Rainbow Salad With Mint-Avocado Dressing

To make a rainbow salad you can really use any vegetables you want. For my rainbow salad I decided to use cucumbers, chickpeas, carrots, tomatoes and red onions. The trick is to chop the veggies in fairly small pieces, so that the ingredients all come together and there won't be big chunks of food in your plate. I used what I had in my fridge and it was very good, but next time I will make sure to add two more ingredients: corn and red cabbage. I think they will give it that extra pop of color and they will add different flavors to the salad. After laying the veggies by color on your plate, you of course need to make a nice light dressing. I decided to make a creamy mint-avocado dressing. Here is the recipe.

Serves 4.

1 garlic clove
1 avocado
½ cup greek yogurt (or dairy-free yogurt)
10-15 mint leaves
1 teaspoon fresh Italian parsley
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor, until smooth. Depending on your taste, you may want to add more mint leaves.

Quick Somen Noodles Salad

I have not been writing on here much! Actually, not much at all... The main reasons for that are that I have been busy and not very healthy. When I do not eat healthy I feel tired and uncomfortable. For example, if I eat a bowl of ice cream at night, my stomach hurts in the morning and I feel bloated. It's not easy to keep an healthy lifestyle, but it's important to remind yourself why you are eating healthy and how it benefits you physically and mentally. Today I made this yummy dish for dinner, made with Japanese noodles.

Serves 3.

6.2 oz somen noodles
1 cup arugula
1 carrot
½ red bell pepper

For the dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
black sesame seeds

Peel and finely shred the carrot, place it in a big bowl. Thinly slice the red bell pepper, add it to the big bowl along with the arugula.

Cook the noodles according to the package. I cooked them for 2 minutes in unsalted bowling water.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix the ingredients for the dressing: olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice and brown sugar.

Strain the noodles and mix them in the bowl with the vegetables, add the dressing and stir very quickly so the noodles don't stick together. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Vegan Homemade Pasta

Some people may think that making pasta from scratch, at home, will take a long time. Believe it or not, making pasta at home is very easy and fast (and cheap). If you like to knead and get your hands messy it can be fun too :). Serve pasta with a fresh tomato sauce and you'll have the perfect dinner!

Serves 2.

⅓ cup & 2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup & 1 tablespoon semolina flour

In a small bowl mix the water, olive oil, turmeric and salt.
Put the semolina flour in a big bowl and combine with the water mixture. Mix well with a fork, and then knead with your hands. You should obtain a firm, not very sticky, ball. If your dough results pretty sticky, you will need to add more semolina flour. Once your dough is firm and smooth let it rest for 10 minutes.

Use your pasta maker to obtain the type of pasta you want - I made "bigoli". Cook the pasta in salted water for about 5 minutes.

Tomato And Avocado Linguine

Pasta is definitely something I could eat everyday, for lunch and dinner. Ideally, pasta should only have two ingredients: semolina flour and water. In Italy two common brands we buy are Barilla and Garofalo. You can find both in the United States, however I noticed that Barilla adds many more ingredients here in the US compared to Italy. Why, oh why?! I think I will have to email them and find out more about this... Anyway, this recipe is very easy and quick to make, with simple ingredients and of course pasta!

Serves 2.

140 gr linguine
1 avocado
1 cup cherry tomatoes
5 basil leaves
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once it boils, salt the water with coarse salt (the quantity of salt you need to use depends on the amount of water you put to boil) and cook the pasta, for about 10 minutes - if you like it al dente.

Dice the tomatoes and put them in a big bowl. Add the avocado flesh to another bowl, mash it and mix it with salt, pepper, and lime juice. Mix in the bowl with tomatoes. Chop the basil leaves and set aside.

Combine the drained pasta with the tomatoes and avocado. Mix well, add the chopped basil and drizzle with olive oil.

Spanish Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a typical Spanish cold soup. I often traveled from Italy to Spain in summer with my family and I remember eating this amazing soup. Once blended, the few fresh ingredients in it come together and they create a light earthy flavor. Top it with some croutons and good extra virgin olive oil, and you will sure want to make this all summer long! :) 

Serves 3.

5 slices of bread
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
4 medium tomatoes
1 medium size onion
1 peeled cucumber
1 red bell pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil

Soak the bread in a little bit of water and the apple vinegar. Set aside. In a blender mix all the remaining ingredients, until you obtain a smooth puree mixture. With your hands, squeeze out the water from the bread and place the bread in the blender. Blend on high until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, add croutons and drizzle with olive oil.

Note: To obtain a smoother soup, peel the tomatoes and the red bell pepper.

Fruit Sandwich

Today I want to show you a recipe that may seem a little bit odd. I believe in Italy we would not pair bread with fruit, however if it works, why not try it? The almond butter and fresh fruit give this sandwich a sweet flavor, and it tastes more like a clean treat than a sandwich! 

Serves 1.

2 slices whole wheat bread
2 strawberries
½ banana
1 tablespoon almond butter

Slice the banana and strawberries. Spread the almond butter on one slice of bread, top with the sliced banana, and then the strawberries. Super easy!

Cantaloupe Mint Smoothie

Smoothies are an easy option for a quick breakfast. I love to mix different fruits together and herbs to get new yummy flavors. Mint works good with various types of fruits. This smoothie is very refreshing and perfect for a hot summer day!

Serves 1.

2 cups chopped cantaloupe
5 mint leaves
1 cup coconut water
3 ice cubes

Mix all the ingredients together in a blender and enjoy immediately!