Edamame Lemon Salad

This salad is very green. I love bean salads in the summer, and I was feeling summery this week. It uses edamame beans (frozen, not fresh), which are great for you. The dressing is simple, but accents the edamame well. I decided to throw in some spice for the tofu.

You could actually serve this without the lettuce – salads composed entirely of beans are very popular. My mom makes a really good one with black beans and scallions and a host of spices and things… I know there’s cilantro ūüôā I should ask for the recipe.

It turns out that this weekend will not be that great, weatherwise, so it’s lucky that Bobby’s going to come next weekend instead! We were planning to visit Sunnyvale Art Institute’s campus (I’m thinking of cooking classes) and I want to see it in the sun. Roommate P just left his job and is also thinking of taking classes there. I think it would be exciting. They have a variety of classes, and though it’s expensive, I think I’d benefit from some of them. The Asian cooking class sounds especially interesting. This bean salad is slightly Asian – edamame, rice vinegar, sesame oil… Try it out!

Edamame Lemon Salad (serves 3-4 as a side)

Ingredients
dressing
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
salad
6 ounces tofu, chopped in cubes
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil, for sauteing
dash of paprika
1 cup edamame beans (I used frozen; boil for 3 minutes, then drain)
2 scallions, sliced
1/2 head of lettuce, chopped

Directions
1. Soak the lemon zest in hot water for 2-3 minutes. Drain and mix with the lemon juice, vinegar, oil, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper.
2. Saute the tofu in the sesame oil for 2 minutes over medium heat with a dash of paprika.
3. Mix together the edamame, scallions, and lettuce. Mix in the dressing. Top with the sauteed tofu and serve.

Vegan Strawberry Lassi

I’m in a great mood. Bobby is going to visit next week, I just got some good work to do, and I’m feeling energized. I managed to use more of my strawberries last night. They are delicious.

I saw a delicious strawberry lassi over at Baking Bites and decided I had to make a vegan version. Remember that tofu yogurt that I made the other morning? Well it was a perfect base for this smooth drink. The strawberries were divine. This is a good dessert but it’s also a great energy drink. The tofu gives it protein and the flavor is balanced with sweetness (agave nectar) and salt. Vegan food is so amazing. Although I’m not a vegan, I end up being one 90% of the time just because I always prefer vegan dishes. And here’s another one for you to make!

Vegan Strawberry Lassi

Ingredients
3 very large fresh strawberries (or 4 medium ones)
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other milk sub)
1/2 cup soft silken tofu
1.5 tablespoons agave nectar
dash of salt

Directions
Slice the strawberries. Add everything to a blender and pulse until smooth. Serve chilled with fresh strawberries. It would be a great pick-me-up on a hot day.

Strawberry Salad


This is a dinner salad; it’s not intended to be dessert… But feel free to eat it for whatever course you think it’s right. I bought a big crate of strawberries at Marina on Sunday, and I needed a salad to use them in. I also had oranges, and a daikon radish. The result is this… And it’s pretty darn good if I say so myself. I used fresh lemons and the effect is really incredible.

This probably serves 6 people – it’s a pretty big batch.

Strawberry Salad

Ingredients
dressing
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 teaspoons sugar
salad
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
2 oranges
1/2 cup sliced daikon radish
3 scallions, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
1 head of leaf lettuce, roughly chopped

Directions
1. For the dressing: Zest the lemons. Soak the zest in hot water for 2-3 minutes. Mix together the lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, chives, and sugar. Drain the zest and mix that in too.
2. Mix together the strawberries, oranges, radish, and scallions. Add the sugar, salt, and pepper and let sit for 5 minutes. Add half of the lettuce and all of the dressing. Mix well. Then add the rest of the lettuce and mix again.
3. Serve with fresh toasted whole wheat bread.

This is a superb summer salad and perfect for a barbecue. Grill up some veggie burgers and teriyaki tofu and you’ll have yourself a picnic.

