Friday, June 30, 2006

Eat Your Greens (& Tahini Too!)

Do you eat your greens, people?

Some dark leafies I eat raw in salads, like baby spinach and wild spring mix. But, for other leafies like kale and swiss chard, it's all about sauteeing - just lightly - at least, for me!

Pictured is some kale that I lightly sauteed, and I've drizzle on some Sesame Mustard Tahini Sauce from Vive le Vegan!,which I'll get to in just a bit.

First, since some of you may not know how to prepare greens, this is one way I like to eat 'em. Very lightly sauteed. This is how I do it:

1) Buy your greens. Organic is best.
2) Wash them. Oh yes... even organic, wash them! (Don't soap them up though! Just a good soak in cold water and rinse.)
3) Dry the greens. I have a salad spinner, but you can shake or pat dry a little.
4) Trim off the thick coarse stalks and chop. For kale I cut out all of the thick stem. With swiss chard, I cut most of the thicker stem away. Then, I slice into thin slivers. I'm only covering kale and chard here because I really like those!
5) Chop a couple of cloves of garlic until very fine.
6) Add a tbsp or so of olive oil to a deep/large skillet. Add the garlic and a few pinches of s&p, and turn heat to medium-low. Cover to let garlic cook. Important: Check garlic and don't let it burn! Add a few drops of water if needed and reduce heat to low. Let cook several minutes to mellow.
7) Add greens, toss through and cover again. Cook just a couple of minutes. Longer for kale. Remove cover, sprinkle in a little tamari and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil (just a little - it goes a long way). Remove from heat (don't overcook, keep it green, not gray)
8) Serve! Drizzle on more olive oil/sesame oil if you like... or...

Tahini Sauce!!!

Note to new vegans: The first time I tasted tahini I thought it was horrid! Bitter and strange tasting. Now I really love it... perhaps my palate had developed over the years, but I understand why you may think it's awful. However... if you combine it with the right seasonings and blend it into a sauce it transforms into delicious! This sauce is a little tangy (from vinegar or lemon juice), a little salty from the tamari, and the bitterness of the tahini is balanced out with some agave nectar to sweeten and other seasonings. It's just excellent!

Tahini sauce is an ideal pairing with greens, imo. I have two tahini sauces in my books, one in TEV and the other in Vive. With sauteed greens, I prefer the one in Vive which is the Sesame Mustard Tahini Sauce. Super easy to make, guys. Just add all the ingredients and whiz in a blender or like you see in picture, with an immersion blender. Whrrrr! It's done!

But, what do you do with any leftover tahini sauce? You can:
- drizzle on sandwiches
- top veggie patties/croquettes/felafels/burgers (as shown here)
- toss into hot pasta or a pasta salad
- drizzle on quinoa or wild rice rice, or other grains.
- dip breads into it
- drizzle on a salad, or toss into a salad (you may want to thin it with water to toss in a salad, it is thick)
- serve with potatoes or fries... or yummy yam fries

Oh, and greens & tahini - double dose of calcium to boot. Hoo-ah!


Anonymous said...

I've also hated tahini when I tasted it for the first time, still having troubles with it...we'll see

Anonymous said...

Hi Dreena,
I've received your books as a gift...what a wonderfull gift it's!!!
I'm looking for advices:
I've never made stir fry (I'm also allergich to soy), can you give me a good recipe?
I'd also like to make a cherry clafoutis to my non-vegan hypercritich friends to demonstrate them that we, vegans, eat wonderfull food, can you help me please,

Peter Matthes said...

That looks pretty good.

Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

Thanks for the ideas - I always have leftover tahini. They don't sell it in a little container for me!


Urban Vegan said...

tahini and greens are 2 of my favorite things. together? divine.

Addy N. said...

I'll have to try that sauce- we love greens at my house. My husband cooks them Kenyan style (sikuma wiki) and I have other recipes (like this one). I wish I had my cookbook here to see if I need to pick up any ingredients for the sauce on the way home today!

