Butternut Squash and Chickpea Fritters Salad

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Fritters are easy to make and are the perfect addition to this salad with tomato-balsamic vinaigrette. I like to serve this as a complete lunch

Fritter Ingredients:
2 cups raw butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
2 slices whole-wheat bread
1  15-oz can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
1 egg
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves (chopped fine)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Salad Ingredients:
3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 clove garlic (minced)
½ teaspoon fresh rosemary (chopped)
½ cup organic safflower oil
¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups fresh European mix greens
4 teaspoons raw pecans (chopped)

Fritter Directions:
Put squash in a microwave-safe container with 1/4 cup water and cover with plastic wrap. Cook on high until squash is tender when pierced, about 4 minutes. Drain.

Pulse bread in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add squash and chickpeas and pulse until slightly chunky. Add egg, flour, sage, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Pulse just until blended.

Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Drop ¼-cup portions of squash mixture into oil, making a few fritters at a time, and cook, turning once, until golden brown  (about 3 minutes on each side.) Transfer to paper towels to absorb excess oil. Set aside.

Salad Directions:
Chill four salad plates in the freezer until ready to serve salad.

Combine Balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, garlic and rosemary in a blender. With the blender on, gradually add the oils to the blender and process into a thick dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set vinaigrette aside.

Arrange lettuce on four chilled plates. Pour vinaigrette over top of each salad (there will probably be some vinaigrette left – not to worry). Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of each salad. Serve with fritters on the side.

Posted in Lunch, Salads | Tagged | Leave a comment

Beluga Lentil Soup

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Beluga lentils with carrots, celery, and lemon zest.

Lentils are the Rodney Dangerfield of vegetables. They don’t get much respect*.

Continue reading

Posted in Soups, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day After Breakfast: French Toast Soufflé

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Have you enjoyed French Toast stuffed with cream cheese? Here’s an easy, quick to prepare and fun alternative for family and friends the day after Thanksgiving. Make it on  Thanksgiving day and then bring it to room temp the next day. Pop it in the oven and enjoy. What an easy way to put smiles on the faces of your friends and family. Continue reading

Posted in Breakfast | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Holiday Gift Idea!

Schedule a Chef Randy private cooking class

for the new year!



PRIVATE COOKING CLASSES: Let us cook up a celebration for you – whether it’s a birthday, a bridal shower, or just a group getting together. We can tailor your class to your group’s cooking skill level and type of desired menu. Chefs will work side by side with your group to create a memorable meal. We also offer team building class competitions similar to Top Chef.  Call Beth at the Lavender Inn to customize your private class: 805.646.6635.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Spinach-Ricotta Dumplings

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Thanksgiving side dish

This is a fresh and a very welcome side dish for Thanksgiving dinner. The ricotta and spinach combine nicely with nutmeg, black pepper, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  In addition, these delicate dumplings provide a tasty alternative to turkey for your lacto-ovo vegetarian friends and family. Continue reading

Posted in Dinner, Sides | Tagged | Leave a comment

Browned Bosc Pear and Chèvre Salad

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley VegetarianBosc pears are golden brown in color. Their dense flesh makes them a good choice for the sautéed pears in this recipe. Chèvre is the French name for cheeses made with goat’s milk. Fresh goat cheese is soft, creamy, tangy and easy to spread or melt. I like a plain Montrachet with a thin rind for my salads. Continue reading

Posted in Salads | Tagged | Leave a comment

Spinach Spoonbread

Spoonbread #1

Corn meal has been used in the United States to make corn pone, crackling bread, corn muffins, corn sticks, hoecakes, Johnny cakes and spoonbread. Spoonbread is perhaps the richest, lightest and most delicious use of all.  It is believed to have originated as a water and cornmeal based porridge made by Native Americans. The modern version, which includes eggs, butter and cream, is thought to have originated in Virginia sometime in the 1820’s. Continue reading

Posted in Sides | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment