Tag Archives: Raisins

Appetizer Snack

Spiced Popcorn with Pecans

Hi food friends! So sorry for being MIA last week. There has been so much I want to talk about on the blog, but honestly just not enough hours in the day to sit down and write at the end of the day. I’m sure you’ve been there.

Things have been waaaaay busier than usual at my job and Travis and I have been working away trying to figure out where we want to get married — so many decisions! With all that’s going on, I’ve been neglecting this blog more than I would like. Thank you for understanding!

I am excited to pop in quickly today to share this Spiced Popcorn recipe that I threw together this weekend.

Spiced Popcorn with Pecans Recipe ll Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Refined Sugar Free ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

We love hosting friends at our apartment and when they come over, I always like to have a range of snacks out for them to munch on. I get this from my mom, who is a pro at putting out the best snack spreads. Your average chips and salsa can get boring, so I try to making something unique that’s also healthy and addictive.

I threw together this Spiced Popcorn with Pecans and Raisin mixture and I love the way it turned out! It’s sweet, spicy and salty all in one.

Spiced Popcorn with Pecans Recipe ll Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Refined Sugar Free ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

It’s so easy to make, all you really need is a stocked spice cabinet. Popcorn is a great healthy snack because it’s low in calories, but contains a good dose of fiber and whole grains.

I hope you like this one!

 

Spiced Popcorn with Pecans
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2.5 cups popped popcorn (about ⅛ cup popcorn kernels)
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix the popcorn and the pecans in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small skillet, heat the coconut oil over low heat. Add the spices (cinnamon through ginger). Stir constantly for 30 seconds and then remove from heat. Stir in the maple syrup.
  3. Pour the spice mixture over the popcorn and pecans and toss to coat.
  4. Spread the popcorn and pecans onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. Remove from oven once the pecans are toasted.
  5. Let cool for 15 minutes and stir in the golden raisins.
 

Spiced Popcorn with Pecans Recipe ll Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Refined Sugar Free ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Beef and Lamb

Picadillo Tacos with Ground Beef and Almonds

Picadillo Tacos just in time for Taco Tuesday!

Picadillo Tacos l Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free l l www.littlechefbigappetite

Okay, I’ll admit it, when I saw the initial recipe for these tacos in Food and Wine, I was a bit confused.

Almonds and raisins in tacos? Aren’t tacos supposed to be spicy and savory? But anyone who knows me, knows that I prefer sweet over savory, so I decided to give the recipe a try (putting my own spin on it, of course).

Picadillo Tacos l Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free l l www.littlechefbigappetite

Travis and I were both amazed by how well the almonds and raisins worked in this recipe. The almonds add a delicious crunch and the raisins provided a yummy sweet contrast to the heat of the red pepper flakes.

Vegans and vegetarians, you can make these, too! I’ve also made these Picadillo Tacos with Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles and the recipe turned out really well! Just substitute an equal amount of Beyond Beef plant-based protein for the ground beef and you’re good to go!

Picadillo Tacos l Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free l l www.littlechefbigappetite

I’ll leave the toppings up to you, but I served these with sliced avocado, shredded cheese and fresh chopped cilantro. And they were deeeeeelish!

Maybe Taco Tuesdays should become a regular thing in our house.

Picadillo Tacos l Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free l l www.littlechefbigappetite

 

Picadillo Tacos
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. ground beef (I used 93/7 sirloin)
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (or tomato puree)
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Corn tortillas (for serving)
  • Shredded cheese (for serving)
  • Sliced avocado (for serving)
  • Shredded lettuce (for serving)
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add the almonds and toast for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. You should be able to smell them once they are toasted. Remove almonds from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the large skillet heat 2 Tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Next add the spices (cinnamon through red pepper flakes) and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the ground beef to the pan and cook for 4 minutes or until browned, breaking up large pieces with a spatula or spoon. Add the tomatoes and raisins to the pan, and simmer for 7 minutes, until the mixture is thick. Remove from heat and add a squeeze of lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir in the sliced almonds.
  4. Serve on corn tortillas with toppings of your choice (shredded cheese, sliced avocado, beans, lettuce, etc.)
 

