Orange + Almond Black Rice Salad

Orange + Almond Black Rice Salad | Our Four Forks | #vegan #glutenfree

I try to get all of my grocery shopping done on Friday night on my way home from work. I love grocery shopping, but if I don’t try to squeeze it in between 5pm and dinner my first glass of wine on a Friday, it takes up too much of my Saturday or Sunday. I hem and haw over what to cook for lunch and dinner for week, what to make for the blog, furiously flipping through cookbooks, Bon Appétit, Food and Wine, Cooks Illustrated, Pinterest and by the time I’m out the door, half of Saturday is gone and I’m starving.

Friday night grocery shopping doesn’t necessarily mean my decision making is easier, but it forces me to commit ahead of my old schedule. Last week, I decided to buy ingredients for a “Chinese salad” because 1. more salads and 2. Chinese New Year. The new South End Whole Foods has TWO AISLES of bulk bins and when I spotted bulk black rice (aka forbidden rice), I had a salad vision and went with it.

Orange and Almond Black Rice Salad with soy ginger vinaigrette is full of flavor and texture. If you’re like me and need a break from all the heavy winter foods, this salad will be satisfying. It’s filling, but full of light and crunchy veggies, like cabbage, snap peas and scallions. Isabel has been encouraging me to make these sesame clusters for a while now, and I regret not having made them sooner. Along with the roasted almonds, the sesame clusters give the salad another dimension, making it heartier and more filling than most, perfect as a main dish.

Orange + Almond Black Rice Salad | Our Four Forks | #vegan #glutenfree

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Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Wings

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Wings | ourfourforks.com

Whether or not you watch the Super Bowl, it’s the end of January and, here in New England, we still have two cold ,long months of winter. In Boston, post-holiday winter means sports, bars (and sports bars), skiing and comfort food. Juno is bearing down on us as I type this and, even though I don’t care so much about the outcome of Sunday’s game (go Seahawks), I always enjoy trying healthy game-day alternatives.

These sticky sesame cauliflower wings are a flavorful, addictive alternative to traditional chicken wings liked by both vegans and meat eaters. For other healthy Super Bowl food inspiration, I’ve created a “Game Day Makeovers” Pinterest board, so follow us there.

Super Bowl Pinterest Board | ourfourforks.com

Links + Photo Credits (Top to bottom, left to right):

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Wings | ourfourforks.com

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Squash Hummus with Injera, Roasted Chickpeas + Ginger Brussels Sprouts

Squash Hummus with Injera, Roasted Chickpeas + Ginger Brussels Sprouts | ourfourforks.com

Two acorn squashes from my CSA have been sitting on my counter for several weeks now. At first I had planned to baked and stuff them, but our roasted almond butternut squash sauce gave me the idea for squash hummus. I had never made hummus without chickpeas before and the result was delicious. Creamy and a bit sweet, this squash hummus goes well with everything.

 

When I was living in Portland, my friend and I often went for Ethiopian food. I haven’t had it yet in Boston, but I had a craving for gluten free injera and thought it would pair well with the squash hummus. For added Ethiopian flavor and crunch, I made roasted chickpeas with berbere spice, a classic Ethiopian spice mix, and ginger roasted brussels sprouts; a seasonal take on the vegan feast served in Ethiopian restaurants.

 

Squash Hummus with Injera, Roasted Chickpeas + Ginger Brussels Sprouts | ourfourforks.comWHY IT’S HEALTHY// This squash hummus is vegan, gluten free and paleo. Squash is full of fiber, potassium, B vitamins and folate. It’s orange hue indicates high levels of beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A. Tahini contains fiber, protein and some calcium. It also contains the unsaturated fat omega-3 fatty acid, which lowers cholesterol and fights inflammation. Tahini is also great for your immune system; it contains zinc, iron, copper and selenium. The ginger in the ginger brussels sprouts is great for digestion, is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. //

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Vegan Gluten Free “Fried” Pickles

Vegan Gluten Free "Fried" Pickles | ourfourforks.com
Josh’s mom, Jackie, makes the best pickles I’ve ever tried. At the end of every summer, friends and family drop off their garden cucumbers and Jackie pickles them. Last weekend Josh and I met up with Jackie and received our batch: four huge jars of pickles, each with varying degrees of heat (from peppers) and spices.

 

Though Josh and I have been known to eat through several jars in several hours, we showed enough restraint this year to be able to makes these vegan gluten free “fried” pickles, as per Jackie’s request.

 

These “fried” pickles are my healthy take on the classic appetizer. This version uses only vegan and gluten free ingredients and calls for baking rather than frying: all the flavor with a lot less refined flour and fat.

 

Vegan Gluten Free "Fried" Pickles | ourfourforks.com

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Loaded Greek Sweet Potato Fries

Loaded Greek Sweet Potato Fries | ourfourforks.com

When it comes to quick weeknight meals, I tend to go through regional phases of cooking in the most stereotypically American sense (a bit embarrassing). For a month or more I’ll make “Mexican” food – simple salads or tacos seasoned with cumin, cilantro and avocado, topped with salsa. Then I may move onto “Italian” for a couple weeks; spaghetti squash pasta, eggplant parmesan, pizzas, etc. until I run out of Josh’s tomato sauce.

 

This month has been all about “Greek” food. The phase began with a simple desire for grass-fed lamb and we’re only in the middle of it. These loaded Greek fries pile on all my favorite elements of Americanized Greek cuisine: oregano sweet potato fries topped with spiced lamb meat, tzatziki sauce, fresh tomatoes, feta and pickled red onions. They’re a perfect, satisfying and healthy alternative to greasy summer food.

 

Loaded Greek Sweet Potato Fries | ourfourforks.com

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