Cauliflower Rice Salad

When your husband goes on the ketogenic (high fat/low carb) diet, you have to come up with carb-friendly recipes and fast.

My husband first went low carb last fall and it worked wonders for him. We're talking 20 pounds in six weeks wonders. I then tried it for two weeks and all I got was dehydrated and lethargic. Go figure. I'm not knocking the diet at all, but I have heard that it works better for men than for women. For now, I'll stick with my veggie and fruit-packed, healthy fat, lean protein way of eating. Tell me one specific food group is off limits and it's all I will want every minute of every day.

Now, back to the husband's diet. The problem with having two people on different diets in one house is that I end up feeling like a short order cook. Almond milk cappuccino for me; bulletproof coffee for him. Protein pancakes for me; Eggs with cheese and bacon for him. Salad for get the idea.

One area where we can agree these days is cauliflower. It's a great replacement for carb-like ingredients (think potatoes and rice) and I can make basically the same dish for both of us and then just add a pile of cheese and butter from grass-fed cows on top of his portion. 

We're both eating a lot of this salad right now. If he's strictly counting carbs, I'll leave out the dried fruit, but otherwise, it's one dish that works well for both of us. 

Cauliflower "Rice" Salad

1/2 head of cauliflower  

1 tsp honey

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/4 cup of almonds

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/2 bunch of cilantro, leaves only, roughly chopped

1 tbsp almond oil

Sprinkling of smoked paprika 

Break the cauliflower into florets and place in a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped into rice-size pieces. If you're doubling this recipe only process 1/2 a cauliflower at a time as overcrowding the food processor will keep some of the florets from getting processed.

Transfer the cauliflower to a bowl and stir in the honey, lemon juice and salt. Place the almonds in the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add to the cauliflower mixture along with the raisins and cilantro. 

Divide between two bowls and drizzle with almond oil. Finish with a sprinkling of paprika and more salt.


Griddled Cabbage

We're less than a week away from St. Patrick's Day. I must say, I'm not a big St. Patrick's Day celebrator. I don't make a habit of wearing green and I haven't found that much is missing from my life as a result.

That being said, I'm always game for a good culinary tradition and if cabbage and corned beef are on your radar for next week, try this updated take on green cabbage. Somewhere between a salad and a side dish, this griddled cabbage is served with a pungent mustard dressing - delicious and strong enough to stand up to the cabbage flavor.

Does grilling cabbage seem to strange? Chop up a raw head of cabbage and toss with the dressing - equally delicious and no extra work.

Griddled Cabbage

Serves 6

1/2 cup walnut oil

2 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp champagne vinegar

1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

Cracked black pepper to taste

1 large green cabbage, sliced into six wedges

1/4 bunch of chives, sliced thin

Place the first six ingredients (through pepper) in a mason jar with a tight fitting lid, secure the lid and shake vigorously until combined. Set aside.

Set a large pan over high heat and preheat. Add just a touch of ghee or other cooking oil appropriate for high heat cooking and place the cabbage wedges in the pan. Sear until browned in a few spots, one to two minutes, flip and repeat on the other side. You don't want to cook the cabbage, just sear the outside to add some flavor.

Alternately, you can brown the cabbage directly on the burner as you would a bell pepper when removing the skin or, for even more flavor, use a grill.

Set the cabbage wedges on a serving platter, sprinkle with chopped chives and drizzle with dressing.

New Year's Day Black-Eyed Pea Tabbouleh

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, but both my parents hail from the south. A number of their food traditions have become my traditions even though they're not typical of an Angeleno's upbringing.

One tradition my mother was never able to get to stick with us was serving black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. I have a recollection of an old bag of dried peas hanging out in the cupboards until it was time to cook them down with a ham hock. This did not appeal to a couple of kids with picky tastes.

Eating black-eyed peas on New Year's is meant to bring luck in the coming year. There is some debate over the origination of the tradition as well as exactly how it must be carried out. I'm taking a risk and assuming simply eating them will suffice. So, this year, I'm bringing back the black-eyed pea - just not that sad old bag of dried beans.

Fresh black-eyed peas are a whole different game. I enjoy eating them right out of the container, but most will probably find them a bit chalky. A quick dip in boiling water will solve that. I'm using them in a fresh salad that aside from the very non-traditional addition of peas, looks an awful lot like tabbouleh. The fresh flavors and healthy ingredients are exactly what I'm usually craving on January 1st when I'm ready to put an end to holiday indulgence.

New Year's Day Black-Eyed Pea Tabbouleh

1 1/2 cups fresh black-eyed peas

2 small (ish) bunches of parsly (flat leaf please!)