Picadillo Tacos l Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free l l www.littlechefbigappetite

Gluten-Free Main Meal Poultry

Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins

I had a very busy day on Saturday and by the time I got home around 5PM the last thing I wanted to do was cook dinner. Ever have those nights?

I do! More often than I’d like to admit.

But we had a bunch of leftover ingredients in the fridge that I wanted to use up before our upcoming trip, and since I hate to waste food, I used that to motivate myself to get off my lazy butt and cook something. Earlier last week, I bookmarked a Nigella Lawson recipe that looked absolutely delicious, so I decided to recreate her dish using what I had on hand.

Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins is the perfect comfort dish for a cozy night at home. Everything gets cooked in one pan, which makes cleanup soooo much easier.

On a side note, does anyone else get really excited about one-pan dishes!? Meeeeee!

Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I highly recommend using chicken thighs for this recipe because they stay very juicy as the masala simmers. But if you prefer chicken breasts (or if that’s what you already have), they’ll do the trick.

Vegetarians and vegans, I am sure this would be great with organic tofu as well. If you try that version, let me know.

Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

We ate this masala with whole wheat couscous, which was great at soaking up all of the sauce. Yum!

 

Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup dried figs
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 cloves (or ¼ teaspoon ground)
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic (3-4 large cloves)
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1.5 onions, chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 Tablespoons tomato paste, diluted in ½ cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (for serving)
Instructions
  1. Combine the dried figs and raisins in a medium bowl with 2 cups of hot water. Soak for 2 hours. (Or soak in a bowl of cold water overnight.)
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, cloves, red pepper flakes, cardamom, garlic and ginger. Add ¼ cup water, and stir to make a paste. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of oil. Add half the chicken and brown on all sides for 4-5 minutes. Do not cook completely. Remove from pan and onto a plate or bowl, set aside. Add the remaining chicken and repeat, adding to the bowl once browned.
  4. Add the remaining Tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the cinnamon stick. Add onions and salt, and sauté until onions begin to soften, 3 minutes. Add the spice mixture and stir. Add the chicken back to the pan, then add the figs, raisins and their soaking liquid. Stir. Next, add the diced tomatoes and diluted tomato paste.
  5. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, remove the cover from the pan and allow the liquid to reduce for the remainder of the cooking time. Serve hot with couscous and sprinkle each dish with fresh cilantro.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson.
Chicken Masala with Figs and Golden Raisins l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Cookies Dessert Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Raisins

Is this the longest cookie name ever?

I really couldn’t shorten it – these cookies have ALL THE INGREDIENTS.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Raisins Recipe

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen a few photos of these cookies over the weekend.

I hadn’t made a new cookie recipe in awhile, because I usually just stick to our two favorites: my amazing Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chips Cookies and these Gluten-Free Almond Butter Cookies.

But this weekend, Travis was begging for cookies (rare!, so I jumped on it) and I was feeling creative.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Raisins Recipe

After a bit of experimenting in the kitchen, I came up with these bad boys. Like all LCBA recipes, I aimed to make these healthier than a traditional cookie by reducing the amount of butter and added sugar. But don’t worry – they still get plenty of flavor from the peanut butter and sweetness from the chocolate chips and raisins.

And a side note, I know you might be thinking, “Chocolate chips and raisins in the same cookie?”

Just trust me on this one, would’ya?

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Raisins Recipe

To guarantee these cookies are gluten-free, make sure your rolled oats are certified GF (some are not).

Next time, I may change these up a bit: dark chocolate or milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet or golden raisins in place of regular.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Raisins Recipe

Serve these cookies with a cold glass of milk and happy dunking, friends!

 

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Raisins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2 dozen
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup + 1 Tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. Beat until creamy. Add the egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix well.
  3. Stir in the rolled oats, chocolate chips and raisins.
  4. Drop by the teaspoon onto the lined baking sheet, placing the cookies about 1.5 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute. Use a spatula to remove the cookies from the sheet and place on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Notes
* Cookies are best eaten the same day.
 

Appetizer Snack

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

The holidays are upon us!

I don’t know about you, but every store I’ve been in recently (CVS, Home Goods…) already has Christmas decorations out. I thought that always started after Halloween, no?

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

Since I am trying to keep up, I started testing a few new holiday recipes last weekend.

