Category Archives: Dressings

Vibrant Collard Green Rice and Bean Rolls

I really like collard greens. I grew up in the South, well if you can count Florida as “the south”, as eclectically diverse as it is. My grandmother cooked them down until very soft, but only in water so they weren’t unhealthy. She had a jar of spicy jalapeno vinegar to splash on them and they were so filling and satisfying. You don’t need to cook them down so much to enjoy them as so many people are catching on to the delights of gently steamed or shredded raw collard greens. For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked Brown or Bhutanese Red rice (preferably organic when cooking with rice)
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (can use chicken stock or water)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (Chick peas), drained
  • ½ cup minced celery
  • ½ cup  prepared cole slaw (cabbage and carrots)
  • ¼ cup chopped pitted black olives (can substitute green if you prefer, I like Cerignola olives particularly)
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup vegan soy mayonnaise (can substitute thick strained plain Greek style yogurt)
  • 1-2 teaspoons your favorite seasoning blend (Jane’s Crazy salt is always a winner)
  • 8 collard green leaves, washed and dried

To make the collard wraps:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice with the broth and sea salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then you want to reduce the heat  to a gentle simmer on low, covered, for approximately 40-50 minutes or until the rice is fluffy and soft.
  2. Transfer the cooked rice to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients, except the collard leaves. Mix well and set aside to cool.
  3. To prepare the collard leaves, you will need to trim off the stems. You can do this by laying each leaf out on a cutting board and running a small paring knife down the thick central stem in a V-shape towards the middle of the leaf. You do not want to cut the entire leaf in half, just remove the thick vein and stem.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat and add 2 or 3 collard leaves. Boil for a minute or two, until dark green and tender. Remove with tongs and transfer to a colander to drain and cool. Repeat with remaining leaves.
  5. Take a cooled collard leaf and lay it stem side facing up. Place 1 cup of rice-bean mixture in the center and roll the collard leaf around the filling to make a wrap. Do this for the rest of the collard greens.

This serves 4 people with 2 wraps each. I recommend a bright and tangy Tahini dipping sauce with this.

Tahini Saice

  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste easily found in a grocery store)
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)

Combine the ingredients in a food processor or a blender and whiz together into a nice dressing consistency. Adjust the seasoning to your liking, and thickness by adding a little water if you want to thin it out.


Salmon Cakes with Bitter Lettuce and Fennel Salad

These salmon cakes are a breeze to make with a food processor. I enjoy the contrast of the robust and fatty salmon against the bitter greens and sweet, pungent fennel root. Fennel pairs so well with citrus as well and I have included the use of orange segments in the salad, as well as pomegranate seeds for a tangy crunch.

For the Salmon Cakes you will need:

  • 1.5 pounds of fresh or frozen and thawed wild caught salmon (pat dry with a paper towel) cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced herbs such as tarragon or parsley or both
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise or soy mayonnaise
  • juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • sea salt to taste, about 3/4 teaspoon
  • freshly ground pepper about 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper or old bay seasoning
  • Olive oil to brush onto the salmon cakes, about 1/4 cup

To prepare pre-heat the oven to 400°F and have a sheet pan or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper ready to bake the salmon cakes.

In a food processor add the cut up salmon and pulse until you have small, fine bits, but not a paste. You want a little under 1/4 inch chunks. In a bowl combine some of the  Panko breadcrumbs and the herbs, lemon juice, mayonnaise, Dijon and seasonings. About 3 tablespoons of Panko just for texture. Once the salmon is processed add it to this mixture and fold it all together well. Now you are ready to form the salmon cakes into disks about 3 inches or less across and about an inch high.

The remaining Panko crumbs can be put onto a plate to use to coat the cakes as you form them. Just press them gently into the crumbs as you shape them and try to get an even coating. You should be able to get about 8 cakes at this size, with 2 cakes being served per person.

With a pastry brush or grill brush gently brush some olive oil over the formed salmon cakes and set them onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes until done. They should be firm and lightly golden brown on top.

Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the bitter greens and fennel salad.

For the salad you will need:

  • 1 small bulb of fennel root, washed and shaved on a mandolin or thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup orange segments, supreme is preferred
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 cups mixed greens such as radicchio, mizuna, and endive
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons good Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper

Mix the dressing ingredients in the bottom of the salad bowl you will be using and whisk well until incorporated. Then toss the salad ingredients well with the mixed dressing and season with salt and pepper.

Serve 2 salmon cakes each on top of a plate of this delicious salad and enjoy!

If you like you could substitute 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar for pomegranate molasses if you can find it. Also adding toasted walnuts would be an excellent addition to this salad.




