Meatless Monday

Chayote is member of the squash family that originated in Mexico but can now be found throughout the world. 

Chayote may be called a vegetable pear, chcocho, or christophene. It's flavor is described as a cross between a turnip, cucumber and zucchini.
Chayote Squash is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It's also a good source of Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium and Potassium, and an excellent source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.
Selection: Good-quality chayote will be firm, unblemished and light to medium-green in color. The skin may be either smooth or rough
Usage: Use like a squash - steam, bake, stuff or fry.

 Today's Meatless Recipe
Stuffed Chayote Squash
Serves 4
•    4 medium chayote squash
•    1 cup chopped onion
•    2 Tbsp. Grapeseed oil
•    2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
•    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
•    8 ounces Soy Sausage
•    1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
•    3 slices whole wheat or French bread, cubed
•    1/4 cup almond milk plain
•    1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
•    1/4 cup Italian salad dressing

1.    Preheat oven to 350.F
2.    Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Steam until just tender.
3.    Sauté onion in the oil. Add garlic and parsley after onion is soft and transparent. Stir in soy sausage, breaking it up. Add rosemary. Cook for 15 min., pouring off excess grease.
4.    Moisten bread with the milk. Squeeze out liquid. Add bread and cheese to meat mixture.
5.    Scoop out squash, leaving a shell. Chop pulp coarsely. Add to mixture. Stuff squash shells, piling filling high. Place in lightly oiled baking dish.
6.    Bake for 20 min. until heated thoroughly. Drizzle with a little salad dressing and serve hot.

More Recipes:
Crispy Onion Chayote Bites  
Roasted Sweet Potato and Chayote Salad

Resources:Produce Oasis
Fruit & Vegetables More Matters
Summer time Melons are Delicious
Tips for Selecting the Ripe Melon

  • The watermelon should be firm and with no bruises or soft spots
  • The texture should be slightly bumpy
  • Watermelons should be heavy for their size.   Fact: A watermelon is made up of 92% water.
  • The underside should have a creamy yellow spot this is where the melon sat on the grown as it was growing. A white or greenish bottom could indicate an unripe melon.
  • The stem should be withered and brown
  • When pressed, the mellow should spring back
  • The color between bans should be consistent
  • Don't forget the thump test.Smack the melon and listen for a hollow sound, not high pitched or tight must be hollow!

  • A cantaloupe should be beige in color with grey webbing. A green melon with tan webbing is not ripe
  • The webbing should be tight and not have soft spots or bruises
  • A ripe cantaloupe will have a sweet cantaloupe smell. Note: Smell the ends of the melon
  • Cantaloupes should be heavy for their size
  • The stem end should be slightly soft wand indented with no traces of the stem left.

  • Honeydew should be pale yellow green with beige veining. A tan honeydew is not ripe.
  • Honeydew should be heavy for their size.
  • Honeydew should have a waxy surface.
  • When pressed, the stem end should give a little and have a mild aroma. If the aroma is strong the melon is probably overripe
Wash All fruits before using!
According to the FDA, you should wash all fruits and vegetables, including melons, in clean, running water before eating them.
Some melons may be difficult to place in the sink and run water over. Use a clean paper towel with a vinegar water solution to clean.
This is true of all fruits and vegetables, whether they have rinds or not. You should also use clean knives and cutting surfaces, taking care to
never cut fruit or vegetables with a knife just used to cut raw meat, chicken or seafood. Additionally, persons preparing melons, fruits,
vegetables or other foodstuffs should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water prior to preparing the food for eating.

Recipes for Melons
Melon Panzanella
Watermelon Salsa
Pickled Watermelon Rind
Cantaloupe Preserves
Spiced Cantaloupe Butter
Honeydew Melon with Toasted Peanuts and Southeast Asian Herbs
Honeydew Cucumber Drink Video Recipe  This drink is refreshing!

Meatless Monday

Summer Rolls are Light and Refreshing
Summer Rolls Southeast Asian inspired summer rolls filled with cool,  rice noodles, fresh mint  and crunchy vegetables are an ideal vegan hot-weather treat. Serve with any of the dipping sauces, but think sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and bitter for a refreshing light meal you'll love to make again and again. 

Vegetable Summer Rolls

Yields 8 rolls

  • 2 ounces Vietnamese cellophane noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 medium carrot, julienne
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienne
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 4 to 5 scallions, julienne
  • 6 water chestnuts, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, hand-torn
  • 1 ½  teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 8 (8-inch) rice sheets (plus extra in case some tear)
  • Warm water, for soaking rice sheets
  • 8 Baby Romaine Lettuce
  • 16 mint leaves


Put the cellophane noodles, vegetables, cilantro in a large bowl; toss with sesame oil, ginger and lime juice to give the filling some flavor; season with salt and pepper.

