Cabbage Carrot Salad with Sassy Peanut Dressing

Just picked red cabbage, carrots, lettuce and parsley make for a healthy, quick lunch.

Dana made this for us for lunch yesterday, I helped by printing out brochures for the Pittsfield Coop Market Initiative! This is a quick and easy meal- it can be made in advance and keeps well in the fridge.  I think I will be making this for my next pot luck!

For the veggies:

Shred 1/2 a head of purple cabbage, grate a carrot or two plus about 1/3 of  a medium white onion, thinly sliced

Make the dressing by whisking together approximately:

1/2 cup peanut butter

a shy Tablespoon of sesame oil

1 teaspoon tamari plus salt to taste

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or 1 teaspoon each: mirin and brown rice vinegar

4 drops of liquid stevia

pinch of five spice powder

1 teaspoon of powdered or juiced ginger

srirracha and/or ground hot pepper to taste

juice of one lime

Add water to desired consistency at the end, taste and adjust flavors.

Add the dressing to the shredded veggies and toss to coat evenly.

Serve on a bed of lettuce and garnish with chopped parsley and salted, toasted sunflower seeds.

To make this into a more filling meal add cooked chicken, tempeh or tofu!

Dressing Up

This past weekend Dana and I followed our friends Mike and Becca to Falmouth on Cape Cod for the Harborside Music Festival; we sold Fire Cider and enjoyed the music, they silk screened tee shirts to go, you don’t see that everyday!

Mike silk screening tee shirts for his nephews, the ones they were wearing!

As part of our four days on the road, we drove to Springfield where we went to another Big E meeting; we are going to be exhibiting at the Massachusetts building for sure, we just have to figure out the dates.  From Springfield we went to Boston and got a chance to get out on the water, it helps when your sister is a sailing instructor!

Captain Elise with Dana, showing off her skills and the coolest Coast Guard approved P.F.D.’s

From Boston we drove to Cape Cod for the Festival and then back home to Pittsfield.  Dana and I were fairly well prepared as far as food goes but had to rely on some local grocery stores from time to time.  It is definitely more challenging getting enough green veggies to eat while on the road.  One of my favorite things to do is buy a box of spinach, slice up an avocado and add dressing- my kind of fast food.  We forgot to bring salad dressing so decided to buy some Annie’s Goddess dressing.  This used to be my favorite but I haven’t bought any in a long time.  You know me, I hardly ever buy something I can make myself so I was kinda looking forward to this but it was…disappointing.  Homemade is the way to go.  Not only because it tastes better but it’s fresher, has no ‘natural flavors’ or other mysterious ingredients in it and is way more cost effective.  So, here are some salad dressing ideas you can make in just a few minutes and have on hand for days.

Fresh Herb Dressing

I have been making variations of this all summer since we have lots and lots of parsley, basil and cilantro in our garden. Herbs are so easy to grow, they just need a sunny windowsill and some water.  Grow your own and skip the high priced packaged bundles in the store.

Chop up a handful or more of your choice of herb, feel free to mix them up too!

Use a ratio of 3 to 1 Olive oil to vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar if you are on a strict Candida elimination diet, otherwise red wine vinegar is a good choice.

Add salt to taste, a mashed clove of garlic (this will help preserve the dressing if you want to save some for later in the week) and pepper, black or red hot, to taste.

Mix well, use a wand blender if you want a smoother, emulsified dressing.  Taste and add more of the above ingredients until the dressing is flavored to your liking.

Basil Balsamic

Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped basil, parsley, a pinch of dried or fresh oregano and garlic.  Salt to taste. Hot pepper optional.

Creamy Tahini Dressing

Start with a couple of heaping spoonfuls of Tahini (sesame seed butter) and mix with some sesame oil or olive oil.

Add apple cider vinegar and salt to taste.

Add your choice of one of the following combinations:

1. chopped cilantro, lime juice, chipolte pepper

2. minced ginger, chopped parsley, mashed garlic clove

Fire Cider Dressing

Mix 3 to 1 Olive oil to Fire Cider, salt to taste, a couple teaspoons of spicy Dijon mustard and mix well to emulsify.  Add a mashed clove of garlic for extra health booting properties!

Cilantro Sesame Salad

Cilantro salad from Xian Famous Foods on Bayard St, NYC

On my last visit to NYC my roommate and I decided to try the new place across the street, Xian Famous Foods, on the recommendation of the No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain that their lamb burgers were amazing.  I’m not into burgers so much anymore so I chose the only thing on the menu that was all veggie, a cilantro salad.  It was refreshing, light and had a little kick to it.  My roommate attests that it was a perfect complement to the lamb burger which was pretty damn good if you ask him.

