The Lotus Manifesto

Nourish Yourself From the Inside Out

Category: Salads

Kale Chorizo Ensalada

Spice up your life, and otherwise boring greens, with some local chorizo sausage!

Spice up your life, and otherwise boring greens, with some local chorizo sausage.

Apparently kale is über trendy in New York City right now…must be because it’s in season! I had three amazing varieties of kale salad: warm, cold, with meat and without, and decided to try it in the test kitchen with some chorizo sausage. My husband, the brilliant chef that he is, suggested some minced, dried Turkish apricots and pecorino cheese to smooth out the flavors. The result was, well, gone in a few minutes.

That good.

If you’re not into meat or cheese, try sautéing the kale with some shallots, red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts. There are infinite ways to make kale a superstar. Let me know what you come up with. In the meantime, enjoy!

Ingredients:

1.5 Bunches kale, de-stemmed and finely chopped or sliced chifonade style

1 Cup chorizo sausage

2 Shallots, thinly sliced

Olive oil for sautéing

½ Cup dried Turkish apricots, minced

Juice of ½ an orange

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 Cup sliced or grated Pecorino Romano, or another hard-ish cheese for garnish

Paprika for garnish

Method:

Sauté onions and chorizo over medium heat

Once onions and meat are lightly browned, add the apricots

Sauté until tender (2 minutes)

Squeeze orange juice, 2 tbs. olive oil, and a dash of salt to chopped kale, and mix thoroughly

Add the kale to the pan, and gently stir in until wilted and well-combined with meat mixture (2-3 minutes)

Divide between serving bowls (2-4)

Garnish with paprika and freshly sliced or grated pecorino cheese

Harvest Arugula Salad

Toss this season’s bounty in a bowl with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a smidge of honey, and you’ve got yourself a hearty meal!

Hungry and pressed for time? Lucky for us, many cooler weather crops taste fabulous together. When in a pinch for a quick meal, I just chop up whatever we have in the larder and end up with a very tasty and filling salad. Don’t be afraid of the fat in this salad. It’s all the “good” kind, so as long as you’re getting a little bit of movement into your day, it shouldn’t add any girth to your midsection. And research shows that fat-soluble vitamins (such as beta carotene, vitamin D, and vitamin E, among others) require small amounts of healthy fat to optimally absorb into the body. So eat up and enjoy!

What’s your favorite autumnal harvest salad combo?

Ingredients:

1-2 cups fresh arugula (can sub spinach or greens if you’d rather have a less spicy salad), lightly chopped

1/2-1 small honeycrisp apple (no really, finding a local honeycrisp is worth it), chopped

1 small handful raw, sprouted, and/or toasted pecans, chopped

1/2-1 small avocado, diced

1-2 Tbs. olive oil

Juice of half a lemon or 1 Tsp. apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

a teeny squirt of honey

*Optional: A little crumble of local goat cheese goes a long way!

Method:

Whisk together dressing ingredients (oil, juice or vinegar, salt, pepper, honey) in the bottom of your large salad bowl.

Place the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and toss well. (*Note: For optional goat cheese, crumble over the top before serving)

Serve and enjoy! Serves 1-2

Health Benefits:

Apples:  My, what balanced phytonutrients you have, oh beloved apple. Apples contain a wide array of polyphenols which help regulate our blood sugar. They’re also a great source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants, and fiber. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Arugula: Arugula is a rich source of folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and B-complexes (such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, which are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions). This is a low-cal lettuce leaf that packs a nutritional wallop, so don’t be afraid to ask for a second helping! See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, folate, vitamins K, C, and B, and potassium. It also contains a wide spectrum of inflammation-fighting nutrients. Avocado also helps increase our intake of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—when eaten with romaine lettuce, spinach, and carrots. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lime: Limes are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Pecans: Pecans contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, a variety of B vitamins and zinc. One ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for fiber. Pecans are also a source of monounsaturated or “good” fat and protein. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Best Chicken Salad I Ever Ate…

This batch fed a roundup of hungry ladies at a baby shower brunch, served with buttery croissants. Yum.

