Category Archives: Side dishes

Hearty Chickpea & Veggie Salad with Tahini Dressing

I have said it before and I will say it again: I hate salads! I don’t really know why … they taste good. I suppose it is because I find chomping on a bunch of leaves less-than satisfying. Thus, I have been on a very serious quest to make a salad that I want to eat … not just something I “get through.”

My Sweetie has always told me that I have to put fun toppings on it so I will eat it. Well, I took his advice and swapped it. I have created a salad that is MOSTLY toppings with salad leaf sprinkles… yeah … you read that right. My creation could have a hundred or more variations to suit your tastebuds …

What you will need:

  • a giant bowl
  • a can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I use an extra-large can – or you could use two cans if you like chickpeas as much as I do)
  • avocado, chopped
  • a large tomato, chopped
  • a large cucumber, chopped
  • kale, spinach, or you leaf of choice
  • fresh herbs such as parsley and cilantro
  • goat cheese crumbles to garnish
  • flax seed to garnish
  • other yummies: broccoli, seeds, nuts

Tahini dressing:

  • 1/3 c. tahini
  • 4-6 T. of olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 c. water
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • other yummies (a pinch or two): cumin, smoked paprika, ground coriander, turmeric, garlic powder, cayenne

Assembly:

  • Whisk tahini dressing ingredients together in the bottom of the giant bowl.
  • Add chickpeas, avocado, cucumber, tomato, and herbs.
  • Tear small pieces of kale on top. (I used purple kale – YUM!)
  • Toss. Add goat cheese and flax seeds.
  • Boom! Salad of many toppings with a little bit of leaf. MAGIC!

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I find this recipe to be hearty, satisfying, and filling. It is also versatile because you can take what ever your favorite salad toppings are and turn them into the main event. Have fun salad-ing!

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy!

~Sharon

Creamy Baked Fennel

This is the recipe for the side dish I made on New Years Eve for myself and Sugar. In all honesty, I’ve never had fennel before, let alone cooked with it (somehow I missed the fennel bus when I was younger). I was looking for something different and tasty … and when I saw this in my cook book – I thought I would give it a swing. This recipe is adapted from Sue Ashworth’s recipe in her book “Vegetarian Dinner Parties” which Sugar and I picked up at a used bookstore in Grass Valley, California, last summer.

This is the original recipe as it is out of her book. I did make some substitutions such as using non-dairy cream cheese and cashew milk as I tried to avoid any dairy in the process. I also used panko bread crumbs in place of traditional bread crumbs. Substitute or not at your pleasure.

Baked fennel tastes fabulous in this creamy sauce, flavored with caraway seeds. A crunchy bread crumb topping gives an interesting change of texture. 

Serves 4

  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 bulbs of fennel, trimmed
  • 1/2 c. low-fat soft cheese (I assumed this meant cream cheese)
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c. bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh parsley for garnish
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, and add the lemon juice. Slice the fennel thinly, and add to the saucepan. Cook for 2-3 minutes to blanch, and then drain well. Arrange in a buttered oven-proof baking dish. (I used coconut oil spray)090 091 093 094 096
  2. Beat the soft cheese in a bowl until smooth. Add the cream, milk and beaten egg, and whisk together until combined. Season with salt and pepper, and pour over the fennel. 097 101 102
  3. Melt 1 T. of the butter in a small skillet, and fry the caraway seeds gently for 1-2 minutes, to release their flavor and aroma. Sprinkle over fennel. 104
  4. Melt the remaining bread crumbs, and fry gently until lightly browned. Sprinkle over the surface of the fennel. (to be honest and admit my lazy ways – I cooked the caraway seeds in with the breadcrumb topping.)118
  5. Place in a preheated 350 degree F oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the fennel is tender.
  6. Serve, garnished with sprigs of parsley. 124

I served this fennel alongside a goat-cheese and mushroom tart (recipe coming soon!).

So – how was my first fennel experience? It was tasty! The fennel was nice and tender in the creamy sauce and had a slight anise flavor to it. All and all is was savory and delicious. If you are like me, and have never had fennel before – this is a simple recipe to make and it makes a nice side dish to replace the “same old thing” in your routine.

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon