Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Gluten Free, Vegan Cucumber-Fennel-Dill Salad!

What a day, what a day! Absolutely gorgeous outside today — the wind was just whipping the tender branches back and forth, while the electric blue sky provided a lovely backdrop. An amazing Spring day.
I guess I was inspired by the gorgeous Spring display out the window, because for dinner, I was craving the crisp, juicy, freshness of a cucumber-fennel-and-dill salad with a chewy, crunchy grain. ((This is all Body Ecology Diet approved — I’m still going strong — in it for the long haul!!)) I served this pilaf with outrageous Sea Bass! Such a refreshing Spring meal!
such fresh flavors from the lemon and dill!
Let’s start with the Cucumber, Fennel, Dill Salad.
cucumbers, fennel, red pepper, green onion, dill and buckwheat!
Let me begin by saying that I was not planning on using Buckwheat with this mix. I was going for a quinoa-esq grain, that would lightly mix with this salad to make a delicious pilaf. So I decided to experiment with Amaranth — one of the four BED grains. I cooked the amaranth, (for the first time) and to my surprise, it wasn’t like a grain at all! It turned into porridge!! It would be great for a soup thickener, or maybe a sweet application, like a custard-y dessert. But this was definitely not a dinner grain! SO! I threw a pot of Buckwheat on the stove, and thankfully, it only takes 5 minutes to cook!! Phew!
Back to the salad….here’s what you need:
1 cucumber, deseeded, and sliced on a mandolin
1 red pepper, diced
1 fennel bulb, core removed, sliced on a mandolin
4 green onions, sliced
3 Tbsp – 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup of buckwheat, cooked
Juice from 1 1/2 lemons
3 green onions, sliced
1 tsp EVOO
Combine your veggies and dill in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Serve over cooked buckwheat, or serve as a salsa over cooked fish! Super easy and SUPER yum!
Gorgeous colors and textures!
Finally, I served this delicious salad with baked Sea Bass! Oh. My. Gosh.Lobsta Bakes‘ wild, ocean-caught sea bass is melt-to-the-floor phenomenal. I mean, it is ridiculous how succulent this fish is. It is SO moist and tender, flakey and sweet. A real 10. I baked it for about 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven with 1 tsp EVOO, lemon zest, juice, and fresh dill. Your cook time will depend on the thickness of your fish. Delish.
Now THAT is a piece of fish!
This meal was crazy good. The salad was SO refreshing. It was cooling and bright. The flavors and textures were outrageous. The cucumbers were fresh, the bell pepper was sweet, the onions gave a nice bite, the fennel gave a anise-licorice flavor, while the dill and lemon was so fresh and bright, and gave the salad a little *zing*. Paired with the nutty buckwheat, it was “outta bounds!”
what a meal!
And finally, the textures! It was so much fun to eat! The red bell peppers were crunchy, the cucumber was juicy, while the fennel gave a huge crunch! It complemented perfectly with the chewy buckwheat. Amazing.
So nutritious!
Happy Tummies!
The mandoline was key to making these vegetables paper thin and fabulous. You can achieve a thinness that you just can't get with a knife. I like mine because it has a hand guard. Here's the one I use:

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