Side Dishes

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Traditional tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern dish made with bulgur, tomatoes, onion, mint and parsley, is plenty good for you, but quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) provides more protein, amino acids, minerals and vitamins than bulgur. You can use brown rice as an alternative.


1 cup uncooked quinoa
Sea salt
2 cups diced unpeeled cucumber (or cucumber with a tasty skin)
1 cups halved or quartered cherry tomatoes
4 scallions, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or as much as you can chop — the  more, the better!
¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Rinse quinoa in a bowl with water or place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until water runs clear.  Transfer to a saucepan and add a healthy pinch of sea salt and 1 ¾ cups of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes.

Transfer quinoa to a serving bowl and allow to cool.  Fluff with a fork periodically.

Combine cooled quinoa and remaining ingredients plus 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt.  Toss to mix well.  Taste for seasoning.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Baked sweet potato fries are seriously delicious and great for those times when you are craving something sweet without spiking your insulin levels. And did you know that sweet potatoes are a healthier alternative to regular potatoes? It’s true. They are an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), C, B-6, and essential minerals potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and fiber.

Toss thin sticks of sweet potato with olive oil, salt and pepper (you could also use coconut oil or lightly flavored oil). I keep them simple, but if you felt like it a pinch of cayenne, cumin or other seasoning would be a nice touch. Some even use cinnamon.

Makes 4 Servings

4 medium sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoons salt, Himalayan or Celtic
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
More salt for sprinkling over baked fries

Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil then slide into the oven so they become hot.

Scrub then cut the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch sticks. Add to a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Tumble sweet potatoes onto hot baking sheets and spread into one layer. Try not to crowd them too much or else they will not brown.

Bake fries, turning once and rotating pans once, until edges are lightly browned and centers are tender; 15 to 25 minutes. The fries are done when the surface looks dry and the fries have puffed up a little. Don’t fret if the edges become brown, they will taste more caramelized than burnt. Serve fries with a sprinkle of extra salt on top.

Coconut Bacon

This completely plant-based coconut bacon is full of “bacon” flavor, without the added fat of regular bacon. Be warned though, those crunchy little bacon-flavored bits are highly addictive.
This “coconut bacon” can be used in many of the same ways that regular bacon is used to add flavor to dishes. It even makes a great BLT sandwich, only in that case it would be called a CLT (coconut, lettuce & tomato) sandwich!

3 1/2 cups large flaked coconut, unsweetened
2 tbsp all-natural liquid smoke
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos *
1 tbsp filtered water
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

To start, preheat the oven to 325°F

To prepare the coconut, mix together the liquid smoke, maple syrup, Bragg (soy sauce or tamari would also work), water and pepper. *Note: Feel free to experiment with the spices here. This “bacon” is also really good with 1/2 tsp or so, of onion powder, garlic powder and a pinch or two of chipotle powder. I have even made the base and then added in ingredients such as hot sauce and barbecue sauce.

Add the coconut flakes to the liquid mixture and gently fold together to fully coat the flakes. Place onto a non-stick baking tray (or line a tray with parchment) and place into the oven. Let cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Be sure to stir the mixture every 5 minutes or so to ensure it cooks evenly. Also, be sure to keep an eye on the coconut, as it can burn around the edges if not stirred fairly frequently.

Once done remove from the oven and let cool. The coconut bacon will keep for several days…if it lasts that long that is!