chardsalmonpiece

These smoked salmon chard roll-ups make a great light breakfast, lunch, or healthy snack. They are one of my favorite fast healthy recipes, yet they are delicious and satisfying…perfect for when you’re short on time but still want a nourishing meal.

Dark leafy greens are super nutrient-dense. They are particularly high in minerals such as calcium and magnesium, and they make a good “gluten-free wrap alternative” in this recipe. You can substitute other greens for the Swiss chard, though; try them with large leaves of kale or collards, or simply with Romaine lettuce. If eating the greens raw is something you are not too excited about, you can steam them briefly before using.

With its high protein and omega-3 fatty acid content, salmon is wonderful for you. But it’s important to choose wild, not farmed salmon (visit my healthiest fish page to learn why). It’s also important to choose a naturally smoked salmon that is free of chemicals or preservatives like nitrites, as these are potentially carcinogenic.

If you can’t find a local source for naturally smoked wild salmon, check out my favorite online shop for healthy, eco-friendly, low-mercury fish: Vital Choice.


Smoked Salmon Chard Roll-Ups

Ingredients:
3-4 oz. wild, not farmed, smoked salmon without preservatives
2-3 Swiss chard leaves, rinsed and patted dry
1 small cucumber, sliced
1/4-1/2 avocado, sliced
sliced red onion or snipped chives- optional

Directions:
Place layers of salmon, cucumber slices, avocado, and red onion or chives lengthwise in a Swiss chard leaf.

chardsalmonroll

Roll up “sushi-style”, and then slice into pieces. Serves 1.

Organic turkey, roast beef, etc. could also be used in these roll-ups, or these can be made vegan by adding additional veggies and omitting the fish or meat.

Check out some other ideas for healthy fast recipes.

See more healthy snack ideas.

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Here is a lovely salad inspired by an empty fridge and a garden that’s offering more for me to eat with each passing day.

herb and flower salad

With the exception of the dried blueberries and the sunflower seeds, everything in this herb and flower salad was homegrown (or in the case of the red clovers, wild).

homegrown lettuce

growing nasturtiums

I don’t grow red clover on purpose, but it is all over my property, and this is more than fine with me. Red clovers are quite edible and they are very good for you.

red clovers are a nutritious wild plant

They have a sweet and mild flavor, and as far as red clover nutrition goes, the blossoms contain protein, vitamins and minerals, and are said to be great for boosting fertility and the immune system.

When I am making a salad like this for myself, I bring a bowl outside and walk around grabbing handfuls of everything I want until it looks like enough. Then I go inside, rinse everything, and chop, chop, chop. If you’d like to make this salad for a group, just scale everything up.

If you don’t have some of the ingredients, no worries. Just add more handfuls of what you you do have!

Herb and Flower Salad

Yield: serve 1

Ingredients:

*Several handfuls of mixed greens (I used a combination of red and green leaf lettuces as well as lacinato kale leaves)
*1 handful of parsley
*1 handful of cilantro
*1 handful of basil
*1 handful of lemon balm
*1 handful of mint
*1-2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
*1-2 small handfuls of edible flowers/leaves (I used nasturtiums, red clovers, and gentian sage flowers)
*1 handful of fresh or dried blueberries (preferably without added sugar; you can also use raisins or another dried fruit, or leave this out)
*1 handful of raw toasted, or sprouted nuts or seeds (optional- I used Go Raw sprouted sunflower seeds)
*Himalayan or sea salt to taste
*Fresh lemon juice
*Olive oil

Directions:

1. Chop all ingredients together so everything is bite-sized. Sprinkle with salt and mix. Dress with a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Since this recipe is heavy on the herbs, I’m submitting it as my very first Weekend Herb Blogging entry. This event is managed by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once, and this week’s host is Cheryl from Gluten Free Goodness.

popped amaranth treats (also known as alegrias)

popped amaranth treats (also known as alegrias)

Amaranth is a tiny seed originating from South America and the Himalayas. It is similar to quinoa in that it cooks like a grain, yet it is completely grain-free (so there in no gluten in amaranth).

raw amaranth seeds

raw amaranth seeds

Amaranth nutrition: amaranth has an impressive nutritional profile. It contains a significant amount of protein and is particularly high in the amino acids lysine and methionine. It is also high in minerals, specifically magnesium and calcium.

Though I have never had the pleasure of trying the real thing, I learned that popped amaranth treats are sold by street vendors in Mexico and India. They are typically sweetened with a sugar solution and in Mexico, there are called alegrias.

While toying with some new amaranth recipes, I came up with version, sweetened with a combination of pomegranate molasses and agave syrup. These have a really unique flavor, and make a nice gluten-free and vegan snack or dessert.

Pomegranate molasses is available in Middle Eastern or natural food stores and I love its’ tangy sweetness. Many different alternative sweeteners could be used in this recipe, though. You can try brown rice syrup, maple syrup or standard molasses, (or honey, but then the amaranth cookies won’t be vegan) or any combination of these; you could also add a little cinnamon. If you are not using the pomegranate molasses, you might also want to add some lemon or lime juice.

If you don’t have or want to use pumpkin seeds, you can use a different nut or seed, such as chopped toasted almonds or sunflower seeds. You can also make these nut or seed-free, and just double the raw amaranth to 1/2 cup. Another type of dried fruit can be substituted for the cherries or leave it out completely. Next time, I might try these with dark chocolate chips…

Popped Amaranth Treats

Ingredients:
1/4 cup amaranth seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried cherries, preferably without sugar
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup agave syrup

Directions:
Rinse amaranth seeds in a fine mesh strainer and let sit for about 30 minutes so they are dry. Place a wok or cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the raw amaranth. Stir around with a wooden spoon as the amaranth seeds begin to turn brown and toasty. Then they should start popping. Be aware that if the pan isn’t hot enough or if you add too much amaranth at once, your seeds may not pop, and they might just burn. (For this reason, you may want to add only a tablespoon of amaranth at once, and remove them as soon as they’ve popped).

popping the amaranth

popping the amaranth

If the pan is hot enough though, and if you continue to stir the seeds around, most of them should pop and turn white. Watch that they don’t burn. When most of the seeds have popped, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a small pot, heat the pomegranate molasses and the agave syrup. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. You want the syrup to thicken and reduce somewhat, and this will happen after 5-7 minutes.

While the syrup is thickening, toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until they pop (this will take 1-2 minutes; stir often and watch that they don’t burn). Add to the popped amaranth, and then add the dried cherries.

Pour the syrup over the seeds mixture, and working quickly so that all the syrup is incorporated before it starts to dry and harden too much, mix all the ingredients well. Using your hands, press into small balls (you could also press the mixture into a pan lined with parchment paper, and then cut into squares or rectangles). Allow to to cool before eating.

For more information about how to cook amaranth, see the easy amaranth recipe on my gluten-free grains page.