If you are like me you grow or buy herbs to use as an accent in a particular dish and then find yourself, a week later guiltily tossing what remains of that big bunch of herbs into the compost.  Well, guilty compost no more, try a this herb based salad instead, it’s simple and nutritious and a great way to use up a lot of cilantro at once.  Aside from being a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium and phytonutrients, cilantro has been effectively used to help remove heavy metals and other toxic agents from the body.  This recipe can easily be doubled and makes 2 side servings.

Ingredients for the dressing:

2 Tablespoons Sesame oil

1 Tablespoon Brown rice vinegar

Salt to taste

Splash of Mirin

Optional: chili garlic sauce or hot pepper flakes.

For the salad:

Small bunch of cilantro, sorted, long stems removed

4 scallions, white ends and light green parts julienned

1 celery heart, leaves roughly chopped and the rest julienned

1 medium hot pepper, thinly sliced into rings (I didn’t have one so I used a bit of chili garlic sauce in the dressing.)

Cilantro salad with dressing ingredients: chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and mirin.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and adjust the proportions to your liking.

Prep all the veggies and add them to your bowl with the dressing.

Toss together and enjoy!

Sesame Cucumber Salad

Here’s a super easy and quick summer salad, quite cooling and refreshing when it’s almost too hot out to eat anything! Make sure your sesame oil is fresh, if it smells good it is good.  If it’s been hanging out in the back of your pantry for a while it could have gone bad, so check before you pour!

Sesame Cucumber Salad, Simply Delicious from!


  • 2 medium sized cucumbers (about 1 lb total)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling on top, optional but highly recommended!

1 Peel the cucumbers. Cut them into quarters, lengthwise. (If the seeds are bitter, scrape out the seeds and feed to your worms or compost pile or backyard chickens with the rest of the veggies scraps.) Cut the cucumbers again, crosswise, into 1/2-inch thick pieces.

2 Place cucumbers into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Toss with sesame oil, seasoned rice vinegar, and chili flakes.  Top with toasted sesame seeds and enjoy!

Serves 2-3.

Original recipe from can be found here.

Sesame Spinach Salad

I know spring is finally here when I start craving things like dandelion greens and spinach salad, even if the weather has different ideas.  This salad is really easy to make, it takes about 5 minutes and will feed two people as a side and one hungry lady as a meal.  The toasted sesame seeds are the only time-consuming thing so make more than you need and keep them on hand!

Sesame salad with baby spinach, mesclun greens and black and white sesame seeds

Ingredients for Sesame Dressing:

1 Tablespoon each: apple cider vinegar, tahini and sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic mashed/pressed

Few drops of water.

This dressing can easily be doubled or tripled if you want to make some to have on hand.

Here’s what you do, whisk all the ingredients together in your salad bowl and then slowly add a few drops of water, whisking in between to your preferred consistency, usually all it takes is a teaspoon or two.

Add in greens: baby spinach is awesome, dandelion greens are a delicious detoxifier, mesclun mix, or all three!  Toss to coat evenly with the dressing.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, swirl them around in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until they start to pop and smell super sesame, about 5 minutes.

Done!  The dressing only has about 200 calories and will cover several big handfuls of salad greens, a quick and easy way to add some green to your diet.  I made this yesterday for lunch and added a chopped hard boiled egg and some hot sauce for a complete meal.  I bet it would be good with grilled spicy shrimps, chick peas or left over roasted chicken, ect, you get the idea.  Enjoy eating this healthy and delicious salad and if you have variations, I’d love to hear about them!

Dad’s Kimchi: Spicy Shredded Cabbage

So this is a kimchi-ish recipe, it’s not fermented and I am using a regular head of cabbage.  Rich in nutrition and fiber, cabbage is an absolutely phenomenal source of Vitamin C. Even more impressive is that cabbage is famous for a specialized, naturally occurring, nitrogenous compound known as indoles. Current research indicates that indoles can lower the risk of various forms of cancer.  So it’s got that going for it.  Cabbage is also rich in the following nutrients:

Vitamin A: responsible for the protection of your skin and eyes.

Vitamin C: an all important anti-oxidant, it helps the mitochondria to burn fat.

Vitamin E: a fat soluble anti-oxidant which plays a role in skin integrity.

Vitamin B: helps maintain integrity of nerve endings and boosts energy metabolism.

No wonder I crave this vegetable!  Cabbage is very low in calories, about 15 per cup.  Adding fat, like sesame oil, helps make this side more filling.  The fat also breaks down the cell walls of the plant, allowing your body to access the nutrition inside.  Ok, enough with the science, let’s get on with the recipe!

Everything you need to make this quick version of Kimchi

This first part takes about 5 minutes and then you let it sit for an hour.

Thinly slice a small/medium organic cabbage.

Shredded cabbage, ready for salting.