You’re going to LOVE these Baked Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote. They’re the perfect little hors d’oeurve for a holiday get-together.

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

I tried to make these crostini healthier than most recipes I saw by reducing the amount of cheese (a little goes a long way), using a whole wheat baguette instead of regular, and cutting way down on the sugar in the compote. Raisins and apples already provide plenty of sweetness – why add copious amounts of sugar?

The results were amazing! There’s so much flavor in each bite.

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

If you have a large group, feel free to double or even triple this recipe. You can also make the raisin compote ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to prep the crostini.

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

I know your friends and family will be begging you for this recipe!

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote

 

Brie Crostini with Spiced Raisin Compote
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 medium granny smith apple, peeled and chopped (about 1.5 cups)
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced very thin
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 1.5 Tablespoons white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch each salt, ground ginger, nutmeg
  • 2 ounces Brie
  • Whole wheat or multigrain baguette, sliced ½ inch thick
Instructions
  1. Combine the apple through nutmeg in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 7-8 minutes. Uncover and cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°.
  3. Spread 1 heaping Tablespoon of raisin compote over each baguette slice. Top each with 1 piece small slice of brie. Arrange the slices on a large baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light
 

Appetizer Gluten-Free Salad Vegan

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

Hello friends! I can’t believe it’s Thursday already. This week is flyyyyyying by for me. I was in Boston visiting my family this past weekend and I flew back to LA bright and early on Tuesday morning.

I am finally getting the chance to catch up and say hi to you guys.

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing Recipe -- Little Chef Big Appetite

I am reallllllly excited to share this Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing recipe with you today! Tahini, a ground sesame seed paste, is an essential ingredient in hummus. But in reality, it can be used for so much more: cookies (think of it like peanut butter), dressings, sauces, etc.

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing Recipe ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

In this recipe, I paired the tahini dressing with a light kale salad made with cucumbers, shredded carrots, celery, and raisins. It would also be delicious with a Greek salad with feta and tomatoes.

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing Recipe ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The recipe makes about one cup of dressing, so you’ll have leftovers. It should keep in the fridge for up to one week, but if you know you won’t use it in time, feel free to cut the recipe in half.

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing Recipe

Enjoy! I know you’re going to love this one!

 

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 2
Ingredients
Kale Salad
  • 4-6 handfuls shredded kale
  • ½ medium cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ raisins
Tahini Dressing
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup raw tahini
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (or honey)
  • ½ Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • pinch sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place all kale ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid (or use a bowl and whisk). Shake the jar until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  3. Toss the salad with a couple Tablespoons of the tahini dressing to taste.
 

Gluten-Free Snack Vegan

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars

Where did June go!? Is it me, or did it just fly by? We were so busy all month with our trip to Chicago, friends’ events and a recent visit to New Jersey. I feel like I’ve hardly had any time to pop-in and say hi to you guys.

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars Recipe

I thoroughly enjoyed being home for three days over 4th of July weekend. June’s schedule left me very little time for recipe development, so I was excited to have a few extra hours to spend in the kitchen. I have a backlog of recipes I’ve been meaning to try this summer.

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars Recipe

On Sunday we had exactly zero plans (yay!), so I spent the afternoon trying three new recipes. These No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars were one of them. I am usually wary of no-bake recipes because the texture can often be pretty funky. But, these bars were GREAT! All you have to do is press the mixture into a baking dish, place the dish into the freezer for a couple hours, slice, and enjoy! Easy peasy. Freezing is key – otherwise if you try to slice them, they’ll just fall apart into a crumbly mess.

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars Recipe

I absolutely loved the flavor of these granola bars. They’re packed with fiber (oats and dried fruit!) and healthy fats (nuts and chia seeds!), making them a healthy and delicious mid-day snack. Plus, they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and refined-sugar free! So you can definitely make them for your friend who has ALL the food allergies…you know who I am talking about ;-)!

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars Recipe

The recipe makes 10-12 bars. If you’re only making them for yourself, you can cut the recipe in half OR place half the sliced bars in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them.

