Orange Fennel Salad

orange fennel salad

This orange fennel salad is different than our typical Middle Eastern flavors, but you won’t have to look far to find some Mediterranean influence . I combine the citrus flavors of oranges and lemons with crunchy carrots and fennel, and toss it all with fresh mint and honey for a really surprisingly delicious winter salad. Since we have started to shift to an 85% vegan lifestyle (the other 15% is gooey yummy dessert I just can’t depart from), I have explored a wide variety of fresh and raw fruit and vegetable combinations. This salad has been consistently a hit and relished by all I have fed it to. Throughout the cold winter months, there is a colorful variety of delicious citrus, and I use any combination in this salad. My kids really enjoy this because of the artful appearance, and also because they love the sweet and juicy flavors. The crunchy sweet fennel complements the citrus, and makes a nice contrast of flavor on top of a bed of field greens. 

orange and fennel

 

Start with a fresh bowl of field greens or arugula. 

field greens

Use a vegetable peeler to peel ribbons of colorful crunchy carrots. I also like to use the peeler to slice thin slivers of the fennel. Because the flavor of fennel can be strong, its better to have delicate little pieces throughout.

carrot slices

The citrus honey vinaigrette is the perfect dressing for this salad, and it happens to be my family’s favorite one yet! The citrusy tang is balanced with some sweet orang clover honey and a fresh burst of mint! I hope you enjoy this fresh and delicious salad as much as we do.

citrus honey vinaigrette

orange fennel salad

Orange Fennel Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 2 oranges, any type you prefer
  2. 1/2 c sliced fennel
  3. 1/2 c chopped mint leaves
  4. 1/2 diced shallot
  5. 8 oz spring mix field greens
  6. 1 carrot
For the citrus honey vinaigrette
  1. 1 tbsp minced mint leaves
  2. 1/4 c fresh lemon juice
  3. 1/4 c fresh orange juice
  4. 1 tbsp orange zest
  5. 1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
  6. 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  7. 1/4 c olive oil
  8. 2 tbsp orange clover honey
  9. 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Wash the oranges and zest the peel. Set the zest aside to be used for the dressing later.
  2. Peel one orange with a sharp knife, including the white pith, so that the juicy flesh of the orange is exposed. Make two cuts into each section of the orange, just shy of the segment dividers. Set these segments aside to place on top of the salad.
  3. Use the other orange for fresh squeezed juice. Cut the orange in half, juice only half of it, and then slice the other half into circles to place on top of the salad for decor.
  4. Wash and rinse the greens. Place the drained greens into a large bowl.
  5. Toss in the chopped mint leaves, shallots, and sliced fennel.
  6. Wash and peel the carrot. With a vegetable peeler, slice thin ribbons of carrot and arrange artfully on top of the salad. You may do the same with the fennel, to slice thin pieces.
  7. Arrange the orange segments and slices on top of the salad.
  8. In a small bowl or cup, combine all the ingredients for the citrus dressing, and whisk. Pour on the dressing as you serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Extra dressing may be stored in the refrigerator and used on many other salads! Try tossing in cooked farro or quinoa with this salad as well.
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Quinoa Tabbouli Salad

Tabbouli is my absolute favorite salad! If you have not tried it yet, you simply must! It is so fresh with the bold lemon and parsley flavors. The texture is delicate with tiny perfectly diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and bulgur. In this variation I boost the protein and filling factor by using quinoa instead of bulgur wheat. The quinoa (pronounced keen-WAH) is a tiny super grain food that is an excellent substitute for high sugar starchier carbs such as rice and wheat products such as pasta. Quinoa has a significant amount of protein, enough to serve as a protein source on its own. Quinoa is also rich in heart-healthy mono saturated fats (ALA-Omega 3), and is also concentrated in anti-inflammatory flavonoids. It is also an excellent source of fiber, magnesium, and iron. It cooks slowly and is very easy to prepare making it a wonderful pantry staple. The grain is perfectly small, round, and fluffy making it a perfect substitution to rice or bulgur as it is used in tabbouli salad. 

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Back to the tabbouli; this salad originates from the Middle-East, particularly Syria and Lebanon, and is a staple appetizer popular now all around the world. This salad is full of parsley, at least 1-2 bunches or 2 cups. It is finely chopped, and we typically use flat leaf as it offers a more favorable texture and scent. The curly parsley can sometime feel and taste too dry on the tongue. You will also need firm roma tomatoes, Persian or English cucumbers, green onion, and plenty of freshly squeezed lemon juice. The salad dressing recipe used here is my mother’s popular Arabic dressing and is the perfect dressing for almost any lemon based dressing, so gather round for the secret! It consists of FRESH lemon juice (do not used from a jar!), olive oil, sumac, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. My daughter is becoming a finicky eater, like most toddlers, but she absolutely LOVES this salad. She had 2 full servings, so I was a happy mother! 

