Creamy Asparagus Soup ~ 100% Plant-Based

Creamy Asparagus Soup by Produce with Amy“The deep roots never doubt spring will come.” 
― Marty Rubin

Dare I be bold enough to say that spring has arrived? Yesterday was Easter Sunday and Mike and I stole outside to walk our dog Phoebe. We remembered to go slow. Last year, in our exuberance, we pushed her too fast and too far. Her poor little hips and legs grew sore and she limped around for a couple of days. This year we made a promise to acclimate her muscles slowly with short loops around our neighborhood until she can manage longer walks.

After a long winter, we cannot help but feel the symptoms of cabin fever. Even our indoor cats jumped from window-to-window yesterday to watch the birds and feel the warm breeze on their fur.

To add to the delight, my flowers are already starting to wake-up. Shoots of tiger lilies, tulips, poppies, and bleeding hearts are starting to inch forward and tingle with life. Of course, I had my camera ready to document their growth.
Spring GrowthI wanted to make a spring dish that I could enjoy all week so I decided to make asparagus

I use my Vitamix blender to puree the cauliflower and white beans.

I use my Vitamix blender to puree the cauliflower and white beans.

soup. This soup gets its creamy body from a puree of white beans and roasted cauliflower, It was simple to assemble and tastes delicious and satisfying. Plus, the protein from the white beans makes it especially filling. If you are a Weight Watchers member, an added benefit is that it is composed of 100% Power Foods and works well with Simple Start and the Simply Filling Technique.

I always make a large batch of soup to eat for the entire week (with several servings to freeze). If you do not want as much soup you may want to cut the recipe in half.

CREAMY ASPARAGUS SOUP

  • 8 cups of vegetable  broth
  • 2 cups of roasted cauliflower (I cut the head in pieces, drizzled with melted coconut oil, spread on a baking sheet, and roasted at 450 for 30 minutes. Flip at the 15 minute mark. You could use all of the cauliflower in the soup but I reserved some to eat on salads or as a side with dinner this week)
  • 2 cups of white beans
  • 1 bunch of chopped asparagus (discard the woody ends)
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 4 ribs of chopped celery
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil (or your oil of choice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Add the cauliflower and bean pureeSaute the onion, celery, and garlic in coconut oil until soft. Puree the cauliflower and white beans in a blender with a couple of cups of the vegetable stock until silky smooth. You can puree the onion, celery, and garlic too but I like to leave them whole.

Add the vegetable stock and the pureed mixture to the sautéed ingredients. Bring to a boil.

Add the chopped asparagus and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

If you prefer the asparagus to be a bit crisp, once the soup comes to a boil remove it from the heat and add the asparagus. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into a bowl and enjoy.

Broccoli or kale would be a healthy addition to this soup and it would be lovely served with a fresh drizzle of lemon juice, lemon zest, and even fresh dill.

Printable recipe: CREAMY ASPARAGUS SOUP

Creamy Asparagus Soup

If you like this soup you may want to check out my other soup recipes.

Please make sure you stop by my Facebook page, sign up for email updates of my posts, and follow my posts on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

If you try this recipe, please let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you. Thank you for joining me in the journey to eat more fruit and vegetables. Together we can thrive and embrace a healthy lifestyle. We are worth the time and energy that it takes to prepare a healthy meal. 

Creamy Asparagus Soup for Spring

Asparagus

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Chocolate Raspberry Mousse-Shake

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse-Shake with Avocado by Produce with Amy

“Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again…”
~Mary
Oliver

After a relaxing weekend Monday arrived with a blustery surprise. I thought that my husband Mike was joking when he woke me up and told me that I had a snow day off of work today. However, he was not kidding. Outside our window stretched a fresh landscape of white. I think that this makes #10 for the year ~ but who can keep track? 

Homemade bread toasted and spread with sun-dried hummus and topped with broccoli sprouts and capers. A side of quinoa tabbouleh, tomatoes, and Chicago style hot peppers.

Homemade bread toasted and spread with sun-dried hummus and topped with broccoli sprouts and capers. A side of quinoa tabbouleh, tomatoes, and Chicago style hot peppers.

What else is there to do but make the most of the morning and take advantage of extra down time. I enjoyed a breakfast with leftovers from my weekend food prep. If you have been following my blog you know that during the school year I utilize my weekends to make jarred salads, soup, homemade bread, and even make and freeze breakfast for my husband.

Normally, I have a green smoothie for breakfast but today since I had fresh hummus and tabbouleh in the refrigerator I decided to let that dictate my

Israeli Feast Jar Salads

Israeli Feast Jar Salads

breakfast. The hummus and tabbouleh was leftover from my Israeli Feast Jarred Salads. Here is a link to my Mason Jar Salads if you interested in my different combinations.

The jar salads have really transformed our meals. I take one to work each day for lunch and my husband eats one for dinner. I pour his out on a plate and rotate each night a different kind of protein on top. Add a cup of soup and you have a quick and convenient meal. Plus, the glass jars and metal lids help the salads stay fresh all week.  They eliminate throwing out costly produce and since a one quart jar holds over four cups, it is a great way to get more vegetables into your diet.

Mike's Jar Salads

Mike’s Jar Salad

I think that the time that I invest in food prep is a worthy investment. The last thing that I feel like doing when I get home from work is chopping up ingredients for a salad. I promise you that it is time well spent. Many of my Weight Watchers members make the salads and have found that they really help them stay on program and make healthier food choices.
Mason Jar Salad Prep

My weekend produce purchase which helps guarantee a healthy week.

My weekend produce purchase which helps guarantee a healthy week.

Today’s recipe that I am sharing is one that shows how wistful for spring I am. In the past few weeks I have shared a few Dessert Smoothie/Shake recipes. With summer approaching I wanted to share some dairy-free ice cream substitutes that will help satisfy a sweet tooth but still remain healthy. Over the past few years I have virtually eliminated refined sugar from my diet and find that the natural sugars in fruit helps me manage my hunger and I feel better.

This recipe tastes decadent but is packed with nutrients. It gets its luscious and creamy texture from avocado and its sweetness from a frozen banana. I know what many people may say. Avocado and chocolate? Yes, and please trust me. Avocado is technically a fruit and it contains healthy fat and an assortment of nutrients. It takes on the taste of both sweet and savory ingredients and I love to add them to my green smoothies. They make are a fantastic dairy-free alternate to add body to creamy desserts and even salad dressing. I often say that I could probably eat cardboard if it was smeared with avocado. 😉

I called this dessert a mousse-shake because it has the texture of a mousse. In fact, I ate half of this shake with a spoon and I think it would be elegant enough to serve at a dinner party. My version is only slightly sweet so if you prefer it to be sweeter you could add your sweetener of choice (maple syrup, agave, organic raw sugar, or even raw honey).

Plant-Based Chocolate Raspberry Shake with Avocado by Produce with Amy
CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY MOUSSE SHAKE

  • 1/2-3/4 cup of cold coconut water
  •  1/8 of a cup of raw almonds (I like to make my own almond milk to avoid the additives found in store bought varieties)
  • (I soaked them overnight which increases their nutrients, helps make them softer, and makes them easier to digest)
  • 1 small, ripe avocado 
  • 1 small frozen banana (you may add more banana if you like it sweeter)
  • 6 ounces of raspberries (I bought fresh raspberries and frozen them for 30 minutes before blending so they would be cold. You could also add a few ice cubes)
  • 1 Tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder (add as little or as much as you like)
  • Garnish with Cacao Nibs (I purchase in the bulk section of our local food coop)

Printable recipe: CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY MOUSSE SHAKE

Pin it HERE.

Chocolate Raspberry Dessert by Produce with AmyI hope that you enjoy this recipe and that you are finding, or will find, my posts helpful. Cooking and coming up with healthy recipes is my passion and I love being able to share this obsession with others. Please make sure you stop by my Facebook page, sign up for email updates of my posts, and follow me on Pinterest.

