Kale Salad with Spicy Cannellini Beans + Lemon Chia Seed Dressing

Kale Salad with Spicy Cannellini Beans and Lemon Chia Seed Dressing | ourfourforks.com #vegan #paleo #glutenfree #recipe

When colder months roll around, it’s easy to trade in salads for warmer (sometimes less healthy) options, but this kale salad is the perfect cool weather meal. Because kale is pretty sturdy, it can stand up to the weight of the spicy beans and warm sweet potato spirals and hold up in the fridge. To make it a full meal, add some roasted sunflower seeds for crunch and top with a protein of choice….

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Spinach, Mango and Curried Sweet Potato Salad

Spinach, Mango and Curried Sweet Potato Salad | Our Four Forks | #glutenfree #vegan #paleo #recipe

When I’m home in Boston, lunch and dinner always is made with a side salad: mixed greens, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. That’s it. I usually eat it first before enjoying the more creative part of the meal; the quinoa pizza, sweet potato shepherd’s pie, empanadas, etc. What I love about Yotam Ottolenghi cookbooks is that the line between the side salad and main entree is blurred. All of his salad recipes are creative and exciting enough to be the part of the meal that you look forward to.

Since my parents were going away this Easter, Isabel and I went to my parents house last weekend. They have the entire Ottolenghi library and Isabel and I always find ourselves bookmarking a lot of recipes (often adapted to be gluten free or dairy free) and making way too many grocery store trips. This past weekend we had some mangos on hand, so we went for an adaptation of the Alphonso Mango and Curried Chickpea Salad from Plenty More. Instead of chickpeas, we used roasted sweet potatoes and created an Indian-spiced coconut dressing that would be great on other salads and roast vegetables, so don’t worry if you have extra.

Spinach, Mango and Curried Sweet Potato Salad | Our Four Forks | #glutenfree #vegan #paleo #recipe

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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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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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Cauliflower “Couscous” with Dried Apricots & Cashews

Cauliflower Couscous | ourfourforks.com

I usually associate cauliflower with the fall and winter months, but when a cauliflower popped up in our CSA last week, I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve made cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower mashed “potatoes” and cauliflower “rice,” but it dawned on me that I had never tried cauliflower “couscous.” Cold grain salads have always been a staple in my family in the summer months; they’re perfect paired with grilled veggies, meat, fish and even other salads. But if you’re trying to avoid grains or just lower your carb intake, this cauliflower couscous is the perfect alternative.

 

Cauliflower couscous has such a mild flavor, that I decided to spice it up with a ginger cinnamon dressing, dried apricots and cashews. The dressing, inspired by Ottolenghi, may sound weird, but trust me: you’ll want to put it on everything. This dish is seasonally versatile: eat it cold in the summer, serve warm in the winter. Either way, enjoy!

 

Cauliflower Couscous | ourfourforks.com

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