We are in the car driving, Scott’s ‘old school punk rock’ playlist is on shuffle, the windows are down, and my feet are perched on the windowsill. It’s a little chilly, but the sun is out and we are on our way to the beach. We park in the quieter neighborhoods on the Balboa peninsula. Leaving our sandals behind in the car, we walk barefoot down the street and onto the sand. The wind is chilly so we climb onto the deserted lifeguard stand to take cover on the north side, staring at the ocean to the west. We take bets as to which kite surfer is going to eat it first, and talk about the cute house on the sand we would take if we had our pick. Eventually we get antsy, jump down to the sand, and begin to run around the lifeguard stand – playing tag with one another and belly laughing as one person misses the other by an inch. We promised ourselves we would make the five minute drive down the road to the beach every day this year that the sun is shining. It’s been a gloomy/rainy January in southern CA, but it was day three of sunshine, and day three of beach trips.
It’s Monday morning and I’m itching to make a new recipe. After writing out my cravings and translating them into a dish, I peruse my cupboard and refrigerator for the ingredients. I’m short two essentials, and immediately jot them down on my grocery list. I sigh, knowing I cannot make the trip to the store until Wednesday. I look at what I do have, get frustrated, and then become inspired. Dinner that night is the most unique and incredible meal of the week. I enthusiastically adventure through the remaining ingredients I have on hand on Tuesday, discovering more new-to-me combinations of the simple plant foods I have stocked. Wednesday comes, and I realize it’s the day I get to make what I had been dreaming of for two days. I go to the market, grab the few essentials I was missing (and a few other goods to make it till the farmers market on Saturday) and rush home to make my soon-to-be-cherished recipe. It’s even more exciting than it was on Monday, partly because the wait built up suspense, and partly because I had just experienced two days of incredible creative triumphs (to me) and was feeling more confident than ever. I promised myself I would only go to the market, be it the farmers or the store, twice a week. Wednesday and Saturday, and make due in between. I’m on week three, and have never felt more capable in my kitchen.
Resolutions can be daunting, but feasible goals can be encouraging. Especially when they bring light into your life in areas that were otherwise slightly dimmed. These simple two have changed our lives immensely this January. The recipe I mention above having “waited for” is the one I bring you today. During the process of healing health-wise the past few months I have strayed from eating raw vegetables, focusing my attention on ones that have been lightly steamed, and therefore easier for me to process. This was the first bit of raw (rainbow) goodness I’ve allowed myself for sometime, and I felt so bright after doing so. The flavor from the cheesy cashew chickpea spread is incredible. I’m obsessed with it alongside the quick pickled red cabbage with ginger, and tell me that pink tahini sauce isn’t calling to you too? I even found a way to use the leftover rainbow chard stems and turn them into a salsa of sorts. Overall these rainbow chard wraps are filling, bursting with flavor, and can be prepared ahead of time (even wrapped!) for easy lunching all week long. I hope you enjoy them too, if you tackle the steps (I promise it isn’t as crazy as it seems), and have the brightest January day. – xx
Side Note: Thank you to all who participated in the Vitamix giveaway last week! I was touched by all of your comments, and read every one with a smile on my face and a pang in my heart. I wish I could have gifted a machine to each of you! It truly was inspiring to feel your enthusiasm for your health – and your family’s and friends’. I teared up reading a few, knowing how excited you each would have been to receive one of the A2500s. I feel so lucky to have been able to give one away to a very sweet and grateful girl, and hope to be able to give more in the future. Thank you for following along, I’m so thankful for you.
MINI RAINBOW CHARD WRAPS
large rainbow chard leaves
a spoonful of cheesy cashew chickpea spread (recipe below)
a pinch of pickled red cabbage with ginger (recipe below)
fresh basil leaf
pink tahini sauce
(optional: chard stem salsa in instructions)
CHEESY CASHEW CHICKPEA SPREAD
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1 garlic clove, crushed
zest of 1 small, organic lemon
sea salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon for me)
QUICK PICKLED RED CABBAGE W/ GINGER
1/4 of a large head of red cabbage (about 3 1/2 cups shredded)
sea salt to taste (a little over 1/4 teaspoon for me)
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 – 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
PINK TAHINI SAUCE
1 cup unhulled sesame seeds (or 1 cup sesame seed butter)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 small garlic cloves, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
2 cups + more if needed, filtered water
1 small beet that has been boiled and cooled
Begin with the pink tahini sauce. If making from scratch (using a high speed blender) toast the sesame seeds on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 300F oven for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool before adding to your high speed blender. Insert the tamper, and blend on low while increasing to high. Continue to blend and press the mixture towards the center using the tamper until creamy and smooth (can skip this and add store bought tahini instead). Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and puree until smooth – adding additional water as necessary to thin if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Transfer to an airtight jar and store in the fridge until ready to use. Best if enjoyed within one week.
Next make the quick pickled cabbage. Finely shred the cabbage and toss with the salt in a small bowl. Taste and add more salt if needed, you want it to be slightly saltier than desired for it to turn out well. Add the remaining ingredients for the pickle and toss. Place in an airtight container and transfer to the fridge to set for at least an hour, or longer. Best if used within one week.
Onto the cheesy cashew chickpea spread. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, and blend well – leaving bits and pieces here and there for texture. I like this filling on the chunkier side, feel free to add a tad bit of water and lemon juice to smooth it out if you’d prefer. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, and use within five days.
Assemble the rainbow chard wraps. Wash the chard leaves well, and trim the thick stems (save for later). Add a spoonful of the cheesy cashew chickpea spread to the center, top with a few carrot ribbons, a pinch of pickled cabbage, a few sprouts, and a single fresh basil leaf. Fold and roll into a mini wrap, and continue with as many as you’d like to enjoy that day, or for storing during the week. If pre-rolled, enjoy within 5 days.
Serve the wraps with the pink tahini sauce, whether on top or on the side for dipping. If enjoying the day they are rolled, dice the chard stems into 1/4 inch thick pieces and place into a bowl. Toss with a splash of white balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of flax oil. Add a minced shallot and garlic clove if desired, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside for a few minutes to let the flavors meld, and serve on top (or alongside) the wraps too. This chard stem salsa is best only enjoyed the day of, and does not store well. But if you can enjoy a few the day of the trimming, it is definitely worth the extra effort to whip up.