I love hearing from those who try my recipes and I appreciate your feedback and support. It keeps me inspired when I know that others are enjoying the food combinations that I create. Stay tuned, I am anxious for summer to get here so I can shop our local farmers markets! Have a wonderful day and thank you for joining me on the journey to eat more fruit and vegetables.
RaspberriesHealthy Chocolate Raspberry Dessert

 

 

Verdant Salad with Spring Green Vegetables

Verdant Salad with Spring Green Vegetables ~ Produce with Amy“If you wish to make anything grow, you must understand it, and understand it in a very real sense. ‘Green fingers’ are a fact, and a mystery only to the unpracticed. But green fingers are the extensions of a verdant heart.” 
― Russell Page, The Education of a Gardener

April 4It feels a bit outlandish to be sharing this recipe today.  A few weeks ago in the creation process, I imagined finishing this blog post on a clear spring day. The kind of day that makes you want to rush out and hang freshly laundered sheets on the line and brew up a pitcher of iced green tea with fresh mint leaves. I should have know better.

As I type, Mother Nature is brewing up a storm with violent snow squalls and over a foot of snow is predicted across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. At least I know that I am not alone when I say that I am aching for green grass, spring flowers, and the opportunity to poke seeds down into a plot of damp earth. Instead, today I made the most of a quiet house and replaced visions of iced tea with a steaming bowl of homemade Hot & Sour Soup and watched with wonderment the blizzard churn outside.

In preparation of the storm I did go to the grocers yesterday. Our freezer was rather bare so I made soup for the whole month and froze all but a few servings.

A sampling of yesterday's produce on the kitchen island and my husband upcycled from an old table.

A sampling of yesterday’s produce on the kitchen island and my husband upcycled from an old table.

Shellac ManicureYet, I did not forget that it was spring break and before the chore of shopping and food prep, I did treat myself to a shellac manicure.

My friend Jackie Johnson has been working her magic on my nails since fall and I find that a manicure perks up my mood and gives me something pretty to anticipate. Each time I go, I love to pick out a different color and this week was no exception. I decided that with gray skies and giant snow banks in the horizon, the brighter the color the better, and I indulged in a vibrant orange hue. The color speaks to me the intensity of spring tulips after a long winter and feels as fresh as juicy citrus.

ManicureIncidentally, if you are in the Marquette, Michigan area ~make sure that you make an appointment with Jackie at Lakeshore Skin Care. Jackie’s new clients get 20% off for the first visit with her and 20% off for each sixth visit. She also does regular manicures and spa chair pedicures. Jackie is full of spunk and sparkle and she makes your visit comfortable and entertaining (make an appointment at 273-0512).

Take my word for it, you will be hooked on the shellac manicure and you are worth the pampering! As we often talk about in my Weight Watchers meetings, rewards are important in our journey and when we make an investment in ourselves we feel stronger, empowered, and more capable of taking on challenges. A manicure is the perfect reward because it serves as a constant anchor and reminder of our commitment.

Even though it may not look like spring outside my window, I am excited to share my spring salad idea with you. It combines fresh green vegetables with a zingy Asian inspired ginger dressing. In case you do not enjoy ginger, I will also include a Mexican inspired dressing that I use with my Confetti Salad. I have made the salad both ways and they were equally delicious.

This recipe did render a large bowl (approximately eight cups) so you might want to cut the recipe in half if you want to enjoy a couple of meals and not for the whole week. However, it is so pretty and flavorful that it would be a great dish for a gathering. It is perfect for an event because it is a recipe that can be made in advance and the flavor improves as it marinates.
Verdant Salad by Produce with Amy