…Meanwhile the meat/no meat debate continues…

Ah, the endless debate: If you are a true yogi, can you eat meat? That is for you to decide. But I will say this: the concept of “ahimsa,” or unconditional love for all beings (as defined by Nischala Joy Devi in her heart-centered translation of the Yoga Sutras) must be applied to oneself too. Yes, it makes my being writhe to think of animals being abused and “dispatched” for human consumption. But if your body is in need of certain sustenance that only animal flesh can provide, and you prepare and eat it with love and gratitude in your heart, then I personally think it is ok in moderation. Granted, there are likely yogis, vegetarians, and vegans who would vehemently disagree. And that’s ok.

My best advice is to listen to your own body and soul’s inherent wisdom. But if you decide to go for it, try this recipe. The extra time it takes to shred the chicken meat is totally worth the effort. It’s nutritious and delicious, and can be made in large enough batches to feed the masses…as long as they’re not vegetarian. (In which case make any of the other recipes on this site.)

Ingredients:

4 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken (about 1 3/4 pound)

*Note: 1) If you use breasts and thighs it tastes even better! 2) If you shred the chicken rather than cut it, it tastes even better-er! 3) Make sure chicken is completely cooled before mixing with other ingredients to make it taste the better-iest!

*Note: This is a GREAT way to use up leftover chicken and/or turkey meat.

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled

1 cup chopped fennel (can sub celery if you don’t have/like fennel)

3 sprigs finely chopped green onion

2 cups halved seedless purple grapes

1/4 cup mayonnaise (can use homemade Paleo-nnaise if that’s your bag, baby)

½ cup Greek yogurt (can use all Greek yogurt if you don’t like mayo)

2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint or 3-4 Tbs. dried

Hefty dash tabasco sauce

Hefty drizzle honey (1 Tsp.-ish)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl until combined well. Can be served immediately, but is even yummier if allowed to sit for a few hours or even overnight.

Can be served solo, in sandwich or wrap form. This chicken salad is heavenly on a fresh croissant, but is also tasty when served in lettuce wraps or radicchio leaves if you’re doing the grain-free thing.

Health Benefits:

Chicken: If you’re looking for a good source of protein that’s also low in fat try an organic chicken breast. The thighs have a richer (read: fattier) flavor, but both are great sources of tryptophan, selenium, and vitamins B3 and B6. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Fennel: In addition to its abounding phytonutrients, fennel bulb is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folate, and potassium. It also has a unique licorice-like flavor and a ton of crisp crunch. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Grapes: Grapes are packed with vitamin C and manganese and contain a variety of antioxidant phytonutrients such as beta-carotene and resveratrol (think red wine!). These tasty little jewels are thought to help support the cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, and nervous systems. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt is a thicker, creamier version of “regular” yogurt that boasts high protein, healthy bacteria which support healthy gut flora, and is a good source of calcium. It’s a versatile addition to your diet and can replace higher fat dairy products. See here for more about the nutritional info and health benefits of yogurt.

Pecans: Pecans protect your brain, heart, and body. They’re high in vitamin E, oleic acid, vitamin B1, thiamin, magnesium, protein, and an array of other vitamins and minerals. They are also great sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (read: good fats), and are very low in saturated fat. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

You Say Tomato, I Say Caprese

Tomatoes, fresh mozza and basil, with a hint of truffle salt and olive oil. I could live on this combination in the summertime.