Layer it in a big bowl with salt.  Let it sit, with a weight on it for best results, for at least an hour.  This makes the cabbage softer and easier to digest.

While the cabbage is sweating, make the dressing.  Mix together 1 heaping tablespoon of each of the following ingredients:

Chili Garlic sauce

Soy Sauce or Tamari

Sesame Oil

Brown Rice Vinegar

and just a dash of stevia or 1/2 Tablespoon of honey.

Rinse and drain the salted cabbage when it’s ready.  I used a salad spinner.

Mixing the cabbage with the dressing

Combine the cabbage with the dressing.  I find that a spaghetti wrangler works well for mixing.

Let it sit for another hour to develop more flavor and continue to wilt.  This will keep well in the fridge for a week or so and is a great side dish, I like mine with mushroom soup!

Mushroom Soup: Another Basic Health Building Recipe

Three kinds of medicinal mushrooms, Napa cabbage and a poached egg topped with srirracha, good and good for ya!

This is Dana’s recipe and it will make a lot of soup, you can even double it so you’ll have many bowls of soup for now, and soup base to freeze for later.  It is so worth the hour it takes to make this rich and healthy soup!  Mushrooms, especially the ones I use in this soup are incredibly good for you.  Among other things these mushrooms support proper immune function, they are high in anti-oxidants and may help prevent cancer.  Mushrooms are high in fiber, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and selenium as well as vitamins and some even contain Iron.  Medicinal mushrooms help kill bacteria and viruses, reduce and prevent tumor growth and can be helpful with many common imbalances like asthma, Candida and other degenerative diseases.  Aside from all that health stuff mushrooms are delicious, this is one of my favorite things to eat and it always makes me feel good!

From right to left: a jar of reishi mushroom powder, peppercorns, dried shiitake, a bag of bonito flakes, onion and dried cloud ear mushrooms


4 Tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 medium onion or, for less sugar, 1 large leek, white part, sliced into thin half moons

2 cups dried shiitake mushroom, in boiling water, with a weight, for about 10 minutes.  Reserve the water!!

Cloud ear mushrooms, one of my handfuls, about 1/3 cup


Mitaki about 1/3 cup, broken up into small pieces

2-3  heaping tablespoons Reishi mushroom powder

reserved mushroom water plus veggie broth, mushroom broth, ect, about 7-8 cups

ginger, at least 1 teaspoon dried or 2 teaspoons fresh

about 10 black pepper corns

a fluffy 1/3 cup of bonito flakes (optional but also delicious and recommended)

about 1/4 cup Tamari (NOT soy sauce.  Tamari is wheat free fermented soy food…check it out!)

1 teaspoon mirin (omit if you are avoiding all sugars)

1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar

Dried shiitake mushrooms soaking in hot water for about 10 minutes.

Prep the onion, get your ingredients together and soak your big dried mushrooms in boiling water until soft, about 10 minutes.   When they are ready squeeze out excess water, cut the stem offs and slice the mushroom caps.   Save the mushroom water, it makes excellent mushroom soup broth, imagine that!  Finely chop the stems and set everything aside.

Start with 4 Tablespoons sesame oil (or any neutral oil like canola or grape seed) in a heavy bottomed soup pot on medium heat.

Add in the sliced onions and or leeks, saute together with the ginger until soft.

onions and sesame oil with ginger

Add the mushroom water plus another 8 cups or so of broth.  Add all the mushrooms including the diced stems and reish powder and the peppercorns.  If you want to go for it with the bonito flakes you should add them now. Simmer for 10 minutes with the top on (you’ll prob have to turn it down to low) to let all the mushrooms completely rehydrate and flavor the broth.

Napa cabbage: chopped!

While you wait, chop in half lengthwise a Napa cabbage and then thinly slice crosswise until you have about 3-4 cups

Chopped napa with my three reserved mushroom soups ready for the freezer in the back ground.

Now, back to our soup on the stove, time to add a teaspoon of mirin and then the tamari, about 1/4 cup (add 1 Tablespoon at a time and taste in between).

Adjust for flavor, add srirracha, more tamari, brown rice vinegar, reishi…

Before you add the cabbage, take some mushroom soup out and reserve it for later.  You can freeze it for months or until next week when you are craving this soup, lucky you will just take it out of the freezer, heat it up, add the rest of your Napa or kale or broccoli and voila, soup, with minimal effort.  I recommend freezing in small containers that way you can make up as many servings at a time as you would like.

Then add the sliced Napa to the soup, stir and turn off the heat.

If you want to add an egg, my favorite, poach a few separately in boiling water and add an egg to each bowl of soup, then serve!  Also tastes excellent with cooked pork and/or chicken, shrimp, scallops?  This is a great soup base….so get creative!