Tofu yogurt

Am I the only person who didn’t know that mashing up soft silken tofu, then adding salt and agave nectar makes a darn good breakfast yogurt-like thing? I think I might add some almond milk to thin it out a little, but it was so good with my fresh cantaloupe and strawberries this morning! No picture (I’m at work) but here’s what I did:

Yogurt-y Tofu Mash

Ingredients
1 block of soft silken tofu (16 ounces I believe)
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Directions
Mash everything together with a fork. Eat with fruit!

I found that making this in an empty yogurt container was incredibly convenient. I didn’t even have to wash a mixing bowl!

I’m going to experiment with adding almond milk when I get home later.

Stay tuned for a strawberry salad post. It was so delicious – I’m having the leftovers for lunch today.

Unfortunately, Bobby has fallen ill and won’t be visiting this weekend. So I’ll be making more dinners than I’d planned on… But luckily I bought some extra veggies at Marina and I have enough to throw some things together.

How to Reduce Sugar Intake: 7 Healthy Tips

Edited on 7/3/2011: Much more up to date with my current nutritional knowledge now!

***

The main gripe I have with other people’s cooking (and eating out in general) is the massive (unnecessary) addition of sugar to every dish. I have no problem with healthy fats (possibly the most important part of my diet) and I love my protein (in moderation), but excess sugar is something I just cannot stand (mentally or physically). One of my goals for this blog is to offer healthy alternatives to the standard American sugar-laden diet. We don’t have to resort to unhealthy choices just to make dishes more appealing. ¬†Healthy fats, fresh ingredients, and creative spice combinations will give any dish the spark it needs. Sugar is not necessary. Some of my favorite low- and no-sugar recipes are at the bottom of this list.

How to Reduce Sugar Intake: 10 Healthy Tips

  1. Use fruit instead. I like adding mashed bananas or applesauce in place of a processed sweetener like sugar or honey.
  2. Use a sugar substitute. There are plenty of natural zero-calorie sweeteners out on the market now. My favorite is NuNaturals stevia. They have a whole line of sugar-free (and zero calorie) sweeteners for baking, adding to coffee, in packets, etc…
  3. Reduce flour in baking. While flour is not sugar, it’s a highly processed grain. Instead, use half flour and half oatmeal. For every 1 cup of flour that you replace, use 1 heaping cup of oatmeal. You cut calories, increase fiber, and reduce the processed carbohydrates. You can also experiment with low-carb flours like almond or peanut flour. I don’t think it matters much if you choose to use white over whole wheat as long as you keep your intake low. I personally prefer the taste of whole wheat bread simply because I think it has more flavor!
  4. Add spices. When you cut out sugar, you can add spices and herbs to give the dish more flavor. Curry, cumin, chili powder, garlic, turmeric, oregano, basil, and ginger are just a few that I’m fond of.
  5. Experiment with¬†potatoes and squash. Instead of grains, try white or sweet potatoes,¬†butternut squash, or – my favorite – kabocha. Squash are especially delicious as French fries. Mashed squash (any type – butternut, acorn, carnival, etc…) is also delicious. Top it with a spot of butter for added flavor. If you’re watching all carbs, a good substitute for mashed potatoes is mashed cauliflower. Try it with ground cumin.
  6. Reduce pasta eating. Like flour, pasta is not exactly sugar – but it is a highly processed carb. I have two great substitutions here – the first is spaghetti squash. I make an amazing version of Eating Well’s Spaghetti Squash stir-fry, substituting seitan for the pork. The second is a Japanese product called Shirataki Noodles. Made from some kind of yams, these noodles have zero calories and zero carbs
  7. Eat¬†rice, but in moderation. If you usually use rice as the base of a meal, try substituting lettuce or vegetables instead. Make lettuce wraps with stir-fried tofu – you’d be surprised at how much more you enjoy the flavor of the tofu on its own. I like both white and brown rice and I usually make them with some butter or bacon fat for some extra flavor and healthy lipids.

Some Delicious Low and No-Sugar Recipes

These tips on how to reduce sugar intake are simple, I think. I only listed a few recipes, but just about everything I make is low or no sugar. Check out my stir-fries, ratatouille, leek soup, spring rolls, and some Delica salads for more light ideas. And here is my recipes page.