Hi. My name is Celestia, and I’m a caprese-aholic. I love tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella in just about any form….From slabs of heirloom tomato with hunks-o fresh mozzarella and chopped basil, to an open-faced caprese sammy, I’m a sucker for any dish that resembles that magical combination of ingredients. It’s an ultimate summertime favorite, so I had to throw this recipe in here before the chilly air takes the tomatoes away until next season. Enjoy…

Ingredients:

Heirloom tomatoes, sliced into thick slices

Fresh mozzarella cheese, torn or cut into pieces (to match the size of your tomato slices)

Fresh basil, julienned (Or homemade pesto)

High quality olive oil for drizzling

Pinches of salt (to taste)

*Optional: truffle salt OR truffle oil (but not both), balsamic vinegar or reduction, other types of cheese to replace the mozzarella such as goat or brie.

Method:

Arrange tomato slices on a serving plate or platter.

Carefully administer pinches of sea or truffle salt.

Arrange cheese on tomato slices.

Add julienned basil.

Drizzle with olive oil (and optional balsamic).

Keep your hands and arms away from the platter as each bite disappears.

Health Benefits:

Basil: Basil contains flavanoids called orientin and vicenin, which protect us at a cellular level. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also high in vitamin K, so is great for our blood health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Mozzarella Cheese: Dairy products are not for everyone…but for those of us who can eat a bit of dairy, Mozzarella is a great source of  vitamins (such as niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, biotin and vitamin B6), minerals (such as calcium and phosphorus), and is high in protein. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Caprese with brie and balsamic reduction

Caprese with brie and balsamic reduction.

Caprese Sandwich

Local, multigrain bread with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, avocado, olive oil, and sea salt. Best summer lunch I can think of…

Zucchini Avocado Carpaccio

Zucchini Avocado Carpaccio

For this “simple man’s” zucchini carpaccio, I used a potato peeler to create paper-thin zucchini ribbons.

I’ve always been a glutton for delicious words like “kumquat” and “soliloquy.” Diving into the world of culinary arts has opened up a treasure trove of new words that make me tingly just to say them. One such word is “carpaccio.” I love the way it rolls off my tongue, especially when in the same phrase as multi-syllabic words like “zucchini” and “avocado.” Call me a word nerd, but I don’t care. I take almost as much pleasure speaking the names of these dishes as I do tasting them. So I present this beautiful dish, which was spawned from food icon, Patricia Wells’ cookbook Vegetable Harvest, but I found and adapted this version from http://www.food52.com. It takes a few minutes to assemble, can marinate anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours, and is absolutely divine. The tartness of the marinade is rounded out by the fat of the avocado and the salty creamy crunch of the pistachios. I didn’t include lemon thyme in this version, but that would surely elevate the tasting experience even more. Enjoy!

 Ingredients:

1 Tbs. lemon juice

1/2 Tsp. fine sea salt, plus additional as needed

1/4 cup high-quality pistachio oil, almond oil, or extra virgin olive oil

4 small or 2 medium zucchini

1 ripe avocado, peeled and very thinly sliced

1/4 cup salted pistachio nuts, chopped

4 sprigs fresh lemon thyme, preferably with flowers.

Method:

Combine lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil in small jar. Cover and shake to blend.

Slice zucchini lengthwise as thinly as possible, using mandoline or very sharp knife…I used a potato peeler and had pretty good (albeit not perfectly even) ribbons.

Spread slices on platter and drizzle with lemon mixture. Tilt platter to evenly coat slices. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.

Alternate zucchini and avocado slices on your platter (or individual salad plates), slightly overlapping each slice.

Sprinkle with pistachios. Season with salt to taste, garnish with lemon thyme, and serve.

Health Benefits:

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, folate, vitamins K, C, and B, and potassium. It also contains a wide spectrum of inflammation-fighting nutrients. Avocado also helps increase our intake of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—when eaten with romaine lettuce, spinach, and carrots. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Lemon: Lemons are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Pistachios: These nuts are rich with antioxidants, phytosterols, unsaturated fats, vitamin B-6, and thiamin. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Zucchini: Excellent source of manganese and vitamin C, and is a good source of vitamin A. Summer squash also retains its nutrients when eaten raw, lightly steamed, and/or frozen. And make sure to eat the seeds! Summer squash seeds contain omega 3 fatty acids which are helpful in the prevention of inflammation. The seeds are also thought to contain anti-microbial properties and are still used in some parts of the world to treat intestinal parasites. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Nectarine and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Nectarine and Heirloom Tomato Salad

This 5-minute salad was one of my favorites of the summer…Sweet, tart, and tangy, I’m drooling a little just thinking about it.