Kale and Lentil Salad

Red Lentils are quick to cook, and very filling. This salad can be served warm as a side dish, or chilled until cool and eaten as a cold salad. You will need:

  • 2 cups red lentils, cooked and drained
  • 1 Tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons good vinegar such as balsamic or sherry
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • wedge of lemon
  • 1/4 cup Dinosaur kale, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • fresh basil, minced or chiffonade
  • 3 Tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts or other nuts like hazelnut
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To prepare the salad have your ingredients ready and warm a skillet or sauté pan gently over medium heat and warm the oil and garlic until it softens, about 3 minutes. Stirring occasionally to ensure no sticking or burning. Add your vinegar and kale and wilt the kale, stirring to coat the greens with the warm garlic dressing. Once wilted remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix this with the basil and nuts and tomatoes while still warm but not hot. Squeeze a little lemon over the salad and toss gently ensuring an even coating. You may serve this chilled or warm as it is and it is a lovely summer dish. This is excellent with a grilled fish as an entrée.   Serves-4

Easy Mixed Greens and Chicken

With Spring arriving the weather is permitting some al fresco dining in some regions. If you’re lucky to be living in one of those warmer regions you may enjoy dining outside. Fire up the grill and make this delicious and easy salad full of anti-inflammatory ingredients like blueberries and garlic.

For the salad:

  • 1 bag of pre-washed organic mixed greens
  • 1 medium sized red onion, small diced
  • 1 seedless orange, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries, washed well
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (may substitute fresh parsley)
  • 2 6-ounce skinless chicken breasts, patted dry
  • Grapeseed oil

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup Good quality extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar or balsamic (may substitute freshly squeezed orange juice)
  • 1 garlic clove smashed and minced well
  • Sea salt about a teaspoon
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Wisk all the ingredients together for the dressing and check the seasoning. Take about 3 tablespoons of it and rub over the chicken and let it marinate in a dish in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. Set the rest of the dressing aside and assemble the salad mixing the onion, oranges, blueberries and herbs together. Grill the chicken breasts until they are cooked through, about 3 minutes a side. Ensure you rub some grapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper before you grill them so there is no sticking. You may use other high-heat tolerant oil if you do not have grapeseed. While the chicken is resting and cooling some, dress the salad tossing gently. Slice the chicken and serve about half a breast for each guest.


Serves 4


Kale Salad with Creamy Ginger-Tahini Dressing

You have probably heard by now about Kale. How it is one of the new super foods. An all star leafy green that packs a powerful nutritional punch.

Just one cup of raw Kale ( and you can eat many, many cups if you like) has 6% Daily Value for Iron, 134% Vitamin C  ( helps absorb iron), 206% Vitamin A, 5% Folate, and 9% Calcium. Wow. I’m not done: it has 2 grams of protein per cup. Yep, you read right: protein in a leafy green! What’s more is that for you in particular it is strongly anti-inflammatory. Strongly. And very filling.

Tahini is sesame seed “butter” : ground sesame seeds, just like peanut or almond butter. It has a lot of oil from the seeds and is often used with chickpeas to make hummus. It is runnier than peanut or almond butter and that makes it easy to work with making dressings. 1 Tablespoon of Tahini has 3 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber, as well as 6% calcium and  2% iron. It also happens to make a delicious dressing for raw leafy greens.

You will need:

  • Bunch of organic Kale m washed well, stemmed and chopped in bite sized chunks
  • Tablespoon Tahini paste
  • 1 medium or large garlic clove, smashed with broad side of knife and ground into a paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon organic honey
  • 1 dash of cayenne pepper to taste (more if you like heat)
  • 1Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Tamari, preferably organic
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • About a teaspoon freshly grated Ginger (more again if you like ginger)
  • 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar (regular works as well but raw has health benefits. I like Braggs brand)
  • 1 medium apple, organic, small dice
  • 1/4 bulb fennel, sliced very thin ( I use a small mandoline slicer)
  • Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese or parmesan style soy cheese

This makes a large salad, so it can be for up to 4 people or if you’re like me and are just hungry for some kale, just one person as a meal.

In a mixing bowl add the garlic, tahini, honey, cayenne, ginger, vinegar, tamari and whisk well to mix. Thin with the water to dressing consistency. Add lemon juice and stir well.

Next add kale and apples and fennel and mix well with tongs or you hands. You could mix in the parmesan or sprinkle on top. Like I said I eat this thing right out of the mixing bowl so I toss it Caesar style with the cheese and go to town on it!

Couldn’t be easier! And boy is it tasty. If you don’t like sesame or have an allergy try while miso paste instead of tahini, or even very firm tofu, about an ounce will do. You may have to adjust seasoning to saltiness.

I hope this inspires you to try kale raw. You might find it so satisfying and decide to add it regularly to your Pain Free Diet.

Some fun variations : Add cooked, drained lentils or shaved red cabbage or even Vidalia onion and dried cherries.

Valentine’s Aphrodasiac Recipes

Valentine’s is fast approaching and I have a couple of healthy recipes that are sure to rev up your endorphins in the process.

