Japanese Cucumber Salad

Japanese Cucumber Salad is a perfect side dish to sushi, teriyaki chicken, miso, and other Japanese meals! This cooling cucumber salad is a bright combination of mild vinegar, sweet coconut sugar, deep toasted sesame oil, and salty tamari (or soy sauce). It’s the perfect complement to my simple teriyaki chicken, homemade sushi, miso soup, or any Japanese food!

Eating a Japanese style meal doesn’t mean stuffing your face with white rice (though white rice can certainly be an important part of it). I’ve enjoyed reading more about the traditional Japanese food culture, which often included eating small plates of a wide variety of foods. It’s a beautiful tradition that allows a wide variety of flavors and nutrition! It was also often full of lots of veggie sides – like this cucumber one! When I take the extra time to make a simple veggie side or two, it makes the meal so much better – more satisfying and fun to eat too! This cucumber salad tastes a lot like ones we’ve been served at sushi restaurants. It has a balance of salty, sweet, sour, and umami. Yum.

I used  (#affiliate links) raw coconut vinegar in mine, which is nutritious raw fermented vinegar that is lighter than the raw apple cider vinegar I tend to use. You can use apple cider vinegar, but may want to sweeten it a little more since it is so powerful. Traditionally, rice wine vinegar was used, which is mild and perfect for so many Asian dishes. I’d recommend that as well. Also, make sure you use toasted sesame oil, not untoasted. Toasted sesame oil adds a lot of nutty flavor, while untoasted is used as a cooking oil. This is the brand I used. I used coconut sugar as we are sensitive to cane sugar, but using an organic cane sugar would work beautifully as well.

If you enjoy cucumber salads, try out this cucumber and red onion salad as well.

Japanese Cucumber Salad
 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 med/large cucumber, or two small
  • ¼ cup vinegar (rice wine vinegar, coconut vinegar, raw apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or organic cane sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
  • 2 teaspoons tamari (for gluten-free) or soy sauce
  • Optional for garnish: Toasted sesame seeds and/or nori flakes
Instructions
  1. About a half an hour before eating peel the cucumber(s) and cut in half lengthwise and seed. (Read out to seed a cucumber here.) Using a sharp knife, slice thinly into half moons. Put aside in a bowl. You should have about two cups worth.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, coconut sugar, toasted sesame seed oil, tamari or soy sauce. Pour over cucumbers, and gently toss. Place, covered, in the refrigerator, and let chill for about 20 minutes. The vinegar is the first to be absorbed by the cucumbers, but as the minutes pass, the cucumbers will pick up on the sweetness and saltiness of the other ingredients. Toss once or twice, if you have the chance, while it chills. When ready to serve, toss again, and feel free to adjust the flavors if needed. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and/or nori flakes, and serve.

 

Chai Tea Fauxccino (Paleo-friendly)

ChaiTeaFauxccinoNG2

By Katie Mae Stanley, Contributing Writer

Bold and spicy chai with just a hint of sweetness, it’s icy perfection mingling with creamy milk; the perfect chai latte summer style. I love tea –if you couldn’t guess – but there are some days, like today, with temps reaching over triple digits that I just can’t do it. That’s where this awesome chai tea “fauxccino” comes in. It cools you off while still giving you that rich and delicious flavor of the chai tea we know and love. If you are frappe fan you also might like this Salted Carmel Mocha Fauxccinno or this Peppermint Mocha Fauxccino.

Chai actually means “tea” in Hindi but I think at this point we are so used to calling it “Chai Tea” that I doubt that we can go back to just calling it chai. Most frappe drinks call for ice cubes, I have never liked how diluted an iced beverage would get as the ice started to melt. A new trick I have started doing is making ice cubes of strong coffee or in this case chai concentrate. It is as simple as pouring your coffee/chai into an ice tray and freezing until solid. You can also read about how to make them here. In my opinion it really ups the flavor of my fauxccinos and iced coffees.

This chai tea fauxccino is so simple to make and hits the spot on a hot day! I used my own chai concentrate to make my chai ice cubes but Kimi has a recipe using rooibos that I am sure is wonderful as well. My concentrate already has a bit of sweetener in it so if you are like me you may find that you don’t need any additional sweetener. Feel free to make your drink a bit more “fancy” by adding vanilla whipped cream (or coconut whipped cream, bittersweet chocolate syrup or salted caramel sauce). Drinking it plain is fine too and what I normally do. If you want perfect whipped cream using an  (Affiliate link) ISI Whipped Cream Dispenser is very helpful and fun.

