Cilantro Carrot Slaw

As a food blogger and creator of recipes I often struggle with how original a recipe needs to be to truly call it my own. When is an altered recipe merely adapted, and when does it become an entirely new creation?

I found this recipe for Carrot and Cilantro Salad shared by Debbie from Easy Natural Food. She got the recipe from Cuisine Magazine and altered the proportions slightly.

When I made my version, I did a little more than alter. I consider it to be an entirely new recipe, albeit strongly inspired by Debbie’s post.

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Since I’m in the middle of a Whole30, I swapped out the honey for 1/2 a shredded pear. I used a variety that is still rather firm upon ripening in order to avoid it turning to mush when I grated it. I’m a major lover of combining cilantro and lime, so I went with lime juice instead of lemon juice. I also drastically decreased the amount of onion in the recipe. I did this mainly because I have a hard time tolerating large amounts of raw onion, but the tangy flavor from the cilantro and onion was just enough. I wouldn’t add more even if I could!
20130710-213725.jpgThis slaw was unexpectedly delicious. It’s always nice to include an entirely raw dish in your menu plan! Whether you want to follow my recipe, Debbie’s recipe, or make up your own, I highly recommend it! And if you have the option, splurge for some organic carrots. In my experience, the organic variety taste infinitely better – a difference I don’t notice between the organic and regular versions of most produce.

Cilantro Carrot Slaw

Serves 2-3

2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 pear, grated (firmer varieties work best)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tbsp onion, minced
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and toss to coat with lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Middle Eastern Tapas

When I was a kid, my mom would sometimes make what we called “appetizers for dinner.” Now that we’re all a little more worldly, I’ve put two and two together and realize that it was tapas! How sophisticated we were, without even knowing it. 😉

I had the evening free last night, so I decided to try out two new recipes. It ended up being a scaled down version of “appetizers for dinner” centered around a cuisine that I can’t get enough of: Middle Eastern. The two recipes I used as my guide were this babaganoush recipe from Ellie Krieger at Food Network and this falafel recipe from Angela at Vegangela. If you’d like to make the recipes, you can find them by following the links above!

Both recipes involved prepping quite a few ingredients, so I put the quinoa on for the falafel and threw the eggplant in the oven. While they cooked, I got all my chopping done!

IMG_1897Gotta love mise en place! It really does make cooking so much easier. The quinoa and eggplant finished around the same time. I set the quinoa to the side to cool and got to work scooping the gooey insides out of the eggplant and into the blender!

IMG_1903I made the babaganoush first and set it aside to work on the falafel. Following the advice of the recipe, I made the avocado tahini dressing and then started on the falafel patties. This version is unique in that it uses quinoa for a light, airy texture. AND it uses cilantro, my absolute favorite herb. After sauteing the garlic and onion, I mixed all the ingredients together and started frying!

IMG_1906For my readers with IC – you may be freaking out looking at all that onion on my chopping board. Well, I was too. I ended up putting in only about a half of the onion I chopped (for a total of about 1/4 of a medium onion in the falafel mix) and added some extra garlic instead. Extra garlic in place of onion is a trick I use in almost every recipe I make. If you’re super sensitive, you can just leave the onion out altogether and add as much garlic as you want!

The only other change I made to the recipe was using real eggs in place of the vegan variety.

I wanted a fresh and light drink to contrast with the rich flavors of my meal, so I blended up a few slices of watermelon. Yum! the perfect “cocktail” to go with my tapas.

IMG_1919Finally, I chopped some red pepper and carrot slices for dipping.

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IMG_1924My tapas meal was so satisfying! I will definitely make both recipes again, using considerably less lemon in the babaganoush (Don’t you love it when a dish tastes better without an ingredient you’re supposed to avoid!?!) and ditching the avocado tahini sauce – I’ll probably go with a tzatziki type sauce next time. The good news is I have lots of cilantro left – perhaps some Vietnamese food tomorrow? 🙂

Do you ever make tapas style dishes at home? What are your favorites?