If you remember your school days and biology class (yeah right!) you may remember that an herbivore is an animal adapted to eating plant material. They have digestive systems that allow them to eat a wider range of plant material than say humans, whom are considered omnivores. Though some of us still choose to eat primarily plants. When considering the wide range of plants available to eat, we think there are some options that are underutilized- one being fresh herbs. Most fresh herbs can be found in dried and ground forms making them last longer and simpler to use. However, we believe fresh herbs to be superior in taste and nutritional quality. So what better time than spring to start adding more fresh herbs into your diet? And we're going to help you do that with this recipe.
Herbs have pretty much been used since the start of civilization for decoration, flavoring and as remedies for illness. Besides their culinary uses, most herbs boast a variety of other qualities that you might not be aware of. Take parsley and mint for example (pictured above)- chewing these fresh herbs has been a natural remedy for bad breath for thousands of years. If the leaves are swallowed after chewing these herbs will continue to provide fresh breath during the digestion process. Also during digestion, parsley and mint may reduce the production of intestinal gas and odor promoting better digestion and combating indigestion. Now can any chewing gum do all that!? We recommend trying to find organic herbs whenever possible or growing at home. If you're worried about wasting these precious fresh herbs freezing is the next best alternative to fresh. Simply chop the remaining herbs and portion into ice cube trays, cover with some water and freeze into herb ice cubes. Once frozen remove from the trays and save in the freezer for your next recipe, just thaw under lukewarm water and voila! The taste will not be as strong as fresh but still delicious. Okay so whose ready for this recipe?
Herbalicious Tabouli Inspired Salad
PREP TIME: 20 mins
TOTAL TIME: 25 mins
1 cup dried quinoa (we used sprouted)
1 1/2 cups raw kale
1 1/4 cup organic parsley leaves
1 cup organic mint leaves
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup pine nuts, roasted
1 green onion (green top only)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey
1 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
Add 1 cup dry sprouted quinoa to a pan with 2 cups water. If you are not using sprouted quinoa make sure to rinse quinoa under running water until water runs clear before cooking. Bring quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover pan and continue cooking for 12-15 minutes or until the liquid has absorbed. While the quinoa is cooking, begin preparing the kale.
De-stem kale, add to a pot with a steaming basket over a few inches of boiling water, cover, and steam for 1-2 minutes until dark green in color. Set aside to cool. Rinse the parsley and mint and finely chop along with the cooled steamed kale. Thinly slice the green top of the onion and set aside.
In a small pan, over medium heat, lightly toast pine nuts until golden and fragrant. About 3 minutes. Combine the dressing ingredients - olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper - in a small bowl and whisk until combined.
In a large bowl, mix together the cooked quinoa, chopped kale, parsley, cilantro, onion, toasted pine nuts, and golden raisins. Pour the prepared dressing on top of your salad, lightly toss together and let sit for 15 minutes for the flavor to meld. Enjoy as a main dish, side dish, or as a healthy herbalicious snack!
Is your breath minty fresh after that meal? Then you might want to add this dish to your date night repertoire instead of garlic toast (ha!). So keep your eye out for fresh herbs at the farmers markets this season or maybe think about starting a garden of your own, because as you can see, fresh herbs are a must in your culinary tool kit.
See you next thyme,
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.