Broccoli Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Broccoli is packed with Vitamins C, K & A, as well as folic acid, fibre and a whole bunch of other nutrients.  So the challenge is to find new ways to serve it up, and preferably raw, as that’s the best way to keep all the valuable nutrients intact, or so they say.  I’ve adapted this recipe from one I found on everybodylikessandwiches.com.  I prefer to add the nuts and dried cherries on top – the nuts stay crisper, and the fruit looks prettier.  If you’re serving it all right away and plan to have no leftovers, you can get away with tossing it all together.

This one can be whipped up in no time at all!

What you need:

1 head broccoli, broken into small pieces

2 tablespoons finely diced red onion

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

3 tablespoons plain yogurt (I don’t use low-fat yogurt ever!)

juice of 1/2 lemon

a few dashes of hot sauce

1-2 teaspoons honey

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

1/4 cup dried cherries, cut in half (or raisins or cranberries)

What you do:

1.  Toast the almonds – I do this is a dry frying pan on my stove top.  I just heat it to medium-low, then give it a stir every once in a while, keeping an eye on it do it doesn’t burn.

2.  Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, hot sauce, honey, salt and pepper.

3.  Put the broccoli and onions in a bowl and toss them with the dressing.

4.  Top with dried cherries and almonds just before serving.

Lemon Tahini Chickpea Salad

This salad is so easy to make, tastes amazing, and has lots of nutrients tp keep you healthy!  Chickpeas have plenty of dietary fibre, vitamin B6, folate and manganese.  One third of a cup of sweet red peppers contains your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, as well as lots of vitamins A and E, B6, folate and many other nutrients!

What you need:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

1 sweet red pepper, sliced into bite-size pieces

1 tablespoon red onion, chopped finely

1/4 cup loosely packed chopped basil

2 teaspoons olive or flax oil

1 tablespoon tahini

1/4 teaspoon cumin

juice of 1/2 a lemon

optional: fresh mint

What you do:

1.  Mix the oil, tahini, cumin and lemon juice.

2.  Put the chickpeas, onions, pepper and basil in a bowl.  Mix in the dressing.  Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

3.  Before serving, chop up some mint and place on top of the salad.

Blueberry Flax-Bran Muffins

This tasty muffin recipe uses Omega 3-rich flax seeds, which are a great way to lower cholesterol.  Plus they provide, along with the bran and blueberries, a great dose of fibre.  And blueberries – besides being delicious, contain antioxidants and vitamin C.  Did I mention these muffins also taste good – you can’t go wrong here!

It is important to use ground flax seeds so you can access their benefits; the chewing and digestive processes are not enough to break down the seeds.  You can buy them ground, or grind them yourself in a coffee grinder.  They are best stored in the fridge after grinding, so they do not become rancid.

You need:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup bran

1/2 cup ground flax seeds

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

2 eggs

1 cup milk (soy is good too)

2 Tablespoons molasses

1/4 cup butter

What you do:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400F.

2.  Stir dry ingredients  in a large bowl.

3.  Melt butter, then mix in the milk slowly, so the butter doesn’t harden when you add cold milk.  Add molasses.  Pour the liquids, along with the slightly beaten eggs, into the dry ingredients.  Mix by hand only until the ingredients are combined; if you mix more you’ll get tough little muffins.  Gently mix in the blueberries, so they don’t break and you don’t over-mix.

4.  Place mixture in muffin tins lined with paper baking cups.

5.  Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.  Take muffins out of tins and cool on a rack for a few minutes before eating.

6.  If you freeze them, make sure they’re completely cool before they go in the freezer.

Wild and Brown Rice, Pepper and Pecan Salad

If you like pecans, whole grains and vitamin C-rich peppers, then you’ll love this hearty salad.  It’s great for a lunch or picnic.

What you need:

3/4 cup brown rice

1/4 cup wild rice

1 each of red, orange and yellow peppers

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 bunch parsley

1- 2 green onions

1/3 cup dried currants

For the dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup

1 teaspoon tamari

What you do:

1.  Put the rices in a pot with 1 & 1/2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to low.  Cook for 45 minutes, then take off the heat, leaving the lid on, for 10 minutes.

2.  Toast pecans by heating in a frying pan for 5-8 minutes on medium-low heat.  Be careful!  It’s easy to burn them.

3.  Chop peppers into approximately 2 cm chunks.

4.  Chop parsley and green onion.

5.  Mix oil, vinegar, honey and tamari together, then stir in a large bowl with all the veggies and the currants.

6.  Let the veggies and sauce do their thing while you are waiting for the rice to cook and cool.  Mix the rice in, and you’re good to go!  It’s really nice served with a few slices of avocado.

Great for leftovers!