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Summer Cactus Salad – Truly Vegan (no processed ingredients added)

In Salads, Sides On July 2, 2020 0 Comments

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In Mexico, cactus leaves (nopales) are usually combined with ingredients such as tomatoes, chiles & onions. This results in refreshing salads that act as a side dish to meat, poultry and fish.

Nopales (cactus) leaves can be purchased in Latin American supermarkets or grocery stores. Here is our exquisite take on this traditional dish –  Summer Cactus Salad.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
3 cactus (nopales) leaves (found in Latin American grocery stores or supermarkets)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 of a Serrano Chile, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped, fresh mint leaves
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime

Directions:
1. Working on a cutting board, chop the cactus (nopales) leaves into 1/2-inch pieces.

2. Transfer the chopped cactus to a colander set over a bowl; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, combine the chopped red onion, red bell pepper, Serrano chile and mint in a mixing bowl.

4. Rinse the chopped cactus under cold water and drain.

5. Working in batches, transfer about 1/4 of the chopped cactus to double paper towels set on cutting board.

6. Take paper towels and pat dry (cactus will stick to the paper towels).

7. Release the dried cactus  from paper towels and add it to other ingredients in bowl. Repeat with remaining cactus.

8. Add olive oil and lime to salad ingredients and toss. Taste and adjust salt level, if needed.

9. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 hours ahead.

Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

Spinach, Leek & Carrot Saute (Vegan)

In Sides, Vegetables On January 16, 2020 0 Comments

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It’s January 2020 and time for post-holiday diets! Here’s an easy, vegan dish that can be served alongside any delicious food you like.

Prep time: 25 -3o minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
3 to 4 leeks, rinsed and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
12 ounces fresh spinach leaves, rinsed & spun dry
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil.

2. When oil is hot (but does not smoke), add the carrot rounds and saute on medium-high heat for 1 minute.

3. After 1 minute, add the leeks and saute on medium-high heat for 2 minutes.

4. After 2 minutes, add the spinach leaves and saute on medium high-heat for 2 to 4 minutes.

5. Cook vegetables for 2 to 4 minutes longer or until carrots are crunchy-tender and leeks and spinach are tender.

6. Add salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.
Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

Paprika-Dijon Pumpkin

In Sides, Vegetables On November 7, 2019 0 Comments

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Take it easy on Thanksgiving – toss pumpkin cubes with paprika, Dijon and a few more ingredients. This Paprika-Dijon pumpkin side be absolutely  “délicieux” (that’s French for “delicious”)!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 35 to 40 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
10 to 12 cups peeled & cubed pumpkin
2/3 cup chopped red onion
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey (you can add more, to taste)
Juice of 1 lime
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. In 16X14 baking pan, toss all ingredients together until uniform.

3. Place baking pan with pumpkin mixture on a rack set in center of oven.

4. Bake pumpkin for 30-35 minutes, stirring once or twice during the process.

5. After 30-35 minutes, taste pumpkin. It should be tender but not fall apart or purée.

6. When pumpkin is done, transfer pan tu upper rack, 6 to 7 inches away from top oven broiler.

7. Broil the pumpkin for 5-7 minutes or until it turns golden brown. You may have to stir it every 2-3 minutes until evenly roasted.

8. Serve pumpkin as a side with your turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.

9. Alternatively, serve pumpkin with any meat, poultry or fish dinner.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

Israeli Herb Salad

In Salads, Sides On July 4, 2019 0 Comments

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I went to Israel in April -as many of you know – and learned how to make the best herb salad ever! Here it is:

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 (as a side dish)

Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh, Italian flat leaf parsley, stems discarded
1 bunch fresh cilantro (coriander), stems discarded
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, stems discarded
1 bunch fresh tarragon
1/2 of a Serrano chili pepper, finely chopped (optional)
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts or chopped, unsalted almonds
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon agave nectar or pure maple syrup (for a slightly sweet flavor)
2 teaspoons fine-quality dark Balsamic vinegar
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 to 4 cherry tomatoes, for garnish

Directions:
1. Wash and spin dry (in a salad spinner) the parsley, cilantro and mint.

2. Transfer half of the spun-dried herbs to a food processor; process finely (DO NOT OVERPROCESS, AS THE HERBS WILL WILT).

3. Transfer the spun-dried herbs to a glass, porcelain or stainless steel mixing bowl; set aside.

4. Repeat processing remaining herbs and transfer them to the bowl; set aside.

5. Rinse and pat dry the taragon; then chop it finely.

6. Add tarragon, Serrano chili pepper, carrot, pine nuts to herbs in mixing bowl.

7. Stir in the olive oil, agave nectar or maple syrup, Balsamic vinegar, salt and ground black pepper.

8. Taste the herb salad and adjust seasonings, according to taste. Serve immediately.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

Italian Roasted Potatoes & Yams

In Holidays, Sides, Vegetables On November 13, 2018 0 Comments

Here’s a Thanksgiving recipe my family and I have made for years. The potatoes and yams get the “Italian” from the rosemary, garlic and olive oil. You mix the ingredients together and the oven does the rest! Happy Turkey Day!

Prep time: 15 minutes for peeling & cutting
Prep time: 30-40 minutes for roasting
Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients:
4 medium-large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & placed in a bowl with cold water
4 medium-large yams, peeled & added to potatoes in bowl with cold water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Two 3-inch sprigs fresh rosemary, removed from stem, chopped with shears & set aside in a small bowl
3 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Drain potatoes and yams; dry them with paper towels.

3. On a chopping board, cut potatoes and yams into 2-inch chunks; immediately transfer them to a large 16 x 10-inch Pyrex® baking dish or rectangular, disposable aluminum baking pan.

4. Add the olive oil, chopped rosemary leaves, garlic, salt & black pepper; toss together until all ingredients are uniform.

5. Place Pyrex® baking dish or aluminum baking pan with potatoes & yams on a rack set in center of oven.

6. Roast potatoes and yams, uncovered, for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, check doneness by tasting a potato (potatoes will take a few minutes longer to bake than the yams). If potato is still a little firm, roast for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

7. Serve immediately as a side to turkey, meat or seafood.

Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real