VERDANT SALAD WITH SPRING GREEN VEGETABLES

  • 2 cups of edamame
  • 2 cups of chopped asparagusVerdant Salads with Avocado
  • 2 cups of chopped broccoli
  • 2 cubed avocados
  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 lime (juice and zest)
  • 1/2 bunch of chopped cilantro (since cilantro is an acquired taste you could use parsley if you are not fond of cilantro)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion (I used red because I had some leftover from another recipe but I would recommend green onions to match the green theme)
  • 1/8-1/4 cup of rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • Fresh minced ginger root (to taste. Since ginger is strong I would recommend adding a little at a time. I like the taste of ginger so I used a 1 inch piece)
  • 2 Tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Alternate dressing (for those who are not fans of ginger…which is also an acquired taste)

  • 2 limes (juice and zest)
  • 1 jalapeno (finely chopped)
  • 1 large clove of minced garlic
  • 1 bunch of chopped green onions
  • 1/8 cup of vinegar (I used raw apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/8-1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Homemade Taco Seasoning (to taste. I ended up adding approximately 1 Tablespoon)
  • Salt and pepper to tasteBlanching involves a quick immersion in boiling water and placing the vegetable instantly in an ice bath. This process allows the asparagus to turn vibrant green and remain crisp.

I blanched the asparagus and broccoli by immersing it in boiling water for two-three minutes and directly dropping it into an ice-bath. This brings out the best of the nutrients in they vegetables but they still retain a pleasant crispness.

Add all of the ingredients to the bowl (you may want to add the avocado last so it retains some of its shape). Stir, serve, and enjoy!

Printable recipe: VERDANT SALAD WITH SPRING GREEN VEGETABLES

Pin it HERE.
Verdant Salad with Spring Green Vegetables Lettuce Wrap by Produce with Amy

This salad would make a wonderful layer to a Mason jar salad or it would be great in a lettuce wrap. If you are interested in a another spring salad check out my Summon Spring Jarred Salads with Asparagus, Strawberries, and Pineapple Vinaigrette. While you are at it, make sure that you check out all my other salads. Make sure you follow my posts via email and stop by my Facebook page and give it a like. Please let me know if you try any of my recipes. I love to hear from individuals who are also embracing a healthy lifestyle and finding ways to eat more fruit and vegetables.

To all my readers who are still gazing at a winter landscape out the window, hold on tight. Spring will be here soon and it will be glorious and sweet. Until then, wrap yourself in some color and do something special to spoil yourself. Ladies, trust me on the shellac manicure. Gentlemen, do not forget, your nails need pampering too. Take care and remember that taking time to prepare fresh meals may be time consuming, but it is an investment in your health. Thanks for stopping by and cheers to thriving together!

The view outside my window this afternoon.

The view outside my window this afternoon.

 

Verdant Salad with Spring Green Vegetables and Dressing Two Ways by Produce with Amy

Cherry Almond Coconut Shake ~ Plant-Based Healthy Indulgence

Guilt-Free Cherry Almond Coconut Shake by Produce with Amy “Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.”
― Langston Hughes

I woke up this morning with thankfulness. This is an intentional routine that I try to practice each day. I believe that we shape our own energy. Life can be fraught with stress (a majority that we manufacture ourselves). Therefore, it is important to stop and think about what is really important. Start each morning with a smile. (Smile right now…it made you feel lighter…did it not?) 😀

It is easy for me to type these things as I sit on the sofa enjoying a cup of peppermint tea and bask in the morning glow of my spring holiday. With each breath in and out ~ I am reminding myself to slow down and make the most of this time. Enjoy. Savor. Appreciate.

Today I will be mindful of the relaxation that my mind and body both need but I will also make a few preparations for next week. I acknowledge that going back to work will be a shock to my body (and the 160+ teenagers that share a classroom with me each day). I want to finish the last couple months of school with positive energy, commitment, and all the passion that led me to a career in education. Today I will prepare for the whirlwind that I will encounter next week by accomplishing some household chores and by getting a jump on my weekend cooking.

Along with a positive attitude, I believe that the food that we consume also plays on our mood and attitude. I find that when I am not consuming refined sugar and caffeine that I feel more balanced and able to manage stress and my emotions. The same goes with creating meals that are assembled with whole non-processed food. I am not saying that a bag of chips, soda, chocolate bar, or processed food item never ends up in my shopping cart, but it is a rarity.