1/2 small bunch of mint

1 cucumber

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tblsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Bring a pot of water to a boil (do not salt the water) and blanch the black-eyed peas for six minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking.

Remove the leaves from the parsley, discarding the stems. Bunch all of the leaves together and chop them finely with a sharp knife. Remove the leaves from the mint sprigs, stack four or five together at a time and roll them up into a bundle as though you were rolling a cigar. Slice the "cigar" finely into a chiffonade. Place the mint and parsley into a bowl.

Peel the cucumber, cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Dice the cucumber and add it to the bowl. Roughly chop the tomatoes and discard any excess liquid that is left on the cutting board. Add the tomatoes to the bowl along with the cooled black-eyed peas.

Pour the oil, lemon juice and salt in a jar with a tight fitting lid, secure the lid and shake until combined.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until combined. The longer it sits absorbing the dressing the better.



Brussels Sprout Salad

Not sure if there will be healthy options at your next holiday get together?

If you've been asked to bring a dish with you, make sure it's this salad. Pair it with a bit of whatever protein is on offer and you can stay on track. Of course, it is the holidays so don't forget to indulge in a few treats along the way.

If you have not been asked to bring a dish with you, be sure to check out Bon Appetit's holiday etiquette guide before appearing with something. They hit the nail on the head with what is actually helpful to your host and what can end up complicating his or her day.

You have two options for the Brussels. Either pull the leaves apart and serve them like a leafy green salad or, my favorite, cut the sprouts in half and then thinly chiffonade them. You can also make quick work of this process by using the thin slicing blade on your food processor. Either way, make sure you let the leaves marinate in the lemony dressing a bit before you serve the salad.

Brussels Sprout Salad

Serves 4

1 pound Brussels sprouts (about 24), cleaned, tough outer leaves removed

1 sweet red apple (like pink lady or honeycrisp) or 10 crab apples (pictured)

1/2 cup walnut pieces

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste


Makes 1 cup (use at least 1/2 cup for the salad)

1 small shallot, diced (about 1 1/2 tbsp)

1/4 cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup best quality olive oil

Make the dressing

Combine the shallots, lemon juice and salt in a small jar with a lid. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the lemon juice to mellow out the shallots. Add the olive oil, secure the lid and shake vigorously until combined. You want the lemon and salt flavors to be pretty aggressive for this salad, so add more of either if the dressing doesn't taste strong enough to you. Set aside while you make the salad.

Make the salad

Take the cleaned Brussels sprouts and either pull the leaves apart or chiffonade them as outlined above. Toss the Brussels with about 1/2 cup of the dressing and leave to marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Cut the apple(s) into matchsticks and immediately toss into the dressed salad. The lemon in the dressing will keep the apple slices from oxidizing and turning brown.

Lightly toast the walnut pieces in a dry pan over low heat. They should not turn brown - just warm them to release their oils. Toss the walnuts into the salad and stir in some freshly cracked black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.




Kickstart Kale Salad

Still feeling the post-Thanksgiving bulge? This salad of kale, raw beets, fennel and carrots will help whip that system back into shape. Served with a basic lemon vinaigrette, I find it helps kickstart healthy eating.

A mandolin makes quick work of slicing the vegetables thinly, but if you don’t have one, just do the best you can with a sharp knife. Feel free to skip the drying step, but I think dehydrating the vegetable slices just slightly, gives them an unbeatable texture.

In my book, healthy eating is as simple as eating a wide range of veggies (and a lot of them). If you stick with this philosophy, you don’t have to spend time worrying about the specific benefits of each food. However, if you’re interested, here are a few of the good things you’ll be doing for yourself when you eat this salad:

  • Beets are important for heart health and have a detoxification impact on the blood and liver.
  • Raw beets are also high in folate.
  • In addition to being a natural diuretic, lemons are alkalizing to the body.
  • Kale is loaded with calcium.
  • The phytonutrients found in fennel help prevent the absorption of toxins.

Kickstart Kale Salad

Serves 4 as a side salad, 2 as a main (ideally paired with a roasted chicken breast)

6 cups baby kale

4 large beets, cleaned, stems removed and peeled

4 carrots, washed and peeled

1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, tough outer layers removed

If not already washed, wash and dry the kale and set aside.

Using a mandolin if you have it, thinly slice the beets, carrots and fennel and lay on wire racks to dry out.

Pour ¼ cup of the lemon vinaigrette into a bowl. Add the the kale and vegetables and toss gently.

If desired, serve salad with roasted chicken to make it a main.


Lemon Vinaigrette

¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)

½ cup best quality walnut oil

Kosher salt to taste

Add all ingredients to a jar and secure the lid. Shake vigorously until ingredients are combined.