Sunflower Seed “I’m Sorry” Nori Rolls

So I didn’t post for a week.

Sigh… it’s summer. Forgive me.

I was busy watching the boy get convocated, hopping town on my bike to catch as much NXNE as one borrowed press pass can allow, plus plain ol’ workin and schoolworkin’.

I used to think cookies were the best way to say “I’m sorry.”

Today, however, I think these will do just fine.

Remember last week, when I spent Saturday mauing (sp?) down on Raw Nori Rolls at the Raw Vegan Fest?

I knew they’d be perfect for a recreation in my kitch. Nut and seed pâtés are a stupidly easy way to add some protein, heartiness, and flavour to any dish, and since sunflower seeds often go otherwise overlooked, I figured this would be a great chance for them to get out of their shells (note to self: stop writing after 1 a.m.)..

You might ask why I advise soaking nuts and seeds. (You might, if you don’t just do everything I say with reckless abandon.) Well, if that’s what you’re asking, here’s the semi-scientific rationale:

Soaking releases the enzyme inhibitors in nuts and seeds that basically make them challenge your body’s digestion and absorption. Thus, if you want maximum nutrient efficiency and happy tummy times (and who doesn’t?!), always soak your nuts and seeds, then rinse them well!

Here’s a handy dandy guide to ideal soaking times:

And once you’ve done the soaking, you’re just a few minutes a way from eating these!

Sunflower Seed Pâté Raw Rolls (raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free)

For the pâté:

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked and rinsed

1/4 cup almonds, soaked and rinsed

1 carrot, chopped roughly

2 tbsp chopped onion

2 tbsp tamari, nama shoyu, or bragg’s liquid aminos (or plain ol’ soy sauce)

handful of parsley

juice of half a lemon

sea salt, to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and combine to desired consistency. If you can make ahead, do—the flavours come together once they’ve sat around together for awhile. You know—camraderie.

For the rolls:

Sheets of Nori (Sushi wrappers)

Sprouts (Pea or sunflower sprouts would be nice)

Sesame seeds

Chia, optional

Spread 3 tbsp of the pâté on the non-shiny side of the nori, about 1/3 of the way up. Pile with sprouts. Roll up like sushi, using water to seal the edge of the nori. Chop into rolls (note: it helps to wet your knife!), and sprinkle sides with sesame seeds and whole black chia seeds for garnish. Serve sushi-style with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos.

A Salad My Own Size

My usual problem with salads?

Well… they’re salads.

What my grandpa refers to as bird food, and what are usually just not enough for my Hungry-Man appetite. The kind of appetite traditionally considered large enough only for a male. I’m 6 foot 2, and usually active, so that’s kinda my excuse.

That’s why I need a super-powered salad, packed with superfoods, plenty of protein, and lots of fibre to keep the stomach growlies away.

Now I can pick at something my own size: The All-Star Salad.

(although clearly what I need to be picking is the weeds on my patio. I’m sorry.)

I love Fresh (maybe a little too much)—I frequently try and redirect hangouts to one of their three Toronto locations, where green smoothies are acceptable appetizers, kale is abundant, and the cupcakes and cookies are irresistible. (Seriously. Everytime I walk away without one, it jumps into my mouth before I’m even out the door. It’s not my fault). I’ll admit I wish they didn’t use canola oil for frying, and I don’t believe they use organics, which is kind of a downer considering how much good stuff they’ve got going on—that said, of healthy on-the-go spots, this one’s still near the top.

Last summer, when the All-Star Salad was a special, I spent half my time dragging friends to go eat it with me, and the other half trying to recreate it at home.

(an early incarnation)

I’ll admit, it’s quite a lot of work for a salad… but that’s what makes it SO good.

So when Angela posted her version on Tuesday, and Fresh’s Newsletter mailed out the honest-to-goodness authentic recipe on Thursday, I knew all of the forces of god and goodness were coming together to tell me one thing: MAKE THIS SALAD. (It’s an important message for the gods to deliver methinks.)

And so I did.