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Preserve left over parsley stems (and other fresh herbs such as cilantro or mint) by steeping in a cup of water in your fridge; it will last at least a whole extra week!2014-03-07sugarandgarlic2014 2014-03-08sugarandgarlic2014-17 2014-03-08sugarandgarlic2014-20

 

Quinoa Tabbouli Salad
Serves 4
A fresh and nutritious salad full of protein rich quinoa and zesty lemon juice.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
For the salad
  1. 2 cups of flat leaf parsley
  2. 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  3. 3 firm roma tomatoes, about 1 cup diced
  4. 3 green onions, about 1/2 cup diced
  5. 1 cup diced cucumber
  6. 1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked)
For the dressing
  1. 1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
  2. 1 tbsp of minced fresh garlic (2 large cloves)
  3. 1/3 c olive oil
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. pinch pepper
  6. 1 tsp oregano
  7. 1 tsp sumac
Instructions
  1. First cook the quinoa according to directions. 1 cup gain cooks in 2 cups of liquid. So boil 1/2 cup quinoa with 1 cup of water. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and bring down to a simmer over low heat once it boils. Remove from heat as soon as all the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes) and toss into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place into refrigerator to cool.
  2. Finely dice the tomato by slicing into thin circles, then crosswise and lengthwise to produce perfectly small cubes. Do the same with the cucumber.
  3. Chop the green onion into thin circles as well, and if it is a large diameter, cut those slices in half.
  4. Wash the parsley carefully, stem by stem (dirt and bugs typically hide in these leaves), then pull the leaves off and into a colander or napkins to remove excess water. Place the leaves into a food processor and pulse slowly until it is finely chopped. Be careful not to puree into pesto!
  5. Combine all chopped ingredients into a large bowl. Add the cooled quinoa.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and other spices and stir well. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss with tongs or a large fork. Be careful not to smush the quinoa or tomatoes.
Notes
  1. Small grain wheat bulgur is traditionally used in this recipe in lieu of the quinoa.
Adapted from Mom
Adapted from Mom
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/
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Date Smoothie

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It’s no secret in the Muslim world that dates are a superfood with numerous health benefits. It is no wonder that Muslims ritually start their fast and break their fasts with a date, as was the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) many centuries ago.  

But you do not need to be Muslim to know about the countless benefits of eating dates. Any nutritionist could attest to the nutritional value of this superfood. Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, which grows in warm, dry regions such as the Middle East and parts of California. Dates are high in fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol, improves digestion, satiates the appetite, and fight heart disease and obesity. They are also high in Vitamin B, A, and K. B vitamins are the most prominent vitamin store in dates which include B6 and B9 (folic acid), which helps improve metabolism and produce new red blood cells. Dates are also very high in minerals including potassium, copper, calcium, iron, phosphate, magnesium, and manganese. Although dates are such a sweet treat and thought to be high in sugars, they actually have a high nutritional ratio to the calories as well as a low glycemic index so they absorb into the body much more slowly giving steady releases of energy and several other sustained benefits. Thus, in moderation dates are an excellent sweetener to use in place of cane sugar or other sweet desires. 

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This brings me to this deliciously satisfying and filling energy smoothie! This drink is a concoction of my father’s, which he whipped up one Ramadan long ago. During Ramadan, Muslims are fasting from sunrise to sundown, and dates are in high demand! The benefits of a smoothie are obvious as you can puree a lot more nutrition and whole foods into a fine consistency which makes it easy to consume a lot more in the easy and convenient gulp of a milkshake. I use organic milk, usually whole because I believe in all the benefits of drinking wholesome vitamin D milk in its natural state. However you could use coconut milk, almond milk, or some ice and water if you have other dietary preferences. 4-6 pitted dates, a whole ripe banana, and a couple of frozen strawberries or ice cubes make this a nice refreshing shake that will keep your appetite satisfied and body well nourished for hours! If you have a powerful blender like the Vitamix or Blendtec you will have no issues throwing the dates in whole. No need to soften or puree them first. I enjoy this after a workout or before I run out of the house for the day running errands. You other moms out there know what a hassle it is to find time to sit down and eat when running around with kids and carseats/strollers all day! 

Enjoy!

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Date Smoothie
Serves 2
A refreshing and energy boosting milkshake that will keep you full and energized thorough your day!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups cold milk
  2. 4-6 medjool dates, pits removed
  3. 1 ripe banana
  4. 4 frozen strawberries (optional) OR 1/2 cup ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Remove the pit from the dates by slicing down the center, vertically along the length of the date.
  2. Combine all the ingredients into a blender and pulse to chop and distribute, then increase to the highest speed for 1 minute until smooth and frothy.
  3. Enjoy!
Adapted from My father 🙂
Adapted from My father 🙂
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/