A couple of posts ago, when I shared my recipe for a Peach & Raspberry Cobbler Shake, I explained how I made the shift away from store-bought dairy substitutes because of the long list of ingredients on the carton. It seemed like a natural change since I did invest in a Vitamix blender a few years ago and I always have raw nuts on hand. Why not make my own?

In anticipation of summer and warmer weather, today I am sharing another recipe for a Bowl of Cherrieshealthy dessert that tastes indulgent but is full of nutrients and will help you fuel your day. It is inspired by my favorite summer treat ~ cherries. I spend a bundle of money on fresh cherries each summer. In part, I believe, because they remind me of my childhood. My mom always had plenty of cherries (watermelon, grapes, and nectarines too) in the cooler when we spent long summer

Target carries my new obsession ~ real vanilla, almond, and peppermint extract.

Target carries my new obsession ~ real vanilla, almond, and peppermint extract.

days on the shore of Fortune Lake in my hometown of Crystal Falls, Michigan.

Since cherries are not in season in April, I had to settle for frozen cherries for this shake (I am calling it a shake instead of smoothie because it is thick and rich and tastes like a perfect dairy-free substitute for a traditional milk shake). The raw almonds help make it thick and give the drink a filling boost of protein. My advice is that you do not leave out the almond extract ~ I have made it without, and trust me, it does not taste the same.

Cherry Almond Coconut ShakeCHERRY ALMOND COCONUT SHAKE

  • 1 cup frozen cherries (If you are lucky enough to be using fresh cherries, make sure to freeze them first)Vitamix
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/4 of raw, soaked almonds (soak overnight or for a few hours prior to making the shake)
  • 1 teaspoon real almond extract (I added a bit more)
  • Ice cubes (I added a few)
  • 3/4-1 cup of plain coconut water (I made sure it was cold and added 1/2 cup at first and added more until it was the consistency that I wanted. My shake was very thick and resembled a milk shake in texture)
  • Optional ~ 1 Tablespoon organic coconut flakes for garnish

Blend well. A great addition to this shake would also be a touch of vanilla extract and a dash of cinnamon.

Printable recipe: CHERRY ALMOND COCONUT SHAKE

Pin it HERE.

Cherry Almond Coconut Shake by Produce with Amy

Cherry Almond Coconut Smoothie

 

Cherry Almond Coconut Plant-Based Shake

If you are interested in other nutritious desserts, check out my Healthy Indulgences tab.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and please follow my posts via email, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr and make sure to find me on Facebook. I love the reciprocal nature of social networks. Together we can create a community of health minded individuals that are concerned about the fuel that put into our bodies. I look forward to sharing more recipes with you and please post your comments and feedback. Have a marvelous day and remember to stop to breathe, appreciate, and savor the world and all the gifts that are all around us.

Appreciation

Mushroom Stroganoff ~ Healthy, Plant-Based, Comfort Food

Plant-Based Mushroom Stroganoff by Produce with Amy“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”
~ Wayne Dyer

It is only Tuesday of spring break and this is my fifth blog post. It feels great to catch up on posting the recipes that I have been creating and have not had time to share. Looking back I can see that I need to celebrate that in spite of a hectic schedule, I still have been making it a priority to eat healthy. In the past when I got busy I would often neglect meal planning and grocery shopping and that is no longer the case. One of the healthiest routines that I established when I joined Weight Watchers in 2006 was meal planning and cooking in bulk on the weekends. The extra time that I take to prepare meals guarantees that Mike and I always have healthy food on hand and it saves precious time during the week (and it is easier on our pocketbook since we do not rely on takeout).

It would be an understatement to say that it has been a long winter. Ultimately, with dreary cold weather comes the desire for comfort food. Unfortunately, comfort food does not always translate into healthy food. Add into the equation that I try to maintain a plant-based diet and things get even more challenging. Living in a rural area I do not have access to a lot of plant-based cheeses or dairy substitutes (which is probably a good thing since many are heavily processed) so I have to get creative with the comfort food that I consume since I strive to eat whole non-processed food.