Salads, you win. This time.

The All-Star Salad (vegan, gluten-free, high in protein)

(adapted from Fresh Restaurants newsletter, re-inspired by Oh She Glows)

Ingredients:

(I omitted the Tofu because a) I don’t love soy and b) this bad boy is already packed with protein)

Salad Mix: (you can store these leftovers together in a Ziploc with a paper towel to absorb moisture, just leave the goji berries out)

4 cups               Kale, washed, deveined, and shredded

½ cup               Parsley, chopped

½ cup               Cilantro, chopped

3 cups               Sunflower Sprouts (or other sprouts!)

4 tsp                  Goji Berries (raisins or currants will do in a pinch)

Quinoa Tabouleh:

2 ½  cups cooked quinoa

1/2 can adzuki beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup shelled edamame

1 tomato, diced

1/2 cucumber, diced

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1 green onion, diced (the Fresh recipe calls for red onion)

3 tbsp olive oil

4 ½ tsp tamari

Toss everything together.

Grilled Sweet Potato:

Brush both sides of each slice of sweet potato with extra-virgin olive oil (or better, coconut oil) and cook in panini grill until tender. If you don’t have a panini grill, cook in 350 degree oven on a cookie sheet, turning once, until tender.

Toasted Nuts & Seeds:

Cashews

Sunflower seeds

Pumpkin seeds

Place in 350 degree oven for a few minutes until toasted.  Toss once or twice.

Directions:

For one salad, layer: a generous heap of salad mix, 1 scoop of quinoa tabouleh, a few slices of sweet potato, and a tbsp of toasted nuts and seeds. Top with dressing of your choice (I used Angela’s red-wine vinagrette)

Oh. And though it might not look it, this recipe was given the go-ahead by the original Hungry Man. Certified Luke-Approved.

Dude-approved.

Drop Beets Not Bombs

I’m sure I’ve preached enough praises for green smoothies on this blog already. And if I haven’t, I soon will. Just. you. wait.

There’s a time and place for a good green smoothie.

…..but there’s always time to get juiced.

Have you met my baby?

It’s a shiny brilliant thing of beauty, I tell you. Some boys polish cars ’till they can see their reflection in the sheen. Me… well, me and my boy Breville, we tight. And he sure is miiiighty shiny. (You don’t need this schmancy juicer though. A Jack Lelane will do just fine.)

Juicing is a beautiful thing for your body because it really does all the work for you. Since the fibre is already pushed out as pulp, the nutrients can skip most of the digestion part in your body, and instead go straight to work where they’re needed most. Juicing first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach is ideal, so that all of the goodies and greens can be absorbed straight into your bloodstream—but since there’s no fibre to slow it down, it’s optimal to juice with a ratio of at least 80% veggies to 20% fruits. With too many fruits, all that sugar goes straight to your bloodstream—you’ll be shakin’ in your skivvies!

It’s easy to play around with your own juice creations, but for a general rule of thumb when it comes to veggies, start with your leafy greens and/or herbs (ie. kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro), then add your water-based veggies (cucumber, and celery are both great, you could also use carrots) to flush out the drink, add any extras (I like a little ginger, garlic, or half a peeled lemon), and finally, if you want to sweeten it up a bit, some fruit (half an apple, pear, or a beet). If you juice all willy-nilly, the thicker produce can clog up the machine and make it difficult to get all of the wet juicy goodness out of your less dense veggies. And that would just be a gosh darn shame.

Beety Bliss 

Juice ingredients in the following order:

A few sprigs of parsley

2 stalks of kale (you can wrap the parsley or any leafy greens around a more solid vegetable to ensure it’s juiced properly)

1 handful of spinach

3 stalks celery (organic please! conventional celery contains some of the highest number of pesticides due to its thick skin!)

1 beet

I think a thumb of peeled ginger would taste great in this one too!

If you’re juicing for the first few times, and are a little scared of the taste, I find it helpful to throw in a few ice cubes and a straw—c’mon now, doesn’t it taste just like a regular grape drank?