Friday, February 19, 2021

RECIPE: Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas, and Salted Pistachios

Believe it or not, I still have a few carrots left from last season's harvest - that's the beauty of Biodynamic Agriculture - and here's one of our favorite ways to serve them.

One of my favorite food bloggers is Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen.  Deb is funny, REAL, and she appreciates a well-seasoned recipe as much as I do.  I hack her recipes a lot!  Last week, she shared this recipe for carrot salad that sounded so yummy I couldn't wait to make it!  

The recipe comes together quickly - you can grate the carrots and mix the dressing while the chickpeas are roasting, and have dinner on the table in 30 minutes!  

It was so good my husband was mixing the leftover dressing and beans with the carrots that I slice as dippers!  As Deb says, "I don’t think I’ve ever had a bowl of grated carrots with so much complexity".

Original recipe: Carrot Salad With Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas, and Salted Pistachios

I copied her recipe below verbatim, and added my changes in red.

Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas, and Salted Pistachios

(Sorry for the crummy photo - I forgot to take one until I was almost finished eating!)
Serves 4

1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce can, drained and patted dry on paper towels
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (I used 1 t. Himalayan pink salt)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely grated (We prefer a medium grate)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley (I didn't have so I used cilantro)
1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

1 medium garlic clove, minced (I grated mine into the lemon juice)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Roast chickpeas: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss chickpeas with one tablespoon olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated. Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly. Set aside until needed. (I spread mine into one layer and then left them there for 20 minutes.  I stirred them, spread them out again, and left them for another 10 until they were really crisp!)  NOTE: the last time I made this it was raining, and the chickpeas refused to get crisp!  I had to leave them in for 40 minutes, turning them occasionally. We then had to re-crisp the leftovers!

Make dressing: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning; don’t worry if it tastes a little sharp on the lemon, it will marry perfectly with the sweet grated carrots. (Yes!  Anything lemony is great with raw carrots!)

Assemble salad: Place grated carrots in large bowl and toss with parsley. Mix in 2/3 of the dressing, adding more if desired. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a large handful of chickpeas (you’ll have extra and if you’re like us, won’t regret it) and pistachios and dig in. (You can see the medium grate of our carrots below, before I mixed them with the cilantro.)


Do ahead: Salad keeps well in the fridge for two days, however, I’d add the chickpeas and pistachios right before serving, so they don’t get soft.

Any leftover chickpeas make nice 'croutons' for a green salad.


RECIPE: Thai-Inspired GF Meatball Soup

The original recipe was written for chicken, but I didn't have ground chicken and I did have ground pork, so that's what I used and we scarfed this down!  It's naturally gluten free, I didn't have to make adjustments, but I did double the amount of spinach.

Original recipe: Thai-Inspired Chicken Meatball Soup

Thai-Inspired GF Meatball Soup

Serves 4 

  • 1 4-inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 pounds ground chicken, turkey or pork
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, leaves and stems finely chopped, a few leaves left whole for garnish
  • 3 T. fish sauce, divided
  • 1 t. himalayan pink salt
  • 2 T. coconut oil
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 t. granulated sugar
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 T. lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving

Preheat the oven to 375F. 

Using the small holes of a box grater or microplane, grate the ginger, garlic and jalapeno (or finely chop them by hand). Transfer half to a large bowl and set the rest aside.  To the large bowl, add the meat, chopped cilantro, 2 T. fish sauce and 1 t. salt.  Use your hands to fully combine but do not overmix.

Form into 1-inch meatballs (I use a 25mm disher) and arrange them on a baking pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until bottoms are browned.

While the meatballs are cooking, heat 2 T. oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the reserved ginger mixture and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, sugar, and the remaining 1 T. fish sauce.  Bring to a simmer.

When the meatballs are cooked, transfer them to the broth and simmer 5-8 minutes to meld flavors.  

Remove from heat, add the spinach and lime juice, and stir until spinach is wilted. Garnish with cilantro.

Serve with lime wedges.   

RECIPE: GF Meatloaf with Caramelized Cabbage

I decided to make this recipe because the title sounded delicious - caramelized anything sounds delicious -  but, as I was pulling it together, and leaving out all the sweet ingredients because we don't like sweet with meat, I wondered whether it would be bland because there is NO seasoning.  Surprisingly, it was DELICIOUS!  We still can't figure out why, but easy and delicious is a winner in my book!

The original recipe is linked below, even though I left all the sweet ingredients out.

Original recipe: Kalpudding (Meatloaf with Caramelized Cabbage)

GF Meatloaf with Caramelized Cabbage

Serves 4-6


  • 2 T plus 1 t. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 head green cabbage (1.5-2 pounds*) cored and shredded
  • 2 t himalayan pink salt
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • 1.25 c. heavy cream  
  • 5 T chia seeds, preferably ground
  • 1/2 cup homemade low-salt chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water. 

Heat the oven to 350F.  I used our toaster oven.

In a large pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 T. butter.  When it starts to foam, add the cabbage, lower the heat to medium, and add the salt.  Cook slowly, stirring often, until all the liquid has evaporated and the cabbage is caramelized, approximately 20-25 minutes.

While the cabbage is cooking, add the chia to the cream and mix well.  Let it sit until the chia is hydrated, about 10 minutes.  Lightly stir in the meats, then add the onion and mix to combine.

When the cabbage is done, add about one third of it to the meat mixture and mix to combine.  

Use the remaining 1 t. butter to grease an 10" square baking pan (I used the 8 x 12 pan that fit in our toaster oven) and transfer the meat mixture to it, spreading it out to cover the whole surface evenly.  

Spread the remaining cabbage over the meat, pour the stock or water over the top, and place in the oven.  Cook for approximately 40-45 minutes or until the cabbage is very, very caramelized, almost dry and crunchy at the edges.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

*I prefer a higher percentage of cabbage to meat, so I use 2 pounds of cabbage.  

*I have also made this with 1.5 pounds of canned (i.e cooked) ground beef, half a pound of raw ground pork, and 3 pounds of cabbage (a mix of chinese and savoy), and it was tender and tasty, but it didn't fit in my 8x12 pan so I made the extra into 1" meatballs and cooked them for 12 minutes.  Yum!!  I will definitely be making it that way again!  

*And, I have made it with 1.5 pounds of cooked ground beef and 1/2 pound of raw veal mixed with 1.5 pounds of cabbage (that was all I had on hand) and it was still good!  My husband - raving about it - had it for lunch and dinner, and he rarely eats the same meal twice in a row.  

*Well....Now I know what makes it taste so good!  I made it today with 1.5 pounds cooked beef and 1/2 pound of raw veal but replaced the cream with veal broth.  The first thing my husband said was, "Did you change something?  It's not as rich!"  I had to agree, it wasn't as good, even though I had increased the amount of butter to compensate for the fat in the cream. appears that you can play around with the meat types and proportions, but replace the cream at your risk!  I thought about using coconut cream, but felt it would compromise the flavor, as would nut milk.  If you use either one of those successfully, please let me know.