Other chai inspired recipes:

Chai Tea Fauxccino
 
Author:
Recipe type: Beverage
Serves: 1-2
 
Bold and spicy chai with just a hint of sweetness, it's icy perfection mingling with creamy milk; the perfect chai latte summer style.This chai tea fauxccino is so simple to make and hits the spot on a hot day! I used my own chai concentrate to my chai ice cubes but Kimi has a recipe using rooibos that I am sure is wonderful as well.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the chai ice cubes, milk and sweetener into a blender. Blend on high until smooth.
  2. Top with whipped cream, caramel sauce or chocolate syrup if desired.

 

Strawberry-Rhubarb Icebox Pie (grain, dairy and sugar free)

Strawberry Rhubarb Icebox Pie (Grain, Dairy and Sugar Free)

By Natalia Gill, Contributing Writer

Luscious strawberries and snappy rhubarb are lightly sweetened with stevia and poured into a salted pecan crust. A bit of pear (undetectable to the taste) bridges the gap between rhubarb and stevia, creating a well balanced pie that is both satisfying and simple – a treat for everyone, not only those who steer clear of grain, sugar and dairy.

This strawberry-rhubarb filling is very fresh tasting since the raw berries are stirred into a hot rhubarb-pear glaze, then poured into a prepared crust and chilled.

The most exciting part? You can use this method to create just about any fabulous fruit combination you dream up! How about raspberry-lemon, ginger-peach or just good old-fashioned blueberry? Simply adjust the amount of stevia you use.

Here are some grain/gluten-free crusts that would make a perfect base.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Icebox Pie

This is the first time I have tried making this pie with stevia. I was pretty sure it would work well since this herb shines in tart, fruity recipes. But I was surprised to discover that I actually prefer the stevia version.

While I’m not a proponent of stevia morning, noon and night, I do think this is a great dessert option for those who are sensitive to sugar (like me.) The protein and healthy fats in the crust help to further curb the natural sugars in the fruits.

I used (affiliate link) Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Stevia and was very happy with the result.

This recipe is approved by and dedicated to my dad…musician, luthier, diabetic and strawberry-rhubarb pie aficionado.

Strawberry Rhubarb Icebox Pie
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
 
This pie is a sweet and tangy summer treat - free of sugar, grain & dairy.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup rhubarb, diced
  • ½ pear, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound strawberries, washed and stems/leaves removed (about 3.5 cups)
  • 4 teaspoons arrowroot
  • 2 - 2½ teaspoons powdered stevia sweetener (the equivalent of 4-5 teaspoons sugar)
  • your favorite crust (I use this grain-free nut crust)
Instructions
  1. Dice two medium-sized strawberries and place in a saucepan with the rhubarb, pear and ½ cup water. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pear is soft (about 10-12 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, quarter the remaining strawberries. Also, combine the arrowroot, 2 teaspoons stevia and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl.
  3. When the pear is soft, add the arrowroot mixture to the fruit in the saucepan, keeping the heat on very low. Gently stir for 1-2 minutes, allowing the mixture to thicken and become more translucent (it won't be a fully translucent glaze because the rhubarb has disintegrated into the mixture.)
  4. Take the pan off of the heat. Taste and add a little more stevia if you'd like. Immediately stir in the fresh strawberries. Pour into your baked pie crust. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, then slice and serve. Or eat it sooner and let it be a little messy.
Notes
For a special touch, top it with a dollop of this paleo-friendly coconut whipped cream. Or the chocolate version - even better!

 

Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Mini Donuts (Gluten & Egg-free)

Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Donuts that are #glutenfree, #eggfree, and wonderful!

The title of this post alone makes me happy, as does biting into one of these tender, double chocolate donuts. They are so fun to serve, and my little girls love them. And since half of our family is gluten, dairy, and egg-free, we are all happy that we can enjoy these together.

