 5 minutes or until the beans are heated through.

Serve with fresh cilantro or parsley – maybe over couscous, or rice or smeared onto crusty bread.

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