Baked Herbed Mussels on the Half Shell:

  • 24 Mussels, washed and de-bearded
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Cups bread crumbs, dry
  • 3 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1/4 Teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 1 Small can Roma tomatoes, slivered
  • 1 Whole lemon

Wash your mussels in a colander in the sink with cold water. Scrub them gently with a clean towel or clean sponge and firmly tug the “beard”, or the stringy looking bit that hangs out of the side. Some of them can be tough to pull out so grabbing it with a dish towel is often helpful. Put washed mussels in a covered pot on high heat just until the shells open. Remove from heat and pry open as soon as they are cool enough for you to handle. Make sure any unopened mussels get tossed aside, as only live mussels will have opened during cooking. Remove the flesh to a bowl and reserve 1 shell from each mussel to bake it in. Mix the bread crumbs, the garlic, parsley and olive oil and combine with the reserved mussels. Put this into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. When ready to assemble have the broiler on in your oven and have a sheet or cookie pan ready. Place one mussel in each shell, top with a sliver of tomato and put on the sheet pan. Broil about 4-5 inches from the heat just until crusty and golden brown. Serve with lemon wedges if desired and a side of Arugula Avocado Pistachio Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette.


Arugula Avocado Pistachio Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 Cup Brut Champagne
  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 2 Teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil minced or chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Ounces baby arugula leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 Ounce fresh basil leaf, stems removed, left whole
  • 1 Large orange, peeled and sliced (if you can do supremes, go for it)
  • 2 Medium avocados, sliced
  • 1/4 Cup pistachio nuts, chopped

Begin by reducing the Champagne by boiling it until 1/4 cup remains. Let it cool completely. Then in a food processor, mince the garlic then add the lemon juice, Dijon and salt and process some more. Gradually with the machine running, pour in the olive oil. When emulsified, add the chopped basil and process just to mix.

Arrange Arugula on a platter or individual plates (this serves 4-6). Spread the oranges and avocado slices over the arugula, top with the whole basil leaves ( you can tear them a little if desired), and drizzle with the Champagne vinaigrette. This is divine with the Baked Mussels dish.


Bright Beet Dressing

Using beets as an ingredient in dressing lends a shockingly bright, fuscia color that is also very tasty.

  • 1 small beet, trimmed and unpeeled
  • 1 teaspoon minced, fresh, ginger
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste

For sake of time and ease with only 1 beet, I wrap it in plastic wrap tightly, or in a zip-loc type bag, and microwave it for about 6-8 minutes on High. Let it cool to the touch and with a clean but not-so-important dish towel, or sturdy wad of paper towels, gently rub off the skin. There will be a lot of bright red color transfer from the cooked beet onto anything it touches, so take this into account. You could place the beet into a small saucepan, adding just enough water to cover and simmer until tender for 30-minutes.  When the skin is off, cut into chunks about 1/2 inch.

In a food processor or blender, puree the beet, ginger, shallot, and mustard. Then add in the Balsamic vinegar. With the machine running, and through the hole in the top of the blender or food processor lid, slowly add the olive oil in a stream about the width of a pencil. You will see everything become smooth and thicken up slightly. This is emulsification. Add the salt and pepper and check for taste. Store the dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week.

Variation: You could add about 3 Tablespoons of plain Greek style yogurt when you add the Balsamic vinegar for a creamy-style, dressing. Also herbs would compliment like Cilantro. If you chose to omit the Ginger, you could use Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary or Tarragon.

Capri Dressing

Sometimes you just want a really good salad dressing more than a really good salad. So here is one of my favorites. It is made with Capri, or Chevre, or Goat-Cheese for the layman. Capri is Chevre made here in the States and I usually source mine out in Concord, MA at Verrill Farms where they sell Capri made at Westfield Farms. Try to find a locally made variety if possible, or just use the cheese you find at the local grocery or market. The ingredients are filling and add creaminess using yogurt or silken tofu. So without further ado:

  • 1 garlic clove (2 optional if you really like a garlicky dressing), cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup mild, soft Capri (or Chevre)
  • 5 Tablespoons Plain, Greek style yogurt, or Silken Tofu
  • 2/3 cup extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic cloves, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, Capri, and yogurt or Silken Tofu, and blend until smooth. With the blender running and through the opening of the little hole of the lid of the blender, slowly add the olive oil in a stream the approximate width of a pencil. You will see the mixture begin to smooth out and thicken-this is emulsification. Stop the blender and add the salt and pepper and pulse gently to mix well.

Store the dressing up to a week in an airtight container.

Variations: Add fresh herbs for another take on this simple dressing. I like to use a teaspoon of freshly minced Tarragon for a cool, anise-like flavor; or a teaspoon of freshly minced Thyme for a robust, earthy-herbal take. Use your imagination with this simple yet elegant dressing.