If you haven’t noticed from my dessert category, chocolate is a favorite, so chocolate donuts are a given. It’s National Donut Day, and this is a great way to celebrate. I’ve also made them for birthday parties, and special holiday breakfasts. My daughters have their ballet recital tonight, so we are bringing them to share. They were pleased to help make these, and to have a fun thing to bring. They were the ones who insisted on using sprinkles on the donuts! I love my girlies, who love adding a fun dash to everything in life, including donuts! If you also want to use sprinkles, just lightly sprinkle after you have dipped the donuts, before the chocolate sets.

These remind me of the boxed chocolate covered mini donuts that my dad would sometimes buy for us on trips at gas stations. Thankfully these ones aren’t full of preservatives and made a year earlier. ;-)

Disclaimer: Amazon links are affiliate. Thanks for supporting this blog!

A couple of notes:

  • I used coconut sugar to make these, though you could use whatever dry sweetener you like (rapadura, sucanat, evaporated cane sugar, etc).
  • I used these chocolate chips as they are free of the 8 most common allergens. I love their dark chocolate chips as well.
  • Instead of dipping in chocolate, you can also simply dust with organic powdered sugar. This is a lot simpler, but not quite as sweet. I think they are really pretty too.
  • This recipe works with, or without the soaking period (I’ve tried it both ways). If you don’t want to soak, simply stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then mix the wet ingredients in a small bowl, and then stir the two together (do this quickly before the coconut oil solidifies)
  • You do need a mini donut pan for this recipe. I own this one . This silicone one looks promising as well.
  • I’ve also made them with the large donut pan – just cook for 20-25 minutes. Will make nine large donuts.
  • This is basically a muffin recipe, so you can also use this recipe to make about nine or ten chocolate muffins!

Enjoy!
Chocolate-Mini-Donuts - #glutenfree #eggfree #donuts

Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Mini Donuts (Guten & Egg-free)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, Breakfast
Cook time:
Total time:
 
A super fun breakfast treat, that is celebration worthy. This recipe works with, or without the soaking period (I’ve tried it both ways). If you don’t want to soak, simply stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then mix the wet ingredients in a small bowl, and then stir the two together (do this quickly before the coconut oil solidifies)
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of sorgum flour
  • ½ cup teff flour
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar (or kombucha, kefir, etc)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup of natural dry sweetener of choice (I used coconut sugar)
  • ¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon unrefined salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup gently melted coconut oil
  • 10 ounces of chocolate chips, allergy-friendly (This is enough to completely cover ¾ of the donuts, use 5 ounces more if you want to cover all of them)
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
Instructions
  1. If soaking, the night before, combine the flour with the water and apple cider vinegar. Cover and leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease the donut tins well. Combine the chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of hot water in a mug and set aside for about 15 minutes. .
  3. Add to the flour and water mixture the cocoa powder, sweetener, chia seed mixture, baking powder, salt, vanilla, apple sauce and coconut oil. As soon as you start adding the coconut oil, start mixing. You want the coconut oil to mix in before it has time to solidify again.
  4. Put a scant tablespoon in each donut form, pressing down on the batter gently to make sure there aren’t any gaps. You want to fill each form about ¾ full.
  5. Put in the middle of the oven for about 7 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let sit on the counter for 5 minutes, and then use a toothpick to gently remove the donuts to a cooling rack. They are fragile when hot, but are pretty sturdy when cool.
  7. Since I have only one small donut pan, I then brush the donut pan with more melted coconut oil, and cook another batch. I got 4 dozen mini donuts out of this recipe.
  8. When all of the donuts are done cooking, and are cooled, put the chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler along with 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (I stir the coconut oil a bit to the chocolate chips). Gently melt together over low heat until smooth, stirring. If you use the two tablespoons of coconut oil, it will spread your chocolate chips further and make for easy dipping, but the chocolate will be a lot more sensitive to heat, including hand heat. When the chocolate is melted, drop in a donut, cover with chocolate, and then use a fork to gently pick it up, shake of the excess chocolate, and then place on a parchment covered baking sheet. Repeat. I got 36 of my 48 mini donuts covered with chocolate this way. You can also just dip the top half of each donut with chocolate, or simply drizzle a little melted chocolate over all of the donuts.
  9. Put in the refrigerator or freezer to solidify the chocolate again, and enjoy. These donuts are best served the day they are made.