Nectarines and tomatoes might not seem a likely pair, but oooh, they are. Sweet yet savory, tart but smooth, the ripe flesh of both of these fruits (yes, tomatoes are technically a fruit) are a sultry match, like a tango in my mouth. I had to make an instant salad to go with dinner, and ended up enjoying this way more than the main course. So I offer it humbly, and hope the results are equally as satisfying to you.

Ingredients:

2 large or 5 small/medium RIPE heirloom tomatoes (I like the smaller ones as their flavor is more concentrated)

2 RIPE nectarines

2 Tbs. julienned basil

High quality olive oil and sea salt for marinating

*NOTE: This recipe can be made with ripe peaches as well for a similar effect, but I recommend using nectarines. If using peaches, peel them for less “mouth fuzz.”

*OPTIONAL: If you’re craving dairy, try a few crumbles of goat cheese for a nice variation on taste and presentation.

Method:

Slice tomatoes and nectarines into a bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil and salt to taste. Toss.

Sprinkle with basil and allow to sit 5-10 minutes (if you can wait that long!)

Serve and enjoy.

Health Benefits:

Basil: Basil contains flavanoids called orientin and vicenin, which protect us at a cellular level. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also high in vitamin K, so is great for our blood health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Nectarines: Nectarines are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta carotene (read: high in cancer-fighting free radicals!), and are high in fiber. They are also a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps maintain healthy blood pressure. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Avocado Lime Coleslaw

Avocado Lime Coleslaw

The perfect companion to any summery meal!

Adapted from http://anutritionisteats.com

I’ve never known what to do with cabbage. But one fateful Saturday morning, a cabbage appeared in our farmshare goodies, so I realized it was time to get creative. This recipe is perfect for the last summer barbeques and dinner parties as a side dish. Or nestle some in a corn tortilla with some fish and create some gourmet-ified fish tacos. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 Cups cabbage, shredded

*Optional 2 Tbs. red or white onion, minced

1 Cup + 2 Tbs. cilantro

1 Small avocado

Juice of 1 lime

1 Tbs. honey

2 Tbs. olive oil

Water to thin dressing  (as needed)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Combine cabbage, onion, and 2 tablespoons of minced cilantro. Set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Add water as needed.

Toss with cabbage mixture with dressing and let chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Health Benefits:

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, folate, vitamins K, C, and B, and potassium. It also contains a wide spectrum of inflammation-fighting nutrients. Avocado also helps increase our intake of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—when eaten with romaine lettuce, spinach, and carrots. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Cabbage: Cabbage is a powerful cancer fighter and lowerer (new word?) of cholesterol. It contains massive amounts of Vitamin A and is a good source of Vitamin C. While purple cabbage is more nutrient dense than the lighter green varieties (due to their added phytonutrients), all varieties are nutritional powerhouses. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Cilantro: Cilantro is a powerful cleansing agent which helps remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body. It’s also beneficial for the digestive tract due to its production of digestive enzymes, acids, and juices. Its essential oils stimulate peristalsis, relieve gas, and aid with digestion. Cilantro also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and helps to increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind), and reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad kind. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Lime: Limes are vitamin C powerhouses. Great for immunity, vitamin C can also be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Cobb-ish Salad

Have some leftovers? Put them in rows on a plate for a beautiful gourmet treat!

