Throwback Thursday: Alicia’s Sunflower Sprout Salad

Moments ago: a dark thunderstorm – like a spring thunderstorm – plus hail. Within minutes? Gorgeous sunshine. Gosh, Iowa’s got the most fascinating weather. At the end of February, this little taste of spring is making me hungry.

Mostly, it’s bringing on a craving for more green in my life. Yet, really now, it’s way too early for that in Iowa. It’s time to start things like onion and leek transplants (like some good friends have growing in their window right now, but I can’t claim to be on it myself this year) and start revving our engines to start the rest of our transplants in March, in preparation for this year’s gardens… but our growing season is still a few months off.

LUCKILY for us, our local growers are on the job, with lettuces from Rolling Hills Greenhouse in West Union, Iowa, and local sprouts from Organic Greens in Kalona, Iowa, on our shelves. Thank goodness for sprightly spring sprouts. Whew - that’s a lot of s’s… this little bit of spring is going to my head.

Organic Greens Sprouts

So what makes this ‘Throwback Thursday’? Well, we just re-discovered our archive of recipes, and it really wouldn’t be co-operative of us to keep them to ourselves. (Isn’t that what February is for? To give us enough time indoors that we can’t help but rediscover _____ ? What [fill in the blank] have you rediscovered this February?) 

This rejuvenating recipe from the Spring 2011 Catalyst is perfect to start up our Throwback Thursday series. On a personal note, it happens to be the first Catalyst issue I had the pleasure of editing. Start the reel and read all about our good friends – and great growers – at Organic Greens, where:

“Paying attention to the health of the environment, the seeds, and the soil creates healthy roots, which produce healthy shoots – organic works.”

Meet owner James Nisly of Organic Greens and hear his vision for feeding our community in the Spring 2011 Catalyst on page 8 here.

Alicia’s Sunflower Sprout Salad

Alicia Diehl, Organic Greens Marketing Coordinator and New Pi Member

sweet potatoes, cubed and roasted (I bet winter squash would also be nice)
local Organic Greens sunflower sprouts or mixed sprouts (their combination includes radish, red cabbage, snow pea, & sunflower sprouts)
red onion, thinly sliced
local Maytag Blue Cheese, crumbled

Maple-balsamic Dressing:
1 clove garlic, minced
½ c. olive oil
¼ c. balsamic vinegar (preferably aged)
3-4 T. maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it - Alicia usually uses 4 T.)
sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

Assemble or toss salad ingredients. Mix dressing ingredients by whisking or shaking in a tightly-lidded jar. Dress the salad to your liking and enjoy!

Sparkling Winter Salad – Delicious for Everyone (Vegan & GF Guests Included)

We’re into the wonderful, grounding part of the year that’s all about tradition.

New Pi Eats Sparkling Winter Salad

We all know what’s going to be served on Thanksgiving. The mashed potatoes, the pies, the bird… but once in a while a new pop of color’s nice on the table. That’s where this comes in – but watch out, it might steal the show.

It certainly will gain you accolades with bird-eschewing guests. Vegan nephew? Check. Gluten free aunt? Sub cooked quinoa for farro and you’re golden. Grazing guests? Keep it in the fridge and they’ll be satisfied – and healthier for it.

New Pi Eats pomegranate method

But what about the cook? Sure, pomegranates are great for you, but isn’t harvesting the seeds (officially called “arils”) from their vessel a bother? You can certainly pick up the pre-seeded ones. I’m into the whole fruit – seeing it in my fruit bowl sets the right tone for the season. Instead of ruining your white shirt, fetch a bowl of water. Cut the pomegranate in half lengthwise, then cut slits in each half and fan it out, if you like. Submerge it in the bowl of water and either set to giving it some firm whacks with a sturdy kitchen spoon, or just pull the arils out under the water. Strain and appreciate a few gorgeous moments in the kitchen.

Sparkling Winter Salad
Farro with Roasted Sweet Potato, Kale, and Pomegranate Seeds

Recipe thanks to Food52

Serves 3 – 4 as a main course, or 6 as a side dish

1 c. farro (gluten free: sub cooked quinoa)
extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and cut into ¼-inch wedges
1 large sweet potato (or winter squash), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 ¼ c.)
½ t. ground cumin
½ t. ground coriander
1/3 c. walnuts
3 c. packed, roughly chopped kale (stems removed before chopping)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 t. fresh lemon juice (Meyer if available), to taste
freshly ground black pepper
½ c. pomegranate seeds
purely optional (for non-vegan): small block of feta, cubed, to garnish

Boil farro with 4 c. water. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 20 min. Stir in 1 t. salt and simmer until tender (about 10 min. longer).

Drain and transfer to a bowl to cool.

Heat oven to 400°F.

Toss onion with oil to lightly coat. Spread on baking sheet and sprinkle with generous pinch of salt. On a separate pan, toss sweet potato with oil; sprinkle with cumin, coriander, and a pinch of salt.

Roast until tender and onions browning, stirring once (onions will be done first).

Toast walnuts in an oven-safe dish until darkened in color and fragrant, about 5 to 8 min., watching carefully. Cool, then roughly chop.

Sauté kale and garlic in 1 to 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet, stirring, until kale wilts but is still bright green.

Mix or layer everything, drizzling with about 1 T. olive oil and lemon juice, seasoning to taste.

New Pi Eats Sparkling Winter Salad 2

Anissa’s Cranberry Pumpkin Granola – The Perfect Fall Snack

[New Pi Wellness Lead & Registered Dietician Anissa Bourgeacq knows all about the importance of eating colorful, seasonal food. Enjoy her guest post on granola her kids love to help make! -- Allison]

Anissa's Cranberry Pumpkin Granola - New Pi Eats

It’s October: the days are cooling down, and the leaves are turning into those beautiful shades of orange, yellow, and red. This change always reminds me of the importance of including colorful foods in my meals every day. October also brings chilly football games, back to school activities, and cozy movie nights with family and friends. What better way to eat your fall colors and have a quick, hearty, and healthy snack than granola?

The pumpkin and dried cranberries in this recipe make it seasonal in every sense of the word. What says “October” more than its shining star, the pumpkin? (Don’t forget to roast those Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin seeds!) This granola goes great with yogurt, over warm oatmeal, or straight out of a bowl. Put some in a baggie for a quick snack, while you’re taking the kids to practice, or bring a bowl along to your next tailgate.

Anissa Bourgeacq, RD, New Pioneer Food Co-op Wellness Lead

Anissa Bourgeacq, RD, New Pioneer Food Co-op Wellness Lead

Pumpkin’s orange color means it has high antioxidant content. The puree offers lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which support vision health. Pumpkin also is a source of beta-carotene, which correlates with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s also a powerhouse when it comes to vitamin A, K, and B.

Embrace this October by making a big batch of granola! It’s a perfect start to eating your colors of fall.

Pumpkin Granola

Makes 10 Servings
• Serving Size: ½ cup • Calories: 196 • Fat: 7.2 g • Protein: 4.5 g

½ c. pumpkin puree
2 T. coconut oil, melted
1 ½ t. vanilla extract
¼ c. agave nectar or maple syrup
1 t. ground cinnamon
½ t. ground ginger
½ t. ground nutmeg
4 c. rolled oats
¼-½ c. pecans, chopped (optional)
¼-½ c. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a bowl, mix together pumpkin, oil, vanilla, agave/maple, and spices.

Add pecans and oats, stir to coat well, and spread evenly over two parchment-covered cookie sheets.

Bake 20-30 minutes, until desired crunchiness is achieved, stirring and rotating every 10 minutes.

Cool, then stir in cranberries and store in an airtight container.

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