I find that mushrooms make a great meat substitute and I love their texture in a variety of meals. A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to make a Mushroom Stroganoff and decided to puree roasted cauliflower as the base. I came up with this idea after creating a recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Carrots. In fact, I used the same roasted cauliflower recipe as I did with the soup and I think that the seasonings added a depth of flavor to the stroganoff. I froze a few portions of stroganoff in individual servings.  I had one tonight with a side of broccoli and tomatoes and it tasted just as fresh as the day that I made it.
Mushroom Stroganoff Over Mashed Potatoes with a Side of Broccoli and Tomatoes by Produce with Amy

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

Roasted CauliflowerCut one large head of cauliflower into florets and drizzle with the following mixture:

*2 Tablespoons coconut oil
*2 Tablespoons of tamari (soy sauce would also work)
*I Tablespoon Dijon mustard
*1 Tablespoon minced garlic
*1 teaspoon cumin

Roast the cauliflower for 60 minutes at 350 (I flipped the cauliflower at 30 minutes).
Or roast  450 for 30-45 minutes.

MUSHROOM STROGANOFF

  • 1 head of roasted cauliflowerMushroom Stroganoff
  • 2-3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 16 ounces of mushrooms 
  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil (or cooking oil of choice)

Saute the celery, onion, garlic, and mushrooms until soft in the coconut oil (15 minutes on low heat). Puree the cauliflower until smooth in a blender with a cup of the vegetable broth (add more if needed) and pour the puree into the sautéed mixture. Add the lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Add more vegetable broth if needed for desired consistency and heat until flavors marry (20-30 minutes). Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, spaghetti squash, or steamed vegetables.

Optional ingredients that you could add to flavor the stroganoff would be red wine (to saute the mushrooms) and before serving you could stir in a plant-based sour cream or yogurt.

Printable recipe: Mushroom Stroganoff

Mushroom Stroganoff by Produce with Amy

Cauliflower makes a wonderful, healthy, and neutral tasting thickening agent in recipes and if I was served this dish I would not be able to guess that cauliflower was its base. However, at the same time, the roasted cauliflower recipe is so delicious that you may want to roast two heads so you can eat one as it is.

If you try this recipe or any of my others, please let me know. Stop by my facebook page, give it a like, and post a photo of your creation. I would love to hear from you. Thank you for joining me in the journey to eat more fruit and vegetables. I love being part of healthy on-line community. Together we can thrive and embrace a healthy lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

Paradise in a Jar Salad with Blueberry Lemon Dressing

Paradise in a Jar Salad with Blueberry Lemon Dressing by Produce with Amy“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Our Phoebe is confused as to why I am home and my presence seems to be interrupting her beauty sleep. She is wary to sleep too deeply because she may miss something exciting.

Our Phoebe is confused as to why I am home and my presence seems to be interrupting her beauty sleep. She is wary to sleep too deeply because she may miss something exciting.

Maybe I am in denial. Yet, a little denial cannot hurt, right? A blissful week off for spring break stretches before me and I am enjoying every moment of this morning as I lounge around in my bedclothes.

While I watch the smiling faces of my friends on holiday in Florida glow across my social network news feeds, I am genuinely happy for them. While I would love to gaze at palm trees against a turquoise backdrop of water, feel the sun kiss my bare shoulders, and dig my toes into warm sand ~ deep down I am thankful that I am tucked away quietly at home in the chilly north. The truth is that I need time to decompress and soak up the quiet of our house. Right now I am all about hot tea, relaxation, furbabies, and being soothed by the gentle click of my keyboard.

Yesterday I was thrilled when my friend Kara at Running From Perfect gave me a shout-out and recipe review of the last jarred salad recipe that I shared. Kara, like many others, felt trepidation in trying the Mason jar salads but learned that they are as great as they sound. Read Kara’s post,  Mason Jar Salads…I’m Obsessed and make sure you follow her blog, and find her on other social networking avenues, because she is one busy and inspiring lady.

