Aubree Cherie Pack blogs over at Living Free where she dreams up new (and sometimes random) ways to create tasty food. Although Aubree has not been tested or diagnosed with Celiac disease, gluten is something that her tummy just can’t tolerate. Throw in being lactose intolerant and a long history of family diabetes, and you’ll understand why Aubree’s blog is gluten, dairy, and refined sugar free! With her blog, she hopes to inspire others with food restrictions to still have fun and get creative in the kitchen.
Aubree’s Recipe: Nutrient Packed Cucumber Salad
Aubree’s Tip: Be creative with local common ingredients
I’ve had the most fortunate first experience this spring, summer, and now into autumn. I was able to join a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)! In the past it’s either not aligned with my budget or it’s simply not been an option. This year a friend and I split the overall cost and each week we share the box of goodies. Honestly, as a single person who only cooks for one, I don’t think I could physically get through a whole box by myself each week!
One of the unique challenges that comes about each week is ‘what do I do with that’? A lot of times I eat the fresh veg straight out of the box (don’t worry, I wash it) but you can only eat some many raw vegetables plain before you get bored. This has forced me to be creative with new and different recipes, just to shake it up a bit. I think it’s important to look at what is seasonally available in your area and try to make it work. Aside from giving you the opportunity to be wildly creative and to try something new, it’s healthier that way!
When my mom visits my website and sees all the different foods I incorporate into my recipes, she laughs at me… I used to be the pickiest child in all of Upstate NY. I wouldn’t touch a tomato, a pepper, an onion; you name it! If it was fresh, I probably didn’t like it (I was more of a mac and cheese, Eggo waffle, and fudge popsicle girl – yikes). But, as a living testimony, all it takes is a little creativity, a desire to improve your health, and a bit of an adventurous spirit when it comes to your own cooking! (Trust me, I’ve had my share of kitchen FAILS!)
The recipe I’m sharing today is something I thought was fun. Every vegetable in it, and the dill, came from my CSA box. After weeks and weeks of cucumbers, it was time to try something new. Why not add some protein and make it into a whole meal? I ate this as my lunch each day for about a week. It was surprisingly filling!
Nutrient Packed Cucumber Salad
1/4 cup quinoa grains
1 1/2 cups chickpeas
3 large garden cucumbers
5 small fresh garden carrots (about 2 large store bought)
1 cup green string beans, washed and coarsely chopped
1 cup yellow string beans, washed and coarsely chopped
1 small zucchini
1 large ear of corn
1 medium yellow pepper
8 umbels of dill flower
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Braggs Amino Acids
1/4 tsp stevia
Start by soaking and rinsing the quinoa grains. I do this by putting the quinoa in a metal fine mesh strainer and then putting the strainer into a large bowl of water. I used to try to drain the water off of the quinoa without a mesh, but honestly, I lost so many quinoa grains down the drain that I just couldn’t take it anymore. Enter the mesh! I digress. Cook the quinoa until it’s tender or to the texture that you prefer. Set aside.
Cook the chickpeas. Depending on your methods, this process may need to be started in advance. I’m fortunate enough to have a pressure cooker, so I don’t need to soak beans overnight. I just throw them in the pot with water and 30 minutes later I have a tender chickpeas! So yes, cook the chickpeas in your preferred method. Set aside.
Wash all the vegetables well. You may choose to peel the carrots, cucumbers, or zucchini but I left it all for the added nutrients. Cube the carrots, cucumbers, and zucchini. Add the chunks to a chopper. I used my Salsa Express, a basic hand crank chopper with two blades. I’m sure a food processor on a very low setting would do the trick. Gut the yellow pepper and coarsely chop the string beans. Add those to the chopper as well. My chopper is limited in space, so I had to do it all in sections. Add the veggies to a large mixing bowl as you finish chopping. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the raw corn on the cob and add them to the mixing bowl.
In a small separate bowl, combine the liquids (lemon juice, Braggs, and stevia) as well as the dill. For the dill, strip off the seeds and remove any stems. In a food processor, puree the chickpeas until they resemble a paste and mix the liquid in with that. Add the chickpea blend into the large veggie bowl as well as the pre-cooked quinoa.
I found that the dish was best when it was cold, so chill in the fridge slightly before serving. Enjoy!
To see picture directions visit Living Free today.