(A.K.A. Use Up All My Leftovers in a Pretty Way Salad)

Aah, the beloved Cobb…Vegans, plug your ears for the next sentence…This standard American favorite traditionally boasts the artery-clogging (albeit delish) combo of chicken, Roquefort cheese, bacon, hard boiled egg, and some vitamin-packed (NOT!) iceburg lettuce, just for good measure. But if you’re not in the mood for a triple bypass heart surgery, then this salad can come in many delicious and flavorful combinations that your body will less likely to reject.

I like the Cobb salad because it’s a nice excuse to play with your food, creating color and flavor combinations to suit your mood and dietary requirements. It can be tailored to any diet: paleo, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, fun-free, flavor-free…anyway, you get the idea. The ingredients below are just what I had on-hand this evening, so feel free to get creative! Kick it up a notch with meat, egg, or cheese, fresh or dried fruit, and perhaps a sprinkle of fresh or dried herbs to embolden all the flavors. Please share your favorite combinations. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 medium/large avocado sliced or chopped

1 medium large tomato sliced or chopped

2 cups chopped greens (spinach, or head lettuce)

1 cup shredded carrots (Or Moroccan Carrot Salad)

1 cup green peas or the legume of your choice

1 cup grain of your choice (I used black rice with chopped greek olives, olive oil and pepper)

Method:

Arrange all ingredients in clean rows on your plate to suit your color and texture preferences.

Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, or your favorite salad dressing.

Admire the pretty rainbow of ingredients.

Then mix them up and eat!

*Note: If you’re a meat, egg, or cheese eater, those make welcome and tasty additions to this delightful salad. Otherwise the “grain and legume” combo makes a complete protein.

Health Benefits:

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, folate, vitamins K, C, and B, and potassium. It also contains a wide spectrum of inflammation-fighting nutrients. Avocado also helps increase our intake of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—when eaten with romaine lettuce, spinach, and carrots. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Black Rice: Known as “forbidden rice,” black rice was only eaten by nobles in Ancient China. It contains high levels of antioxidants known as “anthocyanins,” which have been linked to decreased rates of heart disease and cancer. Black rice is also high in other vitamins, fiber, and protein. See here for more health benefits.

Carrot: Carrots are well known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient, beta-carotene, which is GREAT for our eye health. However, these root vegetables are also a great source of a variety of antioxidants and other health-supporting nutrients such as vitamins A, C, K. Studies have shown their effectiveness in the prevention of colon cancer, and their benefits to our cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Green Peas: Green peas are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients such as Vitamins K, C, A, and B1, as well as manganese, folate, and fiber. As “nitrogen fixers” in gardening, green peas can provide the soil in which they are grown with nutrients, and thusly are considered an environmentally friendly food. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Spinach: Spinach is a rich source of vitamin K (think blood builder/purifier!), vitamins A, C, B2 and B6, as well as manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. Popeye apparently knew how to protect himself against inflammatory problems and oxidative stress-related issues, while promoting his cardiovascular and bone health. AND he got the girl! See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Moroccan Raw Carrot Salad

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Adapted From http://www.epicurious.com

We had too many carrots. And I needed an excuse to get over my fear of the Cuisinart food processor that our chef friend thought would come in handy in our kitchen. And it only took me seven months to work up enough courage to plug it in. Then another half an hour and a few spare brain cells to put it together. But the results were totally worth it!

This salad makes a delicious side dish and packs a massive dose of beta carotene. Yum!

Ingredients:

1 pound-ish carrots, coarsely grated or food processed

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

2 cloves garlic, mashed or minced (or more if you’re really brave)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Pinch of salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

*Optional ingredients: 1/4 cup raisins or currants, 1/4 cup toasted walnuts or pecans

Method:

Mix all ingredients but the carrots in a large bowl.

Add shredded carrots and mix thoroughly.

Cover and let marinate in the fridge for a couple hours (or up to a couple days to let the flavors really cross-mojinate).

Served chilled or at room temperature.