If you are new to Mason jar salads you might want to read one of my first jarred salad posts for tips on making these fresh and colorful creations.

So back to my denial meanderings. I am not in denial about needing time to reflect and take a deep breath from  the urgency of my teaching career, but perhaps I am in denial about the weather forecast that predicts more snow on Friday in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. While we all hope it is a cruel April Fool’s joke, it probably is not.

Paradise Salad with Blueberry Lemon DressingWith gray skies looming outside I thought that today was the perfect time to post my Paradise in a Jar Salads with Blueberry Lemon Dressing. The brilliant colors remind me of the feathers of a tropical parrot and what could speak warm weather more than lush kiwi and the sweet, aromatic taste of blueberries? As I have posted before, living in a wild and cold climate one must learn how to manufacture rays of sunshine and what better way to do it than the food that we consume? We are what we eat, after all. I do not know about you, but I want to be vibrant, unique, and bursting with energy. This philosophy is what inspires me when I come up with my recipes. While I feel rooted by certain flavors that go together, sometimes I like to throw together something unexpected. From the sauerkraut, pickles, and hot peppers in my previous jar salad to the mellow undertones that the cinnamon imparts on the blueberry dressing shared today.

Blueberry Lemon Dressing

BLUEBERRY LEMON DRESSING

  • 1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen. I was fortunate to have wild Michigan blueberries in the freezer)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of water (depending on how thick you want the dressing. It did thicken a bit so I recommend 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I omit the oil and add 2 teaspoons of oil into each jar for portion control)
  • Juice and zest of one lemon (for a sweeter dressing you may opt for an orange)
  • 3 Tablespoons of rice vinegar (or to taste depending on the level of tartness you desire)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (the cinnamon really gives this dressing an unexpected flair and depth)
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup (or sweetener of choice. To taste depending on how sweet the berries are and how sweet you want the dressing. If you use orange you can omit the sweetener)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Blend well.

Paradise in Jar Salad with Blueberry Lemon Dressing

PARADISE IN A JAR SALADS

I divided and layered the following ingredients in 5 ~ one quart Mason jars:

  • 3-4 Tablespoons of Blueberry Lemon Dressing
  • 1 quart of yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 5 cups of green cabbage (purple/red cabbage would be great too)
  • 1 1/2 quarts of fresh blueberries (I reserved the other berries for a snack)
  • 2 1/2 avocados (I saved the other half to put in a green smoothie)
  • 2 yellow bell peppers (the peppers were small so I used two)
  • 1/2 cup of raw almonds (or your protein of choice…I often use beans)
  • 2 kiwi
  • Spinach (1 bag…I really push it into the jars for a generous serving)

Printable recipe: Paradise in a Jar Salads with Blueberry Lemon Dressing

Pin it HERE

Paradise in a Jar

Trust me, this salad does taste as great as it is pretty. As long as we are daydreaming today, imagine this jarred salad with the addition of summer fruit. I can almost taste a layer of ripe and fragrant nectarines or juicy plums.

The combinations for salads are endless and presenting them in jars not only makes our greens and ingredients stay fresh (which helps reduce waste) but the salads are visually appealing. In turn, we end up eating more fruit and vegetables than if the produce was kept in our refrigerator drawers. I guarantee that the thirty minutes you spend preparing a week’s worth of salads will be time well spent.

If you try my recipes (or tweak them to fit your own tastes) let me know in the comment section or stop by my Facebook page, give it a like, and share a photo and a recipe review. I love hearing how jarred salads are transforming others’ food experiences. I know that they have encouraged my husband and I to eat a rainbow of fruit of vegetables. By the way, if you are visiting my page from someplace warm ~ please send some sunshine our way in Michigan. It will be greatly appreciated.

Blueberry Lemon Dressing by Produce with Lemon

Birds are Messengers