 

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 10-12
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dates
  • ¾ cup almonds, toasted
  • ¼ cup pecans, toasted
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1.5 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • pinch sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Line an 8x11 or 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, soak the dates in water for 15 minutes.
  3. Place the almonds and pecans in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped, about 15 seconds. Make sure not to process the nuts too fine - you still want chunks. Combine the almonds and pecans in a large bowl with the oats, chia seeds, salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Stir in the raisins.
  4. Drain the dates, reserving a few Tablespoons of the water. Place the dates in the food processor with the almond butter and vanilla. Process until smooth, adding one Tablespoon of reserved water as needed. Add the date mixture to the nut and oat mixture. Stir well - you may need to use your hands to thoroughly combine.
  5. Spread the mixture into the greased baking dish, using the back of a rubber spatula to press the mixture completely flat. Cover and place the dish in the freezer for 1.5-2 hours until hard. Remove from the freezer and using a sharp knife, slice into 10-12 bars. Wrap individual bars in saran wrap. Store in fridge or freezer until ready to eat.
 

Appetizer Gluten-Free Snack Vegan

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites

As promised, I am sharing a DELICIOUS snack recipe with you guys today. Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites!

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe

I whipped up these Bites last week and devoured them all within just a few days. Whoops!

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe

They are super easy to make and I bet you have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. Even if you don’t, no worries! This recipe is extremely customizable. Feel free to substitute dried cranberries for raisins, change up the variety of nuts, sub semi-sweet chocolate for dark, make it your own! This recipe is gluten-free and if you want to make it vegan, just use maple syrup instead of honey.

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe

Make sure you follow the ratios in the recipe, though, or else your bites won’t hold together. You need the correct amounts of wet and dry ingredients or else you’ll end up with Peanut Butter Trail Mix mush, and nobody wants that!

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe

Hope you love these trail mix bites as much as I do! Peanut Butter lovers, this one has your name ALLLLLL over it!

 

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 14-16 bites
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cups unsalted almonds*
  • ⅓ cup unsalted cashews*
  • 1 Tablespoon flax seeds
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup dates, chopped
  • ⅛ cups raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • 2-3 Tablespoons honey (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup peanut butter*, melted
  • salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a food processor grind the almonds, cashews, and flax seeds for about 15 seconds or until there are still some chunks of nuts. DO NOT grind to sand-like texture. Remove the nuts from the food processor and place in a large bowl with the oats, dates, raisins, dark chocolate, and stevia. Stir well.
  2. In a small bowl combine the honey (start with 2T and adjust to desired sweetness), vanilla, and peanut butter. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the nut and oat mixture and stir well. Taste mixture and add a pinch of salt if desired. Line a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper. Using wet hands, roll the mixture into 14-16 balls, slightly smaller than the size of a golf ball. Make sure to pack the mixture tightly. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for at least one hour to harden, then enjoy.
  3. Trail Mix Bites should last in the fridge for 10 days.
Notes
*If using salted nuts and/or peanut butter, I do not recommend adding salt at the end.
 

Gluten-Free Salad Vegan

Roasted Pear and Fennel Salad

This past week I took a nice solid detox away from everything.

I flew back to the East coast for a wonderful week of relaxation with my parents. I don’t get to go home as often as I would like, so when I am home, I try to savor every moment of it.

This trip I split my time between Boston and Maine, which was very special because I haven’t been to our home in Maine since before I moved to Los Angeles (a year and a half ago!).

IMG_4563

While I was home, I got to see some of my best friends: Amanda, Gabby, and Jenni. They all live in Boston, so I am always so appreciative for the time I have with them when I come home. The time always goes by too fast, though!

It was especially nice to be home with this little cutie:

IMG_4639

Diesel was quite spoiled this holiday season. He got some new toys and a pretty badass new sweater. He was pretty thrilled about them. He is one of the few dogs I know who actually enjoys wearing sweaters and jackets (as opposed to constantly trying to paw them off). Since he is so small, he gets cold  easily during the winter, so I think he appreciates the added layer!

 

IMG_4629

How cute is his little nub of a tail?

 

As I have mentioned before, one of my favorite parts of going home is the chance to cook with my dad. Whenever I come home, he always has a new recipe or kitchen gadget he is excited to show me. I always love the opportunity to learn from him.