Julie said...

I need to start eating my greens again!!

That sauce looks great!

Tanya Kristine said...

oh you're so good. i had NO idea how to prepare kale so i skipped buying it last time but now i will try it. with that tahini sauce...thank you!

Jody from VegChic said...

Hoo-ah! Lol...

Thanks Dreena, I've been sauteeing Chard with garlic and pine nuts. Though I love it, the stems have been a bit tough. Of course, I never thought of slicing those thinly...duh!

I just picked up some organic tahini this week, so I'll give that recipe a try!

erica said...

I just tried "Kale Crisp" from Mollie Katzen's "vegetable Heaven" (not a vegan book per-se, but a lot of the recipes are dairy-free). You bake the chopped kale on a cookie sheet for about 20 minutes (I forget the temp), stirring frequently. It's intriguing - crunchy and kale-like, but sweeter than raw or sauteed kale and still very earthy tasting. The idea is to sprinkle it on soups or salads or mix into sauces.

I like it, but my boyfriend tried and made the most hilarious face I've seen in a long time, I couldn't stop laughing.

Freedom said...

Well, maybe I'm a bit odd but I love tahini! I always have. Even on its own, it's yummy and it works in sweet dishes too. I adore greens!

EatPeacePlease said...

Yum Dreena! I like your tahini recipes a lot. I have always loved it but it gets me paranoid eating out because some people don't seem to know that dairy doesn't belong in there. Those greens look so good. Killian would eat them too!

Carrie™ said...

What a great way to dress up leafy veggies. I was going to make that sauce to have with falafels, but I would never use the whole recipe - but now I know what to do with the rest! Excellent! I'll probably do Swiss Chard. I like kale well enough, but prefer the chard.

Dreena said...

Keep tryin' it, anonymous... I also like it spread on sandwiches topped with veg like grated carrot, and a little goddess dressing too!!

Hi Poppy, thanks for that! :) Ok, I have never made cherry clafoutis, but now that you have mentioned it I have been preoccupied with 'veganizing' it!! I am picking up some organic cherries at the market this weekend, so I am going to work on this one. If I come up with something, I'll post the pic! Stir-fries are pretty easy to do, the most important thing is to have all your veg prepped and ready to go. If you are allergic to soy, I assume you are also allergic to tamari? That's most often used in a stir-fry to create a sauce, though you can stir-fry veg and make other sauces with curry seasonings and coconut milk, or even a sweet and sour sauce. I have a sweet and sour sauce recipe in TEV that you can check out, or if you want to go very simple you can buy a prepared stir-fry sauce. Cook your rice or noodles or whatever you want to serve your veg over. When that's almost ready, heat your pan/wok over a high/medium-high heat. Add oil (olive, canola, or peanut oil) Cook your firmer veggies first, and your more delicate veg last. For a step-by-step recipe, since you have my books, look at the "Veggie Stirfry with Spicy Almond Sauce" p.108 in Vive. I LOVE this recipe and sauce, and you can omit the tofu b/c of the soy allergy. There IS tamari in this sauce, so if you are also allergic to that, you will need to add a little sea salt to replace the saltiness of the tamari. Start with 1/2 tsp in the sauce and adjust to taste - you may need up to 1 tsp, but I haven't tested it this way myself. Hope this helps... good luck! :)

Thanks, Peter, the combo is pretty tasty!

You're welcome, Crystal, I also use tahini straight on sandwiches, as I mentioned above. Good to spread on the bread, and then add your other ingredients and condiments!

Urban vegan, I think so too!!!

Addy, I love how they cook the greens with the noodles in that recipe. I do something similar with soba and edamame. Convenience cooking. That recipe would be great with some tahini sauce drizzle on top - mmmmm! I hope you had the ingredients on hand, most are pretty basic. Oh, I also love that your hubby does some of the cooking there!! How great for you. :)

Julie, I fall in and out too, and have to remind myself to pick them up sometimes. I always have dark leafies for salads, but not always chard/kale. Yet, I always love them once I've cooked them!!

