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Spinach, Apple, Shaved Carrot, Avocado and Spicy Candied Pecan Salad with Creamy Pear Vinaigrette

October 19, 2015

Finally the weather is cooling down here so I’ve been buying and obsessing over all the Fall fruit that is available including my favorites apples and pears.  I’ve been incorporating them into my smoothies for breakfasts and now lunch with this Fall salad of spinach, shaved carrot, avocado and candied pecans with a creamy pear vinaigrette.  I found the easiest way to candy nuts and it only takes 5 minutes, all done in one pan and uses 3 ingredients (including the pecans).  Don’t like pecans?  No problem!  Use whatever nuts you like or just leave them out!

For the salad, I used spinach, apples and carrots but feel free to add or subtract any fruit that you like.  You could add extra pear, use arugula or butter lettuce.  The choice is yours.

The creamy dressing is gluten and dairy free, vegan, and takes 2 minutes and gets all whizzed up in the food processor or blender.  I added some sriracha to the dressing to give it that extra zing but you could easily leave it out.  The creaminess comes from adding tahini (or sesame paste) to the dressing and uses very little oil.  In fact, you could probably leave it out and just use water instead if you are cutting back on calories.

For the salad (serves 1)

1 handful of spinach

1 chopped (or spiralized) half an apple

1 carrot (shaved, chopped, or grated)

Handful Spicy Candied Pecans (recipe below)

1/4 avocado sliced

Creamy Pear Vinaigrette 

1 T tahini paste (sesame seed paste – can usually be found in next to the nut butters in the supermarket)

1 T sriracha

1 small pear (seeds removed)

1 T dijon mustard

1 T maple syrup (or more if you like it sweeter)

2 T lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil (or water)

Blend all the the ingredients above in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Spicy Candied Pecans

1 cup pecans (or nut of choice)

1 1/2 T coconut sugar (divided)

1 T sriracha (optional)

Add pecans, and 1 T coconut sugar and sriracha to a small bowl and toss to coat.  Add the pecans to a pan over medium low heat and cook for 4-5 minutes until crunchy and the sugar is melted.  Pour nuts onto a sheet of parchment paper or baking tray and toss with the remaining 1/2 T coconut sugar.  Let cool.  Use on salad, on top of ice cream, or just as a snack on its own.  Will keep in an airtight container for a few days.

Spinach, Apple, Carrot and Spicy Pecan Salad with Creamy Pear Vinaigrette