My dad made a version of this Pear and Fennel Salad before and raved about it.  It sounded delicious to me and since we had a pear and some fennel in the fridge, we decided to make it again and just invented the rest by adding other ingredients we had in the kitchen. The end result was delicious!

Roasted Pear and Fennel Salad Recipe -- perfect for winter! l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I have used chopped pears into salads before, but never roasted them first. After trying this salad, I will always roast my pears in the future. It really brings out the natural sweetness in the fruit and makes the slices almost melt in your mouth!

What really made this salad, though, was a wonderful Cranberry Pear Balsamic that my parents picked up in Arizona. We just sprinkled the balsamic by itself (no oil!) onto the salad and it was simply perfect. I urge you to try and find this balsamic (or something similar). If you can’t find it though, don’t worry. You can still make this salad and substitute another white balsamic in its place.

Roasted Pear and Fennel Salad Recipe -- perfect for winter! l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This was a wonderful winter salad. I know I will make this many more times over the coming months. It is easily adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand. You can use spinach in place of arugula, raisins instead of cranberries, pecans instead of walnuts, the list goes on.

If you make this, let me know what combinations you try!

 

Roasted Pear and Fennel Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 1 unpeeled pear, halved, and then cut into ⅛ inch slices
  • 1 fennel bulb, stems, cores and tough outer layers removed, then cut in half and sliced lengthwise into ⅛ inch thick half-moons
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup walnuts, toasted*
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 3 large handfuls of arugula
  • Cranberry Pear Balsamic Vinegar (or another White Balsamic of choice)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the fennel and pear slices on the baking sheet, arranging in a single layer. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over the fennel and pear. Roast for 20-25 minutes until golden brown at the edges. Watch carefully as to not burn. Remove from the oven and allow the fennel and pear slices to cool.
  2. Arrange a medium salad bowl with the arugula at the bottom. Then add the cooled pear and fennel slices. Sprinkle the cranberries and toasted walnuts on top. Then serve with the Cranberry Pear Balsamic Vinegar.
Notes
* To toast the walnuts either place them on a separate baking sheet in a single layer and toast in the oven while the pear and fennel are roasting for about 5 minutes (watch them carefully because they will burn quickly). OR heat a medium skillet to medium-high heat and add the walnuts. Toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly. The walnuts will be done when they turn a darker shade of brown and you will be able to smell them toasting.
 

 

Gluten-Free Side Dish Vegan

Carrots with Raisins and Toasted Walnuts

Holy cow, I could eat the whole batch of these carrots. I really could.

Carrots with Raisins and Toasted Walnuts Recipe

There would be nothing wrong with that. It’s a perfectly healthy side dish. And if I did I would have super duper vision, right? Or something like that.

You have to use your food processor to shred these carrots. Now, I know pulling out that food processor is a big pain. We all complain about it (even if we have a dishwasher). But you better do it, because grating these carrots by hand will be a nightmare. I know from experience when I made Emily’s Carrot Cake back in college. All I had was a 6-inch hand grater and I believe it took me about 45 minutes, two very cramped wrists, and a whole lot of determination (and love for Em) to grate those carrots. Use the food processor, people.

Carrots with Raisins and Toasted Walnuts Recipe

The end result is a slightly sweet side dish that makes a delicious accompaniment to poultry, tofu, and meatless meals. This carrot salad is also great for potlucks or picnics because it can be served straight from the fridge or at room temperature.

Carrots with Raisins and Toasted Walnuts Recipe

Feel free to make this ahead of time – I think it is even better the next day!

 

Carrots with Raisins and Toasted Walnuts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted* (I used prechopped, but walnut halves are fine)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • juice from 1 lemon (about 2 Tablespoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 3-4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey or maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Stir all ingredients in a large bowl. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Remove, taste, and season with salt and pepper as desired. (DO NOT season with salt and pepper before putting the carrot mixture in the fridge, as the flavors really come together during the 20 minute period). The carrots can either be served right away or left in the fridge and served at a later point.
Notes
*To toast the walnuts, heat a medium pan to high heat. Add the walnuts and STIR CONSTANTLY until they begin to brown -- once the walnuts start browning they can burn very quickly so be careful not to burn them. Once they are toasted (you will smell them), remove from the pan onto a plate to cool.
 

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