Memorial Day is upon us. For many that means an excuse to have family and friends over for a BBQ. While that is certainly one way to spend the extra day of the weekend, there are plenty of individuals that don’t enjoy this holiday. To them it is a reminder of all the loved ones and comrades that were lost due to the violence of war. I have a lesson in this for all of you. While you’re enjoying your time with friends and surrounded by the usual fare refrain from telling others “Happy Memorial Day!” Especially do not say this to someone currently in the military, a veteran, or someone with family or friends that have served. There is nothing happy about it. Instead, take a moment to realize what this holiday is actually about. I’ve learned my lesson and I won’t make the same mistake again.
Now, for all of you who are going to be enjoying the company of others this weekend I have three side dishes you may want to serve at your gathering or bring to a potluck.
I recently found out that not everyone knows about okra. Apparently, it’s just a southern thing. Go figure. The people who do know about okra either love it or hate it. The people who hate it usually do so because it has a tendency to get slimy. If it’s fresh and it’s cooked right it shouldn’t be slimy. I grew up with fried okra. It’s my favorite way to eat it, that and in a hearty gumbo. I haven’t been frying things for a while and I have missed okra. There was a bin of beautiful fresh okra in the store one day that was just begging to jump in my basket. I wanted some fried okra without the fried part so I came up with this recipe.
vegan, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free option*, oil-free
makes about 4 servings
Note: If you are going to double the recipe, make sure to use two pans to give them room to spread out so that they will properly bake. Otherwise they will be a soggy mess.
- 1 pound okra, tops removed and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal mixed with 5 tablespoons water
- 1/3 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs (*use gluten-free)
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- pinch of cayenne, optional
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a mixing bowl combine sliced okra with the flax/water mixture after it has had a chance to thicken up. Stir together until the okra is evenly coated.
- In a small bowl mix the remaining ingredients together then toss the bread crumb mixture in with the okra. Make sure you get it all mixed up well.
- Immediately spread the okra in a single layer on the parchment and spread them out a bit. Don’t let them sit around. You want to get them in the oven quickly before they have a chance to get soggy.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn, but you want them nice and crispy brown. Serve hot and enjoy!
This was an experiment gone right. Sometimes I like to toy around with kale for fun. Only using it in soups or as a salad seems so boring. This was more a result of cleaning out the fridge than anything else. I was trying to come up with a kale side dish using tahini. It hit me that I had all the other ingredients I would normally make hummus out of so I gave it a shot.
Deconstructed Hummus Kale Saute
vegan, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, oil-free option*
makes about 4 servings
- 1/4 cup tahini
- juice from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (*use water or broth)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
- 1.5 cups garbanzo beans OR 15 ounce can, drained and rinsed (you could use white beans instead)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pinch of cayenne
- In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, and broth. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet. Saute garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add kale and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in seasoning and cook 1 minute longer.
- Stir in the beans and tahini mixture. Cover and cook on low until heated through and kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Enjoy!
This last side dish was created because I had a ton of veggies I didn’t know what to do with and I was craving mustard. Simple, but delish. You could probably try this use a number of different veggies. Carrots would also be great. Just do what I do– use what you have on hand and see what comes of it.
Mustard Roasted Veggies
vegan, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free
serves 6 to 8
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed and snapped into smaller pieces
- 1 small head cauliflower, broken into small florets
- 1.5 pounds potatoes, diced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 1/4 Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon garlic granules (roasted is best)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Oil a deep 9 by 13 baking dish.
- Steam green beans for about 8 minutes.
- In a large bowl whisk together dressing ingredients.
- Add veggies to the bowl with the dressing and toss until it’s all mixed up and evenly coated. I like to use my hands for fun.
- Throw veggies into the baking dish. Sprinkle with flaxseed meal. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until all veggies can be easily pierced. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until it starts to brown on top. Enjoy!