Pour 2 cups of hot, not boiling water in a large shallow bowl. One at a time, immerse the rice paper wrappers in the hot water for 10 seconds to soften, then Place it on a clean surface and leave it for a few seconds to soften. blot dry with a clean kitchen towel.

On the lower third of the wrapper, leaving about 1 inch of space along the side and bottom edges, layer the fillings in the following order:  2 mint leaves, lengthwise; 1 lettuce leaf half, folded or trimmed to fit if necessary; and cellophane and vegetable mixture.  Use less filling than you think you should, if you overstuff the wrapper it will tear.

Wet your fingers to keep the wrapper from sticking to them. Starting with the edge closest to you, fold the wrapper up and over the fillings. Be sure the fillings are snugly compressed but not so tight that the wrapper is strained, or it may rip. 

Once the first turn is tight, fold the right and left sides of the wrapper in, closing off the ends as though making an envelope. 

Continue rolling the wrapper tightly all the way to the top and press the seam closed. Set the roll seam side down on the platter. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and fillings. Don’t let the finished rolls touch one another or they’ll stick.

Note: The rice paper is very delicate, don't soak them any longer or they will break apart. Keep them covered while you work to prevent them from drying out and curling.

Schedule a lesson with our Chef to teach you how to make Summer rolls in you kitchen

Use this video as a resource on how to put a summer roll together. 

Spicy Tamarind Dipping Sauce 

Note: For the true vegetarian Fish sauce can be omitted or substituted with tamari or soy sauce.

Meatless Monday

Baby Greens Salads make a great main meal especially in hot weather. They are quick and easy to prepare and incredibly versatile. From a lightly wilted salad, a meaty salad filled with healthy protein, or a vegetarian salad of seasonal vegetables the possibilities are endless.

Choose Baby Greens as a base for your next salad. Red oak, Radicchio, Sorrel, Mizuna, Mache, Spinach, Bok Choy, Endive, Escarole, Chicory, Arugula, Mustard greens, and Swiss Chard are some of the types of greens that are often found in baby salad green mixes.

So, what are they the leaves of young plants that are harvested when the plants grow to approximately 5 or 6 inches tall. Harvesting greens early in their growing stage allows for a fuller flavor and much more tender leaf.

Baby greens organic or traditional are ready available in many combinations at the supermarket. Individual types of baby greens are more likely to be founded at local farm stands or Farmers markets.

To make your vegetarian salad interesting try different types of baby greens and add your favorite toppings or step outside your box and try different Legumes, vegetables that are in season like beets, fennel, corn, hearts of palms, artichokes, olives, Tofu,  rice crackers, sesame stixs, nuts, and fresh fruits.

Baby Leaf lettuce, Watermelon and Olive Salad
Savory Tofu Green Salad
Mixed Green Salad with Grapefruit & Cranberries
Baby Greens with Toasted Garlic Chick pea Croutons


Nutritional information for salad greens
How to Grown Organic Baby Greens Videos

Meatless Monday Tofu

Meatless Monday
The past few days of soaring humidity and heat can make it difficult to be motivated to turn on the stove or oven.
So for the remainder of the summer our Meatless Monday recipes will be dedicated to foods that can be cooked on the grill or with no or little heat preparation.

The recipe and links to recipes below feature tofu which is easy to prepare. When served with a mixed green salad you'll have a delicious meal.

Tofu is a plant base food made from soy beans. A four ounce portion for tofu has 10.1 grams of protein and 94 calories. Raw tofu uncooked with no added fat has only 5 g fat. Tofu is a cholesterol free food and abounds in pytochemicals that may protect against heart disease. The isoflavoniods in Tofu can help soften the effects of menopause and protect against breast cancer.

Tofu is made using the same techniques as cheese. The process begins with a liquid that looks like milk but is only ground soybeans. This liquid is called soy milk and is heated and with the addition of salts or acid to make it curdle or solidify. The salts work like rennet to separate the soy milk into curds and whey. The curds are ladled into settling boxes that are perforated and lined with cloth. The whey drips out of the boxes, the remaining curds are pressed and the result is tofu. The more the tofu is pressed the firmer it becomes and the more nutrient dense and caloric ally dense it becomes. Firm or Extra firm Tofu is then package in water filled containers.

