Are you seeing farmers’ markets everywhere, and getting eager to try everything? So are we! It’s time to taste the rainbow with summer recipes. Try a vegetarian recipe, a vegan recipe and a flexitarian recipe from the Clean Plates restaurant guides, and from The Clean Plates Cookbook:
VEGETARIAN: Barbabietole (Beet Salad) from Chef Mette Williams of Culina
8 golden baby beets
8 candy-striped baby beets
1 1/2 c. kosher salt
10 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs cleaned and chopped
1 medium shallot, finely diced
¼ c. orange oil*
2 tangerines, segmented; save juices from segments and use to marinate beets
8 leaves watercress
½ c. soft goat cheese
2 Tbsp. basil oil*
petite basil or chopped regular basil
¼ c. candied pistachios or roasted pistachios
Cover the bottom of a roasting pan with a layer of kosher salt. Lay out a few thyme sprigs and then place 7 of each beet variety on top. Cover with foil and roast in the oven at 350° F for 30-45 minutes. To check the beets’ doneness, insert a toothpick. If it goes in easily, they are done. Let them cool until you can hold them comfortably, and then peel off the skins. The beets are easy to peel when warm.
When beets are all cleaned, cut into bite-size pieces and mix with the chopped thyme, diced shallots, orange oil and tangerine juice.
For the reserved raw beets, make sure they are free from dirt, and slice paper-thin on a mandolin or slicer, width-wise. These beet disks will be a garnish, and you can do them ahead of time and keep them in clean water until ready for use.
To assemble, place a few pieces of watercress on a serving plate and put the marinated beets on top. Scatter the tangerine segments, goat cheese and pistachios and drizzle with the basil oil and a bit of the beet marinade. Sprinkle on the basil and place the beet disks on top.
Note: avocado can be substituted for cheese if you want to make the salad vegan.
* To make a large batch of either orange oil or basil oil, take one cup orange segments or one cup basil, combine with two cups olive oil, and let sit overnight. Strain through a cheese cloth and discard the leaves or fruit left in the cheese cloth.
VEGAN: Asparagus Soup and Cashew Cream from The Conscious Cook, by Chef Tal Ronnen of LYFE Kitchen and Crossroads
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2″ pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 quarts vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 c. Thick Cashew Cream, plus more for garnish (instructions below)
freshly ground black pepper
2 c. fresh baby spinach
microgreens for garnish
Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute. Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. This will create a nonstick effect.
Add the asparagus, celery, and onion and sauté for 6 to 10 minutes, until the celery is just soft. Add the stock and bay leaf, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the Cashew Cream and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Working in batches, pour the soup into a blender, cover the lid with a towel (the hot liquid tends to erupt), and blend on high. Add the spinach to the last batch and continue blending until smooth. Pour the soup into a large bowl and stir to incorporate the spinach batch. Ladle into bowls. Garnish each bowl with microgreens and drops of Cashew Cream.
Thick Cashew Cream
Makes about 2 1/4 cups
2 c. whole raw cashews (not pieces, which are often dry), rinsed very well under cold water
Put the cashews in a bowl and add cold water to cover them. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. Place them in a blender with just enough fresh cold water to slightly cover them. Blend on high for several minutes until very smooth. (If you’re not using a professional high-speed blender such as a Vitamix, which creates an ultra-smooth cream, strain the cashew cream through a fine-mesh sieve.)
FLEXITARIAN: Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Avocado Salsa from The Clean Plates Cookbook
The salsa is also great as part of a meat-free meal. Try it with roasted or grilled veggies!
1/2 medium avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4″ dice
6 oz. strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4″ dice
1/4 small red onion, cut into 1/4″ dice
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
fine sea salt to taste
4 (5- to 6-oz.) sustainably sourced salmon fillets, about 3/4″ thick, skin removed if you like
organic extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
freshly ground black pepper
Zest one of the limes. Juice the zested lime to yield 4 teaspoons of juice. In a medium bowl, combine the lime zest, lime juice, avocado, strawberries, onion, cilantro, and salt to taste. Cut the remaining lime into wedges. Set the salsa and lime wedges aside separately.
Prepare a grill to medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the salmon with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the salmon until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
Serve the salmon hot, with the salsa on top and the lime wedges on the side.
Salmon photo by Family O’Abé