Vegan Carrot-Ginger Salad Dressing

We have a new restaurant near us called Corelife Eatery.  It is not only gluten-free, but they serve real, live food!  What I mean by that is that there are so many vegetables available, bright and colorful, right in front of you as they put your order together.  It works similarly to Subway in that you can choose what you want to go in your salad, grain bowl, or broth bowl.  (Seriously, click on their link and check out their menu if you want new ideas to create your own new dishes!  They are amazing.)  While they mostly have meat options, they do have a vegan option in each category, as well as build-your-own options.  I tried a grain bowl the first time just as it was designed – no changes by me in line – with kale as the base, broccoli pieces, shredded beets and carrots, roasted tofu, quinoa, and more.  They topped it with a carrot-chili vinaigrette and shredded ginger on top of it all.  It was SO good!!  Like all restaurants, they aren’t necessarily cheap enough to eat supper there every day of the week, even for an eatery-style dining area.  So, what’s a girl supposed to do?  Create her own dressing, of course!  I mean, the salad part is easy enough.

Corelife made it simpler for me.  It has newspaper menus to take home that tell all about their delicious dishes and list what is in each of them.  (They are meticulous protecting you if you say you have an allergy, which is wonderful.)  The newspaper-menu also lists what is in their dressings.  Their carrot one starts with carrot juice.  Well, now, honestly, when I’m in the midst of the throes of making dinner, I’m not about to get out the juicer to squeeze a couple of carrots just for my dressing, only to have to clean up afterwards!  A food processor for shredding the beets is enough moving parts to wash.  I figured I could use a thicker dressing anyway.  Sooooooo, I threw a whole carrot into the blender with other stuff and gave it a whiz.  It was pretty good, but I forgot to write down exactly what I did…rats.

The next time, I made sure to write it down.  While this dressing works very well on any salad I have put it on, it tastes the best on red curly kale and alfalfa sprouts with shredded beets and avocado.  Anything else you add is…I hesitate to say this…icing on the cake.  (What a strange word picture to use about a salad….sorry.)  Cucumbers, red onion slices, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, olives all work very well.  For those of you who have never had raw shredded beets on a salad, you will be so surprised at how delicious it is!

This dressing is quite thick.  It sticks to the greens nicely.  If you want a thinner version, add more water and/or oil, or use smaller carrots.  Remember, dressings are really, really forgiving and you can add or subtract from the measurements as your tastes decree.  Don’t have flaxseed oil?  Substitute olive, or another healthy oil.  Love garlic?  Throw in another clove or two.  Prefer spicier dressings?  Add more sriracha.  Hate ginger?  Leave it out – it is still amazing.  Or put more in – but look out!  It will knock you off your chair!  If you want to get an extra, hidden veggie into your kids, try making a batch with half the garlic and no ginger so that they are happier with the flavor.  Let them dip whatever raw veggies they DO like into it.

I did not put salt in this recipe, because even a little bit seemed so salty to my taste.  I had crossed it out on my scribbled list, but thought that must be a mistake the second time I made it and added a few sprinkles.  Nope!  I figured everyone could add it directly to their salad if they wish for it.  You can always add a little to your blender if you wish.  I recommend starting with 1//8-1/4 tsp and tasting to see if you want more.

Carrot-Ginger Dressing

  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled, and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 penny-sized slice of ginger (I used 2-3 last night and it was SO strong, but delicious)
  • 1 T. flaxseed oil
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1-2 tsp liquid sweetener (I used raw honey, but Corelife uses agave)
  • juice of 1 lemon (you could use your favorite vinegar instead, but I’m not a fan of vinegar)
  • 6 T. water (if you use smaller carrots, use less water)

Throw it all into a high-powered blender and whiz for a minute or so.  You don’t want to go for too long, or it heats it up and destroys some of the nutrients, especially in the flaxseed oil.

Store in a small jar.  Mine fit in a re-purposed Trader Joe’s relish jar, which I would guess is about a cup.  (Don’t you love my exact measurements?  Sorry!)  It keeps in the frig at least a week, but mine never lasts longer than that before it is eaten up.  I recommend spooning it out of the jar, rather than pouring, because it is so thick, you can get more than you bargained for on your salad!


Ginger Lemon Tea

My sons were “kind” enough to share their cold bug with me.  One of them hates taking any remedies of any sort and the other one doesn’t mind them, but rarely remembers to take what I tell him he should.  I, on the other hand, start dosing wildly right and left with all manner of healthy things trying to knock the stuffing out of the virus!  Vitamin C in massive doses, oregano oil, echinacea…and now this tea.  I’m not sure which thing did the trick, but I’m almost well with far fewer symptoms than either of the boys who got sick days before me. Continue reading

Sweet and Sour Bok Choy and Tofu

I love sweet and sour stir-fries.  Half of my children do, too.  The other half and hubby, however, do not…or should I say DO NOT.  If I’m going to make it, I do it for lunch for myself and anybody who might be interested.

