Monday, January 14, 2013

Asian-Inspired Grainy Salad

Inevitably, when I discuss meals and healthy eating with clients, at least a handful of them ask me what I eat. The same is true when I meet new people in my personal life. People always ask, "do you always eat healthy?", or on the flip side, "do you ever eat chocolate or junk food??".

The truth is that I don't even know anymore. I think I eat " normally," but my husband tells me I eat healthfully all the time (or most of the time). Irregardless, I am happy with how I eat, my health is good, and so are my energy levels. Best you can ask for, wouldn't you say?

So what do I eat? Well, maybe it's time I get back to sharing some of our favorite recipes (and some new ones we've been trying).

This Asian-inspired salad is based on a recipe from this cookbook, but tweaked to the point of being quite different. It's a great grainy salad, perfect for lunches and packs a satisfying load of protein and fibre. It's got some crunch to it with a soy-ginger flavour scheme and hints of sweetness from dried cranberries. Oh - and it looks way better than it does in this photo.

1.5 cups cooked rice, bulgur, quinoa, or any combination of cooked grains
Raw sugar snap peas
1 sweet green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup lightly toasted raw, unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 can rinsed chickpeas
1 small can sliced water chestnuts
1 lb extra firm tofu
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Dash hot pepper flakes
Fresh parsley (optional)
Fresh cilantro (optional)

How to:
1. Open and drain tofu. Chop into cubes (roughly the size of dice). Place in dish and combine with 1 tbsp of the soya sauce as well as all of the garlic and ginger. Cover and refrigerate while the remainder of the salad is assembled.

2. In a large bowl, combine cooked grain with chickpeas, pepper, water chestnuts, and cranberries.

3. Toast peanuts in dry non-stick frying pan on stovetop over medium heat. Toast until just fragrant. Add to salad.

4. Wash sugars snap peas and peel strings (as best you can without spending too much time on it). Add to salad.

5. Add marinated tofu to salad and toss to combine.

6. In small dish or jar, combine remaining 2 tbsp soya sauce with honey, cider vinegar and pepper flakes. Drizzle over salad and toss to combine. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and or parsley. A

Great served on a bed of baby spinach leaves.

Makes about 8 servings.

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