Silken Tofu is made with thick soy milk plus lactone along with the salt or acid which makes it possible for the soy milk to thicken in its container as yogurt does..
There are several textures of silken tofu available soft, firm and extra firm.

Today's recipes call for Regular Extra firm or flavored very firm baked tofu. Please always purchase non genetically modified Tofu. If the container does not state it is Non GMO then make another selection.

Raw Tofu
with Green Onions
Serves 4
1 container of Extra firm Non GMO Tofu
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
½ cup Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Molasses
2 teaspoons Dark Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons Cilantro chopped
3 Scallions trimmed and sliced thinly on bias
Salt and Pepper to taste
1.    Drain the tofu and place it on a bed of paper towel to press. Place a 4-5 sheets of paper towel around tofu cube then place a weight on top to drain out excess water, cut it   into 1 inch cubes.
2.    Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl.
3.    Place tofu in the bowl and season with salt and pepper and toss with marinate.
4.    Cover and refrigerate tofu for one hour or longer before serving.

More Recipes ......
Grilled Tofu with Chimichurri Sauce
Curried Tofu Salad
Greek Tofu Salad
And for Dessert ....
Tofu Chocolate Pudding
Silken Lemon Cream Burlee

Is grilling a healthy alternative?

This time of year there is something absolutely yummy about food fresh off the grill – the aroma – the taste.  It makes my mouth water.  Whether your preference is grilled meats, grilled veggies, or grilled fruit, food just tastes better when it’s prepared on the grill.  Plus, who wants to be stuck inside cooking while everyone else is outside enjoying the summer? 

But is grilling as healthy - or healthier - than other cooking methods? 

In some respects, grilling is definitely healthier.  Since you don’t need to add any oil or fats when cooking on the grill, you avoid soaking up fat into the foods.  Plus fat drips off grilled meat, rather than going back into it.  Also, valuable nutrients are retained in grilled food that would be lost in the water if boiled.   Finally, grilling adds flavor to food without adding fat or salt or any unhealthy additives.

However, there is one thing you do need to be aware of – research has shown that cooking meats at very high temperatures can cause a higher risk for cancer. According to an article by Rebecca Viksnins Snowden on the American Cancer Society’s website, “…cooking meats at very high temperatures creates chemicals (heterocyclic amines, or HAs) that might increase cancer risk. Heterocyclic amines (HAs) are created by the burning of amino acids and other substances in meats cooked at particularly high temperatures and that are particularly well-done.”  Snowden continues, “HAs turn up in grilled and barbecued meat as well as broiled and pan-fried meat.”

So if you want to take advantage of the health benefits and avoid the potential health risk of grilling, you can either grill your food at a lower temperature or grill just fruits and vegetables, which don’t create the harmful chemicals meat does.  If you can’t resist a grilled steak, here are some tips from Snowden to keep it healthier:

·         Choose lean cuts of meat and trim any excess fat. Fat dripping onto hot coals causes smoke that contains potential carcinogens. Less fat means less smoke.

·         Line the grill with foil and poke small holes in it so the fat can still drip off, but the amount of smoke coming back onto the meat is lower.

·         Avoid charring meat or eating parts that are especially burned and black – they have the highest concentrations of HAs.

Grilling, like any cooking method, is only as healthy as the food you begin with, so choose wisely.  And if you add unhealthy marinades or condiments, you counter-act the benefits of grilling.  With a little thought, you and your family can enjoy healthy and tasty meals fresh off the grill.   

A Recipe for the Grill
Lemon, Rosemary & Balsamic Chicken Thighs
Yield 2- 4 servings

8 chicken thighs
1 Tbsp Wildtree Lemon  Rosemary Blend or Lemon Pepper
¼ cup Wildtree Roasted Garlic Grapeseed oil
½ tsp Wildtree RancherSteak Rub
2 Tbsp lemon zest
½ Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Remove excessive fat from chicken and wash with salt water then drain.
Combine all ingredients in plastic bag and marinate for 1 – 2 hours. 

Grilling Instructions
Preheat grill to medium.   Cook chicken on the skin side for 10 to 12 minutes and then turn over and cook for the same amount of time - cooked through (internal temp at 160 degrees). If there are flare-ups, move the chicken out of the way so there is no sooty film on the chicken.  Baste any leftover lemon balsamic mix once the chicken has turned over.   The chicken is done when the juices run clear when the pricked at the thickest part of the thigh.
Wildtree products are All natural, preservative free, no dyes and low in sodium and sugar.