Simple cucumber salad

Cucumbers are one of my favorite summer vegetables. I love their cool crispness and often snack on wedges on their own or with hummus. This simple salad is another way to enjoy them and a wonderful way to use both cucumber and mint when your summer garden is bursting with them.

Cucumber salad

  • Diced cucumbers
  • Coarsely chopped mint
  • Chopped scallions
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Salt (kosher or ground specialty salt is nice)
  • Toasted caraway seeds (optional)

Toss all ingredients together, going lightly with the olive oil and vinegar. I tend to use a ration of 2-3 part olive oil to vinegar. Serve sprinkled lightly with caraway seeds, if you like. This is lovely with cottage cheese, on a salad, or as a cooling side dish. I sometimes toss in tomatoes right before serving.

Dietary notes: vegan, gluten free, grain free.
Cost: about $.75 for a 1-cup serving

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Flourless banana pancakes

YUM. I’m still reeling from the deliciousness of these amazing little banana pancakes! They were so delightful – moist on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside – that it’s hard to believe they’re both gluten AND grain free! And because they were so flavorful, already cooked in butter and textured just right, I didn’t have to butter them and used just a fraction of my usual amount of Vermont maple syrup.

The inspiration came from Grain-Free Foodies but, as I tend to do, I gave  it my own twist. This is a bit of a splurge in terms of fat content, but it’s from good quality sources with a healthy balance of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fats (and some of that butter does get left behind in the griddle). Plus, it has a decent amount of protein (19g). The recipe below was just enough for a single serving, but can easily be multiplied. And, did I mention how EASY these were to prepare? I did all the mixing in my 2-c Pyrex glass measuring cup with a fork, then poured the batter from there right onto the griddle.

Banana pancakes

  • 1 jumbo egg, beaten
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2 capfuls vanilla extract
  • Ground ginger & cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Beat egg and work in peanut butter and banana (I broke it into small pieces first). Stir in flax and vanilla. Melt butter in cast iron skillet. Spoon batter into 4″ circles – these didn’t spread much. These don’t “bubble” like baking powder pancakes, so you’ll need to watch them for doneness. Plate them up, drizzle with real maple syrup & serve! Made five 4-inch pancakes (just right for one).

Dietary notes: Grain free, Gluten Free, Ovo-lacto vegetarian
Cost: $1.75 per serving, with real butter and 2 Tbsp. 100% maple syrup (WOW!)

Sweet potato pancakes: substitute 1 medium mashed sweet potato for the banana. You can increase eggs to two if the batter seems too dry.

The fritatta: delicious, nutritious egg-cellence!

The egg has been called a perfect food for years, but they’ve gained recent recognition for being even healthier than we thought! Throw in some fresh organic veggies & herbs and maybe a little cheese from grass-fed dairy cows and you’ve got delicious, nutritious Nirvana! Fritattas are a quick and super easy way to whip up a well-balanced meal – for one or for a crowd. Here are the basic ingredients:

Fritatta

  • Fresh local eggs (I use 2 per person)
  • Onions, veggies & herbs of choice
  • Crumbled or grated cheese (optional; 1/2 – 1 oz per person)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
  • Salt & pepper

Saute your veggies in some olive oil (starting with the onions) til soft, sprinkle on your fresh herbs and cheese, then top with your beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat until top is fairly firm, loosen around the edges, then give it a minute or two under the broiler to brown the top. Slice into wedges and serve. That’s it!

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And the beauty of this delightfully easy healthful dish is that in can be made for about $2 per serving with healthy real foods. What’s not to love?

Dietary notes: Grain Free, Gluten Free, Ovo-lacto Vegetarian
Cost: $2.00 per serving