Gingered Mung Beans

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gingered mung beans

Legumes are a vegetarian's meat. Generally speaking, legumes in some shape or form appear on my menu everyday. They provide a multitude of health benefits, are inexpensive, and for the most part are easy to prepare. In addition to all of those benefits, think of the vast array of legumes at our fingertips and the endless ways to incorporate them into your diet — it follows that meals are never boring, but are instead an exciting taste experience.

Craving mung beans and not wanting to fuss too much in the kitchen, I came up with a simple curry with lots of ginger for a zingy dish. Mung beans have a distinct sweet and earthy taste and occupy a prominent role in the dishes they appear in, including spicy curries. They take very little time to cook, with minimal soaking beforehand — split mung cooks even faster, with no soaking time, but I generally prefer the slightly plumper whole mung for more texture.

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Avocado Mango Salad with Cilantro and Roasted Cashews

avocado mango salad

This is certainly on the list of the most refreshing and vibrant salads I have ever enjoyed. Colorful chunks of sweet mango and creamy avocado are dressed up with a bold and tangy lime dressing that embraces the herbs and fruit for a extra boost to the palate without overpowering the balance of flavors throughout. I've added jalapeño here for a bit of a kick and stove-top toasted cashews for some nuttiness and texture. There's a lot going on here, but it all comes together texturally and textually for a stunning taste experience. Despite the complexity of flavors, putting this salad together takes very little time at all and should be considered an ideal summer meal accompaniment or light lunch.

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Baked Cherry Oatmeal Pudding

cherry oatmeal pudding

Fresh sweet wine-red summer cherries might be my favorite snacking fruit, which can make pitting enough of them to get past my mouth and into a recipe an uncertain exercise — always better to have far too many on hand, at least in my house. But when they do survive long enough to be put into something like this oatmeal pudding, the results are extraordinary — baking cherries elevates their sweet taste and, combined with the essence of almonds, fills your kitchen with heavenly aromas.

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Roasted Balsamic Cherry and Goat Cheese Crêpes

balsamic cherry goat cheese crepes

If you were to ask me what my favorite fruit is at any given time, I'd likely say whatever fruit happened to be in front of me. But I do have a special weakness for sweet cherries when they're in season — plump, firm, sweet and so bold and striking in flavor, I buy large bags full of them as often as I can for snacks, breakfasts and treats.

This time around, I've tossed them in balsamic vinegar and roasted them in preparation for a crêpe filling. Roasting softens the cherries and deepens the flavor into almost a cherry pie filling taste without the sugar, and the balsamic vinegar further intensifies the flavor by lending it something like the taste of a robust red wine — definitely not vinegary! Combine with toasted almonds and tangy soft goat cheese and roll up in a soft, light and chewy crêpe and you have a sweet and savory treat that's perfect for brunch or lunch.

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