This week I found some organic bok choy and knew it was time to experiment.  This is just a simple little dish, but it makes a very satisfying lunch.  I didn’t have time to cook any rice and had none leftover, either, so we ate it plain for a late “noon” meal.  It was delicious.  I would have liked more of the greens from the bok choy for eye-appeal, though.  Some sweet red pepper pieces would have helped with the colorfulness, too.  For a better view of the picture below, click on it.  It looks tastier that way.  🙂

Sweet and Sour Bok Choy and Tofu

  • approximately 2-3 T. virgin coconut oil, decrease if desired
  • 1 small onion, quartered and sliced
  • 1 small bunch bok choy, chopped into separate pieces of stem and leaves
  • 1/4 lb. of frozen diced pineapple pieces, or to taste
  • 1 T. minced ginger, or more
  • 1 lb. extra-firm tofu, diced
  • 1 1/2 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1/4 c. demerara sugar, or brown sugar
  • 1 T. (loose) cornstarch
  • 2 T. water

Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet.  Toss in onion, bok choy stem pieces, pineapple, ginger, and tofu.  Squirt Bragg’s back and forth over pan, stirring to distribute.  Begin cooking on medium high heat.  Sprinkle the chicken-style seasoning over all and stir well.  Cook for 5 minutes or so.  Add bok choy leafy pieces and demerara or brown sugar.  Cook until bok choy is as tender as desired.  Stir together cornstarch and water and pour it into the skillet, stirring constantly.  Add more Bragg’s as desired for flavor and saltiness.  Serve plain or over rice.

Variations:  Add sliced/diced mushrooms, celery, and/or bell peppers.  You may need to increase ginger, seasonings, and sweeteners, depending on how much you add.

General Tso’s Sauce

What do you do when you can’t find an inexpensive bottle or two of General Tso’s Sauce for your supper plans?  Well, either you go without, or spend the big bucks, right?  *BEEP*  Wrong answer.  ;D  You go to the website of your favorite brand of sauce and look at the ingredients list…and then use it to approximate amounts to create your own!  Or…at least…that’s what I did last night.  It was either that or use the veggies I had already purchased to make a very mundane stir fry instead.

My only fear came when I tasted the sauce.  MAN!!…was it salty!!!  But since I had never actually tasted the purchased sauce straight out of the bottle, I really didn’t have anything to go by.  My tofu had nothing flavoring it except the coconut oil in which I sauteed it and my veggies had no salt on them.  I took the risk.  I poured it over the tofu to marinate since it was finished first.  Once the veggies finished cooking I tossed it all together.

SUCCESS!  Best tasting General Tso’s yet!  Now that I realize just how much sweetener goes into it, I think that I will have to play around to make it more savory and less sweet just for health’s sake.  But for wow factor, this is the way to go.  😀

For comparison, here is the ingredients list from Iron Chef’s General Tso’s Sauce:  Sugar, soy sauce, water, vinegar, food starch, tomato paste, fresh garlic, dried garlic, red peppers, soybean oil, dried minced onion.

I made some substitutions and added some minced ginger.  I made a triple batch of this for my crew (and the teens were circling the empty serving dishes whining wishing for more.)  That’s why the measurements sometimes seem a bit odd.  It’s tough to split 1/2 tsp. into thirds!  Just for the sake of those of you who like to make large batches as I do, I’ll put the large batch’s measurements in parentheses after each ingredient.

General Tso’s Sauce

  • 1/4 c. evaporated cane juice crystals (or sugar) (3/4 c.)
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp. honey (1/4 c.)
  • 1/4 c. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (3/4 c.)
  • 1/4 c. + 2-3 T. water (1 1/4 c.)
  • 1 T. fresh organic lemon juice (3 T. – 1 small lemon)
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch (2 T.)
  • 4 tsp. organic tomato paste (4 T.)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced (6 cloves; 4 T.)
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder (3/4 tsp.)
  • 1/8 tsp. (rounded measure) dried red pepper flakes (1/2 tsp.)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil (1 tsp.)
  • 1/4 tsp. dried minced onion (3/4 tsp.)
  • scant 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced (scant 1 T.)

Measure 2-3 T. water, mix in the cornstarch, and set it aside.  Place all other ingredients in a saucepan (making sure the tomato paste is thoroughly “dissolved”) and heat to just boiling.  Add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until it loses it slightly milky color and begins to thicken.  Remove from heat and set aside until stir fry is complete and ready for sauce.

Makes approximately 1-1 1/4 c. of sauce.