Hey... you're welcome Tanya! Kale is tougher, so will need a little more sauteeing time than the chard. Let me know if you liked the kale...

ooh, Jody, I like the addition of the pine nuts in there. I really like pine nuts, and I think with garlic and the chard that's a beautiful combo! Oh, with the stalks, I remove most of the thicker, tougher part of the stems on both the kale and chard and discard them. Then, where it's more tender and thin toward the top of the leaves, I slice thinly. I will go back to edit my post a bit to make that more clear!! :)

Erica, I like that idea of crisping up the greens. I did something similar once - but by accident, and I actually liked it. I can see how your man might not like it, though! My hubby isn't as keen on the sauteed greens as I am. He basically "gets them down" because he knows I put time into making it and that I know it's good for us. He's crossed that line before and doesn't want to again - ha! Oh, and Mollie's books are wonderful, lots of veg stuff in there and ideas even if they aren't vegan! :)

Freedom, see, that's exactly how we all like different things. I have grown to like tahini a lot, but at first I thought it was nasty. You like it from the get-go... just differences in taste preferences. So great that you like it because it is very nutritious. I prefer it to eating the whole sesame seeds for sure. Just the texture of all those little seeds!! Btw, did you e-mail me again, I haven't seen a message from you so I want to check!

Thanks Leslie, I know you love felafels too, and if you're like me you smother those with tahini sauce... soooo good! I've never heard of dairy in tahini sauces - gross! Why, I ask? It's already creamy, what are they doing?!!

Yeah, Carrie, I like the sauce drizzled on sandwiches a lot so I use leftovers for that quite a bit. Then, my kids will enjoy it tossed into hot pasta along with ketchup (I know, sounds odd, but it IS actually pretty good). Plus, ketchup goes with everything in a kids' world!!! Swiss chard is definitely more "friendly" I think... more tender and less bitter!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dreena,
you're so precious for us!!!

Vicki said...

perfect! i just picked up some collard greens & red kale @ the farmer's market this morning...

KleoPatra said...

*sigh* i need to eat more greens. Thanks for the "kick in the pants." It all looks great, Dreena!!!

Freedom said...

Dreena, I haven't e-mailed you again as I didn't save the first one and it was very long. I've been a bit busy to type it out again. Not sure why it didn't work. :-(

Dreena said...

Poppy, you're welcome. :)

Vicki, don't you love the colors of kale - and of chard? So beautiful!

Hey, no problem Kleo, you can count on me for a good kick in the pants anytime you're slacking off!! :) Though, I doubt you are all that much...!

No problem, freedom, just wanted to check to make sure the e-mail wasn't getting lost once again! Do you have a record of it in your sent box so you don't have to retype it? Maybe you are better at cleaning out your in and sent boxes of your e-mail than I am - I won't even tell you how many I have to clear out, it's shameful!

Harmonia said...

I just made a different Tahini Dressing yesterday and didn't realize it until after I put the other ingredients in that it called for Barley Malt Syrup. What the heck is that?

Dreena said...

Hey, you're back, Harmonia!!! :)

Barley malt syrup is made from the barley grain. Much like brown rice syrup. It isn't as sweet as other liquid sweeteners (eg maple syrup), but it is VERY thick, much like molasses is thick. You don't have to use it in a tahini dressing, I think you could easily sub in agave nectar if you have it. Tahini dressings usually need a touch of sweetener to balance out the bitterness of the tahini (imo anyhow)!

Harmonia said...

Oh! Thanks for the info! I have that at home and will try it. I did try and add half the amount of Maple Syrup just for sh*ts and giggles. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be...hahaha. Thanks!!! I will do a "take 2" on it.