Asian-Style Sorghum Salad

There are so many great grains out there for those of us who can’t digest gluten or potatoes. Here’s one that takes a little longer to make, only because sorghum takes such a long time to cook but is really delicious and quite different from any other grain. As usual, feel free to use variations listed below if a non-Asian type of salad is desired. Enjoy something other than pasta or potatoes!

Cook in 2 quarts of boiling water:

1 cup washed sorghum*

1 teaspoon sea salt

Once water boils, reduce heat to medium high and boil uncovered for 50-60 minutes or until sorghum is soft. Rinse under cold water.

While the sorghum is boiling, prepare:

1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded carrots

2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

1 cup diced jicama (or diced water chestnuts)

1 cup stringed and sliced pea pods

Combine in a large bowl. Then make the dressing. Pour into a 2-cup jar:

1/4 cup soy sauce substitute (see recipe under sauces/condiments/dressings)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup sesame seeds

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon fish sauce (Optional)

2 tablespoon date syrup

1/2 teaspoon chili paste (or wasabi paste)

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic or ginger (Optional)

Shake vigorously to emulsify although the oil will separate if not used immediately so it will need to be repeated prior to use. Once the sorghum is cooked, rinsed and cooled, pour into the bowl of vegetables and add the dressing. Toss to combine and serve.

*Sorghum has a waxy outer shell that needs to be rinsed off before cooking.

VARIATIONS:

Italian Sorghum salad: Use diced tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley or basil, carrots, peas, etc., with an Italian style dressing.

Sorghum “Potato-style” salad: Add some diced onion, celery, hard-boiled eggs, and a mayonnaise dressing.

Indian Sorghum salad: Use chickpeas, broccoli, carrot, cucumber, spinach, or zucchini along with a curry or tahini-based dressing.

Sesame Noodle Salad

It’s been very hot in Minnesota so I don’t feel much like cooking never mind eating something hot. I’ve been looking for salad recipes and this one is scrumptious and quite easy to put together. Most of the vegetables are raw which means some cutting but very little cooking. Boiling noodles, no problem there. And the sauce can be whisked together very easily. Add some cold meat if you like; I added some grilled chicken breast to mine but even without that, it’s very filling and delicious. This recipe makes two servings as a main dish or 4 as a side dish.

First, put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. When the water boils add:

6-8 ounces Thai rice noodles or whatever type of gluten-free pasta your family likes

1 teaspoon salt

Cook following package directions. I used the Thai Kitchen brown rice noodles which you throw in boiling water and remove from heat, let sit in the hot water for 5 minutes then drain and put in a bowl of cold water until ready to use.

Next, prepare the vegetables. I can’t eat raw onions or sweet pepper so I sauteed them for several minutes to soften on the cooktop but feel free to add them raw if you like them that way. Into a medium (4-quart sized bowl), combine:

6-8 (depending on size) baby onions (the white parts of the scallions, should be about a half-inch in diameter; these are sometimes called spring onions)

1/2 of a yellow, orange, or red sweet bell pepper, sliced thin

8-10 baby carrots, grated, diced, chopped (I used the food processor for this) or one regular-sized carrot

2 baby cucumbers, peeled and diced

4 stalks of celery, diced

1 small can diced water chestnuts OR 1/2 medium jicama, diced

Next, make the sauce. In a small bowl add:

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce substitute (see recipe under sauces/condiments/dressings)

2 tablespoons seed or nut butter (I used my pumpkin seed butter)

1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon date syrup

1/2 teaspoon garlic puree (or crushed garlic)

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce or siracha (more if you want it quite spicy; I think 1 teaspoon would have been better)

1-3 tablespoons hot water to bring the sauce to the right consistency

Whisk together everything except the water. If the sauce seems too thick (it should be the consistency of a creamy salad dressing), add the water a little at a time.

Pour the sauce over the vegetables, drain the noodles and toss them with:

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

and add them to the bowl and mix to combine. Cut:

1-2 scallion greens

On the diagonal as a garnish. Add more sesame seeds as a garnish as well (about 1 tablespoon). Serve.

To serve as a main dish, add some diced grilled chicken breast; diced beef; shredded turkey breast; or other protein like grilled tofu. This would be the perfect vehicle for leftover rotisserie chicken or turkey breast.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Salad

Every once in a great while I buy a rotisserie chicken at the store because, like everyone, I just don’t feel like cooking. I bought one several days ago and like so often happens, found I couldn’t eat all of it before it would spoil. In those cases, I usually dice up the chicken breasts and freeze them for later use. It’s amazing, I don’t understand why, but when cooked chicken is frozen, it makes such a better chicken salad than fresh chicken. Perhaps because it’s really cold? Anyway, try putting the diced chicken in the freezer for about an hour before making the salad and let me know if you agree with me that it has a better taste.

For the salad:

2 rotisserie chicken breasts diced

3-4 celery stalks, diced

2 tablespoons dill relish (or up to 1/4 cup depending on taste)

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, or diced jicama, or diced water chestnuts (just looking for more crunch)

1 avocado, diced

For the dressing:

1/2 to 3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (depending on how much chicken there is)

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon herbamare (herbed salt)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon ground black (or white) pepper

2 tablespoons honey (or agave or coconut nectar, or date syrup)

Mix all the ingredients and serve with lettuce. Garnish, if you have some, which I didn’t, with chives or scallions. Also, it’s delicious with sliced fresh strawberries or tomatoes. Makes 4 servings.

Chicken and Cranberry Salad with Green Goddess Dressing (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free)

As all my allergies progressed, one of the things that most bothered me was a sensitivity to leafy green vegetables.  No more salad, what was I going to do!  Then I discovered that I could eat red leaf lettuces, what a relief.  Now I have a salad almost daily and here’s one of my favorites.  I really like various textures in my salads so I add crunchy ingredients as well as softer ones.  Green Goddess dressing usually has walnuts in it but since I’m allergic to nuts, I used pumpkin seeds instead.  You could substitute sunflower seeds.

You’ll need for the salad (for 2 entries or 4-6 side salads):

  • 1 head of red Romaine, cleaned and broken into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cucumber sliced
  • 2-3 small tomatoes
  • 2 wedges of jicama, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • several scallions or some red onion diced, optional
  • 8 ounces of cooked chicken, diced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dried cranberries (I used the kind sweetened with fruit juice and unsulphered)

For the dressing, in a food processor put:

  • 1 ripe avocado, skinned and pitted
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley, or 1/2 cup fresh parsley (you can add more if you like parsley; not one of my favorite herbs so I didn’t use much)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (or lemon juice if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons ground pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water to get to dressing consistency, 1/4-1 cup (my dressing came out fairly thick and I used 1/2 cup of water)

Blend until creamy and all ingredients are combined.  Here, again, I used some roasted whole coriander seeds that I pulsed in my spice grinder so they were not fully ground and the pumpkin seeds were also only partially ground.  This added some crunchy texture to the dressing.